Mountain River School Educator / Associate Director of Admissions
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!
Mountain River School Educator/ Associate Director of Admissions
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 part of the Mountain River School teaching staff and I am looking forward to continuing to get to know the school community!
Mountain River School Educator
Growing up on a farm in New London, NH I was surrounded by lakes and mountains. I have fond memories of chasing pigs, training working steers, hunting for crayfish. We made hay in the summer and skied in the winter. In the spring I would do my homework in the sugarhouse, surrounded by the rising steam and heat from the arch. One could surmise, I had a sweet childhood.
Proctor Academy is where I “learned to live and lived to learn!” During my four years at this school, the value of solid “book” education and importance of supportive nurturing community was instilled in me. Keeping night watch on a 130 foot schooner during my Ocean Classroom semester or soloing for 3 days in the desert during Mountain Classroom were just two of the many Proctor experiences that changed my life.
During my college years, I started playing more golf. After graduating , I went to work in that industry, living in Key Largo, FL and Medinah, Illinois. Teaching golf lessons was one of my duties. While in the golf business, I began to see the disconnect from nature that technology was having on kids. I wanted to provide children with the experiential learning and connection to nature and community that my teachers and mentors gave to me.
Not having any formal teacher training, I moved back to NH where I formed an outdoor education program for 6 to 14 year old’s, called 3rd Planet. I was devoted to giving kids an avenue to help them build interpersonal and life skills through play-based adventure. Within weeks this summer program was flourishing and continued as a year round after-school program.
This led to my work as an educator at a small private school for a year before I decided to further my education and obtain my teaching certificate. Through my experiences I developed the understanding of the importance of literacy and math skills and was drawn to the Upper Valley Educators Institute, with the goal of learning to incorporate those skills in a nature-based setting. This yearlong program gave me the opportunity to be fully immersed in a teaching environment while working with a 5th grade class. My UVEI internship in 5th grade gave me the opportunity to implement numerous pedagogies that involve place-based and hands-on approaches in order to make all the content transferable to every students daily lives.
I’m looking forward to moving to the Green Mountain State. I love to hike, play in the dirt, run, kayak, and snowshoe. If I’m not out exploring, I enjoy cooking, doing yoga, reading, and brewing kombucha.
I am excited to be joining the Mountain River School community. I can’t wait to help bring nature and community to the forefront of education!
Mountain River School Educator/ Associate Director of Admissions
My love of nature and teaching grew from time spent on and near the ocean. I met my wife, Katie Truesdale, at Tabor Academy, the School by the Sea, in Marion, Massachusetts, where we shared many outdoor adventures. Not far from Marion is my family’s home on Cuttyhunk Island, where I hold many of my fondest memories, and in fact, where I began my teaching career as a sailing instructor. One of my most notable sailing students was our very own, Nate Twitchell! Cuttyhunk is a child’s playground -- a place where we were given freedom and independance, spending all day outside and barefoot! Whether sailing, fishing, beachcombing, or chasing rabbits through the tall grass, the experiences were life-changing; it was outdoor education at its best!
When I moved to the coast of Maine, my passion for all things nautical carried into my professional life and combined with my desire to connect materially to the earth. I received a certificate in boatbuilding from The Boat School in Eastport, Maine and worked for Maine boatbuilders as a carpenter building both fiberglass yachts and traditional plank-on-frame boats, shaping wood to fit as if it had grown from the boat itself. I was later able to apply this experience as a teacher when I co-facilitated a boatbuilding program for middle school students. I have spent the decade since then working in public and private schools, most recently as an administrator at a small, independent high school in Maine. Additionally, I’ve taught elementary math, language arts, social studies, woodworking, social skills, and special education classes.
In addition to my passion for teaching, I have been drawn to the performing arts, starting with singing and acting from a young age. I enjoy tinkering on just about any instrument I can get my hands on, especially when playing music with my oldest son, who is an accomplished musician. I have sung and acted in a variety of groups and productions, and particularly enjoy singing a capella. After graduating from Colby College with a degree in Performing Arts, I headed to Los Angeles to pursue acting professionally. After five years, and some very exciting experiences, the woods and shores of New England called me home, but I have continued to dabble in performance by co-directing plays with Katie, singing at Colby alumni events, and playing music with my family.
