Yaacov Hecht is an internationally distinguished leader and visionary in democratic education, learning theory, and societal change. In 1987, Hecht founded the Democratic School in Hadera, Israel, the first school in the world to call itself democratic. Due to the school’s success, Hecht helped to establish a net of democratic schools all over Israel. In 1993, he convened the first International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC); an annual conference that continues to connect educators, schools, and organizations. Shortly thereafter, Hecht founded the Institute for Democratic Education in Israel (IDE), which focuses on making change in the public schools system through democratic education principals. Within IDE, Hecht created an academic faculty for DE teachers. He served as the organization’s chairman from its beginning in 1995 until 2010. In 2005, “The Marker”—Israel’s largest economic magazine—named Hecht one of the 10 most influential people in the social and educational areas in Israel.
Most recently, in 2010, Hecht co-founded “Education Cities-the Art of Collaborations,” an organization which focuses on turning educational systems into a central growth instrument for the cities in which they exist. Hecht continues to be a sought after speaker and consultant, and plays an essential role in the movement for democratic education in Israel and around the world.
Hecht was born and raised in Hadera, Israel, where he lives today. He is married and a father to four children.