The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to our seventh edition of 
The Inside Scoop , our electronic 
newsletter  f or members only. 
Please  enjoy this issue,  and  share 
your  f eedback by emailing 

Get to Know Your Board of Directors

In each edition,  we f eature different members on our Board of Directors
This month, it's Ed Rader and Paula Kaufmann, co-chairs of our Membership Committee.

From Ed:

I grew up in New York City, Brooklyn for the most part, where I somehow survived, despite being a Yankees fan (and still am), living in a Dodgers world. I still have fond memories of Sunday trips to the Bronx when you could see a doubleheader for a quarter. But since the Nats have come to town, they've won my heart over. My baseball loyalties are now divided.

After graduating St. Francis College, where I majored in Political Science, I started graduate studies at Florida State University. It was a bit of a culture shock, moving from NYC, where I had spent my whole life, to Tallahassee. However, I quickly adjusted and loved going to school there.  I found time to play handball almost every day even in the heat of the summer.  My semi-idyllic existence was interrupted by my military obligation, and I left FSU to join the Navy.  I spent my entire time in the military working in Naval Intelligence in DC. I continued playing handball regularly at the Pentagon Officers Athletic Center.

After leaving the Navy, I resumed studies at FSU and finally left for a job in the Federal Government.  Most of my career was spent in the foreign affairs shop of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  Among other things, I managed money, contracts, and a policy research program.

Since retiring a little more than seven years ago, I've been so glad to have found Encore Learning.  Attending class is even better when you don't have the pressure of exams, papers, and grades and, better still, when you get to socialize with, and learn from, so many bright, interesting, fun people. I've been a co-chair of the Membership Committee for most of that time. I'm glad for the opportunity to volunteer and give a little back.  Working with Paula Kaufmann and the other members of the Committee has been great.

I enjoy attending classes the most, but I also participate in a couple of the clubs. I love to read and the non-fiction book club has been great. I recently discovered the hiking club and expect to become more actively involved in the coming months.  I'd like to get out with the Ethnic Lunch Club more often. I also enjoy attending some of the special events like the upcoming trip to the Freer Gallery.

The most memorable and smartest thing I've ever done, save for marrying my wife, was when she (Suzanne) and I travelled to Kunming, China some 19 years ago to adopt our only child, Elizabeth. She certainly has changed our lives in many ways and only for the good.  Elizabeth is currently attending the U. of Mary Washington majoring in theater. We get to Fredericksburg a fair amount to attend theatrical performances, her dance shows, and to watch her dance team perform at basketball games.

I'm a member of a local camera club, pursue lifelong opportunities elsewhere, belong to a play-reading group, attend an embarrassingly large amount of theater, work out at the gym (but not often enough), and enjoy going to Caps and Wizards games. I've followed the Caps for forty years now. I dream of that one day I'll attend the big downtown parade after they win the Stanley Cup.  (No snickering, please).  I've been fortunate to go on annual photo trips with my brother-in-law. The American Southwest is incredible. We've enjoyed our trips there (and elsewhere).

After all these years, I'm finally learning to cook. I've even taken a couple of cooking classes in the Arlington Adult Ed. program.  My specialty is legumes. I don't believe in reincarnation, but if somehow we are, I'd want to come back as Bruce Springsteen. Or maybe Jerry Seinfeld. 

From Paula:

I joined Encore Learning in 2012, taking three classes. Now I usually take 5 or 6, because I just can't fit all of them into my schedule. I was soon asked to join the Membership Committee, and then became co-chair, therefore part of the Board. I'm mostly responsible for the venue and catering for our Course Previews each spring and fall.

I was born in South Bend, Indiana, where my father was on the styling team with Studebaker. I grew up in what is now Farmington Hills, Michigan and attended the arts high school Cass Tech in Detroit.

My favorite place to be in the world is Oregon, where I had my Easter lily farm on the Pacific coast for 10 years. While in Oregon, I spent lots of hiking in the mountains and redwood forests, boating the rivers, and telling time by the sun.

