Educators

Leigh Ann Reynolds

Mountain River School Teacher

I grew up in Louisiana with a father who enjoyed hunting and a mother who enjoyed cooking, making the perfect ingredients for a daughter who loved the outdoors and food. After graduating high school, I joined the National Civilian Community Corps where I built boardwalks, constructed trails, and was part of a disaster relief team in New York City. These experiences inspired me to pursue a degree that would get me outdoors. I graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Wildlife Biology. After working as a biological science technician on a variety of projects studying black-backed woodpeckers, deer mice, sea turtles, and piping plovers, I decided I wanted to share my sense of curiosity and wonder of the world with others, and what better way than through teaching. I moved to Yellow Springs, OH where I taught elementary students about the natural communities at Glen Helen Nature Preserve. I found joy in seeing children’s eyes brighten as they uncovered the mysteries of nature, so I enrolled at Antioch University New England in the Integrated Learning Program. There I earned my Masters Degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Science & Environmental Education.

I went on to serve as the Education Coordinator for the Margret and H.A. Rey Center, where one aspect of my job was to create and teach hands-on programs at Waterville Valley Elementary School (K-8).  I worked very closely with each classroom teacher to develop curriculum that accommodated the needs of each student. One such program, in the K-2 class, was based on bird observations. Scientific inquiry was used to pose questions, mathematical understanding was used to graph results, and artistic expression was used to create bird puppets. Students explored the woods around the school to discover the different habitats used by the birds they saw at their classroom feeders. Students shared what they learned about birds through a puppet show at an all school meeting.

Last year I took time off from teaching to travel and complete one of my life goals; I hiked the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail--Mexico to Canada. I stretched my limits as I passed through 48 wilderness areas experiencing many diverse ecosystems. This winter I lived in Hawaii, where I became scuba certified and volunteered in ecological restoration initiatives. These travels reflect my love and passion for nature, which I bring to my teaching. I use experiences like these and my previous work as a wildlife biologist to create curriculum that makes learning meaningful, engaging and real. I am excited to share my love of learning and passion for the outdoors with the students at Mountain River School. When I am not teaching, you will likely find me on top of a mountain or crouched down photographing a tiny flower.

 

 

Kate Apple

Mountain River School Foreign Language Teacher

I  joined The Mountain River School community this year, not only as a parent, but also as a foreign language and yoga instructor.   A love of languages started early in my life, I have always been fascinated with my Vermont family's French Canadian heritage.  As a young person, I tried to absorb as much as I could during my many trips to Montreal, as well as around the kitchen tables of the "Thabault" old-timers.   By the time I was a college freshman in Virginia, I was placed into French classes filled with seniors, and decided to head to France to study at L'Universite d'Haute-Bretagne Rennes II in Britanny.   As a student in France,  I used my free time to travel all over Europe as well.

After college I headed to Central America to visit my family in Costa Rica.   A two-week trip became a month stay, then I extended it to six weeks and again to two months.  I loved it so much down there that I decided it was time to learn a new language.  So, I headed to a tiny town in Guatemala and lived with a family for six weeks, while studying at an "Eco-Escuela" that emphasized not only Spanish, but also brought us into the rainforests for environmental projects.  

I then went on to perfect my Spanish skills, while living in Costa Rica and New Mexico. The time spent in Santa Fe, New Mexico inspired me to study yoga and t'ai chi, which I went on to practice independently and seek certification as a yoga teacher.   I have taught children's yoga for over a decade, taught yoga to parenting teens and at-risk youth, and currently teach private Senior yoga as well.

I hold a Master's Degree in Elementary Education and Literacy, and am a mother to three boys.   I live on a small "farm"with my family, and enjoy  hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cheering my kids on at ski races.

 

 

Joining Us In The Fall of 2016

Garin Samuelsen

Mountain River School Teacher

I live with my son Noah in beautiful Waterbury, Vermont.  Vermont is a special place, and much different than where I lived during my initial years.  I grew up in Southern California, just south of Los Angeles.  With a park across the street, desert hills to explore, and the vast ocean a few miles away,  I was exposed to nature in various ways.  Yet, it was my summer family backpacking trips into the Sierra Nevada that left me with a lasting impression. Once I found myself within the heart of those magnificent mountains, I found myself at home.  I remember sleeping underneath the milky way with my sisters and parents, listening to the moon speak with the stars, seeing granite peaks pierce the sky into a bleeding sunset, and those precious moments of fishing in the early morning with my father on a glassy lake mirroring the morning birth.  The time spent over the years in a place that was still wild, provided me with a deep gratitude, wonder, and an understanding that nature is sacred.

