Kids are hard. We should try harder. These are my thoughts on the direction that education, as both an idea and institution, must head in our rapidly democratizing tech- and maker-focused modern economy.
Put another way, I’m on a mission to provide kids the truth, respect, and compassion they deserve from their educational experience while pushing for systems-level change of education practices and school design principles to align with the stunning realities of recent technological innovation.
I’ve spent over 15 years in school-based roles in both the United States and abroad as a classroom teacher (History, English and Math), varsity boys soccer coach, mentoring program coordinator, Dean of Students, and Assistant Principal. I also spent five years as the Chief of Operations and School Services at EduMetrics, an education consulting startup that developed smartphone-based tools to collect better data on school climate and student character. EduMetrics was co-founded by Dan Kindlon, co-author of Raising Cain: Protecting The Emotional Lives of Boys, who has remained a personal friend and professional mentor.
I earned my bachelor’s in History from the University of Vermont and my Masters in Education from Harvard in a self-designed program studying the social, emotional and moral development of adolescents.
Some of my side projects include:
- Started Young Men’s Nation in 2013, a media and education platform with the mission to inspire, teach and support young men on their paths to personal and professional fulfillment.
- Co-developed and taught a 25-hour boys’ leadership curriculum for Axiom Learning.
- Assisted for four years with a Harvard research project investigating ethical behavior in college students’ romantic relationships
- Worked for seven years to build up an in-school mentoring program at the Community Charter School of Cambridge.
As for my philosophy and approach to kids, there was a popular arcade game from the 1980’s called Asteroids in which the player controls a small spaceship drifting endlessly in space. The player’s job is to obliterate the asteroids with the ship’s laser while simultaneously dodging the shards created by the exploding space rocks.
As an educator and mentor, I’m like the booster rockets on that spaceship.
I look out for kids, and when I see an “asteroid” coming, I gently nudge them out of harm’s· way with my words, actions or listening ear. But to get to the next “level” in life, they’ll still need to fire their laser and destroy the asteroids on their own. They’ll still need to do the work of failing, getting back up, and persisting toward their dreams.
In the end, I will always carry a profound respect for the perspective of young people, a sincere commitment to protecting their inner capacities from harmful peer and societal influences, and a keen interest in guiding them toward becoming respectful, purpose-driven, and ethical adults.
Please start a conversation with me. I’m ready to learn from you so that we can all find the Truth (notice that capital T there…) about what’s necessary for kids.