Meet our Staff

Our teachers are the heart of Neskowin Valley School. They are imaginative professionals who use their expertise to guide each child to enjoy learning and achievement through mastery of skills. The school’s integrated curriculum reflects the rich interests and diverse talents of its teachers. At NVS, each student’s innate intelligence and natural curiosity is fostered in an environment where children can grow confidently.

Jon 'JPax' Paxman

Head of School

jon@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

As the child of two teachers, I have always loved being around schools. I am a lifelong lover of learning. In fact, my personal motto is, “I want to learn something new every day.” I believe that learning should be engaging, experiential, and fun. 

I grew up on the Island of Oahu in Laie, Hawaii, where I spent my childhood exploring the beaches and mountains around me. Growing up in a small town, I learned the importance of community. At an early age, I developed a deep sense of wonder and stewardship. After graduating from Kahuku High School, I relocated to the Northwest living in Portland, Ashland, and Bellingham. 

I recently moved from Salt Lake City and am thrilled to be living at the coast. I enjoy hiking, birdwatching, rock hunting, and ocean sports. When I’m not outside I love to create art, music, and writing.

Previously, I was the Director of the JPax Space Camp and Earth Science Teacher at Merit Academy in Springville, Utah. I have also worked as a manager, producer, and carpenter. These experiences helped prepare me for this amazing opportunity at Neskowin Valley School. I'm excited to be here!

Kelly Ellis

Development Director

kelly@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

I am passionate about kids! I love how kids come equipped with the attributes we aspire for as adults - joy, inquisition, energy, imagination, creativity, trust. I set out each day to create an environment at Neskowin Valley School that allows these attributes to flourish. I want our students to feel celebrated for their individuality. I want our students to grow up to be the adults that embody these natural attributes, without the need to re-learn them. 

 

Raising my three children has shown me how important environment is in shaping young minds. My children have experienced a number of school environments, from public to private to schooling at home. Coupled with my own school experiences which, sadly, were not very positive, I am confident that the most important impact on a child's development is love! Children need to feel empowered in order to reach their full potential. A loving environment that welcomes creativity and imagination, that celebrates individuality and fosters joy, creates the space for children to feel empowered. That is what Neskowin Valley School is all about!

 

I came to Neskowin Valley School from a career in business management. After learning the mission and vision of this amazing place, my initial thought was, "I could have enjoyed school!" It was an eye-opening moment in my adult life, having always viewed myself as a "bad student". I realized that I had been an NVS kid stuck in a "rows and desks" environment. I wish my children had been able to experience growing up the "NVS way". Free to be kids, free to explore, free to imagine! 

 

I am so thankful to be a part of this magical community. Our students are amazing and it is my honor to be sharing in their journey each day.

Sarah Creighton

Office Manager

admin@neskowinvalleyschool.com

I have worked in the real estate industry for the past 14 years and decided it was time to make a change in my career path. I am eager to bring my organizational and marketing skills to Neskowin Valley School while building relationships with staff, parents, and students.

I have lived on the Central Oregon Coast since moving from Washington at a young age. I married my husband Eric in 2006 and we have 2 beautiful daughters. I love to laugh and enjoy horseback riding, reading, and outdoor adventures with my family.

Kyla Palmer

Navigators Teacher (6th-8th Grade)

kyla@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

Teaching has been one of the most exciting and meaningful experiences in my life so far. I consider myself lucky to help children learn and grow. Education is such a critical part of a thriving community, and kids from all backgrounds deserve the chance to prosper.

 

I came to Neskowin Valley school from Arizona, from the Grand Canyon, and Sedona. I graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2013, where I developed a multi-age, human-first teaching philosophy. STEAM is a huge part of my classroom, as well as bringing current events into a diverse curriculum. Integration is a key word in my teaching, as I utilize units designed to align not only with academic expectations but student culture and interests as well.

 

I believe that facilitating learning should bring safety and stability to children's lives, while also fostering creativity and innovation. We are faced with inspiring the leaders of tomorrow, which means we need to be loud, messy and take some chances. There is so much to explore, create, and improve in our world, and I am so thrilled to be able to help students learn about it!

Angie Wright

Voyagers Teacher (4th-5th Grade)

angie@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

I have  an insatiable love for learning. This has been a lifelong pursuit, which I have been able to indulge these last 15 years alongside my students.  I walk beside young minds sparking their interests to discover, explore, grow in knowledge, and create projects that will showcase their understanding.

 

I have 15 years of experience combining the classroom and the outdoors for engaging hands-on activities. Lessons in nature, literature, art, history, music, writing, and mathematics flow together, each one enhancing the other. The differentiated multi-age classroom provides a perfect environment to share ideas and work together.

 

I have been writing for nature and science magazines over the past seven years, sharing how I approach nature studies in the classroom. I have also been working as a liaison between curriculum vendors and teachers. I like to fully immerse myself into each product so that I can best help teachers learn how they can use the product for any learning style. This wide knowledge base of resources will be useful as I guide your child to the best tailor-made learning opportunities available today.

 

Rhonda Vahlenkamp

Explorers Teacher (2nd-3rd Grade)

rhonda@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

I am a teacher.  No, not only someone who is hired to teach, someone who teaches whether I am in a classroom or not.  I thrive on seeing people ask questions and find answers. Maybe this stems from having raised five sons and one daughter. We spent a lot of time observing and wondering as they were growing up . . . and it has impacted the adults that they have become.  

