Staff: School Year 2018-2019

Lauren Rondeau, B.S. — Middle School

Principal Educator

Lauren Rondeau joined Sedona Charter School in 2017, bringing with her 13 years of experience teaching and directing Montessori middle schools. She also taught in Abu Dhabi for a year. During her 10 years at the Montessori Charter School of Flagstaff, she designed challenging curriculum and motivated her students to do their best — and middle school enrollment steadily grew as word of her outstanding program spread.  Although she is comfortable teaching all core subjects, Lauren is most passionate about teaching literature and writing.  She has also developed yearbook and newsletter programs, and organized multi-day river trips for her students.  With a B.S. degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Northern Arizona University, Lauren holds a Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies certificate from the American Montessori International (AMI) training program.  Under Lauren’s leadership, our middle school program continues its tradition of academic challenge, social development, and outdoor adventure.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Montessori qualifications: American Montessori International Adolescent Studies certificate

Laurie Altringer, M.Ed. — Middle School

Facilitating Teacher

After 12 years teaching in district and charter schools in Arizona and Oregon, Laurie joins us in 2018 as our Middle School math and science teacher.  With her emphasis on real-world experiences, Laurie’s students are certain to fall in love with these subjects. Although her core focus will be math and science, Laurie is our very own Renaissance woman with a passion for a wide range of subjects.  She is a strong promoter of the arts and has taught after-school violin and developed an outdoor mural project.  She has sponsored school math teams and school sustainability and gardening programs, and developed outdoor education programs and field trips. She taught Spanish in grades 1-5, taught environmental education in Spanish in Guatemala, and taught 4th grade for a year in Abu Dhabi. Laurie has secured numerous grants for her schools, including the Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant, National Parks Trust Grant,  McDonald’s Science and Literacy Grant, Coconino County Arts Integration Grant, Ashland Schools Foundation Impact Grant, and a $72,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Education.  She earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Education, summa cum laude, from Western Washington University in Washington, and a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Chemistry, magna cum laude, from Northern Arizona University.  She is state-certified for elementary education with a math endorsement in both Oregon and Arizona.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Standard Elementary Education, K-8
Endorsements:  K-8 Math;  K-12 Structured English Immersion

Ana Hansen, M.B.A. — Middle School and Special Projects

Facilitating Teacher

Ana joined our staff in 2016 as a reading teacher for our Lower Elementary students.  As we recognized her teaching and administration talent, her duties expanded to include schoolwide Title 1 program administration and Peace education.  In 2018 she will work full-time in the Middle School classroom, teaching social studies and literature.  With B.A. in English, Political Science, and Women’s Studies from the University of Rochester (New York) and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix, Ana is clearly a woman of many interests and many talents.  She continues to teach yoga locally — an inspiration to us all.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Standard Elementary Education, K-8
Endorsements: Reading Specialist

Suzi Ashley, B.A. — Upper Elementary Classroom

Principal Educator

After an extensive search for just the right person to lead our Upper Elementary classroom (grades 4-6), we were thrilled to find Suzi Ashley, a teacher who particularly connects with this age group. Suzi joined us in 2017 after 15 years of teaching experience, including four years in Mexico.  With a B.A. in Education from Arizona State University, she is Arizona and Colorado state-certified to teach the elementary grades.  Those who know her refer to her as an excellent teacher who is creative and dynamic, keeping the students moving both physically and academically, and who is particularly strong at building collaborative relationships.  She teaches “to build better humans,” and enjoys using varied teaching strategies to address the learning needs of all her students.  In her spare time she loves running and travel—which may explain why the first marathon she ran was in Florence, Italy.  Suzi has spent time in 15 different countries and believes “the best way to understand a culture is to experience it first-hand.” Determined to deliver the best possible Montessori program here at Sedona Charter School, she spent the summer of 2018 in Tucson in an intensive program, working toward Montessori certification for ages 6 to 12.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Standard Elementary Education, K-8
Montessori qualifications: Montessori training for ages 6 through 12 through Khalsa Montessori Teacher Education Program

Maija Alanen, B.A. – Upper Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Maija joined us in 2015 after spending three years in Scotland, where she developed the only elementary Montessori program in the country. Prior to that, she taught in Montessori schools in Alaska and Minnesota, and was a beloved teacher for 12 years at a Montessori elementary school in Henderson, Nevada.   Maija earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Luther College in Iowa, and she is one of a very few teachers to be Montessori certified to teach ages 3 to 12.  In her teaching, Maija emphasizes outdoor, experiential opportunities, peaceful collaboration, and academic excellence.  She says, “After three fascinating and fulfilling years teaching in Scotland, I was ready to come stateside and put down some roots once again. I chose Sedona because of the tremendous opportunity to work with a dedicated and committed staff in a school that demonstrates great integrity, academic excellence and global awareness in a caring and supportive environment. I enjoy sharing my love of Montessori and the world with the children of Sedona Charter School!”

