Meet Our Administrators

Chance Wolf Koehnen

Chance Wolf Koehnen

Facilities/Grounds Maintenance Coordinator; Storyteller and Urban Cyclist

I am delighted to be a part of the Bertschi community! Bringing my maintenance skills to an education setting is an important cornerstone of my career in facilities work. I find it especially rewarding to help create a safe and supportive learning environment for students and teachers. In my free time, I enjoy storytelling and I even compete in local story slams. Plus, I cycle everywhere in Seattle - rain or shine - and I love traveling to unusual destinations.

B.A., Cognitive Psychology, The Evergreen State College

Ciera Young

Ciera Young

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Advocate, Researcher, Traveller, Novice Glass Blower, Aspiring Plant Mom

"Progress comes only from struggling to resolve contradictions."-bell hooks, Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism

"We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than to affirm."
- Septima Poinsette Clark

Education has the power to inspire learners to reimagine themselves, their communities, and their futures. When the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are prioritized in education, it compels learners to reimagine how they can change their communities and futures. In pursuit of this goal, we challenge ourselves to dig wide and deep. We ask tough questions of ourselves and others that don't have immediate answers. All of this is done to create a community rooted in care, connection, and justice. DEI is hard work and it is heart work. I am committed to creating brave spaces for the Bertschi Community to learn, grow, and build together.

When I am not at Bertschi, I am reading, crocheting tiny animals, or attempting to succeed in baking...I'll master it eventually!

B.A., Cultural Studies, International Studies and Film, Chatham College for Women, Pittsburgh, PA

Dianne  Filip

Dianne Filip

Landscaper, Crossing Guard; Northwest Gardener

I enjoy how Bertschi School cares about our kids, how everyone contributes to a spirit of community, and how the school instills an attitude of "look beyond yourself.” I see it in the 2nd graders’ Pike Place Market project and in the canned goods drive for the food bank. With the media talking about how modern parents are raising narcissistic children, it’s nice to see Bertschi School giving our parents and students the chance to see different worlds beyond home and school environments—so they become more aware of the world in which they live. I enjoy the school’s gardens, and outside of work I really enjoy gardening at my home.

Ian Kelly

Ian Kelly

Controller; Traveler, Outdoorsman and everything French

The solar paneled roofs caught my attention but it was Bertschi’s commitment to developing environmentally conscious world citizens that convinced me I wanted to join this community. I am thrilled to help support educators impart knowledge on our future generations. My personal time is spent visiting National Parks and traveling around the world with my French wife.

B.S., Business Management, Babson College

Jennifer  Schlobohm

Jennifer Schlobohm

Advancement Coordinator; Aspiring Baker, Seasoned Calligrapher, and Lover of Typographical Arts

As a mom of two school-aged children (my son is in 3rd grade and my daughter is in 1st) working at a K-5 independent school truly resonates with me. Bertschi's values align with my own in the workplace and at home. I am excited to help advance the mission and am energized by the passion and creativity I see on campus everyday.

B.A., Art History and German, Vassar College

Jessie  Kaarbo

Jessie Kaarbo

Admission Coordinator and Registrar; Runner, Mama, Globe Trotter, Baker and Details Gal

I love working in schools because I love to be busy with the most important work there is: children! Specifically, I love working at Bertschi because it isn't just my workplace, it's home, too. I value, and share, Bertschi's commitments to sustainability, excellence, and big-heartedness. I am a bakery aficionado, 5K race guru, artist, and I'm happiest when water is in view. I live in Leschi with my 2 kiddos.

B.A., Architectural Studies, University of Washington
M.S., Elementary Education, Old Dominion University

Jolene  Hall-Doke

Jolene Hall-Doke

Accounting Clerk/Accounts Payable Specialist

Bio coming soon!

Jory  Lum

Jory Lum

Facilities Manager; Cook, Traveler, and Grandpa

Being new and not knowing what to expect, I was extremely impressed observing the way the students conducted themselves (polite, caring, outgoing, full of life) and with how welcoming the staff and community have been to me. Having worked in school facilities for over 8 years, I can honestly say that I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Bertschi Family. I am really looking forward to the years to come. During my free time, I enjoy cooking Hawaiian food, traveling and spending time with my two granddaughters.

Keisha Wilson

Keisha Wilson

Director of Enrollment Management; Cafe Dweller, Lover of Laughter, and Fan of Japan

I am thrilled to join Bertschi School again after a few years away and am excited to share the story of this amazing place with families of young children. I love working with our caring parents, talented faculty and staff, and am motivated each day by the curiosity and energy of our students. When I'm not at work, I enjoy exploring cities, cooking and baking, spending time with my husband and three sons, and finding laughter in my life.

B.A., Sociology, University of California at Santa Cruz

Laura  Fierce

Laura Fierce

Director of Technology; Yoga Enthusiast, Proud Aunt, Mexican Food Lover

I enjoy working in an educational environment because it means I am always growing and learning with the people around me. Working with children inspires me to make positive changes in the world. I'm excited to be part of a school that promotes environmental sustainability and values people from all different backgrounds and experiences.

When I'm away from my job, I love to hang out with my non-fiction book club, listen to podcasts, make guacamole, and explore the wilderness with my husband.

B.A., Liberal Studies, Minor in Women's Studies, Seattle University
Master in Teaching, Seattle University
Project Management Certification, Bellevue College

Michelle  Wotherspoon

Michelle Wotherspoon

Front Office Manager; Collector and Music Enthusiast

I am thrilled to be a part of the Bertschi family! I am excited to contribute to a school that works so hard creating a space for children to unlock their potential and spark their imagination. As a child advocate, I derive such fulfillment in my life working for an organization that contributes to the successes of our youth and community. In my free time, I love to explore and create. I am a collector of “things” and can often be found listening to records and entertaining with friends.

