Our Team

 

Our team is composed of individuals with expertise in education, creative problems-solving, conceptual development, group facilitation, strategic planning, partnership development, community building and fundraising. Our vast knowledge and complimentary set of skills, coupled with a shared belief in young people’s natural ability to learn and create, serve as the foundation upon which NC will continually grow.

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PROGRAMS / SERVICES

WHO WE ARE

Leadership & Board of Directors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Bergson

Co-Founder, President of the Board of Trustees, Co-director and Lead Facilitator

 

After two years as Primary Teacher at The Early Learning Center in Stamford, Connecticut, Peter Bergson co-founded Open Connections, Inc. in the Philadelphia suburbs in 1975 with his wife, Susan Shilcock (d. 2005) and was executive director of its non-profit resource center until his retirement in 2009. He continues to serve on the OC board’s development committee and is chair of its advisory board. He co-founded Natural Creativity in 2015 in order to bring the same principles of self-directed learning and partnership education to inner city Philadelphia. He has served as Chair of Lifecycle WomanCare in Bryn Mawr and self-published two books: Open Connections: The OTHER Basics, and Spaces for Children: Work/Play Environments for Home and School. He has also been a creative process consultant for forty-five years, first as director of training for Synectics, Inc. and later self-employed. He is the father of four grown unschoolers and grandfather to six more. In addition to having primary responsibility for the teen group at The Natural Creativity Center, Peter is in charge of fundraising and general administration. 

 

 

 

Christopher Steinmeier

Co-director & Lead Facilitator

 

Chris Steinmeier earned his MSEd (2008) and EdD (2014) in Educational Leadership from University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PennGSE). While enrolled at PennGSE, he worked with several research teams across a range of topics, including facilitating citizen forums on issues confronting Philadelphia residents, measuring the impact of augmented reality devices on informal learning environments, and exploring issues of power and authority in local public schools. His dissertation and pilot research addressed the experiences of non-religious homeschoolers, and aided in his building relationships with current homeschoolers across the city and into the suburbs. Chris’s teaching career has included Montessori schools, a juvenile justice program focused on group therapy and restorative justice, multiple Masters-level classes around issues facing urban schools, and a number of individual classes and summer camps focused on the arts, science, poetry, chess, and music production. He has also spent the last 6 years in an educational non-profit, where he developed a program for urban public middle school students. Chris served as Program Director, where he oversaw program implementation and strategic planning for six schools, serving 2500 students and leading professional development of 200 teachers. At the Natural Creativity Center, Chris is the Lead Facilitator of the program for four to twelve year olds and is our Director of Programs.

 

 

Robert Weidner

Vice-president of the Board of Trustees and Treasurer

 

Bob is a seasoned healthcare industry and not-for-profit expert and project manager with over 25 years of experience in healthcare operations in both consulting and non-consulting positions. His current work is with an internationally renowned University Health System, Penn Medicine. A significant strength of Bob’s is the ability to develop strategic plans, implement those plans with superior results, and continuously improve operations. He is certified in Six Sigma techniques and a certified PMP. his education includes an MBA from Temple University. His undergraduate BS with a major in Finance is from Philadelphia University. Bob is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area having grown up in northeast Philly, and currently lives in Delaware County, a suburb of Philadelphia. He is married with two grown boys.

 

Diane Cornman-Levy

Co-founder and Board Member

 

Diane Cornman-Levy is a community activist, healthcare professional, educator, and non-profit leader who has had more than 30 years of experience designing and implementing innovative approaches to building the capacity of youth, families, adults and communities, with the overall goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. Prior to helping launch The Natural Creativity Center, she was the Executive Director of the Federation of Neighborhood Centers, a non-profit organization that provides health and human services to more than 35,000 disadvantaged individuals per year. In January 2017, she became the Executive Director of Women’s Way, the leading funding, advocacy and education organization for women in the Greater Philadelphia region.

 

 

Majeedah Rashid

Member, Board of Directors

Majeedah Rashid joined the Nicetown Community Development Corporation while studying community economic development from a resident driven perspective at Southern New Hampshire University’s Community Economic Development Masters (CED) Program. In 2002, she helped secure the first OHCD contract to establish the Nicetown CDC Neighborhood Advisory Committee, (NTCDC/NAC) delivering vital services to low-moderate income residents in 15 census tracts. In 2003, Ms. Rashid was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of the NTCDC, responsible for managing operations of NTCDC projects and programs. Working with the community, Ms. Rashid focuses on identifying the true needs and conditions of Nicetown, to justify the NTCDC’s programs and projects. In 2009, Majeedah was the catalyst to securing a 10-year $1,000,000 partnership with Comcast, with the City’s CDC Tax Credit Program. In 2013, the NTCDC gained recognition for excellence in community development from the Philadelphia Association of CDC’s, (PACDC) for their Nicetown Court I & II developments. These developments yield 87 affordable rental housing units, and 6,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in the transit oriented gateway of the historic Wayne Junction train station. She was recently appointed by Mayor Michael A. Nutter to serve on the Board of the Philadelphia Land Bank. She is a Board member of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and also serves on the Temple University Construction Oversight Committee, City- Wide NAC Alliance, and the Warren E. Smith Behavioral Health System Advisory Board.

 

Randall Vicks

Member, Board of Directors

Randall Vicks is and has been a teacher for the past 42 years.  It has always been his goal to help both students and their families to navigate the educational system and ultimately improve their lives.  He has worked in a number of different capacities in the public sector, the non-profit arena, and for-profit educational institutions.  Special Education has been his main focus throughout his career and he has also been a Parent Educator and University Instructor.  

 

Ibrahim Isa Long

Intern

Isa began working with Peter Bergson as a four-year-old youth at Open Connections in 2002. His family later moved to Atlanta where he continued as a homeschooler for many years. He attended Philadelphia public schools after returning to the area until his mother learned of the opening of Natural Creativity and began to explore it for her younger son, Yahya. Isa began visiting NC regularly in the spring of 2016 when he showed a pronounced ability to connect with youth of all ages. After expressing a strong desire to learn more about the NC approach, Isa was offered the positon of Intern and began training for the position immediately and throughout the summer. Meanwhile, he has continued to pursue his interests in music, literature and politics while making plans to begin taking courses at community college.

 

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Natural Creativity Center: First United Methodist Church of Germantown

6001 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144  |  Tel.: (888) 208-0576

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