Joe BrooksJOE BROOKS—is the Founder and Director of Community Works Institute (CWI) As a veteran teacher Joe has taught at all levels K-16 and 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 building 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. For three decades 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. professional development l email joe

PERLA 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 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 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 develops and trains mental health teams to implement efficacious evidence based Wellness interventions for students to improve their academic performance and life skills. Dedicated to improving criminal justice systems, she is a member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). 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. She developed a successful design and grant proposal that led to the Wellness Center at Essex County College. Tonia is owner and co-founder of Lloyd & Lloyd LLC, 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. Tonia is a member of the American Psychological Association.

ligita starwarzLIGITA 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 jacksonD’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.

DIANE SHINGLEDECKER—is a CWI faculty member and regular contributor to Community Works Journal, examining the importance of place-based education and service-learning from an insider’s view of community colleges.  She 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. She most recently presented at the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement Annual Conference (IARSLCE) in Galway, Ireland. Diane is a current CWI faculty member and alumnus of CWI’s Summer WEST Institute. She is currently stretching herself in her new role as the CBL advisor to the Ed Abroad program at her college.  She is working with an Anthropology  instructor on an Ethnography project that will look at similarities and differences between urban and suburban communities in the U.S. and Ireland.  This project will engage students in learning about their local communities in downtown Portland, Oregon and its surrounding neighborhoods as well as Dublin, Cork, and rural Irish towns.  How to most effectively bring this work together when the students return from Ireland is the challenge that Diane hopes to gain perspective on from the CWI CommonLore group of educators.  This work will incorporate all students developing their ethnography interviewing skills together in Portland. Then, a portion of the students will continue this work in Ireland, while those who cannot participate in this capstone Ed Abroad experience will continue their work in suburban Portland communities. Diane is working with an Anthropology  instructor on an Ethnography project that will look at similarities and differences between urban and suburban communities in the U.S. and Ireland. She is the District Community-Based Learning Faculty Coordinator for Career Technical Education at Portland Community College (PCC) in Oregon. Diane has also taught Computer Applications at PCC for many years.  Throughout her community college career, Diane has coordinated a variety of service-learning projects in an unlikely combination of disciplines. These projects enable students to see how they can address community issues utilizing the skills they have acquired in their classes. Related 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 the PCC 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.

ALEXANDRA GONZALES—feels called to serve as an educator in communities with high needs. As school principal and former 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 is the principal of an urban Catholic elementary K-8 school in a high needs area of Long Beach, California. Her 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.

LILIA VARGAS—is a veteran teacher at the American School Foundation (ASF) in Mexico City. She is a Mexican mother of three children. Lilia works in the Early Childhood Center at ASF, as the Activities Specialist and Kindergarten SEP Director. She shares that “Mexico City is a city of extremes: from those with the highest income, the well educated, owners of large corporations and their families; to those living on the street, with all the in-betweens, small business people, their employees, street markets and so on.” Lilia holds a BA in Preschool Education and a Masters in Multidisciplinary Studies. She also has a BS in Accounting, but after becoming a mom, she became passionate about teaching, learning, and human development. She is an alumna of CWI’s Summer WEST Institute. Lili says that the American School Foundation has always been one of the finest K-12 preparatory schools in the city, and intentionally seeks to contribute to the formation of better human beings—not only academically and tech savvy wise, but with strong humanitarian core values as principled, courageous, and caring citizens of the world. She is currently part of a team at ASF working to build authentic relationships and learning bridges between the school and the very local community.

GAUCHER IBRA KADAM—is a teacher at the International School of Dakar, in Senegal, West Africa. His work there is multi-faceted and includes teaching Physical Education to Middle and High School students. He also serves in the crucial role of ISD’s “cultural advisor”, assisting the school community in gaining better insights of the host country Senegal. Among other activities, Gaucher organizes cultural orientation for new teachers and parents who are newly arrived in Senegal. In addition, he is the Service-Learning Coordinator at ISD. He shares that Senegal is the country of “Teranga” (hospitality) where people “vie with each” other for kindness and care toward foreigners. Gaucher describes Senegal and Dakar as a country, and a city of contrasts, where modernism and rural traditions evolve in total harmony. He also leads a faculty retreat and engage his students in community service learning projects with local schools and communities. Gacuher is an alumnus of CWI’s Summer WEST Institute. He says, “I hope that my students see me as a role model who makes an impact on them, the same kind of impact I witness in them positively effect other local youth that they interact with during our service-learning projects. “I believe that using Ethnography greatly facilitates our implementation of service projects by helping us better know our community.”

jane murphyJANE MURPHY—is currently serving as Assistant Head of School for The Mulberry School (K-8)  located in Silicon Valley in California. Jane is a curious and compassionate K-5 educator who approaches life and learning with optimism, creativity and an open heart. Jane holds a Master’s of Art Degree in Educational Leadership, Administration. She is a proud alumna of CWI’s Summer West Institute, and a participant in Design Thinking Think Tank and Apple’s Distinguished Educator’s Challenge Based Learning Summit in Geneva Switzerland. Jane has been a SJSU guest speaker through the San Jose Writing Project. She has presented project/problem based learning(PBL), service-learning projects and creative writing curriculum incorporating The Habits of Mind. These organizations and experiences have introduced her to keen big ideas, extraordinary people, and global concepts that have helped to guide her journey in educational reform. Jane is currently a participant in a transformative generosity practice with a “hands, head, heart” focus, leading as a project initiator, ‘laddership’ fellowship program through She believes that Place Based Service-Learning fosters students’ connections to place, creates a sense of belonging and nurtures vibrant partnerships with communities. PBS-L helps students learn to take care of the world by understanding where they live and taking action in their own school and communities. Jane encourages students to find their ‘spark’ and purpose in life, advising: “Be observant, notice the little details in everything and everyone. Listen, so much is happening around you to learn from-everyone has a story. Pause, notice, listen and observe. When you do this, you open your heart to the many possibilities life has to offer. Most importantly, take action with compassion, leadership, kindness and courage. Remember to watch the world—it will conspire to support your work.” Jane is grateful for the opportunity to serve on CWI’s Advisory Council supporting the innovation of Place Based Service-Learning strategies and practices in our schools. She believes that this work is the future for 21st century education.

MATTHEW BUDD—is the Director of Community Action at The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York, and is an alumnus of CWI’s Summer EAST Institute. He in now in his second year in this role, which also marks the second year of the position existence. It’s an exciting time for Matt, and a very busy one, as he works with the school and local community partnerships to design a program that not only matches the mission of the school, but also meets the needs of the neighborhood and surrounding communities at large. Matt is a veteran educator, now in his second decade of classroom education. He continues the work he began as a 4th and 5th grade clasroom teacher, exploring questions of power with his students, pushing them to recognize their responsibilities to be engaged and empathic. This work later extended beyond his classroom as he moved into a new role as Service-Learning Coordinator for the Lower School at The Ethical Culture Fieldson School, and most recently at The Berkeley Carroll School, where his scope now includes all three divisions and over 900 students.

MARY 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 in Vermont.

FELIPE SANCHEZ—is a passionate promoter of deeper understanding and dialogue, around the preservation of unique local culture and neighborhoods, particularly in his home neighborhood of Los Angeles. As a longtime faculty member of CWI’s Summer WEST Institute he has supported our ongoing development of strong place based components within the Institute, including sharing his expertise in local history, especially around the history and culture of murals in Los Angeles. Felipe is a Program Associate and youth l advocate 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 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 regularly shares discovered connections between his own experiences through his study of local history and community murals in downtown Los Angeles.

SEAN 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.” 

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 Director, 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.

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