JACOB HUNDT — Founder, Director, & Faculty
Jacob Hundt played a central role in the founding of Thoreau College in 2015 and now serves as Executive Director, as Board Member, as a Faculty member leading courses in literature, philosophy, and sustainable agriculture. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin and was one of the founding students of the Youth Initiative High School. He studied and gathered inspiration for transformation in higher education at Deep Springs College, the American University in Bulgaria, and the University of Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, earning a BA in History and an MA in Social Sciences. Since 2004, he has worked as a trained Waldorf high school teacher and guidance counselor at Youth Initiative High School and was a founding board member and instructor of the Driftless Folk School. Jacob is passionate about the importance of the liberal arts for our civilization and motivated to create a model that enables students to freely choose a post-secondary education dedicated to the cultivation of thinking, feeling, and willing.
ROBERT (KARP) KARBELNIKOFF — Faculty & Board President
Robert (Karp) Karbelnikoff, M.Ed. is an educator, writer, consultant and entrepreneur informed by the insights of the philosopher and social activist Rudolf Steiner. Robert is the former Executive Director of the Biodynamic Association and of Practical Farmers of Iowa and is the founder of New Spirit Farmland Partnerships, which helps organic and other conservation minded farmers secure long-term access to farmland by facilitating partnerships with social investors. Recently published articles by Robert include Agriculture and the Sacred, published in Journeys and Awakenings: Wisdom for Spiritual Travelers and A New American Revolution? Associative Economics and the Future of the Food Movement published in Free, Equal and Mutual: Rebalancing Society for the Common Good. Thanks to a spiritual awakening when he was 18, it took Robert 10 years to secure a bachelor’s degree; a challenge he hopes to help the next generation navigate more gracefully through his involvement with Thoreau College. Learn more about Robert at robertkarp.net.
FRANCISZKA VOELTZ – Faculty & Dean of Students
Franciszka Voeltz is a poet, educator, and land tend-er. Their pedagogy has been shaped by living and working in rural and urban collectives, growing and preserving food, leading community-based writing workshops, providing humanitarian aid, and studenting/teaching in academia. Guided by the work of bell hooks, June Jordan and Dr. K. Wayne Yang, Voeltz is committed to bringing the work of living writers from marginalized backgrounds into the classroom. Voeltz earned an MFA in Writing from the University of California, San Diego and is the recipient of poetry fellowships from Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Santa Fe Art Institute, Brush Creek Arts Foundation and Art Farm. Their most recent chapbook 8 AUGUST is available from Iron Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. More here: franciszkavoeltz.com
DAVE PUIG — Solos and Wilderness Expeditions
Dave Puig has been a wilderness instructor for fourteen years, leading expeditions in the desert, the Arctic, the wondrous Northwoods, and into the minds of authors, social critics, and high school students. He developed the expedition-based Land Ethics Curriculum at Youth Initiative High School which challenges students to see their own growth in reciprocity with their peers, those they see as different from themselves, and the earth. He also builds houses and lives on his wife’s family farm where they are embarking on the incredible journey of parenthood!
ARWYN WILDINGWAY — Director of Thoreau’s Garden
Arwyn Wildingway teaches gardening and greenhouse management as the director and leading light of the Thoreau’s Garden Greenhouse enterprise . She is a mother and step-mother of five young adults, partner of artist Frank Wildingway, and long-time employee of the Viroqua Food Co-op. Before moving to Viroqua in 2004, she was a carpenter, market gardener, and homeschooler on a central Pennsylvania homestead. Loving all plants, she has started the Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School garden, initiated the building of the attached PRWS greenhouse, and helped PRWS take over running the Growing for Good greenhouse and spring garden center, before transitioning this enterprise to the stewardship of Thoreau College. As a Wisconsin Master Gardener for over 10 years, her passion for sharing plant wisdom has actualized in hundreds of hours of community service. Ask her a plant question, and watch her light up!
LIZ FRANKLIN – Driftless Folk School Registrar
Liz Franklin is the Registrar of the Driftless Folk School and has also been a Thoreau College Board member since 2017. Liz and her family moved to Viroqua in 1993. Since that time she has served on the Board of Trustees and the Development staff at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School, and as Development Officer and Administrator at the Youth Initiative High School. She was a founding Board member of the Viroqua Food Co-op, and currently serves on the board of the Threshold Care Circle. Liz sees the impulse behind Thoreau College as a profoundly practical response to the deep and urgent questions of the rising generation.