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Board of Trustees

Marsha Familaro Enright

PRESIDENT, FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD LEAD INSTRUCTOR

Marsha became riveted with the problems of education when, as a child, she found herself in love with learning and school while surrounded by other children who were miserable. This was a mystery to her and she did not want such misery to befall her future children. It led her on a life-long quest for effective and enjoyable education.

She went on to earn a BA in biology at Northwestern University and an MA in psychology from The New School for Social Research.

During college, she discovered the ideas and methods of Maria Montessori which presented ingenious and psychologically effective means of creating a happy hotbed of learning for young students. In 1990, Marsha founded Council Oak Montessori Elementary School as a place for her own children to learn.

With this project, Marsha took the idea for a new elementary school in March of 1990, to the opening of the school with a first class of 17 students and a full staff in September 1990. The school reached an enrollment of 75 a few years later, and successfully continues to this day with about 100 students ages three to fourteen years old. In the October 2006 and 2011 issues of Chicago Magazine, Council Oak was named one of the top 25 private elementary schools in Chicago.

As Marsha’s expertise in education grew, so did her concern and discontent with higher education. She saw more and more students graduating from college unequipped to think for themselves and lacking important knowledge and life skills, as well as the most basic understanding of what is necessary for a fully free society. Most frighteningly, these included many students from the ‘best’ universities in the U.S. such as Harvard, the University of Chicago, and Stanford. Marsha was alarmed at the problems and unhappiness caused by these developments, as well as the threat they pose for civil society.

At this point, equipped with considerable breadth and depth of knowledge about the most effective means of education and fearful of the grip that collectivism in all its forms had on higher education, Marsha became convinced that the country needed a higher education program, dedicated to reason, individualism and a fully free society. She initiated the development of the project and the search for other team members.

Marsha writes on topics from current events to neuropsychology; see www.marsha-familaro-enright.com.

Marsha resides in Chicago, Illinois.

 

John Joseph Enright, IV

MEMBER, BOARD OF TRUSTEES INSTRUCTOR

John Enright IV is a playwright and IT consultant who resides in Chicago. He is the author of four full-length plays which have been produced in Chicago. Two of them, O’Brien & O’Brian and All Mixed UP have received off-off-Broadway Festival runs in New York. He does some acting and is a former member of an improv troupe. Many of his ten-minute plays have received festival performances, including Space Cat Graduation, which was included at the Heartland Theatre’s 10-minute play festival in the Summer of 2017. He has published two books of poetry: Starbound (1995), and More Fire (2006), and more recently his verse has appeared in Think Journal (2010). He posts amusing rhymes to the internet daily, on Facebook and on his blog, a practice that was featured in an article in the Chicago Tribune in 2015. He is also the author of a novel, Unholy Quest (2004).

His nonfiction articles include:

“What Is Poetry?”, published in Objectively Speaking, Volume 2, Number 2.
“Ascent to Volitional Consciousness,” published in Objectivity, Volume 1, Number 2.
“Art: What a Concept,” published in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Volume 2, Number 2.

At Great Connections, he has taught sessions featuring Poetry and Improv.

 

Malachy Walsh

MEMBER, BOARD OF ADVISORS WRITING INSTRUCTOR

Malachy is a brand builder and storyteller who has helped create innovative and profitable marketing programs for over forty Fortune 500 brands.

Mr. Walsh spent some 25 years at J. Walter Thompson serving as Senior Partner, Director of Strategy and Head of the Account Planning Department. Malachy holds a BA in Philosophy and Economics from Georgetown, an MA in Literature from DePaul, and remains a perennial Ph.D candidate at the University of Chicago. As a student of Richard McKeon, Malachy champions Great Books programs at any opportunity and leads a Great Books Discussion Group in Chicago.

 

Jim Kandrac

MEMBER, BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Jim Kandrac is the President and Founder of UCG Technologies in Independence, Ohio. Jim graduated from Cleveland State University with a BBA in marketing. After graduate school, Jim interned at IBM and spent several years in a corporate role at another firm. However, Jim trusted his entrepreneurial instincts and started UCG in 1987 at 26 years old.

UCG Technologies specializes in the IBM iSeries. Products and services include IBM i Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery; Enterprise Security Training; and IBM POWER8 Systems. UCG’s IBM i Cloud Backup & Disaster Recovery solution is featured in IBM’s Global Solutions Directory.

Jim and his wife Pamela live in Brecksville, Ohio and have two adult daughters, Kristin and Lauren.

 

Sable Levy

MEMBER, BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Sable Levy is a student of mathematics at St. Edward’s University, in Austin, Texas, where she works as a math tutor.  She is also the Director of Socratic Programs at the Texas Millennial Institute, which she helped found.

She attended the Great Connections Seminar in 2012, and has been involved as a student, and facilitator, ever since.  Now an avid proponent of Socratic Practice, she credits the seminar with changing her life by empowering her to think deeper and more clearly about ideas and the world around her.

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