Nancy Monson, Director and Middle School Teacher

There has always been in me a desire to learn what life is all about. I have a constant longing to understand and to participate with others in the process of discovery. As a child I used to play school with my stuffed animals. Read more...

Phil Germakian: 2nd-8th Grade Science teacher & 4th-8th grade math teacher

As a teacher, I am responsible for providing my students with as many opportunities as possible to be successful.  It is my goal to develop responsible members of society who have the tools to become successful citizens of the world. Read more...


Learning to weave in Guatemala on our family's 8 month journey.

Learning to weave in Guatemala on our family's 8 month journey.

Chandra Best: K-1st grade teacher

I have always felt strongly that there should be alternatives to a traditional school model. Traditional schooling works for some kids, but not others, and I am continually inspired by the more natural, organic learning process that happens in schools like Running River. As a teacher, I love watching this magical process unfold, learning about each individual child's strengths and challenges, and doing my best to facilitate and be a witness to their growth. I feel especially honored to work with young children just beginning in school, and to have the opportunity to be a part of this magic right at the start.

Kindergarten and first grade are such precious years in our children's lives, and these years of school should be active, exciting and full of discovery. I love Running River's focus on nurturing all aspects of a child's development, and I feel that a K/1 classroom should embody this goal. Building a sense of community and strong relationships in the classroom is paramount, so that children feel safe to both be themselves and try on as many hats as they want. Daily, student-led class meetings help to create this safe space, as well as a culture of openness, inclusion and respect. This foundation is brought into every aspect of work in the classroom from art to math to literacy to play. Read more...

Amber Arvidson:  2ND-3rd GRADE Teacher  

I have always had a passion for learning and a deep curiosity about our natural world.  I grew up in Montana, surrounded by the intense beauty of the land attended a Montessori elementary school that really helped cultivate my love of the outdoors.  I still remember drawing plants and protozoan and camping and hiking with my classmates. Read more...

Megan Flaherty: 4th&5th Grade teacher for theme & Math & Middle school math

I have a fascination with the interconnectedness of the earth and the stories behind each plant, each animal. I have a similar fascination with how children learn and how their state of mind, their emotions, affect their learning. A long time educator, both inside the classroom and outside, I am continually questioning my role and how to best work with each child.

I believe that real learning occurs when it arises from authentic experiences that have meaning for the child. Children learn through various means and show their learning in various ways. Learning is a cooperative effort between the child and the teacher. My job as a teacher is to recognize the potential in each child and facilitate their learning process and guide them in taking ownership of their own learning. Read more...

Jennifer Cain:  4th&5th grade language arts teacher and middle school assistant teacher


Jennifer, a lover of nature and the beauty of life, holds a self-designed BA in the Integration of Humanism and Ecology. She has been committed to supporting individuals through all of life's phases for the past 20 years and has served people of all ages from infancy to elderhood as a youth mentor, counselor, wilderness guide, and elder advocate.  She worked for the University of Denver as a youth instructor, designed and implemented programs at The Denver Botanic Gardens, and taught as a high school teacher and mentor in Denver Public Schools.  Through her work as a counselor in rites of passage and addiction recovery organizations, Jennifer recognizes the innate gifts of the individuals she works with and utilizes her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Certification in order to support holistic health and wellness in all phases and challenges of life.    read more....


Crystal Punch: Learning Specialist

Running River is unique in that it attracts a high population of visual spatial learners (VSL). Visual learners are essentially attracted to schools which offer experiential and creative learning opportunities within a relationship centered community. Families and students who attend RR desire an educational environment that honors the uniqueness of each child, teaches them how to learn, and strengthens their ability to communicate their knowledge. VSL’s share common characteristics- They are led by their heart and passions, they tend to be curious by nature and love exploring how and why things work. They will focus endlessly on subjects that they are passionate about. Their ideas are huge and everything is possible.  Their love of learning is palpable, but they need specific support to reach their goals. While they have all of the enthusiasm for learning, they do not have the habits of mind to “suffer” through the details. Simple organization, time management, sequence, prioritizing eludes them. They tend to be big picture thinkers and miss many of the details in their plans. If they are given structures to identify these pieces and strategies to effectively use this innate learning quality, they gain independence and confidence.

