Leadership and Administration

Head of School

Megan Patterson

Megan Patterson is the Founder and Executive Director of Worldmind, an outdoor-based, non-profit independent school in Denver. While working on her graduate degree, Megan discovered the outdoor-based model of learning and development. After teaching in public school settings all over the world for several years and conducting extensive research on the outdoor-based model of education, she knew this was the type of learning environment she wanted for children in Denver, including her own son whom she saw thriving in an outdoor environment.

As part of her graduate thesis, Megan formed a group of passionate community members who came together to develop Worldmind and bring the outdoor-based education movement to the Greater Denver Area.

In 2015, Megan opened Worldmind as a child and caregiver outdoor-based enrichment program. From 2018-2020, Megan and Worldmind led the first outdoor-based preschool and kindergarten pilot program with the State of Colorado in order to create state-wide licensure for outdoor-based preschool education programs. The success of this pilot has led to the outdoor-based preschool and kindergarten licensure for ages 3-6.

In August 2020, Megan expanded Worldmind to include an elementary school. Students in grades K-6 experience small group learning in an outdoor setting. With a strong foundation in social emotional learning (SEL) and a curricular focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), Worldmind supports students as they, “take care of themselves, each other, and the environment.”

Megan enjoys hiking, backpacking, and camping with her son and two dogs.

Watch Megan’s Tedx Talk: “The Nature of Education”

[email protected]

School Office Manager

Stephanie Airman

Stephanie grew up in the urban sprawl of Miami, Florida with the Everglades and Big Cypress National Parks as her playground. Looking for adventure early on, she spent most of her time camping, hiking, canoeing and traveling to explore Florida’s wetlands. After visiting Rocky Mountain National Park on her way to Moscow, Idaho, Stephanie fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and decided to move to Denver, Colorado in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State College of Denver in Modern Foreign Languages with an emphasis on Spanish and a minor in French. While pursuing her love of elevated cuisines, Stephanie has managed and worked at many of Denver’s finest restaurants.

As an early Worldmind family, she has actively participated in the Worldmind community since 2015. After joining Worldmind’s administrative team in 2020 as an assistant, Stephanie joins us now as School Office Manager and is eager to help all Worldmind families and staff. In her personal time, she enjoys hiking, camping, swimming, and spending quality time with her son and friends.

[email protected]

Creative Director

Tori Price

Tori is from Atlanta, GA and moved to Denver at the beginning of 2020. She received her bachelor’s degree from Furman University in Psychology (with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies) and is passionate about mental health and the positive effects that nature, art, mindfulness, and yoga have on the well-being of humans — no matter the age.

Tori has worked with children of all ages since 2004 and began her teaching journey in 2014 through managing a children’s art studio. Since then, she has taught as an assistant teacher in two preschools, led the youth program at a community art center, and taught drawing classes to children in after-school programs. She also spent 5 years volunteering and working as an administrative assistant and art teacher with a non-profit that provides art therapy-based programming to impoverished and homeless children around the world; she has had the honor of creating and leading empowering art experiences for children in both Atlanta and in Ethiopia.

Tori loves bringing nature, mindfulness, and social & emotional learning into her art curriculum to help expand the minds and hearts of children, guiding them in building confidence, curiosity, imagination, self-esteem, and self-expression, and helping them to see the unique beauty in themselves and in the natural world around them.

In her personal life, Tori enjoys creating and selling her vibrant nature-inspired paintings, leading mindful art experiences for women, practicing and teaching yoga, and spending time outside to appreciate the wonders of our natural world.

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Emotional and Physical Safety Director & Homeschool Enrichment Teacher

Caroline Griesel

Caroline holds a bachelor’s in Zoology with Entomology focus from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has combined 6 years experience in education, including teaching children’s English classes in Japan, and being a para-professional in public schools. She also spent some time in Ecotourism, researching ecological relationships between ants and sea birds, and guiding kayak tours to the research site. A childhood fishing and combing the beaches of Galveston, Texas inspired her to ensure a lifelong connection to nature and self-discovery through nature is possible for everyone.

Caroline is an amateur naturalist and adventurer, who loves curating her collection of rocks and minerals, stargazing, and bushcraft.

