Katie has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is ardent about the importance of self-directed learning experiences and works to make such experiences as accessible as possible. She has worked in alternative learning environments such as the Albany Free School and Open Connections.
Katie founded Talking Stick Learning Center in 2006 and now serves as Founder, Co-Director, and Lead Facilitator. Katie leads the Day Program. Katie is also responsible for all staff training as well as the development of the vision, mission, and philosophy of Talking Stick.
Meryl has a BS degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Johnson and Wales University. She worked in the restaurant business until her first child was born.
Like many people in the homeschooling community, her love of lifelong learning has taken her down many paths that don’t involve the traditional educational system. A few of her current passions are: traveling adventures with her family; exploring color and design through sewing; hiking in the Catskills; and building a garden nook in their backyard. Meryl is a trained Talking Stick facilitator working in our Day Program and she facilitates the Maker Workshop. Meryl is a Trained Talking Stick Facilitator working with our Day Program and Maker Program.
Linnea has a BA in Communication and a MS in Education. However, the majority of learning in their life has happened (you guessed it) outside the classroom. Linnea has facilitated in a variety of settings as a chef, National Park ranger, and dramaturge. They are a trained Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner and have been creating original theater with youth for many years. They also organize comprehensive workshops for LGBTQ youth, English Language Learners, unschoolers, and other radical groups of all ages. Linnea co-owns Staging Journeys, an organization that leads educational family adventures abroad.
Linnea works to create self-directed learning opportunities with a focus on social justice and playful self-inquiry. Linnea is thrilled that their family is part of the TS community. Linnea is a Trained Talking Stick Facilitator working with our Intermediate Program.
Amy has a B.A. in history with an emphasis on alternative education from Vermont College. Amy is certified (grades K-8 Elementary, and grades 9-12 Secondary Social Studies) by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and also has certification in the Teacher Education Program by the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools.
Amy has been in the teaching field for the past 27 years. She taught in California, Arizona and in PA at Upattinas School and Community Center. For the past 10 years Amy has been homeschooling her two daughters and teaching at 3 different homeschool co-ops ages 2-18. Amy is an advocate for self-directed interest driven learning. She believes in non-coercive education and has experience with democratic community schools. Amy is a trained Talking Stick Facilitator working with our Teen Program.
Andy received a B.S. in early childhood and elementary education from Temple University and her M.Ed. in computers and technology from Arcadia University. She was employed as a kindergarten teacher with the School District of Philadelphia for ten years before the birth of her first child.
Andy is continuing her plans with her husband to live life unconventionally while unschooling their three children, supporting organic and local products, crafting, gardening, listening to great diverse music, and coexisting in this life-long learning process. Andy is a trained Talking Stick Facilitator working with our Day Program.
Pauline Gnesin has a BA from Bard College in Literature and Gender Studies. She has been a homeschool parent and educator of groups of kids for over 12 years in both Portland, OR and Philadelphia, PA. She has facilitated numerous classes and learning groups both through parent run homeschool co-ops, homeschool resource centers, and out of her home, ranging from the preschool age through late teens. Classes/groups include book clubs, Queer history and culture, women's history, writing workshops, literature, graphic novels/comics/zines, cooking, and biology. She has a special interest in YA fiction focused on social justice.
Pauline currently lives in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia with her two kids (ages 5 and 12) and co-parents with their dad, Shawn. Pauline is a Trained Talking Stick Facilitator working with our Intermediate Program.
Nedim O’Connor has been at talking stick since he was five as a participant. He is a hands-on based learner and enjoys helping participants through conflict resolution which not only assists young people to become more radically empathetic but also encourages them to achieve greater understanding of social interaction. He also enjoys creating visual art.
Ned is a Trained Talking Stick Facilitator working with our Day Program.
Alia received a B.A. in psychology from Rosemont College and became a Registered Nurse after graduating from Roxborough School of Nursing. Before homeschooling her three children for the last 13 years, she managed multiple alternative education programs in the greater Philadelphia area.
Alia is a Trained Talking Stick Facilitator working with our Day Program as well as the Intermediate and Teen Program.