Faculty

 Lively Arts HomeSchool Faculty

Lynn Pollitt
Lively Arts HomeSchool Director

From the moment Lynn came to MPCS in 2015, as a substitute teacher, she knew she was home. The Waldorf philosophy and way of teaching is in alignment with everything she feels and believes about teaching. This led her to teach full-time again at MPCS as a games and movement teacher for grades 1-3 and HomeSchool. She feels that her nearly 50-year career of working with and for children and families has come full circle.

After starting her extensive career as an early childhood educator,  Lynn went to work for Campfire Boys and Girls in Wichita, KS directing programs and camps. Then with the Lincoln, NE YMCA she taught pre-school, served as a Youth and Family Director and was the Environmental Educator for Camp Kitaki.

Moving out of non-profit work for nearly 15 years, she was a communications director for a large computer company, then at First National Bank of Omaha she managed a marketing department and served as an HR manager in specializing in organizational design and management training.

Her love for non-profit work with youth and families drew her back to Girls Scouts of Nebraska as Chief Operating Officer and finally before retirement, she served at the YWCA – Women’s Center as the director for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program.

Lynn has certifications in early childhood education,  experiential education  and Nature Explore Classrooms. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and sociology from Peru State College. She is also certified in developmental movement through the Waldorf Movement for Childhood program. Lynn has completed the Building Bridges Waldorf teacher program through the Center for Anthroposophy and Antioch University.

She has two grown children and three granddaughters. In her spare time she likes to sing, tell stories, travel, read, garden, and play with her two Schnauzers- Friskin and Button.

 

CLASS ROOM TEACHERS

Susan Skokan
Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Auntie Susan has been working with children in early childhood for over 10 years. Why Auntie? Part of Susan’s approach, based on her LifeWays teacher training, is that for children school is a first extension of home and family.

Before finding her path to Waldorf education, Susan owned and operated her own licensed child care and home preschool.

For nearly 10 years now, she has been involved in Waldorf education and with MPCS, both as a teacher and a parent – both her sons attend MPCS. She has also been a lead teacher in summer camps at the Denver Waldorf School.
Susan has immersed herself in Waldorf Education over the years.  She is certified to teach early childhood and also has her LiveWays early childhood teacher certification. Susan completed her Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and is currently in Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Training graduating this summer. She has countless continued education hours through the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North American (WECAN) with Nancy Blanning and others.

As a fine art major with an emphasis in photography and writing, she loves art and creating art, music, poetry, and being outside, especially near nature and water.  She enjoys spending time with her family, and appreciates real conversations and thoughtfulness.

Currently Susan is in her third year of teaching in the Lively Arts kindergarten and the Seedlings parent & child classes. She adores both of these dynamic programs. Susan loves children with all their discoveries and point of view. Your children are warmly welcomed here.

Miranda Thibodeau
Kindergarten Assistant

Miranda is thrilled to be working with the Kindergarten program in the Lively Arts HomeSchool program. She was overjoyed when she and her family first found this community five years ago. It supports the way she has raised her children and the way she was raised as well.

Miranda began her journey with Mountain Phoenix when her son started preschool here. She began as a parent volunteer assisting with festivals and classroom projects. As she more spent time in the classroom, she felt she would like to support the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program even more.

When her daughter was in preschool, the opportunity of subbing in the ECE department became a way to help out more. Miranda was hired as a substitute teacher and shortly thereafter was approached by Auntie Susan to assist a few hours a week in the homeschool kindergarten program. Miranda is now the main assistant for the Starflower and Snowdrop kinder classrooms.

Miranda grew up in Taos, NM, where she continued her education through the University of New Mexico. She then moved to Washington DC to work with Smithsonian Business Ventures. She has now been in the Denver area for nine years.

She has been blessed to be a stay at home mom to her two children for the majority of this time. Miranda enjoys exploring the state and national parks with her family. She also has a passion for early childhood and photography.

 

Ellie Andert
Grade 1 and 2 Teacher

Originally from Minnesota,  Ellie attended the University of Puget Sound before entering the Teach For America corps in New Orleans.  She taught Spanish, Art, and Earth Sciences to grades 6-12 in the Recovery School District, and eventually transitioned to 6th Grade Science in Denver, Colorado.
After having three daughters of her own, she began exploring different pedagogies and found her heart and home in Waldorf.  Ellie says that what she loves about Waldof Education is the holistic, rhythmic approach.  And now as a HomeSchool teacher she is especially loving her working with the little ones!
When she is not in the classroom leading songs, telling stories, and cooking up the next craft, you can find her playing outside with her family or sneaking in a podcast or audio book while she is running at dawn

 

Lauren Infusino
Grade 3 Teacher

Lauren is a dynamic educator who has worked in a diverse range of educational institutions spanning five countries and ten years. She has held a wide range of roles at these schools, parishes and community centers from lead teacher to athletic coordinator.

