Teton Valley Community School

Where Learning Comes to Life

Teaching Faculty

  • Amber Jacobson

    Assistant Head of School & 1st/2nd Grade Faculty
    B.A. English, Minor Early Childhood Education, Metropolitan State College Denver
    Certified Pre-K-5th Grade
    M.Ed Curriculum & Instruction, University of CO
    Literacy Intervention Specialist

    amber.jacobson@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Amber has been teaching early elementary for over 20 years. She was inspired by her grandmother who was a dedicated teacher for most of her life. Amber has been teaching at TVCS since 2006. She says she loves the school because it allows her to be the kind of teacher she wants to be - creative, integrated, and flexible in her approach. After growing up in Kansas and attending the University of Kansas, Amber moved to Colorado and taught at elementary schools in Denver and Vail. She earned her master's degree in education from the University of Colorado along with an endorsement in reading.  She is currently working towards an Academic Language Therapist Certification to help students who struggle significantly with reading.  Amber moved to Teton Valley in 2004 with her husband Brian because they were awed by the scenery and impressed with the sense of community here. Amber enjoys skiing, hiking and playing outside with her baby boy, husband, and two crazy dogs.

  • August Christensen

    Pre-Kindergarten Lead Faculty
    B.S., Early Childhood Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
    august.christensen@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    August is one of the founding members of the Teton Valley Community School. She designed and developed the Pre-Kindergarten program for the school and has taught here since its inception in 2007. Before coming to TVCS she owned, operated and taught at Teewinot Preschool in Driggs for eight years. She has over 20 years’ experience working in this field combined with 5 years’ as a mother of beautiful twin daughters. After working as a permanent sub in Pre-K last year, August is excited to return to the faculty as a Lead Pre-Kindergarten teacher. She has been a leader in the community and currently holds a seat on the Driggs City Council.

  • Erin Tanzer

    Pre-Kindergarten Lead Faculty
    M.A., Place-Based Education, Prescott College
    Teton Science Schools Graduate Program
    B.A., English Literature and Secondary Education, Saint Michael’s College

    erin.tanzer@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Erin has taught Pre-Kindergarten at the Teton Valley Community School since 2011. She works daily to nurture a love of learning in her students through interdisciplinary project-based teaching that is fueled by children’s own questions, innate curiosities, and meaningful hands-on experiences. Erin grew up in the rural forests of New Hampshire where she began her powerful connection to nature through play and adventure. Her love of the wilderness and learning brought her west after college, first to Jackson Hole and then to Teton Valley, Idaho. An intensive study of Place-Based Education at both Teton Science Schools' Graduate Program and Prescott College helped her to learn more about fostering “sense of place” development in students of all ages. Erin's teaching experience spans field science education, traditional classrooms and progressive school settings from preschool to high school. Through this she has developed a diverse expertise in the fields of Place-based education and early childhood education. Her interests include backcountry skiing, poetry, birding, gardening and exploring the special places in Teton Valley with her husband and their daughter.

  • Jane Strader

    Pre-Kindergarten Lead Faculty
    B.A. Human Ecology focusing in Geology and Education, College of the Atlantic
    Teton Science Schools Graduate Program

    jane.strader@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Jane moved to Jackson WY in 2014 for the TSS Graduate Program and love for the local landscape. In college, Jane was able to combine her interest in Geology, sparked from studying abroad in New Zealand, and her passion for education. Living for a year in Germany, Jane worked as a teacher in a “waldkindergarten,” or woods kindergarten. There she realized her love for teaching early childhood education and the huge benefits of having an outdoor classroom. Wanting to continue her education in natural sciences and education, Jane began her masters at the TSS grad program where she focused on early childhood education and the local geology and ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Jane now strives to create intentional learning experiences for her students, developing full circle curriculum alongside her students’ growth and interests. She believes that learning, playing, and exploring outdoors is extremely important in a child's development and fosters a natural love and curiosity for place. In her free time you can find Jane out skiing or adventuring and geeking out over rocks and the local landscape with her friends! 

  • Cristina Fenner

    Pre-Kindergarten Faculty
    cristina.fenner@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org
    B.S., Adventure Education and Wilderness Leadership, Johnson State College
    B.S., Environmental Education. Johnson State College


    Cristina grew up in rural New Hampshire and attended college at a small school in the
    mountains of Vermont. While in college she discovered her passion for sharing her love of the outdoors with others. Cristina moved to Jackson in 2008 to work and play In the mountains and rivers of the greater Teton area. She worked in the outdoor industry as a raft guide and ski instructor and with teenagers through Teton Youth and Family Services in Jackson for years. Recently she has discovered her desire to work with a younger population through and her job at the kids ranch at JHMR, various preschool positions, and in home childcare. Cristina finds great joy in nurturing young children's' sense of discovery and wonder about the natural world. Cristina now lives In Victor with her Ffiancé Adam and their dog Dory. In her free time she enjoys rafting, snowboarding, Hhiking, biking, and enjoying live music with her friends

  • Chelsea Pearl

    Teaching Assistant
    M.A. Elementary Education, University of Florida
    chelsea.pearl@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Chelsea was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Masters Degree in Elementary Education, with an emphasis on Kindergarten through Sixth grade. Chelsea taught Second grade for a year before moving out west to Idaho to explore her love for the outdoors. This transitional period allowed her the opportunity to travel across the country from ocean to ocean. Her experiences from different places add a valuable resource in the classroom. Chelsea believes students should be in a learning environment that fosters creativity and promotes individuality through choice. She is excited for the opportunity to continue her teaching career with the TVCS family. In her spare time, Chelsea can be found fly fishing on the Snake River, skiing the Tetons, or hiking with her dog Duke.

