katy gautsch / Head of school
Katy joined the MVCS team with more than 13 years experience helping families navigate the complex systems of special education and the Department of Health and Human Services. As a coordinator for a diagnostic child development clinic in Central and Southern NH, she managed teams of providers, conducted home visits and observations, spent countless hours in classrooms all over the state working with students and school teams to ensure appropriate educational goals were being set and met.
Katy is a founding parent of MVCS and has worked diligently since 2012 to ensure the continued success of the school. Since opening, Katy has been closely involved in all aspects of the school’s operations, has authored many key policies, and consulted regularly with those serving in the Head of School position. She believes in the mission of MVCS wholeheartedly. Katy lives in Rumney with her husband, Josh, son Emmit, who is a MVCS student, and daughter Olive.
Alfie-eden kerr / program administrator
Alfie joined Mountain Village Charter School with 20 years of education experience. She holds a B.S. in Early Child Development and Young Child Education and graduated from the University of New Hampshire. Over the years, Alfie has helped develop education programs for Georgetown University, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency, National Science Foundation, and Head Start. Alfie believes in a shared vision of a world in which "ALL children play, learn, and grow with nature in their everyday.” Alfie is dedicated to supporting MVCS as it continues to grow and stepped in for the 2016-2017 school year and lead as the Interim Head of School. Alfie currently lives in Plymouth NH with her wife, their yellow lab, English bulldog and 2 cats. She enjoys rock climbing and skijoring with her dog.
Lower Elementary Faculty
1st to 3rd grades
brianna frost / lead teacher
Brianna grew up in New Hampshire and is a member of our founding staff. Brianna earned her Masters degree in Education with a Montessori concentration at Plymouth State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Studies (from PSU), a State of New Hampshire teaching license for grades Kindergarten through 8th grade and is a certified Lower Elementary teacher. Before coming to MVCS she worked for three years at a Montessori School in Littleton, NH.
Brianna continues to explore and learn alongside the adventurous children who spend their days here at MVCS. When Brianna isn't enjoying her time educating her students, she spends time traveling with her husband, Nick. During the school year Brianna lives in Thornton with her husband and their dog, Moxie. In the summer they enjoy van life in the van Nick converted into a cozy home on wheels.
olivia casey / assistant teacher
Olivia, a native to New Hampshire, grew up playing throughout the White Mountains. Her fondness for spending time in the outdoors and appreciation for nature led her to Plymouth State University. There she earned a Bachelor of Science in Adventure Education and is also a certified Wilderness First Responder. Having worked for various outdoor education programs, she has grown to love how rewarding the experience of learning in nature can be for children. Prior to finding MVCS, it was her work with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center in Colorado, that was one of her most memorable teaching experiences. It was at the BOEC where she was a part of making learning and adventuring in the outdoors possible for people of all ages and abilities, through adaptive recreation. Olivia currently lives in the heart of the White Mountains and in her free time enjoys paddling, rock climbing and hiking throughout her local mountains and rivers.
Dawn Grant / lead teacher
Dawn is a New Hampshire native (hometown- Bristol). She has had a variety of experiences and several years of working with young children. Her passion for education was realized while teaching English as a Second Language in South Korea, where she lived for three years.
Most recently, Dawn earned an Masters degree in Education from Antioch University New England. She has a passion for place-based and inquiry-based education, and completed her Montessori training in the summer of 2017. When Dawn isn’t pursuing her love of traveling, she most enjoys cooking, vegetable gardening, and spending time with friends and family (which includes her 3 cats).
madeline zukowski / assistant teacher
Growing up in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire Madeline holds a deep appreciation for the woods, water, and mountains that surround her home. Madeline attended Lyndon State College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a focus on Sustainable Agriculture. Following graduation Madeline spent a year at NorthWoods Stewardship Center where she led outdoor adventure trips and delivered environmental education programs to students all across northern Vermont. It is during her time at NorthWoods, teaching kids about being stewards of our natural environment, which sparked her interest in being an educator.
