The key is curiosity, and it is curiosity, not answers that we model. - Vivian Paley
Brandyn earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Grove City College, with a concentration in math and science. She taught high school science at a private school in Ohio (i.e. biology, chemistry, physics and physical science), directed a science fair, and loves to inspire children to revel in the intricacies of nature. She is currently earning her master's degree from the University of Washington in Library and Information Science and is passionate about empowering Magnolia staff and students through knowledge creation and management strategies.
Brandyn believes that all children are innately artists, initiators of originality, and is dedicated to fostering this in their very first experiences at school. She has an extensive background in early childhood dance education and was the Artistic Director at Aspire Academy of Expressive Arts in Sequim, prior to moving to Kitsap County. When inspiring children to dance, sing, and make music in forest school, she draws on her certification in American Ballet Theatre’s® National Training Curriculum, Music Together™, and the Brain Dance Method.
Brandyn is the mother of three children, ages 13, 10, and 8. She is championed by her husband of 16 years, a well-loved high school teacher and coach.
Jenny holds a Masters in Early Childhood and Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University and a BFA in Art Education (PreK-12) from Baylor University. She began her teaching career 24 years ago in a small Arkansas town and has since taught ages preschool-college in Arkansas, Texas, and Washington States.
Jenny is a fierce advocate for a child’s right to play and believes that a play-based program provides the best opportunity for young children to learn self-regulation, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. There is empirical evidence that shows that social-emotional development is the leading indicator of long-term school success and that is what informs her position as an educator. Her goal is to graduate children from Magnolia who are not only successful academically, but who are empathetic and kind human beings. She is a teacher first and believes that the outdoor environment is an ideal place for a child’s imagination to soar and relationships to flourish.
Jenny has two children, Jackson and Grace, and two stepsons, Connor and Sean. The oldest three are currently attending college and her daughter, Grace, is a recent high school graduate. Her husband, Bob, supplies her with constant love and laughter.
Carissa graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Television, Film, and New Media Production. After embarking on a solo journey across the country, she found herself longing to protect the outdoors she holds so dear and is now pursuing a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences.
She has spent her life surrounded by children and takes great joy in watching their curiosity thrive from their own playful imagination. It's her goal to help guide children on their path of development through play-based learning in hopes of a brighter future.
Carissa has recently moved to Washington and is elated about all the wonderful adventures the Northwest has to offer.
Jeanie studied education at Central Washington University, where she earned double Bachelor degrees in Elementary and Special Education. She previously taught 5th grade at Sakai Intermediate School on Bainbridge Island. Jeanie has worked with students from preschool through high school, including homeschooling her own two children.
Outdoor education provides such an immense opportunity to learn. She loves how naturally curious and creative children are and loves exploring deeper what children are interested in. Magnolia provides a beautiful opportunity for children to learn, grow, create, and build relationships that will carry them with confidence through their further education.
Jeanie loves spending time outdoors hiking, paddle boarding, and taking pictures with her two teenagers and husband.
Laura grew up in Poulsbo. She received her bachelor's degree in Geology from Whitman College. She moved back to this area because of how much she loves the local environment. She has worked at various camps and has taught outdoor environmental education, team building and ropes course classes. She also coached a local high school swim team. Most recently she has worked as a land surveyor which has given her the wonderful opportunity of seeing many hidden gems in Kitsap County.
Laura loves working outdoors and has an interest in education and nurturing children's development. Magnolia has all of these aspects. Laura enjoys the opportunity to watch children explore and discover their surroundings and their inner curiosity and love for play in nature.
Laura lives with her husband and two girls, ages 5 and 12. She enjoys gardening, trail running, hiking, CrossFit, and reading.
Born and raised in small-town Iowa, Taylor has always been fascinated by the ability of the environment to influence how we develop, think, and feel. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture with a minor in psychology and a Masters of Landscape Architecture with an emphasis on environmental psychology, both from Iowa State University. In graduate school, her research focused on risky play, the psychological and developmental benefits of time spent in green spaces for children, and the potentiality of time spent in green spaces as additional treatment for children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She is a member of the International Play Association, a worldwide organization that works to support a child’s right to play, and she continues to write and do research in her spare time.
Taylor has spent much of her life working with children, and she strives to continue to see the world with the wonder and excitement of a child. She loves to play and spend time in nature, is a passionate musician, and runs a small photography business with her younger sister. She is excited to be immersed in Washington’s natural beauty!
Jason currently teaches history at Kingston High School and has served the community in various coaching positions, elementary to high school age athletes. He worked at YMCA Camp Fitch in Erie, PA for 6 years and held various roles such as the program director for rock climbing, archery and canoeing and the outdoor education director (i.e. orienteering, reptiles, lake studies). He has been a mentor to many and considers it a privilege to be able to work with youth of all ages.
Jason greatly values the potential that each child has to initiate their own learning in a rich outdoor environment. He is excited to be on board with Magnolia Forest Adventures.
Jason grew up in Ohio and has lived in the PNW with his family for 12 years. He enjoys hiking, disc golfing, kayaking and camping with his wife and three children, ages 13, 10, and 8.
Alyssa is a Pacific Northwest native and loves all the forest has to offer young children’s development. She is earning a BA in early childhood education through Western Washington University. Upon completion, she hopes to become a certified special education paraeducator.
When Alyssa's first niece was born with a developmental disorder called Cornelia de Lange syndrome, she began a journey to become an educator. This had a huge impact on Alyssa’s life and is what impassioned her to work with young children. She is intrigued by the neurological growth and development in children, especially the correlation between imaginative play and brain stimulation. Alyssa believes that the growing independence of young minds is what drives their future success.
Lucas is a student at Olympic College and a junior in high school being schooled at home. He is an aspiring artist who is fascinated with the curiosity and intelligence of young children. His favorite part of being at Magnolia is the imaginative play among the kids.
Lucas has participated in Kitsap Children's Muiscal Theater for four years and has held lead roles in Elf, The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast. He is an amateur ukulele player and enjoys bringing it to school to share with the students.
Grace is a recent graduate of Wilson High School and will be attending school in the fall to study Veterinary Technology. This is her third year teaching at summer camp, and she loves seeing the kids push their physical limits and grow in their social and emotional development.
Grace loves to dance and sing. She was awarded the Outstanding Scintillation Show Choir Student in 2020. She enjoys spending time with her five dogs including Hayden, her recent rescue dog from Taiwan.
We would love to meet you! On Tuesdays, we often invite families to come visit. You can meet the teachers, check out the facilities and get a taste for the Magnolia Forest School experience. Schedule your visit today!Schedule Visit
Forest school can be the perfect fit for so many children because it is uniquely tailored to support their strengths and interests. We look forward to connecting with you and your child further. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and hope to see you in the forest soon!