  • Katie Cisco

    Kindergarten Faculty
    B.A. Elementary Education, Montana State University
    Certified K-8th Grade

    katie.cisco@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Katie Cisco grew up in Jackson and has called Teton Valley, ID home since 2003. She graduated from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana with a certification in elementary education (K-8) and has been teaching at TVCS since 2005. Katie loves her job-share position in Kindergarten because she enjoys the collaborating efforts and new ideas each teacher brings to the same classroom, and is excited to be working with Elle Emery this year. She lives just outside of Victor with her husband, Aaron, and their daughters, Kaycee and Claire who both attend TVCS. In the spare time, she enjoys Nordic skiing, running, horseback riding and a good book.

  • Nikki Samuels

    Kindergarten/3-5 Grade Faculty
    B.A., Art Studio, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
    M.A.T., Elementary Education, Northeastern University

    nikki.samuels@journeysschool.org

    Nikki graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Art Studio and a minor in Educational Studies. After spending time in Colorado, Nikki moved to Massachusetts and spent four years teaching in Kindergarten - 2nd grade while also coaching high school cross-country, skiing and lacrosse. Wanting to continue her education, Nikki pursued a Master’s degree from Northeastern University in Elementary Education where she focused on incorporating the arts into instruction. Most recently she taught Pre-Kindergarten for two years at the Journeys School. Nikki loves the energy, natural wonder and creativity of young children. In her free time, Nikki enjoys writing children’s stories and exploring the outdoors with her husband, Warren, and their two dogs, Bode and Lilah.
     

  • Anna Dwinnell

    3-5 Grade Faculty
    M.A., Experiential Education, Prescott College (In progress)
    Teton Science Schools Graduate Program
    B.S. Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    anna.dwinnell@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Originally from the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota, Anna moved to Jackson in 2010 to complete the Teton Science Schools Graduate Program, a year-long teaching intensive based in Kelly, Wyoming. With a BS in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota and a MA in Experiential Education from Prescott College, Anna aims to create educational experiences in her classroom (and beyond!) that are interdisciplinary, authentic, and place-based, all while considering individual students’ learning needs and styles. During Anna’s graduate work, she has focused on social-emotional learning and how it can influence academic success. Anna has taught many grades K-12 in nonformal field settings, public schools, and progressive educational institutions. Most recently, Anna taught Kindergarten at TVCS and served as Education Coordinator at Friends of the Teton River, managing and implementing the organization’s K-12 and teacher development programs. Anna also serves on the Board of Directors of the Idaho Environmental Education Association. When not working with students, Anna can be found exploring the bountiful wilderness areas of Idaho with her husband and two dogs.

  • Elle Emery

    6-7 Grade Faculty
    M.A. Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver
    Certified K - 6th Grade
    AmeriCorps Educational Service Term, Teton Science Schools
    B.A. Geology and Studio Art, Colorado College
    elle.emery@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Elle grew up in Denver and moved to the Tetons in 2013 to intern for the Teton Science Schools’ Field Education. Her father, who has been an outdoor educator for over 30 years, inspired her to pursue teaching. Elle has a passion for project-based, student-centered teaching and believes in the importance of hands-on learning. Her teaching experiences span field science education, public and progressive school settings, from preschool to high school. When not in the classroom, Elle enjoys painting, skiing, backpacking, reading, gardening, and being outside with family and friends.

  • David May

    6-7 Grade Faculty
    M.A., Education, Prescott College (In progress)
    B.A., Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
    david.may@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    David studied abroad at the Universidad de Costa Rica, enrolled in catalogue courses alongside native Spanish speakers. With a passion for student-centered, experiential education, he taught young people throughout Spain, South America and across the American West for the last eight years, most recently at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). He is currently a Masters student in Education at Prescott College where he spent the last year as a graduate teaching assistant and looks forward to working as an adjunct faculty during breaks in the TVCS calendar year. At home David enjoys running, climbing, and skiing in the Tetons, as well as baking, reading and dancing to live bluegrass music.

  • Bridget Whalen

    Teaching Intern
    B.S. Elementary Education, North Carolina State University
    bridget.whalen@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Bridget graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Elementary Education and concentration in STEM. She student taught for the past year at A.B. Combs Leadership Elementary School in the fourth grade, and for the last four years, Bridget has worked for the outdoor adventure company Overland Summers as a trip leader. Through her time working as an outdoor trip leader, Bridget has come to the conclusion that learning happens best when students are inspired by their experiences. She is excited to have the opportunity to learn from the community at TVCS, and to explore the Tetons.

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