Authors Who Inspire

My path has been filled with many mentors and advisors. As an avid reader I have books everywhere and it was difficult to narrow down those authors that most influenced my thinking. There certainly were many more authors who influenced my thinking and supported me on my path, but I chose the authors that best fit the lesson themes to stay focused on the message of this book.

You will find biographical information about the authors and poets mentioned in Sections I and III of this book here as well because they also have special meaning to me. I believe these authors, poets, and philosophers should be known beyond their citations and words.

Each one of them has not only inspired me at different points of my teaching journey they have sustained me throughout my career. They are in many ways responsible for keeping my inner “light” shining. Putting them all together in this document demonstrates their influence and illustrates the magnificent team I have surrounding me. I consider each one a mentor and dear friend.

I encourage you to scan my list and be curious. Who stands out to you? What would you like to learn more about? Who would you add to your most influential author list?

Section I – Illuminating the Path Ahead 

Ella Baker

I must confess I didn’t know who Ella Baker was until I heard presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr. quote her in his Democratic Convention acceptance speech. When I heard him say, “Give light and people will find the way,” something inside of me flickered. I immediately wanted to know who Ella Baker was. Her story inspired me. Her message aligns with the purpose of this book and that is why it appears at the front of the book. For me, Ella’s message is one of hope, courage, and inner strength. I hope it inspires you too.

Ella Jo Baker played a key role in some of the most influential organizations of her time, including the NAACP, Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Her goal was to unlock the power of every person to strengthen our communities and our future. She was an activist, mentor, and revolutionary.

Sonia Nieto 

When I met Sonia many years ago I didn’t realize how powerful her work was and how it could help teachers understand their students better. She engaged with me in conversations that I could understand and her writing encouraged me to seek out more information on multicultural education. Her work is more than relevant today and I encourage you to read her articles and books.

Sonia Nieto is Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy and Culture at the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts. She brings experience teaching students at all levels and from many socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, Nieto is one of the leading authors and teachers in the field of multiculturalism and she brings experience teaching students at all levels and cultural backgrounds. Nieto's work seeks to shed light on common institutional policies and practices of racism, inequality and discrimination in multicultural learning environments. Her goal is to show teachers how to effectively confront these challenges in the classroom and how to bring about positive change in the school and community.

Eugene “Gene” Maeroff

I read an article written by Maeroff as a requirement for a course I was taking. I found his message to be insightful and respectful of teachers. His focus on the importance of supporting teachers who “are on the job” guided me to focus my work on teacher development. I became an advocate for retaining our teachers by supporting them on the job. This shift in perspective led me to study mentoring and induction, write books for mentors, and develop practical resources. I advocated for funds for mentoring instead of signing bonuses for new hires.

Eugene “Gene” Irving Maeroff is the author and co-editor of 15 books and he served as a senior fellow for ten years at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at Princeton University before joining Columbia University. He worked on the staff of The New York Times as the national education correspondent and dealt with topics such as the role of school boards, building a foundation for early education, transforming education for disadvantages students, online learning, connections between schools and colleges, the empowerment of teachers, team building among teachers, and the role of parents in schooling. His writing has been recognized by the Associated Press, the Education Writers Association, the International Reading Association, and the American Association of University Professors.

Susan Moore Johnson

I had the pleasure of taking courses with Susan and I learned so much about the big picture of education through her books class discussions. This allowed me to connect the dots to understand how state and national public policies impacted my daily classroom work. It made me more aware of what was important to me and what to focus on. It also inspired me to speak up as a teacher leader. I learned knowledge is power.

Susan Moore Johnson studies, teaches, and consults about teacher policy, organizational change, and administrative practice. A former high school teacher and administrator, Johnson has a continuing interest in the work of teachers and the reform of schools. She has studied the leadership of superintendents and organization of school districts; the effects of collective bargaining on schools; the priorities of local teacher union leaders; teacher evaluation; the use of incentive pay plans for teachers; and the school as a context for adult work. Currently, Johnson directs the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, which examines how best to recruit, develop, and retain a strong teaching force. She is the author or co-author of six books and many articles.

Robert Frost 

The Road Not Taken was the very first poem I memorized. It was a requirement in junior high school to recite a poem and I can’t remember why I chose this one. I must say I have never forgotten it and I can recite it today. Its message brings forth a different meaning for me at the different stages of my life. I fell in love with Robert Frost and poetry in 8th grade and still value the message of a poem.

Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. Frost frequently wrote about settings in rural New England in the early twentieth century. Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime and is the only poet to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 and was named the poet laureate of Vermont in 1961.

Robert Kegan

I was first introduced to Bob Kegan in a mini course during my graduate program at Harvard. I was impressed by his easy communication style and the principles of adult development he shared. I enrolled in every course he taught and he accepted my request to serve on my doctoral committee. My focus on the adults in schools and their role as cooperating teachers fit in with his adult development theories. I learned a lot about the adults in schools and use it to this day in my workshops and courses.

Robert Kegan is a psychologist who teaches, researches, writes, and consults about adult development, adult learning, and professional development. Kegan serves as educational chair of the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education; as co-director of a joint program with the Harvard Medical School to bring principles of adult learning to the reform of medical education; and as co-director of the Change Leadership Group, a program for the training of change leadership coaches for school and district leaders.

Alice Walker

When I came across this quote,“The most common way people give up power, is by thinking they don’t have any,” I knew it had to fit into this book somewhere! Teachers often feel we don’t have any power and we sit back and wait for others to direct us. This quote spoke to me and that is why it is included in this book.

Alice (Malsenior Tallulah-Kate) Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Walker coined the term womanist to mean, "A black feminist or feminist of color.”

June Jordan 

I discovered Jordan’s work when I was researching the citation for the song “We Are” sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock. I had heard the song at a conference and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Thinking the group had written the song, I never went further. I am so happy to have discovered June’s book and workWe are the ones we have been waiting for!

June Millicent Jordan (was a Jamaican American bisexual poet, teacher, essayist, and activist. She explored issues of gender, race, immigration, and representation in her writing. Jordan was passionate about using Black English in her writing and teaching and used it as its own language to express Black Culture. She was inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor.

Section II – Ten Lessons

Lesson 1 – Follow Your Heart

Following your heart can be difficult to do if you can’t hear what your heart is saying. These authors and books helped me to sit still long enough to hear my heart’s message.

Roland S. Barth 

Roland’s books inspire me because of their practical wisdom, respect for teachers, and common sense approach to solving problems in schools. I was fortunate to work as his graduate assistant for two years where I could observe him in action. He taught me the value of “walking the talk” and that our words and actions matter. I believe his writing is timeless and should be used to reframe our relationships and schools today.

Roland S. Barth served as a public school teacher and principal for fifteen years in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California. He is a Founding Director of the Harvard Principals’ Center, a consultant to schools, school systems, state departments of education, universities, foundations, and businesses in the United States and abroad. Barth received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976, and joined the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for thirteen years.

Kirsten Olson 

I reached out to Kirsten several years ago when I was transitioning from my academic life and exploring mindfulness. I had read her book, The Mindful School Leader, and she agreed to meet with me in person to listen and guide me on some possible next steps. She spoke from the heart and helped me to find the confidence I needed to move ahead on my journey.

Kirsten Olson is Chief Listening Officer at Old Sow Coaching and Consulting. Kirsten works with leaders engaged in transformational change nationally and internationally. She is a certified leadership coach and an adjunct instructor at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. She is a founding board member of the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA), a national not-for-profit organizing educational leaders, teachers, students, and parents around a vision for education founded in greater equity, social justice, compassion and passionate learning. She also completed a two-year facilitator training with Parker Palmer at the Center for Courage and Renewal.

Lesson 2 - Bloom Where You’re Planted

Bloom where you’re planted tells me to stay put and not to run away from my present circumstances. These authors offered me practical ways to integrate mindful actions into my daily life.

Jon Kabat-Zinn 

When I first read, Wherever You Go There You Are, I felt it was speaking to me personally. Its message is clear and doable. I recommend it to people beginning their exploration of meditation and especially those who may not be open to mindfulness but have physical health issues they want to address with an alternative method.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His yoga practice studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with scientific findings. He teaches that mindfulness can help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness. His videos, books, and resources offer all of us a way in to meditation processes where ever we are. His stress reduction program mindfulness-based stress reduction is offered by medical centers, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations, and is described in his book Full Catastrophe Living.

Thích Nhất Hạnh

Because Kabot-Zinn studied with Tich Nhat Hanh it was a natural progression for me to read his books too. I just kept following the bread crumbs and new books came to me. The simplicity of his words and the small books, How to Eat and How to Rest, gave me insights into how mindfulness can actually be practiced in real life.

Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Buddhist monk, peace activist, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition where he spent most of his later life. Nhất Hạnh has published over 100 books. He is active in the peace movement and promoting non-violent conflict.

