I have the good fortune of being Director of Liberty School and working with a group of talented, passionate teachers and motivated students. I also founded the school with my son, Joe in 1997. When asked why I wanted to start a school, considering my own children were out of school, I say, “This is the generation that will take care of me when I am old. We’re passing the world on to them, plus, I love to learn and share what I’m learning with younger people.”
As a teacher I consider myself an “older student” and enjoy pursuing knowledge, ideas and just thinking about the world around me. I invite younger students to study with me and offer courses that I think are relevant and interesting. I’ve also published 3 books of poetry and offer a Poetry Workshop and a Fiction Writing Workshop for our students.
My journey to Liberty School has been exciting. First, it’s important to know that I dropped out of high school in 10th grade, joined the Navy, traveled, read and got perspective on the approach to education I escaped from. I also worked as a galley boy on a Norwegian freighter prior to going to college where I eventually earned a Masters in Philosophy of Education.
In 1970, I started a school in Philadelphia called Miquon Upper School. That school is in its 33rd year and is now called Crefeld School. Liberty School is similar to Miquon and I’d have to say, both schools are the schools I wished I could have gone to when I was a student.
Another school I created was Deep Run School of Homesteading and Community in York, Pennsylvania. The school opened in June of 1979, eight miles away from the horrible 3 Mile Island accident. Though it was difficult getting people to go there after the accident, we managed to open with 15 students and kept it going for 3 years.
Prior to starting Liberty School, my wife, Maggie and I started the Left Bank Café in Blue Hill and for almost 10 years, I was a baker and café owner, working 16 hours a day. The Left Bank became a major concert venue that attracted nationally known folk, jazz, blues performers—people like Arlo Gutherie, Odetta, Tom Paxton, Dave Van Ronk, Greg Brown, as well as, old time jazz legends like Anita O’Day and, Clark Terry, and more contemporary artists like Terrance Blanchard.
At the Left Bank, education was never out of my mind and I wrote a book called Adventures on Arnold’s Island, a collection of essays. You can check the book at
I live in the woods, off the grid in a solar powered cabin, with my wife and our dog, Ozzie. Maggie is also a writer with over 15 children’s books published. Check her site at HeartsongBooks.com
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