who's on staff
You'll find descriptions on our five bio pages of some of our 2014-15 staff. This year we are a little behind schedule and are still in the process of confirming with lots of folks ~ check back for updates throughout the summer (and later for Joshua Tree).
Grace wrote or revised some of the bios, so anything that sounds arrogant is probably her fault.
Grace Llewellyn, 50!
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. In the 90s, she was also deeply involved in the un/homeschooling movement in all kinds o' ways, such as: she spoke at conferences, directed 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 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 pretty dang soon.
And in her most essential and miraculous life, Grace is the continually-smitten mama of 6-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 community morning meeting and evening meeting. And deals with agreement-breakage issues when they loom darkly on her horizon. Her workshops often 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 49 of 53 camp weeks thus far. Looking forward to returning to Myrtlewood this summer after missing in 2013! When present, Grace has always directed or co-directed, and for many years she also enjoyed advising.
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 2014-15, Evan will share responsibilities at Oregon Session 1, Vermont, and Joshua Tree.
Evan Wright, 33
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, 34 ~
Ithaca, New York
Sarabeth juggles the small-but-indispensable role of staff liaison between nursing, feeding, biking, and inspiring her 3 little ones. In other news, Sarabeth is possibly the most-often-invoked NBTSC alum: when at camp we discuss closing ceremony "intentions," Grace frequently tells the story of how on the last night of the first NBTSC (in 1996), Sarabeth simply declared she would do "something big." Soon thereafter, she decided to bicycle to camp the following year (Virginia to Oregon), making her, at seventeen, probably the youngest-woman-ever to bike across the U.S. solo - or so she was told by several bicycle shops along the way. Sarabeth's husband, Jeff Amaral (whom she met on aforementioned trip), also continues to work miracles as our database god.
Matt Sanderson, 25
Logistics Coordinator, Oregon and Vermont
After swapping private college prep school for alternative democratic school, all of my ideas about how education works changed. Instead of going directly to college, I chose to defer my admission for a year and travel to New Orleans to do post-Katrina relief work.
After having a great time during my "year off" I decided not to go to college at all. Since then I've traveled to Ecuador to teach English and art for 3 months, moved across the country to live in San Francisco with fellow NBTSC staffers, moved back across the country to put down roots where I grew up in West Philadelphia and started working as the coordinator of a Quaker middle School program that I participated in when I was younger.
During the past year, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon, my first ever running competition of any kind. I also bought a house in Philly, a block from the one in which I grew up, and am learning the ins and outs of home ownership. This year I'll be learning how to be in a long-distance relationship again. Helen, my girlfriend of 3.5 years, will be starting med school in Hershey, PA, about 100 miles west of Philadelphia.
I've been a staffer at NBTSC for the past 7 years, worked at the Unschool Adventures Writing Retreat and Trailblazer gathering.
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
Joshua Tree Staff ~ coming soon
Contact the camp office.