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Faculty & Staff

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Hayden Canyon Charter Faculty & Staff

With its exceptional and dedicated teachers, Hayden Canyon Charter is able to create a world-class educational experience. Hayden Canyon Charter’s teachers and staff, supported by parents and community, are committed to creating a rich and well-rounded learning environment in which students:

  • Exhibit autonomy, creativity and collaboration
  • Embrace diversity
  • Grow through discovery and reflection
  • Use real-world experiences
  • Create a better world

Faculty Bios

We are currently accepting applications for faculty and staff members.

Education Director

Cynthia LambCynthia Lamb
CLamb @

Cynthia comes to us with 20+ years of experience providing education and leadership in a rural school district. She first began her journey in education as a parent volunteer, followed by becoming an instructional aide while completing her education and acquiring her teaching credential. After five years of teaching grades 4 & 5, she earned her MAED/ADM, becoming the Principal/Superintendent of a K-8 single school, school district. During her 14 years as an administrator she also taught full-time, coached volleyball, soccer, and baseball for the school’s sports teams.

Cynthia comes to us with experience in implementing hands-on learning experiences, outdoor learning via a school garden, and a passion for education and meeting the needs of all students through differentiated instruction and expeditionary learning.

When not at work Cynthia enjoys refinishing/repurposing furniture, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with her husband, children and granddaughter.

Organizational Specialist

Bri PearsonBri Pearson
BPearson @

Bri began her journey in education in Colorado. After receiving her BA in Elementary Teaching (2015), she taught at an EL Education school in Parachute, CO where she fell in love with the EL model. After some travel and moving around, she felt passionate to teach at an EL school again and moved to Hayden to become a founding board member for HCC. Since moving to Hayden, she has received her M.ED in Educational Leadership. 

The outdoors has always been a big component of her life. She enjoys snowboarding, wakeboarding, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, fishing, and kayaking. If she is not playing in the dirt, soil, snow, or water, you can find her at a local event. She has always enjoyed adventures and spent 36 days backpacking across the Northern and Southern islands of New Zealand, a summer leading teens through the backcountry and 60 days road tripping across the United States in a Subaru.


Visit my Classroom HERE 

504 Coordinator / IEP Coordinator

Jen FriesJen Fries
JFries @

Jen Fries (pronounced Freeze) has been a special education teacher/coordinator at another local charter school for the past five years, where she developed the special education program.  Prior to that, she was a counselor for troubled teens for three years.  Previously, she worked with children with various special needs in their homes and communities, in addition to substituting, student teaching, and interning in various capacities in the schools during that time.  She has also tutored, and volunteered with, children with differentiated needs in various ways in her church and community.   She earned her undergraduate degree (elementary education, K-8) at Azusa Pacific University, then returned to school to earn her K-12 literacy and special education endorsements, and her Master’s degree in school counseling (K-12), from the University of Idaho. 

In her spare time, she loves spending time with her wonderful husband and two amazing kids.  They especially enjoy four wheeling and boating together in the spring and summer.  She also likes her two cats, tap dancing, reading, and scrapbooking.

Special Education Administrative Assistant and Title Program Reporting

Lori AldrichLori Aldrich
LAldrich @

Lori Aldrich brings 20 plus years in administrative and business experience. Lori holds a Bachelor of science in Psychology with drug and alcohol addiction emphasis. Other hats include Part-time Realtor, Driver Companion for the Elderly and care giver for her father. She has volunteered in the community ranging from Snohomish County drug take back program and Arlington girls competition cheerleading.

Lori is a native of the PNW, living 40 of those years in Western Washington. In Lori’s downtime she enjoys the outdoors, girls weekends and spending time with her husband of 33 years and her children.


Scott SanfordScott Sanford
SSanford @

Scott is going on his 18th year in the educational setting. After 7 years of teaching High School Sciences he decided to earn a counseling degree and has been a school counselor at the elementary and middle school level.

Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Education/Biology and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Idaho State University. His children attended an expeditionary leaning school when younger and he is excited to be a part of Hayden Canyon Charter School.

Scott has coached softball, baseball and track in the educational and community setting. In his free time Scott enjoys camping, fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and reading. In warmer months he is also an avid BBQer and corn hole player.