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Director of Early Education

Darcy Ocamb

Darcy was born and raised in Arizona and moved to Colorado in 2000 to raise her family. Immediately falling in love with the Rocky Mountains and their trails, she spent the first few years in Colorado as a as a stay-at-home mother exploring the outdoors with her children, who are now 23, 22 and 13. Darcy is also a grandmother to a very charismatic 3-year-old girl and a mother to a 1-year-old beagle, who keeps her on her toes and on the trails more than anyone!

In 2003, Darcy began working at a large childcare center as a part-time bus driver. As she worked her way into her role as a full-time school-aged summer camp program teacher, she knew she wanted to make a difference in the childcare field. Darcy went on to graduate with a Large Center Director Certificate in 2005 from Red Rocks Community College and immediately became the director for the center where she had been working.

With early childhood education as her passion, Darcy is excited to bring to Worldmind her favorite parts of being an early childcare director — the ability to support the growth and development of young teachers and build relationships the children, staff and families. Darcy will continue her own growth as a director by keeping up with new childcare changes and expanding her knowledge through the lens of the Worldmind community.

[email protected]

Worldmind Early Education Teachers

Preschool Teacher

Cheyenne Stokas

Cheyenne was raised in the mountains of Taos, New Mexico, and spent her free time camping, skiing, hiking, and swimming with her family. These early adventures, instilled a deep love for the outdoors. Growing up, Cheyenne found that she was dyslexic young and after struggling in a traditional school setting, moved to small, alternative classrooms, where she found success in learning.

Since moving to Denver in 2011, Cheyenne has earned her B.A. in Fashion Design, worked as a seamstress, and fallen in love with rock climbing. She has always loved working with children. She has taught skiing to children ages 3-5, worked as a teacher’s aide, and been a nanny. She is excited to put her energy into fostering the inherent curiosity of our students, through learning in the outdoors, creating community, and developing social-emotional skills.

[email protected]

Preschool Teacher

Taylor Emanuelson

Taylor was born and raised in the Denver Metro area, where she fell in love with the mountains and anything outdoors. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Environmental & Sustainable Studies with a Biological Sciences minor in December 2020 and intends on using her degree to help advocate for the planet while teaching the coming generations the importance of the natural world. With her experience throughout her childcare career as a nanny for multiple families, an after school care instructor, a summer camp manager, a preschool teacher, and a vocal instructor, she is ecstatic to continue her career at Worldmind to help guide the curious minds of little ones!

During her free time, Taylor loves hiking, singing, camping, reading, spending time with friends and families, and of course exploring. She hopes the intention, gratitude, happiness, and empathy in which she leads her life will be passed on to the students at Worldmind!

[email protected]

Preschool Teacher

Amanda Henry

Amanda was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden. Being a student of an outdoor/inquiry-based environment herself, she feels grateful to have encountered the Reggio Emilia approach at an early age and is passionate about passing on that experience to others. Amanda’s career in early childhood education began at the Scandinavian School of Jersey City, a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool with a strong connection to nature and the outdoors. Amanda attended the Reggio Emilia International Study Group with a few other members of Scandi in the fall of 2019, and she is currently pursuing a degree in Sociology to further her understanding human behavior.

In addition to Sweden and the US, Amanda has lived in Japan and Berlin. Diving and the ocean brought her to Hawaii, where she met her husband. They have recently moved to Denver from New Jersey and are thrilled to get to know Colorado and return to skiing, which has always been a part of Amanda’s life. She has also set her sights on learning how to horseback ride.

[email protected]

Preschool Teacher

Olivia Downs

Olivia hails from a lakeshore in the wooded expanse of Upstate New York, where they cultivated a passion for the magic of beetled undergrowth, dappled sunlight through trees, and all else that the natural world has to offer. They carried that passion through an Environmental Studies and English interdisciplinary major from St. Lawrence University and focused in particular on sustainability; they studied urban sustainability in Boston, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Hamburg, as well as rural sustainability while living on a farm a few miles off campus.

During school, Olivia spent summers lifeguarding and teaching at a camp on their lake; they united their schooling with their love of teaching and entered the wonderful world of environmental and outdoor education. They have taught students about the maintenance of one of the world’s last remaining pine bush ecosystems, the riparian ecosystem and unique history of Denver’s own South Platte River, and natural and scientific wonders then and now, far and wide with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Most recently, Olivia has been practicing a Reggio-Emilia approach as a preschool teacher in downtown Denver for several years, and they love the brightness and spirit of this age.

