Teacher Bios 2020/21

Alannah Ivy LeBlanc – Preschool

I first discovered Waldorf Education while living and working on a permaculture farm the summer before my final year of university. What began for me as a budding interest in Waldorf Education soon blossomed into a deep and insatiable affinity for Anthroposophy. In the Fall of 2018, I took on the role of lead teacher for the first grade class at Mountain Oak School. It was during this time that I discovered that not only was Waldorf Education my life’s work, but also that Anthroposophy was my life’s path. Due to the strength and conviction of this realization, I made the decision to pursue my Waldorf teacher training full-time in Eugene, Oregon with the Waldorf Teacher Education program (WTEE) held on the campus of the Eugene Waldorf School. I will be completing my final year of teacher training with a part-time program this year. I am deeply committed to Waldorf Education and strongly believe that it has the capacity for social renewal and healing by protecting the sanctity of childhood and providing children with warmth, beauty, wonder, and tenderness. When I am not teaching, I love baking sourdough bread, knitting, playing music with my husband, riding my bicycle, felting, and watercolor painting! I am absolutely thrilled to be back at Mountain Oak caring for the preschool children.

Marcee Gilson – Kindergarten

My experience with Waldorf Education began as a parent. I discovered Mountain Oak when I was searching for a Kindergarten for my daughter. I had been a Kindergarten teacher in a public school before she was born. The method of instruction and the environment in the public schools was not the setting I wanted for my daughter. I went on the “Walk Through the Grades” tour at Mountain Oak and talked with the director afterwards. She spoke in-depth about the way the Waldorf curriculum at each grade level meets the child at their stage in development and how teachers bring the content through stories, art, movement, and music. I went home thinking, “I wish I had gone to a school like this!”

As a parent, I volunteered in the Parent Association, in the classroom, at festivals and fundraising events. I went to parent meetings, trainings with Joan Treadaway, read numerous books, and took a few of the first year of Foundation Courses from Steiner College. I also worked in the Kindergarten as an assistant for a year. In 2014, the preschool teacher position became open and I was eager to return to the classroom. This year I will be teaching Kindergarten.

My formal education includes a B.S. and M.A. in Elementary Education with Reading Endorsement from Northern Arizona University. I had the opportunity to enrich my understanding of young children from the Waldorf perspective by completing the Lifeways Early Childhood Certificate Program.

My time outside of school is spent with my family, reading, needle felting and collecting acorn caps and uniquely shaped sticks when out on walks. Yoga is one of my favorite ways to relax. I also enjoy baking and decorating cut out cookies for family gatherings.

Sarah Greene – 1st Grade

I am a second-year teacher here at Mountain Oak and will be teaching the 1st grade class. I was born inBoulder, Colorado and grew up in Tempe, Arizona. I moved to Prescott three years ago and have twochildren of my own; six and nine years old. I have my bachelor’s degree in Art History from NorthernArizona University and earned my master’s degree in Art and Visual Culture Education from theUniversity of Arizona in 2010. I also hold my K-12 Arizona teaching certification and have taught art tomiddle and high school age children. I also taught elementary age children as a graduate student at theUniversity of Arizona. My hobbies include painting, drawing, jewelry making, hiking and gardening. I ama passionate, devoted teacher and am eager to begin another school year with Mountain Oak families!

Amy Zitzer – 2nd/3rd Grade

Amy Zitzer is a second-year teacher at Mountain Oak School. She is thrilled about the 2nd/3rd-grade curriculum and engaging the students in a journey through time! She enjoys integrating the arts into the educative experience to create a strong foundation of knowledge that incorporates, not only the fundamentals, but also fosters individual expression and creativity. She received the opportunity to personally explore the importance of experiential learning while receiving her Bachelors in Education at Prescott College. She has worked for a number of years leading adult and teen groups in the outdoors through adventure activities, craft-making, creative expression projects, and mindfulness exercises. She seeks to learn new delivery systems to implement a hands-on and thematic flow that brings meaning to the classroom experience. Amy enjoys exploring the natural world in and around Prescott, engaging in making a variety of crafts, and learning songs on percussion and string instruments to provide an accompaniment to her outlet of singing. 

Cal Seabaugh – 4th/5th Grade

Chris Newell – 6th/7th Grade

I am delighted to return to Mountain Oak School as the combined 6th and 7th-grade teacher for the 2020-2021 school year! I joined MOS as the 6th-grade teacher in January last year. For the previous 5 years, my husband, Bob, and I worked together as Camp Manager and Camp Director at Shadow Rim Ranch Girl Scout Camp near Payson. We currently live at Camp Maripai Girl Scout Camp, where he is the onsite Camp Manager, with our youngest daughter, Lila, and our dog, Chica.

As a teacher, my emphasis is on the whole child and on helping to strengthen their connection to themselves (heart, mind, spirit), their communities, the earth, and the universe. My gift is in seeing the good in each person and helping them to build confidence in themselves and their abilities. I seek hands-on, place-based learning opportunities that infuse each student’s educational journey with meaning and relevance. I am also committed to working hard to improve our math and language arts skills to meet state standards in those areas.

Prior to working for Girl Scouts, I taught middle and high school science for 7 years in Flagstaff and Salt Lake City. My undergraduate degree is in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on writing and editing, and my Master’s degree is in Ecology. I earned my teaching credentials from Prescott College in 2005. I am certified to teach both Language Arts and Science in grades 6-12. I am currently enrolled in a two-year Waldorf Foundations Course, and am taking two-week long grade-level Waldorf trainings this summer.