Moving back to the White Mountains Madeline has found Mountain Village Charter School to be an ideal space to continue on her path of nature based education. When Madeline is not in the classroom she is often walking the banks of a river in search of wild trout, rolling down a winding path on her mountain bike, or sliding on snow through the woods.
upper elementary faculty
4th to 6th grades
kelsey gadwah / lead teacher
Kelsey grew up in New Hampshire, born into a family of farmers, carpenters and animal lovers. Kelsey graduated from Keene State University holding a degree in business management. She is due to complete her Master’s program from Plymouth State University with a degree in Elementary Education in the winter of 2018. Kelsey most recently taught as an Intermediate Tier Teacher leading a multi-age classroom in all aspects of education including: developing literacy instruction for beginning and advanced readers and creating science curriculum for grades 3 and 4.
Kelsey has been a certified lifeguard for 15 years and a certified swim instructor or 7 years. Kelsey currently gives back to the community by volunteering as a mentor for the Circle Program and leading a Girl Scout troop in Rumney. Kelsey has been the camp instructor for the Junior Lego Camp, Lego Engineering Camp and Mindstorm at PSU for the past 3 summers. Working with children ages 7-13 she continues to develop her love of science through building and design and in turn, sharing that passion with children and adolescents. Kelsey has honed her love of “all things outdoors” over the years (hiking, swimming, snow shoeing etc) and is thrilled with the opportunity to expand her teaching into MVCS’s outdoor classrooms and beyond!
Allison savage / assistant teacher
Allie earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Plymouth State University in Environmental Science and Policy with Minors in Anthropology and Geography. She holds her Montessori Assistant Teacher certificate and is a Wilderness First Responder.
Allie has been an Assistant teacher at MVCS in both the Upper Elementary and Lower Elementary classrooms and has a passion for engaging young folks in the natural world.
paul richards / lead teacher
Paul grew up in the town of Northwood, NH. He grew up exploring the forests of his hometown as well as the White Mountains. Family camping trips near Mt. Washington were a regular thing each year. Paul has a sister and niece who live in New Mexico and parents who live in Maine, as well as many other close family and friends near and far. With the unique experience of spending his high school days in the southwest of California, Paul learned a great appreciation for the variation of ecosystems that exist from one part of the world to the next. Growing up in both the northeast and the southwest of the country offered an interesting perspective.
Moving back to the northeast led Paul to find a home within the White Mountains and Lakes Region of New Hampshire. For many years, seasonal work as a Forestry Technician within the Forest Service and as AASI Certified Snowboard Instructor led Paul into his true passions, the outdoors and teaching. During that time Paul enrolled at Plymouth State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Studies degree. For the past five years, Paul has been teaching math in the 8th grade, worked on Squam Lake during the summer, and worked part time teaching snowboarding at Pat's Peak and Ragged Mountain.
mary doyle / assistant teacher
Mary is passionate about helping children of all ages connect deeply to nature. Her own nature connection journey formally began in 1993 while studying at Tom Brown’s Tracker School. She was hooked and soon after continued her studies with Wilderness Awareness School and 8 Shields programs.
Mary has worked as a classroom teacher and an environmental educator in public and private schools and nonprofit organizations for 15 years. She holds English, Psychology and secondary education degrees from Alma College and Central Michigan University and is a NH certified Language Arts teacher. She is currently working on her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from PSU.
Mary is also a MVCS parent and is so thankful for the opportunities it has afforded her daughter and all its students. She lives on a beautiful, old farm in Warren with her husband John and daughter Joanna where she loves to practice yoga, garden, cross country ski and sit under her special tree and listen to the birds.
