My name is Ted Wachtel. I started working on this website in late 2015, a few months into my so-called retirement.
I had completed most of my responsibilities in the transition to my successor, John Bailie, the second president at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), an accredited master’s degree-granting school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., where I was founder and first president.
I say “so-called” retirement, because I’m only 70 and I’m not dead yet. My dad died in 2014, a couple of months short of his 100th birthday, and my mom was 91 when she passed. In light of my parents’ longevity, I hope I’ll have time for at least a couple more projects.
My life might be described as a series of projects, some short-lived, but many ongoing:
Experiments, Prototypes, Working Models, Demonstration Programs
Since my graduation from Miami University (Ohio) in December 1967, I and various colleagues—often working with my wife, Susan—have organized projects to try out our ideas in the real world, through experiments, prototypes, working models and demonstration programs.
Of course, some of the projects did not work out the way I had hoped. But as a pragmatist, I know that I can learn as much from my failures as my successes. For each project, you ask the questions: “What works? What doesn’t? How? And why?” After which, you can apply the new knowledge and understanding to your next efforts.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The most powerful and useful approach to learning is direct experience. It requires a willingness to fail and look foolish. But if you have thoughtfully considered your project and see enough value in it, you take a chance and leap into the fray of life.
1 – Local voter registration and political campaigns (1970 – ongoing)
2 – School district-wide multimedia center for AV, TV and libraries (1970-1980s)
3 – Educational multi-media “Sensory Experience Room” and related slide shows (1970s)
4 – Individualized audiovisual secondary school “American Culture” course (mid-1970s)
5 – Educational sound filmstrip rental company (1973-1974)
6 – High school student-run local access cable television station (mid 1970s-1980s)
7 – County government reform referendum, slide show and related research (1973-1975)
8 – Toughlove parent support groups and related books (1979-1983)
9 – Elementary and secondary private academic alternative schools and related building construction projects (1977-ongoing)
10 – Group homes for delinquent and at-risk youth and related building construction projects (early 1980s-ongoing)
11 – Drug and alcohol treatment programs (early 1980s-ongoing)
12 – Day treatment programs (mid-1980s-ongoing)
13 – Workplace restorative practices implementation (1980s-ongoing)
14 – Natural food co-operative store (early 1980s)
15 – Organic mini-farm (early 1980s)
16 – Geodesic greenhouse (early 1980s)
17 – Geodesic home and alternative septic system (early 1980s-ongoing)
18 – Solar envelope house design (1979-1981)
19 – Passive solar housing development (1979-ongoing)
20 – Local conservancy for voluntary rural open land protection (1992-ongoing)
21 – Book publishing company (1992-ongoing)
22 – Computerized telephone referendum voting system (1992-1994) and related book and media tour
23 – “Real Justice” training programs for schools and courts (1994-ongoing) and related books and videos
24 – Restorative practices training organizations in multiple countries & related books & videos (1994-ongoing)
25 – International restorative practices conferences, websites and eForum (1998-ongoing)
26 – Whole school restorative practices implementation program and related research (1999-ongoing)
27 – Accredited master’s degree-granting graduate school (2000-ongoing)
28 – Special education licensing for multiple schools (early 2000s-ongoing)
29 – Management and consulting company (2004-ongoing)
30 – Si Lewen art collection and museum (2006-ongoing)
31 – College campus residential life restorative practices implementation program (2009-ongoing). See related book at right.
32 – Residential solar electricity project (2011-ongoing)
33 – Building a New Reality website (2015-ongoing)
NOTE: I am currently working on three prototypes that my colleagues and I hope to build and evaluate, with the support of those who share my concerns about governance, enterprise and learning.
34 – True Representation (2017-ongoing)
True Representation is an experiment in governance built on RP principles. “True Representation” advocates for election by lottery and other forms of direct democracy.
35 – GLIA (proposed)
GLIA (Global Local Investment Association) is a proposed experimental non-profit association, guided by restorative principles, that fosters investment in globally aware, ethical local corporations. The global association will ultimately be based on local membership chapters.
36 – Threshold (proposed)
Threshold is a proposed non-profit or certified B/benefit corporation dedicated to building a non-graded, non-school lifelong learning system — an approach first proposed in an article by Kenneth Silber in 1972. Threshold will develop non-graded, participatory experiences for independent learners, homeschoolers and for schools that foster self-directed learning.