Emily Bollman, Branches/Leaves Support Teacher (Grades 3-4)
Emily grew up in small town Iowa, where she developed a never-ending curiosity for life and learning. She graduated from North Park University in Chicago and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Psychology with an endorsement in 6 th grade Social Studies. She taught 4 th and 5 th grade and coached for 3 years in a Chicago public school, where she learned many valuable lessons from the community. Much of Emily’s professional development during those years was focused on writing and differentiation. She continued to teach as a private educator for one family for 5 years and really grew to appreciate the value of allowing children to explore and learn at a natural pace and in a variety of environments. In addition, that position provided her with the time and flexibility to volunteer for organizations supporting literacy, youth development, and homelessness in Chicago. Emily spent the following 4 years wandering the globe; teaching English in Japan and participating in work exchanges on farms, in kitchens, in English classes, and more. Her strong belief in experiential learning, connecting with land and
food, and finding the quiet spaces in life, led her to Juniper Hill where she is thrilled to be sharing the experience with curious learners.
Fletcher Boote, Music Experience program
Fletcher Boote is an accomplished vocalist and visual artist and holds a BA in Art from Bard College, and an MA in Performance from Chelsea College of Art in London. Fletcher draws her inspiration from the creative and meditative practices of deep looking and listening.
Fletcher comes to Maine via New York City, Florence, Italy, and Northern Vermont where she was Director of Yoga at the Vermont Studio Center. She brings to Juniper Hill a wide range of teaching experience, having taught elementary through college-level courses in visual arts, nature, and yoga philosophy, and lead song circles for large groups at workshops and retreats. She currently teaches yoga with live music accompaniment in midcoast Maine.
Fletcher is excited and honored to join the Juniper Hill community to sing, listen, dance and learn together. After many years of performing and singing, Fletcher believes in the transformative power of song. She sings daily with her two young daughters and delights in their natural ability to infuse joy and experimentation into sound making. Her work as an educator and musician is rooted in her conviction that gathering together to sing is a powerful and conscious action for peace.
Chelsea Daniels, Nature/Seeds Class Teacher (PreK)
Chelsea grew up in Exline, Iowa on 40 acres, surrounded by timber and fields. She spent much of her childhood exploring every nook and cranny of the property and still considers it her sanctuary. Attending Simpson College in Iowa, she received her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Elementary Education, with endorsements in reading and early childhood. It was here she was inspired by professors who introduced nontraditional educational philosophies that focused on holistic development and celebrated the unique potential in each individual child. After creating her own curriculum for a 3- and a 4-year-old Catholic Preschool program, she pursued certification through Montessori Centre International. She earned her Early Childhood Certificate in Montessori Theory and Methodology and International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy while teaching 3-6-year-olds for 2 ½ years at a Montessori in Iowa. It was through this certification she learned of Forest Schools. Captivated by the concept, she traveled to Washington State to earn the Cedarsong Way Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training and Certification. Through this journey, she discovered Juniper Hill School. She feels incredibly privileged to be doing something she loves and believes in while being connected to and connecting children with nature.
Adrienne Hofman, Roots Class Support Teacher (Grade K)
Adrienne joins Juniper Hill after many years in Connecticut where she taught Preschool for more than 8 years. While in CT she complete an AA in Photography from Paier College of Art, her BA in Art History from the University of Southern Connecticut, and most recently recently completed her MA in Education with dual certification in Early Childhood Education and Special Education at the University of St. Joseph’s. Adrienne has spent many years with preschool aged children (3-5) and most recently taught Kindergarten Reading in Dallas, TX. She has truly loved her time with the little ones, and is excited to join the Branches Class this fall. Some of Adrienne’s other interest outside the classroom, are being outdoors with her dogs, exploring her new home state of Maine, and spending time with friends and family. She is looking forward to getting to know ever-growing community at Juniper Hill.
