Mountain Academy

Faculty & Staff

Meet our faculty and staff who engage with our students daily to understand who they are and how they learn. Teacher-student relationships are the foundation of a student’s educational journey.

Meet our Team

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Leila Poutiatine

Head of School, Teton Valley Campus

Leila Poutiatine

Head of School, Teton Valley Campus

Raised in New England, Leila first experienced the majestic mountains of the west at college in CO. Comforted by the humbling impact of living near vast natural places, she settled on the CA coast for 18 years before moving with her family to Teton Valley in 2018. Her own early fascination with exploring the natural world led her to pursue a BS in biology from Smith College. She put her science skills to use teaching 7th grade biology when she launched her career in independent schools in 1994. Most recently she has been honing her love of teaching and learning in schools committed to honoring the natural curiosity and wonder inherent in unique learners of all ages.

Nate Musser

Head of School, Jackson Campus

Nate Musser

Head of School, Jackson Campus

Nate is the Head of School for the Jackson Campus. He was drawn to the history of what Mountain Academy and Teton Science Schools represents and for the potential of what the organization can be.

In his free time, Nate can be found spending time in the mountains with his dog Murphy or playing pickleball (without his dog Murphy).

Mountain Academy Administration

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Eric Saitta

Mountain Academy Admissions Director

Eric Saitta

Mountain Academy Admissions Director

Eric Saitta has over a decade of teaching and education management experience. This includes serving as Admissions Director, Teacher Coordinator, Assistant Principal, Cambridge Exams Officer, Co-Director of a corporate training company, and Secondary School teacher. Eric holds a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of London as well as a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from HGSE. He is also a nationally certified healthcare practitioner, specializing in the treatment of acute and chronic pain conditions using acupuncture, herbal medicine, and physical therapy.  Outside of work Eric enjoys sports, weight training, music, and nature.

Beth Caputi

Director of College Counseling

Beth Caputi

Director of College Counseling

Beth has spent over 20 years in college counseling roles, both at the college and school levels. She joined Teton Science Schools in 2017, where she offers upper school students highly personalized attention to help them showcase their individual qualities and unique place-based high school experience. Beth visits the Jackson campus from her home in Maine six times a year to work directly with students and their families; she is always available for virtual meetings throughout the year. Beth earned her BA in Psychology from Williams College and received a Public Policy Fellowship from the Coro Foundation in New York City. She loves getting to know so many wonderful Teton Science School students and their families.

Lee Zderski

Learning Support Team Coordinator and Learning Specialist, Teton Valley Campus

Lee Zderski

Learning Support Team Coordinator and Learning Specialist, Teton Valley Campus

Lee Zderski joined TSS at the beginning of the  21-22 school year,  as a Learning Specialist and Faculty Member. She continues her role as a part of the Learning Support Team on the TVC campus. Lee was drawn to Mountain Academy's dedication to Place Based Education (PBE). Lee is also IB PYP certified, she embraces how IB brings the real world into the classroom while honoring the child's attributes. She believes PBE takes an additional step to this by facilitating real world experiences within our students' community,  environment, culture and history.

 

Skiing has drawn Lee and her family to the valley for over twenty consecutive years. Lee also loves to read, play tennis, and cook. Exploring the beauty of 'home' with her family is a priority.

Macey Ackman

Learning Support Team Coordinator, Jackson Campus

Macey Ackman

Learning Support Team Coordinator, Jackson Campus

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Katie Rose Griffith

Director of Farm & Garden and Outdoor Education

Katie Rose Griffith

Director of Farm & Garden and Outdoor Education

Katie Rose Griffith joined Mountain Academy in 2017, after spending time working for Mountain RootS Education in the garden. She is currently the farm and Garden and Outdoor Education Director. Katie Rose was drawn to the experiential learning through outdoor classrooms at the Teton Valley campus garden. 

 

When Katie Rose isn’t teaching she is in the mountains and visiting the ocean.

Avalee Fray-McCroskey

Office Manager, Teton Valley Campus

Avalee Fray-McCroskey

Office Manager, Teton Valley Campus

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Jackson Campus Faculty

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Jeffrey Post-Holmberg

Head of Upper School, Upper School Biology Faculty, Jackson Campus

Jeffrey Post-Holmberg

Head of Upper School, Upper School Biology Faculty, Jackson Campus

Mayme Sullivan

Middle and Upper School Spanish Faculty, Jackson Campus

Mayme Sullivan

Middle and Upper School Spanish Faculty, Jackson Campus

Mayme holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska in Spanish and a master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Wyoming. Mayme has spent time in Chile teaching English and is looking forward to instilling a passion for world languages to the Mountain Academy students.

Grant Ross

Upper School Math Faculty, Jackson Campus

Grant Ross

Upper School Math Faculty, Jackson Campus

Grant holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University. Grant is thrilled to be moving back to the area where he enjoys skiing and all the outdoor goodness of the Tetons.