After 20 years with the Smithsonian, I now enjoy SI Alumni "behind the scenes" programs. 
I work with the Master Gardeners (MG) of Northern Virginia and after retiring was the Virginia Cooperative MG Coordinator for nearly two years. 
There are many joys of living in this area -- the diverse culture and cuisine, the vast history, and so much to do!

My latest favorite books are the ones we've been reading with the Nonfiction book club, one being American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard. I still remember the first poem I had to recite in 7th grade, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost.  

From piano lessons in my youth, I learned to love the great classics, and now enjoy some of most music genres.

I continually try to kick start my exercise program "again". 

I have a great admiration for those who are kind and who share knowledge and inspiration with one another.

My favorite part of Encore Learning is the courses. I tend toward Foreign Policy and History, as I have a lot of catching up to do in those areas. The Library "Meet the Speaker" series is great fun and educational. The Nonfiction Book Club has an impressive book list, and is a great group. And of course getting to know and working together with volunteers and the organization is really rewarding.

More News and Photos

Members of the Membership Committee and others gathered to celebrate the joys of the season at their annual holiday party held on December 8.  Margie Teed was the hostess. Her home was decorated beautifully and the party turned out well. All had a merry time.

2017 Membership Committee Holiday Party. Photo courtesy Ed Rader.

2017 Membership Committee Holiday Party. Photo courtesy Marjorie Varner.

Check out the following stories on our  website:

Smithsonian Gardens - Great Tours of Beautiful Spaces

Staff Corner

We're Moving! In January we will be moving into temporary space at the Syphax Center. In March, we will move to our permanent location on the third floor. Always call ahead for an appointment. All of our contact information remains unchanged.

Our office will be closed Monday, December 18, 2017 through Tuesday, January 2, 2018. We will reopen on Wednesday, January 3, and will respond to emails and voice mails upon our return.

2017 was a busy year for Special Events, with a pproximately 3.6 events per month. The committee offered  12 library lectures and  31 other events. They also i ntroduced Garden Tours and "Meet the Artist" Series. Look for the next Special Events email blast on Thursday, January 4, 2018!

We were recently able to update the Course Materials expiration date - materials are still available through December 31. Be sure to download anything you may want before the end of the month.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us to all of you!

Photos, Photos, Photos...

We all love looking at them and it seems we can never get enough here in the office. Please share your photos of Encore Learning activities with us. The higher the resolution of the photo, the better. Shots taken on your mobile phone are great! Just email them to us and if we use your photos, we will make sure to acknowledge you as the photographer. Make sure to see your fellow members' photos in the article on the Smithsonian garden tours - beautiful!

Help Spread the Word

We're often referred to as the "best kept secret in Arlington."  New members join mostly because they hear about Encore Learning from a friend. Do you have time to help spread the word about our wonderful organization?

Refer a friend. When joining online, new members may enter a "Referred by" name. We look forward you to thanking you here in the newsletter - see below!

Bring friends to our "Meet the Speaker" series at Arlington Central Library. These events are open to the public and a great way for prospective members to learn more about us.

Anyone can do it! When you simply like our Facebook page or share our Facebook posts to your social network, it's a huge help!

Like us on Facebook

  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email
  • Check the calendar on our website for our office hours
Welcome New Members

In November 2017, eight new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome. 

Joan Curry
Frick Curry
Rhoda Ritzenberg
Elizabeth Dougherty
Jill Murray
Scott Murray

And a huge Thank You to the following members and instructors for referring friends and family:

Mary Kay Davis

Please email the office with any corrections.

Don't Want to Wait for the Next Edition of The Inside Scoop?


Donations are Always Welcome

Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our  General Fund  or to our  Arlington Youth Scholarship .

We hope you enjoyed this edition of  The Inside Scoop . If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email Beth Dowd: .