Meet the Team: Jannai Smith, Human Performance Instructional Specialist

Jannai SmithJannai Smith, the Human Performance Instructional Specialist here at Eagle Rock School, kick-starts her work days by taking our students through their morning exercises, conducting intramurals and recreation activities. In addition, she’s responsible for our Human Performance Center, where she plans, organizes and directs the operations of sports and fitness programs, activities and services aimed at addresses students’ physical fitness and healthy living.

Jannai joined us this past summer, and she arrived here with an impressive work history, having been a physical education teacher at a public school in Muncie, Ind. As a coach, she recalls spending many nights on the road, traveling to different games for volleyball, basketball and track & field. Prior to that, Jannai worked for three years in a juvenile detention/treatment center and another three years as a Ball State Recreational Center intern.

We asked Jannai to tell us a little about herself, and here is what she had to say:

Eagle Rock: Why did you choose to come to work for Eagle Rock?

Jannai Smith: I decided to apply because Eagle Rock offered Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Eagle Rock’s 2018/2019 Fellows

Summer break is winding down here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and that means we’re getting ready to welcome a new cohort of instructional, professional development, and student services fellows. Our 2018/2018 cohort includes ten new and three returning fellows — a baker’s dozen who are about to begin or continue a year-long commitment to service.

Eagle Rock Fellows 2018 2019

Our 13 fellows will immerse themselves in everything we have to offer in education and professional development — each responsible for supporting alternative and progressive approaches to teaching and learning, with an emphasis on playing an important role in engaging our students in their own education.

Below, we present a brief educational history and biography of each of our new and returning fellows:

Amelia la Plante Horne, 2018/2019 Fellow in Residential Life

Eagle Rock School FellowAmelia was born and raised in Las Vegas, N.M. After graduating from Eagle Rock School (she arrived in May of 2011, graduated in April of 2014), Amelia attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she designed and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Ecological Praxis in Healing — a multidisciplinary degree that explored environmental science, anthropology, philosophy and psychology.

During her college years, Amelia’s non-academic activities included creating a campus Continue reading…

Intern from Princeton Seeks and Finds a Purpose at Eagle Rock School

Jason_Bateman_Eagle_Rock_SchoolEditor’s Note: Jason Bateman — not to be confused with the star of the television sitcom Arrested Development and the Netflix’s series Ozark — is a Princeton University student who is interning with us as part of Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). This program operates in the belief that community service is essential to the welfare of society. More than 800 Princeton University undergraduates have participated in the program since its inception. A dozen such ‘Princetonians’ have served as interns since our school opened back in the early 1990s. Below, Jason describes his recent arrival at Eagle Rock and what he has learned so far from the experience, while to the right we see a photo of Jason (L) alongside Eagle Rock’s first head of school, Robert Burkhardt (a Princeton Univ. grad) and current Eagle Rock Director of Curriculum, Sarah Bertucci (who first arrived at Eagle Rock in 1994 as our very first PICS intern).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What is it, exactly, that I do — and am doing — here at Eagle Rock?
By Jason Bateman

It’s a question I asked myself — and several of my supervisors — when I arrived on the Eagle Rock campus last month. What was my role? What was my purpose? What was I going to do with this incredible opportunity?

What I discovered was that what I needed to do was hunt down aspects of this educational community that most interested me, and then I needed to figure out which of my talents would best be of use to the students and staff members here at Eagle Rock.

To be honest, this unanticipated quest to find purpose has been among the most rewarding and challenging experiences I’ve faced outside of the classroom.

In the past, I’ve actively applied myself to everything from electrical engineering and computer science to education policy and data science. I’ve taken classes on human rights and urban development as well as classes on Spanish film.

But what I discovered when I arrived here is Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Brett Youngerman, Literature and Literacy Instructional Specialist

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Brett Youngerman, our Literature and Literacy Instructional Specialist. Brett joined us for two terms (2015/16 & 2016/17) as our Literature and Literacy Fellow before becoming that area’s fulltime instructional specialist in the fall of 2017.

Eagle-Rock-School-Fellow-Brett-YoungermanFor the past three years, Brett has taught a variety of classes within the humanities, ranging from creative and academic writing to literary and historical analysis. We asked him to tell us a little about Brett — without referring to himself in the third person.

Here’s what he had to say:

Eagle Rock (ER): What did you do for work before arriving at Eagle Rock School?

Brett Youngerman: I worked at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Parkton, Maryland. It was there that I discovered I wanted my career to focus on working with young people. I designed and facilitated daylong team-building experiences for both children and adults. This was also where I first heard about Eagle Rock. I have also worked a few retail jobs, selling shoes. One of my favorite parts of that job was educating people on how to choose running or hiking shoes that would best suit their needs. Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Residential Life Program Coordinator, Courthney Russell Jr.

Courthney Russell Jr. is the residential life program coordinator here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, tasked with the responsibility of fostering a safe and secure environment within our on-campus community.

Born in Fort Knox, Ky., Courthney lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a time, and eventually moved to East Atlanta, Ga., an underserved community devoid of many of the services found in more well-funded communities. He attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., and received his medical degree in 2011 from Windsor University School of Medicine on Saint Kitts Island in the Caribbean.

Courthney Russell Jr

It was while taking classes at medical school that Courthney made the decision to dedicate his life to humanity — to help neighborhoods like the one he grew up in. He says by leveraging his medical knowledge in a non-traditional way to become what he calls “an authentic, determined, humble leader by example,” he is doing his part (while helping others) to make the world, one neighborhood at a time, a better place to live.

Courthney joined the Eagle Rock community in 2014 as our community advocate and student support consultant and was promoted to his current role in Residential Life four years later. We recently sat down with him to learn more about his past, his thoughts on Eagle Rock and his interests.

Here’s what Courthney had to say: Continue reading…