OUR TEAM

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MINDY KINNIER

Founder and Teacher

 

I am a homeschooling mom and credentialed teacher with a Master's Degree in Education from Biola University. After spending 12 years in the classroom, I transitioned into the charter school homeschooling world and began homeschooling my own children. Over the years, our family has fallen in love with this alternative style of education, and now that we have a 2.5-acre blossoming farm (a lifelong dream of mine!), we love inviting others to join us. I am passionate about making learning fun and engaging, and there is no better way to do that than teaching in the context of nature and farm life!

NICK KINNIER

Founder and Farmer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to books that deal with the deeper things of life and the outdoors.  I grew up with parents who were teachers and my formative years as a kid were marked by backpacking trips in the central Sierra Nevada mountains, camping along California’s coast, and frequent trips to national parks.  In college, I resisted the pull towards a “practical” degree and followed my interest into the deeper things of life and pursued a Master's Degree in Theology. Having spent the first part of my life reading books and teaching adults, I felt pulled to spend more time outside with plants and kids.

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SHIRLEY SWENSON

Teacher

I am very excited to be a part of the Gathered Oak team this year. Growing up, my summers were spent on my family's farm in Pennsylvania, where I have some of my fondest memories. I received my teaching credential from UCI and spent several years teaching in public school. I have been married for 47 years and have 4 grown daughters and 8 grandchildren who I have been able to help homeschool. I love farm life and teaching, and getting to combine these two passions is a dream come true!

SANDY CARTER

Preschool Teacher

I am a former teacher and tutor with over 20 years of experience in education. I attended the University of California at Irvine where I had the opportunity to tutor students in a neighboring low-income school district. This is where my passion for education and social justice began. I then attended California State University, San Marcos for my general education and special education teaching credentials, as well as a Master's in Education. I am married to a U.S. Marine Corps officer and have two young children who both attend Gathered Oak. After having children of our own, I became very interested in early childhood education and decided to homeschool our children. I think that children learn best through experiences and are not meant to sit at a desk all day.

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