Anansi is fortunate to have exceptional teachers and other staff members who are passionate about teaching children.
We believe in working as a strong team.


School Director: Michele Hunt
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. 
 

Kindergarten Teacher: Toni Prothero
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. 
 

Kindergarten Eduational 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
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: Blue MacHardy
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: Nancy Stotts
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: Kendra Peralta
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 year. 
 

Fifth Grade Teacher: Elsbeth Atencio
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. 
 

Enhancement Teacher: Dennis Hedges
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. 
 

Special 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. 
 

Intermediate Grade 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).