Board of Directors
One New Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
I am a geologist, educator, and naturalist with a serious addiction to the outdoors, rivers, deserts, mountains and chocolate. I’ve done research in archaeology, geology and paleontology across the globe, including searching for dinosaurs in Montana, fighting off dust storms and overly curious camels in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, and steering clear of annoyed marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands.
I have been fortunate enough to have been a river guide in the Grand Canyon since 1988. I lead a sort of split personality life where I teach geology for the Grand Canyon Field Institute and run the Colorado River in the spring and fall, and escape to Alaska to run rivers in the summers. Winters are usually spent recovering and writing about the rest of the year, in addition to traveling whenever possible to visit our students, and guiding sea kayaking trips in Baja California and Micronesia.
I also run This Earth, a small educational business that brings Earth science programs to children around the country, and designs labs, programs and field trips for K-12 students. I love working with students on geology and paleontology!
I am extraordinarily grateful for my education and the doors it has opened for me throughout my life. That’s the drive behind the One New Education. I don’t expect or even hope that these young women will grow up to be president of their countries, or doctors, lawyers, and engineers, although it would be wonderful if they did! But what is more important for me is that they are introduced to how diverse and amazing the world is, and are able to broaden their horizons just a little. Maybe one will open up a small business in her town or another will work to better her town through local politics. Maybe one will help run a program to send young women to school. Perhaps one day….
I came to Flagstaff in 1993 with my partner, Steve Schaeffer, from Philadelphia, PA. I received my Bachelor of Science in art education from Northern Arizona University in 1997.
My first art teaching position was at Flagstaff Middle School in 1997/1998. Then I came to Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA) in the fall of 1998. I taught at FALA from 1998 to 2002, teaching Yearbook, Photography, Drawing, Painting and Printmaking, Art Studio, and Mixed Media. With my passion for community and service-learning, I created several campus and community murals with students and local artists.
I left FALA in 2002 to obtain a Masters Degree in Education and Cultural Studies at Ohio University. During my three years in Athens, I became a Volunteer in Service To America (VISTA) Americorp at Ohio University’s Center for Community Service, then later a graduate associate coordinating service and service learning with college students and professors. My education research was in visual culture studies, museum art education, and expeditionary learning. I did an Outward Bound Course for educators: Urban Expedition in New York City, backpacking throughout the five boroughs. This was a life-changing experience and one that I would later integrate with my FALA students. I also spent time working with student organizations on a variety of service projects and outreach to middle and high schools in rural Appalachia. To do philanthropy with secondary students, I organized Love Luggage and Martin Luther King, Jr. service projects, Make a Difference Day, and Youth Act. Our expeditionary project, Uncovering Appalachia, allowed students to be immersed in the Appalachian culture of southeastern Ohio. I also instructed art at the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center.
It was a blessing to return to FALA in the summer of 2005. Since then, I have continued my passion for service learning and became the coordinator of both the service learning program and the National Art Honor Society. I serve on the FALA council, the Leadership Advisory Team, help facilitate the Critical Friends Group, and am the department chair. I teach Advanced Mixed Media, Advanced Draw-Paint-Print, Art Studio, Advanced Photography and Design.
I strive for social justice art education at FALA. With colleagues, activists, and artists, I run experiential learning trips to the southern border with Mexico, New York City, Chicago, the San Juan River, Grand Canyon, New Mexico, San Francisco, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. I coordinate and collaborate with a host of initiatives, philanthropic events, art events, participatory art exhibits, installations, and fundraisers. I am also a visual artist working in mixed media, predominantly with beeswax.
In 2013 I saw the film Girl Rising and over time I became truly moved by educational activist Malala Yousafzi. This led to the “Chairs for Change” project to raise awareness and funds for One New Education and the Malala Fund. Using the chair as a symbol that every girl has a right to education, Flagstaff artists and students transformed chairs, desks, and stools into art that we exhibited at the Coconino Center for the Arts to be sold at a silent auction. We have held this fundraiser for several years, and have raised over $20,000 for girls’ education.
In 2015 I became a board member for One New Education and in 2016 took several of my students to El Sauce, Nicaragua with ONE founder Christa Sadler and board members Leslie Grabel and Meghan Halsam to watch our first high school graduate, Karina Martinez, receive her diploma. It was a transformative experience for all of us, living with host families, visiting Karina’s home in Ocotal, and meeting our ONE girls. We (as FALA) returned to El Sauce in 2017 and continued our partnership with ONE, the 4 Walls home building project, and Amigos en Acción (an afterschool art and study program for fourth and fifth graders). In 2019 we visited Xela, Guatemala, and met ONE students Alicia and Valentina, and had a beautiful cultural exchange with Colectivo Vida Digna and ANADESA, community development programs that help support and encourage the Mayan culture.
