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Administrative Staff

 

Co-Principal, Shannon Powell

Shannon was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She earned a Bachelors Degree in psychology from the UO in 1993. She then made time for traveling, and started a family, before attending the Waldorf Teacher Training program in 1995-97. She began work at the Village School in 2004 as an instructional assistant, became a full time class teacher in 2007, and is currently a co-principal and co-6th grade teacher. She and her husband, Kevin, raised three girls, all VS graduates! She enjoys hiking, yoga, reading historical fiction, and camping with friends and family.

 

Co-Principal, Susana Romatz

Susana grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Religion and Earth Science from Central Michigan University and earned her teacher’s certification from the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training Program. Susana enjoys traveling, teaching math, soaking in hot springs, looking for mushrooms, writing, and making vegan cheese. 

Executive Director, Andy Peara 
Mr. Peara was one of the founding board members of the Village School. He wrote the financial policy, budgets, and projections for the charter application contributed to the charter startup grant and directed finances for the first year and a half of school operations. He also was a co-founder of the Network Charter School in Eugene. He has a B.A. from Yale University in English Literature and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon. He also is a retired Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. His work has delved into the various financial, developmental, legal, political, and policy-related issues of building and sustaining a charter school in Oregon. He worked for 9 years for the environmental education nonprofit, Nearby Nature, helping refine its focus and solidifying its business plan. Prior to working in Oregon, Andy worked 9 years as a consulting actuary for Hewitt Associates, currently owned by Aon International, supporting several Fortune 500 clients in the area of retirement benefit plan design, funding, financial reporting, and regulatory compliance.

Registrar and Records Coordinator, Tristin Beach 

Communication and Volunteer Coordinator, Chrissy Barry

Counselor, Rebecca Macemon

Main Lesson (Classroom) Teachers

 

Kindergarten Teacher, Denise Huebner

Born in Southern Illinois, Denise always had a desire to explore mountains and oceans, and after some travel during her early college years, she relocated to the Eugene area in 1998.  She finished her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Oregon, with emphasis on botany and environmental studies. Her environmental studies led her to volunteering as a nature guide for several seasons, where she discovered her true calling as a teacher.  After working for a couple years as a nanny and in an after-care program, she then returned to school at Pacific University and earned a Masters in Teaching in 2006.  She taught kindergarten and first grade for nearly a decade in the Junction City School District before finding her way to the Village School. Since then she has participated in several Waldorf Early Childhood trainings and professional learning opportunities. She has been the lead kindergarten teacher since the fall of 2016. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, hiking, dancing, and going on road trips.

Kindergarten Assistant, Hailey Duhn

Kindergarten Assistant, Rachel Bayer

 

First - Second - Third Grade Teacher, Alyson Byas

Dan moved to Eugene in 2020, but his roots in the Southwest are pre-colonial. His desire to hike anywhere there are rocks and camping year round are rooted in his love for his mountain home in Colorado. Dan first started teaching Computers and Instructional Technology in 2014 before taking on a class of 7th grade students at a Waldorf charter in Colorado Springs. Dan took a step back from classroom teaching after his class graduated 8th grade so he could continue his education in math and science. When Dan's done with his homework, he enjoys karaoke, board games and recreational programming.

 

First - Second - Third Grade Teacher, Jennifer Horn (on sabbatical)

First - Second - Third Grade Teacher, Sarah Hartman

First - Second - Third Grade Teacher, Emily Swenson

Emily was born on Huckleberry Island, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, and lived all over the US as a child. She landed in Oregon and loved it so much she decided to call it home. She holds a BA in Japanese from the University of Oregon, and an MA in Teaching from Pacific University. She studied and worked in Japan before becoming a teacher at The Village School in 2005. After a few years at home raising babies, she returned to the school in 2011. She loves riding her bicycle, reading, working in her garden, swimming in lakes, and laughing with friends and family. She checks out hazardously tall piles of library books from the Eugene Public Library several times a month. Her favorite tree is the Oregon White Oak.

 

First Grade Assistant, Katherine Haring

Fourth - Fifth Grade Teacher (Effective Sept 2022), Merrily Ellestad
 

Fifth - Fifth Grade Teacher, Matthew Rutman

Matthew Rutman (AKA Mr. Matthew) grew up in San Diego, just a few miles this side of the border. He spent his early years submerged in the ocean and fascinated by the culture and languages of Mexico. As a child he camped, surfed, and fished the Baja Peninsula with his family. After graduating from the University of Oregon, he spent several years traveling, living, working, and volunteering throughout Latin America. In 2002, he received a Masters in Elementary Education from Pacific University, here in Eugene. Since then, he has taught grades 3-6 in Springfield, Eugene, and Venezuela. He has worked in the field of education since 1995, and has served in a variety of positions that include working as a special education assistant, Americorps volunteer, outdoor environmental educator, Spanish teacher, substitute teacher, and classroom teacher. Presently, he  lives on a family homestead on the southeast side of Spencer’s Butte and spends most of his spare time raising his twin boys, tinkering on homestead projects, and chasing waves.

