Teton Valley Community School

Where Learning Comes to Life

Teaching Faculty

  • Amber Jacobson

    Head of Elementary/1st 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

    Head of Pre-Kindergarten
    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.

  • Elle Emery

    Head of Middle School/ Middle School 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.

  • 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! 

  • 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. 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.

  • Hilary Hays

    Kindergarten Faculty  
    B.A. Communications and Culture, Clark University
    Teton Science Schools Graduate Program

    hilary.hays@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Hilary was born and raised in central Maine where she spent time cultivating her love for the outdoors. As the daughter of an elementary school teacher, she has also always had a connection to education. After graduating from Clark University in 2006, she began work for NOLS as a field instructor in order to merge her two passions – wild places and the student experience. In 2016 Hilary decided to push her teaching to a different level and joined the 23rd Teton Science School Graduate cohort. While in the grad program, she had the great opportunity of spending time in the classroom at TVCS – here she uncovered her love for project based learning and innovative teaching techniques. Hilary believes wholeheartedly in learner centered education, connection to community, and integrated curriculum. In her free time Hilary enjoys floating the river, fly-fishing, biking, skiing, and exploring the mountains with her husband Dan.

  • Katie Griffith

    Pre-Kindergarten Faculty
    B.S. Environmental Geology, Western Washington University
    M.A. Early Childhood Education, Goddard College (in progress)

    katie.griffith@tetonvalleycommunityschool.org

    Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Katie spent most of her childhood days exploring the vast forests and estuaries surrounding her home.  Katie believes that exploration of natural environments is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Katie recently moved to Teton Valley from the beautiful Methow Valley, WA where she was a field instructor for Northwest Outward Bound School. Experiential outdoor education has played a major role in how she perceives education and is what inspired her to continue pursuing education. Katie is starting a Masters in Early Childhood Education at Goddard College in Vermont this Fall. She hopes to continue to grow as an educator and be apart of a space where children have the freedom to explore curiosities and share their wonder of the world.

  • Chelsea Pearl

    2nd/3rd Grade Faculty
    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.

  • Anna Dwinnell

    4th/5th 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.

  • David May

    Middle School 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.

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