“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 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.”
Michelle Forrington has recently come back home to the Mendocino Coast after spending the past twelve years in the Arcata area, where she completed her BA in Elementary Education, earned her teaching credentials for both Elementary Education and Secondary Science, and most recently, her MA in Education. In between semesters and degrees she spent months traveling abroad, including trips through Argentina, Spain, and Mexico, as well as completing a two-month solo bicycle trip on the East Coast and a two-month road trip through the Western United States. While in Arcata, she also worked for several years as a summer camp director, and helped develop an environmental education program for the same organization. She couldn’t be more excited to be home and a part of the Caspar Creek Learning Community, as she also attended the former Green House School for all of her elementary years. She looks forward to sharing her experiences with the school community, and to all she will learn from her students.
Malia Rives Smith
“After working formally with children in California and Colorado for many years (I think it’s going on 24 or 25!) I feel blessed to offer my skills, interests, and special training to this community. I have spent over nine years specifically with toddlers and elementary school children, and over fifteen years teaching art to 6th through 12th grade students (mainly at Bridge School in Boulder, Colorado). I hold a BA from Humboldt State University and a Master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
“At Caspar Creek, I am grateful to be working with the youngest of the community. I am excited to team with Barbara in the Kindergarten classroom. I look forward to continuing the beautiful and sensible system that is Waldorf and combining it with all that I love about teaching Kindergarten-age children. Part of the Waldorf approach is to sustain a rhythm that supports the security of the child in the classroom – a consistent and predictable routine that nourishes them in body, mind and spirit. I am committed to introducing creative approaches that will encourage a child’s innate sense of wonder.”