NANCY WILSON, M.ED.- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Nancy Wilson has been working with young children for over 25 years. She began working in child care centers in high school and continued to find joy working for a child care center owned and operated by the college she attended in VT. After college she followed an interest in natural health and well-being which led her to discover a passion for the Natural Foods Industry. She lived in both California and Vermont opening and managing natural food stores. During this time she worked closely with local schools giving store tours and teaching children about health and nutrition.
The birth of her daughter inspired a career change leading her to return to pursue a Master's degree while working full time as a lead teacher. Locally, she served as the Lead Toddler/Preschool Teacher, and Summer Program Coordinator at Monadnock Area Cooperative School formerly located in Hancock, NH. In 2005, she became a Founding Teacher and the Assistant Director of the Pine Hill Child Care Center in Peterborough NH. At PHCCC she worked with all age groups developing curriculum and mentoring both high school interns and interns attending the Waldorf Teacher Training program at Antioch University New England. She holds a M.Ed. and received her Waldorf Teacher Training from Antioch University New England. Her Waldorf Training ranges from Early Childhood through Grade 8. She has also completed one year of independent study with Sophia’s Hearth in Keene, NH as part of her training.
In 2011, Nancy returned to the Natural Products Industry to better support her family during the recent economic recession. She worked as a Sales and Marketing Representative for the largest natural products brokerage in the country supporting 45 brands working with stores in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
In 2015, Nancy accepted the position of Executive Director of A Child's Nature. Nancy is delighted life has unfolded in a way to allow her to return to the work she loves – her heart’s work - serving local children and families. Being part of a community committed to providing the highest quality, true human care is her dream and she is incredibly grateful to be seeing this dream come to fruition. She lives in Peterborough with her partner, Jeff, and her daughter, Maya, a former Pine Hill student.
Elizabeth Adams,M.Ed. - Sweet Pea - Toddler Lead Teacher
Elizabeth Adams, joins us with over 25 years experience working with young children. Elizabeth holds a M.Ed. from Lesley University and a B.F.A. from Southeastern Massachusetts University. She holds an AMS Certification (Montessori) in Early Childhood Education and her Montessori Infant & Toddler certification. She was the Directress of the Early Childhood Program at the Montessori School of Bedford, NH for 5 years, and most recently held the position of Directress of the Toddler House Montessori Toddler Program at the Cornerstone School in Stratham, NH. Her self-study in RIE methods and Waldorf Inspired approaches combined with her personal philosophy of caring for the very young led her to our program.
References from former parents, colleagues, and supervising teachers describe Elizabeth as a person who cares deeply about nurturing young people. The children in her care love her for her creativity and ability to play games that teach life skills and her ability to assist children in cultivating a classroom environment that is both fun and fair. Parents describe her as warm and available for questions and guidance. Her advice and input on how to communicate with toddlers, navigate milestones and challenging behavior was considered invaluable and helped parents improve their relationships with their children in ways described as making "a world of difference" for their families.
Michelle Gullage, B.A. - Buttercup Pre-Kindergarten TEACHER
Michelle Gullage worked for over ten years in Environmental Adventure and Wilderness Education for non-profits, schools, public parks and recreation departments. She discovered Waldorf Education while living in Asheville, North Carolina where she participated in pioneering the local Waldorf initiative – Azalea Mountain School. She served on the board of the Waldorf Nursery-Kindergarten, was membership coordinator for the school, and lead kindergarten teacher at a Waldorf Inspired cooperative. Locally, she has worked as the Assistant Kindergarten Teacher at Cobb Meadow School in Dublin, and as an Assistant Nursery and Kindergarten Teacher at Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene. She was a sought after substitute for Sophia’s Hearth in Keene and most recently served as a 7th & 8th grade Assistant Teacher at Surry Charter School.
Michelle’s passion lies in working with young children. She has been searching for a professional home – a school that is nurturing and supportive, not only to its children and families, but also to its staff. We are so grateful she has found us and will share her gifts with our beautiful community.
Kirsten Spille-Scott, M.Ed. - Sweet Pea - Infant Lead Teacher
Kirsten holds a BS in Communication Arts from Cornell University. She completed her Foundation studies in Anthroposophy from Emerson College in East Sussex, England before receiving her M.Ed. and Waldorf teaching certification from Antioch University New England in 1996. She has also completed a Training Fellow working with children with special needs through The Community Therapeutic Day School in Lexington, MA. She has held a number of positions over the years as both a private nanny and teacher working individually with special needs children. She was part of a pioneering Waldorf Early childhood program - Evergreen Garden Playschool in Harvard & Devens, MA from 2002 - 2013 holding a range of positions - Parent-child Teacher, Summer Camp Director & Teacher, Nursery Class Lead Teacher, and finally Lead Teacher and Director.
Her former colleagues describe her as conscientious - careful and thorough in all her work - a talented artistic teacher of young children - excellent classroom management skills - especially skilled with children having challenging moments - excellent partnering with parents - a true collaborator and progressive thinker - an active, valuable member of the community.
