Mountain School teachers are such a special part of this school. These amazing women are our head teachers, who, as you'll read below, pour their heart and soul into teaching...
teacher marie (4/5s)
Teacher Marie first found Mountain School in 1969 with her 4-year-old son Stefan. She became an assistant teacher in 1975 and unbelievably has been here ever since teaching in the 2s, 3/4s and 4/5s classes and serving as director during the 1990s for 10 years or so, following Teacher Sally McElravey. The best preparation she had for teaching at Mountain School is having spent so much time outdoors with her family growing up in Oregon and then repeating that kind of experience with her husband Kent and her own children on annual backpacking trips in the Sierras for more than 20 years. Connecting with nature and being comfortable outdoors is such an important part of her life and a gift that began with her parents. She finds that whenever her grandchildren have been fussy or out of sorts they simply go outside to play and everything changes for the better for her and for them. "If I were to pick a perfect job for myself, I couldn’t imagine one better than having spent the last 40 years or so at this nursery school; it’s my idea of a match made in heaven. I so appreciate the support of teachers and parents ... and the friendships, more than anything in my life, except for my husband and children. I just feel so fortunate; I don’t think most people get all the benefits from their work that I do from mine. It’s so much more than a job."
teacher sharon (4/5s)
Bio to follow...
teacher leslie (3/4s & director)
Teacher Leslie started as a parent in the Mountain School community in 1998 when her daughter Adrienne and husband joined the Saturday PM class. The following year, she started the Wednesday 2s with her son August. She was so grateful for the many things she learned about parenting, herself and her children that when she had the chance a few years later to assist in the 3s class, she eagerly accepted. Before Mountain School, Leslie received a BA from SDSU and an MBA from Santa Clara University and worked in the computer industry for 15 years. After several years assisting at Mountain School, she started working on an Adult Education Credential which was required at the time to move into a head teacher position. (At the time, LGSON's program was classified as adult education under the LGSUHSD.) She taught the Sat 2s for several years and then moved to the 3/4s when Laura Snyder, who had taught that class for 9 years, wanted to step down. In 2014, she took over the administrative director role from our beloved Teacher Jane. When she's not at school or on the trail, you might find her at Breathe Yoga, in her kitchen or with her nose in a book!
teacher carolyn (3s)
Teacher Carolyn has been at Mountain School since 2012. She has been teaching the 3’s class since 2016. Prior to that she taught the Saturday 2’s class and assisted Teacher Sarah and Jane in the Friday 2's where she received mentorship from two inspirational women. Before coming to Mountain School, Carolyn worked as a Director and Teacher at various Child Development Centers throughout the Bay area. She also has experience working in after school programs and summer camps for school age children and has been nanny for many families over the years. At one point, Carolyn took a long break from working with children and families and spent years working in property management. During this period, she missed forming relationships and doing more meaningful “work.” She searched long and hard for a school with a philosophy that was truly play based, honored children’s rights, instilled a love and respect of the environment and supported parent’s growth. She has always believed that the parent is the child’s most valuable and lifelong teacher. Without parent involvement educators can’t make a lasting impact.
Carolyn found Mountain School online by typing in key words such as “learning through play and hands on learning.” She sent her philosophy statement to Teacher Jane who was the Director at the time. Jane invited Carolyn to observe the school at Savannah Chanelle, where class used to be held. She observed and admired Teacher Marie and Sharon and was impressed by the parent’s willingness to allow children to get dirty and take risks. A child approached her with a bug in hand and said, “look at this bug, it has a family so we don’t kill it. You can look at it and then put it back in its home.” At that moment she was sold! There were no openings at the time so Carolyn kept in touch with Jane until there was an opening a year later.
Carolyn holds a Director level Child Development Teaching Credential and was heavily involved with NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). Carolyn just completed her BA in psychology at SJSU and is currently planning apply to grad schools in the spring and start attending a master’s program in fall 2019 with the ultimate goal of becoming a Child and Adolescent therapist and teaching child development/psychology at a University. When Carolyn isn't studying she spends her free time hiking, enjoying the beach, shopping, and doing yoga. She feels very fortunate to have returned to “work” that she’s so passionate about.
Teacher sarah (friday 2s & saturday 2s)
Teacher Sarah came to Mountain School as a parent in 1997 in the Wednesday 2s class. Teachers Jane Krejci and Jill Hyman were her son Adam’s teachers! "As older parents with one child, finding Mountain School was the most enriching experience we could ever have hoped for. So much to be learned through so much play. We might not have seen it that way without the gentle guidance. The sense of community and the inspiration to foster a love for all things natural....Our first early childhood school years had filled us with gratitude". Parent friendships have continued to this day. In providing this “bio” we would be remiss not to mention the fact that her son Adam passed away at the age of 12. As you might imagine, his life... and loss continue to be a significant part of Sarah's daily life. After years of bereavement help, she was at first hesitant but then thrilled with the opportunity to return to Mountain School as an assistant teacher for three years.
