Katy Gautsch | Head of School
Katy joins the MVCS team with more than 13 years experience helping families navigate the complex systems of special education and the Department of Health and Human Services. As a coordinator for a diagnostic child development clinic in Central and Southern NH, she managed teams of providers, conducted home visits and observations, spent countless hours in classrooms all over the state working with students and school teams to ensure appropriate educational goals were being set and met.
Katy is a founding parent of MVCS and has worked diligently since 2012 to ensure the continued success of the school. Since opening, Katy has been closely involved in all aspects of the school’s operations, has authored many key policies, and consulted regularly with those serving in the Head of School position. She believes in the mission of MVCS wholeheartedly. Katy lives in Rumney with her husband, Josh, son Emmit (who is a MVCS student) and daughter Olive.
Alfie-Eden Kerr | School Program Administrator
Alfie joined Mountain Village Charter School with 20 years of education experience. She holds a B.S. in Early Child Development and Young Child Education and graduated from the University of New Hampshire. Over the years, Alfie has helped develop education programs for Georgetown University, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency, National Science Foundation, and Head Start. Alfie believes in a shared vision of a world in which ” ALL children play, learn, and grow with nature in their everyday.” Alfie is dedicated to supporting MVCS as it continues to grow and stepped in for the 2016-2017 school year and lead as the Interim Head of School. Alfie currently lives in Plymouth NH with her wife, their yellow lab, English bulldog and 2 cats. She enjoys rock climbing and skijoring with her dog.
Brianna Frost | Lower Elementary Lead Teacher (Eaglets)
Brianna Frost grew up in NH and is a graduate from Plymouth State University. She earned a B.S in education and a New Hampshire teaching certificate for grades K-8. Brianna received her Montessori training at the Seacoast Center and is certified as a Lower Elementary teacher and is currently enrolled in a Masters of Education program at Plymouth State University. Brianna is a member of our founding staff, beginning in our inaugural year as an Assistant Teacher. Before coming to MVCS she worked at The Children’s House Montessori School in Littleton, NH. Brianna lives in Thornton NH with her husband Nick and their dog Moxie.
Dawn Grant | Lower Elementary Lead Teacher (Saplings)
Dawn is a New Hampshire native (hometown- Bristol). She has had a variety of experiences and several years of working with young children. Her passion for education was realized while teaching English as a Second Language in South Korea, where she lived for three years. Most recently, Dawn earned an Masters degree in Education from Antioch University New England. She has a passion for place-based and inquiry-based education, and will be continuing her Montessori training in the summer of 2017. When Dawn isn’t pursuing her love of traveling, she most enjoys cooking, vegetable gardening, and spending time with friends and family (which includes her 3 cats).
Liara Goldman | Special Educator
Liara grew up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Liara comes to Mountain Village with four years of experience in Special Education and remediation in a variety of New Hampshire and Vermont schools, including Franklin MS, Bethlehem ES, and Lisbon RS. She is a NH certified Special Educator and has worked with both elementary and middle school age students with learning and behavior needs. She is trained in Critical Prevention Intervention methods and is also becoming trained in the Wilson Fundations Reading program. Currently, Liara is enrolled in a Master’s in Special Education teaching degree through Grand Canyon University, and has an interest in animal and nature integrated Special Education. Prior to teaching, she has had experience working with animals, including as an internal medicine veterinary technician, zookeeper of primates and other exotic animals, and as an adoption counselor and animal caretaker for the NHSPCA. She attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a degree in Zoology.
Allie Savage | Lower Elementary Classroom Assistant (Saplings)
Allie grew up in coastal Massachusetts exploring the ocean, tide pools and salt marshes with her two sisters. While attending PSU to study Environmental Science and Policy she found peace here in the mountains. She graduated with a focus on community engagement and has worked ever since as an environmental and outdoor educator in both New Hampshire and California with the Naturalists at Large Program. She is Wilderness First Aid trained and is an experienced first responder. After traveling and teaching across the state of California she is happy to return to the East Coast to hike, run and cross country ski. Her happy place is Squam Lake, where she spends summers helping children find a connection to nature through paddling, hiking and camping. Her passion for the outdoors and working with youth has driven her to pursue a career in education where she is inspired by the wonder that nature can provoke at any age.