I believe in democratic and social justice education. To quote John Dewey, students learn by doing. Our students are the future and we have to empower them with the tools to transform our world. Young people need to see their education as relevant and meaningful to their lives and in the lives of others, and that this is their greatest responsibility.
I am in my third year as a Ph.D. Student in Education for Sustainability at Prescott College. I am focusing on Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), service and experiential learning, social justice art education, and Teacher Powered Schools.
“Art is not a MIRROR held up to reality, BUT a HAMMER with which to shape it.”
“The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.”
I’m an educator and non-profit developer who loves learning and teaching outdoors. I was raised in New Hampshire, but my adventures have helped me find a querencia, a homeplace, in many places – Colorado, Mexico, Arizona, Nicaragua, Honduras, North Carolina, and New England… we’ll see where’s next. I began finding these places while studying for an English degree and working summer at a camp in the stunning Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My education continued when I became a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Sauce, Nicaragua where I taught environmental education, learned how to use adios as a greeting, ate staggering quantities of fresh corn tortillas and started the 4 Walls Project to provide impoverished families with safe housing. Christa arrived with the first 4 Walls volunteer crew in 2008 and has amazed me with her dedication, creativity and love for all life ever since.
After Peace Corps, I moved to Honduras to run an education center in a high-risk urban area. Later, I co-produced a documentary about youth initiating change through art in their gang-controlled neighborhood, worked with Spanish, US, and Honduran government and non-profit organizations on youth development, and ran a grant-funded outdoor leadership school focused on at-risk youth.
Since returning to the US in 2014, I’ve had marvelous opportunities to manage outdoor education and leadership development programs at 100 Elk in Colorado, North Carolina Outward Bound School, and now Mass Audubon in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Inspiring young people to explore and learn about the natural world and discover their own potential has long been my passion. As I continue to learn, my desire to make education – formal or informal – accessible and culturally responsive has grown exponentially. The generosity, resilience, and perspective shared by my extended community in the US, Central America, and around the world gives me hope. And with help from my closest supporters, like my partner Eric, my family, and my hermana Christa, I can believe in the words of Nicaraguan author and poet Gioconda Belli:
“There is nothing quixotic or romantic in wanting to change the world… It is the age-old vocation of all humanity. I can’t think of a better life than one dedicated to passion, to dreams, to the stubbornness that defies chaos and disillusionment. Our world… is and will be the product of the effort that we, its inhabitants, devote to it.”
Without a doubt one of the best things we can do to change the world is to educate and support the world’s women and girls – and ONE is an excellent way for us to do so!
My amazing kid, Nico, inspired me to become engaged in One New Education. They have shown me how much joy and self-confidence learning can bring, and through their volunteer work during high school they introduced me to this great organization. I feel extremely fortunate that I can be a part of the efforts to bring the opportunity of learning to girls who otherwise might face insurmountable obstacles on their path to an education.
I spent five years teaching elementary, high school, and college students before working as a contract copy editor and technical writer, and ultimately joining the quality assurance team in a medical device company. Although I do not work as a teacher anymore, I know that education is the most powerful tool we have to create a better world.
In my spare time I try to spend as much time as possible being active outdoors exploring the beauty of the American Southwest. I love our desert rivers, canyons, and wide open skies.
I have not yet visited any of the home countries of the girls we are supporting, but I enjoy learning about their stories and experiences. I am grateful that through One New Education, I can help girls who are passionate about learning get an education that may change their lives and the lives of those around them.
I’ve been an educator for over 30 years. After my undergraduate degree in 1990, I moved to France where I taught English as a Second Language for three years, and then moved to Quebec, Canada, where I continued teaching ESL for two more years. In 1995, I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona and started teaching French and Spanish at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy. After having my daughter Elea, I took a job with the “Healthy Families Program” (a child abuse prevention program) with the Coconino County Health Department. There I provided parenting classes for at-risk immigrant mothers living in poverty. I helped connect them to resources in town including ESL and GED classes to further their education and language skills. I later received my Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Northern Arizona University and went back to teaching ESL in France when my son, Teo, was born in 2005. We moved back to Flagstaff in 2007, and I have been working in the public schools as a Spanish and French teacher, and currently as an ESL Specialist.
Teaching and working with students has shown me the power that education has to change lives. My education has opened many doors for me and I would like to make sure that other girls worldwide are able to have the same fundamental right to education in order to improve their lives and to empower them with new opportunities.
Quite honestly nothing has had more of an impact on my life than when I traveled to El Sauce, Nicaragua with my 10 year old son Francis, Christa, and a few other wonderful people on a house building mission called the 4 Walls Project.
It is here that we met Ana Regina and her family. It really did not take much for us to decide to do something for this lovely little girl. And of course one thing led to another and I helped establish this non-profit group, One New Education, to help her and as many other girls as we can.