Distinguished Speakers & artists series
2016-17 School Year Series
Our Distinguished Speaker Series continues to bring stimulating programs with a wide range of engaging speakers. The list of speakers visiting Penn Charter in the first half of this academic year appears below. We welcome and seek to accommodate alumni, parents and friends who have an interest in attending a particular presentation. Please call our receptionist (215-844-3460) in advance to confirm space, dates and times.
Kim Rubenstein served as the student body president at West Virginia University in 1982 and later became the executive director of the Be a Part of the Conversation organization. Be a Part of the Conversation increases awareness of the negative effects of alcohol and other drug use. A Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS), Rubenstein understands and appreciates the importance of education on these issues. She serves on the Regional Advisory Board and National Alumni Leadership Council of Caron Treatment Center. Rubenstein earned Caron’s Brian H. Early Community Leadership Award in 2013 and is an advisory board member for the Bridge Way School, which is Pennsylvania’s only recovery high school. PC visit: Upper School faculty.
Rabbi Adam Zeff
Rabbi Adam Zeff graduated with a BA in anthropology from Yale University and received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a rabbi for the Germantown Jewish Centre (GJC) since 2002. Rabbi Zeff has found a keen interest in combining the teaching of the Torah with his avid interest in music. Along with his other responsibilities, Zeff incorporates music and storytelling to his rabbinic work. He also is the hazzan and choir director for the GJC. PC visit: Upper School Assembly.
Graie Barasch Hagans
Graie Barasch Hagans is an accomplished social justice educator and facilitator. He is currently a community organizer at POWER (Philadelphia Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild). Hagans has also been heavily involved in education as a curriculum consultant. He has coordinated volunteer-based tutoring programs, developing parents to become more impactful in their children’s education and continues to fight for racial justice. Hagans is a facilitator, educator, volunteer, researcher and a leader in communities. His job and his passion are the same – to promote faith, community and action. Hagans holds a master of public policy from Rutgers University. PC visit: Upper School Urban Studies class.
Omar Woodard, Speaker, Louis T. Savino Day of Service
Omar Woodard is the executive director of the Philadelphia office of the GreenLight Fund. Woodard has a decade of experience working in venture philanthropy, management consulting, and foreign and U.S. government relations. From 2011 to 2014 he was a principal at Venture Philanthropy Partners, where he co-managed a $20 million portfolio, including a $10 million investment from the federal Social Innovation Fund. Recognized for his expertise in nonprofit board governance, Woodard serves as an advisor and director to the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, the Girard College Foundation, the Maternity Care Coalition, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and others. He received a master’s degree in public administration with a focus on nonprofit management and governance, and a bachelor’s degree in international economics and public policy, both from the George Washington University, where he was also a Presidential Administrative Fellow. He holds a certificate in nonprofit governance from Harvard Business School. A North Philadelphia native, Omar resides in the Cecil B. Moore neighborhood of the city. PC visit: Louis T. Savino Day of Service Assembly.
Robert A. Glascott
Bob Glascott is an environmental scientist with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Based in Alaska, Glascott is a program and project manager in the International and Interagency Support Section. Glascott has worked on projects in Denali, Honolulu, California, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia and Guam. He is presently involved in the cleanup at Kure Atoll in the recently expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument near Hawaii. PC Visit: AP Environmental Science.
Jonathan Hulting-Cohen OPC '07 and the Moanin' Frogs Saxophone Sextet
Jonathan "Jaji" Hulting-Cohen is an assistant professor of saxophone at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a co-founder and member of the Moanin' Frogs Saxophone Sextet. With six musicians, the Moanin' Frogs demonstrate the full line of saxophones and perform jazz, pop and classical music for audiences worldwide. Performances have the theater of the American Vaudeville show, rooted in the classical tradition. The Moanin' Frogs partner with the Conn-Selmer Division of Education and D'Addario Woodwinds to bring high-quality educational programming to students. Hulting-Cohen earned his BA and MA at the University of Michigan and was the winner of the University of Michigan Concerto Competition. He has performed with many groups, including the Philadelphia Classical Symphony. PC visit: Lower School and Middle School assemblies.
Irene McHenry, PhD, director of Friends Council's Institute for Engaging Leadership, is a former faculty member at Penn Charter and former executive director of the Friends Council on Education. Previously, McHenry served as co-chair of the Religious Studies Department at Penn Charter, founding head of Delaware Valley Friends School and co-founder of Greenwood Friends School. She is a licensed psychologist, educational consultant and the author/editor of numerous publications, including Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning. McHenry consults with organizations nationwide, providing professional development and teaching mindfulness to administrators, faculty, trustees, aspiring leaders and students. She will lead a participatory session for parents on Quakerism and Quaker education. Faculty and staff are also welcome. A Friends education supports the development of persons who are creative thinkers, peacemakers and confident humanitarians, contributing to responsive and responsible public leadership in the world. Learn and discuss what our children experience every day at Penn Charter. PC visit: Introduction to Quakerism presentation for parents, Timmons House.
John Baird, Hubben Lecturer
John Baird graduated from Princeton University and earned his master's from Providence College. He has been the head of Westtown School since 2002. He began his career as a teacher in biology, environmental studies and religion. While an educator, he was also a dorm parent, varsity coach, and chair of the Religion and Human Values department. His abundance of experience led him to become principal of Carolina Friends School in 1989. He is active in various leadership and mentoring programs, including the Friends Council on Education Institute for Engaging Leadership, University of Pennsylvania’s MA program in educational leadership, and the board of Friends Council on Education. PC visit: Hubben Lecture.
