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 twelve years, she has seen Woodland in various stages - beginning it’s first year as a group of homeschoolers in a spaced furnished and supplied solely with donations, and now thriving as a progressive school with 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 Woodland’s Farm to Table Program, as well as 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 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 caters, makes raw chocolate, and teaches Pilates in her free time... what?
Jenny got her degree from the University of Maine, Orono where she majored in Elementary Education. 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!
Mary Jo Greene
Mary Jo grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and attended Miami University in Oxford, OH. After college she traveled extensively throughout Europe, eventually settling in Virginia Beach, VA. Her love of travel continued to take her to many of the Scandinavian countries, Russia and China, along with hiking and backpacking throughput the United States with her husband.
Affectionately know as MJ to the the students at Woodland, Mary Jo loves to spend her afternoons playing with the students. She is a part-time teacher with a full-time passion for learning and sharing her love of learning with the students. Mary Jo has been trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) by Erin Woo, and Mindful Educator Essentials by Mindful Schools. She is a big fan of the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and all the wonderful training and programs this organization brings to the North Country. Her volunteer life has included serving for six years on the school board of Lafayette Regional School and ten years on the board of Copper Cannon Camp.
Mary Jo's husband, Chris, is a Pharmacist with Eastern States Compounding Pharmacy in Littleton. She is mom to three amazing teen-agers, one of whom is a freshman at Dartmouth College, two of whom attend Profile School.
Back country camping at Lake Umbagog is a favorite family activity. Visiting just about any museum, botanical garden or historic site are also passions. Play time is spent in her garden or on her back porch with a good book, usually with her lab Ginger by her side.
Kathy is excited to return to Woodland as a part time teacher after instructing alongside Jenny Johnson in Woodland’s inaugural year. A lifelong educator, Kathy has been 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.
While not at Woodland, Kathy is busy as the director/instructor of the Creative Edge Dance Studio in Bethlehem, NH and is a part time faculty of The White Mountain School. 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.
Ali Steer grew up on the Northeastern shore of Massachusetts. She attended a Waldorf school through the 8th grade and spent her summers -- as a camper, and later as a counselor -- at Camp Glen Brook, a Steiner-influenced summer camp near the base of Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire. These experiences brought Ali in contact with the mountains, rivers, and farms of New England, and showed her how important it is for children to be outside and interacting with the natural and agrarian world.
Ali studied Cultural Anthropology at Bard College for two and a half years, and after feeling that her education was lacking time outside and work with the land, she took a semester off to work with children at the Hawthorne Valley Farm Place-Based Education Program in the Hudson Valley of New York. Working with school groups at the farm strengthened her belief in alternative farm and nature-based education, and so she decided to transfer to Sterling College in Vermont to study just that; she finished her undergraduate education with a degree in Farm and Nature-Based Education. When Ali came across Woodland Community School she immediately felt a deep connection to the school’s philosophy. She believes that children need the space and time to explore their imaginations, to develop their own ideas, and that time spent in contact with the natural world is essential to the development of healthy and happy individuals.
When not at Woodland, Ali is either doing some sort of craft or playing outside. She weaves, knits, and sews, and spends her time outside running, backpacking, rock climbing, cross country skiing, and growing food. She loves to be doing her craft, have her hands in the dirt, or her feet on the trail.
Paul Starring grew up in the town of Littleton and has always considered the North Country his home. He lives on an old 48 acre farm with his wife Sadie and three daughters Aida, Aiyana, and Ellie. He is most comfortable in the outdoors both working or at play. Paul has always loved teaching children, whether in the outdoors or inside a classroom. He is a dynamic, playful, and knowledgeable individual who has spent much of his life acquiring a myriad of different skills. His most recent achievements in the last few years were becoming a Licensed NH Fishing Guide and a Registered Maine Guide. Being a fishing guide brings together his love of the outdoors and of teaching. Paul continues to spend time in his woodworking shop, reading classic literature, and planting veggies in his garden. He describes himself as someone who sings Broadway songs while logging, writes poetry while snow-shoeing, and imagines new wood-working projects while baking. He is excited to be a part of Woodland.
When not at Woodland, Paul can be found weight lifting, spin fishing, farming, logging, ice fishing, hunting, fly fishing, or hanging out with all his girls.
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 serves as Treasurer, 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.
As one of the four founders of Woodland, Jane is as pleased as ever to see the passion for providing children an environment in which they can revel in who they are continue on in Woodland’s community! Jane and her husband Dan are close to finishing their “twenty-year” house-building project, begun about 2000! In the beginning they recognized that it would take a while, as their priority was having fun with their two children, now 19 and 16.
Little Known Fact: Jane's favorite lands to be surrounded by are wide-open and treeless - like the plains of Ireland and the plains and deserts of the West.