From Helen-Ann Ireland [email]
Greetings to all as we turn the corner toward spring in the United States! For us in the Northeast, this means snow melting and the first few crocus’ popping up in sunny places.
I would like to introduce myself as the new chair of the General Council of the Society, succeeding Dave Alsop as of our October 2020 AGM meeting. I am excited to take on this role and help guide us through some very turbulent times in our nation’s history. I can honestly say that I would never have expected to experience such trying situations in my lifetime!
What are my qualifications for stepping into this role you may ask? My bio includes having been a class teacher in Honolulu and then at Pine Hill for roughly twenty years while also specializing in the Extra Lesson for children with unique learning styles. I have been a member of the College of Teachers at both schools and the College Chair at Pine Hill for a 2-year term. While in Hawai’i I was the vice chair of the Hawai’ian Society for 7 years supporting Van James as chair. It was during this time that I also became a member of the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science and faithfully pursued the meditative path using Steiner’s esoteric material.
As my interest in the meditative path continued, I was appointed as a Class Holder in Wilton, New Hampshire, where I had been living for 15 years. I was sponsored by Margaret Chambers, whom many of you knew from her extensive dedication to holding Class Lessons all over New England. Life circumstances have forced me to move to the Maine Coast where I work remotely with the Lessons with my Wilton partner, Alice Groh. (By remotely, I want to be clear that no esoteric material is shared over electronic devices! We agree on the Class Lesson schedule with our members and each person follows along in their own personal space while Alice reads the Lessons in her home. It is an interesting experiment that has forced us to try different ways of working with the material that has been brought about by the pandemic.)
My commitment to education eventually led me to pursue doctoral studies at UMass Amherst where I currently supervise teacher candidates earning their license to teach in MA public schools. This has been a wonderful opportunity to see “boots on the ground” what is happening in public education. I have been visiting public school elementary classrooms for the past seven years and find it fascinating how, despite the political policies and pressures on public school teachers, they are resilient and find ways to teach with creativity and use appropriate developmental strategies. (More on this topic another time.)
My role as Chair of the General Council is to be on top of all issues that we are confronting and create meetings where we can study, discuss, and make decisions on relevant topics. I will support our General Secretary and our Leadership Team and all others who are working to further the work of Anthroposophy in the world. It is my honor and privilege to serve in this way and I look forward to working with all of you.
In closing, I would like to mention that our dedicated Treasurer, Dwight Ebaugh, has retired and passed the baton to Dave Mansur, formerly the East Coast Regional Representative on the Council. Dave’s vacancy on the Council has left space for Gino Ver Eecke to join us. A hearty thanks to Dwight for his years of service to the Society, thank you to Dave for taking on this new role, and welcome, Gino, to the Council!