Adrienne Hofmann, Early Childhood Director, Teacher (Nature/Seeds/Roots)
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. 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 School.
Robin Huntley, Elementary Director,Teacher (Sprouts/Branches/Leaves)
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.
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.
Kariska Puchalski, Early Childhood Supporting Teacher (Nature/Seeds/Roots)
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.
Gabrielle Roxon-Erskine, Early Childhood Supporting Teacher (Nature/Seeds/Roots)
Gabrielle comes to Juniper Hill from across the pond. She grew up in Devon in Southwest England and has spent the past two years in Barcelona, Spain leading the kindergarten class of a forest school that she helped to set up. Prior to that, Gabrielle worked as a primary school teacher in Nepal; a permaculture farm intern in Ecuador; a Montessori school assistant in Mexico; and an assistant to adults with disabilities in the UK. She is committed to a pedagogy that fosters creative, social, and emotional growth and has been inspired by the curiosity and wonder of the natural world that she has witnessed in children participating in outdoor education programs.
Gabrielle comes from a musical family from whom she inherited a love of singing. This passion flows into her teaching where music and movement are utilized as a teaching tool.
Gabrielle’s love for languages and travel has brought her to Nepal, Mexico, Spain and now Lincoln County, Maine where her partner resides.
She looks forward to working with Robin as a support teacher in the Sprouts and Branches classroom and to be joining a community which gives importance to ‘place’ - a place which, while new, is soon to be home.
Anne Stires, School Founder, Director of Development, Outreach, and Advocacy
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 keynote speaker and advocate on the topic of nature-based education. A few years ago, 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 Wellness classes to students, hosts hundreds of educational observers at the school, teaches workshops at conferences, and consults with educators all across Maine (and some projects nationally) at their sites. She also teaches graduate level courses for Antioch University and as part of Juniper Hill School’s Summer Educator Institute.
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.
Kaylee Trefethen, Early Childhood Teacher (Nature/Seeds/Roots)
Kaylee recently completed her M.S. in Early Childhood Education at the University of Maine at Farmington where she also earned a B.S. in Early Childhood Special Education. She has worked in toddler and preschool settings for seven years before joining the team at Juniper Hill School. She has a strong passion for working with young children and creating positive relationships that nurture growth. Kaylee has a substantial background in Psychology and values the importance of social and emotional development as a foundation for learning. Kaylee is very enthusiastic about children getting outside and staying connected to the natural world.
Julia West, Elementary Supporting Teacher (Sprouts/Branches/Leaves)
Julia first discovered her love of working with young children when she was still attending high school in her hometown of Wiscasset, Maine. Her early work at Sheepscot Valley Children’s Center in Wiscasset and Coastal Kids, and Bonita’s Early Childhood Learning Center in nearby Damariscotta convinced her that she had found her calling. She went on to graduate from Plymouth State University with a BA in Youth Development and Education and minors in Adventure Education and Peace and Social Justice. Her practical work while at university further reinforced Julia’s belief in the importance of play and nature-based . education for the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. This belief led her to Juniper Hill where her personal passion for being outdoors, collecting rocks, drawing, and painting as well as her warm, infectious personality have made her a truly welcome addition.