Expertise & Communication

Faculty

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The gcLi faculty is comprised of an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, school consultant, speaker, and author who serves as the Institute Scholar, and distinguished educators from across the country, who have been pioneering leadership development methods in schools.

You can learn more about our faculty below:

JEREMY LACASSE

Executive Director, gcLi
Assistant Head of School, Taft School, Watertown, CT

What do you most value in your friends?
Inquisitiveness, trustworthiness, and a desire to make the world a better place.

Your favorite poet / writer.
Williams Carols Williams – Red Wheelbarrow on which so much depends.

Your idea of leadership.
Acting with humility and self and situational awareness, to make decisions that helps a group achieve its goals.

Your favorite book.
A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Elizabeth I of Great Britain because she managed to take control of unruly England and defeated the Spanish Armada. She knew a thing or two about leading.

CATHERINE STEINER-ADAIR, ED.D

Institute Scholar, gcLi

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, vulnerability, laughter and acceptance, sound advice, curiosity and encouragement.

Your favorite poet / writer.
Mary Oliver

Your idea of leadership.
Knowing your self, your beliefs and values, your limitations, your vision and the ability to connect with others- the ability to communicate ethically and respectfully, to welcome all opinions, to hold the big picture and inspire torahs to join with you, and to appreciate all who work with and for you.

Your favorite book.
Why I Wake Early and A History of American Tonalism: I love to read a poem first thing in the morning all summer long. I am perpetually diving into The Crucible of American Modernism- David Adams Cleveland- as I can’t learn enough about all these painters!

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Ruth Bader Ginsberg – I love her spunky brilliant mind, her wit, compassion and composure when dealing with huge issues and huge egos.

JOANN DEAK, PH.D

Scholar Emerita, gcLi
Developmental Psychologist
Author and Educational Consultant

What do you most value in your friends?
Their love, willingness to spend time together, their interest in contributing to making the world a better place.

Your favorite poet / writer.
Mary Oliver. I have a signed, handwritten poem by her that I treasure.

Your idea of leadership.
A person who has the integrity, passion, talent and motivation to move their milieu in a positive direction.

Your favorite book.
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins and anything by Arthur Koestler.

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
I’d like to have time with Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Mead. They were such pioneers as women of substance and impact in the world during a time that was not the usual path of women.

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KATHERINE BERDY

Faculty, gcLi
Director of the C. Kyser Ethical Leadership Center, Altamont School in Birmingham, AL

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty and trust are givens, so I’ll go with showing up. It’s so hard to break away from all of the responsibilities of life, so dropping everything to just be there is huge and means a great deal.

Your favorite poet / writer.
So hard to pick just one. I read a lot of modern fiction these days, but some of my all-time favorites are Toni Morrison, Fydor Dostoevsky, Wallace Stegner, Margaret Atwood, and Ray Bradbury.

Your idea of leadership.
Leadership is the confluence of passion, personality, skill, character, compassion, agency, and a desire to make a difference.

Your favorite book.
My most recent favorite is Educated: A Memoirby Tara Westover. Wow!

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Rosa Parks. As a fellow Alabamian, I’d love to thank her for her example, bravery, and leadership.

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ANDREW PRINCE

Faculty, gcLi
Dean of Multicultural Education, History
Taft School, Watertown, CT

What do you most value in your friends?
I value friends who I can trust to tell me the truth, particularly when it might be difficult for me to hear. Beyond that, I value friends who like to laugh and have fun, folks who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Your favorite poet / writer.
My favorite writer is John Steinbeck. His detailed descriptions, many of them of the Salinas Valley, brought his stories to life for me.

Your idea of leadership.
I believe that leaders help to elevate the folks they are working with. An important part of this effort is helping to discover and define common goals. Another important piece is listening to the folks to better understand what they need and how to be helpful.

Your favorite book.
John Steinbeck’s “Pastures of Heaven” and “East of Eden”, Salman Rushdie’s “Shalimar the Clown”, John Rawls’ “A Theory of Justice”, Malcolm X and Alex Haley’s “Autobiography of Malcolm X”

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
James Baldwin. His perspective and insight would be incredibly illuminating.

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RISHI RAGHUNATHAN

Faculty, gcLi
Head of Upper School, Wellington School, Columbus, OH

What do you most value in your friends?
I value the love, honesty and laughter I share with my friends. More often than not, my friends give me the courage to step outside my comfort zone.

Your favorite poet / writer.
I am adapting my response to this question to include my favorite artist Barbara Kruger. Her work is clever, defiant and fiercely anti-authoritarian.

Your idea of leadership.
This quote by Dr. Joanne Ciulla sums it up. “Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.”

Your favorite book.
Tommy Orange’s “There There”, Colson Whitehead’s “Underground Railroad”, Mohsin Ahmed’s “Diary of a Reluctant Fundamentalist”, Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” and Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”.

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Bruce Lee.  When I was 8, I vividly remember my Uncle taking me to see shaolin and kung fu matinee specials. The Shaolin movies were a spectacle unto themselves, but Bruce Lee films left an indelible impact on my consciousness. Bruce Lee played powerful and invincible characters who were driven by a strong sense of equity and justice. Might was never right and change happened because good people used their power to fight injustice.

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee’s quote on water has guided me through difficult times. Water can take on the shape of a vessel it is in, water can carve paths into mountains or water can lie still and reflect the world. Water can keep its core and adapt to a changing world. This would be the best dinner ever.

KELSEY TWIST SCHROEDER

Faculty, gcLi
Middle School Division Head at the Hamlin School in San Francisco

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, curiosity, kindness, good listening

Your favorite poet / writer.
Mary Oliver

Your idea of leadership.
The ability to know yourself, understand others, read situations, and act in moments when you can help a group strengthen its own capacity and move towards its goals.