Paul SwoffordPaul Swofford
PSwofford @

Paul comes to HCC with a great passion for literature. His excitement and enthusiasm with reading is contagious and he hopes to spread it to the world. He has an eclectic background in technology, theatre, and writing and is thrilled to bring those skills to our school. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Education from LCSC with his K-12 literature endorsement as a reading specialist. Paul believes in creating a safe and engaging environment promoting deeper learning through innovative thinking and hands on learning. He was born and raised in Coeur d’Alene leaving for a time to serve in the United States Navy and then returning to his home in the beautiful Kootenai County area. 

In his free time Paul loves spending time with his wife and three children. He is also an avid video game player, author, self proclaimed DND nerd, and devourer of all things literature.

Music Specialist

Paul SwoffordJesse Hampsch
JHampsch @

Jesse Hampsch is a musician, conductor, and educator who enjoys making music in all forms! He holds his Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Idaho. His passion for teaching music to groups has led him through career paths as a music director, choral educator, and teacher of children’s music classes. In addition to teaching, he loves performing and composing music. His arrangement of “True Colors” is published with Hal Leonard. He works regularly with instrumental ensembles in his music direction, and loves collaborating with instrumentalists. His favorite part of working with children is their joy in discovering new concepts in music; every class is an opportunity to grow artistically!

Music is not Jesse’s only creative outlet! He loves making things, so he dabbles in leatherwork and woodworking as hobbies. A fun project he took on last summer was converting an old piano into a computer desk. If you see Jesse with a stylish belt or briefcase, he probably made it!

Full Day Kindergarten

Jennifer PaineJennifer Paine
JPaine @

Jennifer is thrilled to be teaching kindergarten at Hayden Canyon Charter and be part of such a warm and dynamic community. She strives to create a caring, safe, and engaging learning environment, which encourages students to believe in themselves and to do their personal best. She grew up in Nevada and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Nevada-Reno then went on to work in biological research for six and half years. She has always had a passion for learning and sharing that love of learning with others. She received her Master’s degree in Elementary Education.  Jennifer started out her teaching career as an assistant Kindergarten teacher and has also taught 6th, 3rd, and 2nd grade.

Outside of teaching, she enjoys traveling, hiking, fishing and spending time with her husband, two children and their black lab named Owen.

1st Grade

Jen MacKeageJen MacKeage
JMackeage @

Jen joins HCC with over 10 years of teaching experience from pre-K to 6th grade.  When her school district asked all elementary schools to become “schools of choice,”  she had the privilege to be a part of the community of parents and educators that brought EL model to her school.  She was a part of the committee that developed Crew plans and structures throughout the preschool to 8th grade; and collaborated with other educators to create science and social studies based expeditions for K-3rd grades.  Prior to teaching Jen has had the opportunity to work with children of all ages and backgrounds as a nanny, ski instructor, respite care provider, supervised visitation provider and oldest grandchild.  Jen received her BA from Colorado University in Political Science and History, then moved on to complete the Teacher Education program at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO.  

Her greatest joys in life include going on adventures with her family!  Her husband, Patrick, soon to be 3rd grader at HCC, Sean, and rambunctious preschooler, Kier, all enjoy camping, hiking, biking, rafting, swimming, playing, traveling…if it’s an adventure the MacKeage clan is up for the challenge!

1st Grade

Nicki OsborneNicki Osborne
NOsborne @

Nicki is over the moon to be teaching first grade at Hayden Canyon Charter! She graduated from Lewis-Clark State College with her bachelor’s degree in K-8 general education with an endorsement in special education. She is coming from a nearby project-based expedition school, where she taught full-day kindergarten. She strongly believes in the power of hands-on learning and creating an environment where everyone is welcome and loved as they are.

Nicki has been married for 14 years to her best friend who is also a teacher! They have two kids that they absolutely adore spending time with. They are 8 and 11. They love to stay busy with baseball, gymnastics, hiking, and swimming. They enjoy having baking challenges with each other at home. She loves to read to her kids, and even though they can both read on their own, they still snuggle up for stories together.

1st Grade

Debi Coons1Robin Curtis
RCeckholm @

Robin comes to HCC with 20 years of teaching experience and working with young children. She has a background in psychology and early childhood development. Robin is from Austin, TX, where she began her teaching career. Over the years, Robin has taught preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and second grade. Robin and her family moved to Coeur d’Alene four years ago. During this time, she has continued teaching kindergarten in addition to becoming a licensed Behavior Intervention Specialist. 

