who's on staff
You'll find descriptions on our four bio pages of most of the 2013 staff. Things sometimes shift a little during the summer so there may be changes, but here's what it's looking like so far.
Grace wrote or revised some of the bios, so anything that sounds arrogant is probably her fault.
Grace Llewellyn, 49
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. Since 1991, she has been involved in the un/homeschooling movement in numerous ways--she has spoken at conferences, directed a resource center, and produced a mail order book catalog for unschoolers.
In her other life, Grace loves to dance. She is one of five facilitator-DJs who puts on Coalessence, Eugene's fabulous twice-weekly ecstatic dance jam, and she has recently started teaching 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 one day.
And in her most essential and miraculous life, Grace is the continually-smitten mama of 5-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 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. Some sessions that works out, and other sessions tedious disciplinary necessities and other stuff gets in the way, but she still usually knows everybody's name by the second or third night. Another important part of her role is to pay attention to the overall tone and energy of each camp session, and to do what she can (with help from campers and staff) to keep things harmonious and inspiring. She also tries to keep her eyes on every aspect of camp to make sure things are going OK or, preferably, much better than OK. And she spends a lot of time making notes for meetings with individual people and groups, and runs daily staff meetings, and all-camp morning meeting and evening meeting. And deals with discipline issues when they come up. Her workshops usually focus on dance, various aspects of writing and publishing, and goal setting and issues related to unschooling.
During the year, she 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.
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 46 of 49 camp weeks thus far. Looking forward to returning to Vermont this fall after missing in 2012! (But alas, will miss most of Oregon 2 instead ~ family life makes a little more sense without being immersed in staff meetings and camp sessions for more than 2 months with barely a breather.) Grace has always directed, and for many years also advised.
Now that Grace divides her attention between parenting and directing, she is grateful to have Evan, her dear friend and longtime staff member, sharing the load -- mainly at camp but also year-round. For 2013, Evan will share responsibilities at Oregon Session 1 and Vermont and direct on his own at Oregon Session 2.
Evan Wright, 32
Evan has been involved in Not Back to School Camp for more than a decade. Since first attending NBTSC as a camper in 1998 he has worked as a Session Director, Assistant Director, Advisor, Project Leader & Junior Staffer.
Evan's journey to NBTSC began at 15 when he read The Teenage Liberation Handbook and began unschooling. Outside of high school he explored the British Museum; raised orphaned harbor seal pups in California, volunteered at a London homeless shelter run by nuns; trained villagers in Mexico to disentangle sea lions from fishermen's nets, and assisted in research of 5 ft. long green sea turtles in Costa Rica. Without schooling he studied the life of Albert Einstein, eventually correcting an error in a Princeton University Press book on the scientist.
Within the larger unschooling movement Evan has been active as a mentor and conference speaker. For five years he directed Quo Vadis – a weeklong gathering for adult unschoolers. Over the past year he has been renovating an old house in Seattle and turning it into a place where unschoolers and former unschoolers can live together.
At camp Evan has led or co-led workshops and discussions on: Stone Sculpting, The Supreme Court of the United States, How to Get What You Want, Speaking (to others) about Unschooling, How to Build an Underwater Robot, 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.
more admin deities
Sarabeth Matilsky, 33 ~ Sarabeth is on sabbatical, mighty busy as the mama of 3 little ones, the littlest soon to turn one. (On June 17th, 2012, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, making the Amaral-Matilsky family a pod of five.) Sarabeth's husband, Jeff Amaral, continues to work miracles as our database god.
Matt Sanderson, 24
Logistics Coordinator, all sessions
After swapping private college prep school for alternative democratic school, all of my ideas about how education works changed. Instead of going to directly to college, I chose to defer my admission for a year and travel to New Orleans to do post-Katrina relief work.
After thinking about it during my year off, I decided not to go at all. I traveled to Ecuador and taught English and art for a semester, and then returned to the States and co-founded a camp called the Young People's Empowerment Convergence (YPEC). YPEC ran for three years, after which I moved to San Francisco for a semester to spend some quality time with fellow NBTSC staffers Alex Rhue, Frankie Cruz, Zen Zenith, and Abbi Miller.
Since then I've been living back in West Philadelphia in an apartment close to where I grew up. This year my girlfriend of 2 years, Helen, moved in with me. I worked as the assistant program coordinator for the Middle School Friends (Quakers) organization in Philadelphia for three years and was promoted to coordinator this year. I also had the pleasure of staffing Blake Boles's Unschool Adventures writing retreat this October and will be staffing the Trailblazer Gathering this June.
I've served as the president of the board of the alternative school that I went to for the past two years.
This year will be my sixth year working at NBTSC and my fourth as the logistics coordinator. I can't wait for camp!
Maya Toccata, 32
Joshua Tree, California
office goddess and camper liaison
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 has had a great time working (a little more slowly now since Oliver came along) at a kinesiology degree.
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, starting in 2001, the logistics goddess of NBTSC. Grace finally realized at camp in 2004 that the term "logistics goddess" no longer fully reflected Maya's role at camp, and renamed her "assistant director." While she no longer officially holds the AD title or even manages to make it to camp now that her life has gotten exponentially more complex, she remains as essential to NBTSC as group hugs and rainbow-colored hair.
Maya says, “I am delighted to be back in the role of office goddess and very much looking forward to being in touch with campers and parents.”
Next.....please choose a session, and enjoy meeting more of the NBTSC staff.
Oregon Session 1 staff
Oregon Session 2 staff
Contact the camp office.