Monthly Professional Affinity Group Sessions (PAG)

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Back by popular demand, the monthly professional affinity groups will explore together the specific challenges and responses we are facing as educators. Join one of the small groups with 10-20 educators as part of an adaptive and emergent cohort, growing and learning together.

Each group is led by a leader in the field; a master facilitator or teacher in each specific educational sphere, who will bring in expertise and diverse perspectives to the conversation.

Participants will join peers with like-minded values and interests to support each other and be guided in a cohort that supports collaboration, leadership, and community, while honoring the experiential nature of our schools. 

What will I get out of this? 

By the end of the year (September through June), you will have a cohort of professionals who wear similar hats at their schools, to lean on when unexpected challenges arise, to share the small wins with, and to learn from each other. 

Sessions will be structured with an agenda, resource-sharing platforms, and suggested content for the year. Sessions will address program innovation and meshing experiential learning with virtual and hybrid learning and may feature guest speakers. 

Professional Affinity Group Membership Pricing

Members: 10 months (once a month September 2021—June 2022)

  • $175 per person/per group
  • $25 per additional group after $175
Non-members: 10 months (once a month September 2021—June 2022)
  • $30 per additional group after $225
Members: Upper Level Leadership $300
Non-members: Upper Level Leadership $450

The 2021—2022 kick-off will be at the end of September. Subsequent dates listed below.  

Select from one of the Professional Areas: 

1. Program Directors and Directors of Experiential EducationElizabeth Pillsbury
Facilitated by Elizabeth Pillsbury, Riverdale Country School, and Phu Tranchi, Oakwood Secondary School

Phu Tranchi

4:00 PM PT / 7:00 PM ET
Date(s): First meeting 9/23

Jeremy Goldstein2. Experiential Classroom Teachers
Facilitated by Jeremy Goldstein, Episcopal High School

3:00 PM PT / 6:00 PM ET
Date(s): 9/23, 10/21, 11/18, 12/13, 1/27, 2/17, 3/24, 4/25, May TBD

Claudia Lutes3. Outdoor Education
Facilitated by Claudia LutesSt. Georges School

1:00 PM PT / 4:00 PM ET
Date(s): 9/27, 10/27, 11/17, Dec. N/A, 1/26, 2/23, 3/30, 4/27, 5/25

Olivia Tandon4. Sustainability Coordinators & Environmental Justice
Facilitated by Olivia TandonPingry School

3:00 PM PT / 6:00 PM ET
Date(s): 9/27, 10/25, 11/15, 12/13, 1/24, 2/28, 3/28, 4/25, May TBD

Judy Kisor5. Student Leadership
Facilitated by Judy Kisor, Chadwick School

3:00 PM PT / 6:00 PM ET
Date(s): 9/27, 10/25, 11/15, 12/13, 1/24, 2/28, 3/21, 4/25, 5/23

Natasha Naujoks6. Global Education
Facilitated by Natasha Naujoks, Norfolk Academy

3:00 PM PT / 6:00 PM ET
Date(s): 10/20, 11/17, 12/15, 1/26, 2/16, 3/16, 4/20, and 5/18
Lora McManus7. Diversity, Equity and Justice Professionals in Experiential Education
Facilitated by Lora McManus-Graham, The Blake School

4:00 PM PT / 7:00 PM ET
Date(s): 9/23, 10/19 (9:30 am PT/12:30 pm ET), 11/19, 12/14, 1/27, 2/15, 3/10, 4/25, 5/18
Sarah McLean 8. Service-Learning/Community Engagement
Facilitated by George Zaninovich, Catlin Gabel, and Sarah McLean, St. Georges

9:00 AM PT / 12:00 PM ET
Date(s): 9/28, 10/26, 11/30, 12/14, 1/25, 2/22, 3/29, 4/26, 5/17
George Zaninovich

Ted Fish9. Upper Level Leadership/Admin- HOS, Deans, CFO’s in Experiential Schools
Facilitated by Ted Fish, Fish Leadership

4:00 PM PT / 7:00 PM ET 
Dates: 9/27, 10/18, 11/15, 12/20 - remainder to be decided by group.

See full facilitator profiles below.

Professional Affinity Group Facilitators 2021-2022

Program Directors and Directors of Experiential Education

 Elizabeth Pillsbury

Elizabeth Pillsbury is the Director of Experiential Education and a history teacher at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, NY.  As Director of Experiential Education, she has worked to bring meaningful experiences to the co-curricular and curricular program, from an Urban Studies trip exploring social justice in Detroit to Hudson River School hiking trips for Juniors as a part of their American Studies Course. In the online format, she helped create social connections through book clubs and cooking classes as well as presentations from scholars on topical subjects last fall, ranging from the NY Fire Department's response to COVID to a public defender's reflection on racism within the criminal justice system in New York City.

Phu TranchiPhu Tranchi is the Director of Community Engagement and Experiential Learning and teaches science at Oakwood Secondary School in North Hollywood.  Husband, father, dog-person, Phu finds peace in the ocean, in the woods, and in the kitchen. An unapologetic progressive educator, he endeavors to disrupt traditional learning and engage students to directly impact real-world issues. Informed by his experiences serving in the US Peace Corps and all levels of school administration, Phu is invested in the power and capacity of youth to create change in their communities. He believes that learning fueled by purpose, broad and diverse perspectives, and compassion with the Global Goals at the core, will empower students to save the planet.