Matt Bisk

Middle School Faculty, Jackson Campus

Matt Bisk

Middle School Faculty, Jackson Campus

Matt was a graduate of the Teton Science Schools Graduate Program in 2021. After some time spent that year on the Teton Valley Campus, Matt joined the Jackson Campus faculty to instruct middle school math. Matt came to Mountain Academy for the opportunity to build community through place-based education. By connecting learning to the human and more than human communities in the area, he is hoping that students can engage in a holistic learning approach to math.

 

Matt can be found hiking or backpacking on trails in both the Teton and Gros Ventre ranges, hopefully to a lake or creek in which he can take a dip. Otherwise he can be found reading, practicing yoga, biking, cooking, playing board games, listening to music, or watching new films.

Anna Varley

Lower School Faculty, Jackson Campus

Anna Varley

Lower School Faculty, Jackson Campus

Anna graduated from the TSS graduate program in June 2022, started the 2022 school year as a lower school teaching fellow, and is now leading the 4/5 class on the Jackson Campus. Anna was drawn to TSS because of their place based ideologies and their focus on building a strong community.

When Anna isn’t teaching she enjoys spending her time outdoors or sharing the joy of reading with her other job at the Valley Bookstore.

Alex Wilson

Fine Arts Faculty, Jackson Campus

Alex Wilson

Fine Arts Faculty, Jackson Campus

Brianna Suter

Young Toddler and Toddler Faculty, Jackson Campus

Brianna Suter

Young Toddler and Toddler Faculty, Jackson Campus

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Hannah Stellflue

Assistant Preschool & PreKindergarten Faculty and Afterschool Coordinator, Jackson Campus

Hannah Stellflue

Assistant Preschool & PreKindergarten Faculty and Afterschool Coordinator, Jackson Campus

Matt hails from Washington, DC, and since his college graduation he has been a teacher’s assistant at two different elementary schools and spent several years teaching in two different early childhood programs.  He was born overseas and spent much of his childhood living abroad. From his time spent working with young children and being a part of the TSS graduate program this past year he realized he has a passion for working with our youngest learners and wants to support their curiosities about the world around them in intentional and meaningful ways.

Paige Fisher

Early Childhood Division Coordinator, Jackson Campus

Paige Fisher

Early Childhood Division Coordinator, Jackson Campus

Paige Fisher attended the TSS Graduate Program in 2014-2015 and then went on to earn her Master's Degree at the University of Wyoming. She returned to TSS in 2016 as a preschool faculty member on the Jackson Campus. Paige is now the Director of the Jackson Campus Preschool and loves teaching our youngest learners. Mountain Academy Preschool believes that the Reggio Emilia Philosophy and Nature Based Practices is how our youngest learners do place-based education well. This matches her own beliefs in the profoundness of teaching about nature through a sense of place and letting our youngest members be the drivers of their own learning. She is deeply passionate about early childhood education, believes in the capacity of children and strives to inspire curiosity, joy and empathy in children through their play and discovery of the world around them. Paige believes that Mountain Academy is a place where this magic happens each and every day. 

 

When Paige isn't teaching she loves spending time exploring the Tetons, floating the Snake, enjoying good food with her husband and friends or spending time relaxing with her cat Chipi.

Maria Vazquez

Young Toddler and Toddler Faculty, Jackson Campus

Maria Vazquez

Young Toddler and Toddler Faculty, Jackson Campus

In Maria’s six years of working with young children she has developed a deep passion for working with this age group. She believes the growth that happens between a young toddler and a toddler is incredible. Maria is really looking forward to learning more about place based education at Mountain Academy through using the Reggio Emilia philosophy and Nature based practices.

Grace Werner

Preschool Faculty, Jackson Campus

Grace Werner

Preschool Faculty, Jackson Campus

Grace Werner joined TSS in the summer of 2022 as the Coordinator of Preschool Summer Camps. She is now teaching preschool in the first-year program on the Jackson Campus. She strongly believes outdoor education is one of the best avenues for helping students build understanding and compassion for themselves, their peers, their mentors, and the natural world around them. Paired with the Reggio Emilia philosophy of Mountain Academy’s preschool, Grace gets to support our youngest learners in pursuing their authentic curiosities that leads to whole-hearted learning.

 

Grace loves to hit the ski slopes and hiking trails. Paddle the snake in a canoe and sleep in a tent when possible. After school, She relaxes with a walk and a good audiobook.

Danny Martin

Preschool Faculty, Jackson Campus

Danny Martin

Preschool Faculty, Jackson Campus

Danny arrived in Jackson Hole first through the Teton Science Schools Graduate Program in 2019 following nearly a decade of sharing his passion for the natural world with young people in unique experiential learning environments. He spent two years teaching in the lower school on the Jackson Campus, in the 4/5 classroom and the K/1 classroom, and is now an outdoor explorations teacher in Early Childhood Education. Danny was drawn to Mountain Academy for its whole-child approach and its focus on social-emotional and nature-based learning.

