FACULTY & STAFF
RITA HEMSLEY, Ph.D.
HEAD OF SCHOOL
Dr. Rita Hemsley began her educational career at the age of six when she recruited neighborhood children to her basement “school” and taught them how to read and write. Later she taught Science, French and Economics at a preparatory school in East Los Angeles valley. Graduating from the University of California, Riverside with a degree in French and Education, she went on to pursue a Master’s degree in education and obtained her teaching credentials for k-8, special education and community college teaching. She returned to the university to complete her Ph.D. in special education and research and evaluation. From there, Dr. Hemsley was asked to join the research faculty at the University of California, Riverside, School of Education where she taught, trained, conducted research and published for 9 years. As a senior researcher at the California Educational Research Cooperative (CERC), she created, designed, implemented and published meaningful and relevant educational research. In this capacity, she collaborated with superintendents from 30 coop-member school districts, helping them identify and understand their most pressing issues and then strategized how to best research, evaluate and/or address these issues. As a coach for New American High Schools she was given the opportunity to assess, evaluate & document the extent to which high schools evidenced specified elements of reform. She learned first hand the intricacies, challenges, successes and nuances in the daily operations of some of the most alternative educational settings. One of the over twenty charter schools Rita evaluated and coached deservedly received the New American High School designation under her watch. She also guided and evaluated several High Schools through their accreditation processes, leading still another school through to a Blue Ribbon Designation. In response to what she saw as a need for teachers to utilize more critical thinking skills and engage in research-based practice, Rita designed and implemented the Institute of Reflective Practice through the University of California where she taught administrators a more critical and thoughtful approach to practice throughout Southern California. In addition, as part of her varied evaluation activities at the University, Rita has successfully written and been awarded over one million dollars in grants.
Rita is currently the Head of School at Jefferson Community School, an Independent and progressive education program serving 7th – 12th grades.
CRAIG FRICK, M.S.Ed.
ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL
HISTORY, CIVICS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
When not coaching football or running the family farm in Sequim, Mr. Frick is teaching at JCS. Craig has lived and worked on a half million acre sheep station in the Australian Outback and traveled throughout Australia and New Zealand. He’s worked as a professional chef in the top restaurants in Seattle, Perth, Australia and Frankfurt, Germany. While in Europe, he developed a new career in sales and marketing, managing multinational businesses in various fields including commodities, timber, housing and transportation. Craig has employed several thousand people through his businesses during his nearly 20 year business career, generating total revenues exceeding 75 million dollars. He’s traveled to 44 countries and hiked over 1000 miles of back-country throughout the world; living and working in Australia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Lithuania, Spain, and Norway, where he lived for 18 years. He is fluent in Norwegian.
After having lived 21 years abroad, he returned to the United States and completed a Master’s of Science in Education, Secondary Social Studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA with a 4.0 GPA. He has content knowledge in all areas of the social studies field including economics, government, civics, political science, World and U.S. history and sociology, with a focus on society and social anthropology, and has lectured at the Oslo University of Management in Oslo, Norway on areas of macro-economics and U.S. Foreign Policy. Craig is currently the Assistant Head of School at Jefferson Community School in Port Townsend Washington and also Head of the History Department. Craig has an intimate knowledge of world geography and different cultures that together with his education and extensive background in international business, help Craig to provide unique insights and assistance to his students to succeed in the modern world.
Mr. Frick brings a perspective firmly rooted in the challenging performance-based business environment, and the knowledge of how to successfully help teachers prepare their students to function in a modern environment, and help them to build their student’s skills to prepare them for success at the highest levels of American academic institutions. Craig provides crucial links to educators and clients looking to develop methods and build skills to help their students succeed in America’s competitive academic market. His experience and guidance help teachers to help their students achieve their goals, market and package their unique experiences, and match their skills and goals with academic institutions that fit their needs.
SCIENCE—JCS Online, Distance-learning science courses
Tracy’s love of adventure, the outdoors and maritime communities stems from childhood days exploring the rugged islands of Maine. These early experiences are the foundation for her work in conservation biology and environmental education, and drive her passion to provide students with outdoor learning opportunities.
Early in her career, Tracy directed a curriculum and teacher training program for the mid-Atlantic region. Later, she helped launch a partnership between the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and National Geographic Society to engage entire schools in place-based environmental education. Tracy has served as an Outward Bound instructor and led experiential investigations at locations across the country. As a graduate student, Tracy received two teaching awards for her role in a college-level environmental science course.
