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service learningJOE BROOKS—is the Founder and Director of Community Works Institute (CWI) and as a veteran teacher has taught at all levels K-16. Joe is an internationally recognized expert, leader and advocate for Place Based Service-Learning. He is a veteran workshop leader, facilitator, and keynote speaker who believes that the path to a meaningful life and education lies in deep community engagement and intentionally beuilding students' sense of self efficacy. He advocates that education must focus on a creating a developed sense of place and empathy that is informed by the goal of sustainable communities. His work with teachers is based on principles of democratic teaching and social justice—with the intent of creating regular opportunities for students to apply content and skills in meaningful service to the community. Over the past three decades Joe has worked across the U.S. and internationally with students, educators, and administrators, at every grade level, both in urban and rural contexts. He channels his extensive experience and personal passion for place based education to create opportunities for students to bring their communities together through purposeful local people-oriented projects. He travels widely, working with schools and teachers through a process that includes the use of Collaborative Ethnography as a teaching tool to develop understanding, empathy, and compassion—social and emotional intelligence. As a public school teacher he established a nationally recognized K-12 service-learning program in Vermont that included a unique student run community newspaper that thrived for more than twenty years. In 1995 he established CWI's Institute on Place Based Service-Learning. These annual week long intensive summer Institutes have functioned as a collaborative learning and design laboratory, attended by educators from nearly every U.S. state and many countries around the world. Participant demographics include K-16 and community educators from a remarkably diverse set of contexts and job descriptions. His message to Institute participants is to always seek to develop learning experiences that possess a compelling sense of purpose and reciprocity. Joe is also the publisher of Community Works Journal, a digital magazine for educators.
email Joe l arrange a PD event at your school
perla zamoraPERLA ZAMORA—is the mother of two children and passionate about all things learning. She is currently the Service-Learning Coordinator for middle school, Technology Class teacher, and Technology advisor to classroom teachers at the American School of Tampico (ATS). She holds a Master's Degree in Multidisciplinary Science from SUNY, with a certification in Cognitive Coaching, and is a Google Certified Teacher. Perla is also a Robotics teacher at ATS, and trained with the Lego Zoom Project team and Vex Robotics team. In the area of technology integration in the classroom, she has collaborated to consolidate an ambitious and flexible curriculum for Technology Class, based on a combination of ISTE and 21st Century Standards. Her Technology Class K-12 curriculum enriches other subject areas while empowering teachers and students to discover new innovative learning practices. Perla believes that being a teacher explicitly means being a role model. She thinks that everyone has the potential to be a positive influencer in his/her community. Perla loves to share her experience, learning from others, and is a deeply committed person, a risk taker, and a hard worker who enjoys new learning experiences. She serves as a member of the Global Advisory Board promoting Global Collaborative Learning as a strategy to empower teachers and students. Perla is an alumna of CWI's Institute on Place Based Service-Learning and serves on CWI's Advisory Board.
tonia s. lloydTONIA S. LLOYD, MSc LCADC—Tonia is a certified clinical psychologist and Licensed Clinical Drug and Alcohol Counselor with a broad base of professional roles and experience. She believes Place Based Service-Learning is a core engagement strategy for students in learning and life success. She is a Professor of Psychology, Drugs, and Alcohol Use in the U.S., at Essex County College. She is also a Mental Health Specialist at University Heights Charter School in Newark, New Jersey. providing mental health support to middle school students, as well as designing and implementing school-based training workshops related to self-control, confidence, goal setting and test-taking anxiety. She also develops and trains mental health teams to implement efficacious evidence based Wellness interventions for students to improve their academic performance and life skills. With a long time interest in improving criminal justice systems, she is a member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), providing recommendations and impartial advice around successful reintegration, community acceptance, and support. She has also worked closely with Project Lead a prison anger management and research project of the University of West Indies in Trinidad, providing psychological training and interventions to prison officers and prisoners. Tonia was instrumental in the design, coordination and organization of Essex County College’s launch of Speechcraft, a business students’ organization that prepares them to be leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management by learning the fundamentals of public speaking. Through extensive marketing research, industry analysis and SWOT analysis she developed a successful design and grant proposal that led to the Wellness Center being launched at Essex County College. Tonia is also owner and cofounder of Lloyd & Lloyd LLC. is a family run consultancy that provides consulting support to K-16 schools to support developing superior minds through educational and psychological self-help programs. She regularly provides professional development services for employees of larger and smaller companies, and is the author of The Power of Resilience & Staying Well, a publication that helps readers to understand stress, assess their own triggers, personality and rate their current stress levels and ends with the development of a personal stress management plan. Tonia is a member of the American Psychological Association.
