Periwinkles & Bluebonnets Facilitator - Maya Leptuch, M.A.
Maya Leptuch is a French citizen who has traveled all over the world before she moved to New York for High School. She later received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a Minor in Linguistics from Oklahoma University. She then moved to Denton with her husband and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Texas Women’s University. Maya was a Pre-K ESL teacher for the Dallas Independent School District for one year and a Kinder, first and 3rd grade bilingual teacher for 7 years for the Denton Independent School District at Newton Rayzor Elementary IB World School. Maya brings her multi-cultural experiences to the classroom to foster diversity, such as an understanding of differing perspectives, while providing inquiry based learning opportunities for her students. Maya enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, as well as dancing and reading. Maya's family has been a part of Koan School for many years, and she became a faculty member in 2018.
Prickly Pears Facilitator - Shoshana McIntosh, M.A.
Shoshana McIntosh grew up in Michigan where she studied Creative Writing and Dance at Western Michigan University before moving to Texas. In between, she taught English as a foreign language in Taiwan, traveled in Asia, continued teaching English in Chicago, and lead a reading and math afterschool program in Chicago Public Schools for several years. After moving to Texas, Shoshana fell in love with teaching in museums and has the spent the last few years teaching art programs for all ages in local museums, schools, and non-profits. With a background in dance and teaching yoga, Shoshana has designed and taught lessons and workshops that invite teachers and students to incorporate movement in the classroom. No matter what subject she is teaching, she is passionate about helping her students engage with the world in meaningful ways and is committed to creating an environment that welcomes inquiry and thoughtful discussions. When she is not teaching or studying, she enjoys playing with her young daughter, rock climbing, reading, writing poetry, and cooking delicious vegan food. Shoshana has previously been involved with several programs at Koan School, including the Philosophy for Children elective and the Environmental Explorers Camp. This is her first year as a classroom facilitator at Koan.
Redbuds Facilitator - Kim Vail, M.S.
Kim Vail earned her Master’s degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas in 2017. She has worked with a wide variety of ages from elementary school to college. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in how to encourage positive behaviors and motivate acquisition of new skills. She believes that each student is unique and wants to create an environment that will help them achieve their individual goals. Kim loves music and plays bass guitar, and previously directed the high school’s garage band. Outside of school, she enjoys tabletop gaming, spending time with family, and reading. Kim joined Koan School in 2017.
Snapdragons Facilitator - Amanda Newton
Amanda Newton co-founded the Koan School with Scott Warren and Heather Barahona in 2013, and is committed to helping students learn in a positive, safe, and peaceful environment. She began working with children who have special needs in 2001. In addition to teaching Middle School this year, Amanda currently serves as the Koan School Board President. She also participates in numerous community service organizations throughout DFW. When she is not at school or volunteering in the community, Amanda enjoys writing music, cooking, and traveling.
Forget Me Nots Facilitator - Tiffany Fuhrmann, M.S.
Tiffany Fuhrmann earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Kentucky in 1999. She co-founded and taught at a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool and kindergarten program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After moving to Texas in 2005, she began homeschooling her daughters, became a Master Naturalist, led an all-homeschooled Girl Scout Troop, and earned her master’s degree in Educational Psychology with a certificate in gifted education at the University of North Texas. Along the way, she also taught online writing classes, taught biology and chemistry to homeschool students, coached Future Problem Solving, participated in Winston Science competitions, and tutored high school math, science, and ACT/SAT test prep. In addition to learning new things, she loves animals, camping, rock climbing, gardening, and spending time with her husband and three children. She and her family joined Koan School in 2014.
ENRICHMENT FACULTY & ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
Soline D'Haussy, M.L.I.S.
A native of France, Soline came to the United States twenty years ago to be a language instructor at Indiana University. Her teaching experience also includes tutoring home-schooled children in French, leading French/American exchange programs for high school students in Brittany, France and teaching English in Hungary for a year. She holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from the University of North Texas. She has been with Koan School since 2014. When she is not cooking, you can find her in her vegetable garden, tending to her chickens, building something really useful, or reading a good book.
Roles: Administrative Asst., Librarian, French Teacher, Electives Teacher (Wood Shop, P.E., Sewing, Animal Caretaking)
Bedarra Pope, B.F.A.
