We are very pleased to introduce Lise Schickel Goddard, our new Interim Head of Semester School for Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki. Susan Feibelman, our outgoing Vice President of Schools, will be transitioning into retirement at the end of June, and we wish her a fond farewell.
We feel quite fortunate that Lise was able to join the team in February to spend time with faculty and the students of Semester 66, and experience the heart and soul of the Maine Coast Semester program directly. As the daily challenges of the pandemic slowly wind down, we are looking forward to a year of regrowth and recovery under Lise’s leadership, with the chance to integrate what we have learned and reclaim what we have lost.
In her role as the Interim Head of Semester School, Lise hopes to combine her passions, values, experiences, and love of place and community. Lise is thrilled to return home to Maine from California after 17 years as a teacher and school leader at Midland, a small rustic boarding school on almost 3,000 acres with a focus on college preparation and experiential learning. After starting her career in independent schools at St. Andrew’s School in Delaware, Lise has been drawn to schools of purpose that build character and community.
Lise is married to Jeff Goddard, a marine biologist, and naturalist. Their twin sons, Will and Ziggy (Maine Coast Semester 64) are cross-country runners on their ways to Bowdoin and Middlebury. Lise enjoys writing, hiking, skiing, fiber arts, and messing about in boats.
Please read below for a letter of greeting from Lise Goddard to the Chewonki community:
With gratitude and excitement, I thank Chewonki leaders for envisioning together a path for continuity and care of the learning community. I am deeply honored to serve as Interim Head of Semester School in 2021-2022. I look forward to joining a team that inspires transformative growth, appreciation, and stewardship of the natural world, and the building of thriving, sustainable communities. Now and in the landscape ahead, Chewonki’s mission remains its North Star, a guide for all we will do individually and together.
I feel a sense of wonder at this moment of congruence and alignment. For 17 years, I proudly served Midland School in California, a small boarding school on 2,860 acres with a Jobs Program and a farm—which, like Maine Coast Semester, is dedicated to college preparation, experiential learning, and responsibility to community and environment. I am called to serve mission-driven schools that STAND for something in the world, to lead daily operations, to articulate and amplify their story, and to align constituents around the mission. Having recently returned to our home in Maine after many good years in California in independent school leadership, I am ready to take the torch from Susan Feibelman and run the next leg of the journey in service of a program I have admired for years, want to learn from, and envision ways to support.
Chewonki has long held my imagination and heart. It was sparked by a summer afternoon visit when our twin boys were 5 years old and inspired over many years in shared orbits with Chewonki colleagues. Last winter, it was an honor to send our boys as Semester 64 students and gain a window into the power of Chewonki’s people and program. It seems fitting now to follow our boys after seeing first-hand the life lessons they learned during Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki.
Jeff, Will, Ziggy and Lise in Yosemite National Park
Although 2020 heralded a maelstrom of profound and ongoing challenges, I believe Chewonki is positioned to thrive; to model as a community the process it does so well with its students—to navigate new territory, embrace opportunities disguised as challenges, learn as we go, and make education REAL along the way. Chewonki’s legacy of commitment to place-based, experiential, and expeditionary education is a healing force in the American educational landscape. This legacy will only deepen and spread with committed engagement to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in audience, program, and operations. DEI is essential work. And, we are all essential workers.
Chewonki offers something of profound and lasting value. I am thrilled for this opportunity to both learn from and call forth the voices at Chewonki to increasingly offer life-transforming value to students in a world that needs healing.
Lise has a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford and an M.A. in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology from UCSB.
Demas, K., L. Goddard, C. Seals, C. Ting, and L. Willis. 2020. Strategic Board Design for a More Equitable Future. Aspiring Heads Action Research Project presented at the NAIS Conference.
Goddard, L. Fall 2019. Reimagining the School Schedule to Strategically Improve Programming and Student Well-being. Independent School Magazine.
Goddard, L. 2016. Midland ~ From strong roots grows a mighty oak: The Enduring Environmental Model of Midland School. Los Olivos, CA: Midland. 64 pp.
*This book provided grist and context for Ron Lieber’s 2016 New York Times article on Midland School
Goddard, L. Fall 2014. Putting the ‘I’ in Science: Science Education that Inspires Citizenship. Independent School Magazine.
Goddard, L. and J. Hahn. Spring 2012. Changing the Story: Making Renewable Energy Central to Learning. Independent School Magazine.