Elsha grew up in Pleasant Grove, Utah, moving to American Fork in 10th grade, where she met her high school sweetheart. They have now been married for 19 years, and together, they have five children. Elsha grew up in a small family with only one sister. They went to an in-home daycare with the most amazing babysitter, who encouraged the children to use their imagination and told them imaginative stories. She modeled homemaking skills and let Elsha help take care of the babies. Elsha adored taking care of the little ones and fell in love with the idea of being a homemaker and mother. She is so grateful for her time at home raising her babies. Elsha has always had a passion for learning and has taught herself many skills with the help of YouTube. She loves to create. She loves creating clean and organized spaces, and she loves to build and create things with wood. She loves doing finish work and creating accent walls. She has built many things, including a fireplace with a mantle and floating shelves in her home, but her all-time favorite hobby is creating Halloween yard decorations out of wood.
After having her fifth and final child, Elsha decided to attend school and become a teacher. She graduated in 2022 and is excited to start kindergarten this year with her daughter. When Elsha discovered Mountain Sunrise Academy, she knew it was meant to be. Mountain Sunrise Academy’s mission emphasizes whole-child education while inspiring the spirit and imagination of each child. Elsha fell in love with this mission statement as it aligns with her dedication to creating an authentic love of learning in each child. She is excited to help nourish and develop each child’s unique capabilities using Waldorf principles.
Jessie was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. At 18 years old, she left the East Coast for the first time to attend Brigham Young University, where she received a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. She later obtained licensure in Early Childhood Special Education from Utah State University. Jessie is passionate about the importance of a child’s earliest years of life and finds joy in nurturing wonder and empowering families to embrace the opportunities of this unique window of childhood. She has had the privilege of teaching in a variety of settings, including early intervention preschool, Head Start, homeschool co-ops, Tinkergarten, Sports Academy Preschool in Logan, Utah, various English language learning programs, and (most importantly) at home with her 3 boys (ages 11, 8, and 6). On a typical day, you can find Jessie out adventuring with her 3 sons. Some of their favorite excursions include hiking, swimming, and exploring nature. They also love to visit museums and search for great books at the library to read together. After living in Peru for 1 ½ years and developing a deep love for its people, language, and culture, Jessie hopes to one day return to adventure there with her boys. Jessie loves children’s literature and storytelling, enjoys musical theater, delights in baking and trying new (mostly vegetarian) recipes, and values sharing the simple beauties that each season of the year brings with her family (although she struggles to fully embrace winter!). Jessie was first introduced to Waldorf education while living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and was immediately drawn to it. She incorporated some of its guiding principles into her home and personal philosophy, and dreamed of one day having the opportunity to embrace it more fully. She is thrilled to be a part of the Mountain Sunrise Academy family and to help educate the heads, hearts, and hands of its incredible students.
Mackie recieved a BA in Songwriting from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her love of elementary school teaching began during her tenure in the GRIT program at Mountain View Elementary in Salt Lake City. It was here that Mackie transfered the skills she had honed as a private instrument viola teacher to the classroom setting and became deeply interested in child psychology and development. As a proponent of the importance of the role of imaginative play for her young students, Mackie loves to utilize storytelling and music to engage her students and jumpstart their creative expression. She recently returned to Utah after teaching K-3rd grade music at St. Johnsbury Elementary in Vermont, and is thrilled to be teaching first grade! Mackie loves to focus on educating the whole child and Mountain Sunrise Academy is a great fit.
Matthew recently traveled through Southeast Asia and Oceania with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and trying new food.
Matthew has worked as an SLT, taught in Taiwan, and most recently worked at a Waldorf school. He is excited to join the Mountain Sunrise Academy team!
Matthew was born in South Africa, grew up in Utah, and has many hobbies. These hobbies include dancing, drums, cooking, meditation, and teaching!
Melissa was born in Huntington Beach, California where she spent her childhood climbing trees, building forts, playing in the waves, and riding her bike to the park to play with friends and go to the amazing library there. In many ways, her childhood learning was similar to Waldorf style education. She graduated from Chapman University in Orange, California with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a Graduate Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential.
Four children and a golden retriever pup named Moose help keep life at home fun and happy for Melissa and her husband, Jeff. Their two youngest children are identical twin boys who have recently returned to Viewpoint Middle School after having been homeschooled for three years.
