Michele Beach

Executive Director/Parent Education
As a parent myself I know how difficult it can be to decide where to start sending your child to school. In fact the first time my husband and I discussed possibilities for our son’s education I was shocked when he suggested we should consider home schooling. I had a wonderful experience in public schools and just assumed that my children would do the same, so I was surprised to hear that he thought it might not be the best approach. Since that conversation I have learned a great deal about the current trends regarding standards-based education and how desperately our children need a more hands-on approach.  I now understand how much children can learn by experiencing the world directly and through relationships with others. This knowledge, along with my teaching and parenting experiences, has helped me to believe that it is possible to create an educational environment that invites children to be passionate about life and learning.

 

Qualifications: 

B.S. Computer Science, Stanford University, 2000

M.A. Educational Psychology, University of Colorado Denver, 2007

Early Childhood Education Teaching License

Director Qualification, Colorado Department of Human Services

 

 

Rebekah Lassen

Preschool Lead Teacher/Parent

Children have always been an integral part of my life. I come from a large, loving family and was raised in a very tight-knit community, so I have been caring for, playing with, and learning from kids since I can remember. After receiving my BA in Sociology from Arizona State University in 2009, I found Patchwork originally on the hunt for childcare for my daughter, Ava.  After learning about Patchwork's unique philosophy and spending time volunteering here, I realized that child-centered education was my passion, and have been here ever since. I am proud and grateful to have been a part of the Patchwork family since 2012, after receiving my teaching license in Early Childhood Education through the TILA Teach and Lead teacher certification program. In addition to my teaching experience at Patchwork, I have also worked as a kindergarten teaching assistant, a private nanny, a tour guide at a biodiversity preserve in Costa Rica, and various other jobs.

 

 

 

Liza Sparks

K-12 Lead Teacher

I have taught at The Patchwork School for six years and this will be my seventh year teaching! I have worked with and enjoy every age group. I first started working with children in an Americorps program through Project YES (youth envisioning social change) in Lafayette. Since then, I have worked with children in many different settings, including day camps, service learning projects, and classrooms. I received my Bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in poetry from The Colorado College. And recently finished my Master's degree in Education through Goddard College and The Patchwork School internship program in 2013. I love guitar, singing, reading, music, and art. I am an avid believer in unicorns and magic. I am a writer and a creator, and love the space The Patchwork School creates and offers for children, families, and teachers to engage in self-actualization through freedom, responsibility, and compassion. 

 

 

 

Jason Swick

Support Teacher/K-12 Teacher

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Jason began working with young children at an early age. He gained experience working in various childcare facilities and summer programs for multiple years. This is where he developed a passion for both education and counseling.

Jason graduated from Fort Lewis College in beautiful Durango, Colorado, with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education, and K-6 teacher licensure. Eager to combine his knowledge of teaching, with his strong interest in counseling and the outdoors, Jason moved to Oregon to work for Dragonfly Transitions. Dragonfly is a transitional mental health program for young adults, seeking assistance with life skills, emotional stability, substance abuse, and other related treatment issues. Jason worked as a mentor assisting clients with setting goals, facilitating daily routines, and by supporting each individuals therapeutic process. He is thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional, while working hands-on with young adults. After two years of working in the mental health field, Jason was eager to get back to working with children in an educational setting.

Jason has now been a part of The Patchwork community for four years.  He has worked in the K12 for multiple years and now has been the schools support teacher for two years, working in all programs supporting both students and staff at Patchwork.  He is now living in Boulder with his wife Cassie and is enjoying being close to family, friends, access to outdoors, and the Colorado lifestyle.   

 

"You have brains in your head

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go." - Dr.Seuss

 

 

Paige Berry

Toddlers Lead Teacher

 Paige was a theater major at UNC-Greensboro when she developed a strong interest in sharing theater with young children. Soon after college she joined a traveling children’s theater tour in which she performed and led theater workshops for elementary students throughout the Southeast. The joy, the laughter, and the inspiration she experienced, through sharing and engaging in creative, dramatic exploration with children, sparked her interest in early childhood education. Not too long after this experience Paige moved to Boulder to pursue her Master’s in ECE. Through the Boulder Journey School teacher education program and Cu Denver, Paige earned her Masters and became a licensed ECE teacher. Paige is continually inspired by the sheer joy, excitement, curiosity, and wonder with which young children explore the world. Paige sees children as natural learners who deserve time and space to play, explore and discover. Paige believes in supporting and extending children’s thinking by offering experiences, which are open-ended, play-based, child-directed, and connected to children’s interests. Paige seeks to offer children multiple languages of learning through which to express their ideas, and is particularly passionate about incorporating creative movement, music, and drama into experiences. Paige is absolutely thrilled to be joining the Patchwork community!

