Salmonberry Faculty & Staff

“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                                                       

Paul (he/him)  is Salmonberry’s Head of School and has taught at Salmonberry since its inception. He is the parent of two adult children, Quinn and Emma. Paul started his teaching career 30 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 an internationally recognized advocate and passionate proponent of educational alternatives. He is a widely published author in the field of education.

 He currently serves as Senior Editor for The Holistic Education Review, the country’s leading holistic education peer-review scholarly journal. He has alsoserved as a contributing editor of Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice. He is a well-respected speaker and has delivered dozens of talks and workshops at conferences internationally, and was an invited representative of the United States at the International Soul of Education Summit in Prague. He currently serves as graduate faculty at TIES (The Institute for Educational Studies) where he leads the Integrative Learning MEd program. Paul has served as President of the Graduate Institute for Transformative Learning.

Paul expects to receive his EdD from Fielding Graduate University in 2024. His dissertation and current research interests are in the study of international holistic school leadership. His dissertation research will take him to Sao Paulo and Bangkok. He expects the release of his first edited volume in 2024. Kinship Worldview: Indigenous Authors Going Deeper with Holistic Education. This is a co-edited volume with Paul’s mentor Four Arrows (aka Wahinkpe Topa).

Paul’s 2015 TEDx talk was titled, “Deep Education : Re-visioning Teaching and Learning for today.” He has served as Trustee on several independent school boards. He is also the current and founding Director of the Holistic Education Initiative. He lives near White Beach with his wife Andria, dog Murray and assorted chickens, goats and a pony

Kari Van Gelder

Eagles Lead Teacher

Kari (she/her) is the lead teacher in the Eagles class. Since 2010, she has progressed from being a Salmonberry parent, classroom volunteer, and substitute teacher; to the roles of assistant, specialist, and co-lead teacher; and is now the Eagles lead classroom teacher. Holistic education, as practiced at Salmonberry, has inspired Kari to dedicate herself to teaching. 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. In addition to teaching at Salmonberry, Kari is a crafter who co-owns Bossy’s Feltworks with Amy Lum and Mandy Troxel. Kari came to Orcas for the summer in 1994 to live at Camp Indralaya. She fell in love with the island and her late husband Ian, and stayed. Kari’s adult daughter Margot is soon to head off for a theater career in England. Kari lives at Opal Commons, OPAL CLT’s first neighborhood, with her partner Shannon, a menagerie of rescued pets, a beloved garden and an ongoing RV project.


Angela Baker

Cedars Lead Teacher                                                                                          

Angela (she/her) is the lead teacher in the Cedars class. She recently joined the Salmonberry School community in August of 2021 when she moved to Orcas Island from Madison, Wisconsin. In Madison, Angela taught for 17 years at Wingra School, an independent progressive school quite similar to Salmonberry. Prior to that, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a minor in English. Angela enjoys teaching and learning alongside her students. Together with them she forms and nurtures authentic relationships to build a warm and trusting community in which everyone’s voice is necessary, making mistakes is encouraged, learning is relevant, laughter is frequent, and childhood is respected. In addition to teaching, Angela enjoys time spent in nature, getting lost in a good book, doing some one-on-one tutoring, and playing with her adorable rescue cat named Peanut.


Aliza Diepenbrock

Otters Lead Teacher                                                                    

Aliza (she/her) was born and raised on Morning Star Farm here on Orcas. After graduating college during a time of global crisis, she chose to step back into her homeland community. Growing up, she loved horseback riding, aerial acrobatics, reading, writing, berry picking, and distracting farm interns with questions. These loves continue to shape who she is. Her days often include harvesting at dawn, nestling outside reading and writing or walking her beloved trails of Orcas. At Whitman College, Aliza studied Rhetoric, Writing, and Public Discourse and deepened her love of story with a Creative Writing minor. Aliza has always loved working with kids, from babysitting, to facilitating a girls fifth-grade empowerment curriculum in Walla Walla, to working at the Funhouse on Orcas. She is consistently inspired by young people’s creativity and unabashed truth-telling. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Otters Class, to foster a safe, caring community, to celebrate literature, and immerse in the heart of curiosity, intellect, adventure and love that are first and second graders.


Adrien Erickson

Salmon Lead Teacher                                                                                          

Adrien (she/her) joined Salmonberry School as an assistant teacher and worked in the Otters and Salmon classroom for several years before taking the lead as the Salmon class teacher. She’s a born and raised Orcas Islander and has been working in childcare and education for nearly eight years. Adrien enjoys the natural beauty of her islabd home and is often out for walks gathering inspiration for when she’s home painting and creating. She is endlessly inspired by the world of imagination and loves to share her passions and creativity through story, art, and adventure to foster curiosity and intention with her students. 


Tabitha Rose

Salmon Assistant Teacher        

Tabitha (she/her) was born in Montana and finds her heart to reside in the North. She has lived in many places but is happy to lay roots down and call Orcas Island her home. She has been teaching all ages yoga for the past 15 years as well as putting her skills of homesteading to work with her family as they hand built their home here on the island. She lives a life of creativity and holds a rhythm that is connected to the seasons and the earth we all live upon. She enjoys looking at the perspectives in any situation and finding a compassionate and understanding way to solve the everyday problems and misunderstandings we all come across. She leads with her heart and strives to find the most patient place to reside. She pays close attention to details and finds so much joy in the beauty, wonder and ritual of this world. A wonder and beauty she truly enjoys sharing and showing others. Her imagination is abundant and full of magic. She has been enriched by travel and cultures across the globe, well seasoned with the tides of time and place. She is always using her hands to create and puts her learned skills into action, making magic out of the moment. 

