Our Team

 

Aaron Chavez, Principal and VP of Education Services

Aaron Chavez

Executive Director
of Education Services

aaron.chavez@excelsiorwellness.org

Aaron is a seasoned educational leader who has spent the last 20 years as a classroom teacher, school principal, and district superintendent. These experiences have shaped his career, ultimately leading him to accept the position of Vice President, Education Services. He is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Excelsior team and serve students, parents, staff, and the Spokane community.

Learn more about me and what is happening at Excelsior Holistic Schools from my blog! www.CultureIsIt.com

My Why: “Everything I do as a leader is to help students and staff get where they want to go in life. Ensuring they receive the skills, training, inspiration, and resources to complete their purpose they’re destined to fulfill.”

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Welcome Letter from the Principal

Student Dress Code Letter

Letter to Parents: Safety Searches

Carol Stines, Dean of Students and Director of Education Services

Carol Stines

Dean of Students /

Director of Education Services

carol.stines@4eyc.org

Carol was born and raised in Spokane. Her commitment to youth and safety is evidenced by her tenure at Excelsior for over 28 years. Carol has worked in numerous capacities over the years at Excelsior to include direct service in our vast Residential programs and was Excelsior’s campus supervisor for many years. Combining her education, experience, and passion for youth and connecting them to their futures Carol found a home in the Excelsior school where she has passionately served for 24 years.

Carol started as an instructional assistant and worked her way to the Director of Secondary Education. Carol’s passion is to provide a safe, fun and successful learning environment for all students. She believes that every student should be valued and treated with dignity and respect by building trust through positive peer and professional relationships. She takes the time to get to know all the students in the school individually and is the first and last point of contact as she believes that education should empower students to make a positive contribution to our world. One of the best parts of Carol’s job is having the students come back after they have left Excelsior and tell their story of success. Those successes keep Carol coming back to work every day! When Carol is not at work she enjoys spending time with her family and friends at the cabin, fishing, and boating at the lake.

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My Why: “One of the best things about my job is having students come back to visit…. Whether it is 2 years, 5 years or 20 years to check-in and have the students share their stories of success!”

 

Aaron Bagnall

High School Teacher

aaron.bagnall@4eyc.org

Hello, I am Aaron Bagnall, and I have been teaching in Spokane for the past 7 years, four of which have been in alternative education. I graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. I started here at Excelsior mid-way through the 2018-19 school year and will continue teaching high school. For the 2019-20 year. My hobbies include playing and watching all sports and spending time with my wife (12 years) and 4 amazing children who are 11, 9, 2, and 9 months. I am an avid Netflix binge-watcher as well and have been known to spend a full day watching an entire series such as Stranger Things. My Goals are to continue to grow as an educator and mentor, and continue to develop and operate a positive and enriching classroom environment! Cheers!!

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My Why: “I came to the realization that teaching was my calling and passion in 2005. My hope is that I can reach my students, who many have given up on, and develop a bond that can help them rise above the depths of their struggles and building lifelong skills.”

Lynette Weberling

Middle School Teacher

lynette.weberling@4eyc.org

I grew up in Spokane and graduated from Rogers High School. Attended Eastern Washington University completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education. I also have a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from City University.
I’m married and have an adult daughter, a dog named Sadie and a cat named Fur Fur. I enjoy many different activities, reading, scrapbooking, hiking, and camping, generally anything outdoors.Enneagram Style 9My Why: “To encourage kids and support families. Everything I do as a teacher is to encourage kids/students along their paths.  To support families, so they can encourage their kids along their path.  I work to be student-centered in everything I do, build relationships with others.”
Felicia Chavez

High School Teacher

felicia.chavez@4eyc.org

Felicia was born in Lewiston, ID. She worked as a chef for 15 years before getting my teaching credentials
BA WWU in English, MAT At-Risk Youth with 7-12 credentials College of Santa Fe, K-12+ SPED credentials
She began teaching in 2008 in Santa Fe, NM lived there until 2015, moved to Vancouver WA and just moved to Spokane in 2019.Enneagram Style 5MyWhy:

“I believe in the value of these students. I know these students are more than their disability labels. I will support and facilitate these students exceeding societal and cultural expectations.”

Jim Kappelman

Middle School Teacher

James.Kappelman@4eyc.org

Jim is starting his 27th year as a teacher. He has taught every grade from kindergarten through university. He attended colleges and universities in Idaho, Washington (Whitworth) and Canada. He also spent two years as a curriculum designer for a Canadian Law Enforcement training college. Jim grew up on a small dairy farm in SW Idaho where he learned a strong work ethic from his parents. Before he became a teacher, Jim spent time as a ditch digger for a cable TV company, a nuclear chemist, a computer operator, and assisted doctors who performed autopsies right here at Spokane’s Sacred Heart Hospital.

