Our Team


Aaron Chavez, Principal and VP of Education Services

Aaron Chavez

Executive Director
of Education Services


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 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


Hello, I am Aaron Bagnall, on the left, 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


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, scrap-booking, 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

Elementary Teacher


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My Why: “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


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!

Justin Lamb


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.”

Jeni Hendershott


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Megan Broughton


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Beth Kurtsbein


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Madelyn Roy



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


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Debbie Wilkey

School Secretary


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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


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.”