Classroom & Teaching Staff
Teacher for Navigators’ Class (Grades 2 & 3)
Karen Akins started at Swan School as a Spanish teacher in 1999 and has been a classroom teacher since 2004. She lived in San Francisco for 12 years and enjoyed working with children in Raphael House, an emergency shelter for families. She interacted daily with residents and their children and ran an evening program for the children using storytelling as a basis for drama, music, and art activities. For the last three years of her stay, she taught first and second grade in a private school housed in the shelter. Karen holds a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a Master’s in Teaching from City University. Ongoing professional development supports her commitment to meeting the diverse needs of all learners. Karen has lived for extended periods of time both in Rio Grande, Brazil and Madrid, Spain. She enjoyed building a house for a Mexican family a few summers ago with a group of people that included two of her three daughters. Of late she has been busy visiting family in Oregon, California, and on the east coast. This year initiates her “empty nest” and she plans to put to good use her newly acquired trekking poles at destinations closer to home! Karen makes it a priority to provide a warm and stimulating atmosphere in which children fully participate in constructing their own learning. Classroom community is fostered through shared experiences on field trips, through lively discussions, small group and whole class collaborative hands-on learning, and active educational games. By discovering and cultivating student strengths, Karen provides a scaffold from which children can challenge themselves and take risks on the road to mastery.
Discoverer Aide- Dana’s Classroom
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Gary has been teaching music at Swan School for a number of years. He moved to Port Townsend in 2005, from Santa Cruz, California. He taught music in Santa Cruz for 37 years independently and at Shoreline Middle School. He was also faculty at University of Phoenix. Gary plays all sorts of instruments including piano, guitar, violin, bass, & accordion. Gary graduated from Humboldt State University and University of Oregon. Gary is also the conductor of the Port Townsend Family Orchestra and is always looking for string players. Gary frequently plays around the area, including Tuesday evenings at the Ajax. He and his wife Nancy, an artist and bagpiper, play weddings and other events.
Justine is an assistant in the Explorers’ class. She loves working with children, and is excited to be doing so in a classroom setting for the first time. Justine also loves to dance, write, and spend time in nature.
Discoverer Aide- Loida’s Classroom
Bio coming soon!
Teacher for Discoverers’ Class (Preschool) & Spanish
Loida fills two roles at Swan School. She is both a Discoverers’ Pre-school Teacher and our Spanish Teacher. Loida received her bachelors of science from the State University of New York in Bilingual/Bicultural Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She taught for the Agency of Child Development of the City of New York for eight years. During those years she was head teacher for preschool and kindergarten children where she developed a bilingual curriculum. She then went on to teach in the New York City public school for the next five years. While there, she taught English as a second language to newly arrived students from South and Central America. She is also experienced teaching third, fourth and sixth grade. Loida moved to Montana in the early 90’s where she opened her own preschool and provided additional services to the community by introducing John Bradshaw’s “Homecoming” series and giving a 10-week workshop on “Alternative Methods of Parenting”. Loida also took a journey across the U.S. on horseback (from New York City, to Fort Laramie, WY) with her husband and four horses. They studied and followed the “Oregon Trail”. The adventure lasted three years. She has been at Swan School since September 2003.
Kristin loves teaching happiness through violin. She learned to play as a child in Missoula Montana and went on to a symphony career. She began teaching shortly after she arrived in Port Townsend in 1978 to build a boat. When the boat was launched it kept sailing back to Port Townsend and her first students had their lessons on board. She now teaches the string programs at Port Townsend School District’s O.C.E.A.N. program and Chimacum School District’s PI Program. She coaches strings at Port Townsend High School and has been teaching violin at Swan School since it was first offered in 1994. Kristin plays in the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra, the Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Port Townsend Community Orchestra, and the Port Townsend String Quartet. And just to be certain that she stays in tune, she teaches fiddling for kids at Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes held each summer.
Teacher for Explorers’ Class (Kindergarten & 1st grades)
A teacher at Swan since 2002, Marcy Stewart has worked with children since 1975, initially as the first children’s librarian at Ketchikan Public Library in Alaska, and including 14 years teaching 3, 4 and 5 year-olds at Port Townsend Head Start. She is certified in the state of Washington with endorsements as a classroom teacher and school librarian. Marcy has a BA in English, a Master of Library Science degree and a Child Development Associate degree, and she supports her commitment to providing the best education for her students through ongoing professional training. Marcy came to Port Townsend from Southeast Alaska, where she lived in a float house, fished commercially with her husband and made a strong and lasting relationship with the natural world and its cycles. While working in the Ketchikan Public Library, Marcy produced a daily children’s radio program enjoyed by children and adults alike. In Port Townsend, Marcy has taught Fiber Arts, violin and violin lessons to adults and children, is a member of the Port Townsend Community Orchestra and the Lincoln Beach Quartet, has worked for Centrum as a Future Problem Solving evaluator, and served on the Boiler Room board. She has recently become a member of the Chimacum Grange Beekeepers, with 2 hives of honeybees at home along with a flock of chickens and the usual cats and dog. Marcy is also an avid amateur mycophagist! Marcy’s experiences and professional training help her provide rich child-centered classroom experiences that foster a strong community learning environment and engage students in the exciting and empowering process of learning.
Angie Tabor has been performing professionally and teaching music for over 15 years. Before moving to Port Townsend summer of 2016, she kept a busy schedule performing on drum set and percussion with jazz, world and rock bands, in musical theater productions, and as an accompanist for choral groups. She is the founder and leader of Caribe Steel Band, an in-demand Caribbean band that performed all over Southern California.
As an educator, Angie was an adjunct faculty member in the music department at Norco College for over four years. She also maintained a private teaching studio and many of her students have been accepted by audition for honor bands and orchestras, and received awards and recognition at music festivals.
