I can’t honor my teachers without acknowledging my mother Edith Kusnic’s primary impact on my life. Of course, she influenced me deeply as my mom and primary caregiver, but her professional impact has also been foundational.
Edith spent her professional career as an adult and community educator, beginning with founding a multi-generational school in Tacoma, Washington in the early 1970’s, before I was born. This experimental school taught 6 year-olds alongside returning veterans, and was self-funded through fixing up run-down old houses. She went on to build Antioch University Seattle’s Adult degree program, and then to serve as Seattle Waldorf School’s administrator.
She introduced me to key thinkers in alternative education, like John Dewey, David Kolb, and Paulo Freire, instilling in me a deep love of the educational process, and an understanding of the role of education in cultural transformation. Having studied history as an undergraduate at Stanford in the late 1960’s, her understanding of social and cultural events within a historical frame has similarly influenced my thinking.
Herself a practitioner of rites of passage, Edith and I have worked side by side for many years (which is sometimes challenging with family relationships!). With her, I have learned about the power of multi-generational efforts, the beauty of bringing family and work together, and the resiliency of the feminine in the world today.