ligitaLIGITA STAWARZ—is the Service-Learning and CAS Director at the American School of Warsaw (ASW). She holds a M.A. in Clinical and Personality Psychology, is a Certified Teacher, and a Public Relations Specialist. Ligita has worked at American School of Warsaw since 2004. She has significant experience in planning, creating, and managing a wide variety of K-12 service-learning projects and programs. Ligita coordinates ASW's service-learning program for grades Pre-K to 8th. Additionally, she is the director of Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) at the American School of Warsaw, promoting and implementing the transformation of CAS as a deeper and culminating experience in service-learning. Ligita is a current CWI faculty member, and alumnus of CWI's Institute on Service-Learning.
d'ric jacskonD'RIC (DERICK) JACKSON—holds a Masters Degree in Psychological Sciences. He currently works with the University of Texas, Dallas as an instructor/facilitator for a grant-funded service-learning class for undergraduate students which is focused on providing ELL and mentoring support in several local Dallas public school districts. In addition to expanding his own program at home in Dallas, D'ric is intent on spreading awareness of the benefits of service-learning on a wider basis. He is particularly interested in building a coalition that bridges psychological science with service-learning, with the goal of helping students of all walks of life get more out of their education in a positive way. His research interests center on the links between personality traits and goal-motivation and behaviors. He is currently preparing to pursue his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. D'ric is an alumnus of CWI's Institute on Place Based Service-Learning and serves on CWI's Advisory Board.
alexandra gonzalesALEXANDRA GONZALES—feels called to serve as an educator in communities with high needs. As a middle school Math and Science teacher, Alex envisions a school community with a common, shared vision that values a culture of collaboration, social justice, service and sustainability. She teaches at St. Athanasius School, an urban Catholic elementary K-8 school in a high needs area of Long Beach, California. The school has a reputation for supporting underserved students, including children of low wage workers and undocumented immigrants. Alex is an alumna of CWI’s Summer WEST Institute, and is inspired by Freire’s theory of Critical Consciousness and John Dewey’s ideas of connection between democracy and education. She shares that her experience at CWI’s Institute gave her the “opportunity to bridge theory into practice through the use of Service-Learning and Collaborative Ethnography—as a way to have school and community stakeholders engaged in understanding their own local communities, by beginning the dialogue and becoming aware of the needs of their own communities in order to become more action-oriented.” Alex also has international experience teaching English as a Second Language for the Faculty of International Studies at the Prince of Songkla University in Thailand. read Alex's full bio
Paula CohenPAULA COHEN—has been a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District for the last eleven years, mostly at the middle school level. She uses a strong projects based approach that allows for student voice, academic choice and active engagement in learning. Breaking down the four walls of the classroom, thinking about how to use educational spaces more creatively, connecting students to their community and greater world in authentic learning experiences, are what drives her practice. Paula believes in networking to connect schools to local organizations and communities. At Orville Wright Middle School where she previously taught, she organized to builda student and community garden on a derelict acre of land on the school’s property that still thrives to this day. She now is a board member on the all-volunteer nonprofit that oversees the garden. Paula is an alumnus of Community Works Institute’s (CWI) Summer WEST Institute.