Robin’s passion is understanding and recognizing the developmental domains of the whole child: social/emotional, identity, academic, cognitive, physical and mental health. Robin believes children have an active part in their learning. She facilitates this through hands-on lessons and project-based learning. Robin is inspired by her students and their families, her colleagues and expeditionary learning opportunities.

When not working, Robin enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and yellow lab, Jasper. Together, they’ve been exploring and discovering the PNW. Robin also enjoys reading, live music and adding to her baking/cooking repertoire.

2nd Grade

Kate GillespieKate Gillespie
KGillespie @

Kate was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California. She moved to Indiana to attend Indiana State University where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education. She lived and taught for 5 years (4 years in 4th grade and 1 year in 1st grade) in Indiana and now lives in Rathdrum with her son and dog. She is very excited to teach second grade and be a part of the Hayden Canyon Charter Crew!

Outside of school, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, relaxing at the river, baking, hiking, swimming, reading, and exploring everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer!

3rd Grade

Lynette SmithLynette Smith
LSmith @

Lynette Smith has been teaching for 27 years.  Seventeen of those years in Charter Schools in Idaho.  She obtained her BA through NNU, Nampa, and a Master of Education through Lesley University, Cambridge.  She looks forward to working with students, colleagues, and parents at Hayden Canyon Charter. Her desire is to continue to learn and grow with her students, and believes in working with the community to build strong partnerships with education. Lynette and Randy, her husband, settled on the family farm in Hayden in 2018 after Randy retired after 36 years in the Army. They raise various pine trees, Belted Galloway, also known as Oreo cattle, Boer goats, and chickens. They are a part of the American Tree Farm Association, Spokane Vets on the Farm, and the Farmer Veteran Coalition. They enjoy kayaking, spending time with family, building projects together, and hiking through the woods.

4th Grade

Allison SlatteryAllison Slattery
ASlattery @

Allison has been a 3rd/4th grade teacher for over 20 years.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.  She is also credentialed to teach Music and English as a Second Language.  She began her career in San Diego and relocated to Northern Idaho in 2019.

Allison is a Google Certified Educator Level 2 and was a First Lego League Robotics Coach.  She likes to integrate both iPads and Chromebooks into her classroom curriculum. She feels that learning to be creative with technology and becoming proficient problem solvers are skills that prepare students for the future.  Students in her class study the importance of having a growth mindset and are empowered to make personal choices in their learning paths.  Allison loves STEM and integrating art across all subjects.

Allison has been named the San Diego Computer Using Educator Innovative Teacher of the Year, the Greater San Diego Mathematics Council Upper Elementary Teacher of the Year, and was a San Diego County Teacher of the Year Finalist. She is also an alumni of the Mickelson Exxonmobil Teachers Academy for Math and Science. 

Allison and her husband are thrilled to call Hayden, Idaho home and are excited to be part of the Hayden Canyon Charter family.  Allison has many hobbies including cooking, baking, gardening, bird watching, playing music, ceramics, paper crafting, and doing home improvement projects.

5th Grade

Debi Coons1Debi Coons
DCoons @

Debi has a passion for and is committed to helping students overcome barriers that impact their learning through effective instructional intervention. Focusing on getting to know your students’ individual needs, allows her to teach multiple math strategies that encourage “growth mindset” and build student confidence; all imperative to their academic success.

Debi holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education (2019) from Grand Canyon University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Lewis Clark State College (2011). She has worked in the public school system since 2001, starting as an Administrative Assistant while working her way through college to become a certified elementary teacher. Debi has spent the past five years as a math specialist for grades 3-6 and most recently as a 6th-grade teacher. 

She is the proud wife of a retired Army Staff Sergeant, has three children, and three grandbabies. Although she was born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis Maryland, Debi has been a resident of Idaho for 25 years and considers herself more of an Idaho native than Marylander. In her downtime, she enjoys traveling to the East Coast, vacationing in Hawaii, camping, boating, gardening, and spending time with her family. She is a certified beekeeper and has an apiary with over 50,000 honeybees.

