Jon McAlice: Nature Institute Adjunct Researcher
Jon began teaching in 1976 at East Hill Farm School in southern Vermont. He brought to this work skills in boatbuilding and carpentry and a love of exploratory inquiry that stood him in good stead for his work with adolescents in the classroom, in the workshop, and on the school’s organic farm. During this time, he was involved in various forms of social activism, especially with the Catholic Worker Movement and the Movement for a New Community working with the homeless and with street children on Manhattan’s lower east side. The death of a close friend living at the Camphill community in Copake, NY, brought him to a decisive encounter with the work of Rudolf Steiner.
He left America in 1984 and moved to Dornach, Switzerland, to study at the Rudolf Steiner Lehrerseminar. He earned his Waldorf teaching diploma studying nights, while heading up the woodworking shop at the Goetheanum. In 1989, he joined Heinz Zimmermann in the Educational Section of the Goetheanum and spent the next 11 years working for the international Waldorf schools movement. His primary responsibilities included the international aspects of the Section’s work and coordinating research projects on topics such as curriculum development, school governance and the relation between school culture and the evolving nature of work. During this period he founded and edited the Educational Section Journal, a bi-lingual journal for Waldorf educators, co-founded and became one of the first executive co-directors of the International Association for Waldorf Education East, supporting the growth of the Waldorf school movements in the Eastern European countries, and worked closely with the Freunde der Erziehungskunst to further the growth of Waldorf education in developing countries. Meanwhile he continued to teach, organize conferences, lecture and conduct workshops.
In 2000, he returned to the U.S., initially to the Bay area. From 2001 to 2004 he was High School coordinator for the Summerfield Waldorf School, responsible for teacher and program development. He also initiated and led regional high school teachers’ workshops and initiated and co-led Young Teachers Conferences and the Advanced Studies Initiative. In 2008, Jon co-founded the Center for Contextual Studies, a decentralized research collaborative formed to engage in and support action-based research that can lead beyond the current boundaries of conventional knowledge to a quality of understanding that enables human consciousness to participate fully in the spiritual reality of our world and the forces shaping it.
In 2006, he and his family returned to the Northeast, settling in Ghent, N.Y., where he continues his work as a designer, researcher, teacher, and consultant. Between 2008 and 2012 he was a core faculty member in The Nature Institute’s summer intensives for science teachers.