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The Lark: Vol 1, Issue 2, August 2021



One goal of The Lark is to feature articles about LLC personalities, the people who make LLC such a successful organization. Who better to be the focus of the first profile than Joe Fisler, President of LLC.

Joe Fisler

I was born on Staten Island, then a very rural borough of NYC, a few months before Pearl Harbor, and lived there for 50 years. After graduation from our local high school, I followed in my father’s footsteps to Brown University, where I majored in political science and captained the tennis team. Much later an Ed.D in school administration from Fordham University completed my formal education.

After serving two years in the US Army, I returned to Staten Island and started a 35 year career in public education, first as a teacher of social studies and economics. Subsequent challenges included 4 years as principal of the high school from which I’d graduated, another 4 years as superintendent of the high schools in Staten Island and Brooklyn, 2 years as chief of staff for NYC high schools and finally, 9 more years as superintendent for schools in Westwood NJ.

In February 1968, I met an attractive college senior who came to begin her student teaching assignment. Bobbi and I struck it off immediately, were engaged in May and married at the end of the term in June. Our honeymoon was a summer long road trip to the West, where we spent the first of four summers at the University of Colorado.

As our family grew, our daughters Kathi and Jodi shared our love of travel, and delighted in finding us campgrounds and mini golf courses as we explored the US and Canada. Both girls graduated from Williams College, and we fell in love with the Berkshires and enjoyed many adventures there, long after they had gone on to their careers.

After retiring, we relocated to Williamsburg Virginia, an appropriate place for two history buffs that we had visited several times, and where Jodi worked for the College of William and Mary. She introduced us to the adult education program at W&M, and we relished the opportunity to continue our educations with many other retirees. For several years I chaired the curriculum committee and served a term as president of the program, while enjoying many chances to play tennis and compete in duplicate bridge. It was a very satisfying 13 years - and then... along came our first and only grandchild right here in Providence!

Daughter Kathi and her husband had settled in Providence, where they both teach computer science at Brown. After Tara was born in 2008, Bobbi and I spent five years commuting from VA to RI to be closer to her. By 2014, it was time to relocate one more time - and here we are.

Joining LLC was a natural for us. We have met so many great people, and have been challenged by the collaborative learning process. There is a greater level of commitment and camaraderie when everyone is expected to participate in the learning rather than just absorbing it. For our 50th anniversary, Bobbi and I planned one more trip west, this time to follow the Lewis & Clark expedition’s path along the Missouri and Columbia rivers to the Pacific. It was an exciting adventure, too good to keep to ourselves. With the supportive assistance of Cathy Hurst and Linda Shamoon, we offered a course that enriched our experience even further, thanks in no small part to the collaborative efforts of a wonderful class.

As I begin my second year as President of LLC, the challenges of dealing with the Covid pandemic continue to impact our program. Online learning limits our personal contact with one another, but has made LLC more available to a much wider audience and obliged us all to become more computer literate in the process. And just as we have broadened our audience, I have encouraged an expanded emphasis on diversity in our programming as well. LLC offers all its members a superb opportunity to expand our understanding of our surroundings, and to be contributors, not simply observers, of our journey forward.


A second goal of The Lark is to keep membership informed about the activities of the Committees. Below is information about the newest ad hoc committee, Diversity.

LLC Ad Hoc Diversity Committee

The Committee’s purpose is to promote and expand learning opportunities that enable the LLC organization and membership to better understand, celebrate, learn from, support and include diverse communities. We define diversity broadly to include race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, language, geographical origin, gender and/or sexual orientation and physical disabilities.

The Committee sees itself as a “think tank” for generating ideas and identifying opportunities that could be implemented by various standing committees (Membership, Curriculum, Cultural Events, Public Relations, etc.) We want to identify, and capitalize on, the wealth of relevant experience, knowledge and networks that already exist within the LLC membership.

Examples of Committee activities:

  • Suggesting specific subjects for LLC classes and other programs (cultural events, Brown Bag lunches, etc.)
  • Identifying potential coordinators for classes
  • Working with the Curriculum Committee to encourage Class Coordinators to include diversity in class syllabuses when appropriate.
  • Promoting cross-pollination of ideas across LLC classes and identifying intersections between different classes.
  • Ensuring access to classes for individuals with physical disabilities.
  • Providing resources (e.g., bibliographies, notices of programs and events) to members who want to educate themselves further about diversity and social justice.
  • Suggesting ways to share resources and materials developed for specific classes with other LLC members.
  • Making members aware of volunteer opportunities in the community.
  • Linking LLC with other Rhode Island organizations engaged in related work.
  • Generating ideas for new initiatives related to diversity.