Staff: School Year 2020-2021

Crystal Hoyle, B.A. — Executive Director

Crystal has been a supporter of Sedona Charter School since 2003, when she first enrolled her son. He attended from Kindergarten through 8th grade and was a founding member of our advanced orchestra. Crystal volunteered for the school throughout Peter’s tenure and even afterward. Dedicated to supporting the community, Crystal is a member of several local business groups. She is the past President of the Sedona Village Business Association and a Rotarian. While organizing numerous fundraisers and community service events, she established a reputation as an excellent leader with a strong sense of integrity, who can dig into the details while maintaining a sense of fun. With a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine, Crystal is a strong proponent of a well-rounded education. Her experience as an administrator in the mortgage and hospitality industries and her formal training in communication ensure that she will continue our tradition of sound fiscal management with an eye to supporting the success of our students through vibrant, supportive, and challenging classrooms. With Crystal taking the administrative lead in 2020, Sedona Charter School is certain to continue to be a force for educational excellence through Montessori programming.

Jacki Rice, B.S. — Middle School

Principal Educator

Jacki took the lead of our Middle School classroom beginning in 2019, bringing with her a wealth of experience as an educator and educational leader. She began teaching in 1986 after graduating from Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. She initially taught in special education, then kindergarten and first grade, and then for 16 years, 6th, 7th and 8th grade. She has served as a mentor teacher and participated in and led countless committees as well as served on school boards. She has taught all academic subjects and has a particular love for teaching theater. Jacki believes education is most authentic, meaningful and relatable with integrated, real world projects, lessons and activities. She says “I love creating curriculum with choices embedded, based on students’ interests. This gives students agency in their education and creates an intrinsic desire to learn. Within that, skills are developed, concepts are covered and rigorous standards are met.” In her spare time, Jacki loves to dance, read, create, hike, swim, garden, engage in improvisation, walk her dog, and spend time with her family.

Federal status: Highly Qualified Middle Grades Teacher
Arizona certifications: Middle Grades 5-8; additional approved area: English Language Arts

Olof Ehrenstrom, M.Ed. — Middle School

Facilitating Teacher

Olof came to Sedona Charter School in 2020 with more than 15 years of experience teaching math and science at the Montessori middle school level. He is a world traveler, an avid mountain biker, has a passion for the environment and nature, and loves to create outdoor education experiences for his students. He was born in Massachusetts but spent most of his formative years in Cote D’Ivoire, Africa, where he grew up speaking French. After earning a B.Sc. degree in Biology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Olof considered a career in marine science, but found his true love was teaching. He gained a Master’s degree in Montessori Integrative Education from Endicott College in Boston and a Montessori credential in secondary education from the Houson Montessori Center in Texas. He considers himself a lifelong student, channeling his own excitement and energy for learning to his students. One of his favorite things about teaching is getting to know his students and tailoring education to meet their individual needs.

Federal status: Highly Qualified grades 7-12 Teacher, Biology
Montessori qualifications: American Montessori Society certified for ages 12-15. Trained through Houston Montessori Center

Alexandra Winter, M.A. — Middle School

Facilitating Teacher

With a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and an M.A. in Eastern Classics from St. John’s College in New Mexico, Alex Winter joined us in the fall of 2019. She enjoys digging into humanities and English Language studies with our middle school students. She is certified in New Mexico for grades 6-12 English Language Arts, and is also a licensed yoga instructor. Alex loves the Montessori method and is pursuing a Montessori secondary education credential though the Cincinnati Montessori Teacher Education Program. Those who know Alex remark on her ability to connect with people of all ages and share her optimistic spirit.

Federal status: Highly Qualified Middle Grades Teacher
Montessori qualifications: In Montessori training for ages 12-15 through Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program

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.  Determined to deliver the best possible Montessori program here at Sedona Charter School, she spent the summers and weekends in 2018 and 2019 in an intensive Montessori training program which culminated in her earning Montessori certification for teaching students age 6 to 12. In her spare time Suzi loves running and travel—which may explain why the first marathon she ran was in Florence, Italy.  She has spent time in 15 different countries and believes “the best way to understand a culture is to experience it first-hand.”

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Standard Elementary, K-8
Montessori qualifications: American Montessori Society certified for ages 9-12. Montessori trained for ages 6-12 at the 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, K-8

Lucy Hill, B.A. — Upper Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Lucy joined us in 2019 after teaching at another Montessori school in Phoenix. Having spent her childhood in Sedona, Lucy enjoys teaching a new generation of Sedona youth. With a B.A. in Humanities from Northern Arizona University, she brings a broad world view to our students. Lucy has completed Montessori training for ages 3 to 6 through the Khalsa Montessori Teacher Education Program. When not in the classroom, Lucy enjoys painting, traveling, spending time with family, yoga, vegan cooking, hiking and reading.

Montessori qualifications: Montessori trained for ages 3-6 at the Khalsa Montessori Teacher Education Program.

