Michele Hunt is one of the co-founders of the Anansi Charter School
and she works passionately and tirelessly to further the quality and
unique education that the Anansi Charter School offers. Michele has
degrees and training in early childhood development, elementary education,
educational leadership, and more. She loves her work with the children,
parents, and staff that make up the Anansi community. In her free time
she enjoys the company of her husband and son, and the beauty of the
natural environment where she plays on her skis, her bike, her boat,
and her feet.
Toni Prothero is new to northern New Mexico, coming to Taos from Seattle,
WA via Flagstaff, AZ where she worked as outreach and education director
at an animal shelter. She holds a BA in anthropology and an MA in teaching
from the University of Washington. She did her teacher training
at California State University Los Angeles and has been an educator
since 1985. Toni has recently passed the NM Spanish language proficiency
exam for teachers and will be teaching Spanish to Anansi kindergartners.
She enjoys hiking with her husband and two dogs and shares a passion
with the former for history, art, cinema and politics. Toni has a clicker
trained rabbit named Pea Pod.
Assistant: Gina Cerruto
I was born and raised in New York. After graduating with a business
degree from the University of Massachusetts I worked for an advertising
agency in New York City. I went on to receive a Masters in Finance from
Boston College, after which I spent many years working for large
corporations including Benetton and Lipton. I eventually left the
business world and entered the teaching profession, a decision
I had been considering for many years. I was licensed in Massachusetts
and spent most of my teaching career in pres-school working with three,
four, and five year olds. My family and I moved to Taos in the fall
of 2007 and have been enjoying all the area has to offer. I am happy
to be working with the Kindergartners and thrilled to be part of the
Anansi family. In my free time I like to go hiking with my daughters,
my husband, and our white Labrador named Marley. I also enjoy curling
up with a good book and my two cats; George and Bobby.
First Grade Teacher:
Tammy Dobbs has been with Anansi Charter School since its beginning
and has taught for many years. She has taught Kindergarten and is currently
teaching First Grade. Her successes as a teacher have been enhanced
by her theater background.
First Grade Educational
Assistant & Primary Grade Library Facilitator: Waltraud I. Kuerschner-Burton
My family and I have lived in the Taos for 35 years. The diversity of
community and place has made it extraordinary to raise a family here.
My education and training is in Early Childhood Education, with a focus
on the multi-cultural aspect of this discipline. I am a licensed Ne
Mexico teacher who has taught in the Taos community for 12 years. This
is my fifth year at Anansi Charter School.
Second Grade Teacher:
I was born and raised in Taos. I studied education at the University
of New Mexico in Albuquerque. I taught with Albuquerque Public Schools
for five years and then returned to Taos to raise my children near their
grandparents. I live with my husband and my two beautiful children.
When I am not working I enjoy being with my family, exercising, shopping
and reading good books. I love teaching and working with the wonderful
children at Anansi Charter School.
Third Grade Teacher:
My name is Nancy Stotts wife, mother and teacher. I moved to New Mexico
in 1983 after graduating from Evergreen State College in Washington
State. I had to get out of the rain! Once here, I realized I wanted
to get certified to teach, so I moved to Santa Fe and attended The College
of Santa Fe. I then moved to Taos where I got my first teaching job
at Taos Valley School, thinking I would just be here a year! Lo and
behold over twenty years later I am still doing what I love at Anansi.
The children I taught when I first started teaching are now having children
of their own! I enjoy living and teaching in a community where you can
watch former students grow up and become adults. It is wonderful to
be a part of so many lives.
Fourth Grade Teacher:
Welcome to Anansi! I have been teaching in both public and private schools
since 1997. My Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education is from
Greensboro College, and my Masters of Arts in Special Education is from
New Mexico Highlands University. I completed Montessori training for
ages 6-9 through the North American Center for Montessori Education,
and I received Montessori training for ages 9-12 at the Princeton Center
for Teacher Education. I love the challenge of creating lessons and
activities to match individual learning styles encountered each school
Fifth Grade Teacher:
Getting to teach Anansi Charter Schools 5th graders is like winning
the lottery to Elsbeth. She can't imagine a better way to spend her
days. After years of teaching outdoor science classes and park rangering
– here in Taos and around the west, Elsbeth is happy to share
her experiences and passions with the students of Anansi. Each day,
she tries to balance the classroom with loads of fun, plenty of hard
work, and a sprinkling of silliness! Besides hanging out with 5th graders,
Elsbeth enjoys many things: time with her family, hikes in the mountains,
frequent naps, incredible sunsets, and her secret life as a birdwatcher.
Spanish Teacher: Philip
Handmaker (aka Señor Felipe)
Raised outside of Albuquerque, Señor Felipe heard Spanish a lot
as a child and studied it in high school. He earned degrees in Linguistics
from the University of California, Santa Cruz and Georgetown University,
then worked with indigenous teacher-education programs in Guatemala
and Peru. After teaching fifth grade in bilingual immersion schools
in Virginia for a few years, he came to New Mexico with his wife
Brooke Zanetell and has been teaching Spanish at Anansi since 2005.
Dennis Hedges is a long-time Taos educator with over 30 years experience
working with Taos students from the Kindergarten to the University level.
He has a NM Master Level Instructional Leader K-12 Teaching Certificate
with additional endorsements in Bilingual Ed (Spanish) and teaching
ESL. He holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from the University
of Iowa where he also studied in their renowned creative writing program.
Along with his Anansi Enhancement students, Hedges also teaches math
and education classes at UNM-Taos. In addition to his teaching, he has
also been the coach for over 20 years of the highly successful Taos
Knighthawks Chess Team which has won numerous State and National Championships.
Among his interests and passions, Hedges lists traveling to Spanish-speaking
countries, soccer, mountain biking, time with his family, chess, Latin
American film and literature and exploring innovative forms of education.
Teacher: Janet Gabriel
I've taught elementary school, been a camp counselor and community leader
for decades. I have been delighted and challenged to be an Anansi teacher
for the past five years. My students are an inspiration to me for their
strength and endurance in their quest to develop their talents, skills
and conquer their fears around learning. I keep myself challenged by
studying Haitian and Cuban folkloric dance and song.
Library/Computer Lab Facilitator & RTI Teacher: Margarita Maes
Hello! My name is Margarita C. Maes. I am very excited to work with
your children. My philosophy for learning is that each child is unique,
and each child learns in a different way. I define teaching this way:
"To learn and never be filled, is wisdom; to teach and never be
weary, is love". (Old latin proverb).