Staff: School Year 2021-2022

Amy Fultz, B.S.

Executive Director

Prior to taking on the Executive Director position at Sedona Charter School in 2021, Amy had been involved in Montessori education for more than 20 years.  With a B.S. in Food Science from Purdue University, Amy started her career as a chemist. During her time away from the laboratory raising children, she was introduced to Montessori, the best learning pedagogy, when enrolling her son in a Montessori school in Japan.  It immediately became a passion about which she continues to study and learn.  Starting as a Montessori mom, Amy volunteered to substitute in the classroom.  Soon she became an assistant teacher and then earned her Montessori certification for primary (ages 3 to 6 years) from the Pan American Montessori Society.  After five years as a lead teacher, Amy took on spent five years as Director of Alpharetta International Academy Montessori. She has worked with students, families, teachers and school board to operate a school educating students aged 18 months through grade 6 and managing all aspects of the daily operations and strategic planning. Amy has been an active member of the Alpharetta community from where she is moving.  As volunteer coordinator for the building of the Webb Zone, a community built playground, she used her organizational skills and love for people to recruit and organize 300 volunteers.  Amy is also a supporter of the performing arts helping with various activities for the high school band, acting as co-president two consecutive years for a dance guild and for the past ten years costuming the performers of a local musical theater company.  She loves to attend performances, work behind the scenes and cheer for young performers and artists.  Amy also likes to workout, read, run, hike, cook, spend time with family and travel. She brings her expertise and passion in Montessori education and administration to the SCS community and is committed to continuing the excellence in education in SCS’s beautiful classroom environments and working with the dedicated SCS staff and board.

Montessori qualifications: American Montessori Society certified for ages 3 to 6 years.  Trained through Pan American Montessori Society.

Endorsements: MACAR: Montessori Applied to Children at Risk (Level 1)

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. Trained through Arizona Montessori Teacher Education Program.

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.  Trained through Arizona Montessori Teacher Education Program.

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.  In the summer of 2021 she began training to earn certification as Montessori teacher of students age 6 to 9. 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.

Stephanie Marrero, M.Ed. — Lower Elementary Classroom

Facilitating Teacher

Stephanie has worked with children for 33 years. This is her first year at SCS and she loves it! Stephanie worked as a kindergarten and 1st grade teacher in the Cottonwood district for 24 years. She loves school and learning. She is passionate about reading and science. She has three children who attended SCS and has lived in the area for 35 years. Stephanie enjoys reading, kayaking, hiking, and gardening in her free time.

Federal Status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher, Reading Specialist

Lucy Hill, B.A. — Upper Elementary Classroom

Principal Educator

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, and during the summer of 2021 she is participating in an intensive Montessori certification program for teachers of students in grades 4 to 6.  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.

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

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!

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 5-9 English Language Arts

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 Arizona and New Mexico for grades 6-12 English Language Arts, and is also a licensed yoga instructor. Alex loves the Montessori method and enjoys putting Montessori theory into practice in her lesson planning and teaching. 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
Arizona certifications: Grades 6-12 English Language Arts

Kristen Gressly, M.A. – Middle School

Facilitating Teacher

Kristen Gressly joined our middle school staff in the fall of 2021 as our math and science teacher. Her experience expands far beyond those fields, however. In Australia, she served as a Red Cross emergency services volunteer helping flood victims, and in South Sudan she worked as an intern for an organization that specializes in micro loans for rural peoples in developing countries. Closer to home, she spent two summers working as a ranch hand in northern Arizona. Kristen has earned a B.A. in International Business from Bond University in Australia, a Master’s degree in International Economics and Political Studies from Charles University in the Czech Republic, and a Diploma of Higher Studies in French from the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar in Senegal. At other schools in the Verde Valley, she taught middle school math for two years and middle-high school French for one year, as well as serving as a certified volleyball coach for two years. Here at Sedona Charter School where the middle school teachers handle multiple subjects and emphasize an international world view, Kristen has found the perfect match for her skills and interests.
Federal status: Highly Qualified K-8 Teacher; also highly qualified to teach French and Middle School Math and Science.

Heather Murphy — Middle School

Facilitating Teacher

Heather moved from Florida to Sedona this summer, and it is her first year teaching at Sedona Charter School! She graduated from Ohio University in 2010 with a B.A. in Organizational Communication and a Marketing minor. After several years as a travel marketer, her passion shifted towards youth education. She began her teaching journey in 2016, specializing as a certified kids fitness coach and an after school sports programmer to ages 2-14.

Her love for teaching did not stop there! She moved to Asia in 2019 to train for her TESOL certification, and soon became the Lead English teacher for a Montessori Preschool and a private school. She immersed herself in the culture, teaching reading, writing, history,science, physical education,music, and art. Although she was the teacher, she found that her students were actually the ones doing the teaching.

When Heather returned to the states, she became involved with the conscious educational platform, Co-Creation Global. Along with teaching, she is also the content development lead for building conscious parenting, conscious kids, and online learning resources. When she is not in the classroom, she loves to hike, dance, sing, cook, and travel!

Certifications:Certified Youth Fitness Coach, TESOL Certification, First Aid 2022, CPR 2022

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

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

Katherine Okesson, DMA – Director

Director of Strings and Orchestral Studies

Katherine is currently a member of the Grammy-nominated Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra. She is a sought after soloist, chamber musician, and guest lecturer throughout the United States. She is a member of the American String Teachers Association’s Studio Teaching Committee. Katherine joins the Sedona Charter School after teaching at Kansas State University, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Kansas. She was a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory School and Pre-Conservatory Violin Program in Baltimore, Maryland. Katherine is an active solo and ensemble adjudicator and is a certified teacher of the Sassmannshaus, Suzuki, and “ABC’s of String Playing” methods. Katherine graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music with a BM in Violin Performance. She received her Performer’s Certificate in Violin from Northern Illinois University, her Master of Music from KSU, and her DMA in Violin Performance from the University of Kansas. When not in the practice room or concert hall, Katherine loves spending time with her husband, Kevin, and their three dogs, Nana, Ollie, and PJ. She also loves journaling, swimming, and doing cross-stitch!

Federal status: Highly Qualified Teacher
String Certifications: Suzuki Association of the Americas (ECC, Violin Books 1-10). Sassmannshaus Method (Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass). “ABC’s of String Playing” (Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, String Orchestra). American Fiddle Method.

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.

Megan Hellman

Finance & HR Assistant

After working in the banking industry for 5 years, Megan joined our team in August in 2021 as Finance and HR Assistant. She also helps out tremendously for office support. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, traveling and kayaking. She also runs a wood flower business from home creating bridal bouquets, wreaths and other home decor.