Lesson 3 – Be a Lamp Not a Mirror

Be a lamp, not a mirror, is a deep, inspirational message for me. Reading these books supported me in looking at the darkness as well as the light.

Parker J. Palmer

Parker Palmer’s book The Courage to Teach was an eye-opener to me. Here is an author, who is not a classroom teacher, who understands the inner world of teaching. When I had a chance to meet him in person, I could see his gentle nature and his commitment to teachers in all professions.

Parker J. Palmer is an American author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He has published ten books and numerous essays and poems, and is founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage and Renewal. His most famous book The Courage to Teach is widely read and these resources provide more insights into the inner lives of teachers. His work has been recognized with major foundation grants, several national awards, and thirteen honorary doctorates. You can learn more about his work at .

Sam M. Intrator

I met Sam at a conference and connected to his personal style. His perspective in his talk shared the ways in which teachers could use poetry to soothe and inspire. I liked what he was doing and purchased several of his books to use in my workshops with teachers.

Sam M. Intrator is professor and chair of the Education and Child Study Program and a member of the Urban Studies Program. Intrator also investigates ways to recruit, prepare and sustain high-quality teachers and out-of-school staff in education. Intrator was awarded a W. K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship and, while teaching high school English, was named a Distinguished Teacher by the White Commission on Presidential Scholars. He has written and edited six books, including and Leading From Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead (Jossey-Bass), which received the 2009 Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Poetry.

Lesson 4 – Face The Sun and The Shadows Will Fall Behind You

Face the sun and the shadows will fall behind you is a message of hope and renewal. These authors and their artist processes influenced the way I looked at my memories and how I could release what no longer served me to move forward.

Mary Rockwood Lane

I met Mary several years ago when I reached out to her by email. She was offering personal coaching on her website and I decided to treat myself to several sessions with her. Not only is she an insightful coach, she is just pure fun. Her primary work is with nurses, but we found there were so similarities with teachers that we ended up co-presenting at the International Mentoring Association Conference on the topic, Self-Care for Mentors. A life-changing experience for me was my trip to Tinos, Greece, led by Mary.

Mary Rockwood Lane is a PhD nurse, healing artist, painter, and Caritas Coach for those in healthcare settings. She is the co-founder and director emeritus of the Shands Arts in Medicine program at the University of Florida (UF), Gainesville. She created the first artist-in-residence program of its type in the United States. She lectures and teaches workshops worldwide and helps healthcare centers and artists set up art and healing programs. She developed an online version of her college course entitled Healing with the Arts, which is available free to the public through UF Coursera.

Julia B. Cameron 

I had known about the book and journal process, The Artist’s Way years ago. To be honest I never thought I could do the daily writing process so I never read the book. Afterall, who am I to say I am an artist? Then several years ago the book showed up again and I committed to the process. There is nothing like getting to know yourself in a daily writing practice. I recommend it if you dare.

Julia B. Cameron is an American teacher, author, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, composer, and journalist. She is best known for her book The Artist’s Way. It is considered one of the top 100 Best Self-Help Books of all time. Cameron maintains that creative inspiration is of a divine origin and influence. She says, God is an artist. So are we. And we can cooperate with each other. Our creative dreams and longings do come from a divine source, not from the human ego.” She also has written many other non-fiction works, short stories, and essays, as well as novels, plays, musicals, and screenplays.

Lesson 5 – Be a Ripple

Be a ripple means we are not alone on our journey. When we intentionally create ideas and dreams to benefit the common good, we must find ways to share these ideas. One of my friends recommended both of these books to me at different points in my career.

Elizabeth “Liz” Gilbert 

We all know Liz from her famous book Eat, Pray, Love, a wildly famous love story that either you loved or hated. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it, just so you can decide which team you are on. Big Magic embraced me in a very different way. It was really like “magic” to me because Liz shared her “inner world” of writing and ideas and although some of the book is hard to believe… I believe it.

Elizabeth “Liz” M. Gilbert is an American journalist and author. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, which has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages. In 2015, Gilbert published Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, a self-help book that provides instructions on how to live a life as creative as hers. The book is broken down into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity. Gilbert continues the work started in Big Magic with her Magic Lessons podcast in which she interviews famous creatives including Brene Brown and Sarah Jones.

