Eagles' Classroom Teacher and Director of Education
I love teaching in an atmosphere that values current research on brain development, promotes independent critical thinkers who will be ready for tomorrow’s challenges, and places an equal emphasis on children’s social and emotional well-being. It is with these parameters in mind that the original steering committee began researching the start-up of a private school in the Chelan Valley. I was privileged to be a part of that passionate, hard-working team and enjoyed collaborating towards a beautiful vision. Today, I am thrilled to see the result of the tenacious efforts of many- staff, parents, the local community- as Roots has developed into a topnotch educational opportunity. I love my job and am excited to work with the students and staff to make each day great!
Background: My educational background includes a BS in human nutrition, a post Baccalaureate degree in elementary education and my National Board Certification in K-8 literacy. I have 13 years of experience in the private elementary school my children attended, Chelan Valley Independent School. All 13 years were as a parent, with the last 8 as a classroom instructor as well.
Bears' Classroom Teacher
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always loved being with kids and believe there are few things as exciting as watching kids learn something new or understand something for the first time. I have a BA in Elementary Education as well as an MA in Education, both from Azusa Pacific University. I taught for 6 ½ years (1 ½ in California and 5 in Arizona) before moving to Chelan in 2009. This is my third year back in the classroom and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be teaching the Bears class again at Roots. As an educator and a parent, I deeply appreciate the approach to learning we take, the ways we seek to cultivate the whole child, and the ways we protect and cherish childhood.
Owls Classroom Teacher
My name is Brandy Samson and I live in Entiat with my 2 daughters, Payzlee and Layken, my husband, Lilian, and our dog.
I studied and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Master’s degree in English Language Development and Curriculum Instruction from Concordia University. I am also a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Reading. I began teaching 10 years ago. I first taught Kindergarten in the valley for 7 years and then the next 2 years I was a K-5 Reading Specialist.
From the time I was in the 1st grade I knew I wanted to one day be a teacher and that thought never wavered. You could easily find me as a kid gathering the neighborhood kiddos to “learn” a lesson from me. I was also known to skip recess in elementary school in order to clean the teacher’s overhead projector transparency papers. I also would often gather my peer for a read aloud during free play in which I sat in the teacher’s chair to read while the other students sat on the rug to listen. From an early age the idea of education intrigued me and I was inspired by many teachers along the way.
As a teacher and parent, I know the value in allowing students to blossom and learn in their own time and in their own way. I am excited to be a part of Roots Community School because the whole-child is valued, time is taken to foster children’s’ strengths and play to those strengths while also fostering a growth mindset.
Middle School Science / Outdoor Education Teacher
My name is Sarah Whitehall and I live in Chelan with my 4 kids, Gracie, Drew, Luella, and Charlie along with our dog, cat and bunny.
I studied psychology and counseling in college but went into our family business after graduating. After having my second child I stayed at home full time and began studying nutrition, movement and health. I received my certification as a health coach from IIN and then completed a certification as a personal trainer. My interests in nature and plant medicine also began to grow as I studied holistic health practices and this last year I completed a year long plant intensive program through Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall studying with local herbalists and botanists.
I have a business as a health coach focusing on movement, nutrition and holistic health practices and continue to expand my knowledge. My family and I love being outside in nature and going on adventures together. I love sharing what I have learned and hope to help others develop a connection and gratitude for nature and the world around us.
My name is Nicole Draggoo. I live in Omak with my husband, Jeremy, and our 3 kids ranging from 4-9 years old. We live on some acreage and have four dogs and chickens. I have always been passionate about education and teaching which was evident even as a little girl when I said I would be a teacher and a mom. I grew up in Boise, ID and in high school I found myself with jobs at daycare facilities and a fun center (did I mention I love kids?). In college (U of I) I studied early childhood education as well as worked at a daycare.
After I got married and moved to Washington I began working in the public schools as a parapro and at Head Start as a preschool teacher and home support educator. In 2011, when my son was born, I shifted gears to be able to stay at home; I began managing our real estate business and flipping houses. It has always been important to me that children learn through music, movement, projects and to their individual learning style. This is why I chose to homeschool the past 2 years. I believe every child is unique and all learn differently, when we tailor their education they will develop a lifelong love of learning. We have considered enrolling our children in Roots for a few years but couldn’t because of logistics; but this year everything just felt right and fell into place to make it possible. I am so excited for the opportunity to not only watch my children blossom and grow as students in this program but to be able to work as a para with a stellar group of educators who are so passionate about what they do.
Hello, my name is Lauren Traub and I am so excited to be a part of Roots Community School and such an amazing group of human beings. I have a passion for helping people/students who struggle to succeed academically. I also struggled academically and have been learning different tools my entire life to help me cope with these struggles. I was introduced to an amazing woman, Renie Smith, who has developed a program that not only assesses struggling children and adults, but has also developed tools for these learners which helps them lead successful lives. Renie also developed a curriculum which helps prevent learning challenges. I have been fortunate enough to study under Renie and have noticed a huge difference in students after I started implementing the different techniques I have learned from her. “I now have the best tools to help and assess children and adults. When an individual knows how they learn best, learning can become interesting and challenging in all the good ways, instead of being so overwhelming!”, Renie Smith. It is incredible to watch students gain academic success and personal achievements using these tools.
