Meet our Team
SARAH SCHUMACHER, Program Director
I am honored to be part of the growing movement to reconnect families and young children to nature, and even more delighted to be part of a developing preschool community committed to preserving the joy and wonder of childhood. As a mother, I continue to reflect daily on what it means for children to be living and growing in our modern world. As an educator, I am inspired by the nobility young children have for teaching us, as adults, how to play again – how to enjoy simple moments, live in the present, and experience the world with all of our senses.
I hold an MS in Developmental Neuroscience from Yale University and a Graduate Certificate in Infant Mental Health from the University of Washington. For the past 20 years I have been working as an Early Childhood Consultant in the Puget Sound area, educating families, preschools, childcares, public health, and social service agencies on the social and emotional needs of young children.
I enjoy gardening, bird-watching, and cooking for my family and friends and raising up my three children, Ella (age 6), Hudson (age 4), and Arlo (age 2.)
JOANN O’MEARA, Forest School Teacher
I was lucky to grow up spending time in two beautiful countries. In Ireland, some of my favorite childhood memories included climbing – either to the top of a very tall hill or a small mountain – I loved seeing how things looked from above! In France, I would spend my days on the beach drawing pictures in the sand, constructing shelters, and swimming until my hands were as wrinkly as prunes.
Since graduating from the National College of Art and Design with a BA in Fine Art, I have had the pleasure of teaching children from all over the world. Locally, I’ve worked at both the Bellevue Arts Museum as a summer art instructor and the Tahoma Children’s Museum as an art docent and teacher. What amazes me about the young students I have worked with is there ability to bring me, as their teacher, back to the moments where I saw the world for the first time. They find and notice infinite beauty in the smallest parts of nature. I want to protect that ability and inspire creativity for all children from their earliest beginnings.
CRISTIN DAVIS, Farm School Teacher
As a young girl, there were two things I wanted most; to find buried treasure and to have my own secret garden. I remember gathering my tools and hand drawn map in a backpack, and heading outside and digging in the dirt to find worms. Now, my three sons have carried on this tradition. I am thrilled to be part of an organization that fosters in children the natural sense of adventure, curiosity and love for the outdoors that I grew up with.
I hold a BA in Human Services. For the past 10 years my passion and focus has been helping children and families thrive. I value lifelong education on an individual level and especially as a parent to my three curious, adventurous boy – Cooper (age 14), Kye (age 7), and Griffon (age 4.) I continue to volunteer my time working in preschool, elementary, and now middle school classrooms, as well as parent education. My parenting philosophy takes root in positive discipline and respecting our children as capable human beings.
In addition to spending time with my family, I enjoy gardening, writing, baking, playing my guitar, dancing, biking and hiking.
BRAD DUPEA, Forest School Teacher
I am an outgoing and loving individual motivated by helping others to reach their potential. I first began trying to do this through coaching nine-year-olds in the game of soccer, weaving in the concepts of teamwork, dependability, discipline, listening, and physical activity into one. When I graduated from Linfield College with a BA in Athletic Training, I began working at Tacoma Public Schools where I educated athletes on prevention, treatment, and recovery from injuries while overseeing their safety at sporting events. Through Liberal Arts education and my Minor in Philosophy I also became passionate about spreading love and knowledge of the natural world and instilling a spirit of individuality and respect in our future generations.
As I feel it is important to remain a student in life, I admire children’s natural ability to live in the present moment; remaining curious, seeing the beauty in everything, never afraid to say what is on their mind. This beautiful awareness combined with the natural world and hands-on play provides a fertile environment for self-discovery. I am grateful to be part of a movement dedicated to providing children with outdoor experiences capable of molding them into responsible, active, loving citizens.
My interests include soccer, camping, snowboarding, meditation, reading, and Reiki.
MEGAN PYLE, Forest School Teacher
I absolutely love Washington and was lucky enough to grow up in Maple Valley. My childhood was spent riding horses, wading in ponds, and exploring the beautiful forests of the Pacific Northwest. I believe that discovering a connection with the Earth helps build connections to each other and to ourselves.
I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a BA in Psychology and an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. Since 2003, I have had the privilege of working as an early childhood educator for Educare, in Seattle, WA. My favorite part of being a teacher is experiencing the wonder and magic that children can bring to an ordinary day.
I live in my hometown of Maple Valley with my husband Chris, our daughter Charley (age 5), and our dogs and cats – two of each. In my spare time I love reading, photography, going to the beach, and playing games.
ERICA WITTGOW, Farm School Teacher
Growing up in Puget Sound provided me a love of water and the outdoors. My family spent countless days on our boat, exploring our favorite marinas or discovering new coves. The freedom of wandering beaches, net in hand, set me on a lifelong path of enjoying both the quiet and adventurous moments nature offers us. Now that I am a mother, I seek to find ways to provide this open exploring to our son, Cooper (age 7.)
I hold a degree in Early Childhood Special Education and continue to advocate on behalf of children of all abilities. In my work, I hope to support all children in finding joy and connection to nature and each other.