The Patchwork Board

We are a non-profit democratic organization that operates on consensus!

Consensus decision making means that within each Circle of Responsibility (see the diagram below) each participant must consent to any new ideas or proposals in order for them to become enacted.

So for the children, if someone proposes going to the park for the day every person must give a thumbs up or else the conversation must continue.  They may all agree to go, some may make a plan to go elsewhere with another teacher, or they may decide to plan a park trip for another day!  Whatever we decide, there are no winners or losers.  They must think critically to solve the problem in a way that works for everyone.

This is the most amazing learning environment for kids!  The freedom they have to make choices and learn the way they naturally do is the most precious thing a child can get out of a school. They get a sense of self -worth there!


We use this same process with the adults, meaning that if a new proposal is suggested by a board member, every member must give a thumbs up or the conversation must continue.  Our staff actually hires itself using this model – with every person in the hiring circle having input on every person’s salary, position, and hours until we all agree.  It is important that we practice using democracy so we understand how the children feel.  Not enough shovels in the playground for them feels a lot like figuring how to divide up salaries for us!

We also believe that it is important that we maintain a non-profit status to ensure parents, donors, and the community that our primary goals are not centered around finances, but on creating an exceptional learning environment for people of all ages.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to get in touch with a board member or are interested in applying!

Org Chart & Circles of Responsibility

Executive Committee: vision holding, day-to-day functioning of the school, including Budgeting & Finances, Hiring, Policy-making, Staff Development, and decisions about any exceptions.  EC includes all Program and Administrative Directors.
Teachers & Staff: curriculum, environment, student well-being, program specifics, parent communication.
Board of Directors: outreach, fundraising, gathering parent and community input, staff support, events
Parents: learning, supporting each other, communicating, asking for help when needed.
Children: learning, playing, creating relationships, finding appropriate challenges.

[My boys] are so inquisitive which I credit to the way Patchwork supports them in exploring subjects of their choosing.

Parent & Board Member 2010

Meet our 2024-2025 board…

Carolyn Bhalodia

Board President, Parent

Michele Beach

Board Vice President, Secretary, Staff Member

Heather Craig

Board Treasurer, Staff Member

Melissa Donner

Board Member, Parent, Digital Outreach Committee Co-Lead

Marianne Sheldon

Board Member, Alumni Parent, Digital Outreach Committee Co-Lead

Rebecca Elliot

Board Member, Parent, Community Outreach Committee Lead

David Chu

Board Member, Parent, Workday and Maintenance Committee Lead

Erin Christian

Board Member, Parent, Teacher Appreciation Committee Co-Lead

Sarah Crocker

Board Member, Parent, Teacher Appreciation Committee Co-Lead

You can contact the board via email:

School Committees

Workday and Maintenance

Our workday committee works together to plan and coordinate the annual community work day in April, which is one of our bigger events. This committee may also support with various other maintenance projects throughout the year!

Community Outreach

This committee works to bring opportunities for connection outside of school hours. Examples include playdates, group camping events, workshops, and other social events. If you enjoy getting to know other parents and families, and extending a friendly hand to new community members, this is the group for you.

Teacher Appreciation

At Patchwork, we strive to support and recognize our teachers for the love and compassion that they put into their work each day. Members of this committee help celebrate teachers around holidays, teacher appreciation week, and the end of the year. If you would like to help pamper Patchwork teachers and staff, please let us know!

Digital Outreach

This committee’s goal is to keep our community connected digitally, whether that is via Facebook, Slack or other methods. Please let us know if you have ideas on this front or would like to help out!