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Montessori qualifications: American Montessori Society certified for ages 3-12.  Trained through Mecca-Seton and Montessori Education Center of the Rockies
Arizona certifications: Standard Elementary Education, K-8

Lisa Mercer, M.Ed. — Upper Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Lisa spent the past year teaching middle school English language arts on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in southeastern Arizona.  There, her robust, interesting lessons and her ability to connect helped her students make significant progress.  She holds a B.S in Interdisciplinary Studies/Public Management from Northern Arizona University and an M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.  With life experiences ranging from teaching computer programming to driving school buses, Lisa has plenty of stories to tell.  But she would rather listen to her students and find out just what will ignite their passion for a particular subject. In her spare time she loves to read, write, and explore Arizona.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Elementary Education, K-8
Endorsements: Structured English Immersion, PreK-12

Mackenzie Pace, B.S.W. — Upper Elementary

Mackenzie Pace joins the Upper Elementary teaching team this year.  She has extensive experience working with children.  Colleagues marvel at her ability to connect with children of all ages and to engage them in a wide range of topics.  With a Bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in biology from Northern Arizona University, Mackenzie is especially excited about teaching science in a Montessori environment.  In her free time, she loves to travel, camp, and hike.

Jacquie Randall – Upper Elementary Classroom

Teaching Aide

Jacquie began helping out in the Upper Elementary classroom in 2015, and quickly become a key member of the staff.  As an aide, she helps students stay on task and helps ease the paperwork load on the teaching team.  Her bright spirit is infectious, and the whole classroom benefits from her tireless energy.  Jacquie’s history includes 12 years in school administration for students in elementary school through college in California–and 10 years sailing the world experiencing a variety of nautical adventures.  After moving to Sedona in 1991, Jacquie devoted herself to making the Sedona Humane Society a well-respected and effective organization:  She was Board President for 10 years, Volunteer Coordinator for six years, she coordinates the Kids and Kritters Summer Camp, and since 1998 she has written the “Paw Prints” column in the Sedona Red Rock News. We are indeed lucky to have such a multi-talented person working with our Upper Elementary students!

Katarina Houser, B.A. – Lower Elementary Classroom

Principal Educator

Katarina joined us in fall 2014 after working in a primary Montessori program in a district school setting. In 2018, she took on the role of Principal Educator for our Lower Elementary classroom.  Katarina has a masterful way of getting young children to focus on the task at hand while keeping them engaged with her infectious enthusiasm for a wide variety of subjects and activities. Katarina holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University, where she also studied English Education. She was raised in Sedona and actually attended Sedona Charter School. When she is not in the classroom, Katarina may be found hiking the trails of Sedona with her family.

Federal status: Highly Qualified Teacher – preschool through grade 3
Montessori qualifications: American Montessori Society certified for ages 6-9

Amy Tedrick, B.A. — Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

After working part-time in the Lower Elementary classroom, Amy Tedrick joined the Lower Elementary teaching staff full-time in the 2016-2017 school year.  Though Amy has extensive experience working with people in retail settings, she found that jobs she enjoyed the most were working in classrooms as a member of the teaching staff, including one where she become skilled in American Sign Language.  With a son enrolled at Sedona Charter School, she knew this is where she is meant to be, helping students get the best possible start on their educational journey.  Amy has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Hofstra University in New York, and completed training for her Montessori teacher certification in the summer of 2018. She enjoys sharing her love of learning, crafts, and outdoor activities with the children of Sedona Charter School.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Montessori qualifications: Elementary 1 training through Arizona Montessori Teacher Education Program

Amy Alexander, B.S. — Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Amy is returning to her first love — teaching — after spending the past seven years managing an organic farm and coffee plantation on the big island of Hawaii.  With a B.S. in Physical Education from Walla Walla University in Washington, she is sure to get our Lower Elementary students started on a great foundation for physical fitness, healthy living, and scientific inquiry.  Amy spent four years teaching middle school family and consumer science, and is looking forward to sharing cooking and career ideas with her students at Sedona Charter School.  An avid practitioner of yoga and meditation, Amy is known for her sunny disposition and ability to brighten the day of the children she is teaching.

KC O’Connor, B.A. — Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

After 10 years living and working with young children in Haines, Alaska, KC is moving south to Sedona and joining our Lower Elementary teaching team.  With a B.A. in Graphic Arts and a Minor in Voice Performance from the University of Redlands (California), KC will help ensure our students get a solid foundation in visual and performing arts. She has a long history with Montessori and holds an American Montessori Society (AMS) Early Childhood Credential.   Before moving to Alaska, KC spent 15 years teaching and working in private and charter preschool and kindergarten programs in Colorado. She is looking forward to exploring the high desert and red rock rim country in and around Sedona.

Montessori qualifications: AMS Early Childhood Credential; training through Montessori Education Center of the Rockies

Dolores Biermann – Lower Elementary Classroom

Classroom Assistant

Dolores has been a presence at Sedona Charter School since 2000, when she began working in our office.  After 5 years, she took a brief retirement, but was soon back on campus as an invaluable member of our staff, helping ease the transition to school for our youngest students, and helping all of our staff stay organized.  In her spare time, Dolores enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling to see her children and grandchildren.

