Early Childhood Staff


146439Robin Brough

Teacher, Preschool – Buttercups

Robin is the lead teacher in the Buttercups half day preschool class. She moved to Colorado twelve years ago and went on to go to school at Naropa University. She graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a focus on visual arts and traditional eastern arts. Robin worked at Snow Lion School in Boulder for many years before moving to the Denver area. She is very excited to be a part of the Mountain Phoenix community. Robin loves to travel to far away places, and enjoys spending time hiking, camping, and doing yoga in her free time.

 


AG_10000007Joy Wegs

Lead Teacher, Preschool – Sweet Peas

“Auntie Joy” is the Lead Teacher in the Sweet Peas classroom. She says she is elated to embark on her third year ofteaching at MPCS, which she calls her home away from home! Aside from her teaching responsibilities, she is also a mother to two spirited boys (Aizik – (Grade 3) and Ember (Pre-K), a wife and a yoga instructor. She holds a BA in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership, a two-year degree in teaching and has completed the LifeWays of North America training, focusing on Stiener’s views of child development birth through age 7. Along with a few other inspired community members and friends in Grand Junction Colorado, she started a Waldorf Mixed Age Kindergarten called River Canyon. This past summer she was able to focus and deepen her yoga journey, while this fall she will begin her Masters in Waldorf Early Childhood Education.

100008Jo Ann Hammond

Classroom Assistant, Preschool – Sweet Peas

 Jo Ann (Auntie Jo Ann) is thrilled to be embarking on her fifth year at MPCS. She has been a classroom assistant for three of those years, a substitute lead teacher for one, and now a classroom assistant again. This will be her second year in the Sweet Peas classroom. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University and a Master of Arts degree in Speech and Language therapy from the University of Denver. Jo Ann provided speech and language therapy services in both public and private settings for a number of years. Her ECE courses were completed in the 1990’s. “Way back then,” Jo Ann was drawn to Waldorf curriculum and its focus on the development of the whole child. She has continued her education in Waldorf education through attendance at the monthly Kinder Studies groups lead by Nancy Blanning, the annual WECAN conferences, and the annual conferences held at MPCS. This past year, Jo Ann was able to attend the Foundations Study program through the Center for Anthroposophy that was held at MPCS. She is excited to begin the second year of Foundation Studies. Jo Ann is very excited to be part of the Early Childhood Education team, as well as the fabulous community of MPCS. “Where else can I go to work dressed in a beautiful color of the day, work with other amazing teachers, and PLAY with wonderful children all day?”

Jo Ann is married and has two children.  She has lived in Colorado for 53 years, but never passes up the chance to explore another spot she has missed along the way. She loves doing things with her family, as well as her furry and feathered family. She has two dogs, two cats and seven chickens (yes the chickens are pets!). Jo Ann also enjoys knitting, quilting, bicycling, camping, hiking, snorkeling, reading and travel.


AG_BX3388MTMichele Ford Kuntz 

Lead Teacher, Preschool – Mountain Dandelions

Michele Ford Kuntz (“Auntie Chele”) is the lead teacher of the full time Mountain Dandelions preschool classroom at Mountain Phoenix Community School. In 1999, Michele moved to Denver from Seattle, and after working in the corporate world for several years, realized her true calling in life to teach. After teaching various grades from Kindergarten through Third, in both public and private settings, Auntie Chele feels completely at home with the Waldorf Curriculum and in the Early Childhood Program at MPCS.  Michele has an undergraduate degree in Theater from the University of Washington, as well as a Master’s in Curriculum and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Denver where she graduated top of her class and received the “Outstanding Graduate” award, as chosen by her professors.  Michele is very excited to bring her passion for the arts to her teaching.  In addition to being a teacher, Michele has two children who attend MPCS, a loving husband, and she enjoys reading, knitting, bike riding and travel.

148228Ashley Mendoza

Classroom Assistant, Preschool – Mountain Dandelions

Ashley has always worked retail but wanted to do something more meaningful and worth my time. That is when she decided to change her degree plan towards child education. In 2010, she worked at a Montessori school as a floater in East Plano, TX. She became very acquainted with the assistant director who decided to leave and start her own in home day care business. She asked Ashely to be her assistant so she left and worked with her until she moved up to Colorado in June 2013. She was happy to finish and graduate this past winter of 2014 with my associates in Early Childhood Education from Red Rocks Community College. She will be finishing up her Director’s Certificate this spring and then start working on her Bachelor’s at CSU in human development and family studies. She plans to open up her own in home daycare with time permitting. Other than school and work, she spends other time being a child’s advocate and volunteer for MACA (March against Child Abuse) which is a non- profit organization. Last year in April, was her first time organizing a walk for child abuse awareness month. She was able to be another child’s voice which she is proud of. In her other spare time, she likes to watch movies, sight see, and visit what beautiful adventures Colorado has to offer. She is happy to be a part of the Mountain Dandelion’s class and to work with such great little ones finding their own way into the world.

