About

Vitality-Centered Education

Unlike schools that teach siloed subjects and measure progress and learning by tests and grades, Springhouse’s educational approach is unique with relationships at the core of all that we do. Springhouse has created an educational design that fosters interconnection, diversity, collaboration, and emergence.

Springhouse is located in rural Appalachia, serving youth and adults who are committed to learning and growing in community. We offer a variety of educational programs for learners of all ages, including:

  • A day school program for 7th-12th graders
  • Coming of age programs for pre-
teens and teens
  • Personal enrichment courses for adults
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 Staff of Soulful Humans

Head of School and Co-Founder

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.

Director of Learner Experience

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.

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.

Head of Curriculum Design

H Leopold (they/them)

After realizing the limits of the U.S. 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 womxn, H is committed to anti-racist, abolitionist teaching, 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, playing guitar, or identifying trees.
Adjunct Faculty, Mentor, and Facilities Manager

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.

Head of Embodied Learning

Roxanne Greenberg (she/her)

Roxanne loves living nestled in the mountains but is always excited to journey to distant lands. She firmly believes in the power of living connected to nature and the importance of hands-on learning. Roxanne sees herself as a kinesthetic learner that is deeply attuned to her sensory experience. She spent many years as a ropes course facilitator and outdoor adventure guide for various organizations and groups including youth, adults, and differently-abled individuals, and she cherished her time teaching outdoor education on the Chesapeake Bay. Roxanne holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from George Mason University, and she is currently participating in a Hakomi Mindfulness Somatic Psychotherapy Training, which is a body-centered healing modality that uses internal observation and somatic awareness to identify core narratives within ourselves. She is interested in the ways in which slowing down and turning inward can help us observe, connect to ourselves, and become more conscious of how we move through our external environments. 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 is a lover of the natural world and enjoys spending time exploring by walking, gardening, hanging out with her goats, cooking, and singing and on occasion climbing rocks.
Director of Sustainability & Community Programs

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. She is currently enrolled in the 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.
Development Director

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.
Communications Coordinator

Carolyn Reilly (she/her)

Carolyn is a passionate lifelong-learner, wife, and mother of four, whose journey brought her to Springhouse in the Fall of 2017 through Sacred Dance. Movement has been a part of Carolyn’s life from a young age: climbing trees, playing neighborhood football, swimming, and dancing to then becoming a pilates, yoga, and fitness instructor in her 20’s. Mothering became her focused movement and learning opportunity as Carolyn stepped into homeschooling her children in 2007. Through relocation, leaps of faith, and difficult loss, Carolyn rediscovered the joy of dance in her late thirties, finding hope, deep connection to herself, and a community committed to creativity and intergenerational learning. Carrying a background in marketing, sales, entrepreneurial endeavors, and community organizing, Carolyn brings an enthusiasm and passion for inspiring people and local communities to grow deeper in their healing and connections – with themselves, each other, the earth, and the divine.

Meet our Board of Trustees

Board Chair

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, Learner Representative

Skyler Locke (he/him)

Skyler is a 15 year old filmmaker and musician from Floyd, Virginia. Skyler has focused from a young age on creativity and expression. After spending 6 years in the public school system, he needed a change, so he came to Springhouse Community School. Now in his 4th year at Springhouse, Skyler is devoted to creating a future where all kids get the opportunity for an educational experience that recognizes their unique gifts. At Springhouse, Skyler has learned about himself and the world around him in so many beautiful ways. He loves the way he is respected and invited into maturity by his mentors at Springhouse.
Board Member, Parent Representative

Andrew Callister (he/him)

Andrew Callister moved to Floyd County from Australia with his wife and three children in 2018, drawn to the vibrancy of this community and the educational opportunity offered by Springhouse Community School. Andrew’s children have formerly been home-schooled and attended a Waldorf School, and he is a passionate supporter of holistic education. Andrew holds a degree in Forest Science and a Ph.D. in Tree Genetics and Physiology. He is self-employed as a forestry research consultant specialising in tree breeding, applied research, and carbon sequestration. An avid environmentalist, Andrew also enjoys hiking, canoeing, writing, and music.
Board Member

Colleen Lewton (she/her)

