MEET THE TEACHERS AND STAFF
Sarah Barrett, Founder/Director
Sarah Barrett started The Living School in July 2015 after seeking a homeschool enrichment program for her two children that combined hands-on, nature-inspired, whole-child learning with a hint of Montessori and Waldorf philosophies. After envisioning what an ideal program would look like and not finding one nearby, she decided to open a school in Orlando that offers this unique program one to two days a week for homeschoolers.
Before starting The Living School, Sarah owned a consulting company that primarily worked with health & fitness brands and functional medicine doctors. She has ghost-written articles, blogs, presentations, curriculum, health programs and an e-book for many clients including two NY Times best-selling authors, medical doctors, various business, health and fitness leaders, and an internationally renowned fitness brand. She has also served as editor for two magazines.
Sarah’s educational background is in Industrial Engineering. She graduated from the #1 Industrial Engineering program in the country, Georgia Tech, and she worked for Walt Disney World for five years after college. Sarah currently homeschools her two children and is excited about the diverse educational offerings The Living School is going to bring to our community.
Dawn Divine-Norman, Founder/Director
Always on the lookout for educational opportunities for her daughter, Dawn, realized that there was a lack of hands-on, multi-aged, creatively fun, nature-inspired programs in her area. She was thrilled when Sarah approached her about starting The Living School together. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience working with Sarah to bring their vision to life.
Dawn is a graduate of Ithaca College, with a BFA in Acting. She has worked as an actress in Film, TV, and Theatre. She has taught acting and dance to children ages 6 to 16 and music to children ages 8 months to 8 years. She was a Music with Mar teacher here in the Dr. Phillips area and taught their preschool program. She also ran a homeschool music class, based on the Music with Mar program, for K-3rd grade.
Along with homeschooling her daughter, Dawn helps to run a homeschool co-op, and runs two businesses out of her home. She is passionate about education and is incredibly excited to bring The Living School Orlando to Central Florida.
Stephanie Kelly, 5&6 Year Olds’ Waldorf-inspired Instructor, Art Instructor, and Debate Instructor
Stephanie has always had a deep connection to the Arts, nature and nurturing children. Native to Northwest New Jersey she grew up involved in the community, sports and exploring the woods. Her first job at 14 was on a farm which was life-changing. It inspired healthy living, awareness and still leads her on creative adventures.
She graduated in 2003 from East Stroudsburg University in PA with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in Art. After relocating to Florida that summer she began her teaching career. That career has consisted of experience in public, private and homeschool settings teaching Elementary Education K-5 and Art on all levels.
Currently she teaches Art to homeschool children from her studio. She is pursuing her own small business and is a full-time mom of three spectacular children. Stephanie likes to think of herself as a modern-day renaissance woman. “Be the reason someone smiles today” is her family’s mission.
Michele Bumbier, Gardening Instructor
Michele Bumbier has been enthralled with Nature since she was a child. Her greatest passions are Herbalism, Sustainable Gardening, and Wholesome Living. She installs permaculture designs & raised garden beds throughout Central Florida. She has a background in Horticulture Technology & Landscape Design and a certification in Permaculture. Michele works closely with the Florida School of Holistic Living as a Garden Intern and teacher. You can be contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org and view her additional classes at http://www.holisticlivingschool.org/
Candace Martin, E-RYT, RYCT, Yoga Instructor
Candace Martin is the Founder & Director of both the Young Yogi Program (Registered
Children’s Yoga School) & Young Yogi Advocate Program, Inc. Both programs offer yoga,
wellness, and mindfulness classes and camps year round. Candace and YYP also offer a 95hr
Children’s Yoga & Mindfulness Certification through Yoga Alliance. All YYP trainings have a
strong emphasis on advocate work. Candace currently teaches at local studios including Guruv Yoga, Warrior Power Yoga & Firefly Yoga Company, and is grateful for her longtime relationship with Whole Foods Market, Phillips Crossing.