Founder of the Dignity Project, Lolly Galvin connects with Philadelphians experiencing homelessness over a conversation or a meal. She harnesses the power of social media to share those stories and the realities of homelessness with the public and to encourage similar interactions and social action. The Dignity Project hands out 'dignity bags' of toiletries and other seasonally appropriate necessities. Galvin has also brought barbers and hair stylists to the streets to provide haircuts to homeless men and women. PC visit: Upper School Service Council.
Ray Benson OPC '69
A musician, Ray Benson OPC '69 is the frontman for the Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel. The band has earned ten Grammy awards and have released more than 20 albums. In 2003, Benson released his first solo album Beyond Time. Benson hosts the Texas Music Scene, a television show to highlight Texas bands. He is a founding member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which supports aging R&B artists and he is involved in other nonprofits supporting the needs of musicians and their families. Benson has a star on the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia and is the recipient of numerous awards. PC visit: Downtown Reception
Kenneth Ginsburg, Parent Community Special Guest
Kenneth Ginsburg is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He also serves Philadelphia’s homeless youth as Director of Health Services at Covenant House Pennsylvania. The theme that ties together his clinical practice, teaching, research and advocacy efforts is that of building on the strength of teenagers by fostering their internal resilience. His goal is to translate the best of what is known from research and practice into practical approaches parents, professionals and communities can use to prepare children and teens to thrive. PC visit: 7:00 pm, Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts. Sponsored by the PC Parent Community. Read more and order Ginsburg's books.
Erik Weihenmayer is one of fewer than 150 people to climb all of the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents – and the sole person to do so without the ability to see. Weihenmayer lost his eyesight at 13, yet he did not let that negatively affect his goals in life. He uses his story to teach people how to turn adversity into an advantage. Weihenmayer helped found No Barriers USA and continues to raise funds and awareness for this organization. A graduate of Boston College, Weihenmayer has taught middle school, coached wrestling and is the author of Touch the Top of the World and No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon. Weihenmayer has received multiple awards and carried the Olympic torch for the summer games in Atlanta and the winter games in Salt Lake City. PC visit: Upper School assembly.
Sozi Pedro Tulante P '27, P '29
Sozi Pedro Tulante is the Philadelphia city solicitor and a Penn Charter parent. Tulante represents the city in all lawsuits, advises the mayor, City Council, and all departments, agencies and commissions of the city, while also overseeing the 200-lawyer law department. He is also a lecturer-in-law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, teaching legal ethics. Tulante graduated cum laude from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He was named one of Pennsylvania’s Diversity Attorneys of the Year by the Legal Intelligencer; one of the Philadelphia area’s “101 Next Generation Connectors,” by LEADERSHIP Philadelphia; and "40 Under 40” by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Born in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), Tulante came to Philadelphia as a political refugee in 1983 with his family. He has written about his experience growing up as a refugee in North Philadelphia in the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY. Tulante was the keynote speaker at Penn Charter’s 2016 Downtown Reception. PC visit: Cum Laude Assembly, Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts.
Candace Fleming, Lower School Library Author-in-Residence
Candace Fleming, born in Michigan City, Indiana, is the author of more than 20 fiction and nonfiction books, most of them written for children and young adults. For nearly a decade, Fleming taught at William Rainey Harper College near Chicago. In 2005, she decided to devote her career to being a full-time writer, educator and speaker. Fleming has been recognized for many pieces of work, notably The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, which was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction for Children, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for nonfiction and more. She authored the bestselling picture book Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! illustrated by G. Brian Karas. PC visit: Author-in-Residence, Trask Library.
Samantha Taylor, MSW, MEd, is the clinic coordinator at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia’s Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic. Founded in 2014, the clinic provides support to youth ages 3-21, and since its opening has supported more than 500 families in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. The team at the clinic consists of adolescent medicine, endocrinology, behavioral health, and the Department of Social Work and Family Relations. An additional service the clinic provides is community outreach education to help schools increase their understanding of gender and ways to support gender diversity. Taylor completes intakes with new families and assists families in getting connected to care – both within the clinic and to outside supports. In addition to her role as the clinic coordinator, Taylor leads educational outreach trainings for schools. As lead educator, she provides trainings for school staff and students. PC visit: Presentation for Lower School parents, offered twice.
Arthur M. Larrabee is the former General Secretary for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM), a role similar to chief executive. Arthur Larrabee is held in the highest regards throughout the Friends community and beyond. He serves as a consultant and teacher on Quaker decision-making and clerking and has served in numerous roles in Monthly and Yearly Meetings, including a clerk from 1992 to 1995, clerk of interim meeting and several boards. PC visits: Workshops on Quaker decision-making to various PC groups.
Dr. Dominic Sisti is assistant professor of medical ethics and heath policy and director of the Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry, where he directs the ethics curriculum in the residency program. Sisti's research interests include ethical and policy issues in mental health care and end of life care. His writings have appeared in multiple medical journals. Sisti holds a BS from Villanova University, a MBE from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD from Michigan State University. PC visits: Semester 1: Bioethics and the Brain, Semester 2: Bioethics Beginning and End of Life.