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Leadership Team

Team & Contact   Scholar Advisors   Board of Directors   Contact Sojourn

FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

Jeff Steinberg  founded Sojourn to the Past is 1999 and continues as the lead educator on the ten-day academic immersion journeys. He retired from a 14-year career as an AP History teacher/Department Chair in the San Francisco Bay Area to work full time with Sojourn. He has designed the Sojourn moving classroom experience with a rigorous curriculum for students that is aligned with California and national curriculum content standards.  Since its inception, Mr. Steinberg  has led over six thousand students through Sojourn’s living history lesson, along the path of the Civil Rights Movement, through five states in the American South. Currently, Sojourn to the Past is active throughout California, in New York, Ohio, and Massachusetts. Additionally, Mr. Steinberg makes hundreds of interactive presentations annually across the country on the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement and their relationship to current human rights issues and conditions. Upwards of 300,000 people have participated in his presenations. Mr. Steinberg and the Sojourn Program are the recipients of numerous state and national honors and awards. To contact Mr. Steinberg: Jeff@sojournproject.com

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER 

Ethel Konopka was a founding Board member of Sojourn to the Past. She retired from a thirty-three year career in education as a leader in both administration and teaching during which she held positions in a large, diverse high school district in the San Francisco Bay Area including as a principal and an Associate Superintendent.  Her administrative career was focused on designing and facilitating a variety of multi-agency programs by collaborating with law enforcement, probation, the clergy, nonprofit service agencies and the business community to build and support student resiliency, including summits for African American and Latino families.  She is a recognized authority on the cycle of gang violence, safety, violence, and crisis prevention. Currently, Ms. Konopka is a member of the Adjunct Faculty in the College of Education at San Francisco State University where she lectures in the Equity Leadership Studies and Instructional Technologies Department. Her relationship with SFSU and with Sojourn resulted in her being awarded a Fellowship from Wellesley College to receive training in Wellesley’s internationally recognized SEED program (Seeking Education, Equity, and Diversity) which she has incorporated into a seminar series at SFSU. Ms. Konopka was appointed to the San Francisco Community Courts program where she serves as an adjudicator and is a member of San Francisco City Guides. Ms. Konopka has lectured at many local and international forums for educators and community agencies. Her pursuit of safe and respectful school environments as the necessary foundation for motivating student success garnered for her local, state, and national recognition including being honored as Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators. To contact Ms. Konopka ethel@sojournproject.com

SUPPORT TEAM

Steve Schulz is a graduate in US History from the University of San Francisco. His position with the Sojourn organization encompasses a multitude of responsibilities including management of all aspects of technology related to Sojourn’s mobile classroom presentations and immersion journeys; website maintenance; data bases; and social media. Steve supervises the work of college interns working for the program and his extensive background in history lends itself to the curriculum side of Sojourn including some teaching on the journeys as well as serving as an advisor to students who wish to pursue the college credit component associated with their participation in Sojourn. To contact Mr. Schulz: steve@sojournproject.com

Elizabeth Klein is a graduate in Politics from the University of San Francisco, with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies. In the past Elizabeth has traveled to Israel to study conflict analysis and transformation. Her position with the Sojourn organization focuses on research and analysis encompassing key areas in the delivery of the Sojourn program including student and program assessment, grant research, and clerical support to the logistics component of the immersion journeys. To contact Ms. Klein: beth@sojournproject.com

Nancy Ann Kraus has several decades of experience in the field of public affairs, public relations, and project management supporting the mission and goals of non-profit organizations whose focus is on the welfare of youth and social justice. Her areas of leadership to the Sojourn team include grant writing and implementation; developing and strengthening relationships with local, state and national leaders and organizations; enhancing outreach to schools; and media relations. To contact Ms. Kraus: nancy@sojournproject.com

 

SPEAKERS ON THE TEN-DAY JOURNEYS

Key to the living history component of the Sojourn academic immersion journeys are the ten lecturers who meet and offer historical insight to the subject matter based on their personal experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. Among these are US Congressman John Lewis (young leader during the Movement); Minnijean Brown Trickey and Elizabeth Eckford (Little Rock Nine); MacArthur Genius Award recipient Jerry Mitchell (whose investigative reporting brought to justice the murderers of civil rights leaders); Rev. Billy Kyles (close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr).; the family of Vernon Dahmer Sr. (who was murdered for registering people to vote); the McNair Family (whose daughter was killed in the Klan bombing of the
16th St. Baptist Church while she was in  Sunday School). For the complete roster of speakers, click here.

I've never gained so much courage or confidence or determination to do something about the injustice I see before. I learned so many important things in history and that related to my life such as Elizabeth Eckford's quote, 'Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
-Serena, student
 

Civil Rights Resource Center