Founder and Principal

Tina Nilsen-Hodges moved to Ithaca in 2002 seeking a community interested in developing an innovative new model of education for justice and sustainability that inspires young people as innovators and social entrepreneurs. She lead the founding team of New Roots Charter School and has served as school leader since its inception.

Tina has been a teacher and curriculum developer for New York State schools and for innovative educational programs for democracy, social justice and sustainability education since 1989. Awarded the Couper Fellowship for Excellence in Education by Binghamton University, she holds certification to teach prekindergarten through 12th grade and as a school building and district leader. Serving as a community and educational leader at EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI), she was part of the planning committee for the Center for Sustainability Education and Groundswell Institute for Food and Farming, and taught courses in sustainability education at Ithaca College.

A passionate advocate for organic agriculture and local food systems, Tina and her husband Jim, a Montessori teacher, live in the first neighborhood at EcoVillage at Ithaca. A certified teacher of Lila Yoga, she greets the day with a morning practice that focuses on the flow of energy within the postures. Her sons are pursuing their passion for outdoor adventure leadership and farm-to-table culinary arts.