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« 9. On the Train From Pathankot to Rishikesh | Main | It's all about the feeling for me »

An Interview with Ward Malliard, Teacher, Educator, and Founder of Mount Madonna Center in Santa Cruz, California


"You don't teach curiosity, but you create the context in which it's important to show up. Because staying curious is the best way to learn, it's the best way for self-development, and curiosity is connected with compassion. When you judge people there's no compassion in it, but when you're curious about people there's a possibility of understanding who they are." – Ward Malliard

Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz SentinelToday I got a chance to talk to Ward Malliard. Malliard is part teacher, part scholar, part general, part coach, and part subversive, all in the name of educating not just tomorrow’s students, but tomorrow’s citizens.

He is a teacher not just by profession, but perhaps by archetype; a learned man steeped in the theories and art of pedagogy. It’s my personal belief that a man of his mind and intellect should be in the upper echelons of the educational system, but instead he has chosen to affect change at the most leveraged part of the system, directly with the students.

Speaking of—his former students have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, educators, leading global scientists, and powerful change agents in various social arenas. In addition to his former students, one of hiscurrent students has become a Gates scholar, an academic grant that pays for college, graduate school, and a post-graduate degree.

Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz SentinelA few days ago I was privileged enough to tag along with Malliard and his senior high school class from Mount Madonna School in Santa Cruz, California, a class of just 15 students. Over the course of his career in teaching, Malliard’s students have interviewed leading global thinkers and world leaders across several continents, and during this trip alone, his class has interviewed Timothy Roemer, U.S. Ambassador to India, Mani Shankar Aiyar, a member of the upper house of parliament, Samdong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Rinchen Kandho, head of the Tibetan Nuns Project, and His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama. His students were poised, intelligent, and mature, while at the same time they managed to retain the youth and innocence of adolescence. 

As the son of United States Congressman, he “went over the wall,” as he says, but never strayed too far from his upbringing. He is driven by political awareness and social service, yet at the root of it all is his desire to do good in the world and “to be on a journey that I don't know how it’s going to turn out.” Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz Sentinel

Additional links:
Mount Madonna Center
Mount Madonna School
Values in World Thought Web site
Blogs from the students during their travels
Project Happiness
More Photos by Shmuel Thaler

Music by:
Luna (I Love You Tracy)
Clem Snide (Chinese Baby)
Nick Drake (From the Morning)




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Reader Comments (5)

Great interview, Tim! I love that the thread between everything making a shift to working is that we STOP looking for compliance and get out there and speak up for what is important to us. Perhaps a little ironic, but the result we get is community - something that I think we intend to get when we're compliant.

May 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Breske

message for (Keyla, teacher in school october-november session ) i had an interaction with keyla in a collage party ,,,, want to know more about this ,,,,, contact me for this please,,,
please add me on face book by the same id

November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRahul

3rd girl in first row from left to right

November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRahul

this guy is a republican hiding as some spiritual master

August 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEducator

this guy is a republican hiding as some spiritual master

August 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEducator

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