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NESA Fall Leadership Conference 2019

The Role of Education in Developing Conscious World Citizens

Discussion led by

Vice President, American Community Schools of Athens, Greece


• David Gleason

Consulting Psychologist, Concord Academy

• Jamie Steckart

Head of School, THINK Global School

• Julia Tokatlidou

Vice Principal, American Community Schools of Athens

Opening Plenary: Thursday, October 24

Educators and educational leaders often ponder the question, “What is the purpose of education?" The obvious answer is to help students obtain knowledge and skills in order to succeed in a very competitive world.

However, education is also about teaching values, developing mindsets that appreciate diversity, stimulating both creativity and intellect and perhaps eventually about applying these to improve human life on the planet. Thus, ultimately, education conceivably is about providing educational experience, both academic and other, to encourage conscious world citizens.

Peggy Pelonis will lead a discussion with colleagues David Gleason, Jamie Steckart and Julia Tokatlidou demonstrating through story, video and examples the importance of partnerships in such endeavors. By highlighting young voices, they aim to stimulate thought about the implications of intentionally developing conscious world citizens in schools.

Peggy Pelonis

Vice President

American Community Schools of Athens, Greece

PEGGY PELONIS is Vice President at the American Community Schools of Athens, Greece, a K-12 international school. Dr Pelonis is a transnational Psychotherapist, author and educator who is committed to providing opportunities with intentional excellence in order for young people to develop conscious citizenship so as to problem solve for the betterment of society.

David Gleason

Consulting Psychologist

Concord Academy, Concord, MA

DR. DAVID GLEASON is a clinical psychologist who provides counseling and consulting services, as well as neuropsychological assessments, within public, independent and international schools. Dr. Gleason earned a B.A. in Psychology (1982) and an M.A. in Counseling Children & Adolescents from Boston College (1987), and then a Psy.D. at William James College (f.k.a. Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology) in 1993. Dr. Gleason then served as Administrative Director of Student Support Services at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire before opening his own practice in Concord, Massachusetts in 2000. At that time, Dr. Gleason also joined Concord Academy as that school’s Consulting Psychologist. Dr. Gleason has taught psychology at the secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels, and he presents workshops and seminars at schools, national conferences in the United States, and at international conferences around the world. Dr. Gleason’s new book, At What Cost? Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools, was published in January, 2017.

Jamie Steckart

Jamie Steckart

Head of School

THINK Global School

JAMIE STECKART holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota, and is a licensed teacher, principal and superintendent from the State of Minnesota. He has over twenty years of experience designing schools that use Project Based Learning and Placed Based Learning.

Prior to his coming to THINK Global School, he held the post of Principal of Qatar Leadership Academy, in Al Khor, Qatar.

Mr Steckart has a long history of being on the leading edge in educational reform and innovation. He was part of the initial group of teachers that designed Northwest Passage High School, ending his twelve years there as the school’s Director.

As a former Outward Bound Expeditionary Learning Instructor (ELOB) for Voyageur Outward Bound, he was part of the early implementation of ELOB concepts in St. Paul Schools. He founded Project L.E.A.D., an expedition high school, which won the Minnesota Association of Alternative Program of the Year Award and the Crystal Award from the National Drop-out Prevention Association.

Mr Steckart is passionate about school re-design and student-centered learning. He believes in collaborative leadership and listening to the voices of students.

Julia Tokatlidou

Vice Principal

American Community Schools of Athens

JULIA TOKATLIDOU joined the ACS Athens community in 2005 as a faculty member teaching IB Economics. Since September 2008 she has been the Director of the IB program, the Director of the IB and AP programs since September 2010, and since September 2014, the Vice Principal of the Academy. As of September 2019, Ms Tokatlidou has served as the Principal of The ACS Athens Virtual School.

She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the Aristoteleion University of Thessaloniki in 1981. She continued her studies in Toronto, Canada, where she completed her MA in Economics and all but the thesis requirement for a PhD in Economics. In 2013 she earned her MBA from the University of Indianapolis as well as her Certificate for International School Leadership.

Ms Tokatlidou believes in learning and citizenship development through service and innovative projects as well as in personal growth through education. She spearheaded the ACS Athens Youth-to-Youth Educational and Social Integration Program addressing the social and educational needs of unaccompanied minors in Athens through a student-to-student partnership learning model, running since January 2017. The program now includes the Part-time Youth-to-Youth and Business to Youth programs on Saturdays that involved many student and faculty volunteers, and the full-time Youth-to-Youth program for 18 unaccompanied minors now in its second academic year.

As an educator, Ms Tokatlidou strives for global citizenship, effective risk-taking, ethical decision making, and life-long learning unconfined by physical proximity. She has led workshops and has published in numerous scientific journals.