Nancy Duarte 

A designer friend, Kristina Lamour Sansone introduced me to design principles and she helped me to “see” how teachers present information to their students. Our collaborative work at the university led to my interest in how to support teachers in creating more interactive learning environments in their classrooms. This led to my study of Nancy Duarte’s work from her book Resonate. I never went back to the old narrative power point presentations after reading this book and talking with Kristina. Now images rule my presentations

Nancy Duarte Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Time Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Cosmopolitan, LA Times, and on CNN. Her firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture. As a persuasion expert, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. She’s written five best-selling books, four of which have won awards.

Lesson 6 – It Is What It Is

Nature always demonstrates for us that, it is what it is. It surrounds us and yet we often miss its beauty and stability because we are in our thinking minds so much. The topic of “forest bathing” intrigues me and these authors have inspired me to spend more time in nature to find calm and clarity.

Dr. Qing Li

The idea of “forest bathing” always makes me laugh. Really? Taking a bath in the forest? After I heard the term it then became visible everywhere I went. This is the first book I read on the topic and I appreciated the medical nature of the research. It seemed to me that more people would be open to the idea of forest health, if it lowered their blood pressure! This began in the 1970’s and I wondered why I was just hearing about this nature medicine now! Explore the topic and you will discover there are so many more books out there! Biophilla and also the Secret Life of Trees will amaze you. Be open to learning on a whole new dimension.

Qing Li, a doctor at Nippon Medical School in Japan, published a book in 2018 on the topic of “Forest Bathing” after his 25 years of research on the matter. There has been an increasing interest in the study of nature therapy and its forms over the past few decades. The effects of nature therapy can be connected to two theories, known as the Stress Reduction Theory (SRT) and the Attention Restoration Theory (ART). Apart from physical and psychological well-being nature therapy also can help to improve social well-being (guided ecotherapy practices can improve self-management, self-esteem, social relations and skills, socio-political awareness and even employability).

Julia Plevin

Julia is a real forest bather! She loves trees and the forests and I so admire her for sharing all she has learned with me through her book and her course. I participated in an online course called “The Tree Ring Circle” last year and I met entrepreneurs from all over the country who are dedicated to using nature to support humanity in some way. I was part of a creative and innovative group for sure. I developed the protocol for my idea for the Legacy Teacher Network in this course (Lesson 10). I highly recommend Julia’s newsletter to help you learn more about this natural healing modality.

Julia Plevin is the founder of Forest Bathing Club and author of The Healing Magic of Forest Bathing (Ten Speed Press, Spring 2019). A lifelong lover of nature, she first realized the effect that nature had on her mental health and wellbeing while pursuing her MFA at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her graduate design thesis became all about the health issues caused by disconnecting to nature and the way to heal them — to reconnect back to nature. As the club grows and evolves, her aspiration is to inspire people to jumpstart their personal journey of reconnection to nature. It's the way forward.

Lesson 7 – Be The Wave

Be the wave reminds me that when I go with the flow, instead of against the current, I find my life moving more smoothly. When I used these short inspirational messages daily it started the day intentionally and positively.

Lao Tzu

I was introduced to the wisdom of Lao Tzu through the book by John Heider, titled, The Tao (dow) of Leadership. The book includes short passages and illustrations around topics a leader would find useful. My copy fell apart from over use. On most days I would randomly open to a page and use the message to guide me for that day. I still use it to this day when I am looking for some inspiration.

Lao Tzu is known as a philosopher (or 'Old Sage' -- born Li Erh) and is attributed to beginning the philosophy of Taoism Some scholars feel that the Tao Te Ching, is really a compilation of paradoxical poems written by several Taoists using the pen-name, Lao Tzu. Taoism has an individualistic and mystical character, greatly influenced by nature. The teachings are translated into the Tao of Leadership by John Heider.

Pema Chödrön 

Along my reading adventures in Buddhism of course Pema found her way on to my bedside table. Her practical words always seemed to touch my heart and open me to more compassion. Her words encouraged me to look at “the other” instead of always at my hurt and pains. She gave me guidance and ways for me to open my heart a bit more instead of shutting it down.

Pema Chödrön (born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown, is an American Tibetan Buddhist, an ordained nun, and disciple of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Chödrön has written several dozen books and audiobooks, and is principal teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia Canada. Chödrön teaches the Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life where her central theme the principle of "shenpa," or attachment. She interprets this as the moment one is hooked into a cycle of habitual negative or self-destructive thoughts and actions. According to Chödrön, this occurs when something in the present stimulates a reaction to a past experience. 