While pursuing an undergraduate degree in biology at Brown University, Tracy participated in a School for Field Studies program, where she worked with other students to quantify sea lion entanglement in fishing gear and implement a net buy-back program. The experience solidified her commitment to experiential learning and her belief that students can contribute meaningfully to real-world solutions. Tracy received an M.S. in Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development from the University of Maryland. Her graduate work included a comparison of marine protected area policies, invasive and endangered species management plans and watershed protection recommendations.
Tracy has been fortunate to participate in research efforts taking place at home and abroad involving plants in Alaska, birds in Botswana, coral in American Samoa and whales in Alaska and Mexico. She has driven boats, SCUBA-dived and traveled in helicopters as part of federal biology and resource management positions.
Tracy is an avid traveler and naturalist. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, pottery, leather craft and fiber arts, skiing, organic gardening, SCUBA and adventuring with her husband and daughter whenever possible.
SHAKESPEARE, DRAMA, PUBLIC SPEAKING
Marc Weinblatt is Founder & Co-Director of the Mandala Center for Change based in Port Townsend, WA. He has been a professional educator, theatre director, activist, and workshop facilitator since 1980 having extensive experience with both youth and adults. Formerly Co-Artistic Director of the Seattle Public Theatre, Marc is an internationally recognized leader in the use of Augusto Boal’s renowned Theater of the Oppressed (TO) to stimulate community dialogue and social change.
Marc has worked with diverse communities ranging from police to homeless youth, grassroots organizers and laborers to University deans. Internationally, He has worked with activists in Norway, Holland, and Canada, youth workers in Guatemala, refugees in Azerbaijan, ex-combatants in Northern Ireland, construction workers in South Africa, slum families in India, community workers in the Republic of Congo, and victims of war, among others, in Afghanistan. Marc was named “Cultural Envoy” by the U.S. State Department for his work in the Congo in spring 2010. He regularly facilitates diversity / anti-racism workshops in a wide variety of contexts across the U.S. with a commitment to bringing a deep sense of spirit and humanity into social justice work.
Locally, Marc directs Port Townsend’s multi-ethnic, multi-generational (teens to elders) Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble, which uses TO and Playback Theatre to generate community dialogue on burning social issues. Marc has directed several plays for Key City Public Theatre (KCPT) including the acclaimed 2010 production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in Chetzamoka Park as well as 5 years of student theatre productions through the K-12th grade PTSD OCEAN program – “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Conference of the Birds”, “The Odyssey”, “Arthur’s Stone, Merlin’s Fire”, and “Romeo and Juliet”. He will be directing “Hamlet” for KCPT’s Shakespeare in Chetzamoka Park in August 2018.
Marc is also a youth soccer coach and dedicated father of 4 beautiful boys, Shae (18), Darius (4), Josiah (born May 2017) and Orion who is a 10th grader at JCS as well as a lucky husband to his wife, Zhaleh.
ENGLISH / LANGUAGE ARTS
Nellie Bridge is thrilled to join the JCS team this year. She has been teaching English/Language Arts at Sequim High School for the past four years, where she practiced the Harkness method, carrying a custom-built oval table top from room to room. She is passionate about this discussion method and all that it teaches us. After meeting other practitioners at the Exeter Humanities Institute in 2016, she initiated pen-pal correspondences between her students and theirs, in which students reflected on their experiences around the table and exchanged advice, also dialoguing freely about their various interests, locations, circumstances, and current events.
Nellie grew up in Sequim, attended Peninsula College as one of the first Running Start students, and traveled and worked for five years before attending The Evergreen State College. There, she became a writing tutor, and immersed herself in her studies of literature and independent publishing, including several letterpress printing apprenticeships. She was accepted to New York University’s Creative Writing-Poetry program as a New York Times Fellow, and moved to New York in August of 2001. As part of her fellowship through Teachers and Writers Collaborative, Nellie co-taught a class of eighth graders at a public school in Manhattan weekly, crafting lessons, producing anthologies, and reading many meaningful responses to that year in New York.
In 2002, Urban Editions published a letterpress chapbook of her poems. Other poems have been published in journals over the years, and her manuscripts have been finalists for numerous prizes, most recently the Airlie Prize in 2017. In 2015 she received an distinguished entry for the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize, and she was awarded a fellowship to the Fishtrap Summer Conference in 2017. She also loves to write songs, paint, and has shown her work in several galleries in New York.
After receiving her MFA, Nellie worked for ten years at the Authors Guild, a longstanding nonprofit members’ organization dedicated to protecting writing as a livelihood. She managed their Web Services department, which helps writers affordably and independently maintain their own websites and domain names. She loved her job, yet still wished to working with youth and their writing. After moving back to Washington with her daughter in 2011, Nellie earned her teaching certificate from PLU. She couldn’t be more excited to learn from everyone at JCS.