 

Fifth - Fifth Teacher, Matthew Bigongiari

Born on the south side of Chicago, Matthew, graduated from Reed College with a degree in psychology in 1983 and then trained as a Waldorf teacher at Rudolf Steiner College before beginning his work as an educator, his passion for more than 3 decades.  He is the father of three children and step-father of three more. As one of the original co-founders of The Village School, his work in writing sections of the charter proposal and federal start-up grants, coordinating the curriculum/mentoring teachers and serving on the founding Board for 3 years, helped to put the school onto the firm foundations it finds itself today. He has also worked as an educational consultant to Waldorf inspired charter schools across the state. In 2018-19 he was lucky enough to take a sabbatical year in Italy where he lived, worked and rediscovered his Italian roots.  He now teaches in the 4th/5th grade loop and in his spare time, he enjoys gardening, cooking, biking, reading, music, traveling and being in nature with his wife, Donica.

Sixth Grade Teacher, Roz Romatz & Shannon Powell

See the descriptions above under co-principal.

 

Seventh and Eighth Grade Teacher, Jesse Gammon

Jesse came to the Village School in 2018 after having spent a decade teaching in Southern Oregon where he took a class from 1st to 8th grade. He grew up in Portland and first began teaching as a swim instructor in high school. After studying literature and French at the UO, he spent a couple years teaching English in France and Poland. Jesse enjoys running, biking, cooking, playing accordion and going on adventures with his family. Both his children go to the Village School; his son is in kindergarten and his daughter is in 6th grade.

 

Seventh and Eighth Grade Teacher, Justin Boe
Justin grew up on the edge of suburbia in Beaverton, Oregon. His early adventures in the woods and fields around his home, and their subsequent development into more neighborhoods and apartments lead him to follow a career in environmental education. For a number of years he taught about the natural history and ecology of the Northwest. Some of his fondest memories are those that involve a creek side mountain lion track and the awe of attentive kids. He’s worked as a professional storyteller as well. He enjoys baking bread, playing old blues on the guitar and banjo, drawing, kayaking, and long walks on the beach.

 

Middle School Math Instructional Assistant, Dan Cordova

Dan moved to Eugene in 2020, but his roots in the Southwest are pre-colonial. His desire to hike anywhere there are rocks and camping year round are rooted in his love for his mountain home in Colorado. Dan first started teaching Computers and Instructional Technology in 2014 before taking on a class of 7th grade students at a Waldorf inspired charter school in Colorado Springs. Dan took a step back from classroom teaching after his class graduated 8th grade so he could continue his education in math and science. When Dan's done with his homework, he enjoys karaoke, board games and recreational programming.


Specialty Subject Teachers 


Spanish Teacher, Sarah Lewenberg

Sarah was born and grew up in Ventura, California.  After graduating high school, she traveled to a small town in Venezuela where she spent a year.  She then went on to receive a BA in Latin American Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a MA in school administration from CSU Northridge.  During her undergrad years she lived for 18 months in Madrid, Spain.  Sarah has been a public school educator for more than 25 years.  She was a school principal for 15 of these.  This is her sixth year as the 1-8 grade Spanish teacher at the Village School.  Sarah loves to sew, read, and spend time with her two adult children.

Guitar Teacher, Brett Jacobs

Brett grew up in Tigard, Oregon on the edge of the urban growth boundary where his play ground was sprawling agricultural fields and forests. After High School, Brett graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in Physical Geography and a Minor in Geology. Brett then joined the Peace Corps where he spent 2 years working and living in Panama.  After Peace Corps, Brett moved to Eugene where he worked as an environmental scientist at LRAPA. Brett returned to higher education at the University of Oregon where he received a M.Ed. Brett teaches guitar in the middle school and gardening in the grade school. Brett is also the building manager and a parent of a Village School K-8 alum.

 

Marimba Teacher, Chris Halaska

 

Handwork Teacher, Anna Szmit

Handwork Assistant, Sarah Borchers

Sarah is from the Hudson Valley. She holds a teaching certificate from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training and an AA Degree in Communications. Sarah became a mother in January of 2022! Her passions include: baby Isaac, partner Kai, cooking, singing and all things handwork.

 

Handwork Assistant, Kristin Zay

From the age of 22, Ms. Kristin has been immersed and impassioned with the Waldorf educational approach. She worked for many years as an early childhood teacher at various Waldorf programs in Portland, OR and attended classes with the Micha-el Institute in pursuit of a Waldorf Early Childhood certificate, before opening her own in-home preschool which thrived for 4 years until the birth of her first child. For the following 11 years (and counting!) Ms. Kristin has been a dedicated stay-at-home mom, infusing her family life with the wisdom that underlies Waldorf education. This past year she worked in the VS Kitchen serving and getting to know the whole VS community. Ms. Kristin holds a BS from the University of Maryland in Anthropology. Ms. Kristin also enjoys watercolor painting, baking, backpacking, rock-climbing, writing and dancing the Argentine tango.

