IMAGINE . . . Leading by Example!


Eli Seed
BS, Secondary English Education, Appalachian State University, 1995
MLIS, School Media, NCCU, 2008
Favorite Quote: “It is never too late to be who you might have been.” ~George Eliot

Greetings! I'm Eli and I am the Academic Advisor for Duke IMAGINE…Leading By Example! You will see me at our morning and afternoon caucuses and I will be in and out of your classrooms during the day.  I advise Derek and Jon on curriculum and work with them to create cohesion and community within our camp. They’re the classrooms experts, which frees me up a bit to check on individuals and make sure things are running smoothly behind the scenes.  I consider it my responsibility to provide you with every opportunity to feel like an essential part of Duke IMAGINE and that starts with my passionate belief that just by being here, you ARE!

I have been teaching middle school Language Arts and high school English here in Durham for over thirteen years and have been an instructor with Duke Youth Program's Young Writers' Camp since 2000. I am very excited about the opportunity to kick off a brand new camp and to work with the students who are already preparing to lead this country and the world in the decades to come.

I am an avid reader and I was drawn to teaching literature by a desire to share that passion. Beyond mere entertainment, though, I see such great potential in literature for exploring themes and applying them to the real world around us. Entertainment is great, but making connections between fiction and our lives, and finding purpose there -- that makes it far greater and more powerful.

My library degree was a pursuit influenced by my desire to explore the connections between different subject areas in an interdisciplinary fashion.

I am a converted Durhamite and I love this city, warts and all. I see here such incredible potential because it is real, open, and inclusive. My wife and I raise chickens and run a modest CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture, a farm cooperative). We have two daughters and are expecting a third child this September.

I see young people as a far more important and meaningful investment for the future than the stock market, banks, or other institutions. I've seen troubling things that concern me more for my children's futures than for my own, but on a horizon that isn't too far off, I see a tremendous revival of optimism and hope, community and cooperation. I see the world I want my children to inherit and that it can be a reality. You, campers, are part of that future. You're vital to that future.


Toni Graves Williamson
BA in Political Science, Duke University, 1998
M ED in Curriculum and Instruction, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2006
M ED in Private School Leadership, Columbia University, 2011
Favorite Quote:  "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go...."-TS Eliot

Hi, I'm Toni Graves Williamson.  My history with Duke Youth Programs Summer camps is a long one.  I started teaching at Duke Young Writers Camp in 2000.  I also spent four years on the residential side of Duke Youth Programs as the Director of Residence Life. I have been away from camp a couple of years working on my Masters degree at Columbia University and I am so happy to return to Duke this summer especially as a part of this program.

For the past 12 years my non-camp life has been spent at Carolina Friends School in Durham, NC where I have taught a variety of social science, math, and drama classes to Middle and High school students.  One of my favorite things about teaching at a Quaker school is the commitment that the community makes towards Service Learning.  Students in my school grow up understanding that service is just what they do and who they are.  I am impressed with the amount of energy and time that the young people that have been a part of my life at CFS have put into serving others and I am inspired to do so myself.  I have spent time doing service projects here at home as well as taken two service trips, one to Kenya and one to Trinidad where I worked with kids who lived in an orphanage. 

Throughout my life I have always taken a stand for justice, equality and human rights.  Much of the curriculum that I have designed at Carolina Friends School has been driven by my desire for these basic rights for everyone and has led me into the work that I do outside of the classroom as a diversity practitioner.  What that means is that I design programs for students and adults that help to promote cultural sensitivity, multiculturalism, and strategies that build inclusive communities.  I have just been hired by Abington Friends School near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in order to put those skills in action.

What I hope to do at Duke Imagine this summer is to help to empower the young people who enter my class to stretch beyond their potential and have positive change on the world around them as a result of that work.  I can't wait to get started.