Lesson 8 – Always Be Brave

Always be brave is telling us that when it is time to speak our truth we must have the courage to do so. These two vibrant women have captured my attention and given me the courage to acknowledge my gifts and articulate my ideas.

Kelly McGonigal 

I was attending a conference and signed up for a session that was not meeting my needs. Usually I just sit there and do something else, but this time I left and wandered in to another session led by Kelly McGonigle. The session was so inspiring and engaging that I kept the notes for years! When I saw her TedTalk on stress I couldn’t believe I had been up close to such a famous and inspiring teacher. I recommend her talk and articles for use in your professional courses.

Kelly McGonigal is a lecturer and psychologist at Stanford University. She is known for her work in the field of 'science help' which focuses on translating insights from psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies that support health and well-being. Her mission, is to help each of us find our own strength and the courage to lift one another up; to amplify what is good in humanity, and to support the communities that bring out the best in us. She believes that science and stories are two of the best ways to inspire self-understanding, empathy for others, and connection with a broader sense of common humanity. Her book the Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It, relates to her Ted Talk Make Stress your friend.

Kristen Lee 

I met Kristen when I reached out to her on a Sunday night phone call. You can read her perspective of the call in the Foreword of this book. Our relationship began that night and has continued to this day. She would say I am her mentor. I would say she is mine. Her message is one of help and support for teachers, students, and all who need to find balance in our often chaotic lives. I like her recent spin on adding humor to our day.

Kristen Lee is an associate teaching professor and is the lead faculty member in Behavioral Science focused on integrating applications of behavioral science to strengthen human resilience. She serves as Faculty-in-Residence in International Village. She is active on campus and in the media as an advocate for global mental health, particularly in educational and health contexts. Her 2014 book, Reset: Make the Most of Your Stress: Your 24-7 Guide for Well-Being, won Motivational Book of the Year in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is author of Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking: Learn What it Takes to Be More Agile, Mindful and Connected in Today's World and the Rethink Your Way to the Good Life column on Psychology Today. Kristen is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who speaks and consults with organizations around the world.

Lesson 9 – Dream Out Loud

Dreaming out loud can be scary, especially if other people don’t agree with our dreams. These two very different author allowed me to dream and reach for the stars.

Brené Brown

The truth is so many people recommended the book, Daring Greatly, to me that I actually didn’t want to read it. I didn’t want to dare greatly. I wanted to stay in my comfort zone. I agreed to watch Brene’s TedTalk and was hooked. I read the book, gave it away to others as gifts, and perhaps became a little overbearing on recommending it to others!

Casandra Brené Brown an American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. She studies the concepts of courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy at the University of Houston Graduate School of Education. She has authored seven books including five New York Times best-sellers, Brown hosts the Unlocking Us podcast, and her TED talk, "The Power of Vulnerability" is widely viewed. Her filmed lecture, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage, debuted on Netflix in 2019.

Shakti Gawain 

I was introduced to this1970’s author during my “hippie” days. The book Creative Visualization has been around for so long that the ideas are now coming around again! I find Shakti’s words to be timeless and useful as a way to envision the day ahead. I often use her daily inspiration book to start my day.

Carol Louisa “Shakti” Gawain was a new age personal development author who sold over 10 million copies of her books. She graduated from the University of California with a degree in fine arts and dance in the mid 1970s and her best known book Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life (1978) has been a bestselling book for nearly 40 years

Lesson 10 – Pay It Forward

Pay it forward from a place of generosity and abundance. There is enough for all of us and those of us who understand this must share our wisdom to far reaching audiences. These last two authors guide us in different ways. Hargreaves challenges us to ask the big questions, “What are doing?” and “Why are we doing it?” Ruiz invites us to look at the “how” we share our work. How do we choose to pay it forward?

Andrew “Andy” Hargreaves

I met Andy in person when I worked at a city university as the director of student teaching. I had read a few of his books so I was a bit star struck to work with a famous author. What I quickly learned is how down to earth and practical he is. His message of hope and his humorous presentation style made me feel comfortable and I always felt he valued my teacher perspective.

Andrew Hargreaves is a Research Professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and holds Visiting or Honorary Professorships at the University of Ottawa, Hong Kong University, Swansea University, and the University of Stavanger in Norway. Andy is ranked by Education Week in the top 20 scholars with most influence on US education policy debate. His most recent book (with Michael O’Connor) is Collaborative Professionalism: when teaching together means learning for all (Corwin, May 2018).