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My Why:
I started teaching because I love kids and enjoy watching the light bulbs light up over their heads when they develop a deep understanding of a difficult concept. Now that I’m at Excelsior, my
“why” has significantly changed. For many of my students, learning how to “fail forward” is an important character trait necessary to becoming successful in life. Giving up should never be your first option. Failing is part of succeeding. Look at Thomas Edison; he failed over 1,000 times at making an electric light bulb. Who knows where we would be today if Edison had quit trying after his first failure? My goal for my students this year is to behave your way to success!

Jesse Moore
Elementary School Teacher

Jesse Moore is a masters prepared Special Education teacher, who has been teaching for over five years.  He has worked in Special Education as both a teacher and a paraeducator in schools in Sultan, WA, Meridian, ID, and Spokane, WA. Most recently, he taught middle school and high school special needs students for Central Valley School District as a classroom teacher, then as a roaming home-instruction educator. Also, Jesse is certified to teach Social Studies, History, and Geography for middle and high school, and hopes to infuse his passion for history into his curriculum.

He obtained his undergrad degree in Education from EWU, and Masters in Special Education from Grand Canyon University. Jesse is a life-long learner and currently studying post Civil War South. He hopes his teaching influences positivity, acceptance and tolerance, and believes education is the great equalizer in achieving a more holistic, thriving community.

More information on Mr. Moore coming soon! We are very excited to add him to the
Excelsior Holistic Schools Team!My Why:

Jeni Hendershott

Instructional Assistant

 

I am an Instructional Assistant for the elementary classroom 4th through 6th grade I have worked for Excelsior since 2014 with pride. I am passionate about what we do and proud of the success we have made. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and have been working with children starting at a young age, children are my passion. I love the outdoors and in my spare time, I need mountains and Trees. If I could live in a dense forest and cook on a fire every day I would. I am excited to continue my career and serve the youth at Excelsior Holistic schools and continue to help frame the minds of our local youth with the skills to continue their education and better their minds.

My Why: I believe every child can! There is hope for all.
There is no such thing as not good enough, no such thing as doomed to fail, no such thing as no hope. I am here because every child should have a chance and to say I can and succeed and reach their dream.

Megan Broughton

Instructional Assistant/Art

I was born and raised in the Spokane area. I have worked for Excelsior since 2014. I started here as a Behavioral Support Specialist in the residential unit Olympus. After about 2 years of working in the residential unit, I took a position in Excelsior’s Co-IOP (Co-Occurring Intensive Outpatient) program as a Peer Support Specialist. From there, I transitioned into the WISe (Wraparound Intensive Services) program as a Certified Peer Support. When Excelsior announced that they were opening a holistic school, I took the opportunity to become part of a team that is paving the way for alternative approaches to education. I have an educational background in fine arts and I love to share my passion for art with my art students. Some of my other interests include; hiking, swimming, snowboarding, travel, food, videogames, animals, and nature.

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My Why:
I love working with our youth and seeing the changes they make throughout their journey in our holistic school setting. Our future will soon be in their hands, and I believe every student deserves a consistent and safe learning environment that inspires positive growth.

Beth Kurtsbein

Instructional Assistant / Cosmetology

Beth Kurtzbein became interested in working with children after discovering the Montessori method of education. The Montessori goal is to develop the whole child – emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. Beth pursued her passion and received her certification to teach at Montessori Teacher Preparation of Washington. She taught ages 3-6 for more than 20 years. Following, for eight years, she also owned and operated Montessori Early Learning Center, in Spokane Washington. After working one summer with her sister, who is a makeup artist for film and television, she became interested in learning cosmetology. Beth earned her license in cosmetology, nails, and esthetics. She recently joined Excelsior School to share her knowledge and love for learning. Beth lives in Nine Mile Falls with her husband, three children, and four dogs.

My Why: Everything I do as a teacher is to inspire children to see their potential and to feel they are loved and appreciated!
In cosmetology, I hope to help the children build their self-confidence and know they can lead meaningful, productive, happy lives!

Madelyn Roy

Instructional Assistant/Cooking

 

Madelyn joined Excelsior as a relief staff and has loved every minute of her work. She is excited to be full-time with the school staff and has the goal of creating a nurturing, fun, and supportive environment for students. Madelyn is a Montana transplant, who decided to move to Spokane after receiving her BA in Political Science from the University of Montana, with the goal to pursue a Masters in Social Work in the near future.

She has over six years’ experience working in the hospitality and food industry and loves to teach anyone who will listen about gardening, cooking, and nutrition. Her love of food is second only to her love of travel; her adventures have taken her across all the Pacific Northwest, Australia, Canada, and even recently to South Korea. When not at work or in the kitchen, Madelyn can be found hiking the forests around Spokane, jamming out to loud music, practicing yoga, or having conversations with her two boisterous cats, Benjamin and Hazel.

