We are a diverse group - educators, business professionals, spiritual leaders, writers, lawyers, and scientists - people of various cultures, religions, ages, and sexual orientations. Our teachers and administrators have worked in many educational settings including public and private schools, distance learning, Web-based instruction, American Indian education programs, Waldorf, Montessori, outdoor education, college teaching and counseling, special needs, at-risk youth, cultural and arts education, academic decathlons, and adult education programs.
We have joined together to bring the vision of Global Village School into the world; we are committed to creating a progressive, supportive, and meaningful education for children, and to making the world a better place.
As a professional educator for over thirty years, Sally’s work has been focused on making a difference in the world through progressive education. Sally has a Masters Degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction), a B.A. in Wilderness Recreation, and a California Teaching Credential. She also completed a year's graduate study in Depth Psychology and studied dream tending at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Sally started Global Village School in 1999.
Passionately committed to a vision of a more just and peaceful world, Sally believes that education is a key component of progressive social change. Even though she is an introvert by nature Sally enjoys discussing new visions and possibilities for education and the future, and has given numerous presentations on peace education, homeschooling, learning styles, and educating for a better world across the U.S. and internationally.
Venues have included the Association for Global New Thought, Soka University, the International Democratic Education Conference, AERO National Alternative Education Conference, International Montessori Foundation, National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools, StarChild Network, Earth Charter International, and the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
Sally is also a writer, musician, and photographer. For the past two years she has been documenting the lives of a local bald eagle family. She also creates intimate soulful portraits of wild animals. All of Sally’s work—as an educator, writer, and artist—has been fueled by the same desire: to educate and inspire, touch hearts, open minds, and to serve as a vehicle for creating a more peaceful and loving world.
Tanya MacGumerait, Director of Operations, Jack of All Trades, Teacher
Tanya (TAN-YUH) graduated with a degree in Political Science and History from Drake University where she was in the political science, history, and sociology honor societies. At around age four Tanya could be found on the couch poring over Webster's Dictionary as often as playing outside with the neighborhood kids, and she has developed a wide variety of interests as the result of experience and study. During her high school years Tanya was politically awakened around gay and lesbian rights and multicultural/bi-racial and Black American youth issues. She is an enthusiastic researcher of different cultures, religions, and political systems while also being the kind of geek who has been learning about technology since her grandpa replaced the computer running on a cassette player with one that read floppy disks the size of her five year old head.
Tanya joined Global Village in 2001 as a volunteer because her secular humanist values are very much in line with the educational philosophy of GVS. She delights in the opportunity to create, teach and learn from material that inspires inquiry, encourages communication, and fosters cooperation. Tanya thinks that the most important activities we can engage in are those that support the development of thoughtful, compassionate, critical thinking people.
She has worn a variety of hats during her years at the school, including: Technical Adviser, Outreach Coordinator, Webmaster, Curriculum Writer, Assistant Director (Vice Principal), and Director of Internet Marketing. As of 2019, Tanya has one of the longest titles in the known universe: Director of Operations, Communications, Marketing, & Technology. Whew! While blissfully not in charge of anything in the Education department, she has been guiding GVS student for well over a decade and still maintains a smallish number of high school students investigating social studies and peace & diversity studies topics. Tanya's epitaph might read: She did what needed doing.
After spending over a decade in Ojai, CA, Tanya now happily in the Midwest with her wife, beautiful Great Ape twins (of the Homo sapiens variety), and two kitties who possess a stunning array of superpowers. Theoretically, her hobbies include: reading, writing, games of all sorts, exploring sonic landscapes, surfing the web, creating and supervising online communities, straddling cultural borders and imagining new worlds. In practice, the kids have been running the show since 2013, and they haven't yet allowed time for hobbies. Or sleep.
As a product of open, alternative public elementary education (thanks, Mom!), Wendelin appreciates the value of freedom and fun in learning. Channeling her curiosity about the nature of mind, Wendelin pursued a degree in neuroscience at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
As a science teacher at the Santa Barbara Middle School for 11 years she explored along side students the mysteries of nature and the physical laws by launching rockets, combining chemicals, making machines and catching creatures.
Wendelin spent 3 adventurous years in New Zealand as co-founder and teacher at the School Down Under, a study abroad high school combining travel, scholarship, self-introspection and service.
She currently resides at a Buddhist retreat center in Virginia with her husband Francis and Pepe the patient rescue dog who also answers to Peeps, Peanut, Peach Pie and so on. Aside from a love for: all creatures fuzzy and slimy, scrambling across wild lands and swift waters, climbing trees, laughing and eating ice cream (on the cone), Wendelin is rather uninteresting—but regarded as friendly enough to keep around.
