Local Learning announces Executive Director

May 8, 2017

Please join the board of Local Learning in welcoming Lisa Rathje as the new
Executive Director of Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in
Education. She will direct the administration and programs of Local Learning to meet
its strategic plan and ensure the organization’s mission of creating strong
partnerships that advocate for the full inclusion of folklife and folk arts
in diverse educational settings.

Dr. Rathje has served as the Assistant Director of Local Learning since
2012. Rathje previously served as Director of Folklife Programs with
Company of Folk in Chicago, Illinois, where she was responsible for
planning and directing projects focused on identifying, preserving, and
promoting folk and traditional arts. At the Institute for Cultural
Partnerships (2006-2010) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she conceptualized
and served as project director for the multi-faceted education program The
Art of Many Voices, including curriculum development, assessment, and
community outreach. She will continue to serve as an adjunct faculty member
in the Goucher College Masters in Cultural Sustainability program and will
continue to be based in Chicago.

Rathje succeeds Paddy Bowman, who will remain with Local Learning in the
position of Founding Director. As a national thought leader in education,
Bowman will focus on offering professional development and training,
writing publications for academic as well as general audiences, and
networking with partners, peer organizations, and Local Learning affiliates
to share best practices, create resources, and advocate for folk arts in
education. Both directors will continue to co-edit the flagship publication
of Local Learning: The Journal of Folklore and Education, a digital peer
reviewed publication for interdisciplinary, multimedia approaches to
community-based teaching, learning, and cultural stewardship.

In support of this transition, the Board of Directors of Local Learning
issued this statement, “We embrace the expertise and visionary leadership
that Lisa will bring to the organization in a time when the relevance and
resilience of folklore and education is more important than ever. We have
full confidence that Lisa will continue Local Learning’s commitment to
traditional culture and local knowledge as a way to transform learning,
build inter-cultural understanding, and create stronger communities.”

Local Learning began as the National Task Force for Folk Arts in Education
during a 1993 national folk arts roundtable at the National Endowment for
the Arts. Today, the core activities and programs of Local Learning provide
services to the field of Folk Arts in Education and support practitioners.
We convene with other national arts service organizations to ensure folk
arts’ presence in national conversations and participate in the crafting of
national policy and advocacy initiatives.  We offer technical assistance,
circulate news of the field through a variety of media and platforms, and
provide professional development for educators, folk artists, and
folklorists. Our publication, the Journal of Folklore and Education,
publishes work representing ethnographic approaches that tap the knowledge
and life experience of students, their families, community members, and
educators in K-16, higher education, museum, and community education.

The Local Learning Board
Betty Belanus, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Linda Deafenbaugh, Philadelphia Folklore Project
Mike Knoll, HistoryMiami
Maida Owens, Louisiana Diversion of the Arts
Anne Pryor, Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture
Steve Zeitlin, City Lore

You may reach Lisa Rathje at lisa@locallearningnetwork.org
Paddy Bowman may be reached at pbowman@locallearningnetwork.org

Also, please consider supporting the work of Local Learning at this exciting time
with a donation to support the legacy that Paddy Bowman has nurtured
through 25 years of dedication to the field of folklore in education and to
congratulate Lisa Rathje on her new position. See www.locallearningnetwork.org/donate