In recent years, I have engaged in a deep exploration of bushcraft, which integrates my love of nature with the joy of knifework, while also providing me with many teaching opportunities. I know that the Vermont woods are a perfect place to refine these skills. I am also eager to experience solo canoeing, mountain biking, and skiing!
I am very excited to be a part of the MRS community and look forward to all the experiences that lie ahead!
Mountain River School Educator
I live with my husband and two sons in Stowe, VT. In the winter we can be found at Trapp’s cabin eating a well-deserved bowl of soup, or on Mount Mansfield ripping it up in the woods (well my kids are the rippers). As soon as the snow melts, we are mountain biking or swimming in one of the local swimming holes. You may also find me hiking with our dog, Poppy.
I am passionate about the outdoors, creating art, and teaching children. I have been teaching art for over 20 years and have variety of teaching experiences and curriculum development work that I am excited to incorporate into MRS curriculum.
My professional teaching career originated in an outdoor program called Nature's Classroom and I have creatively incorporated nature into my curriculum since. A couple of my outdoor experiences with children include a variety of roles at Camp Thunderbird in Bemidji, MN and taking high school students backpacking in the Tetons and Alaska while working at a program called Wilderness Adventure’s. Special experiences include sharing a moon rising over the mountain on an early morning hike, whales breaching, saving tadpoles from puddles, and reading aloud while in the lightning position on the side of a mountain.
I believe integration is the key to in-depth learning experiences and is a holistic approach to teaching that is embedded in daily practice. “Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.” Each child uses many different ways to express his or her creativity and show understanding.
Art brings communities together. I have facilitated this in a few different ways. I have expanded my role outside of the traditional classroom to include work on the Red Clover committee, Vermont's statewide picture book program, work on the development of art residencies at schools which welcomed local artists and created hands on learning experiences, community events, and participation in in-depth art residencies at the Studio Center in Johnson Vt.
After growing up in St. Charles, IL, a western suburb of Chicago, I graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Art and a K-12 degree in art education. I began my art education career in Colorado teaching both Elementary school and Middle school in the Vail valley. After moving to Vermont, I continued to expand my knowledge and experience through workshops, conferences and course work at St. Michael’s and through other venues. I had the opportunity to teach at both Georgia Elementary and Hardwick Elementary school. My last 12 years have been spent teaching at Stowe Elementary school. I am a practicing artist creating and showing work when I find the opportunities.
I have the perspective of parent, artist, educator and outdoor enthusiast and I look forward to working with the students at MRS to expand their experiences and knowledge through art.
Mountain River School Educator
I joined Mountain River School looking for a place where I could help students explore their own interests as a student and to help students foster an understanding of place. Place can help people understand not just the physical and ecological beauty of a landscape, but can also be a wonderful lens for understanding self. Throughout my own education and my professional career as a teacher over the last 10 years I have seen the tremendous power of using place as a catalyst for learning and understanding. The desire to teach in this way and to live in this way has drawn me and my family to Vermont where my wife grew up. Vermont is a beautiful and unique landscape that holds so many wonderful learning opportunities for me, my family, and our students at Mountain River School. I am excited to share my zest for learning and spending time in the great outdoors with students at Mountain River School. I am also excited to be involved with a program that not only honors the individuality and creativity of their students, but also their faculty.
I grew up on Cape Cod exploring all the ocean had to offer. I went on to earn a BS in Biology from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. After college, I spent several years sailing and teaching oceanography for a program called the Sea Education Association (SEA), which is based out of Woods Hole, MA. While working for SEA, I was introduced to the west during several stints in Jackson, WY. There I developed a love for rugged wilderness and untamed places. These experiences teaching and my time spent out west pointed me back towards a graduate program at the Teton Science Schools in Kelly, WY. The program concentrated in field science education and place based education. After finishing my program at Teton Science School I finished my Masters of Education remotely through Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. During this time period I also joined The Sage School in Hailey, ID and helped them develop their 10th-12th grade program that was centered around a place-based education model and incorporates systems thinking principles. I am now excited to utilize all of these experiences, both professional and personal, to create unique and exciting learning experiences within the 6th-8th grade program at Mountain River School.
When not at school you can find me working on our family farm in Cambridge, fly fishing, hiking, or skiing. All of these activities likely done with my wife, our daughter, and our yellow lab, Tulsi.