In 2013, Candace Martin & Beth Stone received a Grant from the Pollination Project, jump
starting the Young Yogi Advocate Program which now serves at-risk youth and mental health
providers in Central Florida. YYAP provides free classes, workshops and camps for those living
in marginalized and underserved communities. YYAP is committed to linking our next
generation to possibility in the community and offers free yoga certification to teens in or edging
our of advocate care.
Candace is dedicated to sharing the tools of yoga with all of her students so they can access,
uncover and shine their inherent, unique and profound light.
Christina Haak, Music Instructor and Musical Theatre Instructor
Christina Haak is excited to be teaching music this year at The Living School Orlando! Christina holds a B.S. in Music Education from Roberts Wesleyan College in upstate New York. After graduation, Mrs. Haak spent several years teaching both elementary and middle school music and chorus in Rochester, NY and Atlanta, GA. Currently, Christina is an equity performer for the Walt Disney Company. She has performed in many shows at Disney including Disney Jr. Live on Stage, Play ‘N Dine, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, and Finding Nemo: The Musical.
Christina is also a teaching artist for Disney Performing Arts. She is thrilled to share her passion for music and education with the students of The Living School Orlando!
Ligia Vecino, Spanish Instructor
Ligia Vecino is excited to join The Living School Orlando. She is originally from Columbia, South America, and move to the United States in 2001. She enjoys teaching students a new language, helping them to find the joy, fun, and usefulness in becoming bilingual. Ligia has taught at the Ladybird Academy in Windermere, Oakland Avenue Charter School, Berlitz Language Academy, My Kids Academy, Montessori Charter School Winter Garden, and is a Futura Language Professional. She lives in Winter Garden with her husband and two children.
Regina Anderson, Primary and Secondary Grades Science Instructor
Regina Anderson has been teaching in both public and private schools for more than twenty years. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Virginia with a MSEd in Guidance & Counseling and a BS in Science Writing. Regina has experience teaching students from Pre-K through college. She also developed summer science enrichment programs for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, led after-school science clubs, taught science projects at Camp Grandview in Boca Raton, FL, and was part of a chosen cadre of teachers statewide who used hands-on science in their classrooms to receive advanced training. She has always tried to help students gain knowledge at a deeper level, with emphasis on inter-relationships and the “big picture” idea. Regina wants to engage The Living School students in experiences that will encourage their creativity and imagination, while also giving them opportunities for intellectual and emotional growth.
Patty Szydlo, Geography and Primary Grades Science Instructor
Patty is excited to be teaching this year at the Living School Orlando! She is originally from Mogadore, OH. Patty graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. She had the opportunity to complete an advanced internship with the Disney Youth Education Series as a facilitator. She taught the physics program at the Magic Kingdom and science programs at the Land Pavilion and Living Seas in Epcot. After graduation, Patty taught elementary school grades 2-5 for several years in Orlando, Florida. She lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and 3 children and has a passion for healthy living, reading, and traveling.
Caroline Chomanics, Gardening Instructor
Caroline Chomanics is a passionate horticulturalist in the Central Florida community, having earned her Horticulture Degree from Valencia College. She is Caretaker and Horticultural Specialist to Nehrling Gardens, a historic botanical garden in Gotha, Florida. She cares for 6 acres of flora including a 100 year old canopy. She engages the community in ecological restoration, plant identification, and environmental education. She is Farming Coordinator to Fleet Farming in Audubon Park. Fleet Farming is a pedal-powered urban agriculture program that turns lawns into farms. She is honored to be a part of The Living School family!
Stef Layton, Geography Instructor
Stef Layton started homeschooling her boys in 2008. She is the Hands-On Learning columnist for Homeschooling Today magazine, a writer for 107 Market Street and Applecore. Through Homeschooling Today magazine, Stef has shared fun activities, created lego ebooks, and offered free worksheets online for homeschool families. She currently works as an Educational Speaker at homeschool events, giving instruction on how to incorporate hands-on learning into your current curriculum.
