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.
Sally Carless, Founding Executive Director, Chief Visionary Officer, and Teacher
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, and Teacher
Tanya (TAN-YUH) graduated with a degree in social sciences 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, and Director of Internet Marketing. While blissfully not in charge of anything in the Education department, she has been guiding GVS students 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.
Tanya happily resides with her wife, kids, and 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 for awhile now and they haven't yet allowed time for hobbies. Or sleep.
Camilla is the happiest when she is sharing her curiosity about the world with others. As a professional educator for the past 30 years, she has been privileged to be able to do this in a variety of settings with students spanning from ages 3 to 80. Her favorite place to teach is the Alaska tundra, but she also greatly enjoys connecting with students over the internet from her home in Boise, Idaho. The view from her desk looks out on a yard active with squirrels, her 2 cats, and sometimes an owl! Her dog is often at her feet.
Camilla’s career launched when she was an educator in the outdoors, starting at the Colorado Outward Bound School and then working for many years as both teacher and administrator at the National Outdoor Leadership School. She supplemented this learning with a master’s degree in education and educational leadership, a bachelor’s degree in biological science and an Idaho teaching credential with a K-12 reading endorsement.
Moving into indoor classrooms, she spent many years working as a teacher and administrator at a progressive school in Boise. She enjoyed helping students and teachers explore and find their own strengths and passions. During this time Camilla began to explore the role of schools and education in moving the world towards a more just and equitable society. She is committed to learning about herself and the role she can play in social justice. She looks forward to a world where differences are celebrated and recognized as strengths. Her pronouns are she/her/they/them, and she is sensitive to and wiser for all that she’s learned from her partner and her other friends in the LGBTQ+ community.
When she is not involved in education, Camilla is exploring music (listening, playing guitar or discovering her voice), moving her body (biking, hiking, climbing, or dancing), or curled up with a book and a cup of hot coffee.
Laurie recently moved back to her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY from the Washington DC metro area where she was an IT Project Manager for many years.
Once upon a time, Laurie studied theatre in NYC, but her great love of travel caused her to jump at opportunities to live and work abroad. She spent much of her early years alternating between the US, Europe, and Asia. In this new chapter of her life, Laurie is happy to return to her creative roots and do work that allows her to be of service to all living beings. Laurie leads weekly online meditations and mindfulness practices for youth and others at risk. She is a certified Sound Healer and enjoys performing sound bath meditations in local venues.
Wendelin Wagner, Partner Program Coordinator, and Teacher
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.
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.
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.
Barbara is an educator with twenty-five+ years of alternative education experience that includes Waldorf teacher certification, independent study and online school teaching, one-on-one personalization of curriculum, being a resource for parents, and homeschooling her children. Barbara focuses on the holistic learning needs of elementary students. She is a certified Learning Success Coach, certified by the creators of the Self-Portrait learning styles assessment, and has her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a focus on literacy.
As your GVS teacher, Barbara establishes a supportive relationship focused on discovering interests of her students, which become a centralized focus of the learning process. Barbara knows that real-life application of learning promotes student purpose and life goals. Among her own goals is to be a valuable resource, motivate a creative spirit, and inspire student learning that continues for a lifetime.
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.
Kathy Kristjanson-Gural, Teacher
Kathy has been an educator for 30 years as a public and private school teacher and a homeschooling mom. She brings many years of experience working with teens and families wanting a voice in their children’s education. Her emphasis is on helping families to create or access learning environments that support their values and build a platform upon which to allow children and teens to follow their innate curiosity for learning. Kathy’s specialties include: interest led learning, project based learning, emotional literacy, resilience, and stress reduction and emotional wellbeing strategies.
Kathy is founder and former director of the Center for New Americans, in Northampton, MA, and currently co-directs Wild Goose Farm, a small sustainability education center in Lewisburg, PA. She has her Masters of Arts in Teaching in Bilingual (ESOL/Spanish) Education, is a trained Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor, and a certified Permaculturist. As a lifelong learner herself, she is currently completing a micro-credential certificate with the Institute for Humane Education.
Being a part of a beloved community of people actively engaged in creating a more just world, is one of her favorite places to be. Kathy is passionate about sharing her love of permaculture and the regeneration of soil for personal and planetary health. She finds peace and wisdom in moments in her garden, cooking delicious food, and time with her life companion, Dave and their daughter Emma (21) and son Rudy (18).
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.
Monica has twenty plus years of successful experience in teaching, curriculum development, and support of new teachers in various communities and at various grade levels. These communities include both the military and civilian sectors. Grade levels include elementary, secondary, and graduate. Currently, in addition to being a GVS teacher, she is an adjunct faculty member, teaching courses for teacher preparation as well as Masters courses at National University. She also has homeschooled her own children for the past 15 years. Monica has a Master of Education degree with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Diego State University. Additionally, she holds a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (CLAD) from National University with a Supplementary Authorization in Art.
Teaching is a passion of hers and she loves all different aspects of education. While Monica believes in experiential learning, she also believes that flexibility and student choice is highly important for success. Monica is always striving to ignite a passion in students to take control of their education!
Fun facts: Monica and her family were living and teaching in Costa Rica for two years. They currently own a home there and she is the Vice President on the Board of Directors for SIBU Monkey Sanctuary. Monica has two children (17 and 19). Her husband is a math resource coach for San Diego City Schools. Her family is passionate about the ocean. They love surfing, spear fishing and anything else revolving around the ocean. Monica is a “distance swimmer”, which takes her on many amazing underwater adventures!
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.
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.
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.
Marcie Foster, Assistant Visionary, and Teacher: with us 2013-2021
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.
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.