Staff: School Year 2016-2017

Bob Wentsch

Bob Wentsch, M.S. – Lower Elementary Classroom

Principal Educator

Bob has been our Lower Elementary (grades 1-3) Principal Educator since Sedona Charter School school opened in 1995. 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. In 2005 Bob completed his Montessori certification, and today Montessori teachers from throughout the state come to observe and learn from Bob’s classroom, which has developed a reputation as a model of student choice within a safe and dynamic structure, where students develop responsibility, independence, and a strong foundation in academics, arts, and music.

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

Terri Wentsch

Terri Wentsch – Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Terri has been teaching as Sedona Charter School since its founding in 1995. Prior to this she taught and co-managed Rivendell School with her husband Bob for 17 years. Before joining Rivendell, Terri taught in a school for underprivileged children and in a Montessori school. Terri has completed Montessori training for ages 6 to 9. Beyond teaching, Terri’s duties include expanding the classroom arts and technology curriculum. When she has a spare moment she devotes some time to her passions for computer arts and fiber arts.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teaching Paraprofessional
Montessori qualifications: Training through CMTE/NY for ages 6-9


Katarina Houser, B.A. – Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Katarina joined us in fall 2014 after working in a primary Montessori program in a district school setting. She 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. Katarina is spending the summer of 2015 in an intensive Montessori training program for teachers of first- to third-grade students. When she is not in the classroom, Katarina may be found coaching the Sedona Red Rock High Cheer Squad or at The Hike House, advising tourists on the best trails in Sedona.

Federal status: Highly Qualified Teacher – preschool through grade 3

Dolores Biermann

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.


Lisa Hirsch, EdD – Upper Elementary Classroom

Principal Educator

After an extensive search for just the right person to take the lead in our Upper Elementary classroom, Sedona Charter School welcomed Dr. Lisa Hirsch as Principal Educator for grades 4 to 6 in 2015.  For more than 20 years, Lisa has been a key leader in Sedona district schools, serving as a founding teacher for Sedona Red Rock High school, then district Curriculum Coordinator, then Principal of West Sedona Elementary School for seven years. She holds a B.A.  in Economics with a minor in English from Tufts University in Massachusetts, an M.A. in the Teaching of Social Studies from Columbia Teachers College in New York, and a Doctor of Education with Distinction from Northern Arizona University, where her emphasis was Curriculum and Instruction.  Lisa brings with her a deep knowledge of the local community and its resources, outstanding leadership and administrative skills, and a passion for learning. She has served as a consultant on school reform in several states, and has led seminars and workshops on conflict resolution. Her many awards and honors include being named the Phoenix Suns and America West Outstanding Educator and receiving the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award. Lisa has always been a strong supporter of Montessori education, and completed a Montessori course in early childhood education prior to joining our staff.  She enjoys working with our team of dedicated and experienced Upper Elementary teachers to give our students the foundation they need to become outstanding adults.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-12 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Principal and Standard Secondary Education – English and Social Studies
Endorsement: Structured English Immersion, K-12

Maija Alanen

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, 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 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12.  Trained through Mecca-Seton and Montessori Education Center of the Rockies


Bill Baker – Upper Elementary Classroom

Science and Wilderness Specialist

Prior to joining our Upper Elementary staff in 2006, Bill Baker worked with children and young adults for more than 20 years in schools in California and in Mesa, Arizona. In Mesa, he worked as an animal handler for elementary schools, conducting classes with live indigenous animals from all over Arizona. He also led science camps for Arizona schools in various outdoor settings including the Grand Canyon. He spent several years as an instructor for grades 7 through 12, developing individualized curriculum for students to meet and exceed Arizona state standards. Bill especially enjoys teaching science and geography, and coaching volleyball and tai chi. He has hiked over 3,000 miles in the Grand Canyon and has ridden a bicycle across the United States from Ventura, California to Key West, Florida. In 2013, Bill spent an intensive summer at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York, focusing on teaching for ages 9 to 12.  For the next two years, he served as our Upper Elementary Principal Educator, steadily raising the academic standards in the classroom. This year Bill returns to his role as a facilitating teacher, and reports that he is more excited than ever about working with the students at Sedona Charter School, helping to expand their knowledge and build their character.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teaching Paraprofessional
Montessori qualifications: CMTE/NY trained for ages 9-12


Jennifer Jordan, M.Phil. – Middle School Classroom

Principal Educator

Jenn Jordan took the helm of our Middle School classroom in fall 2014 after spending six years as the founding teacher of the middle school program at Chemung Valley Montessori School in New York, followed by five years at the University of Cambridge in England. At Cambridge she earned a Master of Philosophy in Educational Research and is completing a Ph.D. in Education with a dissertation on adolescent moral development. Jenn has a strong background in science, having earned a B.A in Biology from Reed College in Oregon and Master’s degrees in Education and in Physical Anthropology from Ohio State University. She is New York state-certified to teach grade 7-12 biology, and brings extensive scientific exploration to the classroom. Because her passions also include hiking, beekeeping, gardening, pottery, and poetry, look for them to become a part of the Middle School experience as well. Even though Jenn has earned a plethora of academic credentials, it is her proven ability to connect with adolescents that makes her an outstanding teacher.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher and grades 7-12 Biology Teacher
Montessori qualifications: North American Montessori Education Association Certificate for Adolescent Studies


Tim Marsh, M.A. – Middle School Classroom

Middle School Teacher and K-8 Math Interventionist

Tim Marsh joined us in the summer of 2014 as our Math Interventionist and advanced math teacher. Prior to moving to Sedona, he was a middle school math teacher in Page, Arizona, where he also trained other teachers on the fundamentals of Common Core math. Tim was a Teaching Fellow in the prestigious TNTP Arizona Teaching Fellows program, where he specialized in math instruction. He has experience leading school chess club and yearbook programs, as well serving as an 8th grade writing teacher. With a B.A. in World History and an M.A. in American History from the University of Houston at Clear Lake, Texas, Tim leads our Montessori Model United Nations program and teaches history and social studies.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher and Math Interventionist, and Highly Qualified grades 7-12 Math, Social Studies, and History Teacher
Arizona certification: Standard Secondary Education – Math

Alice Madar

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.

Kristina Beachell

Kristina Beachell, M.M. – Orchestral & 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 (Somerville and Cambridge), four years as a Suzuki instructor for grades K-6 in Flagstaff public schools, and three years as an instructor at the NAU music 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 recently said, “she is a force of nature.”

Federal status: Highly Qualified Music Teacher grades K-12


Lucy Schwill, B.A. – Special Ed and Upper Elementary

Dean of Students

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, and she serves as a part-time teacher in the Upper Elementary classroom.  As our Dean of Students, she is our staff liaison on the Peaceful Leadership committee and she is spearheading our schoolwide implementation of the Children’s World Peace curriculum in the fall of 2015.  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


Teri Lechowski, B.A. – Title I

Teri joined Sedona Charter School in 2013, working with students in our Title I Math and Reading intervention program.  She brings a cheerful and upbeat approach to learning, with over 15 years of experience working in the field of education with both children and adults. Teri graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from Northeastern Illinois University and has completed some post-graduate work in psychology.  She has a minor in social work and has a diverse background working in social services assisting developmentally disabled adults and healthy minded young people.   Teri is committed to getting to know her students, tailoring the best teaching methods for each child’s learning style, in order to inspire students to work above and beyond.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teaching Paraprofessional