She has worked with students of all ages from five years to adults, but most of her experience is with elementary and middle school students.

Now in her second year at Mountain Phoenix  she is a teaching assistant in a second grade class, as well as, the third grade teacher in the HomeSchool program.

She holds a BA in English literature with a minor in Spanish from the University of San Diego. She teaches Spanish to her third grade class.  While in college Lauren ran for the cross country and track teams and leads a group with the Mountain Phoenix running club.

So far, her experience teaching abroad has been exclusively in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, but she is looking forward to utilizing her recently acquired Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate to teach in a different region of the world in the future.

 

Rachel Riccio
Grades 4-8 Teacher

Rachel is in her third year of teaching in the Lively Arts HomeSchool. And just began Math Invention for 3rd Grade.

With 15 years of  teaching experience, Rachel brings much to the homeschool program. She has worked with students from kindergarten to seventh grades in both private and charter Waldorf school. And covered the miles teaching – between Connecticut, Minnesota and Colorado. While in MN, she also directed the choir at Spring Hill Waldorf School in Excelsior.

Before her twin daughters were born she was a classroom teacher for grades 3-5 here at Mountain Phoenix. She has a B. S. Elementary Education from Susquehanna University and has completed her Waldorf teaching training.

She loves teaching because she gets to purposefully share her gifts, and help children develop new skills and have new experiences. She feel a sense of accomplishment when students grow in knowledge, confidence, and skills.

In her personal time, she enjoys camping and being active outdoors, cooking, painting, and being a mom to her twin daughters.

 

SPECIAL SUBJECT TEACHERS

Jessica Wandler
Games and Movement Teacher

Since joining the Lively Arts faculty in August of 2018, Jessica says that she thoroughly LOVES every single Friday that she gets to be the games teacher. She says that it’s an honor to be a part of such a lovely, diverse, and welcoming group!  It is especially meaningful for her because her own two homeschooled cherubs are in the program.

When her daughter was born, she says that she fell so deeply in love with her that she just had to stay home to raise her. Her close connection with her daughter developed into deciding to homeschool and now her daughter is 12 years old, and Jessica still has been able to stay home to be her teacher. Jessica’s son is 7 years old, and she says that it seemed only natural and without a doubt that she would homeschool him as well.

Jessica and her children joined the Mountain Phoenix Community HomeSchool in fall of 2017 and have loved every aspect of the nurturing qualities of this school. She believes in the movement and commitment that Lynn Pollitt has created with the homeschool group, and Jessica says she is so grateful for the opportunity to be in the lives of all these lovely children!

Jessica grew up in Wyoming and played sports growing up. This led her to play basketball and volleyball in college, where she earned her Master of Science degree in Athletic Training.

She has been her children’s coach in sports since her daughter was three.  As a coach, Jessica learned the value of seeing life through the eyes of children through movement. Body awareness within the self and the world around is a beautiful process that takes patience, consistency, care, and understanding. Jessica truly enjoys and honors the relationships that she develops with each child. As mother, coach and teacher she knows the importance and the power of being and holding a connection. May we all be a light to a child.

Jessica enjoys being with family and friends, exercising, playing outside in whatever way possible, baking and cooking healthy foods, crocheting, listening to my kids’ ideas and stories, dancing, listening to live music, and reading.

One of Jessica’s favorite quotes is, “When you do things from the soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ~Rumi

 

 Kate Grigsby
Vocal Music and Theatre Teacher

Kate Grigsby (Ms. Kate) is thrilled and honored to teach music to grades 1-8 in the Lively Arts Home School program. She also teaches general music at Valdez Elementary in Denver, and directs the Aplausos Choir with The Colorado Children’s Chorale..

Kate’s undergraduate degree is in vocal music performance, and she received her Master’s Degree in music education in 2008.

She has been teaching music to children in both public and private settings for over 10 years, and has always loved sharing her passion for music with her students.
In the Lively Arts music program, Kate uses a variety of songs and instruments to provide an enriching and enjoyable musical experience in the warm, welcoming, and acoustically magical Eurythmy room.

Kate also offers private piano and voice lessons and group ukulele classes for HomeSchool students.  And she will be directing the newly formed Mountain Phoenix Chorale as part of the after-school enrichment program.

In her spare time, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, pets, and guitar.

 

Karen Smith
Art Teacher

Karen came to Mountain Phoenix while in search of a school that was a good fit for her son Riley. She found that and more. She discovered a wonderful, loving community with a teaching philosophy that fit right in with her own pedagogy.

Karen has more than 20 years of experience teaching art to children of all ages. Much of that time was working with students in non-profit organizations. Karen believes art helps students to become life-long lovers of learning.