Jessica Sweeney, M.Ed. — Upper Elementary

Facilitating Teacher

After working in Montessori education for ten years, Jess Sweeney joined our Upper Elementary teaching team in the fall of 2020. She holds a certification for ages 0 to 3 from the American Montessori Society, a Bachelor of General Studies — Humanities from Suffolk University in Boston, and an M.Ed. in Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College, also in Boston. She is passionate about incorporating Montessori philosophy into students’ lives. An east coast transplant, Jess enjoys exploring the southwest with family, doing yoga, and reading mysteries.

Montessori qualifications: American Montessori Society certified for ages 0-3. Trained through Montessori Institute–New England

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: American Montessori Society certified for ages 6-9

Amy Alexander, B.S. — Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

In 2018 Amy joined us at Sedona Charter School to return to her first love — teaching — after spending 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 gives our Lower Elementary students a great foundation for physical fitness, healthy living, and scientific inquiry.  Prior to her move to Sedona, Amy spent four years teaching middle school family and consumer science. She particularly enjoys 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.

Haley Seiber, B.Ed. — Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Haley Seiber came all the way from Florida to join our Lower Elementary teaching team in 2019. Haley earned her degree in Educational Leadership from St. Petersburg College (Florida). There, she was introduced to the Montessori method during her senior year while interning in a Montessori School as an assistant. After graduation, she became a full time assistant and was immersed in what it is like to be a true Montessorian. Here at Sedona Charter School, Haley is happy to be a part of a team that shares her belief that “teaching children moral values that reflect empathy, respect, and compassion is very important as well as emphasizing individuality and independence in learning.” In her free time, Haley likes to be outdoors as much as possible, hiking and exploring nature. Her hobbies also include landscape and portrait photography as well as acrylic painting.

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. – Orchestra & Strings Studies

Director

Kristina joined us in 2011, bringing with her a strong background in music education that includes a Bachelor of Music degree 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; Arizona state teaching certification in Music Education; 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 ongoing roles as founder and conductor of Northern Arizona University Jr. Academy Orchestra and master violin instructor at NAU Community Music and Dance Academy. 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: Her students were invited to perform in an invitational music festival at Carnegie Hall in 2020. Kristina’s many accolades include recognition by the Recording Academy as a quarter-finalist for the 2017 Grammy Educator of the Year. As one parent summed up, “she is a force of nature.”

Federal status: Highly Qualified Music Teacher grades K-12
Arizona certifications: Standard Professional PreK-12 Music Education

Victoria Blessing, M.Ed. — Special Education

SPED Director and Teacher

Arizona native Vicki Blessing was born in Scottsdale, grew up in Sedona, and has dedicated her life to serving those with special needs. She worked at Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind and on the Apache Reservation in the White Mountains for 20 years. During that time she also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Ashford University in Iowa. After almost 40 years of serving as an educational sign language interpreter, Vicki decided to further serve her students’ needs by earning a Master’s degree in Cross Categorical K-12 Special Education from Grand Canyon University. She then relocated back to the Verde Valley and joined the team at Sedona Charter School in the fall of 2020. Vicki is happy to be working at a Montessori school as she raised her youngest son on Maria Montessori’s principles. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, sewing, playing board games with friends, snorkeling, reading, and enjoying the company of her rescue dog, Rose.

Federal status: Highly Qualified Special Education Teacher grades K-12
Arizona certifications: Mild-Moderate K-12 Special Education

Tim Smith, M.A. – After School Sports

Athletic Director

We were fortunate to hire Tim in 2018 just as he was completing his Master’s degree in Education from Western State Colorado University.  Tim is a dynamic, energetic, and patient educator who has taught a wide range of subjects to students of varying ages all around the globe.   He has taught high school at a juvenile detention center in Colorado, taught French in Canada, directed youth service programs in the state of Mississippi and the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, and volunteered as a teacher at an orphanage in India. He lived for two years in Turkmenistan as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching health, English, sports and yoga to children and adults, and worked as an elementary teacher at an international school in Nicaragua. To further broaden his adventures, he rode a bicycle 3000 miles from Istanbul, Turkey to France.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a French minor from the University of Arizona.  Tim brings his cultural experiences of living abroad to his teaching and coaching, believing it is essential that we provide students the tools necessary to develop their mind, body, and spirit to better understand their role in this vast universe.

Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher
Arizona certifications: Standard Elementary, K-8; additional approved areas: Middle Grades Mathematics, Physical Education

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, K-8
Endorsements: Reading Specialist and Structured English Immersion, K-12

Stephanie Knight, B.A.– Financial Assistant

A graduate of Sedona Red Rock High School, Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Arts in English, along with certificates in Creative Writing and Literature from Northern Arizona University in 2017. She has a true love for Sedona and is grateful to be working at Sedona Charter School.
Stephanie has always loved to read, and you will find her in a corner reading during most of her free time. She also loves to write and aspires to write Christian fiction.

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.