I earned such as my Bachelor's degree at the University of Oregon in Psychology, my Masters Degree in Transpersonal Psychology at John F Kennedy University in Orinda, California, and my post degree in Elementary Education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

I moved to Vermont 16 years ago, and had the opportunity to work in a Holistic School in Williston, Vermont for 13 years  During  that time, I came to fully understand that by trusting in each student, by listening deeply to each child, by challenging each child to take healthy risks in their learning, that by providing them ample time to explore nature, they will rise up to meet their fullest potential. The experiences I had in nature as a child were some of my most profound learnings and I now see how critical nature based learning is for all children.  My journey has now led me to the Mountain River School.  I am so excited to be part of this invigorating community and hope that we can be a model of what Education can be.

 

 

Christie Moulton

Mountain River School Teacher

I grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, where I was raised to be an active community member and volunteer.  My favorite childhood memories are from summers spent at Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire where my cousins and I would spend all day swimming, exploring the forest, and observing the changes in the natural world around us.  I studied Wildlife Conservation Biology at the University of Rhode Island which further deepened my connection to the environment.  After college I spent four years working for non-profits focused on healthy food access and sustainable food production.  I have managed farmers’ markets, helped start food businesses, and taught cooking classes to kids and adults.  

I am excited to move back to the East Coast after spending the last four years in Davis, California. I received my Teaching Credential and Master of Arts in Education degree from UC Davis and have spent the last two years teaching bilingual first grade. My love of the natural world has always gone hand-in-hand with my desire to experience many different landscapes and cultures.  In college I spent semesters abroad in Senegal and Thailand. After college, I spent a month in Guatemala volunteering on coffee farms. Before moving to California I lived in Chiapas, Mexico for six months.  I love to share the benefits of international education with high school students, which is why I spend my summers leading educational trips abroad through the Experiment in International Living. Last summer I was lucky enough to chaperone an ecology-focused trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, and this summer I will be leading a youth trip to Tanzania.

I am excited to incorporate my personal and professional interests into my work at MRS. I love to garden, cook, hike, meditate, and do yoga. I am grateful that I have found in Mountain River School a school with values that match my own. I believe that kids need time to be outside, play, explore, reflect, and let their curiosity inspire them to learn. I feel inspired by the team at MRS and the holistic education movement as a whole and I am so glad to be a part of it!

 

 

Amanda Collis

Mountain River School Teacher

I grew up in a small town right outside of Albany, NY.  I went to a one-room school house for Kindergarten, First and Second Grade.  This is where I fell in love with school and knew that I wanted to be a teacher.  I used to wear my mom’s high heels and recruit the neighborhood kids to be in my “class”.  I’ve traded the high heels for hiking boots and while my idea of what it means to be a good teacher have changed since I was little, my passion for teaching has only grown.

I graduated from the University of Vermont in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Communication Sciences. While at UVM I was a four year started on the softball team and was voted captain my senior year. While softball has taken me across the country, I always come back to the Northeast.  

Before joining Mountain River School I worked at a private preschool for twelve years and served as both teacher and director.  I am excited to be back in the classroom full time as I love learning along side my students in the great outdoors.  I am excited to take full advantage of all the outdoor learning space that surrounds Mountain River School.  I love bringing the community into meet with the children, whether it be a visit from Peace Pups (a local dog sledding organization) during the Iditarod, and experienced yoga instructor, or a composting expert.  

I currently live in Bolton with my husband, Bob, and our dog Tyrus.  We all love to be outside, whether it be hiking, snow shoeing or running in preparation for my eighth half marathon in October.  When I’m not outside, I love to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen.  

I am thrilled to be joining the Mountain River School teaching staff and I am looking forward to getting to know the school community!

 

 

The Mountain River School, LTD. admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
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