Staff and Board

PB8567MediumPaddy Bowman is founding director of Local Learning and co-edits the Journal of Folklore and Education. K-12 teachers, community scholars, and arts administrators around the nation have benefited from her ability to connect non-folklorists with our discipline. Her influential university courses and professional development training programs in folklore for educators around the country, implementation of model school-based projects, authorship of seminal publications, and development of online and off-line curricular materials have significantly extended the reach of folklore to hundreds of teachers and thousands of students throughout the United States. She co-edited Through the Schoolhouse Door: Folklore, Community, Curriculum (2011) and co-wrote a chapter in Folklife and Museums, She was awarded the 2013 American Folklore Society Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Public Folklore and in 2016 was named a Fellow of the American Folklore Society. She has an MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina.

Lisa Rathje is executive director of Local Learning. She has directed in- and out-of-school programs and written curricula for diverse learning environments. She co-edits the Journal of Folklore and Education. She has led presentations and workshops for educators on folklife and education for the Center for Integrated Arts Education, the Center for Schools and Communities conference, the Community Works Institute on service learning, and others. She also teaches Research Methods and Nonprofit and Cultural Partnerships in the Goucher College Masters in Cultural Sustainability Program. Publications include chapters in Through the Schoolhouse Door (2011) and Folklife and Museums (2016, with Paddy Bowman), as well as multiple film credits for a series produced by Dr. Juanamaria Cordones-Cook on Afro-Cuban writers and artists. She has a PhD in Folklore from the University of Missouri.

Local Learning Board

Anne Pryor, (Chair), is a public folklorist. She is an affiliate with the folklore program at UW-Madison, folklorist emerita of the Wisconsin Arts Board, and a co-founder of Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture. Pryor holds an MA and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Steve Zeitlin, (Treasurer) founding Director of City Lore, received his Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in literature from Bucknell University. He is coauthor of a number of award winning books and has served as a regular commentator for a number of nationally syndicated public radio shows. His commentaries have appeared on the Op Ed pages of The New York Times and Newsday.

Linda Deafenbaugh, (Secretary) coordinates folk arts education programs and research at the Philadelphia Folklore Project.  She has a PhD from the Social and Comparative Analysis in Education program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Betty J. Belanus holds an MA and PhD in Folklore from Indiana University. She has worked as a curator and education specialist at the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage since 1987. Her writing credits include a number of educational kits and resources for educators and students and the novel Seasonal.

Michael Knoll is a folklorist and Vice President of Curatorial Affairs at the Museum of HistoryMiami, where he oversees all exhibition work, the South Florida Folklife Center, Center for Photography, and Miami Stories initiative. He has an MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina.

Maida Owens is a folklorist at the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program and produced the award winning curriculum and website Louisiana Voices.