Nonprofit Background - Professional History
Linda Lee Ratto, Ed.M.
Executive Director ( SNS, Inc 2006-2010 ~ HeartLight Co-Founder
2011 -- see new websites: www.cwg4kids.com + www.cwg.org
Author, Educator, former Principal, and CEO of her own education company, Linda came to the School
of the New Spirituality (SNS) via HeartLight International and HeartlIght Education, Inc., (HLE) where she served for five
years as a co-founder, board of directors member, daily operations manager, and site development director to establish schools
and learning programs in the USA and South Africa. Initially, contracted by Recreation Foundation
to write grants and gel the definition of HeartLight back in 2000-01, Linda co-created the HeartLight/CwG Model of learning
with the HLE team from 2001-2006. She was HLE’s first board secretary and school development
director. She facilitated the opening of three HLE international non-profit umbrella organizations (USA, Australia and South
Africa) and three learning communities, five obtained their own independent 501C3 or charitable trust status. In response
to Neale’s pledge to open the School for the New Spirituality, in March 2006 the HLE board voted unanimously to gift
back the HeartLight non-profit to Neale in order to empower the School of the New Spirituality into immediate existence.
HLE Model manual was compiled by Linda and was a grounded-in-CwG basis for the School of the New Spirituality’s initial
programs sold in the form of kits, downloadable lessons and the complete manual of New Spirituality how-to steps. These
materials guided families in opening their own SNS enrichment programs from homeschooling groups, book clubs, retreats, camps,
Saturday fun days and after school/after work classes. During these years, 2006-2010, SNS offered knowledgeable assistance
to those wishing to open an SNS program. Customized working weekends were available and many youth programs were launched
independently and in conjunction with SNS; especially active were SNS Atlanta, SNS France and SNS/CWG Dallas. For more
history read the early years background below and you may contact Linda at Ratto@mindspring.com
When not working with the CwG material in practical applications for children and their leaders, Linda writes
and keynotes as “The Un-Labeler”. Her out-of-the-box counsel processes for empowering children of all talent levels to reach their highest potential
are her hallmarks. She has served on numerous boards and guest professorships in such respected institutions
as: Northwestern University, UCLS/Shriners, University of Munster, Germany, Emory University, Georgia State
University and NYU, to name a few. See the story about two Middle East Tours with the US Embassy, World Vision, UNICEF, and Atlanta-based Coca-cola co-sponsors.
In 2004-2006, besides the Heartlight /SNS nonprofit work, Linda's children's
book was featured as the flagship document for a campaign to educated and ultimate establish a Ministry of Education in the
Republic of Azerbaijan.
Her children’s book, WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE, was translated into Azeri (a Turkish-Russian dialect) and is on that nation’s required reading for all public
school fourth graders, spanning 4,000 schools with 200,000 copies in children’s hands to date).
accompanying Where Dream Come True Leader Guide and 3-CD audiobook were featured as the primary public relations documents for the non-profit World Vision program “The Integration of Children with Disabilities in Society, Culture and School.” In 2005, Azeri children with disabilities were mainstreamed into ten public schools for the first time in Azerbaijan.
As part of a government task force to help establish a education avenue for children with challenges, a combined effort
ws spearheaded by the USA-Azeri Ambassador Reno Harnish’s wife, Leslie, who was World Vision’s Children Program Director. This program was a life purpose journey in the fundamental daily
application of the premise “We are all one and there is not separation between us,” a tenet of Neale's work,as
Linda is known for her organizational skills and relationship-building talents that absolutely
bring dreams into this reality. Her five years interlacing CwG messages into daily life for children and adults uniquely equips her to open programs and guide people innumerous types of organizations
and businesses. The closing of not only her own school for the gifted, but some HeartLight learning
communities, has taught her key self-sustainment processes, which are implemented in her consultant work today.
knowledge, applied, directly affects the next generations and their adult leaders through her 2010-2013 public school work
developing a nonviolent communication, restorative practices program in six high schools in Atlanta's Rockdale Cunty Public
Schools via her partnership with Civil Services LLC.
If Saddam could so affect the world in just
a few years – what can we do together ? Now is the time, the leader you are looking for is YOU. Check-out the new website...
Back in 2000...
Education expanded with and through Neale Donald Walsch...
