Born in St. Louis during the Jim Crow era of the 1950s, Curtiss’s parents instilled in him a sense of curiosity about the world. As a result, his travel adventures have taken him to over 50 countries and 48 of the 50 states; including bicycling across the United States and Europe.
Curtiss fell in love with Vermont on a cross country ski trip during the Great Nor’easter of December 1978 and relocated to Brattleboro, Vermont a few months later. Curtiss continues to be bullish on Vermont for what it offers outdoor enthusiasts, its participatory form of governance, and the practice of living life on a human scale.
For eighteen consecutive years Curtiss lived and worked as an expatriate throughout Africa and Europe delivering organizational development and cooperative management expertise in French and Portuguese to a wide variety of businesses, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and community-led entities. Curtiss served as a Peace Corps Volunteer to Tunisia, North Africa. The United States Agency for International Development awarded Curtiss a Distinguished Unit Citation for reconciliation efforts during the civil war in Burundi.
Curtiss has a long track record delivering expert training and coaching to Vermont, New Hampshire, and upstate New York leaders in the areas of organizational and policy development, recruitment, marketing, and the management of critical incidents involving diversity, inclusion and equity. His work has transformed state law enforcement and municipal governments. Curtiss works to situate Vermont as the model for other states in the areas of inclusion and equity.
Curtiss served as chair of the Vermont State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights on which he has been a member since 2004. He currently serves as a board member of the Vermont Council on Rural Development as well as the ALANA Community Organization. In April 2010 the Vermont General Assembly in its Concurrent House Resolution H.C.R. 82 commended Curtiss for work to combat racism in Brattleboro.
Curtiss previously served on the Washington University in St. Louis Board of Trustees, the MICDS International Board of Visitors, and the New England Board of Higher Education Blue Ribbon Task Force on the participation of underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He is a founding member of the Vermont State Police Fair and Impartial Policing Commission, the Community Equity Collaborative of Southeast Vermont, and Vermont Independent Media, publisher of the award winning Commons newspaper.
In 2018 Curtiss founded CRJ Consulting Group, L3C and acquired the business-to-business trademarks and clients he developed for the ALANA Community Organization over his seventeen year tenure as ALANA’s executive director.
Curtiss received a B.A in Sociology from Washington University in St. Louis and served as a Fellow with the Coro Foundation Training Institute in Public Affairs. He completed a year of advanced French language studies at the Université d’Aix-Marseille III, Aix-en-Provence, France.
In May 2015 the School for International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute conferred upon Curtiss an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his work strengthening Vermont as an inclusive and equitable destination for all. In November 2019 Curtiss accepted an NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award from the Windham County (Vermont) NAACP. In May 2021 Middlebury College conferred upon Curtiss an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his civil rights and social justice leadership.
Curtiss has three adult children creating their own life adventures on the West Coast. He is married to photographer Cathryn Griffith.