Your favorite book.
Too many to name just one! Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich, Devotions by Mary Oliver, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamata, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt. I’d love to ask her questions overcoming adversity, fighting injustice and oppression, and living a life of love and purpose.


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Heidi Kasevich, PhD

Director of The gcLi Leadership Academy
Leadership Lab Participant: 2012, gcLi Scholar: 2015

What do you most value in your friends?
I most value honesty in my friends. I trust that we can share our challenges and successes without judgement. Laughter and loyalty combine to create powerful connections that last a lifetime.

Your favorite poet / writer.
My favorite author is the one who recently changed the trajectory of my life’s work: Susan Cain. After reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I joined the Quiet Revolution and set out on a mission to design high impact curricula and give rousing speeches in the quest to “unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of all.”

Your idea of leadership.
A humble leader actualizes the potential of every team member, prioritizing the organization’s success over their own. When a leader creates a culture of safety on their teams, everyone takes ownership of the group’s goals and outcomes, and no one is above doing what the team needs.

Your favorite book.
The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. As the ancient sage proclaims, “Yoga does not bother much about changing the outside world. . . the entire world is your own projection.” Happiness involves letting go of patterns that keep us stuck - and embracing our positive conditioning – so that we can “age in place.” In this state of freedom, we can connect, in the present moment, with the wonders of the world.

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
My hero is undoubtedly my forever role model – and the subject of my dissertation - Buddhist scholar and explorer Alexandra David-Néel. In 1928, The Wide World, an American “magazine for men,” featured a story about the triumph of this 56-year-old female adventurer, entitled To Lhasa in Disguise: A Remarkable Story of Pluck and Pertinacity. This fin-de-siècle opera singer and feminist journalist never gave up on her dream to reach the capital of Tibet, living her life in accordance with her motto: “Follow your heart.”

MIKE PARDEE

Research Director
Revolution School
Master Educator (Transdisciplinary Humanities)

What do you most value in your friends?
Authenticity, lack of pretense, sense of humor, adventurousness, empathy, mutual companionship, vulnerability, generosity of spirit, love and support, equanimity/steadiness.

Your favorite poet / writer.
Walt Whitman. Marge Piercy’s “To be of use” is one of my absolutely favorite single poems, though.

Your idea of leadership.
Selfless service to the common good (Servant Leadership). Courage. Integrity. Inspiration via Modeling. Mobilizing oneself and others via both “pulling and pushing,” in order to facilitate the process of thriving together as the best possible version(s) of ourselves.

Your favorite book.
I’m an omnivorous, promiscuous bibliophile. So it’s impossible for me to identify any particular one. My fickle tastes and voracious interest in reading materials, topics, and genres are constantly evolving.

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Walt Whitman: the quintessential American Bard. He was larger than life, ebulliently expressive, irrepressibly curious, and utterly fascinated by the vast diversity amongst humankind. His poetry and prose resound timelessly, he acutely observes both people and nature, and he remains “garrulous to the very last.” I love his paradoxical reverence and simultaneous irreverence, and how shamelessly self-contradictory he was willing to be.

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NATALIE SIMMS

Social Media Director, gcLi & 5th Grade Teacher at Brownell Talbot School, Omaha, NE

What do you most value in your friends?
I value trustworthiness, honesty, loyalty, a sense of humor, creativity and those with an authentic belief in empowering and inspiring their circle of friends.

Your favorite poet / writer.
My favorite writers are Maya Angelou and Mary Oliver. I also deeply appreciate Patricia Polacco and Shel Silverstein for the joy they’ve brought to my classrooms.

Your idea of leadership.
Leadership encompasses activating positive moral change and uniting passions toward a shared vision while upholding a commitment to integrity and ethical decision making.

Your favorite book.
I have been moved by so many books that picking just one would be impossible. My first favorite book and one that still sits on my shelf is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Anne Frank. Her insight and reflections are still relevant today.

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KATE WADE

Editor in Chief, gcLi’s Leadership Blog
English Department Chair & Coach, The Fenn School, Concord (MA)

What do you most value in your friends?
Side-splitting laughter, insatiable curiosity, authenticity, identity as a life-long learner, candid in feedback and willingness to engage in honest conversations, and of course a love of adventure!

Your favorite poet / writer.
Oh, come on! Just one? No way.
Favorite poets: Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman, Homer

Favorite novelists, playwrights: Flann O’Brien (Brian O’Nolan), Emily Brontë, Kurt Vonnegut, Sophocles, J.K. Rowling, William Shakespeare, Brian Friel.

Your idea of leadership.
I’ve always admired Warren G. Bennis and his idea that “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” I’ll add that authentic leadership takes courage, imagination, and belief in one’s self and one’s teammates.

Your favorite book.
Usually whatever I’m engrossed in at the moment! I just finished All The Light We Cannot See and adored the sensory diction and imagery. Tara Westover’s memoir Educated was both devastating and inspiring. Reading Beloved my sophomore year in high school was a pivotal moment in my life. And now as an English teacher, I’ve had the privilege of living The Odyssey, Lord of The Flies, Wuthering Heights, A Separate Peace, and The Catcher in the Rye every year for the past 15 years and their characters have become like close friends. Always first in my heart will be Goodnight Moon, The Velveteen Rabbit, Curduroy, and The Little Engine That Could, though!

If you could share a meal with one person from history who would that be and why?
Definitely my maternal great-grandmother Bridie who worked in a candy factory and cleaned houses as a single mom to support her two sons’ education. She was a pioneering maternal influence in my family’s history and she sounds like a total rockstar and rebel. The stories she took with her I can only imagine!