A Little HeartLight History
and information about
Lee Ratto, Ed.M.
HeartLight Education (HLE) Co-Founder
and former Education Director
The word “HeartLight” was coined by Neale Donald Walsch in many of his best selling Conversations with God books. (1)
In his books, Neale questions the content of standard schooling throughout the world and poses to his readers the challenge
of creating a different way of educating our young. He suggests building an out-of-the-box curriculum centered around awareness,
honesty and responsibility, through classes and experiences that encourage learners and leaders to discover and create answers
Vision and 1st Founding Teams
Neale and his non-profit
foundation staff put their heads together and produced numerous brochures and beginning guides that included the concepts written in Neale’s
books. Parents and educators flew from across the globe to Ashland, Oregon, Neale’s
home base, to help with the new HeartLight concept. The materials and collaboration in the first two powerful HeartLight conferences,
in the summers of 2000 and 2001. Hundreds of educators and parents gathered together to define a new way to “school.” These
founding groups quickly discovered that words such as “school” and “curriculum” did not accurately
explain the full HeartLight concept.
2000-2001 HeartLight Angels Arrive
hired Linda Lee Ratto, Ed.M. to write a series of grants to jumpstart the HeartLight concept throughout 2000-2001. And
out of the first HeartLight Conference in August 2000, a team of four angels volunteered – yes without pay –
to dedicate their time, talent and expertise to open the first HeartLight in Ashland. Brian
Davis of Toledo, Ohio and a seasoned public school principal was the first director. He co-teamed with three
teachers who moved across the country to be HeartLight Lead-Learners: David Sherwin of South Carolina, Kelly Tisdel of Chicago and
Tom Shelstad of Minnesota. On the second floor of the ReCreation Foundation building, close to a dozen children of all ages lived learning together. However,
without a written framework, guide and no capital, the team came together under HeartLight co-director Lisette Larkins and
announced at the August 2001 HL conference that the first school was closing unless funding and deeper guidance became available.
Conscious Competence molded teams with
Collaboration and Compassion!
As it happened, a world renown education reformist
was driven by the HeartLight Vision written in Neale’s books, to also attend that second HL conference in August 2001. Five
time author Dr. William G. Spady, of Colorado and South Africa, stepped up to rally the HL conference attendees
into an understanding of his core work “The Five Cs” (2) as it could be placed into the HeartLight learning vision. A new leadership
team was born out of that conference. This group gathered in a HeartLight Leadership team workshop in Portland, Oregon in
January 2002. Nineteen souls over three days created the first “HeartLight Inverted Pyramid”
framework which was to eventually guide four teams into action by opening HeartLight Learning Communities (HLCs). Learning
is deeply personal and difficult to place into words. Yet through heart-felt vision, hard work and numerous years of dedication,
HeartLight Education’s paradigm-shifting learning system has developed into a framework dynamic in Purpose, Premises,
Principles, Priorities, Practices, and Processes.(2)
by the newly evolved leadership team that was grounded-in decades of child-centered, person-honoring education, administration
and out-of-the-box reformation experience, Neale gifted “HeartLight” – its name, vision and concepts –
to the new HeartLight founding team. Based on Neale's core New Spirituality principles,
HeartLight International was born in 2001 then incorporated as a non-profit education leadership service organization in March
of 2002. HeartLight’s co-founders were: Bill
Spady, PhD, Linda Lee Ratto, EdM, James Colen, Shaktari Belew, Scott Kiere, Deborah Oliff, and Pam Spady, with special service leadership by Ken
Miller, MD. Bette Moore joined the team as curriculum specialist as we launched days schools .
First “Domino” of the HL Non-Profit Organization
reported by the first HeartLight teachers in Ashland, salaries and expertise were needed to open learning communities
and sustain them. James Colen, a Harvard graduate and heart-centered philanthropist, pledged millions to see the HeartLight
Vision in practice. A single man, he wanted to build HeartLight Learning Communities so his own children would one day attend
an HLC. Three schools were born in 2002. Under HeartLight International and
HeartLight Education’s (HLE) leadership, HeartLight South Africa
(Port Elizabeth), HeartLight Toledo (Ohio, USA) and HeartLight Chicago (Illinois, USA)
were opened and received their independent charitable status as non-profit learning environments in 2003.
