Jacob Hundt grew up on a dairy farm in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin and was one of the founding students of the Youth Initiative High School. He studied and gathered inspiration for transformation in higher education at Deep Springs College, the American University in Bulgaria, and the University of Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, earning a BA in History and an MA in Social Sciences. Since 2004, he has worked as a trained Waldorf high school teacher and guidance counselor at Youth Initiative High School and was a founding board member and instructor of the Driftless Folk School. Jacob is passionate about the importance of the liberal arts for our civilization and motivated to create a model that enables students to freely choose a post-secondary education dedicated to the cultivation of thinking, feeling, and willing.
Robert (Karp) Karbelnikoff, M.Ed. is an educator, writer, consultant and entrepreneur informed by the insights of the philosopher and social activist Rudolf Steiner. Robert is the former Executive Director of the Biodynamic Association and of Practical Farmers of Iowa and is the founder of New Spirit Farmland Partnerships, which helps organic and other conservation minded farmers secure long-term access to farmland by facilitating partnerships with social investors. Recently published articles by Robert include Agriculture and the Sacred, published in Journeys and Awakenings: Wisdom for Spiritual Travelers and A New American Revolution? Associative Economics and the Future of the Food Movement published in Free, Equal and Mutual: Rebalancing Society for the Common Good. Thanks to a spiritual awakening when he was 18, it took Robert 10 years to secure a bachelor’s degree; a challenge he hopes to help the next generation navigate more gracefully through his involvement with Thoreau College. You can learn more about Robert and his work on his website at robert.karp.net.
Liz Franklin and her family moved to Viroqua in 1993. Since that time she has served on the Board of Trustees and the Development staff at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School, and as Development Officer and Administrator at the Youth Initiative High School. She was a founding Board member of the Viroqua Food Co-op, and currently serves on the board of the Threshold Care Circle. Liz sees the impulse behind Thoreau College as a profoundly practical response to the deep and urgent questions of the rising generation.
Since his early introduction to cultural exploration in Mexico and Guatemala, Bryan Heystek has been an avid traveler. He majored in Spanish and Biomedical Science at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, leading to his study abroad program in Argentina and Peru. After graduating, Bryan spent a year teaching English in Jangyu, South Korea. From his diverse cultural experiences, he has developed a passion for nurturing meaningful relationships and community living. While exploring the Continental Divide Trail, he came across the opportunity to participate in and develop programs at Thoreau College. Currently, his work focuses on facilities stewardship and coordinating the labor program. Alongside this work, he is also teaching Math and Science at Youth Initiative High School. He looks forward to the coming Growing Seasons and continued development of Thoreau College.
Growing up down the road from Walden Pond, Magdalena Bermudez spent her early years swimming, catching toads, and climbing trees down the hill from where Thoreau built his cabin and attending the Waldorf School of Lexington. Magda graduated from Hampshire College, where she created a course of study that included educational philosophy, filmmaking, poetry, and mythology. Since then she has worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations where she has coordinated educational programs, taught art, and promoted engagement with the natural world. For the past eight years she has coordinated the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering, which unites scientists and writers from around the world to celebrate the 19th-Century naturalist. Magda participated in the Founding Fellow program at Thoreau College and is currently working on the visual media, communications and applications for Growing Seasons.
We would like to express our gratitude to the following people for their help with this website:
Christine Zinky- Logo
Olivia Katieb- Artwork
Raven Stevenson- Design