Kris and Gary had a great time chatting with innovative educators and founders of the Voyagers Community School Karen Giuffre’. The Pod can be heard wherever you listen to your pods and is linked here.
You can listen to Kris as he talks about education, books, leadership, and more with Kelly Croy the host of the Wired Educator. Kris’s guest spot on Kelly’s Pod is linked here.
You can find Karen and Kelly’s Bios below.
Karen Giuffre’ M.Ed.
Administrator: Founding Director
Teacher/Researcher – High School
Our director received her BA in Political Science and Communications from Hood College and her M.Ed. in Education and Partnership from Goddard College. She has also participated in Advanced Studies in Exercise Physiology at Springfield College and earned a Masters Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA.
Karen began her teaching career in Harvard, Massachusetts where she taught 5th, 6th, and 8th-grade social studies. This was followed by years of serving as a teacher and director of fitness and recreation programs. Karen developed an elementary interdisciplinary curriculum as a researcher and writer and then as a trainer and promoter of the national physical education program, Physical Best. Karen’s children inspired her to create a progressive learning environment that honors all children as people. She founded Voyagers’ Community School in 2004 after spending 18 months composing the philosophical foundation that guides our day-to-day operations.
Karen has garnered recognition as the Keynote Speaker and Presenter at both national and local professional conferences, including, most recently, the Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference and the Progressive Education Network. She has been a Guest on DisruptED TV, https://vimeo.com/244796148. She has also advised many start-up school efforts. Karen serves as the New Jersey State Liaison for the Alternative Education Resource Organization. She also served as Chairperson and Treasurer for the New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia, President of A Child’s Place Education Fund, a member of The Colts Neck 9/11 Committee, and past Treasurer and President of The Colts Neck PTO.
Karen’s most recent project was directing the renovation of our new 14,000 square foot home, originally built in 1908. Our building was restored with thought to its original character, our contemporary needs, the necessary time-frame and the wants and visions expressed by students, faculty, and staff.
Currently, Karen serves as the Co-Chair of the Middle State Association Accreditation Team. She leads a staff of 18 and directs all admissions initiative. She also oversees the operation of a new initiative, the Individualized Education Services program. Karen makes time to teach a rousing high school humanities course, with a focus on social justice and diversity. Karen’s passions include reading historical novels and memoirs, traveling, playing board games, chatting for hours with good friends and family and always dancing, everywhere.
There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. ~Martha Graham
Whether I am in the classroom, speaking on stage, writing, or creating art, my goal is to inspire people to live richer and fuller lives.
I was born into a creative family with the belief that everyone has special and unique talents to be shared with the world. My goal setting and passion for adventure continued in the Boy Scouts where I earned the rank of Eagle Scout. The Eagle rank wasn’t just an award, it represents the principles by which I live my life. (Here I am speaking to an audience of over 7,000 on the 100th Anniversary of the Eagle Scout.)
At an early age, I recognized a desire to improve myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I saw too many people focusing their attention on just one area and living an incomplete life. I aspire for the ‘complete package’ and balance in all areas.
My interest and passion for art began at an early age. According to my mom, I was drawing pictures since before I could walk. I always loved to see my pictures hang on the refrigerator. Today, I am blessed to experience that same feeling of accomplishment and pride sharing my art and message with thousands each year on stage. My live art performances combine the dramatic motions of a live art performance with art, music, computer animation with an inspirational speech. My artistic performance and computer animation creates the illusion of bringing the artwork to life that truly mesmerizes audiences.
My twenty-eight years in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator, combined with my experiences in the professional world as the founder of three successful companies provides me with the unique ability to connect with any age, and with any group.
My message is simple yet profound, to live a life uncommon by pursuing your dreams relentlessly, impacting the lives of others, and welcoming discipline and challenges as a way to grow.
I am an Apple Distinguished Educator, A Google Certified Innovator, a PBS Digital Innovator, and the Director of Innovation and Instruction at Port Clinton City Schools District.