Bedarra Pope earned her B.F.A. in Art Education from the University of North Texas in 2010. She continued her education studying art and Spanish in Spain and Mexico, and has enjoyed sharing these passions with her students. Bedarra has over a decade of experience working in Montessori classrooms, and has organized and facilitated numerous art camps and summer workshops for children of various ages. At home, Bedarra enjoys caring for her farm animals and preparing epic feasts for friends and family. She started teaching art and Spanish at Koan School in 2015. Bedarra also coordinates our Extended School Day program.
Roles: Art Teacher, Spanish Teacher, Extended School Day Program Coordinator
Brenda Guerrero received a B.S. in Behavior Analysis and a B.A. in Psychology in 2013 from the University of North Texas. She is currently a Master’s degree candidate in the Department of Behavior Analysis at UNT. Her academic career has provided her with diverse experiences in helping people learn. She has experience in behavioral interventions with children with autism and adults with developmental disabilities. She has experience as a teaching assistant helping college students learn concepts about applied behavior analysis. She has also worked as a mentor at the Office of Outreach at the University of North Texas where she helped high school students apply for college, scholarships, and financial aid. She also has years of experience in caring for children ages 4 months to 12 years old. Brenda is currently working on her Master’s thesis related to second language acquisition. When she’s not busy with school work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking with her dog, and watching anime. Brenda joined Koan School in 2016.
Roles: Academic Support Staff, Spanish Teacher
Jeanne Webb led a Primary Montessori classroom for ten years before coming to Koan School in 2013. She also led an early childhood music class for several years and taught private piano lessons. After graduating from the University of North Texas in 2002, Jeanne earned her Early Childhood Montessori credential with Southwestern Montessori Training Center in 2005. She began Elementary Montessori training at the Shelton School in 2008. Jeanne integrates activities in her classroom that nurture peaceful living skills in children. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her young daughters, and playing piano.
Roles: Academic Support Staff, Geography Teacher
Mary Stewart, M.Ed.
Mary Stewart has lived and taught in Denton since 1978. She received her Bachelor of Education from University of North Texas, and her Master’s Degree from Texas Woman’s University. Mary taught for the Denton Independent School District for more than thirty years. For the majority of those years, she taught lower elementary students. She also taught both special and regular education classes. She spent her last five years with the district as a literacy and math intervention specialist. In 2012, Mary joined the Denton Community School, where she was the Elementary classroom teacher, before coming to Koan in 2017.
Roles: Academic Support Staff
Ryan Bugg is from a small northern Nevada town in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He studied secondary education at the University of Nevada, Reno. He taught middle school science and English at a bilingual school in Taiwan before returning to the states to serve in a range of teaching positions at both rural and urban public high schools in Nevada. His passion for education led him to take graduate courses in behavior analysis, and, ultimately, to seek out student-focused alternatives to mainstream education. He is currently a graduate student at UNT in the Department of Behavior Analysis. When he is not teaching or learning, you can find Ryan traveling with his partner, hanging out with his dog, finding a mountain to climb, or curled up somewhere with a book. He joined Koan School in 2018.
Roles: Academic Support Staff, English Teacher
Ashlee Reese came to us last year from Naples, Florida. She has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida and is now a first-year graduate student at University of North Texas in the M. S. Behavior Analysis program. She has worked with young children with autism in a university lab setting. She has served as a mentor to at-risk youth that had been released from detention centers, as well youth that lived in foster homes. She helped students earn their GEDs, learn skills to find employment, and find volunteer opportunities. She has also been a university Teaching Assistant for an Applied Behavior Analysis course. Ashlee has also served as an executive board member to the National Council of Negro Women. She joined Koan School in 2018.
Roles: Academic Support Staff
Director - Heather Barahona, M.S.
Heather Barahona is the Director and Co-Founder of Koan School. She has worked in the fields of education and autism intervention for over fifteen years, with individuals as young as 12 months old through Ph.D. students. She was previously the Executive Director of the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis, an organization with over 1,300 members that serves practitioners and students of behavior analysis in and around Texas. Heather holds a Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis, and is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education at University of North Texas, where she received the William A. Luker award in 2010 in recognition of exceptional leadership, service, and dedication to improving the quality of life for the community. Outside of school and work, Heather enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters and reading science fiction and fantasy novels.