However, as you most probably are aware if you have read this far, traditional school systems throughout the world
are not eager to make room for independent privates schools. Yet we persisted. Parents, grandparents,
teachers, and administrators in local, state, regional, and country systems see the overwhelming need for a different way
of learning for children whose needs are not met in current programs. In the United States alone, some two million families
homeschool their children. This is one way to create a individualized learning environment for our young.
Another hard fact is that opening a full day school is not only costly and time-encompassing, but often
times regulations do not permit and may eventually stop private school creation in its tracks. Given the red tape labyrinth,
numerous families who had been poised to give their children a chance for a different way of learning chose not to take the
leap and register. This weary community environment, along with limits in self-sustained funding via critical number of students,
caused the Toledo and Chicago programs to close. Yet kids are still looking for alternatives.
For example, there are two million homeschooling families in the States, so there is a context for education systems shifting.
Candidly, it is challenging to walk alongside mainstream education systems that have existed for centuries -- both public
and traditional private school systems.
HeartLight Port Elizabeth is still a learning community, though it encompasses all ages rather
than their original teen focus in 2003-04. The HeartLight South African Trust remains viable and numerous
new spirituality, community-needs programs are underway in HLSouth Africa various parts of the world, though not exclusively
under the HeartLight/SNS name or its non-profit corporation umbrella.
New Spirituality Programs
Late in 2005, Neale refocused again
on education for the next generations. Wishing to boost his efforts and allow a New Spirituality education to lace the planet
further, the HLE board members
voted unanimously to combine their 501(c)3 non-profit with Neale's
renewed education vision. HeartLight was renamed the "School of the New Spirituality, Inc." and became specifically focused on new spirituality kits and materials,and youth enrichment learning programs honoring
the spirit and heart+mind+ body of each child. SNS programs built grassroots, community-based groups in Europe, Canada,
and across the USA. There
was a new professional SNS Board of Directors and Neale Donald Walsch, as Founder, became Director Emeritus. Linda was the Executive Director of SNS,
appointed by Neale.
see www.CWG.org for numerous current expanded programs, workshops and events, since the 21st century began! There are dozens of opportunities,
which can inspire and guide any one who desires to start a new spirituality group -- from a book club centered on one of the
11 SNS Guidebooks to joining the learning memberships on the www.cwg4kids.com website. There are free downloadable materials and some
modest products for your personal and professional use. Navigate these websites and see how your Heart can Light-up!
Keep visiting because CWG (Conversations with God ) messages are always blossoming and evolving as millions of CWG readers are inspired to serve...
(1) NDW’s books may be viewed & researched via: www.cwg.org and www.nealedonaldwalsch.com
(2) The Five
Cs are within the fifth level of the HLE "V" Vision and are HL's Intentions and Priorities, also found in
Dr.Wm.G.Spady's books, Contact Dr. Spady directly for more info.
Linda lives in Atlanta on a lake with her husband of 30+ years, David. She
has three grown children: Courtney, Eric and Ryan and two grandbabes. Linda thrives on writing, opening and managing
for-profit and 501(c)3 non-profit organizations and learning centers, reading spiritually empowering materials, traveling,
water sports, mountain hiking, and living her dreams.
Write to Linda asking about her now 15 books, playshops/workshops and her 2011-12
of Speaking including her courses as a State certified Trainer of Trainers.
William G. Spady,
HLE & HLSA Co-Founder, President & Advisor
After a thirty-five
year career as a professor, author, lecturer, researcher, editor, international consultant, and leader of major change efforts
in education, Dr. William Spady joined the HeartLight Education team as its Director and leader of its Learning System Development
team. Bill’s five books and numerous published articles all reflect his incisive outside-the-box
approach to educational change. They contain many original concepts, frameworks, models, and practical
strategies that present significant learner-centered, future-focused, personally empowering alternatives to traditional practice. He
joined the HeartLight family at the August, 2001 Symposium and served on a three-person leadership team until February, 2002
when Neale Donald Walsch asked him to lead the HeartLight initiative. Bill’s
wife Pam is currently coordinating the HeartLight effort in the country of South Africa with HLE Advisor John Ryan. Bill's major enjoyments include listening
to classical music, skiing, bicycling, scuba diving and reading anything that expands his awareness and deepens his spirituality.