In their free time, Olivia enjoys the outdoors through hiking and camping trips, and they especially love swimming, boating, and paddleboarding. They love playing music (and own three ukuleles, a viola and a five-string fiddle to show for it), reading and writing, and spending time with friends–usually playing board games or weaving stories together in D&D!

[email protected]

Preschool Teacher

Nicholas Mounton

Nicholas was born and raised here in occupied Arapaho and Cheyenne territory, in the valleys and plains below the front range of the Rocky Mountains. They grew up playing outside and observing the web of life that thrived in their childhood backyard and along the ditch behind the neighborhood. After studying Forestry at Colorado State University, Nicholas decided to spend a majority of their time outside. This time was spent in gardens behind preschools, on farms and homesteads while teaching farm skills and garden ecology, and in the wilderness as a guide for youth, supporting them as they learned about Ecology, Biology, Botany, and interpersonal and emotional skills. Learning, teaching, and being with Nature and with young humans is what brought Nicholas to Worldmind. They are thrilled to be a part of the Worldmind team to empower youth to be compassionate, caring, and motivated members of the web of life.

[email protected]

Preschool & Floating Teacher

Nicholas King

Nicholas grew up on the beaches of San Diego, CA, and his love of nature was solidified while completing his BA in Sociology at The University of Colorado: Boulder. He is an avid climber, photographer, and educator who fully believes in the transformative power of the natural world. While living in Berkeley, CA, he spent nearly five years writing and facilitating overnight, afterschool, and summer camp programs designed to foster a sense of wonder and stewardship for kids of all ages. He has also worked as a registered behavior technician and helped to implement early intervention programs for autistic students.

Nicholas recently moved to the Denver area with his fiancée and is thoroughly excited about the opportunity to work in a nature school setting. As a child, Nicholas struggled with traditional methods of education. He now strives to create a learning environment that rewards curiosity and celebrates neurodiversity.

[email protected]

Kindergarten Teacher

Xaelel Allen-Caballero 

Originally from Upstate New York, Xaelel (Shylel), received her bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Psychology from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She knew from an early age that being in nature had of positive effect on her mental health and well-being. Intrigued to learn more, she decided to continue her education focusing on how the natural world was formed, in the hopes to learn more about sustainability and stewardship. Continuing her studies, she became increasingly passionate about combining her love of nature with her love of understanding the human mind and body. This is where she learned and fell in love with the Forest School model and the emphasis it has on free play and positive improvements nature has on sensory development in young children.

She started her career in education teaching a SPLASH course on ‘Earth Art’ at MIT and later as The Assistant Schools Manager for an environmental education program in NY. She has done extensive research on agricultural water pollution, spent a year researching native bat species in Massachusetts, and spent five months conducting fieldwork in geology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ.

Xaelel is passionate about being a forever learner in life and views education as a multidimensional platform that houses immense opportunity for both the student and educator. She is continuously learning from her students every day and believes that allowing children space for creativity and wonder in the outdoors can facilitate learning about natural systems, promote ecological ethics, and inspire leadership in life and for the environment.

[email protected]

Worldmind Preparatory School Teachers

1st-2nd Grade Teacher

Justin Way

After returning home from one of his trips abroad, Justin decided to return to graduate school and earn a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education. While there, he began to question the methods and structures utilized in the traditional American classroom. In doing so, the concepts of nature deficit disorder, nature and forest schools, and nature Rx began to take root as solutions to many of the flaws the traditional school system exhibits. Then, after moving to Denver with his wife, Jillian, and working in DPS for a year, Justin moved to position with the city of Aurora where he developed, coordinated, and taught a nature-based program for overlooked and underserved youth, families, and communities in Aurora and East Denver. Now, he is excited and ready to fulfill his dream of working in the nature school setting with a great school such as Worldmind.

In his personal life, Justin enjoys traveling, hiking, birding, spending time with his wife, family and friends, playing guitar, reading, climbing, and doing yoga. Justin tries to live a vibrant and balanced life full of fun, happiness, and love that he hopes his students feel every day. Happy trails!

