The Harmony Learning Community Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Welcome New Talking Stick Team Members (UPDATED)


This fall Talking Stick will be welcoming a few new members, and we'd like to introduce them to you. We are very proud that we have retained the same staff for the past two years without any turnover, which provides a stable and consistent voice to our programs. However, as we grow, we have also been very proactive about seeing out bright and fascinating potential new team members. We ask new team members to spend several months with our staff and participants before they join us full-time, and we require all staff members to undergo summer training sessions. We believe this considered, purposeful approach is the foundation to the amazing programs we are able to offer the community.

So, welcome back returning faces, and welcome new faces too! Here are our new team members:

Wendy Hitch

WendyYou may have met Wendy last year on Tuesdays; she started in January as an interim facilitator for the Day Program. We are very pleased that Wendy has decided to join our team full-time this year! Wendy will be a trained facilitator for the Thursday Day Program beginning in September.

Wendy has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Temple University. Before motherhood, Wendy spent several post-college years pursuing a career in photography. Now she focuses her camera on her sons and the many wonderful children that are in their lives, as well as documenting their fun adventures. Wendy looks forward to assisting young people in their life-long journey of learning, as well as learning a lot herself.

Wendy adores kids with their grass-stained knees and spontaneous songs; they continually remind her how important it is to truly live in the present moment and soak up the world around them.

Adam Thomas

Adam_ThomasAdam met with us last spring to observe the Talking Stick philosophy firsthand. After meeting with and shadowing our co-founder, Katie O’Connor, Adam was intrigued in the practices here at Talking Stick. Adam brings a fresh and unique perspective to the Talking Stick environment, and we were ecstatic when he choose to join our team.

Adam received his B.A. from Temple University and then spent several years working in facility management. Feeling unfulfilled, he pursued an opportunity to teach English at an elementary school in Gwangju, South Korea. He immediately fell in love with teaching and hasn’t looked back. After two years of eye-opening cultural and educational experiences, he returned in 2013 to obtain his Pennsylvania Teacher’s Certification and Master’s Degree from Saint Joseph’s University.

Beginning this fall, he will be a trained facilitator for the Thursday Day Program as well as the Thursday Maker Workshop. He hopes to apply his learned education and his facilitator experiences while shaping his outlook on the future of education.

Julien Paul Hoppel

Angie_JulienWhile still a little young for our programs, we'd like to take a moment to welcome Julien. He is the newest addition to the Hoppel family, born at home to our co-director Angie Hoppel on July 1, 2013. He arrived at 1:08 in the morning, weighing in at 8lb, 9oz, and not shy about announcing his presence.

Angie will be at Talking Stick on a reduced schedule this year, and Julien will be with her when she is, hopefully content in his sling and not interjecting his opinion too often into the program material.


Marie Goodwin, of Media, PA, has elected to join the Talking Stick Board. Marie is a homeschooling mother, private homeschooling program director, founder of TimeBank Media, personal assistant to Charles Eisenstein, a member of Transition Town Media, and a national voice on the development of alternative, community based economies. Marie brings a fresh and compassionate voice to the Board with some insight as to best practices from home schooling communities outside of the immediate Philadelphia area.

A hearty welcome to Gina Gruenberg, Mt. Airy artist, educator, and acupuncturist, will co-teach “The Nexus of Sacred Geometry and Henna” Math Circle Program with the Rodi in the winter of 2013

UPDATE (08/15/13)

Also, very excited to extend a big welcome to Dan Nosheny, who will be leading our new Songwriting Works program beginning in September, 2013!

For a full listing of our current staff, click here.