MARTA VERNET—has more than twenty years of experience working in the education field at The American School of Barcelona. She has developed educational programs and partnerships throughout the Barcelona community. She serves as ASB’s Service-Learning, CAS, and Alumni Coordinator, specializing in creating programs through collaborations and partnerships with different stakeholders of the local community. Her passion and focus is the power Service-Learning brings to learning experiences. Marta’s vision is to develop future leaders with a strategic vision which will allow them to create Shared Value in the communities where they are functioning. She sees these leaders working, in International Corporations, Public Institutions, small business, Hospitals, Schools or Universities. To fulfill her vision, she is creating Service Learning programs that are experienced by students throughout their years of schooling (from Kindergarden students up to 12th graders ). These programs have certain characteristics, they are experiential, they solve a problem in the community, they are sustainable and they are win win partnerships for all parties involved.
seanSEAN LLOYD—is the Chief Family & Community Engagement Officer at Paulo Freire Charter School in Newark New Jersey. He developed and directs a systemic outreach strategy for engagement with traditionally underrepresented and emergent communities. His work also includes developing strategies to support and enable parent leadership and empowerment, as well as bringing vital expertise and experience to community engagement and volunteer mobilization efforts—helping to maximize impact on the community at large. Working with the school leadership team, Sean has established a comprehensive vision for family, community, and business engagement with Paulo Freire Charter School. While serving as the chief family engagement leader for the school, he has created strong academic support systems and school-family-community partnerships that foster success for all students by building relationships based on mutual trust and two-way communication. Sean also plans and manages strategic partnerships between the Paulo Freire Charter School and businesses, government agencies, higher education institutions, and community organizations to provide families and students with the supports needed to be college and career ready. Sean is a former high school mathematics teacher and has a great passion and belief in service-learning as a strategy and means to improve society. Sean shares his passion for education by coordinating service-learning projects for scholars, which have sent student scholars to places as far as Ghana, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic to do service. He states that, “I am blessed with the opportunity to supplement our scholars' classroom experience with experiential learning.  My role allows me to learn more about our scholars, myself, and build an awesome network to facilitate a myriad of educational opportunities.”  “I love working at The Paulo Freire School because I love being in a position to mentor, teach, and inspire young people whenever possible.  Learning is a life-long proposition.  As I evolve, I am compelled to try and assist the next generation as well.  One of my primary motives is to share information and insight that was denied to me as a child.” 
MaryMARY WHALEN—is a veteran high school history teacher who has worked extensively with student voice and participation as democratizing principles in her classroom. She and her students have compiled a diverse array of experiences as participants in service-learning projects both locally and nationally. Mary brings first hand experience and professional passion to the question of how we create and nurture meaningful student voice within the constraints of a typical classroom and school. She is also a recent recipient of a Rowland Fellowship for Declaring Ourselves!  an action research project concerning civic engagement in the 21st Century.  Service-Learning, Participatory Action Research and Live Video Collaboration is her current focus. She currently teaches at Twinfield Union School in Plainfield, Vermont.
stuartSTUART GRAUER—is a teacher, the founding Head of School at The Grauer School, and Founder of the Small Schools Coalition. He consults with schools worldwide and been awarded the University of San Diego Career Achievement Award, plus various international educational exchange fellowships including a Fulbright. Stuart is one of the nation's top authorities on small schools education. His work has been covered in The New York Times, Discovery Channel, and frequently in the local press in his home town of Encinitas, California, where he has been named “Peacemaker of the Year.” A regular essayist for Community Works Journal, Stuart's new book, Real Teachers, is available from CWI's Bookstore.
billy o'steenBILLY O'STEEN—is Associate Professor and Director of the University of Canterbury's Community Engagement Hub in New Zealand. With over 25 years of public service in education, government, and non-profits, Billy brings a belief in the transformative power of reflecting on experience to all contexts he works within, particularly with service-learning in post-disaster and developing country contexts. He has applied the lessons learned from attending CWI's Summer Institute on Place, Service, and Sustainability, as well as from working for the Peace Corps, UNESCO, Outward Bound, Children's International Summer Village in Brazil, Nature's Way Middle School, and North Carolina State University to create an educational response model of community engagement and voluntourism to address the natural disasters of the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011, Hurricane Irene in 2011, and Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015. This model has been shared in numerous international publications and presentations and was recently used to affect institutional change with the University of Canterbury's adoption of community engagement as one of four attributes in the new UC Graduate Profile.