Karen is a multimedia artist who periodically shows her art in the Denver metro area. As an artist, she is constantly learning new materials and styles for creating her art. Her undergraduate studies were in sculpture and modern dance. She graduated from SUNY Potsdam in New York State, and spent a year studying at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston and a semester abroad in England. Karen has her Masters of Arts in Arts Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Her thesis explored what curriculum best creates questioning learners.

When she is not making art or sharing her love of art with others, Karen can be found spending time with her husband and two children. She also loves gardening and plans someday to learn to play the guitar.

 

Eve Panning
3-8 Grade Orchestra Teacher

Eve is an accomplished musician and educator with a passion for various styles of music. As a homeschooler herself, she began taking violin and piano lessons at the String Academy at Indiana University when she was just six years old.

She was also exposed to a rich culture of traditional folk music that was an integral part of life her small town. Social gatherings revolved around music, from potluck get-togethers to the Tuesday night jam session in the Walmart produce department. These gatherings allowed Eve to experience the joy and community created by music, as well as develop a repertoire of fiddle tunes.

This community of music provided a springboard for the Panning Family Band -also known as FiddleFire- that became a large part of Eve’s life. Performances included the National Fiddle Contest in Weiser, ID, appearances as guest artists with the Grand Rapid’s Symphony, and opening for Cris Cagle and Depue Brothers’ concerts. The family also performed as the headline band at contradance weekends throughout the Midwest.

Eve continued to be active in the classical music world. During college, Eve studied classically with Mihai Craioveanu at Hope College in Holland, MI. During this time she had numerous performance opportunities, including solo performances with the Hope College orchestra, performing in showcase concerts, presenting recitals, and even performing at a TEDx event. She also performed as a section violinist with the Holland Symphony, where she was a featured soloist after winning their concerto competition.

While in college, Eve studied music education, as well as, violin performance. As she observed, taught, and traveled with student groups, Eve developed a passion for helping young musicians interact with multiple genres.She served as a Courtesy Faculty Member and Artist in Residence at Florida Gulf Coast University, and led clinics in string programs across the United States.  She spent multiple summers working on a guest ranch in Wyoming, where she developed and implemented a Kids’ Program, providing musical entertainment in the evenings, and as many adventures as possible.

Immediately upon graduating, Eve underwent an extensive audition process and was selected as a member of Barrage 8, a choreographed, high energy string troupe. With Barrage 8, Eve completed tours of Europe, the United States, and Canada, and recorded an album with the group at a live-in studio in London, Ontario.
Most recently, Eve traveled to China with the Hollywood Film Music Orchestra to perform at a film festival in Nanjing.

In her spare time, Eve enjoys horseback riding, reading, hiking, and camping. She is currently a member of the Lonesome Days blue grass band and performs locally and nationally with the group. She is excited to be a part of the Lively Arts HomeSchool program at Mountain Phoenix.

Melanie Vigil

5-8 Grade Band Teacher

Bio coming

 

 

Cecilia Alban
Spanish Teacher

Cecilia was born in La Rioja, Argentina. She is a lawyer, and her first language is Spanish. She moved to Denver in 2009 when she married her husband. When she lived in Argentina, she worked in the Senate and taught International Law in the University. Cecilia has been teaching and working as a Spanish tutor for 5 years. This is her sixth year as a Spanish teacher at Mountain Phoenix.

She loves teaching in the Lively Arts HomeSchool. She always says that this is the most rewarding and enjoyable work that she has ever had. Working with children, she has the opportunity not only to teach Spanish, but to share Latin American culture through the use of storytelling, songs, plays, and even recipes that she used with her mom when she was a child.

Cecilia and her husband enjoy traveling to different countries and learning about other cultures, food, and people. She has visited 25 states in the US and 18 countries in Asia, Europe, South America, and Australia. She loves to cook, knit, bake, and read, but teaching Spanish is one of her favorites activities.

Cecilia believes Mountain Phoenix is a great school and feels that she is working with amazing people. She hopes she can continue to be part of MPCS for many years to come

Kim Bishop
ESL Teacher and Spanish Teacher

Picture coming

Kim was born in Denver, and has been teaching for nearly 20 years. She has a BA in Psychology and Elementary Education with a Master´s degree in ESL & Bilingual Education from the University of Colorado Boulder.

She lived abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica and Guadalajara, Mexico for more than five years. And for the past seven years she has been working at Mountain Phoenix in various roles.

She teaches Spanish with the homeschool classes, does ESL teaching, and helping out at Mountain Phoenix wherever needed. Kim loves salsa dancing, babies and kids, and travel.

There is no place she would rather be than Mountain Phoenix, except maybe a tropical beach.

 

Michelle Theo-Harris
Handwork Teacher

Bio to come