 

 

 

 

Baxter Lubbs

Toddlers Lead Teacher

I started working at Patchwork as a substitute in fall 2012 and instantly fell in love with this place- the sense of community that brings teachers, children, and family members together, the skills children and adults both learn from our philosophy and practices, and the open arms and hearts of the people here is inspiring and beautiful. I spent my 2013/14 and 2014/15 shcool years in the preschool, which allowed me to accompany many of the children on their 2 year journey though the two programs. 2015/16 was my first year working in the Toddler program and I loved it! I am excited to be spending another school year working with the Toddlers.  


My life has taken me all over the place- in the past I've worked in an after school program with elementary aged children and directed a middle school aged summer camp program for 6 years. I have also worked as a baker, a massage therapist, and as a dishwasher in Antarctica for 6 months. I have had a passion for community for much of my life and spent my first few years in Boulder living in an co-operative house with 14 people, which is how I met Paige Berry! I now live on half an acre in South Boulder with my partner, our housemates, 10 chickens, and a big garden.

 

 

 

 

Cassie Swick

Preschool Lead Teacher

I am more than thrilled to be joining the Patchwork community!
I am originally from Centennial Colorado, where my love for education began shortly after my little brother was born when I was fifteen. I graduated from Fort Lewis College in 2011 with my degree in Elementary Education, and over two thousand hours of teaching experience. From there, my now husband, Jason and I, spent a summer as canoe guides at a camp in Ontario, Canada. We traveled on to southern Oregon, to a small town called Klamath Falls. I first began my early childhood experience at a private school in Klamath in a preschool classroom, and then continued to teach kindergarten at the same school. We moved back to Colorado, and then to Lafayette, in 2013, so Jason could begin his exciting new job at Patchwork, and I could begin teaching preschool at The Primrose School of Lafayette, where I gained two more years experience as a lead teacher. Outside of our passion for teaching, Jason and I enjoy spending time with our wonderful friends and family, hiking with our furry friend Leo, backpacking, camping, music and concerts, skiing, and tending to our garden.
I believe it is a teacher's job to facilitate in the growth of their students with an open heart and mind, and I believe there is no better place, community, or school to do so! I look forward to meeting you at Patchwork!

 

 

 

Nick Bonney

K-12 Lead Teacher

I am from Albuquerque New Mexico. This is my second year in Colorado and teaching at the Patchwork.  This year I am one of the lead teachers in the Patchwork k-12.   My two sons ages 5 and 9 will also be attending. 


I hold a Bachelors degree in psychology and have worked with children for 15 years.  I am also a musician, DJ, and mixed media artist who loves to create art and make music with anyone willing to partake. 

 

 

 

 Brian Hedden

Preschool Lead Teacher

I was raised in community, including the Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop that my parents were both heavily involved in leading. My dad, "Pack-Master Mike", was a role model for me as I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, practicing wilderness skills, leadership dynamics, and community service. My mother, "Just Call Joan", was a leader in Girl Scouts and other community organizations, as well as a professional caterer and kitchen manager. My church community gave me an appreciation for personal ethics, choir singing and the smell of incense. Attending New York University in Manhattan, I studied film directing and philosophy, which deepened my artistic, leadership and intellectual pursuits. My first professional teaching experience was during college as a video teacher for New York Film Academy. After college, I began teaching filmmaking at Balboa City School, a child-based charter school in San Diego. During these experiences I met my greatest challenge and love: teaching. 

To deepen and broaden my experience, I explored teaching, nature, and food from 2011 - 2014 as a garden volunteer, substitute teacher and farm intern at places such as Sherman Heights Elementary (San Diego), Hawthorne Valley Farm and Waldorf School (New York), and Grassroots Freedom and Democracy School (Tallahassee), before committing to teacher training as a Georgia Teaching Fellow in 2014. That experience in conventional pedagogy convinced me of my need to be grounded in compassion and seeing the child as a whole person. I sought out The Patchwork School as a premier opportunity to learn an authentically child-based approach and moved to Colorado in January of 2015, beginning as a substitute and part-time teacher not long after. The 2016-2017 school year is my second full year as a preschool teacher and I could not be more grateful for this community and the level of care it gives to all of it's members.