Patricia Kane, Assistant Director of Education, Teacher
Patricia has worked with diverse groups of students during her teaching career which began after graduating from University of Washington with a degree in English as well as one in French. She has taught students from pre-school age through college in face-to-face courses, and has expanded her skills as an educator via home school and distance learning instruction as a director for a non-profit marine science education center and as a teacher of French focus groups.
Patricia has been teaching for over 30 years, primarily in Alaska. When she is not teaching, Patricia enjoys sailing, backpacking, gardening, cooking, and knitting. She resides in Washington State with her husband and dog.
Marcie Foster, Assistant Visionary, Teacher
Marcie Foster has worked with children for over 30 years. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Western Ontario, a teacher’s certificate from the University of Toronto, and an MA in Education from Naropa University. She has taught many different subjects to everyone from babies to adults in a variety of international settings. Marcie is deeply passionate about alternative education and parenting styles that honor the whole person and empower students to discover their place in the world and to offer it their unique gifts.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada to Jewish Holocaust survivors, Marcie has a life-long passion for dispelling ignorance and teaching tolerance and peacemaking. Her own yearning for perspective took her on journeys around the planet where she wandered in and out of cultures discovering unique qualities and human commonalities, until she was able to declare herself a Global Citizen. That yearning was also directed inward where it continues to explore the depths of spiritual perspectives and the meaning of life both personally and collectively. Marcie now lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband and daughter, and her little dog too.
Donna Helete, Re-imagination Specialist
For the past 30 years, Donna has been involved in the world of education as both a teacher and administrator in various settings, including traditional public schools, charter schools, and non-profit private schools. After she graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Political Science in 1985, she went on to get a single subject teaching credential at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before essentially following her children’s educational journey, which often involved the creation of new education options.
Donna’s connection to GVS began back in 2004, when her two children enrolled during a year of homeschooling. She then went on to spend almost seven years as director of Outside Now, one of the GVS partner schools. Donna is currently on staff at GVS to support the director and staff in taking their visioning, strategic planning, and implementation into the organization’s next chapter.
In addition to education, Donna’s passions include community building and relationship tending, including how we fully bring ourselves, individually and collectively, to our work in the world. You can often find Donna thoroughly enjoying a cup of really good, strong coffee on her back deck, soaking in the beauty of nature.
Olivia Loria, Accreditation Coordinator
Olivia Loria has been an educator for the last 50 years in many different capacities. Officially retired in 2013, she continues to do consulting and work with homeschoolers. In addition, she is a member of Circle (an advisory committee) at her granddaughters' school, the Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood, CO, where she was a staff member in 1975-76. Olivia founded and was the director of Pinewood School from 1981-1996, at which point Pinewood merged with Clonlara School. She has a BS in Speech Therapy and Elementary Education from Michigan State University with post graduate credits from various universities. She has worked with students from pre-school through 12th grade over the years in the US and many other countries. Her experience includes participation in the accreditation process with the schools she has worked in, being an accreditation site visitor for the National Association for the Legal Support of Alternative Schools, and being a member of the Exemplary Schools Recognition Panel, Blue Ribbon Schools in Washington, DC.
Olivia is loving working with Global Village School and Sally Carless, a longtime colleague whom she met through the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools. It's been marvelous to see how Global Village School works and impacts the lives of its students.
Olivia is an avid International Folk Dancer and traveler. In her opinion, the best way to learn about the world is to travel and live in many different cultures. She values social justice, world peace, care for the environment, and has championed many different issues over the years. Sometimes, she can't believe she is still protesting or promoting the same issues she supported decades ago.
She sees herself as an innovative educator with varied and international experience looking to create meaningful educational experiences for students in schools and homeschools in order to continue being a catalyst for change in education.
Growing up in California, Ruth was fortunate to have the experience of attending both alternative education schools and public schools. Ruth has lived in Ojai for almost 40 years and loves to escape to its surrounding mountains (preferably on a mountain bike!) whenever possible. She is an avid cyclist and in her spare time does volunteer trail work and helps out with bike-related events. She also enjoys sewing, dabbling in furniture upholstery, gardening, and babysitting her two-year-old granddaughter.
Currently her menagerie includes 3 dogs that have taken over the house, and some chickens that thankfully have not! She actually really enjoys paper-wrangling and is pleased to be a part of the GVS team supporting families in their home school experience.
Lisa Hill-Baertschi, Senior Office Assistant & Paper Wrangler
Lisa Hill-Baertschi is a California native who spent much of her childhood wandering the wild landscape of the western United States with her family. As a youth, she discovered a passion for art, movement and music, and later pursued those interests at Moorpark College, Cal State Northridge and UCLA, focusing on dance performance and choreography. She continues to be inspired by dance, art, world culture, yoga, ecology, conservation and sustainability.
