Meet the Fall 2019 Teaching Fellows
Each semester, Alzar School offers a unique Teaching Fellowship program to young educators. This fall, we welcome five individuals into our community who delicately balance between the world of educators and that of students. They live in their own yurts alongside the students, eat all of their meals in the dining hall with them, accompany them on their outdoor adventures, and help craft student lessons throughout the week. They mentor students on everything from residential community and school-life balance to how to treat their bodies well and empower themselves to do more. Teaching fellows even check our students into their yurts in the evenings and remind them that they need their sleep when they are having too much fun chatting at night. They are also are available in case our students need anything throughout the night. Along with playing an integral role in residential life at Alzar School, teaching fellows are enrolled in their own set of classes focusing on academic pedagogy, residential life systems and methods and outdoor programming. This semester, our teaching fellows bring a diverse set of skills to Alzar School as they come from various unique backgrounds.
Our academic reinforcement teaching fellow, Margaret Cartner, comes to us from two years as an educator and world traveler. She has spent two summers as a trip leader for Moondance Adventures where she led groups of high school students on international outdoor adventures. She loves the opportunity to help her students understand and navigate a new culture. She sees the opportunity to travel and see how different people face the same challenges in life as one of the most mind-stretching and important experiences for young people to have. Her role at Alzar School is to spend time with, and offer a hand to, any student that may need a little extra aid outside of class. Her time in Birmingham City Schools as an educator in financial literacy and entrepreneurship has her doubly excited for the leadership curriculum here at Alzar School. She loves empowering students to see how capable they are, and how they can have the biggest impact on the community around them.
Leo comes from all parts of the world as he has spent the past few years traveling and working in foreign countries. He values working with his hands and creating spaces for intercultural exchange. He has spent the last two years honing his skills as an outdoor educator through NOLS and the nonprofit sector in downtown Seattle. He is one of our key guides to the Coyhaique community since he spent a stint of his travels there running an organic farm of veggies. You can find Leo on campus by following the peaceful sound of his handmade wooden flute or the smell of his ever-prepped matte. He offers a level of calm to the community that helps everyone stay level when school or expedition gets too hectic.
A graduate in Computational Biology from Brown University, Lena brings with her a social consciousness and calm demeanor. Having enjoyed her time as a group problem session facilitator and TA in college science courses, she is hoping to use her experience to get students excited about (and less scared of) physics this semester. Lena is also especially looking forward to spending time with students in the woods on backpacking trips, a place where she often feels most at home. She hopes spending time away from traditional classrooms will provide the opportunity for all types of students to step into leadership roles and feel empowered to speak up for themselves and their passions. She hopes students will use her as a resource during more challenging times at Alzar School and is looking forward to getting to know our students in the classroom, through whitewater, and on the trail.
Mary Margaret Murdock
Mary Margaret is from Alabama where she has been the lead counselor for a summer camp, Camp McDowell, for the last two years. She brings her community-building skills from camp to Alzar School and literally doesn’t know how not to participate in student activities. She wants to be available to support them at any hour, making sure they know they have a friend in her. Her time as a lead camp counselor, where every camper was her camper, has primed her for her position as a teaching fellow here. She loves the opportunity to guide our students as they navigate the new and strange lifestyles they experience at Alzar School. She is approachable and goofy as she fosters an open and warm community for us all to enjoy.
An Idaho native, Tessa has worked on the Salmon River for the last 10 years and is a licensed lead white water rafting guide, an impressive feat for someone so young. Tessa’s years on the river have given her experience working with all different types of students. She is competent, calm, humble and loving as she works with our students to grow their stoke for endless adventures on the river. In an industry dominated by men, Tessa is a wonderful face for our ladies here to see how they too, can be a strong, capable leader on the river and in our world! As a graduate of both geology and outdoor education from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Tessa is excited to share her geologic knowledge of the Gem State and open our students’ eyes to the abundance of history found right here in Idaho.
These young educators are excited, goofy, fun, and kind. We are lucky to call them our teaching fellows for the Fall 2019 Semester.