Janice Oliver-Iraci - Social Skills Group and Visual Arts
Janice, or "Mrs. Oi" as she is affectionately known, is a holistic educator who has worked with children for over two decades in many capacities. As a credentialed teacher with a master's degree in education, Janice has intensely studied different ways of teaching and learning, and she is a fan of using creativity and innovation to reach all children.
Her teaching experience includes quite a few years of teaching Kindergarten and the early grades. She has taught multiple subject classrooms as well as classes concentrated on reading, math, art, choir, social sciences, foreign language and values. Her teaching practice has included mentorship, collaboration and growth, and because of these values, she is able to bring them to the children under her instruction. She has been honored with accolades such as VeteranTeacher of the Year and graduated Summa Cum Laude with both her bachelor's and master's degrees which were both earned at Brandman University.
Mrs. Oi has been well-loved by her students over the years because she strives to create relationships of trust and respect. She truly cares - not only about the children she works with, but their families too. Her style is warm and oriented toward a growth mindset.
Richard Creel - Academic Intervention: Reading
Richard Creel is a childhood educator with over thirty years teaching experience. A graduate of U.C. Santa Barbara School of Education, Richard also has been recognized as a Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development Specialist. His work with children has included a focus on reading instruction using different pedagogical and psychological methodologies. He has been specifically trained as a reading interventionist in both the “Reading Recovery” and “Success for All” reading programs. In addition, he has been trained in and incorporated Waldorf methodology for public school teachers. His training also comprises courses in “The Power of Art in the Classroom,” “Brain Gym,” and “Education through Music.”
Richard looks forward to working with students who have just begun to negotiate the journey toward becoming proficient readers and writers. He brings his creativity and compassion to his work with children who need a boost of confidence.
Chris Lopez - Nature Explorers
Chris Lopez is a father, tracker, storyteller, and educator. Insatiably curious and enamored with the living world, Chris caught the tracking/original skills bug early in life. As an adult, that passion led Chris down a more conventional route and into the fields of ecological design and research where he worked as a permaculture designer, water harvester and restoration artist. After a decade in the field attempting to address environmental issues at the level of design, Chris realized that the core issues he was attempting to address were not of a design nature, but instead arose from a broken and fragmented relationship and understanding of the living world; that “nature” is seen and experienced by many as a concept.
Chris dove deeply back into his tracking/ original skills roots with gusto, deepening his knowledge of tracking, medicine making, wild crafting & foods, and archery from a variety of mentors, including the 8 Shields’ Shikari Tracking Mentorship, and lots of “dirt time.” Chris has a belief that many of us are starved for what is our birthright: true mentors that enable us to have our own experience and relationships with the places we call home, to find our unique voice and speak with manner, personal experience, and authenticity in the Great Conversation we call life. Chis helps his students lend the world their admiration by reconnecting with her viscerally through tracking and applied naturalist skills. He is always humbled when he watches students learn just as much about the critters standing in their own tracks as they do those they learn follow across the landscape.
Throughout my teen years, I struggled with depression and anxiety. In my early twenties, I turned to yoga and meditation as my medicine and discovered a healing, life-changing power. Yoga allowed me to connect the mind and body, and increase my emotional intelligence.
I have spent nearly 10 years gathering and implementing natural methods for reducing stress, depression, anxiety and negative self-talk. For the past three years I have shared my discoveries and methods, guiding others on a journey of healing and self-exploration.
My classes focus on the whole human, incorporating all the limbs of yoga and esoteric wisdoms in order to achieve inner balance and awareness of our emotional triggers.