Robin Huntley, Sprouts/Branches Class Teacher (Grades 1-2)
Robin grew up on the banks of the Sheepscot River in Coopers Mills, and now makes her home in the very same century-old farm where she spent her childhood. Robin holds a BA in place- and community-based education from Hampshire College, as well as an MEd from Antioch University New England, where she specialized in elementary science, place-based education, and environmental education. She has years of experience in educational settings of all kinds, including public and independent school classrooms and nature immersion programs. In addition to her teaching, Robin is the founder and director of Dirigo Learning, a community-based education network for Midcoast and Central Maine. When she's not teaching, Robin can be found reading (and collecting) children's literature, gathering and processing specimens from the natural world, or tending to her humongous collection of indoor and outdoor plants.
Leigh Anne Keichline, Branches/Leaves Class Teacher (Grades 3 & 4)
Leigh Anne joins Juniper Hill after many years of living in New York City, where she taught English as a Second Language to adults, completed a Masters in Political Science at Brooklyn College and a dual certification Masters in Elementary Education and Literacy at Bank Street College of Education, taught elementary school for many years, and most recently, was teaching kindergarten at Blue School in the South Street Seaport neighborhood in Manhattan. Leigh Anne has also worked on farms from Cape Cod to Virginia, loves learning about trees, and hopes to grow many windowsill plants in her new home in Maine. She has taught creative writing in a variety of different settings, including holding sessions on the beach in Cape Cod, and has also worked in children's books both as a librarian and in book stores. She has many other interests as well, loves good conversation, and looks forward to learning so much from and growing with the Juniper Hill community.
Dot Lamson, Special Programs Teacher
Dot comes to Juniper Hill after retiring from her job as Director of the Center for Environmental Education at the Chewonki Foundation where she has worked for 35 years. She has spent her life living and working in nature and has led dozens of wilderness trips, including Sea Kayaking, Canoeing and Winter Camping. She continues to work part time at Chewonki as their Girls Camp Program Director and adjunct wilderness trip leader. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder, Lifeguard and Registered Maine Guide. She started her teaching career as the Elementary Ecology Specialist in Weymouth, MA public schools and spent summers working and teaching with the Youth Conservation Corps in Baxter State Park, Mount Blue State Park and Moosehorn Wildlife Refugee. She is a graduate from the University of Maine, Orono with a degree in Wildlife Management and minors in botany and education. Throughout her career Dot has served on the boards of the Maine Environmental Education Association, the New England Environmental Education Alliance, the Friends of Wilson Pond Land Trust and the Morris Farm. She is now excited to be spending her retirement sharing outdoor adventures with her beloved granddaughter and with the children of Juniper Hill.
Christina Powell, Roots Class Teacher (Grade K)
Christina earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Wright State University. Her teaching experience ranges from preschool to third grade in public, charter and independent schools. Christina recognizes that children learn differently and strives to provide a child-centered educational approach in an enriched, peaceful environment: one that supports imagination, exploration, and creativity. Christina is passionate about getting kids out in nature and nurturing their sense of wonder.
Kariska Puchalski, Nature/Seeds Class Supporting Teacher (PreK)
Kariska feels privileged to be part of the teaching faculty of Juniper Hill School as one of the early childhood supporting teachers. She loves to participate in a learning environment that is perceptive to each child's individual nature. She has been a lifelong learner despite the effects her own “formal” education and wishes she could have attended Juniper Hill School as a child! She brings her experience of ingenuity and self-reliance learned from living on houseboats and on an outercoast Maine island. Kariska has studied, collected and used medicinal plants for health and she helped to create a vibrant and thriving food cooperative for many years. Most importantly, she has spent the last 13 years enjoying the company of her grandchildren. She is deeply involved in their care and well being, with an emphasis on being outdoors for play and learning as much as possible.
