Where and when do you start in telling your story to others? A central question in leading leaders is always: Where are you from and how did you get here?
After 18 years in Apple Valley, MN and as a state and national champion debater and competitive public speaker I was recruited to attend Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. There, I studied Philosophy and History, wrote an Honors Thesis in Philosophy on the role of history in ethical argumentation, became active in politics, and was on the college debate team. For decades I have run argumentation and critical thinking workshops and have coached state and national champions in debate. This experience has given me a unique set of tools to contribute to questions of leadership, critical thinking, and communication.
I spent formative years at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Immersed in public policy issues and the lived realities and challenges of leadership; I had another education. The majority of my time was in conversation with former world leaders, Presidents, Prime Ministers, US Senators, US military leaders, Members of the US Congress, State Governors, State Senators and Representatives from across the United States, Mayors, journalists, and political operatives. When I was at Harvard, I also coached national championship debaters and debate teams.
On more than a few occasions on our walks from 79 JFK Street to 30 Francis Ave, John Kenneth Galbraith told me to go to Stanford, ditch law school and do history and philosophy and be a teacher. So I did. I had great teachers and advisors there. Sunsets didn't fit me then, at least at that age, sunrises seemed more to my temperament and so it was to the East I went for my Ph.D.; the home of George Counts and John Dewey, pragmatism: Columbia. I left Harlem to write the manuscript at the University of Chicago. My dissertation on civic education was recognized as an outstanding dissertation in both Moral and Political Philosophy by two different international and domestic scholarly associations.
Prior to joining the Bard College Annandale faculty as Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy, I was a teacher and Academic Dean and worked to build and lead a grade 7-12 museum-based school in Toronto. On return to the US, I was welcomed back home, back to where it all started, the Philosophy department at Columbia. There I taught classes in Columbia's undergraduate Core Curriculum (the world famous great books program) and designed a new position, serving as the project manager for Digital Humanities and the Core Curriculum. I continued to write and research on leadership, history, and philosophy.
A colleague in the Columbia Philosophy department put me in touch with an interesting project, Bard High School Early College. I left Columbia in 2011, to found and lead Bard High School Early College, in Newark, NJ, and was Associate Professor of Philosophy, History, and Political Studies, Department Chair, and coached the debate team. I taught 9th grade History of the Americas and undergraduate classes in philosophy, history, and political science. I retired from Newark in 2022. I've been fortunate to have taught students from grade 7 to graduate school, geometry to geology, anthropology to zoology, Aristotle and Averroes to Wittgenstein and Žižek.
I've worked through complex policy questions with public servants at the local, state, national, and international levels. I currently consult on leadership, strategy, and build and execute professional development programs for public service leaders at the Department of Homeland Security-Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Division, working closely with rising leaders who focus on emergency response, crisis response, system failures, and cyberwar. I also lead the professional development program for public high school teachers across the country. (Orange, NJ and public schools in the Northeast.)
I am now Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. My two kids and my partner are thrilled to be here, as am I. My spouse is a Psychoanalyst in private practice and my two kiddos, Kid 1 and Kid 2 are loving the Red Hook Community Pool and camp scene.
In 2022 I started two projects intended to bridge the divide between theory and practice.
One project is a leadership and strategy consulting firm working with public sector leaders using lessons from history to shape understandings of problems of leadership and management. Clients include the Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Agency of the Department of Homeland Security, K-12 and Higher Education.
The second project is the Care Lab, an interdisciplinary consultancy focused on problems of care, maintenance, and repair in core practice areas (Data and Computing, Education, Mental Health/Public Health, Organizations, Built and Natural Environment.)