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About

“A culture that values production over life values the wrong things, because it will produce things at the expense of living beings, human or otherwise.”
~Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words

Founded in 2013 in Floyd County, Virginia, Springhouse is an intergenerational learning community working towards a vision of regenerative culture where all people are connected to the vitality within themselves, their community, and the Earth. We work towards this vision by providing vitality-centered education that empowers us to more courageously serve the world’s emerging needs. Vitality centered education is lived out through our five Sourced Design principles that emerged from eight years of practice at Springhouse and include:

  • Taking care of vulnerability.
  • Cultivating personhood.
  • Building beloved community.
  • Respecting the wisdom of the Earth.
  • Loving and serving others.

Springhouse is located on an 11-acre farm that provides opportunities for learning and community engagement with this vitality-centered model. Springhouse offers programs for youth and adults including:

  • an accredited Day School for 12-18 year olds
  • coming-of-age programs for 8-18 year olds
  • Adult programs include
    • A 2-year certificate program in Regenerative Cultural Design and Practice
    • Depth courses that invite adults to cultivate presence and personhood in many ways.
    • Through the Sourced Design Network we share this life giving design with those who are interested in fostering vitality in their lives and communities.

Springhouse orients around taking care of the gift of this life. We know that when we take care of ourselves, each other, and the planet, we have more life and care to give to others; especially those in need. Life is at the center of our educational design and taking care of life is the purpose for everything we do–whether that is curriculum development, evaluation and assessment, or the way we structure economic and organizational systems. We are dedicated to taking care of life in everything we do. Because of this, the vitality that is fostered spills out in creative and innovative ways locally and internationally to the people and places that are in need of it. This must be the reason for education – to bring us alive and give us the courage to bring to the world what is truly needed.

Our Values

We commit to living into and practicing our community Values:

  • Creativity
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Connection
  • Individuality
  • Resiliency

Learn more about our Values in Action here.

Our Economic Model

The unique Springhouse economic model emerged as a result of practicing the vitality-centered Sourced Design principles for eight years. In our new model, we aim to dismantle the notion of education as a commodity by radically shifting the way we view money. This economic model is grounded in trust, transparency and relationship. Learn more about our generative economic model here.

Our Mission

Awakening to Vitality

The Springhouse community awakens a vitality-centered education that empowers people to courageously respond to the world’s emerging needs.

Our Vision

Regenerating Culture

Springhouse envisions a regenerative culture where all people are connected to the vitality within themselves, their community, and the Earth.

Meet our Dedicated  Staff

Jenny Finn (she/her)

Jenny Finn has designed structures that foster vitality in people, communities, and organizations for nearly 30 years.

She holds a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education and co-founded Springhouse Community School and Sourced Design.
Jenny Finn’s research, mentoring, and teaching invites people to deepen the relationship they have with themselves in order to serve the world with greater clarity, courage, compassion, and creativity. Her work has taken many forms including non-profit leadership, trauma and hospice care, chaplaincy, clinical private practice, community building through the expressive arts, and education. She sees education as a primary agent to create regenerative culture and is redesigning education in ways that foster the vitality within and around us all. Jenny lives on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband Andy and their two teenage children, Andrew and Lizzie, and loves taking walks on the country road everyday with her dog, Kevin.

Jenny is one of the original founders of Springhouse and she serves the Springhouse mission by supporting the Springhouse staff in their development and work; teaching occasionally in the Day School program; facilitating courses in the adult program; and leading the Sourced Design Network including the facilitation of the Sourced Design Lab. Jenny also loves cooking a community meal on occasion and helping to plan the Experience Week Trips we take three times a year!

Chris Wolf (he/him)

Chris started at Springhouse in 2016 teaching math, then participating in The Well and leading coming-of-age programming before joining Springhouse full-time for 2018-2019 school year. He grew up in a Camphill community in Pennsylvania and attended the Kimberton Waldorf School. Before settling in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Roxanne (his wife), Chris received a B. Sc. in agricultural economics from McGill University, led canoe trips in the Canadian wilderness, taught English in the Republic of Georgia, and worked in food and farming in various places and capacities.

Chris wears many hats at Springhouse. You might find him holding an all-school meeting, teaching teens a new song, planning for a course or apprenticeship, building fires in the woods with his mentoring group, showing students some spreadsheet tips and tricks, facilitating psychodrama at a staff meeting or with adults in The Well, or monitoring attendance and responding to inquiries from prospective families. The breadth that each day holds is one of the reasons Chris loves his work with Springhouse.
He is interested in social forms that can hold vulnerability, encourage authenticity and further wholeness. Chris is passionate about shape note singing and committed to service. Chris has also been known to enjoy gas station hotdogs and a good show on Netflix.