Olivia Casey | Lower Elementary Classroom Assistant (Eaglets)
Olivia, a native to New Hampshire, grew up playing and traveling throughout the White Mountains. She is a graduate of Plymouth State University with a degree in Adventure Education and is a certified Wilderness First Responder. Having worked for various outdoor education programs, she has grown to love how rewarding the experience of learning in nature can be for children. Her most memorable teaching experience has been working for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, making learning and adventuring possible for people of all ages and abilities, through adaptive recreation. Olivia currently lives in North Woodstock and in her free time enjoys paddling, climbing and hiking throughout her local mountains and rivers.
Karen Darling | Upper Elementary Classroom Assistant (Water Striders)
Karen grew up on the “other coast”, California, where she was introduced to Montessori education when the eldest of her five now-grown children was 4 years old. Karen soon completed a very rich training by a master-teacher who herself was trained by Dr. Maria Montessori in Italy. With this strong foundation, Karen taught at the elementary level in Montessori schools in California for 15 years, and then middle school at a small holistic school for another 7 years. At the same time, Karen drew on her love of nature and her original studies in wildlife management at Humboldt State University, to run a six-week natural-sciences summer day camp through Cal Poly State University for 10 years, using biology labs, hiking trails and nearby rocky coast as home base.
In 2012, Dan and Karen moved to New Hampshire – to be closer to their first grandchildren, in Boston. Being an avid hiker and nature photographer, it was easy for Karen to fall in love with this state! Their home in Franklin abuts the Winnipesaukee River, whose river trail is the site of daily walks.
Last year, Karen dove back into the classroom, substitute teaching in Franklin public schools and Red Oak Montessori, and then as a part-time aide in MVCS’s lower elementary class. Joining the team is like a dream come true for Karen, combining her passion for Montessori education, sense of awe and wonder and scientific curiosity regarding the natural world, and dedication to young people!
Cristina LaRue | Upper Elementary Lead Teacher (Water Striders)
Cristina joins MVCS with a passion for nature-based and inquiry-driven education. After earning her Master of Education from John Carroll University (OH), she accepted the position of education coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary where she taught environmental education in the field and on the water, in addition to designing curriculum, leading adult education programs, and directing a nature-based summer camp. Cristina has also served as the education director on a non-profit teaching farm and taught science at the Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut.
Most recently Cristina taught 3rd/4th grade multi-age at a project based charter school on Martha’s Vineyard. She was awarded a 2015 Vineyard Vision fellowship to pursue a Master of Science in Ecological Teaching and Learning at Lesley University, a course of study that has given her the opportunity to deepen her understanding of ecological pedagogies and how she can integrate them across content areas in the elementary classroom. She is excited to embrace Montessori philosophy and feels it is a natural fit for her experiences and personal educational philosophy. Cristina holds early childhood and elementary licenses in NH and MA, has presented at regional environmental education conferences, and served as a board member at the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society.
Cristina grew up spending summers on Squam Lake and lives in Holderness with her husband and 1 year old son, Cooper. She enjoys reading, kayaking, and birding, and her favorite animal is a snail.
Kelsey Gadwah | Upper Elementary Lead Teacher (Water Striders)
Kelsey grew up in New Hampshire, born into a family of farmers, carpenters and animal lovers. Kelsey graduated from Keene State University holding a degree in business management. She is due to complete her Master’s program from Plymouth State University with a degree in Elementary Education in the winter of 2018. Kelsey most recently taught as an Intermediate Tier Teacher leading a multi-age classroom in all aspects of education including: developing literacy instruction for beginning and advanced readers and creating science curriculum for grades 3 and 4.
Kelsey has been a certified lifeguard for 15 years and a certified swim instructor or 7 years. Kelsey currently gives back to the community by volunteering as a mentor for the Circle Program and leading a Girl Scout troop in Rumney. Kelsey has been the camp instructor for the Junior Lego Camp, Lego Engineering Camp and Mindstorm at PSU for the past 3 summers. Working with children ages 7-13 she continues to develop her love of science through building and design and in turn, sharing that passion with children and adolescents. Kelsey has honed her love of “all things outdoors” over the years (hiking, swimming, snow shoeing etc) and is thrilled with the opportunity to expand her teaching into MVCS’s outdoor classrooms and beyond!