When Lisa isn't dancing, drumming or exploring the outdoors, she volunteers at Topa Topa Elementary School as a Food for Thought Garden Educator, Art Trek Teacher and Music Assistant. She also enjoys working at the Ojai Raptor Center as a Bird Rehabilitator, and is excited to be part of Global Village School as the paper-wrangling office assistant. Lisa lives in Ojai with her husband, two sons, cat, and many plants and wild birds.
Matt Guest, Office Assistant & Paper Wrangler
While taking undergraduate general education classes in philosophy and world religions at USC, Matt found himself questioning his declared degree choice of electrical engineering. The opportunity afforded by these humanistic ‘general ed’ classes to consider other modalities of thinking and viewing our world opened his eyes to the beautiful complexities and seeming myriad differences of cultures and viewpoints. Yet, he found that at the heart of each of these modalities was a common thread pointing to the need for truth and understanding within every human being.
Language and philosophy became simply the garments that complemented the various interpretations of life, and this diversity only added richness to the fundamentals of existence. Shortly thereafter, he switched his major to social ethics and started on a path of integration that continues to this day. Be it his daily tasks with database intrigues or the grail-quest for the ultimate learning management system, Matt is always on the lookout for the underlying motive of whatever form Life may take.
Teachers & Curriculum Writers
Ann has worked with children and families for over 25 years. She has a Masters Degree in Education (Early Childhood Special Education) and holds certification in both Teaching and School Administration/Supervision. Ann has also completed a two-year certification program studying the effects of stress and trauma on brain development as well as course work around family relationships and adult development. She has worked in a variety of settings as a teacher, child development specialist, group facilitator and administrator. Ann has worked with children with learning differences and started a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool.
She most recently co-created an experiential learning center where she ran a self directed learning program for homeschooled teens and facilitated workshops combining equine assisted learning and Yoga inspired mind/body movement to support self-awareness and communication. Ann has always believed that learning is natural and should not be coerced. Her work has focused on supporting individuals as they discover their own path to personal awareness and connection to the world around them. It is that connection to self and other that deepens learning. Ann is passionate about homeschooling and alternative education and feels strongly that by supporting more conscious learning we can change the world.
Ann lives in Hood River, Oregon with her husband, two boys and two dogs. She is a certified Yoga teacher who continues to study the philosophy of Yoga and deepen her own meditation/mindfulness practice. She also loves to play music (guitar and piano) and spend time outdoors.
Everything in the natural world is a wonder for Cindy who loves Nature, physics, chemistry, biology, geology and all points in between.
Cindy became an engineer at the California Institute of Technology in the 1970s and has travelled a scenic career path ever since. Engineering gave way to homeschooling two children until colleges lured them from home. Homeschoolers develop such independent habits that During her sons’ years unschooling, she trained docents at the Experimental Airplane Museum, developed educational programs at the Weis Earth Science Museum, taught teachers how to do science as part of the JASON Project, and created a science outreach program at Lawrence University. The skills developed resource gathering and encouraging learners led to teaching biology majors science communication and ethics at Lawrence.
Cindy’s curiosity was fed through students’ capstone projects learning fascinating new science every year from right whale feeding patterns to how proteins make new arteries. Her deepest passion was guiding students to take charge of their own learning and recognizing their own capabilities. The second-best title she was ever given was Biology’s godmother. (The very best is, of course, Mom.) You’ll find her outside everyday learning from her horse Queen or inside cooking foods from around the world. At her home in Wisconsin or on the road traveling she knows that there is always more to learn.
After earning her B.A. in English Literature, Courtney Medel saw an opportunity to travel and took a job teaching English in Santiago, Chile. After this experience, Courtney realized she loved working in education, which inspired her to go back to school and earn her master’s degree in Education, specializing in Cross-Cultural Teaching. Since then, Courtney has taught in private and public schools, working with students ranging from kindergarten to high school. Her teaching experiences vary from volunteering as a reading tutor at a primary school, to teaching AP Literature and Composition at an international school. Some of her favorite teaching experiences have been working in alternative settings, such as teaching English literature to homeschooled students or working as a multi-subject private tutor. She currently lives in a country home in Colombia with her husband, son, and an ever-increasing number of pets.
Bringing nearly 25 years of experience working with families and children, Kysha emphasizes peace, justice, diversity and sustainability in her teaching practice. Kysha is committed to creating and maintaining equal access to educational programming for all learners. As a homeschooling teacher and a curriculum developer, she is an advocate for learner-centered education. Following their unique and personal pathways towards the joy of learning, Kysha allows the learner to be her guide. Ultimately, she assumes the role of constant supporter and willing companion, in pursuit of the learner’s self-determined goals.