Melissa has always felt that childhood should be protected, cherished, and celebrated. When it comes to children, she is always ready to lead them in a game, engage in fun hands-on learning, or get to know them better with a lively conversation. Throughout her career, Melissa has taught each of the K-6 grades and loves them all in their variety and uniqueness. Her favorite subjects are art, history, and writing.
When she’s not in the classroom, Melissa enjoys working in her garden, watercolor painting, quilting, hiking, embroidery, reading, baking, and she loves teaching swimming lessons each summer!
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” - Albert Schweitzer
Catherine received a BS of Elementary Education from the University of Utah. She is a level 2 teacher that has spent many years educating children including 5 years as a third grade teacher. Prior to this, she worked as a 7th grade math tutor. She knows that learning is the natural result of doing. For this reason, she creates educational materials that cause students to look for patterns, make connections and delve deeper.
Some of her favorite teaching moments are with her family. She and her husband are the proud parents of eight wonderful children. They enjoy reading together, going on outings and spending time outdoors.
A few of her children’s accomplishments include DECA and FBLA state championships. Catherine is proudest of her family when they work to overcome a challenge.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” –Benjamin Franklin
Miranda is a recent graduate of Western Governor’s University and received her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies K-8. Upon completing her student teaching at Manila Elementary School, she continued to work within the Alpine school district for the past two years as a Substitute Teacher and a Paraprofessional.
Growing up in West Jordan, she met her future husband as a teen (he was the grandson of her next-door neighbor). They later married, moved to Colorado Springs, and lived there for five years, until she moved back to the beautiful mountains of Utah and her family she had missed so much. She has been happily married to her best friend for 21 years, and her three kids are the greatest blessings in her life. She finds peace and tranquility being outdoors, and frequently takes in nature’s beauty…especially in the mountains that she loves so much. Some of her favorite things to do are camping with her family, going for long drives, watching movies and plays, as well as crafting.
When Miranda was first came across Waldorf education, she immediately fell in love with the pedagogy. She knows that each student is unique and has different needs, and that each child thrives in a safe and nurturing learning environment. She wants to ensure that each of her students can be successful, turn their weaknesses into strengths and help their strengths to become even stronger. Miranda is excited to begin the next adventure in her life, and to be a part of Mountain Sunrise Academy community.
Darcy recently graduated with her Bachelor’s in elementary education. She is a mom of five and has lived all over including Germany, Korea, and Italy. She loves to learn about different cultures and enjoys meeting new people. She loves exploring and finds peace in nature and thus was drawn to the Waldorf curriculum. She is so excited about her new adventure at Mountain Sunrise Academy. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius
Mary graduated Summa Cum Laude from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota with her BS in Elementary Education in May of 2023. She completed her student teaching in Orem and worked as a classroom aide in Provo through the rest of the school year. She enjoys watching students blossom as they follow their interests and enjoys helping them explore new subjects.
Some of Mary’s favorite childhood memories are from going on road trips and camping at state and national parks with her family. In her free time, Mary enjoys spending time outside, watching movies with friends, and exploring new places in the Salt Lake area.
Mary is excited to join the team and begin her teaching career with Mountain Sunrise Academy.
Becky graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston. She became a Texas-certified teacher in 2012 and excelled in teaching children to read and write. In 2017, her family moved to Utah where they can be found enjoying the beautiful mountains, rivers, and lakes as much as possible. Hiking, fishing, and exploring are her favorite pastimes along with painting.
She recently obtained her Utah teaching license and is very excited about joining MSA! Becky hopes you are ready for a fun year of discovery and learning!
Mrs. McDonald is honored to be part of Mountain Sunrise Academy. She loves ancient literature, poetry, and all of the fine and performing arts. Her love of Waldorf education began at Brigham Young University. At BYU, Mrs. McDonald read about Agency Education and she discovered that the only schools in existence that practiced this type of education were the Waldorf schools. She resonated, in particular, with Rudolf Steiner's philosophical base of understanding that the child comes to us, not as a blank slate, but with an individual mission to perform in the world. It is her hope to allow the light within each student to shine during this school year.
Even is the son of an educator and an artist. He was raised in California, but felt Waldorf Education was a true homecoming. Even has 2 years experience teaching Waldorf and over 20 years classroom experience. He holds a BA in the Study of World religion from UCLA. He loves yoga, baking, gardening, carpentry, backpacking, snowboarding, biking and longboarding with his chocolate Labrador, Enzo. Even has volunteered as a wildflower guide for the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation with his wife Elise and has an earnest interest in local ecosystems. He believes communities are bonded when people share music and stories. Even lives in Sandy, Utah with his wife and two children.
