Larry Schooler is a Director/Senior Facilitator at Kearns & West with an extensive and diverse background in public participation, mediation, and conflict resolution. His early career included eight years as an award-winning reporter and news anchor at NPR, taking him across the country and abroad. It was this experience that fostered in him the significance of public policy-making beyond the world of politics and the importance of convening conversations that allow all voices to be heard, informing the decision-making process. This experience — which included his covering the first “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” in the United States in Greensboro, North Carolina — proved pivotal to his professional migration to that of mediator, facilitator, public engagement consultant, and educator, working with agencies around the world to resolve disputes, build consensus, and involve the public and stakeholders in decisions that will affect them.
Larry has worked with municipal, county, state, and federal government agencies, as well as nonprofit and faith-based organizations. He specializes in land use mediation, strategic planning, and visioning and has extensive experience in a wide array of issues including energy, water, community and regional planning, transportation, housing affordability, health and human services, and technology.
Notably, Larry established the first public engagement division for the City of Austin, Texas — one of the first of its kind nationally — where he designed innovative and award-winning tools for involving the public in decision-making, such as Conversation Corps and the award-winning reverse town hall broadcast series “A View from You.” His work has been recognized by the National League of Cities, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Harvard School of Government and has earned him awards such as the Peacemaker Award from the Austin Dispute Resolution Center for his efforts on a longstanding community conflict. In addition to holding an MS/PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Larry also earned a certificate in public participation from the International Association for Public Participation and served as the president of its United States affiliate. He is on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches Facilitative Leadership and Conflict Resolution and serves as a senior fellow at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. Larry is the author of a manual entitled “Keys to an Effective Public Meeting” and a forthcoming book based on truth and reconciliation commissions, Truth Talks