After a visit to the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, MA, in the spring of 2006, Kysha became passionately interested in self-directed models of education. Committed to having a more in-depth perspective of schools designed to support self-directed learning, Kysha traveled both nationally and abroad visiting various democratic, Reggio Emilia inspired, and Montessori learning environments. What resonated most with Kysha when visiting these communities was that in both theory and practice, these intentional models of education honored, respected, and made possible the opportunity for children to take ownership of their learning experiences.
Holding a Masters Degree in Education, an undergraduate degree in sociology, and as an AMI trained Montessori guide, Kysha has served as founder and director of a Montessori homeschooling cooperative, and currently works as a professional development coordinator at a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool in Atlanta, Georgia.
Following dreams, either her own or those of others, is her passion. Kysha collects rocks, windchimes, and good memories. Each chapter of her adult journey has been co-authored by her constant companion, Jonathan. Their son Joia is genuinely full of joy, and daughter, Alivia Sage, is her muse.
Michelle Muntz is a Master Learning-Success Coach, certified by the Learning-Success Institute. She is one of a group of people trained to customize curriculum based on a student’s learning style, interests, and academic needs. Her 20 plus years of teaching experience covers the entire spectrum from preschool classroom teacher to K-12 independent study / home school instructor. Michelle’s approach to education is simple – make learning relevant and meaningful to the student. Her goal is to provide each student with an enriching learning environment and to give them the support and guidance needed to develop confidence in their own abilities and achievements. Michelle is also a Life Coach, an avid gardener and cook.
Stacy Gilmore grew up in Michigan where she earned a B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife. She has worked in Water Resources for two Native American Governments, striving to involve community members in environmental protection and restoration activities.
One of her greatest joys has been working on science projects with her young son (usually very messy ones). As he migrated through elementary school, she witnessed that his science classes were less than interesting, and felt a need to take her career in another direction. Her interest in science education evolved into her passion and she returned to graduate school and earned a Master’s Degree in Secondary Science Education. Her ultimate goal is to combine her two specialties and provide more experiential environmental activities for our youth to reconnect them with our natural resources so they may better appreciate their value.
Louise has been involved in biologics research, development, and manufacturing for 24 years. She is currently Sr. Director and Plant Manager for Shire HGT (Human Genome Therapies), a biologics company dedicated to discovering, making and supplying treatments for rare genetic diseases to patients around the world. Education and equal opportunity are topics that resonate for Louise, and she strives to be a role model for success against the odds. During her career, Louise has been a liaison between corporate hiring and local occupational training (Oakland Regional Technical Training Center Professional Roundtable), as well as Vice President of a corporate women’s networking organization. Louise is an avid amateur photographer whose medium has recently shifted from black and white film to digital; she is drawn to landscape and documentary photography. Louise is also an avid supporter of Global Village School, having been involved in its nurture since its inception.
Beth Ann Suggs, PCC
Beth Ann is an expert at building relationships with people. As Dean of Students, Mentor Coach, and Course Leader for the Academy for Coaching Excellence, she brings compassion, clarity, and universal values to all aspects of her coaching. For more than 30 years she has been making significant contributions to the field of coaching. Her approach as a mentor coach has empowered the lives of hundreds of people who have benefited from her dynamic leadership and guidance. Recently, her presentations on behalf of the Academy for Coaching Excellence have included being the Keynote Speaker at a national conference for coaches and, as an executive business coach, providing staff training in a major corporation and various organizations throughout the United States.
Prior to her work with the Academy for Coaching Excellence, Beth Ann Suggs was ordained as a Unity Minister in 1984 and served the Unity Church in Ventura, California for 19 years. Since 1993, she has provided consulting and leadership training for New Thought Churches nationwide. Beth Ann has been involved with Global Village School since it first began in 1999.
An educator for over 35 years, Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Wintu, is the great-niece and appointed successor of Florence Jones, Spiritual Doctor and Leader of the Winnemem Wintu tribe. She is the mother of two children, Mike and Marine. Caleen is deeply involved in maintaining the Winnemem Wintu culture and ceremonies and is the focal point for the Winnemem's tribal recognition efforts. She speaks internationally about indigenous issues, preservation of sacred sites, water, restoration of salmon, and other environmental and cultural issues. Deeply rooted in her spirituality, her family, and her devotion to her tribal people, Caleen has been featured in several films, and her portrait hangs at the United Nations.
Learn more about Global Village School's accredited distance learning program
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Celebrating Diversity: We believe that every student has the right to receive an education in a safe, supportive environment. We welcome people regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, age, sex, gender, or disability. We celebrate the richness and diversity of our world and invite you to do the same.
Global Village School® is a project of Community Partners, a non-profit organization.