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JOE BROOKS—is the Founder and Director of Community Works Institute (CWI) and a veteran teacher. He is an international advocate, speaker, and workshop leader for embedding place based service-learning and sustainability in K-16 education. Joe is also channeling his extensive experience and personal passion for place based education through the CommonLore program as part of an effort 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. 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. As a public school teacher he established a nationally recognized K-12 service-learning program that included a unique student run community newspaper that thrived for twenty years. In 1995 he established CWI's Summer EAST Institute in Vermont, and later Summer WEST in Los Angeles. These week long intensive Institutes function as a collaborative learning and design laboratory and have been attended by educators from nearly every U.S. state and many countries around the world. Participant demographics include K-16 and community educators from an incredibly diverse set of contexts and job descriptions. Joe's message to Institute participants is to always seek to develop learning experiences that possess a compelling sense of purpose and reciprocity.

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 build a 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.
darinDARIN EARLEY—serves as Director for the LMU Family of Schools. He has led the growth of the LMU Family of Schools from a university initiative to a collaborative partnership serving thirteen schools. Darin is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the FOS, managing various programs and projects that support FOS partner schools, and serving as a liaison between university departments/division and partner schools. Darin also provides support in instructional design and implementation, coordinating professional development opportunities for teachers, supervising grant funded projects and working with school site staff members to address culture and climate issues that impact student achievement. Darin previously workedas an administrator, classroom teacher and human relations facilitator, Darin brings with him over 17 years of experience with the Los Angeles Unified School District. A native of Los Angeles, he attended both Loyola Village Elementary and Westchester High School before going off to Howard University where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. He has a Masters degree in Educational Administration and is currently enrolled in the USC Rossier School of Education Doctoral program with a concentration in “Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies”. Darin is also the founder of, Darin is an author, speaker, husband and father of five. He serves as a part-time faculty in the LMU Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
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
DIANEDIANE SHINGLEDECKER—is the District Community-Based Learning Faculty Coordinator for Career Technical Education at Portland Community College (PCC) in Oregon. She has also been teaching Computer Applications at PCC since 2001.  Throughout her community college career, she has coordinated a variety of service-learning projects in an unlikely combination of disciplines that enable students to see how they can address community issues utilizing the skills they have acquired in their classes. These projects include a computer recycling drive that has highlighted both the environmental and social issues surrounding e-waste, a college survey project that revealed the breadth of housing insecurity throughout our campus community, and a collaborative food insecurity cohort that is bringing together faculty, staff, students, and community partners to accomplish more as a team than as separate entities. Diane is a regular contributor to the Community Works Blog examining the importance of place-based education and service-learning from an insider’s view of community colleges.  She has recently completed her Masters Certificate in Service-Learning in the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University where she was a participant in a three-week intensive service program in Madurai, India.  Diane is a current CWI faculty member and alumnus of CWI’s Summer WEST Institute. Diane is completing her Master’s Certificate in Service-Learning at Portland State University as part of a sabbatical from PCC.  During this sabbatical, she traveled to India to learn more about international service and work in orphanages and schools there. Diane most recently presented a workshop entitled “Community-Based Learning: Collaborative Action for Social Justice Across Unlikely Disciplines” at the Campus Compact’s 2017 Continuums of Service Conference in April in Denver, CO.
carlosCARLOS ROGEL—is the Project Manager for The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). SPARC, one of the most important educational and cultural resources in Los Angeles. Community murals represent social history, culture, and the opportunity for participatory democracy and collective action. We will visit and explore SPARC which was founded in 1976 by muralist Judith F. Baca, painter Christina Schlesinger, and filmmaker Donna Deitch. The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) is an arts center that produces, preserves and conducts educational programs about community based public art works. SPARC espouses public art, particularly community murals, as an organizing tool for addressing contemporary issues, fostering cross-cultural understanding and promoting civic dialogue. Working within this philosophical framework, SPARC has created murals and other forms of public art in communities throughout Los Angeles and increasingly in national and international venues. Carlos will help us make the connections between SPARC's experiences and our effort to connect students and schools to their local communities.
michelleMICHELE JAQUIS—is a socially engaged artist and educator whose work examines the complexities within personal relationships, identity, language and communication. Her videos, installations, performances, photos and text-based works have been presented in alternative spaces, galleries, museums, conferences, and film festivals across the US and in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. Michele holds a College Teaching Certificate from Brown University, an MFA in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design, and a BFA in sculpture and experimental studio with a minor in psychology from Hartford Art School/University of Hartford. Her combined teaching experience includes sixteen years at the college level, seven years as a behavior therapist for children with autism, and one pivotal summer at a juvenile detention facility. Jaquis is currently Associate Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Artists, Community and Teaching Program at Otis College of Art and Design.
felipeFELIPE SANCHEZ—is a Program Associate with Center Theater Group, in Los Angeles, where he works closely with area schools as an educator and designer of innovative opportunities for youth leadership around advocacy of the arts. Felipe is also a passionate promoter of deeper understanding and dialogue, around the preservation of unique local culture and neighborhoods. As a longtime faculty member of CWI's Summer WEST he has supported our ongoing development of strong place based components within the Institute, including sharing his expertise in local history, particularly around the history and culture of murals in Los Angeles. Felipe previously served as Operations Manager for The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), one of the most important educational and cultural resources in Los Angeles. Community murals represent social history, culture, and the opportunity for participatory democracy and collective action. Felipe espouses public art and performance, particularly community murals, as an organizing tool for addressing contemporary issues, fostering cross-cultural understanding and promoting civic dialogue. Felipe will share discovered connections between his own experiences through his study of local history and community murals in downtown Los Angeles.

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