 

Movement Teacher, Logan Flores

I am very grateful to be a member of the Village School. My experience with Recreation in the City of Eugene and my years of experience here at the Village School gives me the privilege to serve our community with skill and kindness for all. I love Martial Arts, Music, and being a father. My daughter and I love this Village and enjoy every challenge, adventure, and endearing moment this school has to offer. With a steady stance, a kind approach, and peaceful heart I hope to be supportive to your children in Movement class, on the playground, and in after school care.

Choir Teacher, Jennifer Sellers

Librarian, Molly Bautista

Molly grew up in Eugene, Oregon immersed in reading books, writing poetry and short stories, and rooting for the University of Oregon Ducks. She graduated from the University of Portland with a BA in history and sociology in 2004. After graduation, she joined AmeriCorps and spent two years tutoring and mentoring elementary students in rural Oregon, then worked as an educational assistant. Over the next several years she completed her Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington, made two cross-country moves, and raised three babies. She joined the Village School as the librarian in 2016. When she's not supporting her daughter with jewelry making and music or watching her two sons play soccer, she enjoys hiking, baking, playing word games, reading, and watching baseball with her husband. Molly's favorite part of her job is seeing the children's excitement about checking out books.

Staff Wellness Coordinator and After School Enrichment, Cara 

Cara Bryton, began her service at the Village School as a Kindergarten Teaching Assistant in Fall 2018. After becoming a mama in 2020, she continued to serve from a distant as Staff Wellness Coordinator and has enjoyed taking part in supporting the Village Staff in promoting monthly wellness challenges and events. In Spring 2022, Cara began another role helping to coordinate the After School Enrichment Program and in Fall 2022 came on board as an instructor as well. She looks forward to her child coming to this amazing school in the years to come!

 

Title I Staff 

 

Title I Co-Coordinator & Instructional Assistant, Alison Cantril 
Alison was one of the original founding board members of the Village School. She volunteered in the classroom and for the festivals committee when the school opened and has served as a Title I instructional assistant since the Fall of 2005 and Title I coordinator since 2018. Alison has a Masters in Teaching from National Lewis University in early childhood education, a BA from Yale University, and a license from TSPC. Her older daughter was among the first class of students to attend kindergarten through 8th grade.

Title I Co-Coordinator & Instructional Assistant, Sally Grimsrud

I was born in Eugene and raised in Elkton, Oregon along the Umpqua River, where my parents were teachers.  I received my teaching degree from WOSC in Monmouth, Oregon and my Master's in Art Education from U of O.  I then went on to teach in Salem Oregon, St. Croix USVI, McCloud CA, HoChiMinh City VN, and Gambell AK.  I also taught the first fourth grade at The Village School, and then went on to teach third and fourth grades for eight more years, as well as serving as Title 1 Coordinator for four years.  Last year I served as co-principal and Title 1 co-coordinator at The Village School.  I am continuing with Title 1.  I have a son who is now 28 years old.  When I am not working I love to garden, read, cook, make art and travel.

Title I Instructional Assistant, Meridith Kidder

Meridith joined The Village School’s Title 1 Team in 2018 and has a 20+ year history of volunteering and working with emerging readers and mathematicians in elementary school. She graduated from OSU with a BS in Management Science and minors in Applied Mathematics & Computer Science. An avid learner, she’s particularly interested in the sciences of learning & teaching, growth mindset & resilience, and diverse & divergent brains. She loves reading, math & her students and hopes to support their understanding and skill building in a space that encourages exploring challenges, connecting, and enjoying time together.

 

Title I Instructional Assistant, Betsy Priddle

Title I Instructional Assistant, Katherine Haring


 

Kitchen Staff

Kitchen Director, Toña Aguilar

Kitchen Coordinator & Staff, Angelique Perez

Kitchen Staff, Robyn Loehrke

Kitchen Staff, Fran Gillooly

Kitchen Staff, Lacie Wilson

Kitchen Staff, Taylor Ziegler

Village Care and Recess Staff

Village Care Coordinator, Nolan Ebner

Recess Staff, Zoe Ridge

Recess Staff, Logan Flores

I am very grateful to be a member of the Village School. My experience with Recreation in the City of Eugene and my years of experience here at the Village School gives me the privilege to serve our community with skill and kindness for all. I love Martial Arts, Music, and being a father. My daughter and I love this Village and enjoy every challenge, adventure, and endearing moment this school has to offer. With a steady stance, a kind approach, and peaceful heart I hope to be supportive to your children in Movement class, on the playground, and in after school care.

4J Special Education Staff at The Village School

Special Education Teacher, Kathryn Young

Special Education Assistant, Karen Kirkman

Special Education Assistant, Sarah Clothier

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