AG_264G8679Barbara Wallace

Classroom Assistant, Preschool – Mountain Dandelions

While working as a substitute teacher in the Early Childhood classrooms at Mountain Phoenix last year, Barbara (AKA Ms. Barbara) discovered talented, dedicated teachers who truly value children and their play. Now, Barbara is happy to be a Classroom Assistant in the Mountain Dandelion room. Her education includes an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and Management, and a Bachelor Degree in Behavioral Science.

In addition to teaching and directing in private preschools,Barbara also taught in Head Start programs for many years. A few of her favorite past teaching experiences include teaching at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and at a parent Co-op preschool housed in a log building that was once long, long ago the one room school house in Indian Hills, CO.

Barbara enjoys gardening, and tends to an organic vegetable garden as well as a perennial flower garden filled with drought tolerant and native species. The perennial garden is listed on an international registry as a Monarch Way Station through the Monarch Watch organization. Taking walks, reading, and volunteering at the Jeffco Action Center are other enjoyments. Barbara loves spending time with her family, and she and her husband finally became grandparents recently!


AG_TKTP5R98Susan Skokan

Floater, Preschool and Kindergarten

Susan has been caring for children full time since 2007. She dove in to Waldorf methods the summer of 2011. During that school year she cared for teacher’s toddler children, as well as providing before care for grades students and private after care for ECE students. After two years successfully running her own licensed, mixed-age home preschool; she is thrilled to be back at Mountain Phoenix as the Early Childhood Float and ECE after school enrichment assistant.

She took her ECE courses through FRCC and is a photography major at Metro. Susan earned her LifeWays Early Childhood Certification in May of 2013 – a “Sister to Waldorf” program that focuses on birth to age 7. Since 2011 she has attended as many of the WECAN monthly continuing education classes that Nancy Blanning hosts as she is able (9 during the 2012-2013 school year) and is currently in the Foundations studies that MPCS is hosting. She has been blessed to observe classes at six other Waldorf schools in the area and is a voracious reader – hungry for more and more knowledge of child development and Waldorf pedagogy.

Susan adores getting to know all the children at MPCS. She especially loves to paint, felt wool, sing, garden and lazure. She loves to practice eurythmy, yoga and swim. She is enjoying volunteering in one of the 3rd grade handwork classes and working on becoming better friends with knitting and crochet. She is inspired by these rhythmic yet dynamic days.

Every day, she strives to take each moment as it comes, see the chance for meeting the children with spiritual reverence and remembering that THERE IS TIME! At first, Susan wanted Auntie Joy to substantiate that claim. Over time, she finds it more and more true, especially using slow, gentle movements to give a child warm nurturing moments in their day. “It’s so fun when they want me to sing a song again and again, because I know they’ve enjoyed it.” Susan loves to watch leaves fall with them, discover snow, stare at the sky or a ladybug, tell stories, and just look into light filled eyes.


146242Laura Childers

Lead Teacher, Kindergarten – Sunflowers

Laura has been involved in Waldorf Education for about 18 years, beginning at the Waldorf School of Orange County where she was a parent. In addition to initiating a biodynamic CSA, as well as gardening and eating organically at home, she also volunteered and contributed original artwork, performed puppetry and participated in acting, set decoration and painting, as well as costume making for class plays and eurythmy performances at the school. She sang in choral groups for festivals, contributed photography, watercolor paintings and graphic design for yearbooks, and participated in several committees, alongside teachers and fellow parents.

Laura completed her Waldorf teacher training with a specialization in Early Childhood from the Waldorf Institute of Southern California, where her practical knowledge of the Waldorf curriculum was deepened by understandings of Steiner’s pedagogical indications for education from a teacher’s perspective. She loves to quote another class parent, who says the following of their family’s own experience, “Waldorf education is great for children, but it’s even a better education for parents!” Midway through her teacher training, she began teaching full-time at Journey school, one of the first Waldorf charter schools in Southern California, and taught a mixed age Kindergarten there for 5 years.

In addition to her Waldorf training, Laura has a BA in Organizational Management from Ashford University. She has worked in a mixed-age Nursery and taught Kindergarten at two Waldorf initiatives, working as pedagogical chair for the Board of Trustees for both schools. While taking a course for experienced Early Childhood teachers called “Nurturing the Roots”, she visited and fell in love with Colorado and learned about Mountain Phoenix! Miss Laura is thrilled to be here, and hopes to “nurture the roots” –helping Mountain Phoenix grow and thrive as the Waldorf impulse for education is realized in a public school setting.

