Honoree, A Taste of Newark 2022
One of the hallmarks of a “Link” education is its quarterly Elective Class Program that provides 7th and 8th grade scholars with exposure to a variety of exciting educational and enriching subjects. For this year’s special 25th Anniversary celebration, we are honoring Jim Peck, one of Link’s longest standing Elective instructors, whose work truly embodies Link’s founding mission of nurturing scholars “in mind, body and spirit”. For over 10 years, Jim has designed and delivered a wide variety of hands-on electives that have benefited hundreds of scholars. His first elective classes were creative science projects that taught aerodynamics, mechanics, and problem solving. Jim also wrote a children’s musical using large, animated puppets that he handmade so that scholars could perform for their peers and in several Newark elementary schools. A portion of one play was also featured at a Taste of Newark event held at NJPAC. In addition to working with the scholars, Jim attracted additional private funding that allowed all cast members to travel to New York City to enjoy a Broadway play!
During the pandemic when LCCS continued to deliver its extra-curricular programming to scholars virtually, Jim designed an elective called “Spotlight on Role Models” to connect scholars to adults during this particularly challenging period. Scholars interviewed adult role models (some of whom were alumni) in professions such as nurse, financial advisor, doctor, college professor, Superior Court judge, via Zoom. This process helped scholars to uncover how these guests achieved their success, identify who helped and mentored them, and learn how to overcome specific obstacles that scholars may also face in the future. Jim recorded and edited every interview and has built a library of about 30 sessions to inform and inspire others. Jim’s most recent elective pivoted to exotic foods, which introduced scholars to interesting and delicious things to eat, and this fall, he is excited to co-teach teach an Elective Class in cooking as well as lead a mentoring group for young scholars.
Born into a military family, Jim lived in Tripoli, Libya, and the U.K. as well as four different U.S. states before attending the University of Connecticut. He feels this nomadic existence cultivated in him a deep respect for and a greater awareness of different cultures. After graduating college, he settled in New Jersey and worked in the computer software industry for many years, until he eventually founded a company that provided technical computer seminars across the U.S., Canada, and Asia. After a seasoned career in technology, Jim transitioned to the non-profit sector where he could combine his lifelong passions for Mother Nature and teaching young people. He held the roles of Education Director at the American Littoral Society, a coastalconservation group on Sandy Hook, and Executive Director of the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum in Short Hills. In both positions Jim focused on delivering award winning programming to underserved communities such as Atlantic City, Camden, and Newark. Jim has three grown daughters with families of their own and llives in Monroe Township, NJ with his wife Marsha.