BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND FOUNDING TEAM
Beth has taught in both public and private schools, as well as homeschooled her two sons. She received her B.A. in sociology/anthropology from Carleton College and her M.A. in education from Claremont Graduate School. Before retiring from the Middletown Area Merchants Association in 2021, Beth served as its president for five years and a director for three more. She is a director of the Middletown Luncheon Club. She owns Lake County Jazzercise in Middletown and teaches fitness classes and healthy living practices there.
Beth feels fortunate that her sons attended Waldorf schools during their early years. She lives with her husband, Mark, and their two dogs in Lower Lake, CA. She loves being out on her land, reading, listening to classical music, hiking, and exploring new places.
Board Member and Secretary
Nancy Lecourt taught English at La Sierra University (4 years) and Pacific Union College (PUC) (23 years) and was also Vice President for Academic Administration at PUC (13 years) until retiring in July 2019. Her Ph.D. in English is from the University of New Hampshire.
A mother to two grown sons, Nancy has authored three books for children: Rainbow (Review & Herald, 1980); Abracadabra to ZigZag (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1991); and Teddy, the Better-Than-New Bear (Pacific Press, 1993).
These days Nancy enjoys spending time in her flower and vegetable garden and walking in the 1,100-acre PUC forest.
Monica Ashley Najmabadi is a Waldorf K-8 educator who provides tutoring and art lessons to children ages 5- 12. Over the past 18 years, she has volunteered on several school committees, which included fundraising and community outreach. Monica was one of the first founding families of a successful Waldorf charter school in Napa, Ca. This experience gives her a deep appreciation for how non-profits strive to improve the quality of life in rural California.
Monica is a resident of Lake County, mother to four grown children, and has four grandchildren. She enjoys gardening, sewing, teaching, and fiber arts.
Craig Bainbridge is Senior Vice President, Product Innovation and Delivery Manager, at Exchange Bank in Santa Rosa. Before joining Exchange, he worked for Tri Counties Bank, first as Branch Manager of the Middletown office and then as the bank’s Strategic Initiatives Manager. Craig is a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School.
Since Craig and his family settled in Lake County 20 years ago, he has been a member of the Middletown Rotary Club and performed in various community theatre productions around Northern California, including participating in the annual Middletown Renaissance Pageant. He has enjoyed using local theatre to raise funds for local nonprofit and charitable organizations. Craig’s support of Waldorf-inspired education springs from an interest in biodynamic farming (a way of farming developed by Rudolf Steiner).
Gina worked for the Lake County Office of Education for 18 years in many capacities involving Early Childhood Education (ECE) & Development, including Administrator, Coordinator, and Child Development Specialist. In addition to her B.A. in ECE from Pacific Union College, Gina holds two CA credentials in adult and family education and a CA Child Development Program Director Permit. She currently serves on the Lake County Child Care Planning Council.
Gina has been the Project Director of the Lake County Tobacco Prevention & Education Program since 2016. She believes Shade Canyon will offer local children a quality, developmentally appropriate environment that will stimulate discovery and exploration. Gina enjoys the ocean, genealogy, and time with family, friends, and her beloved pets.
Melinda realized she wanted to be a farmer while living in Paris working as a model. A visit to Steiner's Emerson College in England cemented the idea and inspired her to send her future child to a Waldorf school. In time, she enrolled her daughter at Summerfield in Santa Rosa and worked with the farmers in the field, as well as designing and cooking the menus for the school's lunch program. Melinda later worked at the San Francisco Waldorf School as the registrar, nurse, and "front-desk smile."
At other points in her career, Melinda owned a successful catering business in SF and worked in tech. In 2017, she started Peace and Plenty Farm in Kelseyville with her husband, Simon.
MORGAN VOGEL CHINNOCK
President and Co-Founder
Morgan has worked as a grant writer, adjunct professor of English at Pacific Union College, ghostwriter, secretary of a small law firm, and programming director for a summer camp in the Sierras. She completed the seven-year program at wildernessFusion, an outdoor healing arts school, and was a teaching assistant there. Morgan's M.F.A. in Writing is from University of San Francisco.
Before the birth of her second child in early 2020, Morgan saw clients at her practice, MothMoon Healing, and served on the board of the Middletown Area Merchants Association for three years. A decade-long resident of Lake County, Morgan loves cooking, wilderness survival skills, gardening, and being a mama.
Chief Financial Officer and Co-Founder
Early in her teaching career, Savannah Mitchell taught at Head Start in Clearlake and was an early interventionist for Easter Seals, working with children with developmental disabilities all over Lake County. Before she had her first child in 2017, she taught at a Waldorf-inspired charter school in Sonoma in grades 1-3.
Savannah holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Union College and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Fresno State University. She also earned a Waldorf Teacher Diploma from the Center of Educational Renewal, which represents four years of deep study. A mother of two, Savannah has lived in Lake County for most of her life and desires to see her community thrive.