Jessica is originally from the Sacramento area of California, but has lived in Utah for the past 11 1/2 years. In addition, she is entering her 10th year teaching and just graduated with her masters of Fine Arts in Teaching Fine Arts. She has taught 5th, 6th, and 1st grade previously all over the Salt Lake and Utah Valley. She loves elephants, dark chocolate, and performing in musicals in her spare time. She is so excited to join Mountain Sunrise Academy.
Christian is an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. He graduated with an MA in Comparative Studies from BYU with a thesis about Waldorf Education's founder Rudolf Steiner, among other things. He is fascinated by Waldorf pedagogy, and though he has no children of his own (yet), he wants to do everything he can to further Mountain Sunrise Academy's mission and to help the children of the future have strong hands, courageous hearts, and clever heads.
Kyle Mack has lived all over the United States including: Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Florida. However, he considers Utah to be his home. He enjoys playing co-ed softball with his wife, board games, running, and having wrestling matches in the living room with his two children.
He has enjoyed mentoring youth for the past 8 years through athletics and other programs. His love to see young individuals grow and progress has led him to become an educator. Kyle is thrilled to begin his first year at Mountain Sunrise Academy. The last two years Kyle taught 7th and 8th grade science in West Valley, Utah.
Kyle believes that true learning is not solely academic memorization, but is achieved through meaningful experiences that enlighten and nourish the body, mind and spirit.
Miss Carol Ann Gregory was born and raised in the tree-covered hills of the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. Craft Fairs, Bluegrass Festivals, Family Vacations Road-Trips, and Camping (in tents) are some of her favorite childhood memories. She attended College of the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri and started her teaching career in a local school after graduating with a B.S. in Speech/Theater Secondary Education. Carol moved to Utah in 2012, and has worked in a variety of school settings including both charter and public schools. She is currently attending BYU for a Master's degree in Educational Leadership Foundations in Policy Studies and School Administration.
Miss Gregory lives in Provo, Utah with her Noweigen Forest Cat, Nairobi. Her hobbies include crafting, home repairs, reading and writing (especially poetry), and learning new things. She is passionate about guiding people to improve and reach their fullest potential. If she had to describe herself in one-word, the top three on the list are Creator, Mother, Teacher.
Chalice Maddox loves teaching, is an avid hat wearer, and once published a book. She has taught 6th grade for 4 years, 4th grade for 1, and is excited to begin her journey at Mountain Sunrise Academy. Her book is titled "The Point of Magic". In her spare time she attends a writing group and goes on impromptu road trips (this is how she found the ghost town Dragon).
Jo was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She received her education at University of Arizona, Brigham Young University and Utah State University. Jo holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and a B.A. in Special Education Certificates in Early Childhood Education and Waldorf Education. She has had thirty one years of teaching experience, including positions at elementary schools, high schools, and Waldorf Schools. Jo has a happy family that includes 12 children and 44 grandchildren, with two more on the way! Her keen interests are in reading, storytelling, art, handwork, nature, hiking and bird-watching. Jo loves children and truly believes that education is the most important work of all. To Jo, there is nothing more rewarding or satisfying. Jo believes Waldorf education provides a much-needed alternative to traditional schooling and she is thrilled to be a part of bringing it to more Utah families!
Elizabeth was born and raised in Sanpete and Utah County. After High School, she went to school at Provo college for Massage Therapy and Bodywork and also received her certification in Inner Sound Tuning Fork sound healing. She then traveled all over our beautiful country fascinated by our diverse cultures. In 2012 she was invited to be a part of the beautiful healing community in the Sacred Valley of Peru, Nuna Ayni, where she was introduced to Waldorf Education. She is honored to be the mother of 2 wonderful boys.
Elizabeth attended a 4-year long teacher training program at The Center For Educational Renewal in California while homeschooling her children and received her Waldorf Teaching Credentials. She worked at both private and charter Waldorf schools in Sonoma County California for 6 years.
After 20 years, her path has led her back home to Utah. She is so happy to be back with the mountains, to be near her best friend again, and to have her boys around their very, very large family.
She truly feels the stars aligned when she was invited to join the Mountain Sunrise Academy family and is looking forward to serving and getting to know the community!
Parents have the right to request and receive information on the qualifications of their child's teacher. If you have any questions or want more information please contact the school's director.