 

In his free time, Danny may be found in the woods hiking, biking or reading in a hammock, at home cooking, meditating or playing board games with friends, or dancing anytime the mood strikes.

Teton Valley Campus Faculty

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Kelsie Leu

Middle School Co-Division Coordinator, Middle School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Kelsie Leu

Middle School Co-Division Coordinator, Middle School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Kelsie started her journey at Teton Science Schools in 2014 as an AmeriCorps member.  She then worked in Field Education as a lead instructor and eventually a faculty member.  Kelsie joined Mountain Academy in 2020 and teaches middle school math, science, and project lab on the Teton Valley Campus. Through her professional experiences in environmental education and youth development, Kelsie cultivated a teaching philosophy that prioritized the intersection of place and people. She is eager to develop the next generation of leaders and thinkers who are curious about the world around them.

 

In her free time, Kelsie enjoys exploring the surrounding mountain ranges on foot and on bike. 

Brooks Taylor

Middle School Co-Division Coordinator, Middle School Faculty Teton Valley Campus

Brooks Taylor

Middle School Co-Division Coordinator, Middle School Faculty Teton Valley Campus

Brooks joined Teton Science Schools through the Graduate Program in 2018, and Mountain Academy the following year as a teaching fellow. Brooks currently is a Division Coordinator and Humanities faculty on the Teton Valley Campus Brooks was drawn to Mountain Academy through his love of hands-on, experiential, and Place Based Education. Brooks has been immersed in “place” from studying the Civil War at Gettysburg College as an undergrad, to retracing the Lewis and Clark trail in a homemade canoe. 

 

Outside of teaching, Brooks is a fishing guide for Three Rivers Ranch in Warm River, Idaho and lives with his wonderful girlfriend and dog, Katie and Leo.

Tim Gruber

Lower School Division Coordinator, Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Tim Gruber

Lower School Division Coordinator, Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Undergraduate at University of Richmond.
Masters in Curriculum & Teaching from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Tim Gruber joined the Mountain Academy community in the fall of 2021 as a lower school faculty member on the Teton Valley Campus (TVC) and now serves as the Division Coordinator for the lower school on the TVC. Tim loves the unique opportunity to form deep relationships with kids, families, colleagues, and community members.

 

Outside of the classroom you can find Tim running, reading, and sharing stories.

Brianne West

Preschool Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Brianne West

Preschool Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

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Emma Downie

Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Emma Downie

Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

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Katie O’Connell

Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Katie O'Connell

Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Katie O'Connell started at Teton Science Schools (TSS) in the Graduate program in 2018. After completing her Masters in Place Based Education and a fellowship on the Teton Valley Campus Katie stayed on the team as a K/1 teacher. This is Katie's fourth year on the Teton Valley Campus in K/1. Katie loves TSS because of its sense of community and connection to the natural world. Place-based Education and Project-Based Learning are two passions of Katie's and special parts of this school for her. 

 

While not in the classroom, Katie can be seen walking her dog Spud, hiking, running, skiing, and working on lots of crafts.

Lulu Orne

Early Childhood Co-Division Coordinator, Early Childhood Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Lulu Orne

Early Childhood Co-Division Coordinator, Early Childhood Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Lulu started at Mountain Academy in the summer of 2019 in the Early Childhood program. Lulu currently works in the Early Childhood program on the Teton Valley Campus where she is the 'Outdoor Explorations Lead Teacher'. Lulu is passionate about supporting children in developing their personal relationships to the land and supporting children in developing confidence and self-knowledge through 'risky play' and inquiry.

 

When not at school, Lulu can be found exploring the mountains and rivers of Teton Valley with her dog Gus, sitting at her sewing machine, or working on her in depth analysis of the Twilight Saga.

Elise Pierce

Early Childhood Co-Division Coordinator, Early Childhood Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Elise Pierce

Early Childhood Co-Division Coordinator, Early Childhood Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Elise Pierce joined the preschool team on the Teton Valley Campus in 2019 and has been there ever since. She was drawn to the early childhood program's focus on hands-on, place-based, emergent curriculum and building relationships with the natural world both in and outside of the classroom. 

When Elise is not teaching, she is traveling to far away places, spending time with family and friends, playing outside, digging in flowers, veggies, and growing things in the garden.

Molly Gillespie

Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Molly Gillespie

Lower School Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

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Allison Swan

Preschool Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Allison Swan

Preschool Faculty, Teton Valley Campus

Allison started working with Mountain Academy in 2021 as the after school teacher and is now a full time preschool faculty member on the Teton Valley Campus. Allison was drawn to the place-based, nature-based early childhood program.

In her free time, Allison enjoys hiking, birding, and exploring the woods and water with her favorite field companion, her pup Boulder.