NVS Faculty and Staff
Head of School
Sari brings extensive experience in education and youth development to the leadership of Neskowin Valley School. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Sari spent her summers supporting the coastal community in immersive camp programming. Sari holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Science Education and Youth Development from the University of Redlands and a Master’s of Education from Vanderbilt University. With an emphasis on studying the unique interactions between the human and natural worlds, Sari is eager to lead NVS in discovering our world’s past, celebrating its present, and protecting our future. In her free time, Sari can be found walking the beach or gardening with her dog Roger.
Director of Operations and Advancement
Kirsten is a graduate of Northwest Christian College with a Bachelors in Communications. Although born in Washington State (Go Cougs), Oregon has been home since the early days of college. Volunteering was a large part of Kirsten’s childhood and something she shares with her daughter through beach clean up in the community. Her parents encouraged their children to volunteer at the food bank and the retirement center, especially during the holidays. Many years were spent partnering with the National Children’s Cancer Society and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the many fundraisers throughout the Puget Sound area. These days you can find Kirsten roaming the beach with her daughter and two dogs or at home with the kitties watching baseball or hockey.
Preschool Coordinator & Teacher
Miss Rhonda is a Colorado native who has always appreciated the outdoors. She has taught in public schools, private schools, homeschool and charter schools. Her passion for seeing students learn and thrive led her to discover outdoor, student centered, whole child teaching. That discovery led her straight to NVS! She loves nurturing the natural pond she built, growing flowers, observing nature, kayaking, camping and rock hounding on the beach. To her, there is no greater joy than seeing a child discover the beauty of learning, and the power of questioning and problem solving! When she isn't outdoors, she enjoys reading, writing, cooking and taking grad school classes to grow her craft. Her next adventure will most likely be a forest school certification. She loves new adventures!
Originally from Maryland, Marye relocated to Oregon in August 2021. She has experience working in a variety of multi-age classrooms including preschool, elementary, and middle school settings. Most recently, Marye taught at a play-based school in Denver, Colorado. She values the whole child approach as a powerful teaching strategy for learning and development. Marye holds a Master’s Degree of Education from The University of Colorado, where she researched the importance of environmental literacy among young children. Some of her favorite pastimes include hiking, camping, and exploring with her dog, Charlie.
Charity brings years of teaching experience to Neskowin Valley School, having taught both special and general education. She loves to learn and is excited to bring that love to students. Charity earned her Bachelors in Special Education for Gonzaga University and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. When she is not working or reading, she is playing with her own children, gardening, or enjoying the great outdoors.
Originally from Finland, Manna brings a Scandinavian point of view to the school. Manna has a Masters of Arts in English Philology from the University of Turku and she has worked as an EFL teacher in middle school and high school since 2003. Manna has a student-first approach to education and believes that every child has the potential to do great things. In the past years Manna has worked with her labrador retriever, Leevi, as her co-teacher. Manna has studied dog assisted education and rehabilitation at the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences and together with Leevi, they passed the rigorous field testing for dog assisted education. Her younger dog, Shikla, is now training to follow his older brother’s pawsteps. In her free time Manna likes to go stand-up paddle boarding or wandering in the great outdoors with her dogs. She also loves reading, learning other foreign languages and playing music as well as working on EFL learning material together with three colleagues from Finland. The first part of this material was published in January 2022 and the second part is well underway.
Middle School Teacher
Sam’s experience teaching started in the same place his education began, at his mother’s preschool in Maryland. His grade-school education at The Key School in Annapolis fostered his love of music, humanities, outdoor education, and community-oriented learning. He attended Bard College where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies with a focus in inequality. During his college summers he worked with youths at Wee Lad and Lassie summer camp, attended classes at NYU’s Clive Davis School of Recorded Music, and volunteered at Annapolis Lighthouse homeless shelter. After undergrad, Sam honed his teaching skills as a music educator at Bach to Rock in Nanuet, New York, working with all ages and students with varying levels of ability. While teaching music, Sam solidified his teaching mantra, “Do your best, and your best will do just fine,” which he still uses to calm and encourage his students. In 2019, he left his music teaching position to obtain his teaching license and Master of Arts in Teaching at Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. Sam secured his degree and teaching license in 2020 amidst the pandemic, and moved to the coast where he taught Social Studies, English, Health and PE to Waldport Middle School 7th and 8th graders. Sam feels right at home in the NVS community. He is expecting to become a father in August 2023 and cannot wait for his daughter to become a student at NVS!
Teaching and Learning Consultant
Dawn spent most of her childhood with her nose in a book, so it’s not surprising her first job out of college was as a children’s book editor in New York City. While there, Dawn received her Teaching Certification in Early Childhood Development & Elementary Education at Bank Street College of Education and completed her master's degree in Educational Psychology at NYU. Dawn began her teaching career at The Buckley School where she taught Kindergarten and finished her endorsement as a Reading Specialist. In 2000, Dawn and her family moved to Oregon, and she began teaching in the Lake Oswego School District, where she was also an Instructional Leader and New Teacher Mentor. Since retiring from classroom teaching and moving to the Oregon Coast in 2018, she has worked as a curriculum editor and with both teachers and students at NVS. In her free time she enjoys walking her dog, Bodhi, cooking, and visiting family on Kauai.
Theater Teacher and PreK Assistant
Annie was born and raised in Oregon. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Oregon State University. Annie discovered NVS by volunteering at the Harvest Festival. She was drawn to the unique character of the school and began working part-time as an Art and Theater teacher. After moving to the coast, Annie took on a new role as Pre-K co-teacher and Theater teacher. She is very excited to bring performances back to NVS, and she finds joy every day working with her students. In her free time, Annie runs her own art business selling paintings and pyrography. She also raises ducks and chickens and will happily talk for hours about how cute they are.
Arts and Activities Coordinator
Jen’s love for education began in high school when she worked as an Outdoor School Counselor. Her days were spent exploring tide pools, estuaries, and coastal forests, while teaching middle school students about biology and conservation ecology. Jen later attended Oregon State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education. Immediately upon graduation, she and her husband, Isaac, moved overseas to teach in international schools. Their first four years abroad were spent in the ever-evolving Emirate of Dubai. Jen taught 2nd grade and spent every spare moment collecting passport stamps— she finds it impossible to pick one favorite place, but Thailand, Costa Rica, and Botswana are all contenders. The next four years were spent teaching 1st grade in the sprawling city of Shanghai. Upon returning to the states, Jen and Isaac took a break from teaching to build their photography business. Jen was delighted to combine her passions to join the staff of NVS— which happens to be located just a few miles from the camp where her love for education first began! Hooray for "small world" moments! Outside of school, Jen loves spending time on the beach with her amazing family, collecting far too many houseplants, and celebrating holidays with as much creativity and enthusiasm as possible.
Current Job Openings
Art Literacy Teacher
Renée's love of art started at a young age when she tried to make a paintbrush from the fur of her cat’s tail taped to a tinkertoy! She grew up and attended college in Pennsylvania, then moved to Oregon in 1980. Renée raised 3 sons while teaching in private and public schools, mostly the Tigard-Tualatin School District. She was trained in Art Literacy at the Portland Art Museum. When Renée retired from classroom teaching and moved to Devils Lake, she continued to work with children and art through “Let There Be Arts,” and “Community Arts Projects,” until finding the perfect place—NVS. Renée has been the Art Lit teacher here at NVS since 2015, and enjoys introducing the students to art, artists, and culture. She especially loves to see the uniqueness and creativity they bring to each project.