Our team of teachers are passionate about providing fun and engaging early learning opportunities, as well as  exploring the natural world alongside and in collaboration with our young and eager students. 

Rose Peterson, Lead Teacher
Rose is a certified K-8 teacher with a background in teaching Kindergarten in the San Marcos school district. Her knowledge of teaching methodology combined with a love of the natural world helps her plan educational opportunities that are mindful of each. She is passionate about giving students the tools they will need for success while still creating space for wonder, laughter, and play.

Niki Plasse, Co-Teacher
A lifelong learner, Niki holds a BA in Human Development. She has extensive volunteerism and caregiving experience (for both seniors and children) and her genuine love for others shines through in every interaction.

Nikki Crockett, Lead Teacher
Nikki is a certificated K-8 teacher with an elementary teaching background. She holds a BS in Elementary Education, with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. She is also a lifestyle photographer, a mom of two amazing kids and has a true love for children and the outdoors.

Lexi Kunze, Co-Teacher
Lexi holds a BS in Child & Family Development from San Diego State University. She is a Montessori teacher as well as a former lifeguard and Girl Scout. Lexi has strong blended experience working with young children and the outdoors.

Gabrielle Stannard, Curriculum Director
Gabrielle is earning her Masters Degree in Anthrozoology and currently interning at the San Diego Safari Park education department where she is responsible for writing curriculum for all K-12 programming. Gabby’s role ensures that all teachers are bringing planned learning possibilities full circle incorporating ecology and conservation stewardship.

Justin Norris, Lead Teacher & Assistant Director
Originally from Toronto, Justin has previous experience as a Forest School teacher, and holds a Natural Environment Technician degree. A former Director, he worked closely with the school board and conservation preserve to design and refine school curriculum. He is a true naturalist, gaining insight into nature through his work with children.

Julie Twedt, Administrative Director
A longtime Native School & OPA family, Julie’s daughter Layla is a graduate of Native School. Julie has over 20 years of Project Management experience across multiple industries, including Merchandising and Event Planning. She was also an instrumental part of the founding of The Native School in an Administrative capacity.

Shannon Rine-O’Donoghue, Founder
Shannon, an Early Intervention Specialist and M.A. Ed teacher, Shannon believes learning isn't just measured by simple outcomes, but by the "process" in which learning is retained. Her desire to foster her students innate love and curiosity for the world led to the founding of The Native School.