 

I have been a parent, a homeschool mom, a private school teacher, a public school teacher, and a charter school teacher.  I am a Colorado native with a great and long love for the Pacific Northwest.  I am absolutely thrilled to be here and I am already enjoying beginning my own learning about this great area in which we live. My goal as an educator is to continually grow and learn myself  so that I can share that passion with my students.  I know that I have done my job when students begin to ask why and I wonder questions without being prompted.  I use science, social studies, and math to teach reading and writing skills.  

 

Have questions?  Ask me! 

Nicole Camberg

Adventurers Teacher (K-1st Grade)

nicole@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

Since I was a child I've always known that I wanted to be a teacher. From exploring nature and creating games as a child, curiosity and creativity are my heart's compass. I'm constantly learning new things and I hope to continue to grow and learn through teaching children of all ages. 

 

I'm a mother of four amazing children. I've spent the last two decades raising a family while also having the opportunity to work in community and youth development, summer camp teaching, youth programming and instruction, homeschooling, and photography.

 

I'm currently working towards my Master's Degree in Education. I'm passionate about providing youth a safe space to explore their natural surrounding and instill in them a hunger for learning. I've taught a spectrum of ages and love viewing the world through my students perspective embracing curiosity. I'm excited to be teaching at NVS and to share my days teaching, exploring nature, creating art, and so much more! 

Tina Cabal

Trackers Teacher (Preschool)

tina@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

I'm very passionate about education and giving kids the opportunity to learn by exploring their natural surroundings. I've always enjoyed working with kids. However, it wasn't until I became a Girl and Cub Scout leader as well as a Sunday School teacher, that I discovered my love of teaching. I also worked as a reading specialist in the public school system.  I received my teaching degree in January 2014 from Western Governors University. 

 

I was born and raised on the Oregon Coast where I have lived all my life and love everything that this area provides. I enjoy spending time with my husband and three kids, horseback riding, hiking, camping, playing on the beach, and anything in the outdoors.  This area provides so many wonderful opportunities that kids can explore and learn from. 

Renee Miller

Art Literacy Teacher

renee@neskowinvalleyschool.com

 

I have been involved in the education of young children for more than 30 years. I have taught in private schools, church schools, and in the public school system.

 

I was raised in Pennsylvania, but my husband and I came to Oregon in 1980. We raised 3 sons in the Tualatin area. When my youngest son died of brain cancer in 2014, I told my husband that life was just too short and encouraged him to quit his job and move to the coast. I had just taken early retirement from the Tigard-Tualatin School District. Luckily my husband found a job with the city of Lincoln City because he is not ready to retire yet! We enjoy living out here in "Paradise". I have three grandchildren, but I don't get to see them very often because they live in Canada.

 

I have a passion for art education and was very fortunate to be among the educators who were trained in Discipline-Based Art Education at the Portland Art Museum in the 90's. Most of my post-baccalaureate courses were in art education. I am the Art Literacy teacher, twice a month, for all the students here at NVS. I enjoy teaching them about various artists and their contributions to the world of art.

Crystal Akins

Music Teacher

Bio Coming Soon!

Ghisleli Ramirez

Spanish Teacher

I passionately believe that providing children with the opportunity to become literate in a second language is vital in preparing them for a globalized economy. A second language not only increases communication; it also enhances thinking skills, widens horizons, and develops appreciation and respect for people of other cultures. 

 

I love the Oregon coast and everything that this area provides. I am delighted to return to Neskowin Valley School to continue planting the Spanish seed into the growing minds of the students at this nurturing school that fosters a desire for lifelong learning. 

 

I am a native Spanish speaker. I was born and raised in Venezuela and came to the USA after completing high school. I have worked in the public school system in California and Oregon and have taught Kindergarten through 2nd grade in bilingual and dual immersion classrooms. I am a mother and very fortunate that my daughter can also attend NVS. 

 

I have recently remarried and enjoy spending time with my husband and my daughter; playing board games, going for walks, hiking, exploring the beach, hosting friends and Airbnb guests, and being outdoors. I like to sew, cook, ride bicycles, and read. I love animals, and I strive to practice Ahimsa as much as possible, which helps me learn how to improve in many aspects of my life. I share my home with three feline friends Buruzita, Kitti Mamis, and Pocket.

 

I am grateful and privileged to be a part of the NVS community again. I hope to ignite a spark in our students to want to continue learning Spanish.

Kaylie Seymour

Speech Language Pathologist

kseymourslp@gmail.com

Bio coming soon!

Tracey Hauth

Librarian

library@neskowinvalleyschool.com

I am a Southern California girl who “married” into Oregon nearly 35 years ago. We raised five
kids during that time and we now have three beautiful grandkids as well. We spent nearly
twenty years living overseas in France, Korea, Thailand, Brazil, Taiwan, and India. Needless to
say, we love to travel!


Growing up, I was a classic book worm who had her nose in a book every hour of the day, and
often under the covers at night. I also loved swimming, particularly ocean swimming, as well as
camping and hiking. Since moving to the coast, I have also taken up a bit of (albeit somewhat poor)
golfing.


I started out my “adult” life as a teacher, teaching English as both a second and a foreign
language. I taught within the International school system and was lucky to teach everything
from all ages of ESL to 6th grade Spanish, and from 8th-grade Humanities to K-5 French
Immersion. I loved experiencing every age level, from kindergarten through college!


Since retiring to the Oregon Coast we have continued to travel and enjoy hiking along the coast
with our dog Jack and our cat Coho (yes, our cat hikes alongside us!). I have enjoyed getting to
know the Neskowin community and am looking forward to spending time back in a school.

 

I love books, I love to read to kids, and I love to watch kids discover everything that books have to
offer. I am so excited to be joining everyone at NVS!

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