Staff Bios (2015)
2016 updates coming soon!
You'll find descriptions on our session-specific bio pages of most of our 2015 staff. As of May, hiring is still underway, but the majority of this year's staff are listed.
Grace wrote or revised some of the bios, so anything that sounds arrogant is probably her fault.
NBTSC Executive Director
Grace Llewellyn, 51
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. 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 (in collaboration with 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, which happily is not often. Her workshops often focus on dance, various aspects of writing and publishing, and goal setting and issues related to unschooling.
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.
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 54 of 59 camp weeks thus far. When present, Grace has always directed or co-directed, and for many years she also enjoyed advising. (For 2015, Grace expects to most likely share directing with Evan at Oregon Session 1, direct on her own at Oregon 2, and direct just the beginning of Vermont before turning over the reins to Evan and departing.)
photo by Yared Llewellyn
Session Director & Co-Director
Now that Grace divides her attention between parenting and running NBTSC, she is grateful to have Evan, her dear friend and longtime staff member, sharing the load - mainly at camp but also year-round. For 2015, Evan will most likely co-direct with Grace at Oregon Session 1, skip Oregon 2 to enjoy his tomato harvest, and then direct in Vermont mainly on his own.
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, 33
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.
Matt Sanderson, 27
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 my second Philadelphia Marathon, and spent my first year as a homeowner and landlord. This year I've ben re-learning how to be in a long-distance relationship. Helen, my girlfriend of 4.5 years, will complete her first year of med school in June. She's been residing in Hershey, PA, about 100 miles from me.
Margie Sanderson, 20
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.
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Oregon Session 1 staff
Oregon Session 2 staff
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