The Water Is Fine

I remember screaming with all the other campers at Portland Sports Camp; we were being attacked. It was a shark – he had massive arms and legs, was very hairy and he had the biggest head I’d even seen. Despite these uncharacteristic attributes, we knew he was a fierce creature because of the fin atop his head.  This hand-fin belonged to the camp’s director and Maine legend, Mort Soule. Mort would glide through the shallow end at Kiwanis Pool as campers would squeal and dog paddle out of his path. Before we knew it, the shark would have a camper in his clutches. Instantly, both shark and minnow were laughing as Mort pretended to gnaw on the camper’s gangly limbs. When he finished his meal, Mort would plunk the child back in the water, each of us hoping to be next.  This week I finish up working at summer school in the Portland School District. As I reflect on the […]

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Contagious

As I sit staring out at Read House on Harvard University’s Campus I think back on what I have learned at their Future of Learning Conference. I enjoyed the workshops and lectures. I listened to some of the best educational minds speak about what we can do to provide our kids opportunities to live healthy and happy lives. They read poetry, danced, and spoke cross-legged from expensive armchairs. They all were engaging. You could see how comfortable they were in front of so many. For most of us that sounds terrifying but to them it looked like they were in their natural state.  I think they were comfortable because they were engrossed in what they love. They needed no scripts or prompters, just spoke and moved from their hearts. Watching them got me excited about the road ahead. And it wasn’t because I loved their poetry or dyslexia lectures but how they shared their passions. They were contagious. When I think of the […]

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Beginnings

I began this process alone, but far from lonely in Dubovi Makharyntsi, a village I hold dear in central Ukraine. Full-bellied with borsch, I remember pondering about education while lying in bed in Olga’s small Ukrainian house during the coldest winter on my life.  That winter was harsh but the people were kind. Everyday they greeted me with golden-teeth filled smiles, handshakes, and “Dobry Dens”. I felt at ease and truly fulfilled in a place so foreign. Their people made it so. It was a very special time in my life. This ease and space allowed me to think broadly of what I am most passionate about- kids and their development.  My focus for many years has been teaching kids the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Much of what I believe is that the teaching is done by “living” that life. John Wooden once recited a favorite rhyme that stuck with me-  “No written word or spoken plea will teach our youth who […]

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