Before teaching, I was the Director of Willow Bend Environmental Education Center in Flagstaff, and was Conservation Manager with the Grand Canyon Trust. I made a mid-career shift to education because I wanted to nurture and encourage young people more deeply. Our future depends on them—their sound judgment, big hearts, and creative minds.

I love teaching because, ultimately, teaching is hopeful work. I am looking forward to working in partnership with you and your student this year! Please don’t hesitate to contact me through email at cnewell@mountainoakschool.org or via Parentsquare.

Abigail Poirier – 8th Grade

Hello, my name is Abigail Poirier and this is my third year teaching at Mountain Oak School. I am an avid world traveler, environmental enthusiast, yoga practitioner, and lifelong learner. My own educational background greatly informs what I bring to the classroom. I was homeschooled through seventh grade, I attended a trade high school, I went to university in Boston, Massachusetts, and then I began to engage with the bulk of my education: world travel. I believe that teaching is a sacred process of discovery and co-creation. I love working with middle schoolers especially because they are developmentally ready to confront the process of learning and growth head-on. I seek to serve as their protective guide and teacher on this revolutionary journey through eighth grade. 

Pamela Craig – Reading Specialist

I began my teaching career as an outdoor educator for Stanislaus County Schools at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School in Sonora, CA for 10 years. During that time I was introduced to Waldorf education while volunteering at the Sierra Waldorf School in Jamestown, CA where I later accepted a first through third-grade teaching position. In 1999 I moved to Prescott where my husband had accepted a faculty position at Prescott College. Coincidently, that fall, Mountain Oak School opened as a Waldorf inspired charter school. That first year I was the handwork teacher, kindergarten aide, substitute and teacher mentor. I went on to teach grades 1- 4 three times. To complete my last year of my master’s study, I took a break from the intensity of teaching. My “break” consisted of working full time as a middle school librarian, a wonderful job that allowed me to work closely with older children and gave me a great deal more insight into the interests and needs of adolescent readers. During this time I created an after school reading program for small groups of students and individuals who needed remedial reading classes.

During the spring of 2014 my mother’s failing health lead me back to California, which began a 3-year journey of transitions and travel, opening up my schedule to the health needs of family and friends. During this time I was honored to work at Sebastopol Charter School as the first-grade teacher and mentor to a student teacher who has gone on to be that classes grades teacher. I also taught at IslandWood as a seasonal outdoor education instructor, studied music, and went on a lot of hikes.

My formal teaching education includes a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on education from Sonoma State University, a California Teaching Credential from Chapman University with a Life Science Endorsement, an Arizona State Teaching Credential, a Waldorf Teacher Certification from Anne Arbor, MI and a Master in Education and a Reading Endorsement through Northern Arizona University. Over the years I have attended many teaching-related conferences in a variety of topics, from reading and writing to math and science. I have also attended many weekend remedial workshops with Joan Treadaway, a local remedial therapist and instructor at Rudolf Steiner College. I have participated in many Waldorf summer teacher grade-specific trainings and Waldorf conferences. I have also completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training and I have completed four courses through Mindful Schools.

My interests range from playing the Irish flute, folk dancing, yoga and long-distance bicycle touring, to knitting, hiking, sailing, and gardening.

Etsuko Y. Arminio – Handwork Teacher

I was born in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from Keisen Women’s College, I received a job offer and moved to Massachusetts when I was 25. While living and working there, I was exposed to Waldorf education for the first time. I visited and got a tour of the private Waldorf School in Great Barrington, MA, and was so impressed that I started studying  Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf pedagogy on my own, which continues to this day. We later moved our family to Arizona where we raised our four sons, all of whom attended MOS.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a position in the MOS Handwork Program, and shortly thereafter, became the Handwork Teacher, the position I have held for the past thirteen years.

Honeybee – Gardening and Spanish Teacher

I am Miss Honeybee. I have been working at Mountain Oak for the past two years as the Gardening and Spanish teacher. This will be my third year. It brings my heart so much joy to teach children how to grow food and be connected with nature. To grow food gives power and confidence, along with pride. To teach children a sense of wonder is so important to me, I believe if we can teach children how special and magical nature is, they will want to protect it.

I never saw myself as a Spanish teacher but I have come to love teaching the children about another culture and language. There is so much beauty in diversity. I feel blessed to be a part of the Mountain Oak Community and my heart is dedicated to the Waldorf style of educating.

I have a background in outdoor and adventure education, along with early childhood education. I taught at a science camp for 3 1/2 years. I then went on to be an adventure guide with middle school children. A lot of my job entailed helping the children develop team-building skills and confidence in themselves. I still love to use these tools in my education style.

I grew up having a garden and it was always my favorite to go out and see what going on in the garden each day. My husband and I have also had gardens at our home for the past 8 years. Food is so much more important than most people realize, we live in such a “convenience” culture and my hope is that children can learn aspects of gardening to bring to their own homes; that watching something grow and take shape because they took care of it is so much more rewarding than just going to the store.  A garden can nourish and feed them in so many more ways beyond just eating the vegetables we grow. 

All of life is a garden and we should be constantly planting seeds in our hearts to help us grow. My hope is to help plant seeds in your children that will help them grow for years to come.