I volunteered at Morgen Owings Elementary School working with teachers and students for 5 years. For the last 3 years, I have been volunteering and working with children and teachers at Roots Community School. I have worked with Dr. Pepper in Lake Oswego OR, Carolyn Eden in Bainbridge WA, Renie Smith – CEO and founder at Meadowbrook Educational Services in Spokane WA, studied the Davis Techniques, and am a certified provider of the Listening Program, InTime, and The Movement Program by Advanced Brain Technologies.
This year will be my fourth year at Roots Community School. I have lived in the Chelan Valley for over 12 years with my husband Andrew and three girls Lana, Brynn and Indy, who is a student at Roots. I value education, a love of learning, and am inspired daily by the students and staff around me.
I grew up in Montana and lived for part of my childhood in Eugene, Oregon. During my time in Eugene I was fortunate enough to participate in an extended studies course. This course taught me the value of project-based learning. These years formed my belief that education can and should happen not only within school, but far outside the classroom walls. I’ve spent most of my adult life working with children in some capacity. Some of my formative years were the years I spent at the College Settlement of Philadelphia working as an outdoor education teacher where I witnessed firsthand the impact of experiential learning and realized it should be a vital part of every child’s learning process.
I love working at Roots as it incorporates experiential learning with project based education, focusing on the whole child while still offering individualized, quality education. I am proud to work along side a staff that is dedicated to creating life-long learners. I couldn’t ask for a better place to educate my own.
Dr. Heidi Summers
Middle School Director
Dr. Heidi Summers serves as Middle School Director and lead faculty. A Los Angeles native, she grew up playing piano on television, but as a young adult, a horse accident crippled her left arm. Enthralled with neuroscience, the curious and perpetual student went on to pursue multiple degrees in related disciplines studying with such notables as Dan Siegel, Caroline Leaf, and Mariale Hardiman. She enjoyed a multifaceted career over more than three decades as an educator, board certified and licensed therapist, and minister.
A move to Lake Chelan in 2020 to be near grandchildren finds a convergence of the above as Roots Community School expands to Middle School in Fall 2021. With enthusiasm and extended vision, Summers intends to impart the culmination of her life experiences at Roots: engaging, motivating and challenging students by following the latest research from the neuro- and cognitive sciences that indicates best how students acquire, retain, and apply knowledge in novel and creative ways. She considers this opportunity to work with Roots’ students, faculty and staff, (and by extension the greater Lake Chelan community) her life’s “magnum opus”.
Wolves' Classroom Teacher
My name is Leanne Uttech and I have been teaching for over 20 years both as a public and private school teacher. I am the owner/operator of Room to Bloom Preschool which I started in 2012 when my kiddos were preschool age. I graduated from WWU with a B.A. of Education with a focus in Interdisciplinary Child Development. In 2006, I received my Master’s of Education in Integrating Arts & Performance Learning from City University. As a young child I always knew I wanted to become a teacher and was driven to teach in a way that reaches all students in my classroom through as much hands-on exploration as possible. This was the driving force behind developing my preschool curriculum and is one of the many reasons I am inspired to teach at Roots. As a parent and educator, it is very important to me that all students are met at their individual levels and taught through a variety of methods that are the just right challenge for each individual child. I am grateful for the Roots Community School for providing such an environment where no child is waiting for others to catch up and no child is struggling to keep up. I also believe that the Arts are a very important part of education that cannot be left out. It is this unique teaching and learning environment that allows both teachers and students to thrive at Roots!
My name is Bre Stockdale; my family and I have lived in Chelan for the last 9 years. My husband and 2 children love and truly enjoy the outdoors. We spend most of our free time together: hiking, hunting, fishing, gardening and enjoying the lake.
I first started out in business getting my associates followed by my certificate In Human Resources and employment law. After having my first child I became a stay at home mom and went back to school to enter into the medical field where I became a certified phlebotomist and CNA. At that time, we lived in western Washington where I have spent most of my life. When our son turned 1 we then moved to Chelan where I continued to work as a CNA in Wenatchee and started my own house cleaning business. As our son got older he has struggled with leaning delays and disabilities that lead me to a deep interest in education and getting involved in early intervention. I have since taken that Interest into my current job where I spent the last 4 years and am currently a preschool teacher at Room to Bloom. I have continued learning to help not only my own child but other children as well.
In 2019, my children began attending Roots Community School where I had the privilege to volunteer in the classroom, work with Lauren Traub and the teachers in early intervention and education where my passion for education continues to grow. I am so excited to be a part of the roots education team this year and look forward to getting to know all the amazing kids.
Cultural Studies Teacher
My name is Joely Hibbard and I am excited for my second year teaching at Roots! I have lived in Chelan for just over six years with my husband Travis and absolutely love the community. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2012, and I have taught in a Kindergarten classroom as well as having some substitute teaching experience. Roots inspired me to enter the classroom again teaching the Cultural Studies rotation on Fridays. My educational background focused on project based learning, so I have enjoyed bringing that experience as well as my love of travel, cooking, and exploration into the classroom!