As Hartwell’s term on News Decoder’s board concludes, we recognize her enduring contributions to our nonprofit and the world of education at large.
‘A teacher of kids’
When we sat down together a couple weeks ago, I asked Janet Hartwell the news headline of her life to date. She responded with certainty: “A teacher of kids.”
Throughout our 30 minutes together, I discovered that being an educator indeed runs in her blood, and has guided her personal and professional trajectory for decades.
Even now in retirement, Hartwell devotes much of her time to educational and youth empowerment organizations, including News Decoder and Blossom Hill, a small family foundation that works with children in conflict zones.
This May, as Janet Hartwell’s five-year term on News Decoder’s board comes to an end, we wish her well with deep gratitude for her commitment to growing young minds through global citizenship education.
From Head of School to Trustee
Hartwell’s involvement with News Decoder began years ago, when she was Head of School at Greens Farms Academy (GFA), a founding member of News Decoder’s academic network. With a vision to grow students’ world perspectives and global citizenship competencies, Hartwell embraced the opportunity to work with News Decoder and developed a complementary global studies program at GFA.
When Hartwell retired in 2018, she brought her educational expertise to our nonprofit by serving as a member of its Board of Trustees. News Decoder founder and president Nelson Graves looks back at his years-long relationship with Hartwell with high praise.
“Janet Hartwell is a consummate educator, and News Decoder is honored to have had her on its board for these past five years,” said Graves. “She has contributed so much through her wisdom and her understanding of the international educational landscape.”
Our Managing Director, Maria Krasinski, echoes these sentiments. “News Decoder is first and foremost an educational nonprofit, and we are fortunate to have had such an accomplished global educator among our advisors,” Krasinski said. “Janet has given so generously of her time and expertise and our educational programs are that much stronger for it.”
Teaching beyond borders
Before working with News Decoder, Hartwell spent much of her professional life traversing national boundaries. She began her teaching career in Scotland, then taught in Iran and Saudi Arabia before settling more permanently in the northeastern United States.
Teaching internationally shaped her commitment to global education and good teaching, which she describes as “developing a rapport and an empathy with students.”
“Good teaching is really understanding kids,” Hartwell said. “It’s really knowing them and working at getting to know them, as well as imparting knowledge and opening up their minds to many things. Developing their curiosity, developing their questioning.”
These international teaching experiences, coupled with an enduring desire to uplift children, have made Hartwell a cherished member of the News Decoder community — one that leaves big shoes to fill.
“It will be very difficult to find anyone who combines Janet’s solid educational credentials and innate grasp of the needs of students and teachers around the world,” said Graves. “We will miss her guidance, thank her and wish her the very best.”
Joyce Yang is News Decoder’s Programs & Communications Intern. She is a former classroom teacher passionate about equitable education access, intentional pedagogy and inclusive policy-making.