About the Team

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Living Wisdom School teachers are experienced and trained in the Education for Life system. In addition to the regular classroom teachers, we have experienced specialists in the areas of yoga and meditation, music, drama, art, and language. Nature awareness, organic gardening and field trips also enrich the curriculum.

Susan McGinnis, Co-Director, Living Wisdom School SeattleSusan McGinnis, School Co-Director

Susan McGinnis holds a BFA in Graphic Design, and brings many years of experience in business to her role at LWS. She co-founded East West Bookshop of Seattle and was its manager for over 15 years. Susan is a certified Ananda Yoga instructor and teaches Yoga Philosophy. She has over 25 years of experience working with the principles behind Education for Life – the educational philosophy underlying the Living Wisdom School system – and is currently working toward Education for Life certification.

Nivritti Steenstra, Director, Living Wisdom School SeattleNivritti Steenstra, School Co-Founder & Consulting Director

Nivritti Steenstra holds a BA in Biology and an MS in Education, as well as a Standard Washington State Teaching Certificate. She is certified in Environmental Education, and holds the Education for Life teaching certification. Nivritti brings 14 years of experience as an elementary school teacher and administrator in Kent and Lake Washington School Districts to her role at LWS, as well as an enthusiasm for nature!

Chandi Holliman, Preschool and Kindergarten Enrichment TeacherChandi Holliman, Pre-K/Kindergarten Teacher

Chandi is the Living Wisdom Preschool founder and has been a Pre-School teacher for 16 years. She holds holds the Education for Life teaching certification, Ananda Yoga and Meditation Teacher certification, and is also a Sharing Nature with Children Trainer. Her diverse background includes South Seattle Food & Hospitality Chef Certification.

 ashley-125Ashley Berg, Elementary Teacher, Grades 3-5

Ashley’s background includes a BA in Education & Art and she has a Standard Washington State Education Certificate certifying her to teach all Elementary subjects in grades K-8. She also holds a state endorsement in Art Education for grades K-12, as well as the Education for Life Provisional Certification. Ashley’s diverse experience includes teaching experience at a private school in Mexico, as well as experience in the Seattle Public School District. Passionate about sustainability, she was instrumental in helping LWS gain Level 1 King County Green School certification.

grade school teacherHeather Knouse, Elementary Teacher, Grades 1-2

Heather has two decades experience working with children from pre-school through elementary. She holds degrees in Education from both Antioch and Western Washington University. Heather enjoys all aspects of working with elementary students, and her skillful guidance infuses her students with the joy of learning.  She often brings her guitar to school and the children love singing with her.

Middle school teacher Madchen Sen, Middle School Teacher, Grades 6-8

Madchen taught at the Junior High and High School level in the Palm Springs CA Unifed School District for the last eight years prior to joining our staff. Although her specialties are  math and language arts, she has taught all subjects. Her BA with an Environmental Studies focus is from California State at Chico. She is excited about helping to build a middle school program that is more balanced and expansive than is available in public schools. She enjoys taking the students out into the community whether to a museum, an overnight at an organic farm, or for community service. Madchen is the mother of five.

Jen Tal, Preschool

Jen Tal’s 15 years of early education experience comes from North Branch School, Randolph College, and Mary Baldwin University- among other places. She has also taught K-8 chorus, and K-12 P.E. Jen’s passions in the classroom include embracing individuality, guiding cooperation and collaboration, and nurturing the will to learn. Her classrooms are filled with music, art, stories, and exploration.  She is excited to become a part of the Living Wisdom Community.

art teacher, science teacher, drama teacherSome of our specialists share their curriculum overviews with parents during an Open House: Sabrina Carlin-French and Comparative Language; Dejah Leger- Music, Bhakti Ruggiero-Yoga;  Bhima Breckenridge-Music; Buddy Wilson-Yoga, Meditation, Science Lab; Kathryn Carter- Drama.