H Leopold (they/them)

After realizing the limits of the US public education system, a structure that wasn’t built to support the creative work they were after, H left their 5-year teacher education program a year early, graduating with a degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies with minors in Elementary Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Upon receiving their diploma, they immediately left the town of their undergraduate university in pursuit of a new way of educating and learning - one that truly supports the potential and life in each individual. Now, after 6 years of immersion in and the co-creation of a vitality-centered learning environment, H is inspired to work alongside other educators yearning for something different - for an educational design in which ALL learners can thrive. H has worked with diverse populations of young learners both in the public school system and alternative educational settings. They have experienced the learning environments of “failing” schools - where three-quarters of the learner population receive free or reduced lunches - and schools in which learners speak over 50 different languages and have relocated from countries all over the globe. A queer, gender-noncomforming educator, H is committed to the decolonization of education and themselves and being a coconspirator. If you happen to catch H outside of Springhouse, they may be experimenting with film photography (hleopoldphotography.com), reading a Dean Koontz novel, or identifying trees.

H first started volunteering at Springhouse in 2015 while they were still in college, and they have been involved in various capacities ever since. Currently, they design, implement, and revise Springhouse's Day School vitality-centered curriculum and assessment methods; support course facilitators; mentor teens; facilitate courses; co-lead the Sourced Design Lab with Jenny; and teach a yoga series through Springhouse's adult programming. H also typically offers a film photography apprenticeship and yoga - two of their passions - for the teens at the Day School.

Ian Stabler (he/him)

Ian Stabler is an artist, woodworker, and natural builder from Denver, Colorado. In 2013, Ian graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Studio Art. He completed his Permaculture Design Certificate from Quail Springs later that year and spent the next two years as a natural building apprentice at Aprovecho Sustainability Institute in Cottage Grove, OR.

Ian has a deep appreciation for the natural world and humanity’s place within it and uses his art as an access point through which to delve deeper into our environment and himself. He loves farming, homesteading, and traveling. Ian believes that art in education can be as expansive as the learners who participate in it and believes in the potential for art to teach us depth within ourselves and the world.

Ian is an artist, builder, and explorer. He found his way to Springhouse in 2018 and somehow ended up walking to Roanoke with 30 teenagers on an Experience Week Trip.
This momentous beginning has led to more and more engagement with what it means to build regenerative culture now, and a love for the vitality that springs from the ground through the Springhouse community. You may find him teaching courses, helping students design and build shelves for the school's shoes, organizing the school's art supplies, coordinating artistic installations, or weeding the garden beds.
Ian loves old things that carry the marks of hundreds of hands, student watercolors of dragons, the satisfaction of hard work and a well built stair.

Roxanne Greenberg (she/her)

Roxanne is a kinesthetic learner and values hands-on learning and living connected to the land. She believes in the body’s innate wisdom and the importance of healing touch, which can be a mirror of the unconditional love that resides in each of us. Roxanne has participated in several somatic trainings and is a graduate of Hakomi, a body-centered healing modality that uses internal observation and somatic awareness to identify core narratives within ourselves. She is interested in how slowing down and turning inward can help us observe and become more conscious of how we move through our external environments. Roxanne is passionate about supporting others in cultivating resiliency in order to move towards challenge and growth.

Roxanne started volunteering one afternoon in 2015. Later that year, she found herself immersed herself in Springhouse’s second-ever experience week trip. Since then, she has been a chameleon experimenting with different roles and responsibilities within the organization. Now you will often find her leading all-school mindfulness, teaching various classes, holding a restorative justice meeting, mentoring, or working on envisioning a curriculum that weaves holistic development while exploring the world’s emerging needs. Roxanne cares about the curriculum by noticing how we cultivate resiliency to thrive, learn from differences, and work to restore what needs repair.

Sarah Merfeld (she/her)

Sarah moved to Floyd in 2017 to get involved with Springhouse’s adult programming and became a full-time staff member later that year. Sarah and her partner Ian recently completed construction on their hand-built home where they intend to live and grow together for the foreseeable future. She holds a bachelor's degree in Religion with a focus in Buddhism and Western philosophy from Colorado College. Sarah studied permaculture design at Quail Springs Permaculture, completed an 18-month sustainable agriculture fellowship with the Allegheny Mountain Institute in 2016; and worked in the field of garden-based education before coming to Springhouse. She is deeply committed to healthy human development and is passionate about creating regenerative communities, and recently completed a master’s degree in Ecological Design Thinking Master’s Program at Schumacher College, where she is loving meeting people from around the world and exploring where theory and practice meet.

