Dr. Woods joins the Executive Leadership Team at Mountain Song with extensive experience in, and a love for, both Waldorf education and public education. She earned her B.A. in environmental education from Prescott College in Arizona, and her Waldorf certification at Emerson College in England. She taught in private Waldorf schools in Oregon, New Hampshire, and New York, as well as teaching in the Waldorf training program at what is now Antioch University New England. In 2003, she pursued graduate school, leaving New York for her childhood hometown of Manhattan, Kansas (known as “The Little Apple”). At Kansas State University, she earned her Master’s in biology, with her plant ecology research receiving award recognition from the Botanical Society of America and Sigma Xi. She then earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction focusing on science education, also at K-State. Later, she joined Fort Hays State University, designing and instructing science methods courses for elementary teachers, and gained recognition by both students and colleagues for outstanding teaching. Her research has been presented and published in national and international forums, allowing her to cultivate a wide network of diverse professionals whom she greatly values. During her time in higher education, she received a number of grants and coordinated several programs that partnered public school districts and teachers with scientists, that fostered alternative teacher licensure pathways, and that provided rigorous professional development training for in-service teachers. She worked closely with the Kansas State Department of Education for years and is a recognized trainer for the Next Generation Science Standards, which Colorado recently adopted. In 2011, she married her wonderful husband in Estes Park, and they have made many sojourns to the Rocky Mountains, which they are now delighted to call home. Dr. Woods always knew she would return to Waldorf education, as she believes “it is the best pedagogy around.” She also is committed to making Waldorf approaches available for all students through public schools. Mountain Song, representing these same ideals, pulls strongly on her heart, and she is proud to be pouring her energies into the school and community.
Chimene is a Colorado transplant that traded skyscrapers for mountains. Having grown up in the Midwest, she experienced life in both the rural and urban settings. A few of her favorites include exploring the Great Lakes, cross-country skiing and visiting abundant art galleries and museums in Milwaukee and Chicago.
Naturally gravitating towards all things art, Chimene received her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Fine Art, concentrating on Art Education and instructing K-12 students. Later, she discovered Montessori, and obtained her elementary AMI certification through the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. In addition, she earned her Masters in Education at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland.
Chimene feels privileged to have taught first, second and third graders at Montessori schools in Wisconsin and Illinois for 12 years. Holding an interest for nontraditional educational methodologies, she was thrilled to discover Mountain Song Community School shortly after her move to Colorado Springs. She started as a substitute teacher, becoming acquainted with students of all ages as well as the Waldorf curriculum and pedagogy. Chimene is a strong believer in the development of the whole child, and has maintained her philosophy of cultivating the individual potential of her students throughout her years teaching. This year, she is grateful for the opportunity to provide support to students and staff as the Student Support Coordinator within Mountain Song’s Three Streams Program.
Outside of school, Chimene enjoys all that Colorado has to offer with her husband, particularly hiking, biking and camping. She also loves to see live music and travel as much as she can.
Donald Samson has taught both children and adults for over thirty years. He has been teaching the Waldorf curriculum since 1989. He was a grades class teacher for nineteen years. Following that, he taught history, geography and literature in high school. Donald has mentored fellow teachers for many years, and spent the last four years serving as the curriculum director at Juniper Ridge Community School in Grand Junction. Donald is very proud to join Mountain Song Community School to support the teachers and help guide the faculty in using the Waldorf curriculum. When he can steal time out of a week, he writes fantasy novels for young readers that the whole family can enjoy. His fantasy chronicle, The Star Trilogy, was inspired from stories he originally told in his class.
A Wisconsin farm boy by heritage, Dan struck out for the Rocky Mountains soon after high school where his heart and sense of adventure were captured. As a lifelong learner, he entered the teaching field teaching sixth grade in Tampa, FL after receiving his B.S. in Social Studies Education from Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, Wisconsin. He’s also had the opportunity to work with students of all ages through sports camps and a wilderness backpacking program.
Previously, Dan taught Junior High and High School history for University Schools of Colorado Springs as well as assisting with their outdoor canyoneering program. The idea of having the opportunity to teach in a ‘nontraditional’ Waldorf school is an absolute dream come true. His life experiences include ranching, farming, and a collection of other experiences he’s looking forward to sharing with his students.
He’s an avid trail runner and hiker. So, when he’s not off on an in adventure in the mountains, you may find him volunteering with the Pikes Peak Road Runners.
Sarah has worked with Mountain Song since its beginning starting in May 2013. Being a part of the initial development of the school and helping the school grow these past years remain to be her proudest professional and personal accomplishments.
In her new role as the Director of School Performance, Sarah serves the school in coordinating, scheduling, and administering assessments, oversees enrollment and the school’s data systems, and submits data reports to the state. Prior to her work at Mountain Song, she served for four years as a Military Impact Planner II at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) and served as Regional Sustainability Coordinator for the agency. At PPACG, Sarah worked on the Fort Carson Regional Growth Plan and helped develop the Pikes Peak region’s first long-term sustainability plan – Looking to Our Future: Pikes Peak Region 2030 (PPR 2030).
For over 10 years, Sarah has served the environmental community in the Pikes Peak region. She’s worked for Sustainable Fort Carson, served on the Board of Directors for Southern Colorado Clean Cities Coalition, and help start two local environmental efforts: the Colorado Springs Conservation Corps and the Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future. In 2013, she received a Community Sustainability Champion award from Fort Carson at the annual Colorado Sustainability Conference.
Being a native to Colorado Springs and avid nature and history lover, Sarah’s passion is to preserve the natural and cultural resources in the region for her children and future generations to enjoy. When she is not working at Mountain Song, Sarah enjoys gardening, baking, beekeeping, making art and music, hiking with her finance, and playing with her children.