Barbara Gilles

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Country: USA

Barbara Gilles, an educational innovator, was honored in 1999 as a Teacher of the Year by President Clinton,[1] and in 2004 as a Teacher of the World by the World Network of Religious Futurists and the Stuart C. Dodd Institute for Social Innovation. She is presently the Director of Educational Innovation with the Stuart C. Dodd Institute in Seattle, WA.

Early Days

Barbara Ray was born during World War II in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the middle daughter of three girls. Her family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1946 when her father became chairman of the Botany Department at the University of Nebraska. Her mother earned a degree in home economics and enjoyed homemaking, a highlight of which was making chili dinners for the foreign exchange students in her husband's graduate classes.

Barbara's family values of community, educational excellence, dialogue and curiosity blended with a lifestyle of outdoor activities, especially with her grandparents. This opened Barbara's heart to seeing the goodness in all, being of service to humanity and developing a strong connection to the earth.

Teaching Career

She began her teaching career in an outdoor school near Istanbul, Turkey when she was a teenager. Barbara joined the Peace Corps after graduating from college with a degree in education and taught 6th grade in Kolahun, Liberia. Her life passions were clear: children, earth and civilization building. She loved teaching all ages and subjects, especially outdoor education.

Personal Life

In l964 she married her Peace Corps sweetheart Lee. They had a wonderful adventuresome life and family--two boys and a girl--and today they also enjoy five grandchildren.


Most recently she co-authored her first book with Dr. Richard Kirby, Nurturing Civilization Builders: Birthing the Best Schools in the World.[2]


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