karyKARY SCHUMPERT—is an environmental educator, writer, and student living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a contributing editor for Community Works Journal, writing the monthly column "Notes from New Mexico." She loves teaching, running, writing, hiking, camping, biking, reading, cooking, singing in the shower, making up puns, composting, star gazing, and many other things. She finds her greatest sense of place, home, inspiration, and duty in New Mexico. Her writing has been published in Green Teacher, Elephant Journal, New Leaf Meditation, The Upper Room, along with several local anthologies. She keeps a blog at
david sDAVID SOBEL—is a preeminent voice and writer for integrating place-based education in American schools. He is a core faculty member and director of Teacher Certification programs at Antioch University New England and he was identified as one of the Daring Dozen educators in the United States by Edutopia Magazine. He has served as a staff development and curriculum consultant for public and independent schools and has been a keynote speaker for many colleges, national conferences, state agencies and environmental organizations. He serves on the editorial board of the journal, Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice and is the author of Children's Special Places, Beyond Ecophobia, and other books. He has written many articles on children and nature including regular essays in Community Works Journal on Place and Education.
luciLUCI FERNANDES—is a cultural anthropologist whose research focus is on documenting daily life through audio/visual mediums. She documents life ways in both contemporary Cuban and in Eastern North Carolina, where she lives and teaches anthropology courses for East Carolina University. Her aim in to highlight everyday people, their joys and struggles to connect people in their human experience. Luci is a regular contributor to Community Works Journal around her K-16 applicable work and ideas related to using anthropology as a pathway into deeper understanding of communities.
instituteMARC CHABOT—is the science teacher at Thetford Academy in Vermont and has taught high school chemistry and/or physics for more than twenty years. His curriculum includes several excellent examples of service-learning, among them the Physics Problem-Solving Unit. He was a Christa McAuliffe fellow based on his project “Reaching Mainstreamed Students in Chemistry using Computers.” Marc has been awarded the Radioshack National Teacher Award and was a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. He has trained as a National Facilitator for the National School Reform Faculty.
CYNTHIA HUGHES—is a veteran educator with more than thirty years in the field. Her experience includes serving as a public school classroom teacher and reading specialist in Vermont, where she is currently a Library Media Specialist for the Springfield School District. Cynthia has also worked extensively over the years as an environmental educator, and music teacher. Her work with children has always hadat its heart a hands-on approach to fostering a sense of place and connection to the natural world. She has designed both classroom and library curricula that integrates service-learning and nature studies with literacy standards. As a faculty member with the educational nonprofit Community Works Institute (CWI), Cynthia has facilitated numerous professional development events and led a series of weeklong service-learning institutes for elementary students. Cynthia was a member of the original team of educators who developed CWI's Connecting Service-Learning to the Curriculum. She also enjoys composing and performing music.

brad houkBRAD HOUK—is a veteran educator, counter-cartographer, and activist. He spent many years teaching at-risk students in Vermont, Native students in the Navajo Nation, Quaker students in Pennsylvania, and advanced-degree People’s Liberation Army officers in China. Brad now teaches geography, art, and education at the Community College of Vermont and social studies at Green Mountain Union High School. Pulling from his academic background at Penn State's College of Arts & Architecture, North Carolina State's Graduate College of Design, and Western New Mexico University's Graduate School of Education, Brad has been integrating counter-mapping with service-learning to invigorate his classrooms and increase retention. Most recently, Brad has been counter-mapping his local community with service-learning projects in an effort to not only understand a community more deeply (and the many ways it can be experienced) but to explore how this process and such projects can be used as a method in civic and community-engagement.

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