Sarah originally came to Springhouse to participate in adult programming in January of 2017 and began as a full-time staff member later that year. Currently, she leads our sustainability efforts, including reviving the Springhouse Farm; coordinates the Apprenticeship Program, Coming-of-Age programs and the Two-Year Certificate Program for adults; facilitates courses; mentors adults and teens; and leads Sacred Dance. Lately, she's been running with the students and leading high intensity interval training!

Sarah Piper Pollock (she/her)

After first dancing with Jenny Finn a decade ago on Semester at Sea, Piper is thrilled to be joining the dance once again with the Springhouse Community as Development Director. Piper brings her years of experience in multiple nonprofits focused on rites of passage for international youth, dance, youth mentorship, and environmental restoration and conservation. Originally rearing from Colorado, Piper has a deep appreciation for the natural world as a healing modality, and will often be found fermenting foods, drinking tea, walking the woods, doing yoga, and exploring new swimming holes.

Sarah Piper first arrived in Floyd in 2019 to participate in adult programming at Springhouse. She joined the team in 2020 and is grateful for the many ways she serves the Springhouse mission. You might find her walking with her mentees, leading dance, or facilitating an art class. She also holds the Generative Economic model which weaves trust, transparency and relationship into the resources Springhouse needs to sustain its vision and mission. Piper also holds a deep appreciation for the unfolding and development of an organization as well as the human beings within it. She works closely with the rest of the team to create development centered curriculum for our day school and adult programming.

Carolyn Reilly (she/her)

Carolyn is a courageous lifelong learner, wife, and mother of four, whose journey brought her to Springhouse in the Fall of 2017 through Sacred Dance. Her teens started attending Springhouse in the Fall of 2018 and Carolyn volunteered as a parent, organizing small events to raise funds and build community. She joined the Springhouse staff in the Summer of 2019, holding various roles in outreach and development. Carolyn now serves full-time on the Springhouse Team and enjoys showing up wholeheartedly in a variety of creative ways, such as: managing the Springhouse website, weaving together the monthly e-newsletter, responding to inquiries and growing connections, supporting several human resource and administrative duties, facilitating adult and youth programs, coordinating adult depth courses, planning events, and mentoring adults.
Carolyn brings an enthusiasm and passion for communion, inspiring people and communities to deepen in their wholeness and connection - with the earth, themselves, each other, and the divine.

Meet our Board of Trustees

Board Chair

Chuck Peters (he/him)

Chuck lives in Twisp, Washington, close to his two grandchildren (of six) who live in the United States. After thirty years working in corporate management, leading large organizations such as Amana Refrigeration and small start-ups such as Breakthrough to Literacy, Chuck’s last six years have been focused on generative education, particularly effective literacy environments for children ages 3-11. Generative learning environments enable both the leaders and the learners to maintain their wholeness and agency. For more background on generative education see https://bit.ly/2LSAjz2
While also active in leadership positions in many community organizations such as United Way, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and Junior Achievement Chuck has focused on education with 10 years as chair of Foundations in Learning, 27 years on the Coe College Board of Trustees (3 as Chair), 26 years on the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business Board of Advisors, several years on the board of the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa, and three years as the Chair of the Board of Advisors for the University of Iowa College of Education.
Board Member

Kim O'Donnell (she/her)

Kim O’Donnell is a retired Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as both a public defender and a prosecutor in Richmond, Virginia. During her legal career, she served on the boards of various non-profits, including the Richmond CASA program, the Prison Visitation Project, and the YWCA of Greater Richmond. She has also served on the Advisory Board of Visitors for Mary Baldwin College and was a member of the McArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. In addition to her undergraduate and law degrees, she has a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University.
Board Member

Paul Haluszczak (he/him)

Paul stumbled upon the world of learner-centered education after quickly realizing his original career choice as a data analyst was a path of comfort rather than one of joy and fulfillment. Determined to pivot and ignore his degree in Economics, he launched a website with writing samples and began looking for work in non-profit communications. He was soon hired by Education Reimagined where he is now the Director of Digital Communications. Currently, the road is Paul’s home. Along with his partner, Morgan, and dog, Milly, they travel around the country in search of great hiking, great boondocking, and, if all goes well, a great community they will be ready to call a more permanent home.

Non-Discrimination Policy
Springhouse is a community of people with respect for diversity. The school emphasizes the dignity and equality common to all persons and adheres to a strict nondiscrimination policy regarding the treatment of individual faculty, staff, students, family members, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors.

Springhouse is an equal opportunity employer. In accord with federal law and applicable Virginia statutes, the school does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, disability, or status as a veteran in employment or in any program or activity offered or sponsored by the school.

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