2014-2015 Faculty

Maureen Smith, Barbara Loomis, Sara Fries, Kristin Koerper

From left: Maureen Smith, Barbara Loomis, Sara Fries, Kristin Koerper

Sara Fries

Sara Fries, grades 2-5 team

Sara Fries, grades 2-5 team

“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.

Sara Fries and family

Sara Fries and family

“I live with my husband, Kent, our 14-year-old 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.”

Kristen Koerper

Kristin Koerper

Kristin Koerper, grades 2-5 team

I love watching children grow in confidence and self-belief; it’s one of the main reasons I love teaching. Even though I’m relatively new to the profession, I feel like I’ve been called to teach ever since I was five years old, when, armed with a pointer and chalkboard, I taught my reluctant little brother and an audience of stuffed animals how to “read.” Since then, I have (fortunately) refined my teaching practices, and I now understand that the most inspirational and powerful learning experiences occur when both students and teacher are engaged in the process of learning, thinking and doing–when the teacher is not just delivering knowledge, but co-creating knowledge together with the students.

While completing my Masters Degree in Education at UC Santa Cruz, I began an exploration of alternative methods of schooling, because I wanted to understand how to truly empower and nurture young people to develop capacities for life. I strive to create a self-directive learning environment and a safe and supportive community where all learners feel acceptance and belonging. I use different strategies to meet my students’ diverse learning styles and intelligences so that they feel supported and empowered in their learning.

I grew up in the countryside of Northern California, where I developed a deep love and appreciation for nature. I received my B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and afterward, traveled throughout Latin America, working on organic farms. My background in environmental studies has deeply influenced my worldview and educational philosophy. I love helping students make connections between people, their actions, and the environment, and inspiring them to be socially and environmentally responsible global citizens.

1415 Kristin Sara (1)

Sara Fries and Kristin Koerper, grades 2-5 team

In my free time, I love to sing, read, swim, dance, and practice yoga. I also love spending time at the beach, going on long walks in the Redwoods, and cooking with friends.

Maureen Smith

1415 Maureen (1)

Maureen Smith, K-1 Teacher

[Bio coming soon]

Barbara Loomis

Barbara Loomis, K-1 Aide

Barbara Loomis, K-1 Aide

[Bio coming soon]