She has always had a calling to work with children and it has been words ringing in the wind through the mouths of her loved ones and community since she stepped into her adulthood. It was not until she had a little one of her own that she then felt the clear opportunity to pursue this passion and interest for the youths’ development. The sweet and precious space of life beginning. After the birth of her first child and the encouragement of her local community she started holding space for playgroups and meet ups. Opening her home to others and engulfing her time with knowledge of social and emotional development in children, nannying and cultivating community around the youth. Gathering for seasonal crafts, events and meals. She also had the opportunity to lead a whimsical summer camp the last two years for 3-6 year olds bringing her love and skills for crafts to life. It is part of her journey here on earth to support and help the growth of our future in an honest and sustainable way. Her heart leads the way and where there is community there she will be. 


Ashley Meyer

Otters Assistant Teacher        

Ashley (she/her) is thrilled to join the Otters classroom this year. She is a whimsical educator, believing in curiosity and creativity as the cornerstones of holistic learning. Her teaching journey has spanned over 20 years, ranging from Preschool through 9th grade. Four years ago, she paused her teaching career and plunged into motherhood with the birth of her daughter, Fern, age 5. A few years later, her family further expanded with the addition of twins, Juniper and Cedar, age 3. Parenting has truly shown her that each child is incredibly unique and precious. 

Ashley’s passion for teaching started in early high school when she volunteered to teach German at neighboring elementary schools. Ever since, she has worked with kids in some capacity. She holds a Masters degree in Education and has taught at a Montessori preschool, spent a year teaching English in South Korea, taught middle school math and art, and 5th grade math and science. Most recently, she opened a small Pre-K program in Seattle. These varied experiences have sparked a passion for equity work and a commitment to focus on narratives from people of color. She is excited to add the wisdom of parenthood to her educational toolkit to create a learning environment full of wonder, trust, and love. 

Ashley enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves hiking, dancing, and reading books about anti-racism, feminism, and fiction. She cooks a lot and experiments with baking healthy gf/df treats, free of refined sugar. Her favorite places on Orcas are Crescent Beach, Mountain Lake, and Lum Farm. She is grateful to live on this beautiful land and to be a part of this heartfelt community.


Monee Harrington

Cedars Assistant Teacher    

Monee (rhymes with Bonnie) (she/her), has always loved learning. She has experienced a multitude of learning environments including homeschool, private religious schools, and public education. She found that bits and pieces of each educational style spoke to her, and she combines those elements into how she approaches teaching and learning alongside the tiny humans. While it took a while to find her way in to the classroom, it is absolutely where she is meant to be. Teaching has become a source of joy in her life and she looks forward to seeing “her kids” all around the island, whether in the classroom, the dance hall, or the grocery store! Monee has a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology with her focus areas on Evolutionary Biology and Archaeology. Her primary focus was maternity, parenting, and childrearing through an evolutionary lens, and the peoples who populated the American deserts of the southwest. She received awards for her research studies in psychology, statistics, and even a poster presentation on co-sleeping! Monee is planning to get her Masters in Education. When not at the ‘Berry, Monee enjoys spending time with her daughter and their menagerie of pets, hiking around Cascade Lake with their dog, being a dance mom, and listening to records with the windows open.

Carie Lou Gottschaldt

Eagles Assistant Teacher                                                                                                    

Carie Lou Gottschaldt (she/her) is the assistant teacher in the Eagle’s class.  Carie Lou was raised on a farm in the Midwest where she tended land and animals.  As an adult, she broadened her mind and palette through immersion within the plethora of cultures, languages and foods of Houston, Chicago and Ann Arbor.  Her studies in English, biology, botany and teaching have become galvanized by her experiences as a youth mentor, preschool teacher, K-12 substitute teacher, nanny and mother (Gabe, 26 years old).  Since 2015, she has made Orcas her home and wakes up every day more grateful and more in love with the land, her partner, her island family and life.  Storytelling through poetry, prose, theater and song has been her passion for over forty years.  Her thoughts on storytelling and teaching are summed up by the quote, “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon” (Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings).  She enjoys challenging herself to achieve one-fourth the flexibility of Bruce Lee, half the lung capacity of Édith Piaf, and the entire manifestation of one of her stories into a masterpiece.


Hayley Shannon

Dance Specialist                                                                                                    

A Michigan native, Hayley (she/her) comes to Orcas Island by way of Seattle after earning a degree in dance at Michigan State University. Frustrated by the disparity of access to dance as well as society’s notion of what a “dancer” is, Hayley worked to expand the notion of dance to its original form of embodied expression that brings healing and joy to every being. Hayley has lead workshops nationally and internationally, collaborating with non-profits, studios, schools, shelters, festivals, retreats, conferences and more. She believes healing arts will support the collective deepening of roots, re-sourcing bodies to embody the resiliency to blossom with the strength and interconnectedness all people crave. The lesson she continue to find is: show up. Our bodies will guide us back to the wisdom within.


Laura Black

Assistant Head of School

Laura (she/her) joined the Salmonberry staff in 2013 as a classroom assistant for the intermediate grades as well as the school’s Spanish Language Teacher.  When motherhood prompted a shift in roles she accepted the position as Salmonberry’s Asst. Head of  School, acting as enrollment coordinator and head of summer programs, 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. In her free time, Laura enjoys running the roads and trails around Orcas and plying the waters of the island’s lakes and surrounding Salish Sea with her family.

Board of Trustees

Miramonee Harrington, Board Chair

Paul Freedman, Ex Officio

Jen Edington, Treasurer

Maeanna Whitridge, Secretary

Louis Prussack, Trustee

Jessica Fleming, Trustee

Laurie Racicot, Trustee

Marshall Sebring, Trustee