Arden Forest School
Learning. Nature. Connection
Director, Learning Guide
A certified teacher with a BA and MA in history and education, Hope has over 25 years of experience in teaching all ages- preschool through adult- and in creating and administering educational programs. She has taught in public schools, at progressive/nature-oriented schools, and overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia, where she also served as a teacher trainer in contemporary classroom management skills, methodologies and pedagogy. Her classroom experience involves literacy development, teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL), and general studies (all subject areas). She served as a religious education director for six years, where she created and implemented educational programming for all ages. She also established and directed an academic homeschool program for families/children from nursery age through high school, while simultaneously teaching philosophy for the University of Phoenix from 2010-2017. Hope is the mother of three amazing children- Aia, Della and Will, as well as two really big cats- Melusine and Marguerite. She loves humanity, and she adores exploring the world with learners in a holistic fashion within a natural setting that ministers to their bodies, minds, and spirits. Hope is happily serving as our school director and middle school Learning Guide!
Administrator, Learning Guide
Aven has a B.S. in Psychology, and years of experience teaching in preschool and in corporate training. He has been trained in forest school philosophy, compassionate communication, teaching in a multi-age classroom, learning styles and lesson planning, and is becoming a certified forest school practitioner. Aven has studied Ecopsychology in depth, and has witnessed the healing impact of nature on the human spirit after moving to the country and back on his family farm. He has wanted for some time to create a learning community for his own children, as well as others, one that is nurtured by our natural connection to the earth. Aven is excited and honored to work with the spirit of his land in this endeavor, and cannot wait to welcome Arden Forest's learners in person as our administrator and 3rd-5th grade Learning Guide.
Learning Guide K-3rd
Helen Nicholson is an amazing Learning Guide trained in K-3nd grade literacy, compassionate communication, teaching in a multi-age classroom, learning styles and lesson planning, and forest school philosophy. She is the mother of three, and an artist skilled in watercolor, acrylic, oil, glassworks, paper clay, and polymer clay. She is proficient in handicrafts- stitching, crocheting, knitting, woodworking- and she loves to share this creative spirit with our children here at Arden Forest! Helen has a wealth of experience in gardening, too, and her knowledge base of plant life, edibles, wild crafting, and native flora in this region is cherished and greatly valued by all of our learning community. An aspiring author and illustrator of children’s books, Helen is the perfect K-3rd co-teacher for our young ones, and manifestor of this forest school dream!
Learning Guide Assistant
After working in corporate America for over 30 years, "Aunt Jess," as our children call her, is teaching at school because she loves encouraging children to learn and become their authentic selves. Jess is trained in literacy, human growth and development, math instruction, lesson planning/learning styles, compassionate communication, and brings her evolving knowledge as a current social work major at Dalton State into all she does. She lives in Dalton and loves taking her niece and nephews on multiple adventures. We are so happy to have Jess as a nurturing part of the AFS community!
Learning Guide K-3rd
Brooke Lynch joined our team last year when she adopted us and started helping out on forest days as our herbalist! She is amazing with children and is a natural teacher. Her enthusiastic curiosity contributes to her lesson planning and creative activities. A gardener and homesteader, Brooke contributes to our school mission in all the ways. She has been trained in K/1 literacy, math instruction, Non-Violent Communication techniques, lesson planning and working with multi-age groups. She is currently obtaining her forest school teaching certification. Brooke's two children attend AFS, and we are so happy to have her as a K-3rd co-teacher with our school team!
Learning Guide Forest Day
Iggy has her BFA in art and her MFA in graphic and interactive design. She worked as a graphic designer for several years until she realized that it just wasn’t the kind of art or work that lit up her soul. During the 2020 pandemic, she and her partner decided to homeschool their children. It was during this time that she discovered her love of guiding children to get excited about learning and involved in their own educations. Looking for a way to blend this newfound passion with her love of art, she found herself teaching after school art classes to kids pre-K through High School at The Creative Art Place in Chattanooga. Iggy lives in Chattanooga with her family, including their two kids Addison and Aurora-both of whom attend Arden-and their many cats. She is trained in forest school philosophy, literacy, math instruction, Non-Violent Communication techniques, and lesson planning/learning styles. Iggy is excited to be joining the Arden family as a forest school learning guide!
Our Staff Values
Commitment – we are committed to our mission
Love – we love our students to open them up to learning
Compassion – we show concern for students, parents and each other
Patience – we are slow to frustrate; quick to be gentle; we respond rather than react
Resourcefulness – we act and offer solutions
Respect-we are conscious of diversity and thoughtful in word and deed