Life Compass

LifeCompass Institute

The LifeCompass Institute
Practical wisdom for today's parents and educators

What We Do

The LifeCompass Institute, founded by Dr. Karen E. Bohlin, provides school leaders and teachers with a framework for effectively integrating character education into schools. It also provides parents with research-based tools for helping their children develop the habits of mind, heart, and character they need to thrive.   LCI combines the best of ancient wisdom with current research on how human beings develop the practical wisdom and character strengths they need to flourish under any circumstances.

LCI was founded at Montrose School, a National School of Character (1999 & 2017). Montrose promotes the highest levels of learning through character development and serves as a resource to educators and school leaders internationally.

What it means to build Practical Wisdom

In our beautiful, diverse, and often tumultuous world, there is remarkable consensus about the strengths of character we admire in others and strive to develop in ourselves.
  • We value habits of mind that allow us to pursue academic and professional  excellence -- including tenacity, thoroughness, creativity, and intellectual honesty and humility.
  • We embrace habits of heart that strengthen our friendships, family relationships, and communities  -- including empathy, compassion, respect, and gratitude.
  • And we honor habits of character that allow us to face challenges and embrace opportunities -- including courage, temperance, responsibility, and integrity.
So how do we develop these strengths?

Continue reading.

Meet the team

Karen E. Bohlin, EdD, LCI Director

Dr. Karen E. Bohlin, Director of LCI and Head of Montrose School, is a recognized thought leader in the field of character and ethics education. Director Emerita and Senior Scholar at Boston University’s Center for Character and Social Responsibility; co-architect of the National Schools of Character Program, Dr. Bohlin has served as a past adviser to the White House Domestic Policy Office on character education; consultant to the MA, GA, WV, NJ, SC Departments of Education; scholar for the Intellectual Virtues Project at Loyola Marymount University; a sabbatical fellow at the Jubilee Centre; an editorial reviewer and contributor to the Journal of Character Education and the Journal of Education at Boston University.  She is the author and contributing author of several books including Teaching Character Education Through Literature: Awakening the Moral Imagination (Routledge 2005), Building Character in Schools (Jossey-Bass 1999) and Happiness and Virtue: Beyond East and West: Toward a New Global Responsibility (Tuttle 2012). An important focus of her work in both the higher education and K-12 education is the development of practical wisdom in school leaders and teachers.

Deborah Farmer Kris, LCI Associate Director

Deborah Farmer Kris is passionate about sharing the best research and practices that help parents and educators answer the question, “How can we help our children thrive?” Deborah works as a parenting columnist and consultant for PBS Parents, she writes about education for MindShift (an NPR education blog), and she is a senior associate at BU's Center for Character and Social Responsibility. Over the course of her career, Deborah has taught elementary, middle and high school, served as a school administrator, and directed a girls leadership institute. Her writing has been featured several times in The Washington Post, and she is the co-author of the book Building Character in Schools: A Resource Guide. A popular speaker, she has presented to hundreds of parents and educators around the country on topics related to character development. 

National and International Reach

Dr. Karen Bohlin and Mrs. Deborah Farmer Kris consult with educational leaders around the world, present at schools and conferences, and write about character and leadership for national publications including the Washington Post, NPR’s MindShift, and PBS Kids. They are currently developing a curriculum resource book with Montrose faculty that will be available for U.S. and UK audiences.