She has now been a lead teacher since 2012. Some of the activities she shares were Adam- inspired from those days back in the late nineties at Mountain School. "So much of the joy that he passed on to me I love to carry every day, right into the 2s classes on Friday and Saturday". On a volunteer basis she has been involved with child loss support groups. When not at Mountain School, she enjoys time as a hospice volunteer, and does some garden work at Montalvo Arts Center. Each summer she volunteers to run off to Wavy Gravy’s circus camp Winnarainbow in Mendocino County as a nurse. This camp has provided fun, circus, and life skills to hundreds of underserved children each summer for nearly 40 years.
teacher lilo (wednesday 2s)
Teacher Lilo came to Mountain School as a student in the 4/5s class. She went on to Daves Avenue Elementary, Fisher Middle School, Los Gatos High School, Mills College (undergrad), Stanford University (MA in Ed) and now Santa Clara University (MA in Counseling Psychology/MFT Program). She was an exchange student twice in France (High School and Undergrad), and once at Wellesley in Massachusetts (for an undergrad semester). The year after she graduated from college (double majored in English Lit and French Studies), she worked as an English Language Assistant in a French Public High School (Lycee), followed by a couple of years in San Francisco in a law firm where among other things she worked with a Coder, trouble shooting an early billing software program (1990-91).
When she finished Stanford, she taught Middle School in San Francisco to kids from Bayview, Hunters Point and the Mission for three years, and married her kids’ father along the way. Her stepdaughter, Kathleen, was 4 when Lilo married her dad, and she has just given birth to Lilo's first grandchild. (Her husband is a Veteran and a sophomore at Northeastern, and she is a lawyer in Boston.) Lilo stopped working for a couple years when she had her son, Aidan (now a junior at NYU), and she has taught part time at Mountain School since he started the 3/4s class all those years ago, taking a hiatus when her youngest, Declan, was born. Lilo's youngest is still at home and is now (2017) a Freshman at LGHS.
Teaching the Wednesday 2s class at Mountain School is Lilo's passion. "The best job on the face of the planet is one in which with warmth I get to help children learn about themselves, each other, nature, and the glory of questions and investigating answers. When my own schooling is done, I hope to work in a therapeutic setting with young children. My therapy practice will hopefully pay the bills, and allow me to continue teaching and learning at Mountain School as long as I am upright."
Teacher jeanne (Saturday PM)
Hi, I am Jeanne Cosby, the Saturday Afternoon, multi-age class teacher. I grew up roaming the Berkeley hills, sailing on San Francisco Bay, living with a mother with whom I rode horses, a father who told stories and illustrated postcards sent home during his business trips, about mice and cats with names such as Elderberry and Steinmetz, and a brother who thankfully still lives nearby. I lived in England with my godparents when I was 12 and 13, in France for over a year after graduating from Colorado College (English and History), and in Japan for six months with my husband and children. I have travelled in much of western Europe and had short stays at various times in parts of India and Tibetan cultural areas.
Much of my educational philosophy and strong preference for learner initiated pedagogy comes from my experiences teaching and developing a humanities program at Sunnyvale High School; being in the Demonstration Infant Program at the Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto, California, observing with Tom Forrest, M.D. as Magda Gerber modeled how to respectfully interact with normal and at risk children in a play group setting; and being at Bing Nursery School, Stanford University, for ten years, as both a head teacher and a parent with our youngest, Theo. My M.A. in Human Development is from Pacific Oaks College.
As parents living in Palo Alto, it was a real disappointment that we couldn’t work out how to be in Mountain School with our three preschoolers, Michael, David, and Amanda, but I had two very memorable years at Mountain School with my granddaughter, Maddie. She is now a freshman at Saratoga High School, but I stayed as the Saturday Afternoon teacher, because we have such a nurturing and respectful community of teachers, parents, and children. I treasure the on-going opportunities to foster play; to model respect by being supportive and patient; to give children time and space to initiate things themselves; to ask questions, listen and learn from others, be they child or adult; to encourage children, parents, and teachers to speculate, to verbalize feelings and wants, to talk out differences. I think it’s so critical to healthy child development for parents and teachers to work with each other as we strive to interpret concepts such as conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, and wonder and to integrate our practices into our daily lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much!