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Jennifer Strodl


Ghent, NY

Recorded by

Nicolette Lodico

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This interview with Jennifer Wai-Lan Strodl was conducted on March 29, 2022 remotely via Zoom. Jennifer is an educator in Ghent, New York. She was the director of the Libreri School in Hudson, New York, which she was forced to close because of the pandemic. While she has been away from the classroom for the past two years, Jennifer acknowledges her desire to return. She describes two projects on which she is providing curriculum design consulting: one is for a team with a vision for a K-12 progressive school; the other is for a project to offer free higher education for black/brown/queer students that is designed by black/brown/queer practitioners.In this interview, Jennifer describes how her path to becoming an educator was influenced by the high value her family placed on education when she was a child. She also talks about how she models those values for her two school-aged children.She describes her aspirations for creating hybrid (remote/in-person) educational experiences. She describes an “experience” as transformational. To illustrate, she describes a memory her father shared with her when she was young about “falling in love” and how one comes through that experience as a different person. Experiences, she believes, are personal—they have lasting effects on one’s sense of being and understanding of the world. She believes that students’ expectations around their education are changing because of the pandemic. They desire engaging and transformational experiences. Jennifer is optimistic that these expectations will force lasting change in educational approaches and models. She stresses how important it is to create the right conditions for children to be good thinkers and make good choices. She talks about current world events and how she talks to her own children about them. She is a firm believer that children need to understand history as it is happening. Jennifer stresses that this must be done with sensitivity to ensure that the teachings are do not frighten or traumatize students—framing lessons in a way that is respectful of their well-being. She sees children as “citizens of the world” with innate sense of justice. This interview will be of interest to those interested in curriculum development for progressive schools, creating transformational educational experiences, and engaging children regarding world events.

Interviewer Bio:

Nicolette Lodico is an archivist and knowledge manager who specializes in helping people and organizations—particularly those whose work supports the public good—establish sustainable practices for managing both what they create and what they know so they can make informed decisions, be transparent, and minimize risk. She helps organizations tell the story about their work, to reflect on and learn from past work and share that knowledge with those who will benefit, and to provide opportunities for future researchers and historians to examine and evaluate this work. Currently, she is the director of global information and knowledge management at the Ford Foundation where she is overseeing a comprehensive, multiyear oral history project to gather the reflections of key former staff. She also is the former president and emeritus board member of the Technology Association of Grantmakers, a non-profit organization that cultivates the strategic and equitable use of technology to advance philanthropy. She earned her M.L.S. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

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