Colleen moved to Floyd in 2012 with her husband to find land and community, and here she found both. She received her Bachelors of Science in Childhood Education from SUNY Geneseo and has a certification in Middle School Math. Colleen has taught many different age levels from third to eighth grade, and from this experience she has been able to fine-tune her beliefs about education and learning. She has two children and enjoys the freedom and responsibility of homeschooling them. Colleen believes that part of the learning process is struggle, building resiliency, learning critical thinking skills, and finding your own creativity. Colleen has a growing interest in herbs and using them for medicine and healing. She also enjoys hiking and continuing to learn about gardening and permaculture practices.
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.
Board Member

Betty Werner (she/her)

Betty was born in Agana, Guam (her father was stationed at the US Submarine Base there after WWII) and has traveled extensively. Her travels have taken her to England, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, and she has participated on mission teams to the Bahamas, Guatemala and Peru. A life-long “lover of learning,” Betty completed her K-12 education in five public school systems from Washington to Florida. She earned a BA in Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Florida. Betty taught mathematics in Florida and Georgia for over 35 years at six high schools and as an adjunct instructor at NOVA University and Florida Southern College. Betty has sought to inspire a love of learning (and of mathematics) wherever she has lived! She enjoyed coaching Girl’s Cross Country and Track and Field as well as pushing herself athletically, becoming a Tri-athlete and marathoner after the age of 40!
Betty has been married to Dave for 51 years. They have one daughter (Carolyn) and four grandchildren. Betty loves to knit, crochet, cook, sew, garden, hike, and build things! Betty is excited to be a part of Springhouse Community School, where reimagining education is happening!
Board Member, Learner Representative

Tatiana Alba (she/her)

Tati grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and recently moved to Floyd, Virginia in September 2018. Through all the 15 years of her life, she has been homeschooled with self-led learning until recently starting high school at Springhouse Community School. She has always been interested in education in America, and, more specifically, how it does not meet the needs of children, teenagers, and modern society. She firmly believes in the need to reimagine education and that learners should be involved in all levels of their learning.
Board Member

Kim Dulaney (she/her)

Kim and her family moved to Floyd from Rocky Mount, VA in July of 2019. This fulfilled a bucket-list dream to live on the family farm that has been in her husband's family for many generations. She works as a Family Practice physician in Roanoke--teaching residents and medical students at Virginia Tech Carilion medical school and seeing patients of all ages at Southeast Roanoke Family Medicine. She has a special interest in the treatment of addictions. Her husband, Brad, is a United Methodist pastor and they have 4 children: Zora, Jesse, Isaac and Michael, ranging from ages 10-17.. Her children have been homeschooled, public-schooled, Montessori-schooled and her 3rd child is now a student at Springhouse.. A Springhouse program helped her thrive through several years of being treated and recovering from breast cancer. She continues to be an adult student at Springhouse in the dance and community mentoring programs. Springhouse helps her live into two of her life goals that Mary Oliver summarized in her poem When Death Comes: to be a "bride married to amazement" and to see "each body as a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth."
Board Member

Nick Fairhurst (he/him)

Nick and his wife, Susan, are the parents of six children and the grandparents of five, with another on the way. As parents, a lifelong involvement with education and learning has been a primary focus of the Fairhurst family. Nick has been involved with school boards and governorships in the UK and the US since the early 1990’s. A naval architect by training, Nick specialized in traditional construction techniques for sailing ships classed as school ships and working vessels fabricated in steel, aluminum, and advanced composites. Through his profession with the maritime environment, he has been responsible for helping develop an ongoing understanding of the benefits of experiential education since 1978. As a board member of the American Sail Training Association/Tall Ships America, he was able to promote and extend the benefits of education under sail globally. As a result of the design and construction of his ship and boat building facility on a disused quarry in the Highlands of Scotland, he was recognized in 1983 as one of the 20 leading British young entrepreneurs that was awarded an intensive study and research program by leading British-American business schools and industry leaders wanting to develop a better understanding of entrepreneurship internationally. Consequently, he formed the Vital Spark Initiative to advocate entrepreneurship education for youth in 1984. An active member and past president of Rotary and First United Methodist Church Leadership team in Hillsville, VA, he also currently leads the SWVA Economic Forums Youth in Action and Opportunity SWVA Junior Entrepreneurial Development Initiative action teams.
Board Member

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.