Eagle's 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.
Wolves' Classroom Teacher
My name is Leanne Uttech and I have been teaching for the past 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!
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 second 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.
Owl's Classroom Teacher
My name is Lindsey Southard and I am very pleased to be teaching the Owls class as well as a social-emotional skills workshop this coming school year. I am a Liberty University graduate working to complete a licensing program through Western Governors University. The past couple years have seen me teaching English at a primary school in a small Hungarian village, marry my wonderful husband Andrew, and settle down in Chelan. Roots Community school has been the unexpected treasure of our move to Chelan. It didn’t take too many cold, autumn mornings to see that Roots has a very unique combination of being a space designed to cater to individuality while simultaneously developing a strong community spirit and charm. I’m so excited to be able to dig deep into Roots school’s sweet community and grow alongside our families and teachers this coming school year.
Para-educator and Math Specialist
Hi, my name is Kristan Apro. Please allow me to take this opportunity to introduce myself as one of the newly appointed recess teachers at Roots Community School. Even before I joined this school I became aware of the impact a quality education will have on our children. I fully believe in this school and the type of much needed education it brings to our valley. I am honored to be a part of this team by encouraging free play and to help the students practice social skills throughout the day, not just in class. I also hope to build skills for conflict resolution, cooperation, playing fair, and playing with students from different friend groups and ages.
I have a passion for helping students who struggle in the classroom and who are not feeling successful. In third grade, I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia which has given me a clear insight and understanding to what students are going through when learning does not come easily. My training has taught me it doesn’t matter if you’re an advanced or struggling student, if your learning process is different, there are tools to help you be a successful learner and feel confident in the classroom.
For five years, I volunteered at Morgan Owings Elementary School in Chelan working with teachers/students one on one and in small groups, 2-3 times a week. That is when I learned where a lot of children who need help. For the last 2 years, I have been volunteering and working with children and teachers at Roots Community School, where my son attends. I have noticed a huge difference in the children after implementing the different techniques I have studied.
I trained with Dr. Pepper in Lake Oswego, OR, Carolyn Eden in Bainbridge, WA, Renie Smith CEO and founder of Meadowbrook Educational Services in Spokane WA, studied Davis techniques, and am a certified provider of Sound Therapy by Advanced Brain Technologies.
I am a newcomer to living in the Pacific Northwest having recently moved to Chelan from Mendocinio, CA. In my travels I have helped in many different organizations such as being the Director of a children’s museum to volunteering at botanical gardens, at my church and at the NOYO center for marine science. I am an experienced public school teacher and my most tenured position was the certified art teacher in Denver, CO for 17 years. I am looking forward to teaching art again! It is a passion of mine to help students see that art is everywhere, from math and history to the design of your toothbrush! I am especially looking forward to teaching here. The school is developing and growing and it has an exciting future ahead! I look forward to being a part of this team. A favorite quote of mine is “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine!” I am excited about the opportunities awaiting me.
2019-2020 starts the third year of my time at Roots Community and first as Director. I have lived in the Chelan Valley for over 11 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. My time in Oregon showed me the value of project-based learning. These years formed my belief that education can and should happen not only within the classroom walls but also far outside the classroom. 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 the impact of experiential education 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 quality education. The staff is dedicated to high standards and teaching to each individual child. I couldn’t ask for a better place to educate my own child.
Cultural Studies Teacher
My name is Joely Hibbard and I am excited to be teaching at Roots this year! I have lived in Chelan for just over five years 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 has inspired me to enter the classroom again teaching the Social Studies rotation on Fridays. My educational background focused on project based learning, so I am looking forward to bringing that experience as well as my love of travel, cooking, and exploration into the classroom!
Outdoor Studies Teacher
My name is Sarah Whitehall and I live in Waterville with my 4 kids, Gracie (9), Drew(7), Luella (4), and Charlie (2) 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.