Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Director selected for new charter school

Top administration job goes to Mary Gervase

Express Staff Writer

    Syringa Mountain School announced Friday that long-time educator Mary Gervase, one of the founders of the new school, has been appointed school director.
    Gervase, who led the endeavor for creation of the new charter school, the only one in Blaine County, served as interim director following approval for establishment of the school by the Idaho State Charter School Commission in August 2013.
    “Two years ago, I never imagined I would be assisting a group of dedicated parents and teachers to found the first charter school in Blaine County and the first Waldorf-inspired charter school in Idaho,” Gervase stated in a press release. “It has been the ultimate privilege to be part of this mission of bringing choice of Waldorf education to our families.”
    Gervase holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s in educational psychology and a doctorate in educational administration.

It has been the ultimate privilege to be part of this mission of bringing choice of Waldorf education
to our families.”
Mary Gervase
Syringa Mountain School

    She is a former assistant superintendent for the Blaine County School District and is co-founder of the Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival. She was director of education for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, held in Idaho. Gervase is currently a consultant with the Idaho State Department of Education Capacity Building Program.
    Gervase has worked as a K-8 elementary school teacher, a school counselor, an assistant principal, a principal, an adjunct professor and as a New Mexico State Department of Education director.
    Syringa Mountain School, located in south Hailey, is set to open this fall for grades K-5. The school plans to expand by one grade during the next three years so that by 2017 it will have grades K-8.
    Charter Schools are state-funded and no tuition is charged. Since charter schools cannot levy property tax dollars, they also rely heavily on private donations.
    Syringa Mountain School will use Waldorf teaching methodology. The school describes the methodology as an “academically rigorous liberal arts curriculum presented in a developmentally and arts-integrated context. The method emphasizes educating the whole child—head, heart and hands—through sustainable living, gardening, farming, experiential learning and minimal use of technology in the early grades.”
    The school describes Waldorf as the “fastest growing independent school movement in the world.”
    Syringa Mountain School announced this week that a two-week Waldorf teaching certification course started Monday in Blaine County. The two-week course, provided by Kentahten Teacher Training, runs from June 9-20 and is being held at Sawtooth Botanical Garden. The course is part of a four-year Waldorf teacher certification program.
    The program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from Syringa advisory board member Kate Sokoloff and her husband, Kiril Sokoloff.

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