Kirsten is also the Administrator & Programs Coordinator for Wild Rose Farm Programs & Wild Ways Wilderness Education for the Gaia Education Outreach (GEO) Institute located at the Temple Wilton Community farm right here on our hilltop. She lives in Townsend, MA with her husband and her son, Gabe, who is in the third grade at Pine Hill.
Aleshanee Akin, M.Ed. - Buttercup Assistant Teacher
Aleshanee grew up in Hawaii and is a Waldorf graduate. As a member of Youth Ambassadors of America, she spent most of her teenage years traveling in Russia and meeting with world leaders, including Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. She discovered she had a love for writing, and as this passion grew, she was hired as a foreign youth correspondent in Moscow, for the Maui News. She also wrote articles regularly for "The Bridge," a small newspaper published in Bellingham Washington.
Eventually, Aleshanee moved to Russia where she started a family. As a young mother, she was hired as a teacher in one of Russia's first Waldorf schools. At that time she was regularly published in "Nash Malish" a popular Russian parenting magazine, and went on to author a book on conscious parenting entitled "Nine Months and a Lifetime" which was published in Saint Petersburg, Russia in December of 1999 and re-published in Moscow by Genesis Publications in March 2006.
In addition to teaching in Russia, Aleshanee has been a teacher at Waldorf schools in Hawaii, California, and New Hampshire. She was a preschool teacher at the Pine Hill Child Care Center in Peterborough while completing her teacher training. She holds a masters degree in education as well as a Waldorf teaching certification from Antioch New England University.
Aleshanee is currently working on her second book, a step-by-step guide entitled, "Bare-hand Knitting." It is to be published and distributed, internationally, by Waldorf Publications out of New York.
Amy Cutler, B.A. - Sweet Pea Assistant Teacher
Amy has a B.A. in Marine Science & Biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo-Hilo, Hawaii. She spent many years working in the field of Marine Biology before deciding to pursue a career in education. She worked in early childhood education programs in both Hawaii and Oregon. She also taught English in Mexico and Japan. She left Hawaii in June 2016 with her family and relocated to New Hampshire to attend Antioch New England University's Waldorf Teacher Training program. She completed her foundation studies last July. Amy is a loving, gifted teacher of young children. We feel very blessed to have her loving presence in our Sweet Pea Classroom. Amy lives in Wilton with her husband and two children. Her daughter attends Pine Hill, and her son is in the Buttercup Class here at A Child's Nature.
jo-ann maxwell - Sweet Pea class teacher
Jo-Ann Maxwell is delighted to join the Staff of A Child’s Nature. She brings her experience of Waldorf Education, gained through working at the Pine Hill Waldorf School for ten years. She served in the office and the school's medical room for seven years. Jo-Ann spent four years as the Pine Hill School's Summer Program assistant teacher and Kindergarten substitute teacher, and supported the young children in the school's aftercare program.
Jo-Ann has has fueled her Waldorf inspiration over the years by attending Summer Renewal Courses and other workshops offered by the Center for Anthroposophy. Jo-Ann successfully attended child development classes at Sophia's Hearth Family Center and is currently enrolled at Manchester Community College to continue her child development study.
Jo-Ann grew up in Massachusetts. As a youth, Jo-Ann co-created, held a board of director’s position, and graduated from an accredited alternative high school. She has devoted the last 19 years to human development work as a mother, artist and actively involved parent. Jo-Ann has held many volunteer roles at Pine Hill, including Parent Council Liaison for eight years and Auction Chair for four years. Jo-Ann lives in Amherst with her husband, Brad, and their two daughters, both of whom are successful graduates of Pine Hill Waldorf School.
lynne pentler, B.A. - Sweet Pea Class teacher
Lynne Pentler received her Waldorf inspiration as a parent while her daughter attended Pine Hill from kindergarten through eighth grade. She believes that the protective nurturing of Waldorf inspired education and parenting prepares the children to go off into the world with confidence and compassion. Lynne has a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Biochemistry, as well as being NH lead teacher qualified. She has worked in a variety of jobs from research in biology labs and technical writing, to co-managing a retail arts and toy store at the Pine Hill Waldorf School.
Her prior teaching experience consists of four years at a more-traditional preschool, four years as a special education aide at the public middle school level, and a lot of volunteer work in the classrooms at the Pine Hill Waldorf School. Lynne joined the Pine Hill Child Care Center in the summer of 2006 as an Associate Teacher working with all of the age groups. In 2010, she became the Lead Teacher of the Infant Program caring for babies aged 6 weeks to 18 months, and in 2012 she completed the early childhood training certificate at Sophia’s Hearth Family Center specializing in the child from birth to three.
Lynne helped with the transition from the Pine Hill Child Care Center in Peterborough to A Child's Nature on the Pine Hill campus in 2013. She has been working with both infants and toddlers and enjoys seeing how the little ones change and grow.