“I have a great love for children, and for knowing them as they grow and learn. Looking back, I can see that this has always been a part of me, from holding and walking little ones around when I was a child, to beginning to babysit when I was about twelve, to my first job painting faces at a local park, and finally in my career as a teacher.
“I started out as an instructional aide for the Byron School District shortly after I graduated high school, first as an after-school tutor and summer school assistant, and later as a specially-trained instructional aide for children with autism, working with students both one-on-one in their homes and in a kindergarten class. I held this position until I graduated from Cal State Hayward (now East Bay) with a BA in Liberal Studies and an emphasis on Early Childhood Education, leaving only when the demands of coursework and student teaching for my Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential made it impossible to continue. A few weeks into my second student teaching placement I was offered a teaching position at Highlands Elementary in Pittsburg, Califorinia, where I went on to teach third grade for eight years—meanwhile obtaining an MA in Teaching Leadership—before switching gears in 2011 to become a full-time mom.
“Moving from the Bay Area to Westport, I’ve spent much of the last seven years as a mom and farm hand, but returned to working with children about two years ago as an instructor with Music Together, and in the After School Enrichment Program at Community Center of Mendocino. Working with children with children from infancy to adolescence, I’ve enjoyed drawing on my own love for learning and the world around us to impart that same love to children.
“Now I get to bring that love to Caspar Creek, and I’m very excited. I’m excited to return to the classroom, but more so to be doing it in such a beautiful, nurturing environment while expanding my teaching to include Waldorf methods.”
Sarah Cullar joined Caspar Creek in 2018, heading up the Kindergarten and grade one program.
“I love teaching, mostly because I love learning, and as an educator, I have found that the learning never stops. I have had a broad range of teaching experiences thus far, having taught in three distinctly different communities, across grades K-6, and more recently as a preschool teacher. I view children as whole beings, and strive to create a strong sense of community and ownership over the learning process with all my students. I do not believe that any single curriculum or method works for everyone, and so I pull from a variety of resources to meet the needs of each child in my care.
“I grew up in Berkeley attending Berkeley public schools, but later enrolled in Pinel, a small, ungraded Summerhill-inspired alternative school. This experience greatly influenced my beliefs about education, and served as a model for my own school, Wildcat Community FreeSchool, which I co-founded in 2004 and operated for six years.
“I live with my husband, Kent, our son, Miles, and a varied assortment of pets: Woody, our labrador retriever, three cats, and four chickens. In my spare time I like to read, mess about in the garden, and re-upholster old furniture. As a family, we love to ride our bikes, kayak, or go hiking and camping on the coast, in redwood forests, or in Desolation Wilderness.”
Since joining Caspar Creek in 2014, Sara Fries has worked primarily with students in grades three, four and five.
Sarah Taylor has been working with children in an elementary school setting since 1986. In addition to a multiple subjects teaching credential with an emphasis on early childhood education, her background includes a Bachelor of Arts in outdoor recreation. For the past three years she has been a part of the reading intervention team at Dana Gray Elementary (grades 3-5). Having been employed both as an after school day-care director with Ukiah Unified for three years, and a pre-school teacher for four years, she has an active, hands-on teaching style. This approach is particularly suitable to the Waldorf environment.
Residencies in Morocco and Peru (two years each), as well as two months in Singapore, serve to enhance the scope of Sarah’s teaching methods when working with our diverse population here on the Mendocino coast.
Feeling privileged to be a part of the Caspar Creek Community, Sarah is enthusiastic about incorporating Waldorf methods and philosophy into her teaching. She strives to develop and maintain open communication with parents as it relates to their child and the curriculum. Her primary goal is to foster confidence and imagination in students by recognizing and nurturing their individual strengths and intelligences.
Sarah Taylor joined Caspar Creek in 2017, and in 2018-2019 will work primarily with students in grade two.
I feel so very blessed to be a part of the beautiful community of Caspar Creek. I will be working here as coordinator, a role I see as a support system for the teachers, families and the board, and I will tutor students. I spent the last 15 years teaching kindergarten in San Francisco and working as the school principal for the summer program. Prior to that, I spent 20 plus years working in Special Education. My BA is in Education and MA in Special Education. I am so excited about this new chapter in my life. I loved spending two weeks with our staff at the Waldorf training this summer. My greatest passion in life is spending time with my two boys. I’m also loving learning about and exploring our amazing community. Thank you for including me in this special community.
Katie Peterson joined Caspar Creek in 2016 as a Special Education Tutor, and has since taken on the role of Coordinator, supporting students’ and teachers’ success in many ways.
“My appreciation for the beauty of how children develop and learn began when I had my own children. Since then I have attended the College of the Redwoods, here on the coast, and received my certificate of completion in Early Childhood Education. I have also taken numerous trainings and workshops about child development, literacy, how the brain works, science for young children, classroom management, and curriculum development. The training closest to my heart is the Rudolf Steiner College Public School Institute I was fortunate to be able to attend in summer 2017 and nine years before that with Anne Blanton.
“I have been a childcare provider in my home, worked with infants and toddlers at the Infant and Childcare Center of the Mendocino Coast. (ICCM was in what is now called the Mendocino Community Center ). I have worked at various preschools on the coast, but I worked the longest at Caspar Children’s Garden. Then I began working at Caspar Creek in 2007 as an aide to Anne Blanton, who was the K-1 teacher for many years. I learned so much from her, and she remains my dear friend.
“I have lived on the coast since 1975. I was born in Guatemala and grew up in San Mateo, California. My husband and I built a home and raised a family here. I have two sons, Jason and Nicholas, and I am proud to say, I am now a grandmother to Walker, a beautiful 8-month old baby boy [as of July, 2017].”
Barbara joined Caspar Creek in 2008 as the aide to Anne Blanton, the founding teacher of our K-1 program, and continues to hold that vision.
“I have worked as a Special Education Tutor at Caspar Creek since January, 2007. Living right in the neighborhood, it’s been nice being associated with the program.
“I’m a mother of two, grandmother of two. I grew up in New Jersey. I graduated from Hiram College (Ohio) with a degree in Art Education. I got a second degree from Kent State (Ohio) in Early Childhood Education.
“I’ve taught nursery school, high school art, worked as a manager of a natural foods co-op (in Claremont, CA) packed seaweed for two different local companies, and worked at Lu’s Kitchen.
“But this job at Caspar Creek is the one I’ve loved best in my whole life.”
Sandra Patterson joined Caspar Creek in 2007 as a Special Education Tutor, and continues in that role for 2018-2019.