Don Miguel Ruiz

The book The Four Agreements was my introduction to Ruiz. My friend Carol and I (yes we were both named Carol!) often used the Four Agreements to guide our daily walk and talk. Even though there were only four agreements– there always seemed to be one we could not remember! We took that as a sign that it was THE ONE we had to focus on that day. The message is clear, yet, it is challenging to carry out all four agreements each day. Being aware of them was a good start for me.

Don Miguel Ruiz is a renowned spiritual teacher and internationally bestselling author. The youngest of thirteen children, don Miguel Ruiz was born in rural Mexico to parents who were healers and practitioners of ancient Toltec traditions. As a young adult, he graduated from medical school in Mexico City and practiced neurosurgery. He has been able to merge ancient wisdom with modern physics and practical common-sense, forging a new philosophy for seekers of truth and personal authenticity. He has dedicated his life to sharing his message through practical concepts in order to promote transformation and ultimately change lives for the better.

Mary Oliver

I had the special privilege of hearing Mary Oliver read her poetry in a school auditorium. The tone of her voice, the way she spoke each word, and the emotion of her message stilled the room. I knew I was in the presence of someone uniquely gifted. Many of the lines in her poems have been captured as quotes, but my favorite is, What will you do with your one wild precious life? It always speaks to me when I say it.

Mary Oliver attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College, though she did not receive a degree. Her first collection of poems, No Voyage, and Other Poems, was published in 1963. She went on to publish more than fifteen collections of poetry. Oliver cited Walt Whitman as an influence, and is best known for her awe-filled, often hopeful, reflections on and observations of nature. She has been described as this country’s best-selling poet by The New York Times. Her extensive reflections and writing are inspired by the natural world and her work is accessible to all types of audiences. Her creativity was stirred by nature, and Mary, an avid walker, often pursued inspiration on foot. Her poems are filled with imagery from her daily walks near her home: shore birds, water snakes, the phases of the moon and humpback whales.

She is a poet of wisdom and generosity whose vision allows us to look intimately at a world not of our making.

John Dewey 

In college I found myself connected to the work of Dewey. His ideas just seemed so relevant and useful. He was prolific and you can find him writing about so many topics. I encourage you to enjoy his work and see how his words inspire you. His quote in Lesson 10 inspired me to They create the Legacy Teacher Network!

John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. He is regarded as one of the most prominent American scholars in the first half of the twentieth century. Known for his advocacy of democracy, Dewey considered two fundamental elements—schools and civil society. Dewey was also a major educational reformer for the 20th century. He was a major voice of progressive education and founded the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools where he was able to apply and test his progressive ideas on pedagogical method. Although Dewey is known best for his publications about education, he also wrote about many other topics, including art, logic, social theory, and ethics.

Section III

Jennifer James

I never met Jennifer James and I must admit I selected her book because of the title, Success is the Quality of Your Journey. It had small easy passages I could read each day and they seemed to apply to my life. I liked the idea that success wasn’t something to strive for but it was in the daily moments of my journey.

Jennifer James, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist who has spent her life trying to understand how our belief systems either enhance or limit our lives. A much in-demand speaker, television and radio commentator, and newspaper columnist, Dr. James is also the author of Success Is the Quality of Your JourneyWindowsLife Is a Game of ChoiceDefending Yourself Against Criticism: The Slug ManualWomen and the Blues, and Thinking in the Future Tense. She lives by Puget Sound, just south of Seattle, Washington. She has written more than fifty academic articles and wrote a newspaper column for the Seattle Times for eighteen years.

George Bernard Shaw

I became aware of George Bernard Shaw only through his quote about life being no brief candle. Someone at my father’s funeral mentioned that he saw my father in this way. I looked it up and read this complete message and knew that is how I wanted to live my life too.

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. His education was irregular, due to his dislike of any organized training. He began his literary career as a novelist; as a fervent advocate of the new theatre of Ibsen he decided to write plays in order to illustrate his criticism of the English stage. Shaw’s complete works appeared in thirty-six volumes between 1930 and 1950, the year of his death.

Maya Angelou

Her poignant story in the book “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings” touched my heart and soul. I had never read anything like it and it opened up a world I neither understood or was aware existed. Her poem “Phenomenal Woman” was given to me by a friend years ago at a special event celebrating the women in her life. I treasure the words and am humbled by the message. I did have an opportunity to hear her powerful voice at a standing room only event many years ago. I remember her unforgettable power and commitment to her message.

Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem, On the Pulse of Morning at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture.