Learning Has No Limits

Debra Glasberg Gail attended Sedona Charter School in its very early years. Her mother was one of the founding members and Debra was in the first class. Though she only had the opportunity to stay for three years before her family moved to Los Angeles, those years were incredibly formative.

Debra recalls that “the sense of freedom of learning that SCS provided inspired my curiosity and will forever remain with me.”  One of her favorite activities was a map game where students would have a limited amount of time to find a place in the world (a country or a city) on a map.  “I loved studying the map and competing against other students to challenge myself and see how quickly I could locate each place,” she exclaimed. Now as a teacher, Debra tries to think of similarly unconventional learning exercises that will excite her students.

One of her favorite teachers at Sedona Charter School was Michelle Price.  Michelle helped hone and develop Debra’s language skills at an early age, laying the foundation for her continued academic success.

After graduating from Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles, Debra attended Columbia College in New York City.  There she majored in history and fell so in love with the discipline that she decided to continue her studies and pursue an even higher academic path.

We are so pleased to report that Debra is our first alumnus to earn a doctoral degree. She completed her PhD in History at Columbia University in 2016.  Last year she had a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University and next academic year she will be a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.  Debra feels very fortunate to have received various academic fellowships and awards that funded her PhD studies and allowed her to travel to archives and libraries in Italy, Jerusalem and Paris.

“My time at Sedona Charter School really set the foundation for my desire to constantly explore and challenge my learning. From a very young age, the open classroom spaces, the unconventional subjects we studied, and the Montessori methods we used instilled in me the notion that learning has no limits. One should constantly question, probe, and challenge,” she advises. “I hope to continue to impart these lessons to my students.”

Debra and her family currently live in New York City.  “I’ve been here now for 13 years,” she added.  “When we lived in Sedona, my Mom would always tell me I was a ‘city mouse.’  She was definitely right!”  Debra plans to continue her academic path and hopes to find a professorship at a university.  She loves the research, writing, and teaching and feels a tenure track position at a university would be ideal.  In the meantime, she is very happy to continue doing what she loves in a postdoctoral capacity.

Debra is mother to a one-year-old boy and her time with him is her greatest joy.