Jenny Johnson taught at Woodland since the school opened in 2004. We fondly refer to her as our founding teacher. When she got the job at WCS, we described our curriculum, and although it was just a dream that we had, Jenny was up for the challenge. Jenny forded bravely ahead and quickly became the teacher we had always hoped for our kids. She continues today to amaze and stun us with her dedication and incredible energy for the students and her work with them. Jenny can do it all, and she does it with a genuine sense of fun and with a real desire to give the students her best every day. She believes wholeheartedly in Woodland’s mission, and she is continually amazed by the students and the personal investment they make in their work and the depth at which they pursue a goal.
Jenny is thankful for the opportunity to currently support Woodland as the Director. Over the past fourteen years, she has seen Woodland in various stages. Beginning in it’s first year as a group of homeschoolers in a spaced furnished and supplied solely with donations, the school now buzzes with authentic learning, a healthy student body, and a dedicated, inspiring teacher team! In addition to her work in the areas of Enrollment, Personnel, and Outreach, her goal, as Director, is to stay connected with students and teachers on the ground and in the daily life of the school. Jenny continues to work with students in spontaneous and planned activities during Journey and Free Choice.
Jenny lives in Bethlehem with her husband, farmer Sam, who is the manager for Meadowstone Farm. She is the mother of three young children, Thatcher, Sylvie, and Adler. She is an endurance athlete who has traveled the world competing and fully enjoys trail running, mountain biking, Nordic and downhill skiing, sea kayaking, paddle boarding - and just about any endeavor that takes her outdoors. She also makes raw chocolate, teaches Pilates, volunteers at the Colonial Theater, and most recently became a board member of a new non-profit organization in town called the Bethlehem Trails Association to support human powered recreation in the local area.
Jenny got her degree from the University of Maine, Orono where she majored in Elementary Education. She enjoyed a student exchange at the University of British Columbia and a portion of her student teaching experience in Vancouver, Canada. After graduating she taught for a few years in a two room schoolhouse on a small island in Maine where she kayaked to work. She came to Woodland from that job, and now as often as the seasons permit, she bikes to work. She has since earned her masters degree in Health Education with a focus in Health Promotion from Plymouth State College.
Little known fact: Jenny drinks a green smoothie everyday. Her favorite is mango, parsley and water!
Mira George grew up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. At a very young age she became enthralled in the performing arts. She grew in her love of theater, dance, and music and later connected them to instruction and education as she attended Johnson State College where she studied education and theater. Soon after getting her teaching license she began working in schools discovering exciting ways to incorporate her passion for the arts into her teaching.
Mira worked as a kindergarten teacher in the Northeast Kingdom for 5 years. She collaborated with the art teacher to design lessons that would make the social emotional curriculum more accessible to her students. Nature was a large focus in her classroom, with math being taught outside at least once a week and a year round ECO program they referred to as “Forest Friday time.” This time was used to spark curiosity in her kindergarteners, a desire to investigate the natural world, and an understanding of their connection with it, as well as help project and fulfill self-guided projects such as fort building, fire making, and nature instrument making.
Mira loves the outdoors, spending her free time mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, and canoeing. She is very excited to be living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and can’t wait to begin tackling some of the 4,000 footers! Mira looks forward to collaborating with the teachers, children, and families at the Woodland Community School as they work together to grow this special school.
Fun fact: Mira sings in an acoustic duo. You may see her around town playing at some of the local restaurants!
Crystal Hodgdon grew up in the Upper Valley area of Vermont. Throughout high school she worked as a nanny and was introduced to teaching in a course in a local kindergarten classroom. She came to love spending her time with children and quickly realized the importance of making meaningful connections and building respectful relationships. Crystal went on to study education at Castleton University and early childhood education at WMCC. Crystal's passion for supporting the natural curiosity of children grew through motherhood, volunteering, and teaching. She served on the Lafayette Regional School board, Lafayette Parent Teacher Organization and volunteered as a coach to several youth sports teams.
In 2005, Crystal joined a like minded group of parents to found Gale River Cooperative School. She served on the GRCP board for four years until becoming the lead teacher and eventually the director. In her 7 years at GRCP she worked to create a rich exploratory program with a focus on play, connections to nature and community.
Crystal joined Woodland as a board member in 2016. She was inspired by the respectful student led learning at the heart of Woodland. She is excited to grow, learn and explore with the students and teachers of Woodland.
Crystal lives in Sugar Hill with her husband and three daughters. She spends most of her afternoons on the sidelines cheering on her daughters in their athletic pursuits. In her free time she enjoys following her girls through the mountains, hiking, running and Nordic skiing.
A lifelong educator, Kathy has a wealth of experience working with students in many different types of classrooms. Kathy has a can do attitude and a heart for creativity and imagination. She has always gravitated towards the natural curious and energetic spirit of children and enjoys supporting them in their exploration of their interests.
Kathy received her BA from Colby College in Waterville, ME with a major in Economics and double minor in Education and Performing Arts. She has also earned her MFA in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.
Kathy currently lives with her husband Matthew and two sons, Kobe and Asa in Bethlehem, NH. In her free time she enjoys spending time hiking, running, biking and skiing with her family.
ADMINISTRATion AND BOOKEEPing
Heather Russo is a native New Englander; growing up in southern Maine, attending college in Boston and most recently living in Rhode Island working in the financial services industry for 15-years. She moved to Littleton in 2012 with her 'scientist' husband Ryan and their then almost 3-year-old son, Pilot. Woodland's mixed-age and multi-faceted learning and discovering environment was a key factor in their decision to relocate to the north country. Heather chairs the Finance Committee and serves on the Fundraising and Personnel Committees. Heather enjoys gardening, doing yoga, working on home projects and exploring with Pilot.