About Me

I didn’t travel out of the U.S. until my early 20s, when I dropped out of grad school to attend a workshop in Cuernavaca, Mexico, by radical educators Paulo Friere and Ivan Illich. I was definitely one of the so-called lefties who drifted back-to-the-land in the early 1970s, weaving and cycling in the valleys of Wisconsin’s Iowa County. At Folklore Village Farm near Ridgeway, a small folk-arts center, I fell under the spell of gnome-like gardener, festival planner, folk dancer, rustic-roads romantic Jane Farwell, who became my mentor. Her passions pushed me toward a summer of folk dance in Poland, then a full year of dance and village exploration in Dalarna, the folk heart of Sweden.

Professionally, I found always-interesting jobs, a “lateral jumper” to positions in schools, media, and state government, each one leading to wider-ranging paths of travel. I think many colleagues in the state education office where I worked at the time gasped as I took off suddenly, at age 59, for a late-in-life Peace Corps assignment to a country in southern Africa – Lesotho – that few, including me, had ever heard of. Lesotho was only one of many less-visited countries that awaited me after that.

My formal resume looks like this, but in truth, each bullet point camouflages the more interesting stories ~ adventures, regrets, loves, missed opportunities, foolish choices ~ the things I’ll now write about.

  • Served as Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)’s first state-level International Education Consultant, 1990-2006
  • Trained teachers, built Sister State / Sister relationships, created global studies curriculum
  • Served as liaison to Superintendent-Governor level International Education Council and organized International Education Summits for educators, youth, business leaders
  • Recognized with national awards to DPI by Goldman Sachs Foundation Award for State Leadership and Council of Chief State School Officers for International Education
  • Named Global Educator of the Year by Friends of International Education
  • Traveled to 64 countries, studied six languages
  • Wrote Guide to International Education, a state agency “first”
  • Studied Psychology and Education at Grinnell College, Iowa and University of Wisconsin-Madison. All-but-dissertation Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction
  • Peace Corps Volunteer to Lesotho, Africa’s “Mountain Kingdom
  • Peace Corps Director of Programming and Training, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan
  • Professional member, presenter, and key-note speaker for Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies, Rotary International District 5, Wisconsin Association For Language Teachers, Wisconsin International Education Association, Wisconsin-Chiba, Inc (Japan Sister State)

One Comment

  1. Hi Madeline,
    Remember me, David Fisher? I first met you when I was a grad student at UW in about 1978 and you needed a ride back to Madison after my first Saturday night at Folklore Village. I remember how stunned I was that evening when you described Jane Farwell as someone people would “lay down their life for.” But you were right; Jane continues to be the most impressive person I’ve ever met.

    Anyway, I noticed you’ll be doing a reading of your book Sept. 17 in Madison. I’ll be in Madison Sept. 12-15, and if you’re going to be in the vicinity at that time, it would be nice to see you. I also have written a book (though if you check my website you’ll see I don’t yet have the cover designed; any suggestions for a cover designer?) t might be interesting to compare notes. 604-919-2372

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