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My Why: “I am here to help show support to youths who are experiencing mental health diagnoses, whether it be navigating a major crisis or learning day to day coping skills. I believe strongly that the sooner students are shown that they are not alone and are capable of understanding their brains, the easier they can overcome any emotional or behavioral obstacles that may come between them and their ability to live a high-quality life in the future.  Resiliency is a tool that must be practiced in order to be utilized effectively, and I believe schools should be a safe space to begin this lesson.”

 Trina Legnon

Para-Educator/Sewing

 

New to Excelsior this year, Trina was an Instructional Assistant for 13 years in Bellevue, Washington. Trina has supported primary grade teachers in reading, writing, and math. Grammar and vocabulary building are her favorite activities when working with students in small reading and writing groups.
Having lived many years overseas as the daughter, and later the wife of airmen, Trina enjoys traveling and sightseeing with her family. When not traveling or volunteering, she likes sewing, knitting, gardening, and reading. Enneagram Style 7

My Why: “I have been working with children, youth, and their families for over 30 years. Youth need to negotiate the tricky emotional stuff that makes up life. On top of all that we ask them to learn in the classroom. It can be hard for some kids to put it all together in a traditional learning environment.
I’m here for the ones that find it harder. My goal is to help guide them to find the skills they already have, build upon those skills needing work, and introduce them to new ideas for learning and self-discovery. It is my privilege to work with students so they will be ready for this thing called life.”

Jared Young

Para-Educator/Tech & Drones

I am the universe in human form experiencing itself. I am here to do my best to guide the misled and ease the troubles of daily life, if only a little bit. I care about furthering the education of the youth as they are our future and being the person I needed when I went through troubling times myself. I have graduated SFCC with my Associates, as well as a Digital Media Production Applied Science degree. I plan on beginning and completing a BA in psychology to continue on to med school and a master’s in neuroscience/neuropsychology. I wish to helps society reconnect with lost knowledge of our spiritual and emotional selves and to alleviate the stresses youth feel today regarding place and purpose and their relationships with materialism and believed societal norms. I hope to one day be the defining staff that helped a kid live through things they never thought possible, and to inspire as many others as I can.

My Why: I do what I do to be one of the positive influences in the lives of those who may otherwise lack it. I strive to be the person I needed when I was younger and to mitigate troubles in youths hoping to one day be part of the defining narrative in stories told by those who graduate our program successfully; to provide a change in thought to aid in the maturation of the mind. I may not be able to rewire neurons, but I can plant seeds that will one day grow by themselves to influence individuals in a positive direction.

Justin Lamb
Instructional Assistant

Justin is a Peer Para-Educator that is dedicated to the success of the students he works with. Justin has worked with Excelsior for over 2 years and consistently strived for the betterment of the students as well as himself. Justin has an extensive background in martial arts and has been instructing for over 13 years. Justin’s passion for instructing and the betterment of those around him led him to begin working for Excelsior. Justin also has a passion for nature and hopes to be able to nurture respect and passion for nature in those he works with.
My Why: “I’m here because I believe I can make a difference in someone’s life, staff or student. I aspire to provide the staff and students the support they need to get where they want to be in life. My goal is to lift others up in the best way I can.”

Debbie Wilkey

School Secretary

deborah.wilkey@4eyc.org

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My Why: “I love children and to see them grow and develop.  All kids deserve an education and a chance to get one. I’m here to help parents/caregivers enroll their children in school and treat them with respect.  I’m a haven for the students to talk to without judging them.”

Debbie Walker

School Nurse

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Connie O’Neel

School Counselor

connie.oneel@4eyc.org

I was born and raised in Spokane and love it here. I attended Spokane Falls Community College and graduated with an AAS Degree in Social Services. I then attended Whitworth University and graduated in 2006 and went on to get my master’s degree in psychology at the University of Phoenix and graduated in 2009. I have held many different positions here at Excelsior. I am now the school counselor who is working on my Mental Health Counseling Associates License. I’m so excited to be working with our youth on a more individualized manner. I love to see our youth learn and grow and being able to build strong relationships with our youth.

My Why:  “I’m very quick to build rapport with kids and staff. I love to watch them (students and staff) grow and learn.  I’m a positive leader and enjoy leading people.”

Demetrius Palmer

School Life Coach

My Why: “As a leader, it’s my responsibility to help guide our youth but to also lead by example.  I live by 5 core values of Accountability, Dedication, Integrity, Respect, and Teamwork.  These are important in order to structure any team.  These kids are on our team and it’s our responsibility as captains to develop them into functional human beings and to teach them the tools they will need in order to live life in a responsible way regardless of what situations or issues they’ve experienced in their life.”