146225Kathy Peters

Classroom Assistant, Kindergarten – Sunflowers

With a Master’s Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from New York University, and as a former Recreation Therapist, Kathy feels passionately about the importance of play in the development of the whole child.
A lover of the visual arts, Kathy also studied Art History in Florence, Italy, for a semester as part of her undergraduate work.
Waldorf education embraces the arts, the natural world, and movement in a media-free environment; all of which Kathy seeks out for her own children. Kathy recognizes that the rhythms and opportunities for imaginative play and creativity are the building blocks for our Preschool/Kindergarten children to develop as whole human beings.

In her free time, Kathy enjoys preparing healthy, organic meals for her family, and learning about health and environmental issues. Researching the benefits of play and nature in child development is a primary passion. Kathy has been a member of the Denver Holistic Moms Network for 5 years, and is an active member of “A Vegan Life” Colorado. She is active in two Waldorf study groups. ‘Ms. Peters’ is grateful to be given the gift of being a part of a child’s journey at MPCS, and her goal is to be worthy of imitation in a natural, loving, and creative environment.


145267Liz McCune

Teacher, Kindergarten – Bluebirds

Ms. Liz is excited to be the teacher of the Morning Glory AM Kindergarten class. In her pre-kid years she worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist, but more recently has spent the past two years as an assistant in the Kindergarten and loved it so much that she began the teacher training program at Rudolf Steiner College this past summer. Ms. Liz was introduced to the “magic” of Waldorf education through seeking to find a fitting pre-school program for one of her own children! She and her family landed at a Waldorf based home preschool and life since then has never been the same. Waldorf education inspired a renewed love of childhood, magic and learning!

Ms. Liz is also a MPCS parent – her four children all attend the school (5th, 3rd, 1st and Pre-K)! Their family has chickens, bees, and a new, much bigger than expected, puppy. Originally an Ohio buckeye, she is married to a Colorado native, but has previously lived in Albania, Texas, Mississippi, Scotland (her 2 boys were born there) and back in Ohio, before settling down in Denver 5 years ago! In her spare time, you can find her….wait, what’s spare time? Her most recent achievement: winning the Blue Ribbon at the Denver County Fair for her 9 grain bread (she mills the flour)! Lately, her (nighttime) dreams include crockpots and wool roving.

AG_4F73TW9JAlexandra Esarey

Classroom Assistant, Kindergarten – Bluebirds

Ms. Alex is thrilled to be teaching at Mountain Phoenix! With a Bachelors in Social Work from Asbury University, Alex feels passionate about bringing holistic education to her students. She has been teaching in Early Childhood settings since 2011, including forming and leading a spirited PreK classroom in Seattle! Prior to 2010, she was walking alongside adolescents in multi-cultural and therapeutic environments, including working with Roma (gypsy) youth in Romania.  Alex aspires to attend the Sunbridge Institute and gain her Waldorf teaching certificate (in the meantime, she attends the monthly WECAN study group). During her free time she loves practicing needle felting, reading a good mystery with a cup of tea, or listening to bagpipe music. Look closely on the MPCS playground on a rainy day, and you might see Ms. Alex splashing in a rain puddle alongside her students!


AG_WJ386CU6Melissa Windram

Lead Teacher, Kindergarten – Morning Glories

Bio coming soon.

 

 

 


144736Andrea Thompson

Teacher, Kindergarten – Skylarks

Ms. Andrea is thrilled to be the lead teacher in the Skylarks classroom. In 2005, Andrea completed her Masters in Elementary Education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She then moved to Beulah, CO and taught at a small community school until her first child was born. She then taught in a pre-k class in Golden for two years. Last year, Ms. Andrea was an assistant in the Skylark classroom and fell in love with the class and the Waldorf method. It felt like coming home to her and she is overjoyed to lead the Skylarks.

Ms. Andrea also has two daughters who attend Mountain Phoenix. Isabel is in second grade and Hazel is in kindergarten. Andrea’s path to Mountain Phoenix was paved by her search for an education for her own children. She has personally experienced the effects of a Waldorf-inspired education and wholeheartedly believes in this method.

Andrea loves to hike, bike and do yoga. She also knits, gardens, and plays (a little) guitar. However, spending time with her husband, daughters, and her shaggy dog (Magpie) is her very favorite way to spend a day.

AG_RUEFGPUAShelby Gregory

Classroom Assistant, Kindergarten – Skylarks

Bio coming soon.

 

 

 

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