Sarah Schrader, Sprouts/Branches Class Teacher (Grades 1-2)
Sarah grew up in Rangeley, Maine but has done her share of exploring since then. She went to Hamilton College in upstate New York where she studied Psychology and Art and played women's basketball. Following college, she fell in love with the special needs population while working and life-sharing in a Camphill Community in PA as an Americorps Volunteer. This was followed by the full-body urge to farm, thus a season of apprenticeship in North-Central Florida where she learned to grow food and care for the land. Her teaching career kicked off with an inspiring faculty, cohort and pedagogy at Antioch University during her masters program. She taught for two years at an Arts-Based Charter School in San Francisco followed by a year of teaching in a public school in mid-coast Maine. Sarah absolutely loves spending time outdoors in the form of jogging, back country skiing, backpacking, canoeing, surfing and is currently learning to sail! She also loves to draw, paint, knit, cook, ferment things and play the fiddle! Integrating her love for outdoor space and art into her teaching keeps her energized and learning and an educator. She is enjoying rooting back down in Maine and is looking forward to teaching and learning with the Juniper Hill Community.
Anne Stires, School and Education Director
Anne brings her academic training together with her love of life and the natural world at the school she founded, the Juniper Hill School, in Alna, Maine. There, along with like-minded colleagues, she shares her enthusiasm for learning through the lens of place. The Juniper Hill School’s “place” is her grandmother’s 1761 farm in Alna bordering the Sheepscot River. This farm has served as a consistent refuge and “garden of adventure” throughout Anne’s life. Now, it is where her students begin their immersion in the adventure of learning by studying the natural and human environments around them.
Anne has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and English from Hamilton College in New York and a master's degree in Education from Antioch University New England. An affinity for nature and environmental education always brought her back to Maine. While pursuing her education, she worked at local marine and environmental stewardship programs: the Darling Marine Center, Chewonki Foundation and Tanglewood Learning Center. Anne also directed a Place-Based Education program for 25 schools on the midcoast region of Maine for the Quebec-Laborador Foundation Marine Program. As a classroom teacher, she taught at Sheepscot Valley Children’s House in Wiscasset and Boothbay Region Elementary School before starting her ideal, hands-on learning “place”: Juniper Hill. Anne is a prolific speaker and advocate on the topic of nature-based education. Most recently, Anne wrote a chapter of the new book Redleaf Press on the topic: "Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens: The Handbook for Outdoor Learning" by David Sobel (with Patti Ensel Bailie, Ken Finch, Erin K. Kenny, and Anne Stires). Juniper Hill School is also featured throughout the book. In addition to being the school founder and director, Anne teaches the Roots class, as well as graduate level courses at Antioch University.
Susan Stires, Literacy Support
Susan Stires was a faculty member of the Graduate School of Education at Bank Street College, until 2013 when she retired. She taught writing, reading, language acquisition, and children’s literature courses; supervised teacher interns; and mentored students’ master theses. Prior to that, she was a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she received her doctorate. She was also a literacy staff developer in New York City public schools, following 30 years of elementary teaching. She is the author of numerous chapters and articles on literacy education, as well as the editor of the book, With Promise.
Meredith Tisbert, Arts and Support Teacher
Meredith Tisbert graduated from Roger Williams University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree. Her senior thesis was centered in mixed media, which is the process of integrating traditional drawing, painting and printmaking with everyday found objects, creating one cohesive piece of art. She is particularly excited about bringing those ideas to a nature-based program and incorporating the outdoor aspect into the children’s artwork. After college she moved to Barcelona, Spain where she taught English as a foreign language while fine tuning herself as an artist. In addition to her lifelong interest in art, Meredith found a particular interest in psychology where she studied childhood development. Meredith is a native New Englander but after ten years in California, she brought her family back to New England. Meredith spent last year as the volunteer art assistant for the Juniper Hill art program, and is thrilled to be given the opportunity to bring her enthusiasm for art to children, as well as to be part of the Juniper Hill community.
Elise Voigt, Arts Teacher
Elise grew up in Whitefield, Maine where she now chooses to raise and homeschool her three children. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and studied performing arts there as well as at the British American Drama Academy in London. She is an actress and an educator and has taught in public and private settings throughout the state with theater companies Heartwood Regional Theater Company of Newcastle and Theater at Monmouth. She enjoys doing Shakespeare in the Park and has performed al fresco with Fenix Theater Company of Portland and Bath and Camden Shakespeare Festivals. Her connection to the stage as a tool to practice empathy and foster teamwork drives her to develop programming to offer stage skills to both actors and non actors.