Principal, Bob Kaminski
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 develop a solid 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, Becky Fay
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, Susan Flynn
After completing the two year program at the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training school, specializing in Early Childhood Education in 2004, Susan began working for the Village School as the Movement Teacher for the younger grades. The following year she stepped into the VS Kindergarten for four years. In 2009 she took a break to build a home in the Coast Range with her family and returned to work in the Kindergarten in 2015. She serves as the Handwork Teacher for the Kindergarten and is devoted to the preservation of early childhood and the indications for developmentally appropriate teaching as indicated by Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf education.
Kindergarten Assistant, Cara Patton
First - Second - Third Grade Teacher, Alyson Byas
Born in Danville, California, Alyson’s family moved many times before settling in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1982. After graduating from high school in 1988, she attended Indiana University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Environmental Sciences and Studio Art-Textiles. In 1993 she moved to Eugene, Oregon. In 1998 she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Pacific University – Eugene campus. Alyson has been teaching at the Village School in various capacities since the school opened in 1999. Over the years her responsibilities have included Kindergarten teacher, 3rd grade teacher, 4th grade teacher, substitute for grades 1-5, title 1 reading and math tutor and 1st grade assistant. In 2018 she began teaching 1st grade for the 1st-2nd-3rd grade loop. Alyson’s 22 year old son attended the Village School from Kindergarten through 8th grade and was her student in 3rd and 4th grades. Alyson enjoys camping, hiking, gardening, bike riding, stand-up paddle boarding, cooking, painting, reading, and relaxing with her husband, son, dog and 2 cats.
First - Second - Third Grade Teacher, Jennifer Horn
First - Second - Third Grade Teacher, Emily Swenson
First Grade Assistant, Merrily Ellestad
Fourth - Fifth Grade Teacher, Shannon Powell
Shannon grew up in Portland, Oregon. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the UofO in 1993, traveled in Africa and Europe in 1994, and graduated from the Waldorf Teacher Training program in 1997. She began work at the Village School in 2004 as an instructional assistant and became a full time class teacher in 2007. She enjoys camping with her family, reading fiction and running.
Fourth - 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.
Fourth - 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, 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.
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. His daughter is going into fourth grade at the Village School and his son is in preschool.
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.
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 fourth 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.
After his undergrad work, Brett 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, Susanne Woelbing
Susanne was born and grew up in Germany, where she graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and taught Kindergarten. Handwork, teaching and travel were always close to her heart and in 1989, she relocated to the USA after meeting her husband during an adventure trip through California. Susanne started volunteering in handwork at the Village School in 2001, when her daughter joined the school in fourth grade, and became first a handwork assistant and a year later handwork teacher. In her free time, she enjoys handwork, reading, aquariums (salt and freshwater), travel, baking, learning about sustainable living.
Handwork Assistant, Anna Szmit
Handwork Assistant, Beth Mettler
Movement Teacher, Britten Kimbell
Choir Teacher, Jennifer Sellers
Librarian, Molly Bautista
Title I Staff
Title I 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. 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 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, Betsy Priddle
Title I Instructional Assistant, Meridith Kidder
Title I Instructional Assistant, Merrily Ellestad
4J Special Education Staff at The Village School
Special Education Teacher, Robyn Louden
Born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon, Robyn moved to Eugene in 2007 and graduated from the University of Oregon in 2010 with a B.A. in Spanish Language, Latin American Studies, and International Education. After graduating, she lived in Casariche, Spain, teaching bilingual 1st grade for several years. Upon returning to the states, she worked as an English Language Development instructor, Spanish-English interpreter, special education assistant, ran after school gardening programs, and facilitated a mentorship program for UO undergraduates. She obtained her M.S. in Special Education from the University of Oregon in 2016, with an emphasis in bilingual education. Since obtaining her license, she has taught every grade from kindergarten through high school transition. When not teaching at the Village School, she can be found rafting, watching baseball, reading, baking and hiking with her dogs. She thinks everything can be made better with pizza.
Special Education Assistant, Megan Kender