What makes us special?

We are a community of learners who respect each others' rights to be part of a safe, democratic and caring environment.

  • Self-directed learning

  • Democratic empowerment

  • Mixed-aged learning

  • Low student-to-staff ratio

  • Wonderful outdoor facilities

  • Caring & cooperative environment

  • Highly motivated & experienced staff

  • No religious or political affiliation

Our mission

We trust students to take control of their lives and learning within a supportive school community that offers a wide variety of viewpoints, experiences and role models. We provide a caring, inclusive environment where students have an equal voice in making the school what they want it to be, and to live the freedom that this responsibility brings.

Our vision

Students gain trust in themselves, and the tools and confidence to forge their own paths according to their personal innate drive and passion. They apply the experience and knowledge of how to participate with integrity in the democratic process to affect their community and future. Students acquire the confidence that they can tackle life's challenges in their own unique way.



Our Staff

Ben Kestner - Staff Member/Co-Founder

Ben has been a teacher & principal for 18 years in England, Germany and Belgium. He has been an advocate of alternative forms of education which focus on personalized and supportive approaches. He writes a popular blog and has co-organized TedXkids Brussels and was a speaker at TedX Brussels, the world's largest TedX event. 

Lisa Pavlock - Staff Member/Co-Founder

Lisa has been a teacher and coach for 18 years in the USA, India, Germany and Belgium. She is a language specialist who led her department in a number of the schools in which she taught. She also enjoys coaching soccer and basketball teams at all different age levels. 

Carolyn Hidy - Staff Member

 Carolyn's varied background includes working as a wildlife biologist and firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, and a writer for a local newspaper.  The past two decades she has been an advocate for inspired education as a substitute teacher, homeschooling mom, and active school volunteer.

Hope Litzinger - Volunteer

Hope is a retired reading specialist and teacher and comes in to volunteer at our school for three days a week. She loves being with our kids and learning from them each day!

Michelle Burton - Grant writer and Marketing

Michelle has been writing grants for non-profits for the past 6 years. She recently moved to Montana from Florida to build a cabin in the mountains and find a slower pace of life. She enjoys yoga, science fiction, and spending time with her family.