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Sara Otis

Founder / Director / Teacher

Sara has a deep passion to connect with nature and help young people do the same. With a degree in intercultural education, Sara has spent time guiding young people in many different contexts and places, including Mexico and Colombia. During post grad studies in Counseling, she latched onto the healing power of nature for people. After obtaining her forest school certification in Seattle Washington, she founded Knox Forest School with a passion to make this education available to Knoxville’s youth. Sara is the mother of three. A friend of birds. Admirer of coyote and fox. And an ardent appreciator of Mary Oliver.

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Lyndsey DaSilva

Lead Teacher—3 to 6 year olds

Lyndsey has devoted her time to working with children of all ages in a variety of settings over the past decade. She completed her Assistance to Infancy Montessori Training at The Montessori Institute in Denver, CO and her Master's Degree in Montessori Education from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. She brings an eagerness to help children access a deep connection to themselves, the natural world, and those around them.

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Clare Dattilo

Lead Teacher—10 to 14 year olds

Clare’s love of the outdoors began with hiking, camping, caving, bird watching, and catching toads as a child. She has a degree in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Kentucky, and has worked as a naturalist and outdoor educator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Ijams Nature Center. As a homeschool mom of three, she has taught co-op science classes for all ages. She is passionate about helping people discover the wonder and mystery of the natural world.

 
 
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Stephen Otis

Lead Teacher—7 to 9 year olds

Stephen has a great passion for trails, journeys and creative flow. He has eighteen years experience in education, having worked in schools in Boston, Bogota, and Knoxville. With a degree in Anthropology and a Master’s in History from Gordon-Conwell, he brings a passion for learning and culture. He enjoys instilling in kids (of all ages!) a sense of peace, adventure and joie de vivre.

 

Beth Aisenbrey

Gardener / Teacher—3 to 6 year olds

Beth has a deep love for the natural world that has manifested into a passion for wandering, caring for creatures, and having her hands in the soil. She has a degree in Food and Agricultural Business from UT and has spent the last 6 years working for various farms as well as teaching gardening classes, dabbling in herbalism, and training as a birth doula. Her greatest joys in life include belly laughs, slow hikes, sunrises, and spreadsheets.

 

Marcy Yoder

Teacher—3 to 6 year olds

Marcy's deep connection with nature began in the woods of north Alabama, where she grew up. She received a BA in Art and a Masters degree in Teaching from Harding University. She taught elementary art for 3 years, guiding children as they discovered their own voice and love of creativity. She now spends much of her time outside with her little girl, Wren. Marcy is an artist, a lover of mystery, gets really excited about moss (as well as birds and moths) and carries a deep abiding love for Wendell Berry.

 

Jennifer Billman

Teacher—3 to 6 year olds

Jennifer recently settled in Knoxville after living in Alabama, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. She has an Elementary Education degree from Taylor University and has used it in a variety of teaching roles. Through her recent involvement with Ijams and as a substitute teacher at Knox Forest School, she has discovered that her favorite environment to work with children is the great outdoors. Her son was also a student at Forest School last year, so she has experienced it as both a parent and a teacher!