Head of School
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.
School Office Manager
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.
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.
Emotional and Physical Safety Director & Homeschool Enrichment Teacher
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.
Director of Early Education
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.
Worldmind Early Education Teachers
Ellis grew up in Virginia and received her bachelor’s degree from Elon University in Psychology. An interest in human development led to working with individuals with sensory disorders, eventually inspiring her to work towards a teaching license and master’s degree in Education from the University of Richmond. During graduate school, Ellis worked in public schools and preschool environments, opening her eyes to the importance of facilitating social and emotional development as a foundation for learning. These experiences inspired her thesis research, which confirmed the positive, social effects of positive affirmations, yoga, and breathing exercises for preschool-aged students.
Over time, Ellis’ connection with the natural world and passion for early childhood education merged as she discovered the Forest School model of learning. She loves learning with her students and believes it is essential to engage our younger generations with compassion and wonder for our environment while fostering self, community, and ecological awareness.
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.
Annie was born and raised in Kansas, where she spent much of her childhood on a farm with her grandparents. This time in nature helped foster her love for the outdoors and animals. She moved from Arizona, where she met her now husband, to Colorado 13 years ago and has two boys that are 10 and 13. Annie and her family spend their free time in the mountains and outdoors, hiking, biking, swimming, snowshoeing, camping and fishing.
Annie holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and minored in Elementary Education; she also has an Elementary Teacher License (K-6). She has been working with children for 12 years and has over 5 years of experience with 3-6 year olds. After struggling to find her place in the public school system, she decided to branch out and is thrilled to continue working with students at a nature-minded school.
Preschool & Floating Teacher
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.
Experiencing childhood as one of five children in Columbus, Nebraska offered time for lots of curiosity, outdoor play and tough love. Tiffany was fortunate enough to also experience many organized sports, along with the creativity and discipline of dance. This led to playing soccer for Benedictine College and graduating with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. Since then, teaching at an enhanced treatment group home for adolescents, being an au pair and teaching at a boarding school in Austria are some particularly meaningful experiences Tiff had before moving to the beautiful state of Colorado.
Over the last 12 years, Tiff has taught at a nursery school in Golden and 1st grade in Commerce City; she also earned a Colorado Early Childhood Education License through Regis University. A five-year dedication at three Denver area Catholic schools teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten and coaching high school soccer led her to explore the Forest School model.
Having the opportunity to allow children to have play time and thinking time outdoors while learning to be a good steward to themselves, others, and the environment AND be part of a school where curiosity is paramount for meaningful learning is special and excites Tiff from here to the mountains!
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.
Worldmind Preparatory School Teachers
1st-2nd Grade Teacher
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!
1st-2nd Grade Teacher
K-6 Connecticut Certified Teacher (2010) 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 went on to 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. (2000-2010) After receiving her MS.Ed from the University of Bridgeport (2008), she taught 7/8 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.
3rd Grade Teacher
Britta is an enthusiastic naturalist and educator that grew up beachcombing, tide-pooling, hiking, and camping in California. With a strong love for animals and learning about the intricacies of the natural world, Britta earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Zoology at California State University of Long Beach. After graduating, she sought ways to share her love of learning with others through teaching in summer camps and public schools and obtained her teaching credential. She carried on to teach science (along with some geography and yoga) in K-12 private and public schools for the next nine years. The natural beauty and access to stunning trails drew her to Colorado, where she sought ways to expand her capacity for positive environmental global change, including gaining her Masters in Teaching Biological Sciences with a focus in Conservation Leadership and teaching nature preschool. In her spare time, you can find Britta exploring trails and parks with her husband, their preschooler, and their dogs.
4th-6th Grade Teacher
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.
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]