BOARD OF TRUSTEES
As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Springhouse Community School is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board meets monthly to establish policy and review the functioning of the school.
Kim O’Donnell is a retired Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as both a public defender and a prosecutor in Richmond, Virginia. During her legal career, she served on the boards of various non-profits, including the Richmond CASA program, the Prison Visitation Project, and the YWCA of Greater Richmond. She has also served on the Advisory Board of Visitors for Mary Baldwin College and was a member of the McArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. In addition to her undergraduate and law degrees, she has a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University.
Nick and his wife, Susan, are the parents of six children and the grandparents of five, with another on the way. As parents, a lifelong involvement with education and learning has been a primary focus of the Fairhurst family. Nick has been involved with school boards and governorships in the UK and the US since the early 1990’s. A naval architect by training, Nick specialized in traditional construction techniques for sailing ships classed as school ships and working vessels fabricated in steel, aluminum, and advanced composites. Through his profession with the maritime environment, he has been responsible for helping develop an ongoing understanding of the benefits of experiential education since 1978. As a board member of the American Sail Training Association/Tall Ships America, he was able to promote and extend the benefits of education under sail globally. As a result of the design and construction of his ship and boat building facility on a disused quarry in the Highlands of Scotland, he was recognized in 1983 as one of the 20 leading British young entrepreneurs that was awarded an intensive study and research program by leading British-American business schools and industry leaders wanting to develop a better understanding of entrepreneurship internationally. Consequently, he formed the Vital Spark Initiative to advocate entrepreneurship education for youth in 1984. An active member and past president of Rotary and First United Methodist Church Leadership team in Hillsville, VA, he also currently leads the SWVA Economic Forums Youth in Action and Opportunity SWVA Junior Entrepreneurial Development Initiative action teams.
Andrew Callister moved to Floyd County from Australia with his wife and three children in 2018, drawn to the vibrancy of this community and the educational opportunity offered by Springhouse Community School. Andrew’s children have formerly been home-schooled and attended a Waldorf School, and he is a passionate supporter of holistic education. Andrew holds a degree in Forest Science and a Ph.D. in Tree Genetics and Physiology. He is self-employed as a forestry research consultant specialising in tree breeding, applied research, and carbon sequestration. An avid environmentalist, Andrew also enjoys hiking, canoeing, writing, and music.
Colleen moved to Floyd seven years ago with her husband to find land and community, and here she found both. She received her Bachelors of Science in Childhood Education from SUNY Geneseo and has a certification in Middle School Math. Colleen has taught many different age levels from third to eighth grade, and from this experience she has been able to fine-tune her beliefs about education and learning. She has two children and enjoys the freedom and responsibility of homeschooling them. Colleen believes that part of the learning process is struggle, building resiliency, learning critical thinking skills, and finding your own creativity. Colleen has a growing interest in herbs and using them for medicine and healing. She also enjoys hiking and continuing to learn about gardening and permaculture practices.
Jon and his family are recent transplants from the frozen tundra of Minneapolis, MN. In their quest for a small town living, they landed in SW Virginia where Jon traded his snow blower for a tractor. Because holistic education has always been of the utmost importance to Jon and his wife, Kim, they have been homeschooling for many years and strive to create an environment where creativity, individual exploration, and expression is fully supported. Jon is excited to help with Springhouse’s growth as many of the ideals he holds are also part of the school’s values and pillars.
Jon holds a BA in Accounting/Finance from Gettysburg College. He is a senior leader within a major healthcare company where he focuses on healthcare information technology in the clinical area. Jon enjoys all things cycling as well as spending time outdoors with his family.
Skyler is a 15 year old filmmaker and musician from Floyd, Virginia. Skyler has focused from a young age on creativity and expression. After spending 6 years in the public school system, he needed a change, so he came to Springhouse Community School. Now in his 4th year at Springhouse, Skyler is devoted to creating a future where all kids get the opportunity for an educational experience that recognizes their unique gifts. At Springhouse, Skyler has learned about himself and the world around him in so many beautiful ways. He loves the way he is respected and invited into maturity by his mentors at Springhouse.
Betty was born in Agana, Guam (her father was stationed at the US Submarine Base there after WWII) and has traveled extensively. Her travels have taken her to England, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, and she has participated on mission teams to the Bahamas, Guatemala and Peru. A life-long “lover of learning,” Betty completed her K-12 education in five public school systems from Washington to Florida. She earned a BA in Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Florida. Betty taught mathematics in Florida and Georgia for over 35 years at six high schools and as an adjunct instructor at NOVA University and Florida Southern College. Betty has sought to inspire a love of learning (and of mathematics) wherever she has lived! She enjoyed coaching Girl’s Cross Country and Track and Field as well as pushing herself athletically, becoming a Tri-athlete and marathoner after the age of 40!
Betty has been married to Dave for 51 years. They have one daughter (Carolyn) and four grandchildren. Betty loves to knit, crochet, cook, sew, garden, hike, and build things! Betty is excited to be a part of Springhouse Community School, where reimagining education is happening!
Tati grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and recently moved to Floyd, Virginia in September 2018. Through all the 15 years of her life, she has been homeschooled with self-led learning until recently starting high school at Springhouse Community School. She has always been interested in education in America, and, more specifically, how it does not meet the needs of children, teenagers, and modern society. She firmly believes in the need to reimagine education and that learners should be involved in all levels of their learning.
Springhouse receives additional support from an advisory board that is composed of education and community building experts
from across North America.
DR. BILL PLOTKIN
Founder, Animus Valley Institute
DR. DAN GREGO
Executive Director, TransCenter for Youth
DR. DAVID GREENWOOD
Place-Based and Holistic Education, Lakehead University
DR. KATHY EVANS
Special Education, Restorative Justice, Eastern Mennonite University
DR. LEN FLEISCHER
Rites of Passage and Ritual, Keene College
MICHAEL J. BLACKWELL
Director, Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center
DR. GREG CAJETE
Director of Native American Studies Program, University of New Mexico
DR. RANDY ZEIGENFUSS
Superintendent, Salisbury Township School District
Assistant Superintendent, Salisbury Township School District
DR. THOMAS J. MERFELD
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, CUNA Mutual Group
Co-Founder, Springhouse Community School
Licensed Professional Counselor, Founder of IBME and the Recovery Dojo
Walk2Connect Coop, Founding Member
Founder and Head of School, St. Elizabeth's School, Denver, Colorado
Community Education Resource Cooperative
Pastor, Bethany Christian Church, Roanoke
DR. MOLEEN MADZIVA
Macheke Sustainability Project
Virginia Tech Faculty
DR. JOHN W. GASKO
Dean of the School of Education, University of North Texas at Dallas
Director of the Living School for Action and Contemplation
Entrepreneur and Innovator