 

 

 

                          

Heather Craig

Communications Coordinator/Parent

I am a Colorado native originally from Glenwood Springs. I moved to Boulder in 1999 and have been here ever since. I have been part of the Patchwork community as a parent for 5+ years and I am thrilled to now be part of the staff. I have an associates of arts degree and I have worked in many different office environments. I have been a CSR and Accounting Controller at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport and I have worked at the Public Defenders Office in Golden.  I found Patchwork though my sister, Mitch who was my daughters toddler teacher. I stayed home with my kids for the 6 years and I couldn't imagine entering back into the working world anywhere but at Patchwork, a community that has supported my family in every way. My daughter , Amelia is in her third year in K-12 and my son, Logan will be in preschool with my nephew Thacher.

 

                     

                                                                                         

Michele Craig Leonard (Mitch)

Support and Preschool Teacher/Parent/Board Memeber

I received my BA in Sociology and Gerontology at Colorado State University in 2007. Go Rams!  I was grateful to be introduced to Patchwork, were all people regardless of age, are agents for change when they engage critically and compassionately with the world. I then got my Masters Degree in Educational Psychology from CU Denver and teaching certifications from The Friends School Teaching Program in Boulder. I love sharing in the discovery and delight of learning with children. I live in Louisville with my husband, Jesse, and my sons,Thacher and Huxley. I have worked at Patchwork for 7+ years wearing many hats from substitute to Program director to administration. My sister, Heather, works at the school as well and I am excited to again be my niece and nephews teacher this year. Our family is very appreciative to the Patchwork community and all the love and support we receive. 

 

 

 

Genevieve Johnson

Subsitute Teacher

This is my first year working at Patchwork. As a registered psychotherapist, I work in a therapeutic role to support specific children through intense emotional experience, providing mirroring and language to help regulate the nervous system and integrate the feeling. I love Patchwork’s commitment to emotional expression and feel inspired when I hear teachers and students naming feelings and working through difficult moments with one another. I did my graduate work at Naropa University and interned at I Have a Dream Foundation, Boulder and The Bridge Center for Play Therapy where I stayed on after graduating. I have a passion for bringing emotional awareness and regulation into the school setting, as I think it is a major obstacle children face when trying to learn. Outside of therapy, I love the outdoors and exploring with my golden retriever, Lola. In addition to working at Patchwork, I also see clients privately for play therapy in South Boulder. 

If you have any questions feel free to contact me: genevieve@thebridgecenterforplaytherapy.com(303).499.0844 Ext. 701

 

 

 

 

Olivia Bonney

Subsitute Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Messing

Substitute Teacher

Julia is originally from the Boston area and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH. After working in marketing for a few years, she decided to try something opposite and become a primary school science teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has always enjoyed working with children, whether it’s babysitting, as a camp counselor or teaching, and loves the honesty, humor and meaning they so naturally bring to their worlds. Exploring a new country and culture while connecting with so many bright students was an amazing experience. After 2 years in Thailand she chose to teach English at an all girls middle school in Busan, South Korea.

These experiences broadened Julia’s world and were the catalyst to much research and many conversations about education that led her to Patchwork school. She has been back in the states since June, and moved to outdoorsy Boulder in August. Julia believes that kids are capable, on their own, of doing creative work and play that is exactly where they need to be developmentally. She thinks that a teacher’s role is to see where the child is, and offer ideas for next steps, ask questions and create a safe environment for kids to feel their emotions and positive adult role models to demonstrate healthy social-emotional connection.

y something opposite and become a primary school science teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has always enjoyed working with children, whether it’s babysitting, as a camp counselor or teaching, and loves the honesty, humor and meaning they so naturally bring to their worlds. Exploring a new country and culture while connecting with so many bright students was an amazing experience. After 2 years in Thailand she chose to teach English at an all girls middle school in Busan, South Korea.

These experiences broadened Julia’s world and were the catalyst to much research and many conversations about education that led her to Patchwork school. She has been back in the states since June, and moved to outdoorsy Boulder in August. Julia believes that kids are capable, on their own, of doing creative work and play that is exactly where they need to be developmentally. She thinks that a teacher’s role is to see where the child is, and offer ideas for next steps, ask questions and create a safe environment for kids to feel their emotions and positive adult role models to demonstrate healthy social-emotional connection.

 

 

 

A Culture of Caring For Each Other

As adults who are responsible for the care, wellbeing and education of young children, we believe that we first have to take responsibility for ourselves and our impact in the world.  If we want to have a culture of love and forgiveness (we often call this compassion) among the children at our school, we must first create such a culture among the adults.  So, to this end, we have a culture of caring among the staff at our school.  We model how we love each other, how we have disagreements and how we can listen to and learn from our differences.