What is your field of work?
I've spent the last 12 years working in nonprofit construction, education and youth development with organizations like the Red Cross, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity and more. Today, I'm the the Executive Director of unCommon Construction, where we use the residential construction process to host an apprenticeship program in which students apply to join a diverse team to earn hourly pay, school credit and scholarships for building a house in a semester.
Why are you passionate about New Harmony?
Aside from the obvious need to deconstruct the constraints embedded in the walls of a traditional classroom....The most pressing challenge facing our state is coastal restoration and protection. And, the number one jobs need to solve it is carpentry and construction. We need more young people who feel a personal connection to these challenges and see themselves, their skills, experience and talent as part of the solution if we're going to live sustainably in our region or elsewhere.
Who was your most influential high school teacher and why?
There were many - Mrs. Lax gave us a safe space and Mr. Cunningham treated us like the adults we thought we were - but my student government teacher, Sharon Chrisman, made a special point of getting out of our way and letting us own - and learn from - our successes and failures.