“Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”                      –Parker Palmer


Paul Freedman, Head of School, Intermediate grades teacher 

Paul is the lead teacher in the intermediate grades and Salmonberry’s Head of School.  He has taught at Salmonberry since its inception. He is the parent of two young adult children, Quinn and Emma.  Paul started his teaching career 25 years ago in public elementary schools in California and Oregon.  He began his journey towards holistic education after moving to Orcas Island in 2001.  Paul is a nationally recognized advocate and passionate proponent of educational alternatives.  He is a widely published author in the field of education and has served as a contributing editor of Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice, the country’s leading holistic education peer-review scholarly journal. He is a well-respected speaker and has delivered dozens of talks and workshops at conferences internationally.  He currently serves as President of the SelfDesign Graduate Institute and is a founding co-Director of The Holistic Education Initiative.


Linda Henning, Primary grades teacher 

Linda is the lead teacher in the elementary program’s primary grades classroom. Linda has many years experience teaching preschool and primary grades in progressive schools in the Skagit/Snohomish area.  She was a founding teacher at both Summit Academy and the Stillwater School as well as a lead teacher at the Burlington little School.   She writes, “Teaching to the whole child takes a commitment each day to discover the many ways to meet the unique needs of each child. Teaching to the whole child requires stepping outside of the box and embracing the unconventional to find ways in which a child can shine and be the best he/she can be and to achieve all that is possible.


Paul Brahce, Multi-age Kindergarten teacher Kindergarten@salmonberryschool.org

Paul’s interest in education started in high school when he was part of a student/teacher study group that developed and launched an alternative high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This experience convinced Paul of the value of holistic, student-driven education and inspired him to become a teacher. He spent sixteen years teaching early childhood and primary level before moving into administration for several years. Two years ago, Paul returned to the classroom in a Reggio Emilia inspired school in Madison, Wisconsin. He is looking forward to teaching his favorite age in the kindergarten classroom at Salmonberry. Paul has two daughters living in Washington State, one on Orcas Island. He is an avid naturalist, always eager for a walk in the woods to learn about something new.  Other interests include folk music, writing, and Scandinavian mid-century design.


Kari Van Gelder, Intermediate grades teacher

 Kari has been deeply involved at Salmonberry since enrolling her daughter here in 2010. She officially joined the Salmonberry staff in the fall of 2015. She comes to teaching via a path less travelled, with a wealth of prior experience found through tutoring, homeschooling, classroom volunteering, independent study and keen observation. She is delighted to teach the intermediate grades class with Paul Freedman. In addition to sharing language arts and math with Paul, Kari carries both the science and art programs. Kari radiates a deep love for children and calls upon her own capacity for connection to draw the children towards their own self-discovery in academics, community and citizenship.


 Hyo Rhi Kim, Multi-Age Kindergarten assistant teacher             Hyorhi.kim@gmail.com

Hyo Rhi grew up in Germany, Korea and the United States. Her rich and complex experiences accompanied by struggles to find her place in different societies formed her passion for a holistic understanding of the world and meaningful participation in it. In her search for approaches to education that empower her and young co-learners on that path, she stumbled upon Orcas Island Forest School in 2016. While working there as a teacher for two years, she reconnected with her identity as a being of the natural world and integrated the values that guide her in her role as an educator. Simultaneously, a soulful relationship with the Salmonberry community emerged out of summer camps, community gatherings and kindred conversations with its members. At Salmonberry, she continues to gratefully and playfully cherish the opportunity to collaborate with adults and children alike on our unfolding and home-making.


Dani Dyer, Intermediate grades assistant teacher

After moving to Orcas Island by her sailboat Panacea in 2016, Dani joined the Salmonberry team. She earned a B.A in Sociology, minoring in Spanish, and later earned a Masters in Acupuncture. She founded Heal~Flow Acupuncture here on island and loves helping people heal. She has worked with children for most of her life as a tutor, outdoor school counselor, youth advocate, puppeteer for Kids on the Block and as “nanny Dani.” She loves to share qigong, juggling, reading and flow arts with the kids. She loves being part of this beautiful school and the work it is doing to make change in the world one kid at a time.


Tiffany Loney, Dance & Movement teacher 
Tiffany has 20 years of teaching experience and BFA in dance/performance arts. She has come full circle, returning to Salmonberry as our Dance teacher is 2017, years after assisting Paul when the Salmonberry school first opened its doors. The children and the school back then made a strong impression on her, but soon after she and her family sailed a small boat around the globe. Fifteen years later she is back at Salmonberry with 2 daughters of her own. Tiffany’s perspective and insights have changed and the school has become more valuable to her. She has danced, studied and shared dance and movement awareness throughout her life. Dancing has taught her to be adaptable and to celebrate the continual changes happening around and within. Three things Tiffany loves about dance: 1) It’s experiential (mind /body connection), 2) It’s energizing and grounding, and 3) It’s team building and Fun!!!


Laura Black, Elementary Spanish teacher, Programs        Administrator

Laura joined the Salmonberry staff in 2013 as a classroom assistant for the intermediate grades as well as the school’s Spanish Language Teacher.  Motherhood has prompted a shift in roles.  She continues to serve as our beloved Spanish teacher and now also acts as Program Administrator for the school, helping with student enrollment and accounts, among other critical tasks.  With a Master’s in Library Science, Laura previously worked as a middle school librarian in New Mexico where she was a certificated teacher and school librarian for almost a decade.


Tom Rawson, Elementary Music teacher

Tom was Salmonberry’s Primary Grades Teacher for two years before “retiring” into his current role as Salmonberry’s Music Teacher.  Tom brings more than twenty years of lead teaching experience at the primary grades in both alternative Seattle public schools as well as the progressive independent Little School in Belleveue, WA, where he also created a ukulele-based school-wide music program.  Tom is a master folk singer, song writer, recording artist and storyteller.  He continues to travel the world sharing his humor as well as his musicianship.