Executive Director, The Neutral Zone
John Weiss has served as the Executive Director of the Neutral Zone, Ann Arbor’s Teen Center, for the past eight years. The Neutral Zone is committed to diverse, “youth-driven” programs for high school teens in the arts and leadership. John’s commitment to youth voice has helped Neutral Zone become recognized as one of the premiere youth development programs for older youth in the country. In 2009, Neutral Zone was recognized with the Afterschool Innovator Award and in 2007 was featured in The Nation as providing one of the best youth leadership programs in the country. In 2010, the Kellogg Foundation awarded Neutral Zone and its collaborating partners a grant to share its unique, youth-driven approach with other teen programs throughout the state.
John has been working with diverse populations of youth and youth serving programs for over 25 years. He served as a teacher in the Ypsilanti Schools and as the Middle School Reform Facilitator for Willow Run Community Schools. John served for seven years as the Director of the Adolescent Division of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti. He also worked as a teacher in the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa.
John has lived in Ypsilanti for the past 18 years with his wife Sarah and three children – Myles, Nya and Jerzy. He is an avid cook, home brewer, kettle beller and runner.
Session: Youth-Driven Spaces: A Positively Deviant Approach to Youth Voice, Leadership & Authentic Decision Making