Experiential Classroom Teachers 

Jeremy Goldstein

Jeremy Goldstein currently serves on the senior leadership team at Episcopal High School as the Executive Director of the McCain - Ravenel Center where he leads teams in developing innovative curricula, designs professional development opportunities, and builds the school's network of partners in the greater Washington area and beyond.With a broad background in teaching, administration, and innovation in education, Jeremy started his career after graduate school working as a Forensic Archaeologist and Anthropologist in Southeast Asia. In 1998 he was fortunate enough to connect with his passion for education when he served as a long-term substitute in a Chester, S.C. public high school. He began working in educational leadership when tasked with directing a growing Global Education program in Rhode Island. Using anthropology and a design thinking mindset as a foundation, he strives to build energy around innovation and connecting communities to unique strategic partnerships. As Chair of the Theology Department, he teaches courses in World Religions, the Holocaust, and anti-Semitism. In addition to administrative and academic roles, Jeremy serves on the residential life team as a Campus Supervisor and coaches soccer. He lives on the EHS campus with his wife Lucy (EHS Dean of Faculty), their daughter Jane (13), and dog, Callie.

Outdoor Education

Claudia Lutes

Claudia Lutes is the Head of Outdoor Education at St. George's School in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her favorite thing about her job is that she gets to work and play with students from K - Grade 10, in some of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest. Claudia is happiest outdoors and gets particularly stoked about being in the mountains. She can usually be spotted in the Coastal Mountains either on her bike or backcountry skis.  

Sustainability Coordinators & Environmental Justice 

Olivia Tandon

Olivia Tandon is an upper school science teacher and the Farm and Sustainability Coordinator at the Pingry School in New Jersey. She has worked at Pingry for three years, helping to bring a rotating drum composter, a flock of chickens and a large vegetable production garden to the school. She also collaborates with teachers to create experiential, place-based lessons on sustainability, farm to table agriculture and outdoor education. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Biology, an M.A. in Earth Science Education and an M.Ed. in Private School Leadership. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dogs, playing (and growing) squash, and cooking home-grown meals with her partner Kaylee.

Student Leadership

Judy KisorJudy Kisor is the Director of the Center for Ethical, Global Leadership at Chadwick School, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA.  In addition to developing a K-12 sequenced student leadership curriculum, Judy teaches AP Art History and Global Studies and has taught a required Leadership class for Chadwick School sixth graders. She co-facilitated the History/Humanities cohort at the June 2017 and June 2018 ISEEN Summer Institutes for Classroom Teachers with Chadwick teacher Meg Bailey. Judy was Head of Experiential Education at the American School in London where she and Greg Gerken collaborated on the Outdoor Leadership program and the required ninth-grade course, Foundations in Character, Service and Leadership at the American School in London.

Global Education

Natasha NaujoksNatasha Naujoks is the Associate Director of the Batten Leadership Program and Co-Director of the Global Affairs Fellows as well as an upper school History teacher at Norfolk Academy in southeastern Virginia. Over the past 10 years, she has developed a profound appreciation for the transformative power of experiential education to develop students’ sense of self and global citizenship while leading programs throughout Asia, South America, and Europe. She holds a BA from Fordham University and an MA/PhD in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Diversity, Equity and Justice Professionals

Lora Mei McManus-GrahamLora Mei McManus-Graham serves as independent DEI consultant and the PK-12 Chair of Equity & Instruction at The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the product of two Los Angeles independent schools, she is deeply passionate about inspiring change from within. A former elementary and middle school teacher, devoted attendee of NAIS’ SDLC and PoCC, and DEI consultant, McManus-Graham focuses specifically on actionable steps to reconcile school culture and create schools in which families and employees of color feel not only in the space, but of the space—the critical difference between inclusion and belonging. McManus-Graham has an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction & Education Administration from Cal State Channel Islands where she authored Experiences of Discrimination and Microaggressions towards Women of Color in Independent School Headships

Service-Learning/Community Engagement

George ZaninovichGeorge Zaninovich is the director of PLACE at the Catlin Gabel School. My mother was the Russian teacher at my high school and my dad was a professor at the University of Oregon. I had no intention of following in their footsteps. But right out of college, and desperate for a job, I fell into a teaching position at a very progressive K-8 school where I learned the importance of experiential education and student leadership. I also felt a kinship to my own learning style as I was always more engaged when a lesson was hands-on. Now at Catlin Gabel, I am lucky to work with students on real-world projects out in the Portland community. 

Sarah McLeanSarah McLean is the Head of Global Stewardship at St. George's School in Vancouver, Canada. Sarah is passionate about experiential education both inside and outside of the classroom. She is particularly interested in exploring the connection between purposeful integration of DEIJ and reconciliation into program design, and authentic community engagement experiences. Sarah is involved with student leadership programs, faculty education and coaching. Outside of school, she enjoys taking her two little kids on hiking trips in the forest, long distance running and baking (and eating) delicious cakes. 

Upper Level Leadership/Admin(HOS, Deans, CFO’s)

Ted FishDr. Ted Fish has been immersed in the practice of leadership since he founded a private elementary and middle school at the age of 25 in Santa Fe, NM.  Most recently, for the past ten years, he served as the Executive Director of the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute (the gcLi ), a role from which he mentored hundreds of k-12 leaders from the most prestigious independent schools in North America. Under his guidance, the gcLi became one of the premiere sources of professional development for independent school educators in the country, running national symposia focused on leadership and culture with Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fish has consulted widely with public, charter and independent schools throughout his career. He holds a Doctorate in the Department of Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Executive MBA from the University of New Mexico.