“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 spent much of the next seven years as a mom and farm hand, but returned to working with children in 2016 as an instructor with Music Together, and later in the After School Enrichment Program at Community Center of Mendocino. Working 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, moving to grades 2-3 beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.
“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.
Chelsy Rose Thompson
“I am so blessed to be a part of this community, where my daughters had their own start with the wonder of Waldorf. With joy and rhythm this play-based and nature-oriented curriculum is introduced to our little ones.
“I have had the opportunity to work with the early grades (preschool–grade 3) from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, and our beautiful Caspar, California, in a variety of school settings for over 25 years. Later, I worked at Three Rivers Charter School with second-eighth grade ESL students. I received my teaching credential from SFSU in 2000 with a focus on cross-cultural studies and dance. Early learning is strongly connected to the child’s own body; and through movement and music knowledge is integrated. If a young child is moving, they are learning!
“Over the next two years I danced and taught creative movement to a wide range of children in our community. With the Mendocino Dance Project, I designed and implemented creative movement activities that incorporated core curriculum while fostering physical and emotional awareness. I believe that if a child is moving, singing, creating and celebrating; if they have reverence and respect for one another and themselves, their lives will be full, and they will live well.”
Chelsy joined Caspar Creek in 2017, heading up the Kindergarten and grade one program, and following a year teaching in Oregon, returns to that role for 2019-2020.
I feel so very blessed to be a part of the beautiful community of Caspar Creek. Before joining Caspar Creek I spent 15 years teaching kindergarten in San Francisco and acting as principal for a summer program. Prior to that, I spent over 20 years working in Special Education. I have a BA in Education and an MA in Special Education. I am so excited about this new chapter in my life. I loved spending two weeks with our staff at a Waldorf training in 2017. 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 Site Supervisor, supporting our students’ and teachers’ success in many ways.