Stef considers herself a history nerd and hopes to one day tour every castle in Scotland. The Layton family firmly believes in intentional parenting, quality time, and good bbq.
Crystal Drummond, Creative Arts/Sewing Instructor
Crystal Drummond is the Designer and Owner of DayBrook Design. She joins our team of amazing educators to bring a new aspect of learning to our youth. Through Creative Arts classes focused on sewing and design, she shares her passion to learn and master basic sewing skills while encouraging students to enhance projects to reflect their personal style.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Ms. Drummond learned early on that one must work hard to achieve his or her goals. She was inspired to learn to sew as she watched her great grandmother hand sew all her quilts. She began with quilting then ventured into children and doll clothing along with craft projects. She has been sewing for 36 years. Crystal was an active member of the Nebraska 4-H, working with a project based activity group for children from ages 5 thru 18. She now leads a 4-H group in Seminole County and teaches youth basic sewing skills.
Witnessing folks grow in their knowledge and abilities plus gaining confidence and pride in their accomplishments has truly been a blessing. Crystal’s motto is “Being creative is not a hobby, it is a way of life.”
Christine Cheesman, 2-D Art Studio Instructor
Christine Cheesman graduated from East Carolina University with a BFA in Fine Arts/Education, and a concentration in painting. She did a summer semester in Gubbio, Italy, and upon graduating college, studied with Greek artist Lisa Sotilis in Milan, Italy. In 1998, Christine began teaching in both public and private schools in Grifton, NC, and outside of Asheville, NC, before making the decision to homeschool her own children. She currently teaches private art lessons in the Winter Garden, Dr. Phillips, and Williamsburg areas of Central Florida.
Christine is humbled that she gets to help the next generation grow in their freedom of expression and the exploration of their creative selves. She loves travel, creating healthy recipes, working out, and going to the beach. Christine lives in Winter Garden, FL, with her husband, Woody, and their three children.
Brittany Noltimier, Musical Theatre Instructor
Brittany graduated from Oklahoma City University and received a Bachelor of Performing Arts specializing in dance performance and musical theater. She started dancing and teaching at her mom’s dance studio in Devils Lake, North Dakota and continues to perform and educate in NYC, OK, and FL. Brittany is currently performing and teaching in Orlando, Florida. She teaches recreational and competition dance at Ready, Set, Dance! and Spotlight Dance Center. She is a teacher and judge on the national tour of Dance Olympus and taught master classes across the Midwest and Northeast. Brittany judges for Inspire Dance Competition, Talent on Parade, and I Love Dance.
Brittany played Holly Who in “Grinchmas” at Islands of Adventure and is a minion recruit in the Superstar Parade at Universal Studios. Brittany sings and dances at Legoland in the new Lego Friends show and is an actor at Seaworld. She works for Event Show Productions out of Tampa, Spotlight Productions, Metropolis, and Shows in a Box dancing, stilt walking, and performing in variety acts for corporate events.
Andrea Hochkeppel, Music and Theatre Instructor
Andrea Hochkeppel is a Louisiana-born performer and teacher here in the Orlando area. Andrea’s credits include performing as a lead singer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, starring as Junie B. Jones in Junie B. Jones the Musical, and swimming the seas with Finding Nemo the Musical at Walt Disney World. She was recently seen as a featured dancer on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
Andrea has a degree in Musical Theatre from Northwestern University where she received extensive training in voice, acting, and dance. She has played piano, clarinet, and bassoon for over 15 years in educational, regional, and professional settings. She’s studied with the top voice teachers in Chicago and NYC and worked as a teaching assistant at Northwestern in vocal performance/singing-acting. Andrea has a multitude of experience teaching students of all ages. Her passion for teaching and her love for the performing arts is apparent in every project she takes on. She’s absolutely thrilled to be teaching at The Living School!
*Background checks and reference checks are performed on all of our teachers.