Next Generation Parenting and Brave New Leaders
are endeavors of
The Next Generation Parenting and Brave New Leaders websites are the product of a collaborative effort on the part of like-minded individuals who desire to create a more peaceful, a more kind and a more compassionate world through a focused attention on parenting and education. During these dynamically changing times, parents and educators will require fresh, creative ways to prepare our youth to meet the demands of this ever-changing world. These efforts include an awareness of the need for parenting assistance, a focus on teaching parenting skills, new approaches in our educational system, supporting the goals of the next generation of parents, and nurturing the leadership qualities in our teens and youth.
The Team, The Leaders and The All-Around Good Folks
Marion Elizabeth Witte, Editor In Chief
Marion Witte was born and raised on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota. It was there that she acquired her Midwestern work ethic and her philosophy of helping others. Marion enjoyed a successful career as a CPA and an entrepreneur, and upon selling her various business interests she began pursuing a life of philanthropy. She is passionate and outspoken about the need for radical changes in the way we view children and parenting. Her memoir Little Madhouse on the Prairie relays the story of her life, and it is the basis of her commitment to this work. She founded and manages the Angel Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization with a vision that “All Children Deserve a Safe and Just World.”
Melissa J. Murphy, Senior Contributing Writer
Melissa Murphy is in the business of building self-esteem, instilling confidence, and restoring hope in those who have given up on life. She is currently completing her degree in psychology, and she has worked as a life coach and faith-based counselor for more than a decade. By bringing her personal life experiences into her work, Melissa is able to help others survive their wounds, heal their pain, and live a life of success despite having incurred overwhelming emotional scars. For the last few years, she has discovered the joys of writing and has published a growing number of articles. Melissa currently resides in the Houston area with her husband and her two wonderful children.
Lori Swanson, Certified Health Counselor and Community Service Advisor
Lori Swanson is a busy mom and community volunteer who loves feeding her family good food to support their best health and wellness. Ms. Swanson studied Nutrition and Dietetics at California State University at Los Angeles and has rounded out her knowledge as a Certified Health Counselor at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She currently serves as President-Elect for National Charity League of Ventura County, a national program where mothers and daughters serve their local communities together. Lori’s professional goal is to help her clients achieve their unique health goals around nutrition and wellness.
Jacqueline Kaden, Teen Advisor
Jackie Kaden is an artist in every sense of the word. She’s formally studied such subjects ranging from acting, photography and creative writing to figure-drawing, 2D design, painting, and digital media. In addition she is currently working on her second novel, I Hate Washing Spoons. Jackie plans to attend UCLA and study Design and Art History in hopes of becoming an Art Director for Film and Television. Her motto is: “Imagine yourself doing what you love and loving what you do, being happy from the inside out, experiencing your dreams wide awake, being creative, being unique, being you- changing things to the way you know they can be, living the life you always imagined.”
Brian McDonald, Creative Arts Director
Brian McDonald is passionate about the need for our young people to be able to express their thoughts, views and opinions. He currently serves as the Education and Outreach Director for the Rubicon Theatre Company, where he is the founder and program director of the Summer Youth Program Intensive. He is a BFA graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music, Dance and Theatre and he appeared in the National Tours of Miss Saigon and Forever Plaid. Brian’s other acting credits include Room Service, Gifts of the Magi, Master Harold and the Boys, You Never Can Tell, Grease, Saturday Night, The Importance of Being Earnest and Man of La Mancha. In addition, Brian is a professional theatrical director, for which his work has received several awards.
Patricia Strickland, Educational Advisor
Patricia Strickland currently heads the Theater Department at a private high school in California. Patti has a passion for empowering youth, and she is committed to the idea that teaching children to think creatively and globally is a critical element needed in order to foster the skills that will maintain economic competitiveness in tomorrow’s marketplace. She is currently exploring methods to introduce more emotional and artistic literacy into the educational system, working enthusiastically with fellow educators to create cross-curricular projects. Patti is an accomplished actress and director, is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and holds a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies from NYIT and a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University.
Dr. Sarasue Spielman, Parenting Consultant
Dr. Sarasue Spielman learned a lot about the theories of child development while she was obtaining her Doctorate in Psychology. In truth, she states, it was through her experiences raising six children where she came to really understand how children learn and grow. Sarasue holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership. She obtained her Doctorate in Psychological Counseling at LaSalle University. She has worked in a variety of educational environments, including serving as a Project Director for one of California’s First Five Commissions. She is currently an Adjunct Professor, teaching in the California Community College system.
Elizabeth Rojas Brooks, Content Advisor
Elizabeth Brooks is currently finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, in addition to completing an addiction counseling certification program. Beth will be pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Work at USC, and then looks forward to obtaining a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology. Because of her own background, Beth has developed a level of compassion and understanding for the less fortunate, the wounded and the misunderstood. Her journey to recover from her own past has led her to pursue her passion – helping others who have had similar experiences. Beth’s goal is to work in the area of violence and abuse prevention and addiction recovery.
Amanda Davis, Teen Advisor
Amanda Davis is a typical teenage girl who enjoys painting, writing and shopping. When she is not busy doing homework or reading, you may find her watching TV or hanging out with her friends. Amanda is part of a gifted student program at her high school, and she lives in Florida with her parents. She is also a contributor to the Ask Amy column on the Brave New Leaders website.