Meet Charlotte Mason: One of Our Earliest Supporters

21 January 2014

Charlotte MasonPrimary Source got its start when two visionary educators committed themselves to making sure teachers had a deep knowledge of a variety of cultures. The very first summer institute back in 1989 attracted sixteen teachers, and Charlotte Mason was there both as presenter and participant. Currently a visiting researcher at Boston University and a writer on China's education system, Charlotte fondly remembers her earlier days as a teacher attending Primary Source programs. "The entire organization has such an immense respect for teachers – something that is missing from many of the professional development opportunities out there," says Charlotte. "Teachers need to stay connected with the mission of Primary Source throughout their careers." We sat down with Charlotte to learn more about her Primary Source experiences.

How did you get involved with Primary Source?
As co-director of the Newton/Beijing Jingshan School Exchange Program, I often accompanied groups of high school students and teachers abroad and I really wanted to deepen my knowledge of China and its culture. I attended one of the very first courses ever offered by Primary Source and I was hooked. The scholar-based teacher training and peer collaboration that made that first course so outstanding is the same model used today. I was honored to return frequently to present in subsequent summer institutes. When I became director of the China Exchange Initiative (CEI), an organization created to bolster Asia in the curriculum nationally, we knew we had to reach school leaders with our mission. We focused on sending district administrators abroad and when they returned, our number one recommendation was simple: send your teachers to Primary Source!

What inspires you about Primary Source and the work we do?
Being an early participant of Primary Source programs has given me a unique perspective in that I've witnessed how the organization elevates educators. They do this by profoundly respecting the profession, by creating lively, timely and relevant scholar-based content, and by providing an environment that supports peer connections and collaboration.

What motivates you to give both your time and philanthropic dollars?
I think I speak for most when I say that donors want to know that their gift is going to make a difference. Many wonder: how much of my donated money will go directly to the work of the organization? I can say that Primary Source does so much with the funds they receive. They need donor support and they waste none of it. As a supporter from the very beginning, I have always been encouraged by this and I hope others will be encouraged to do the same.



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