Professionally, I found always-interesting jobs, a “lateral jumper” to positions in schools, media, and state government, each one leading to wider-ranging paths of travel. I think many colleagues in the state education office where I worked at the time gasped as I took off suddenly, at age 59, for a late-in-life Peace Corps assignment to a country in southern Africa – Lesotho – that few, including me, had ever heard of. Lesotho was only one of many less-visited countries that awaited me after that.

I didn’t travel out of the U.S. until my early 20s, when I dropped out of grad school to attend a workshop in Cuernavaca, Mexico, by radical educators Paulo Friere and Ivan Illich. I was definitely one of the so-called lefties who drifted back-to-the-land in the early 1970s, weaving and cycling in the valleys of Wisconsin’s Iowa County. At Folklore Village Farm near Ridgeway, a small folk-arts center, I fell under the spell of gnome-like gardener, festival planner, folk dancer, rustic-roads romantic Jane Farwell, who became my mentor. Her passions pushed me toward a summer of folk dance in Poland, then a full year of dance and village exploration in Dalarna, the folk heart of Sweden.

My formal resume looks like this, but in truth, each bullet point camouflages the more interesting stories ~ adventures, regrets, loves, missed opportunities, foolish choices ~ the things I’ll now write about.

  • Served as Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)’s first state-level International Education Consultant, 1990-2006
  • Trained teachers, built Sister State / Sister relationships, created global studies curriculum
  • Served as liaison to Superintendent-Governor level International Education Council and organized International Education Summits for educators, youth, business leaders
  • Recognized with national awards to DPI by Goldman Sachs Foundation Award for State Leadership and Council of Chief State School Officers for International Education
  • Named Global Educator of the Year by Friends of International Education
  • Traveled to 64 countries, studied six languages
  • Wrote Guide to International Education, a state agency “first”
  • Studied Psychology and Education at Grinnell College, Iowa and University of Wisconsin-Madison. All-but-dissertation Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction
  • Peace Corps Volunteer to Lesotho, Africa’s “Mountain Kingdom
  • Peace Corps Director of Programming and Training, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan
  • Professional member, presenter, and key-note speaker for Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies, Rotary International District 5, Wisconsin Association For Language Teachers, Wisconsin International Education Association, Wisconsin-Chiba, Inc (Japan Sister State)