Angie earned a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Northern Colorado.
Bio coming soon! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher for Discoverers’ Class (Preschool) & Art Teacher
Dana’s formal education reflects her diverse interests and passions. She completed her BA in Art at Pacific University in 1997, and obtained a master’s degree from Marylhurst University in 2005. Her Master’s degree was interdisciplinary, focusing on Spiritual Traditions and Ethics. Dana is fascinated by the way in which artists from various cultures represent spiritual experience.
Dana moved to Port Townsend with her husband, Brian, in August of 2010 and began working with students at Swan School that same year. Prior to teaching at Swan, Dana spent nine years in Portland, Oregon, working as a nanny, preschool teacher, and art instructor. She taught a wide variety of art classes and camps for preschool and K-6 students at the Multnomah Art Center. She also taught preschool at The Marylhurst School, a highly regarded early childhood center that emphasizes experiential learning, artistic self-expression, and emotional intelligence.
When she is not teaching or creating art, Dana loves to explore the Pacific Northwest, in both urban and wild environments. Dana and Brian can often be found hiking around the peninsula, or making a pilgrimage to the Seattle Art Museum.
Dana is thrilled to be learning from and contributing to the creative community at Swan School.
Teacher for Adventurers’ Class (4th-6th Grades) and Head of School
During Russell’s 15 years in education prior to coming to Swan School, he had the pleasure of teaching children in grades 2 through 6. The majority of that time was spent in multiage settings. His classroom was featured in an independent documentary titled “Honoring Diversity, the Multiage Classroom” as well as in two magazine articles, the March/April 2005 issue of Mothering Magazine in an article titled “Ode to the One Room Schoolhouse” and the online edition of Edutopia Magazine in an article titled “Wisdom of the (Multi) Ages: Students Learn by Teaching.” Russell’s Multiage-Education.Com website has been considered an online hub for multiage educators worldwide since 1996. Russell has also instructed teacher education courses for Western Washington University and City University. In addition he has conducted numerous in-service classes and workshops for various school districts on a variety of subjects. When not at school, Russ will be sailing on Port Townsend Bay, kayaking on northwest lakes and Puget Sound, or standing in a stream delighting in his rediscovered love of fly fishing. “I have been enjoying the outdoors practically since I was born and my parents took me camping for the first time.” Russ and his wife Linda also travel when time allows. They were married in Denmark, have driven to Alaska, journeyed through Canada’s Northwest Territories, and have explored Ireland in search of Russ’ ancestors, finding the final resting place of “Dancing Jack Lattin”, but that’s another story. Russell has earned a B.A., majoring in Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education; a B.A.Ed. with endorsements in Elementary Education, History, and Social Studies; and a M.S. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology.
School Secretary / Administrative Assistant
Beau originates from Idaho and drove across the country from North Carolina to move back to the Pacific Northwest, which he considers the most beautiful area in the world. His most recent position before Swan was working on the nail-biting North Carolina 2014 US Senate race, although his main experience comes from his drive to work with youth of all ages. His work history includes the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth counseling and mentoring elementary and middle school students, Warren Wilson College overseeing and advising freshmen, and volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a local program in Idaho called Bear Buddies working with elementary students. He has held a wide assortment of other positions, including interning with the UNDP in Sri Lanka, making hotdogs at a football stadium, and selling organic sheets, because he simply loves being involved with interesting people and intriguing projects. He is delighted to be a part of the team at Swan School as well as a part of the community. He also has proclivity for cooking, a love of cats, and a passion for dancing. Beau holds a BA in Environmental Policy from Warren Wilson College and an MSc in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh.
Bonnie White has a unique connection to Swan School as both a founding parent and more recently, as staff. She began work at Swan School in 2011 as Assistant Head of School. With an extensive background in non-profit finance and social services, Bonnie is responsible for daily operations and business management of the school.
In 1982 as a parent of preschoolers, Bonnie joined a study group to learn more about contemporary educational philosophies. Understanding that finding the best fit for her Kindergartener was essential to a successful start to school, she was excited to specifically learn more about classrooms where learning is balanced between academics and the arts, yet inspired through a child’s innate curiosity.
Discovering that there were no alternatives to a public-school classroom available at that time, Bonnie and other parents in the study group undertook the steps necessary to develop Swan School. She considers it is a great honor to now be on staff and to serve the community that was so integral to her own family.
Bonnie likes to work on her old house with her husband Dana, volunteer, and travel (especially to visit her granddaughters and family in New England).
She holds a BA from Evergreen State College and studied at University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies.
Board of Trustees
Emily Gohn, Vice Chair
Bio coming soon
Debbie Good, Secretary
Debbie grew up in a military family with her father in the Marine Corps. Moving a lot when she was little, she attended five different elementary schools between kindergarten and fifth grade settling in northern Virginia when she was nine years old. In her adult life Debbie has done a little bit of everything, from secretarial work to dipping candles to guiding Boy Scout troops on week long hiking and canoeing treks in the Adirondack Mountains. Debbie received a Master’s degree in education which gave her the opportunity to be a guest teacher in many different classrooms. That background has given her an insider’s view of what elementary education should and should not be. Debbie’s daughter Maggie has attended Swan School for a number of years and she is thrilled with the education she is receiving at Swan School. When asked about her personal hobbies she stated, “My current passion is getting myself ready to attempt a through hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2017!” Debbie joined the Swan School Board in the fall of 2014.
Holly Holly, Board Member
Bio coming soon
Sara Miller, Board Member
Bio coming soon
Traci Tanner, Board Member
Bio coming soon
Samantha Trone, Board Member
Bio coming soon
Lloyd Westbrook, Board Chair
Bio coming soon