Certificate of Early Childhood Education, North Seattle College

Midori Kishan (formerly Saito)

Midori Kishan (formerly Saito)

Executive Assistant to the Head of School; Metalsmith, Kombucha Enthusiast and Smooth Operator

Bertschi is full of unique personalities, experiences, and ideas. I love being part of such an energetic, creative community and helping contribute to the smooth operation of the school. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling with my husband and visiting botanical gardens and conservatories wherever we go. I also like spending time in my art studio, keeping my hands and mind busy!

B.F.A., Metals, University of Washington

Mike  Gardner

Mike Gardner

Chief Finance Officer/Chief Operations Officer; Dad and Outdoor Sportsman

I love being around kids. I enjoy their positive energy and their love of learning. And I am happy contributing in any way to their learning and life experience. When I’m not working at Bertschi, I love to spend time with my wife and two young children and do as much outdoors as possible, like camping, hiking, sailing and kayaking.

B.A., Psychology and French, Dartmouth College
M.B.A., Finance and Accounting, Boston University

Rafael  del Castillo

Rafael del Castillo

Head of School; World Traveler and Lover of Science Fiction

On my first visit to Bertschi, I discovered a school where outstanding teachers are guided by a compelling vision. Education is a balance between what is timeless and what is informed by ongoing research on how each child learns best. Throughout its 40-year history, Bertschi has been an exemplar of that balance. Compassion, confidence, and creativity are woven into the school’s mission – and the goal for each child is deep learning for life as a global citizen. Consistently asking, “What’s next for our children?,” the school prepares them for their future, not our past.

When I am not on the Bertschi campus, I am connecting with all the diverse people that make up our great city. I love to read, and I am always planning for a future travel adventure with family and friends.

B.S., Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida
M.S., Science Education, Florida International University

Rose  Bellini

Rose Bellini

Director of Institutional Advancement; Professional Cellist, Food-Lover, and Mom

At Bertschi, I get to connect families with each other, help sustain a supportive and inclusive community, and ensure that Bertschi kids will have a positive impact on the world for many years to come. On my own time, I am an arts and culture enthusiast and perform as a professional cellist all around the region–from classical orchestras to rock bands. I also volunteer my development expertise within the local arts community, and enjoy cooking and being outdoors with my family.

B.M., Cello Performance, Indiana University
M.M., Cello Performance/Business, Indiana University
D.M., Cello Literature and Performance/Music Education/Business, Indiana University

Saul  Vest

Saul Vest

Technology Support Specialist; Walker, Biker, Restaurant Foodie, KEXP lover, and Cat Enthusiast

I worked in local Television for over 25 years doing almost any role imaginable in News, Sports, Creative Services and Engineering. I am so excited to move into an entirely new discipline among so many passionate, enthusiastic and bright minds and personalities both young and not so young. I'm looking forward to supporting and contributing to the Bertschi Mission.

Susan  Sidman

Susan Sidman

Mental Health Consultant; Cook, and Lover of Children’s Literature

At Bertschi, I provide various whole-class lessons on topics related to social-emotional themes, emotion regulation, and strategies for having positive attitudes about learning and school. While I don't do 1:1 counseling with students, I consult regularly with the teachers on the needs of individual students in their classes. I also work with teachers and other administrators to support conversations with individual or small groups of students.

When I am not at Bertschi, I can be found either in my private practice or at Seattle Children's Hospital, where I have worked in the Department of Psychiatry for over 25 years.

B.A., B.S., Theatre Arts and Psychology, Virginia Tech
M.Ed., University of Washington
Licensed Mental Health Therapist

Teri  Barnett

Teri Barnett

Associate Head of School; Beach-lover and Reader

I am so grateful to be part of a school whose values resonate with my own and whose mission is visible in everything from facilities to community members and from curriculum to student engagement. I love being part of a community where learning is joyful and risks are taken by children and adults alike. When I’m not at Bertschi, I enjoy long beach walks, gardening, yoga, and reading.

B.A., English, Colgate University
M.A., English, University of Washington

Tito R.  Ramsey

Tito R. Ramsey

Director of Extended Day and Summer; Nature Boy, City Convert, Musician, Kid at Heart

We learn best when we learn what we love. Music and drama were my gateways into loving to learn and teach. I am a creative first. Improvisation and creative problem solving play a major role in my approach to work and life. Working with the students, faculty, staff and parents at Bertschi will allow that perspective to thrive as this community continues to grow.

B.A., Concentration in Music Composition, Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts

Van  Kantner

Van Kantner

Assistant Controller; Bike Commuter and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer: Benin, West Africa

I enjoy working in the business office, interfacing with parents, faculty, staff and vendors. I studied mathematics in college, so numbers, patterns and problem solving are my strengths. The accounting field fits me like a glove because I find organizing and filing soothing. Outside of work, I enjoy long distance running, day hiking, and reading.

B.S., Mathematics, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Accounting Certificate, North Seattle Community College

Zoë Otis

Zoë Otis

Technology Support Specialist; Avid Baker, Foodie and NHL Fan

I was fortunate enough to receive my first laptop in 6th grade and to grow up in an environment where technology expanded my classroom and gave me a platform with which to help my peers and teachers learn something new. While I went on to study Early Childhood Education and to both teach in and manage Infant-Preschool classrooms for over 4 years I never stopped helping others with their technology. I am excited to be working at the Bertschi School to combine these two passions and hope to continue to explore how technology can support and expand education for today's youngest minds. I am passionate about inspiring kids to be lifelong lovers of learning. When I'm not at Bertschi you can find me baking bread, watching documentaries, doing puzzles or reading up on the latest NHL scores -- or most likely, doing all 4 at the same time!

B.A., Early Childhood and Family Studies, University of Washington