Middle School faculty
7th and 8th grades
cristina larue / lead teacher
Cristina leads the Brook Trout class with a passion for nature-based and inquiry-driven education. She enjoys integrating ecological literacy across content areas and embraces place-based practices. She holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from Case Western Reserve University, an M.Ed from John Carroll University, and an MS in Ecological Teaching & Learning from Lesley University. Cristina is licensed in early childhood, early childhood special education, and elementary education in the state of New Hampshire. Prior to teaching at Mountain Village Cristina taught 3rd/4th grade multi-age at a project based charter school on Martha's Vineyard. She has also held a number of positions in the environmental education field including Education Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Education Director on a non-profit teaching farm, and elementary science teacher at the Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut.
Cristina currently serves as the President of New Hampshire Environmental Educators and enjoys advocating for environmental literacy and place-based ecological education.
Cristina grew up spending summers on Squam Lake and lives in Holderness with her husband and young son. She enjoys reading, kayaking, playing classical piano, and birding, and her favorite animal is a snail.
zoe kay / assistant teacher
Zoe grew up on the Seacoast of New Hampshire and is now going on her fifth year of living in the beautiful White Mountain region. This has given her a huge appreciation for the diverse and abundant beauty of NH! Zoe graduated from Plymouth State University holding a bachelor’s degree in English and is currently a Graduate student due to complete her Masters of English Education from PSU in the winter of 2019. During her time at PSU, Zoe was also able to serve as the president of the only all-female A Cappella group on campus and be a member of the chamber choir allowing her to travel as far as South Korea with the group! Her passion for education, freedom of expression, and using nature as inspiration led Zoe to MVCS.
Zoe most recently taught in Plymouth, in a multi-level classroom working with students with history of trauma in an enhanced residential treatment facility. She has also acted as a counselor and mentor for the New Hampshire Young Writers Institute Summer Program.
When Zoe is not in the classroom, you can find her with her bulldog Rosie, practicing yoga, writing poetry, picking wildflowers, swimming, or hiking!
danielle Zecker-Hannon /
student assistance program
Danielle Zecker-Hannon is passionate about using creative arts, movement and nature as a vehicle to help kids navigate challenging socio-emotional issues. Danielle is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist and completed her Master’s degree in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling Psychology from Antioch University in 2006. She has worked with Elementary, Middle and High school students in NH as a Creative Arts Therapist and as a director of a Student Assistance Program. She is also a certified Yoga and Pilates teacher, and currently teaches at Plymouth State University and Synergy Dance School. In addition to counseling and teaching, Danielle is a dance choreographer, creating dances and teaching master classes for students across NH and beyond. Her love of Nature and the outdoors runs deep as well, as Danielle was an outdoor educator for many years before having children and is still a Registered Maine Guide. She loves to share her passion for nature and the outdoors, as well as dance and movement with her three daughters (which are all students at MVCS)! She also loves to garden, hike, ski and find quiet meditation time outside. After volunteering for the past two years, Danielle is very excited to join the MVCS team part time!!
ashley rouillard / art teacher, after school program lead
Ashley grew up in the inner city of Manchester, NH and is one of the first in her family to attend and graduate college. Throughout her time during her Undergraduate studies, she took advantage of all the opportunities presented to her. Studying abroad in Florence, Italy her junior year, she was a buskin, drawing portraits and learning the Italian language and art skills from the finest. She also volunteered at Canadian Island ,a nursery school that taught English and art skills. Ashley completed her junior year in Arcata, California where she participated in the National Student Exchange program at Humboldt State University. There she fine-tuned her art and adventure education skills at the beaches and mountains of CA. In 2010, Ashley completed her B.A. in Art and Adventure Education with a concentration in Painting at PSU.
In 2015, Ashley began her Master’s in Art Education and Farming at PSU. Throughout her Master studies, Ashley was a regular substitute and after-school teacher at MVCS. In 2019, Ashley completed her M.A. in Teaching from PSU and is excited to share her love of art and adventure skills with all age groups as the first MVCS Art Teacher! She loves children and nature, and she is a flower and veggie gardener who enjoys the mountains, animals and seasons!
Photos by Kimberly Davis