You'll find bios of our stellar 2016 session staff on our session-specific bio pages. (Joshua Tree Staff page not quite ready yet as of September - check back soon!)
Grace wrote or revised some of the bios, so anything that sounds arrogant is undoubtedly her fault.
This year Evan is preparing for and directing all sessions.
Evan Wright, 34
Evan has been involved in Not Back to School Camp for almost two decades. Since first attending NBTSC as a camper in 1998 he has worked as a Session Director, Assistant Director, Advisor, Project Leader and - long, long ago - a Junior Staffer.
Within the larger unschooling movement Evan has been active as a conference speaker and mentor to unschoolers. He was the Director of Quo Vadis, a weeklong gathering for adult unschoolers. Over the past few years he has been renovating an old house in Seattle and creating House on Holgate, a shared living space for grown unschoolers and others.
Evan's journey to NBTSC began at 15 when he read The Teenage Liberation Handbook and began unschooling. Without schooling he volunteered at a London homeless shelter run by nuns, raised orphaned harbor seal pups in California over many seasons, studied the life of Albert Einstein (eventually correcting an error in a Princeton University Press book on the scientist), and assisted in research of 5 ft. long green sea turtles in Costa Rica.
At camp Evan has led or co-led workshops and discussions on: How to Build an Underwater Robot, Stone Sculpting, The Supreme Court of the United States, How to Get What You Want, Speaking (to others) about Unschooling, How to Change the World in 90 minutes, A Tidepooling/Marine Biology Fieldtrip, Scavenger Hunt, Investing for People who are Scared of Money, How to Make Homemade Pasta, The Life of Albert Einstein, How to Organize a Big Project or Event, A Local Farming Tour/Fieldtrip, Barn Raising (a networking activity), Blues Dancing, and The Effective Unschooler.
camper and family liaison
Maya Toccata, 34
Joshua Tree, California
unschooling history: Maya went to school until she was 13, when she read the Teenage Liberation Handbook and quit. She then proceeded to learn about hats, hardware stores, Anne Frank, traveling solo, rock climbing, newsletter editing, self defense, and life. At the age of 28, she decided she did want to go to college after all, and had lots of fun doing algebra for the first time.
camp history: Maya came to camp for the first time in 1997, and then was present every year and almost every session for many years afterward. She came so many times, in fact, and was so cute and smart and nice and peaceful and competent that eventually Grace had no choice but to hire her as a junior staff person (in 2000) and then (later in 2000) as the year-round office manager and, from 2001-2005, the logistics goddess of NBTSC. She's been the staff liaison (2009-2011), and has been then the camper and family liaison since 2012. Maya finally made it back to camp in the flesh with her family at the first Joshua Tree NBTSC in 2015. She also cooked in Oregon in 2015. (For 2016, she'll join us as a cook at Oregon Session 2 and in Joshua Tree.)
Matt Sanderson, 28
This will be my ninth summer at NBTSC! I started out as a logistics junior staffer and have since been an advisor, dish queen, and night owl, but most people know me as Logistics Coordinator (or Logistics Goddess).
For the past three years my non-camp work has involved running weekend retreats for MIddle School Quakers in the Philadelphia area. It's been a blast, but I'm ready to move on, and looking to transition to other youth work.
Happily, I've been given the opportunity to direct the Unschool Adventures Real World Retreat this May, in which myself and two staff members will guide approximately 20 16-20 year old Unschoolers in various workshops and challenges around moving out of their parents homes, finding meaningful work, and continuing to live a self-directed life while gaining independence. I'm very excited!
Two other major changes have happened in my life in the recent past. Helen, my girlfriend of 5 and a half years is now in Med School, completing her second year as I write this. This means we live about 100 miles apart and I spend a lot of time commuting back and forth to see her via Scooter.
We've also adopted an adorable dog named Stoffel. She is slightly over a year old, extremely affectionate, energetic and enthusiastic about fetch.