[email protected]

1st-2nd Grade Teacher

Jennifer Baker

K-6 Connecticut Certified Teacher for the past fifteen years, Jen has taught math and science at the middle school level and has been immersed in teaching math to K-1 through the Russian School of Mathematics. Her own educational journey is soundly based in a public alternative pilot grade school program that emphasized service, social action, and experiential learning, where their days were spent in exploration and child-led learning. She attended a public high school and graduated with a degree in Outdoor and Environmental Education from Prescott College in 1991.

During her parenting years, she facilitated her two children’s educational path using inspirations from John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, and the homeschooling community. After receiving her MS.Ed from the University of Bridgeport in 2008, she taught 7th-8th grade science in a parochial school, then entered the public school system as a grade 7 special education assistant, followed by grade 6 science/math for 5 years. At this time in her career, she returns to what matters most: connecting children to themselves, their community, and nature through experiential activities, discovery, and reflection.

[email protected]

3rd Grade Teacher

Bethany Belcher

Bethany holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, specializing in Behavioral Studies, from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. After graduating, she booked a one-way flight to Asia to earn her TEFL credential and experience culture through the lens of education. Bethany has since taught in Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, and the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Her work with community development projects abroad led her to Denver, where she studied Development Practice and Women’s & Children’s Empowerment.

From living in congested cityscapes to bathing in mountain rivers and hiking her way to school, her passion for connecting to nature, celebrating diversity, and empowering others has woven her path to working at Worldmind. Bethany fills her cup through running, yoga, camping, upcycling alley finds, and meaningful conversations peppered with great silliness.

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Middle & Upper Elementary Math Teacher

Scott Levi

Scott is proud to be from Denver. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in Teaching from the University of Northern Colorado with an endorsement in elementary education. After working in both state and national politics, he found his next public service calling via education. He started out teaching chess and frisbee after school, became a substitute teacher for Cherry Creek School District, then worked for two years as a Denver Math Fellow teaching middle school math intervention in Denver Public Schools. Camping, backpacking, and other positive outdoor experiences proved vital to his formative years; they instilled in him both a respect for sustainable adventuring and a deep appreciation for Mother Earth. Equity and mathematics are especially important to Scott, and he perseveres to inspire the next generation of lifelong learners to think critically and resourcefully about global and local issues.

In his free time, Scott enjoys cycling, disc golfing, ultimate frisbee, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and developing computer programs with his lifelong friends online.

[email protected]

4th-6th Grade Teacher

Amy Snodgrass

Amy holds a master’s degree in Secondary English Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She began her career in education by volunteering with creative writing programs in Oregon School for the Deaf and Oregon State Penitentiary. She worked as an assistant teacher in Dallas, Texas before finding her home in Denver, where she spent four years teaching fifth grade reading. In addition to English Language Arts, she has experience teaching music, creative writing, and art. Amy is a proponent of the Forest School model because she believes the best education fosters curiosity and confidence in learners. She is passionate about project-based curriculum design that fosters strong habits of discussion through both shared readings and choice texts.

She spends her time reading, practicing yoga, playing cooperative board games, hiking, writing poetry, and illustrating comics and graphic novels.

[email protected]

Upper Elementary Science Teacher

Nicholas Mounton

Nicholas was born and raised here in occupied Arapaho and Cheyenne territory, in the valleys and plains below the front range of the Rocky Mountains. They grew up playing outside and observing the web of life that thrived in their childhood backyard and along the ditch behind the neighborhood. After studying Forestry at Colorado State University, Nicholas decided to spend a majority of their time outside. This time was spent in gardens behind preschools, on farms and homesteads while teaching farm skills and garden ecology, and in the wilderness as a guide for youth, supporting them as they learned about Ecology, Biology, Botany, and interpersonal and emotional skills. Learning, teaching, and being with Nature and with young humans is what brought Nicholas to Worldmind. They are thrilled to be a part of the Worldmind team to empower youth to be compassionate, caring, and motivated members of the web of life.

[email protected]

Employment

Worldmind is hiring for preschool through 6th grade teaching positions. A Colorado teaching license or ECE certification is required. Outdoor/environmental education background desired. Please send a resume to Executive Director/Founder Megan Patterson to apply: [email protected]