Kristina Beachell, M.M. – Orchestral and Strings Studies

Kristina joined us in February of 2011, bringing with her a strong background in music education that includes a B.A. in Music Education from Berklee College of Music in Boston; a Master’s degree in Music Education from Northern Arizona University with an emphasis in Suzuki pedagogy; five years as a strings instructor for grades 4-12 in Massachusetts public schools, four years as a Suzuki instructor for grades K-6 in Flagstaff public schools, and an ongoing role as a master teacher at the NAU Community Music and Dance Academy for ages 3 to 16. Kristina’s diverse musical background includes singing with the Boston Conservatory Choir and the ASH Jazz Choir, touring and recording with rock and jazz bands, and performing leading roles in dramatic and musical productions. She firmly believes that developing the performing arts in a child is vital to cultivating intellectual growth. She shares her passion with her students, and leads them to inspirational achievements. As one parent summed up, “she is a force of nature.”

Federal status: Highly Qualified Music Teacher grades K-12

Lucy Schwill, B.A. – Special Education

Lucy immediately became a key member of our teaching team when she joined our staff in 2014.  She makes sure we meet the needs of our special education students by working closely with students and well as their primary teachers, and staying current on the many developments in the field.  Lucy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education from Lynchburg College in Virginia, and taught in a variety of special education settings in Arizona schools for more than 25 years before joining Sedona Charter School.   She has additional training in Montessori education and as a Crisis Prevention Intervention instructor.  As a master teacher, she has mentored new teachers finishing up their education and helped them build skills from her wide repertoire of techniques for classroom management, student engagement, and individualizing instruction.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Special Education, K-12
Endorsements: Structured English Immersion, K-12

Bob Wentsch, M.S. – Reading and Math Tutor

After serving for 22 years as our founding Lower Elementary (grades 1-3) Principal Educator, Bob decided to slow down just a little in the fall of 2018 and move to a part-time position.  Now he works with small groups of students in grades 4 to 8, helping them strengthen skills and knowledge in reading and math as part of our Title 1 program. Before moving to Sedona, Bob and his wife Terri founded and operated the Rivendell School in Colorado for 17 years. Bob began his career in the Teacher Corps in Iowa at the same he was studying at Drake University for his M.S. in Education, with a focus on Effective Teaching.  Bob enjoys playing cello, gardening, horseback riding, reading, and, after educating a generation of students here in Sedona, reconnecting with former students and hearing about their life, learning, and adventures after Sedona Charter School.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Montessori qualifications: American Montessori Society certified for ages 6-9. Trained through CMTE/NY
Arizona certifications: Standard Elementary Education, K-8
Endorsements: Reading Specialist and Structured English Immersion, K-12

Alice Madar, B.A. – Director of Finance and Administration

Alice has been involved with the operation of Sedona Charter School since 1997. After two years as President of the Governing Council and as project manager for the Kachina campus construction, Alice was hired as Business Administrator in 2001. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of California at Davis, studied in the M.A. program for Print Journalism at the University of Southern California, and has completed the Arizona Association of School Business Officials coursework for school business specialists. Before moving to Sedona Alice worked in San Francisco, where she edited a national sports magazine and developed publications for companies that included Hewlett-Packard, Levi-Strauss, and Pacific Telesis. She has found her true passion serving Sedona Charter School, helping to ensure that other children will benefit from the outstanding educational experience her own son received at the school. As Director of Finance and Administration, she oversees finance, facilities, and administrative operations outside the classrooms.  You may often find her writing another grant to fund some of our extracurricular programs, or networking with colleagues across the country on current education issues, or reaching out to a parent or community member who can share their knowledge or skills with our students.  In her spare time Alice enjoys hiking, dog training, reading, and traveling.

Lauren Hendler, M.F.A. — Admin Assistant and Drama Teacher

Lauren’s background includes a B.A. in Drama from Vassar College, an M.F.A. in Acting  from Alabama Shakespeare Festival and a career in fitness training and management on the west coast.   Before joining our office staff in 2017, she was Director of Community Health Initiatives for the YMCA of the East Bay in Oakland, California.  In our office, Lauren works to ensure our records are current and complete (no small task) and enjoys interacting with the many parents, students, and community members who come in or call for assistance.  Lauren particularly enjoys her role as Middle School drama teacher, helping the students write and perform in plays and film.  She also stays busy in her career as a screenwriter and enjoys exploring the many trails of Sedona with her husband.

Jannette Villalobos-Gil — Registrar

After 10 years working as support staff in the behavioral health field, Jannette joined our administrative team in 2017.  She greets everyone with a warm smile and an offer to help — and her fluency in Spanish has proven to be invaluable.  She manages our electronic student files, which is a vast, complex, and constantly evolving job.  When not in the office, Jannette enjoys spending time with her family and walking and playing with her dog.