I'm very much looking forward to another magical year of camp, excited to see new faces and reconnect with long time campers!
Margie Sanderson, 21
Margie is having a great time working on behind-the-scenes staffing logistics for camp, and is even more excited to work at both Oregon sessions this year.
Since bumping into unschooling along her traditional education path, Margie has done a lot of thinking, reading, writing, and researching about the worlds of schooling, learning, and education. She served as student representative to the school board at her high school and has spent hundreds of volunteer hours at an array of elementary and preschool programs. Margie dreams of playing a major role at an alternative school, and tried her hand at college to help her pursue this. After one year of frustration with the "education" coursework she was receiving, Margie left her college and this year has been working on an Open Masters - a self directed, higher education equivalency program. She has a handpicked crew of mentors that have helped her to make the most of this program.
Throughout the years Margie has tried on the hats of competitive gymnast, amateur photographer, nanny, and bookworm. She has read most of Ray Bradbury's short stories and a dizzying amount of educational theory. Margie works at an after school art program serving Philadelphia public schools where, among other things, she teaches a weekly sculpture class to kindergarten and first graders. In the past year she has also enjoyed an internship at the Philly Free School, where she gets to spend time with fantastic kids helping make a great educational vision a reality. She's hoping that by the time you read this she'll be on the school's staff.
NBTSC history: camper, 2009-2013; Junior Staffer in 2014.
NBTSC Executive Director
Grace Llewellyn, 52
Grace is most well known for her book, The Teenage Liberation Handbook: how to quit school and get a real life and education. She's also the co-author and/or editor of 3 other books about unschooling, homeschooling, and conscious schooling. A former school teacher, Grace founded NBTSC in 1996. Back in those 90s, she was also deeply involved in the un/homeschooling movement in all kinds o' ways, such as: she spoke at conferences, ran an unschooling resource center, produced a quarterly newsletter, answered gazillions of letters from readers, and ran a mail order book business for unschoolers.
In her other life, Grace loves to dance. She is one of four facilitator-DJs who puts on Coalessence, Eugene's fabulous twice-weekly ecstatic dance jam, and when she finds time she offers classes in Soul MotionTM, a conscious dance practice that encompasses pretty much everything - body, soul, and Other People. Her passions for bellydance and Argentine tango are simmering on the way-far back burner, but they'll be back soon.
And in her most essential and miraculous life, Grace is the continually-smitten mama of 7-year-old Yared, who left Ethiopia and became a Llewellyn in 2010. It feels ironic to her that after decades of hoping and planning to be a parent, and working intensively with teenagers, it's only now that she's old enough to be a grandmama that she's finally on her own parenting adventure. And yet the timing also feels absolutely perfect.
At camp, Grace's intention is to connect with, and enjoy, every single camper and every single staff person.
During the year, Grace reflects on the larger purpose, direction, and vision of NBTSC; communicates with campers and parents; reviews feedback from campers, staff, and parents; plans and implements major and minor changes and experiments for the coming camp year; hires staff; inspects all the previous year's camp expenses and sets a budget for the coming year; updates all written camp materials, policies, and such; and works closely with the administrative goddesses to make sure everything that needs to get done gets done. And, she updates this website from time to time. [Except this year, 2016, Evan is taking on a big chunk of that paragraph.]
Unschooling history: It took her a while to figure it out. First she went to school, and college, and taught school. Then she started to think there must be a better way, investigated, discovered John Holt, and that was the beginning of the end. Or the beginning of the beginning.
Camp history: Grace no longer holds the perfect-attendance award, but she has shown up for over 55 of our 60 something camp weeks thus far. Grace has normally directed or co-directed, and for many years she also enjoyed advising. (For 2016, Grace plans to show up in an expansive, unpredictable role at both Oregon sessions.)
photo by Yared Llewellyn
Next.....choose a session, and meet the NBTSC session staff.
Oregon Session 1 staff
Joshua Tree Staff - coming soon (2015 bios are still up)
Contact the camp office.