Field School will provide immersive outdoor learning environments along with student-centered teaching practices that will foster students’ mastery of core subjects while encouraging curiosity, leadership, stewardship, community and adventure. Students attending Field School will develop a connection to the natural world, a strong growth mindset, the capacities to understand and solve complex problems, and the skills to communicate with the world.
Field School provides an immersive outdoor learning environment along with student-centered teaching practices. It fosters students’ mastery of all core subject knowledge while also encouraging curiosity, stewardship, community, leadership and adventure. Students attending Field School develop a connection to the natural world, a strong growth mindset, the ability to understand and solve complex problems, and skills to communicate to the world in many ways. Students spend time outdoors through all seasons, and learn how the natural world is a living textbook.
Hi, my name is Josie Martin and I am thrilled to be taking on a new adventure of teaching the 1st/2nd Field School class at East Oakview. I have spent the past two years as the Kindergarten Field School teacher and am excited to move up with my students. Teaching in an outdoor setting is one of my greatest joys. I graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2019 where I studied Elementary Education and Social Studies. I have spent many years teaching students outside at various camps, youth groups and as a backpacking guide on North Manitou Island. When I’m not at Field School, I love to ride my bike, cook with friends, create art and explore new places. Currently, I am finding so much joy in working in the Field School garden. I am passionate about my community and cannot wait to teach my students how to best care for and protect the world around them. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Hello! My name is Matthew Fenech and I teach the 3/4 multi-age classroom at Field School. One thing I tell my students each year is that “I like to play outside more than you!” And it’s true. I have experience teaching kindergarten and third grade here at Northview and believe that kids learn (and I teach) best in the natural world. I graduated Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science and an Integrated Science major which offered me many outdoor experiences that I share with my classes every year. I’ve studied geological formations on Mackinac Island, guided tours of iron ore mines in the Upper Peninsula, and local water and soil studies along the Grand River. My passions include hiking, and biking with my family and I don’t leave the water when we are near a lake. Townsend Park is my favorite natural area to explore close to home and once my wife and I got to ride our bikes 950 miles around Lake Michigan over the summer! We left right from East Oakview on the last day of school. Field School brings my career and passions together and I’m excited to share that passion with your kids. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about Field School, my teaching experience, or outdoor adventures.
Hi! My name is Christina Hayford and I teach 1st and 2nd grade Field School at West Oakview. I grew up in Kansas City and received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. After school, I lived and worked in Chicago where I received my Masters of Education from Loyola University Chicago. I moved to Grand Rapids to teach for Field School. I’ve loved getting to know the local community and have learned so much from my students about Michigan history and geography. I’m passionate about sustainability, children’s literature, and music. I have enjoyed seeing how each of these interests interact with the mission of Field School. Helping students to recognize their gifts and talents and empowering them to use those gifts to care for the environment has been one of my greatest joys in teaching.
Hello! My name is Sarah McCormack and I am excited to be teaching 3/4 Field School at West Oakview! I love being outdoors and cannot wait to guide our students in their explorations and learning with the outdoor world. I graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2014, with a degree in Elementary Education Social Studies and Science! I have been in the classroom for 5 years now. 1 year as a paraprofessional in a kindergarten class, and 4 years as a 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade multi-age classroom teacher. I grew up in camping and at summer camp, where I learned to backpack, canoe and love the outdoors. When I am not at school, I like to read, go on road trips to new places, and be on or near water! Sailing and canoeing are my favorite. I am so excited for the coming adventures that we will go on together. The chance to connect the classic areas of learning to the great outdoors is a dream come true! If you have questions, or need anything from me, please feel free to reach out! I hope to see you at the mobile library, and open house!
Hello! My name is Mr. Baird. I love teaching fifth grade and have been working with students in the out-of-doors for over ten years. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Northview community and the Field School program. It is my belief that some of the most powerful learning experiences take place in nature, and that it is therefore important for teachers and students to care for the environment. My hobbies include fly fishing, hunting, cooking, and backpacking with my wife Andrea and our son Owen. Andrea and I recently summited Longs Peak in Colorado. It was one of the scariest yet coolest things I’ve experienced in life so far! We have a dog named Tiller, two cats named Fred and George (yes, they’re named after the Weasley twins from Harry Potter), and seven egg-laying chickens. We are so fortunate to learn outside and I am so excited for the adventures ahead!
Hi! I’m Sara Pitt, a proud lifelong Northview Wildcat. My roots began as a K-12 student, have grown over the last 17 years as a staff member, and continue to expand as a parent of two daughters who attend North Oakview. A multitude of experiences have helped me grow over the years. My love for outdoor education was sparked by spending my college summers on the shores of Lake Michigan working at Camp Blodgett. I earned my bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, spent two years teaching in the Bronx, NY, and earned my master’s degree in reading and language arts from Grand Valley State University. The first half of my teaching career was spent at the middle school level, and while I have enjoyed teaching high school for the other half, I am thrilled to return to middle school! The curiosity and self-discovery of students learning in nature is pure joy to observe and help facilitate. I can’t wait to foster a deep connection and passion for the natural world with my students. Outside of school I stay quite busy! I am an avid runner, reader, and hockey mom. In the summer I enjoy paddle boarding and canoeing the Pine River. Our family loves to camp, hike, and explore hidden gems of Michigan. In the winter you’ll find us skating on lakes, snowshoeing, and sledding. Joining the Field School team has been a dream of mine since its inception. I am honored to be part of the 6th grade expansion and look forward to the 2022-2023 school year!
My name is Jenna Rykse and for the 2022-2023 school year I will be serving as the Field School Outreach Coordinator. I have been with Field School since the beginning and have spent the past four years guiding the K-2 students at East Oakview through their learning. As a Northview alum, I am passionate about serving my community and cultivating the love of the outdoors with our students. I am a 2008 graduate of Hope College, where I studied Integrated Science for Elementary Education. In 2013 I earned my Master’s of Social Work from Western Michigan. I have completed additional coursework in English as a Second Language and Educational Leadership. I am passionate about integrating the out-of-doors with student learning. Kids are inherently motivated to learn outside and engage in curriculum and experiences that have a meaningful impact on their lives beyond school. My personal hobbies include cooking, gardening, reading, and learning new things. When given an option, I will choose to be outside enjoying activities like camping, hiking, and kayaking. I have served in a variety of roles in my teaching career including 4th Grade Teacher, K-2 Reading Specialist, and K-4 Literacy Specialist. I have also worked in a variety of settings teaching adults English as a Second Language. I am excited to transition to my new role with Field School and look forward to helping our team continue to refine a program we all love. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about Field School or outdoor learning. I look forward to working with you and your families this year.
Greetings, my name is Rich Youngberg, AKA Mr. Rich, Outdoor Education Coordinator. I’m beyond thrilled to be working for such an amazing program like Field School, with unbelievable students, families and staff. I graduated from the University of Minnesota with an Outdoor Education degree and quickly became immersed in providing outdoor educational experiences for a variety of age groups. Over the course of my professional experience I have been fortunate enough to plan and guide extensive backpacking trips, wilderness canoe trips, fly fishing adventures, whitewater rafting and mountain bike trips for people of all ages and ability levels. I love sharing stories of my adventures and truly enjoy watching our students create their own stories through Field School. When not working, you can find me chasing my passions for travel, fly fishing, backpacking and canoeing around the world.