As an educator for the last 30 years, I have worked as a secondary math and science teacher. My expertise is in experiential project based learning. I trained to be a licensed Davis Dyslexia Facilitator, Co-authored: Picture IT…Teaching Visual Spatial Learners with Betty Maxwell, and have participated in discussion panels, salons, and education groups on the importance of understanding and supporting the visual students in our classrooms. I have also given many talks to parents regarding parenting the VSL. Read more.....

Mary Kellogg: Learning Specialist

I have a deep respect for and fascination with the way each of us learns.  Over the years I have been blessed to work with and learn from many students and teachers.  Early on as a teacher I worked at meeting each of my student’s needs.  It wasn’t until, as the mother of a dyslexic child, I needed to look at my approach and that of the school system toward learning.  It was then I went back for more training to specialize in working with visual / hands-on learners.

I learned ways to promote self-awareness and self-confidence in my students.  I learned how to advocated and obtain accommodations when necessary.  I also learned how to help other parents and educators better understand the gifts in each child.

This continues to be my passion.  Having recently moved to Colorado I have been blessed to find The Running River School.  The philosophy I’ve seen here and their approach is something special.  I have been a teacher for many years.  I am currently Nationally Board Certified in K-8 regular and special education (with an emphasis in Reading).  I am trained in and have been a Facilitator of the Davis Strategies for Dyslexia.  I have been an adjunct member of the Special Education Department at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington for the past 19 years.  I have taught their courses on Learning Disabilities.  I have most recently worked for The Spokane Schools as an Instructional Coach and a Math Facilitator. Read more....

Art Ives: PE Teacher

Art believes one of the most important jobs in education is to get young children off to the best possible start in sports and fitness by providing a foundation for their further progress and development. As a certified personal trainer specializing in youth athletics and a competitive distance runner and coach he loves making contact with the younger age groups and creates lesson plans for Running River students Read more...

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Iris Kelly: Office Manager

Iris Kelly Candea has a unique set of traits combined from twenty years of in-classroom time working with children of all ages with the office skills that support small, independent schools.  Iris was the Director of summer camps and Aftercare at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School for nine years.  This included managing faculty, forms and daily operation.  She enjoyed all aspects of creating the fun, theme-based camps for children a variety of ages. Most of her in-classroom experience has been with the Early Childhood Department, but Iris is experienced and quite capable of connecting and working with older children.

Iris’ creativity and practicality have served her well in implementing systems for everyone. She helped her acupuncturist husband with his business, and ran her own desktop publishing business and Rites of Passage workshops. 

Iris holds certificates in Therapeutic Education, as well as a Director Certification to run a large childcare center.  She received her Waldorf training while at Haleakala Waldorf School on Maui, and taught there for five years.  She also taught at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten for a number of years, and is a master crafter. Iris also studied at Naropa Institute in the dance department years ago. She has two sons who are now 32 and 23 years old.  Iris is delighted to be a part of Running River School where children spend so much time in nature, something that is dear to her heart.

Page Zekonis: Art Teacher

Page Zekonis is a local artist who has been teaching art for over twenty years. She has an MFA in painting from Maryland Institute, College of Art and a M.A. in counseling psychology from Bowie State University.  She founded Open Window Studio in 2003 to teach a variety of art classes to both children and adults. Read more...

Lauren directing dancing at the Nature Park Celebration

Lauren directing dancing at the Nature Park Celebration

Lauren Beale: Dance Teacher

Lauren is a performing artist, choreographer, contemplative teacher, yoga instructor and active mama. She holds an MFA in Dance from The University of Colorado Boulder with an emphasis in somatic based teaching and collaborative, interdisciplinary performance art. Read more...

Greg Hansen: Drumming Teacher

Gregg Hansen, lifetime musician, started teaching hand drums and percussion in 1995. Working in the Memphis, Tennessee school systems as a teaching artist, he taught *aesthetic education to kindergarten through middle school students for a number of years.

Currently, and for the last 10 years, Gregg has taught to and formed an adult drumming community here in Boulder County.

"Along with learning a musical instrument - drumming is a community activity that strengthens the brain just as a sport strengthens the body."