5th Grade

Leora SanfordLeora Sanford
LSanford @

Leora has been an Elementary school teacher for 15 years with experience in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. After obtaining her BA in Elementary Education, she spent her first 5 years of teaching at an EL school where she learned about the EL model in great depth. Her experience included curriculum designing, outdoor adventure-based learning, and evidence-based portfolios. Eventually, the opportunity to move to N. Idaho brought her and her family to the small town of St. Maries where she has spent her last 10 years of teaching. She did her best to integrate what she learned in the EL setting into her traditional curriculum to enhance the learning experience for her students. Her projects had a heavy emphasis on the arts and music. She also organized a student council for 5th graders in which community service was the primary focus.

Leora has 4 daughters, a grandson, and a new boxer puppy. She and her husband are excited to join the staff at HCC and look forward to the experiences they will gain. In her spare time, Leora is a portrait photographer, does freelance digital design work, and loves to draw and paint with watercolors.

Middle School ELA & Social Studies

Leslie LacariaLeslie Lacaria
LLacaria @

Leslie has been an elementary and middle school teacher for sixteen years. During her career, she has worked in the public, private, and online sector. She loves making lessons come to life for students-enabling them to connect and engage with content in creative and innovative ways. She has a passion for building communities within classrooms, and helping each child grow both independently and& interpersonally through projects, communication, goal setting, and reflection.

She also has a love for art, and incorporating it into learning to extend understanding and expression. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and laughing with her husband, kids, friends, and family.

Middle School Math & Science

Mallory MaleeMallory Malee
MMalee @

Mallory was born and raised in Idaho. She graduated from Lakeland High School in Rathdrum and earned her Bachelors in Education from Lewis and Clark State College in Coeur d’Alene.

Mallory adamantly believes that students learn best from one another and through productive struggle that comes from trying new things in hands-on exploration.

When she’s not planning for Math and Science, she likes to travel, kayaking and playing board games with her sons, Clayton and Owen and husband, John.

Middle School ELA & Social Studies

Jadrian HammonJadrian Watson
Jwatson @

Jadrian recently graduated from the University of Idaho with her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and an endorsement in history. She is passionate about project based, interdisciplinary, inclusive, and kinesthetic learning, as well as literacy and the humanities. Growing up in Coeur d’Alene, California, and Nevada has given Jadrian a diverse perspective that lead her to discover drama at Lake City High School, a career as a paralegal, and now to work engaging students’ innate love of learning.

Jadrian enjoys spending time with her daughters, horseback riding, and, of course, reading. She is an avid reader, getting lost in horse stories and fantasy at a young age. She has since developed a passion for history and historical fiction. She is eager to work with our students to discover their individual passions for reading as they grow.

Middle School Math & Science

Kathy SellsKathy Sells
KSells @

Kathy has been teaching middle school for the last 20+ years in a K-8 setting and loves the opportunities a K-8 school can offer. She wouldn’t teach anyone (middle schoolers) or anywhere (K-8) else! Walking with students as they learn what it means to be a leader and a role model to younger students is life-giving; walking with families as students transition from elementary to middle school and the changes that occur is priceless.

Kathy has high expectations for not only her students but herself. There is always room for improvement. Problem solving, reflection, and action are keys to success. Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”. She likes to think we can!

When she’s not teaching or working on school stuff, Kathy volunteers with Idaho Disaster Dogs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking and biking the CDA trails, and spending time with friends and family.

Middle School Teacher

Deb LawsonDeb Lawson
DLawson @

Deb Lawson is an education specialist whose passion is working with students who are gifted and talented and students who are twice exceptional. She firmly believes students should always be using their strengths on their path to success, and identification of those strengths is the key to helping students succeed. She strongly believes in providing students with the tools they will need not only to be successful in school but also in their futures.

Deb has a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science and a Master’s degree in Gifted and Talented Education, with certification in teaching and special education. She brings a variety of life experiences to our school outside of her teaching experience, having experience in retail management, biological research, banking, sales, professional editing, and many other fields. As a gymnastics coach for the last 15 years, Deb has used gymnastics as a medium not only for teaching gymnastic skills but also character development, cooperative learning, mentoring and career readiness, self-advocacy, and how to take command of one’s own achievement.

In her free time Deb enjoys cooking, baking, reading, riding her motorcycle, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and rabbits.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Sarah Desimone - staff | Hayden Canyon Charter
Sarah Desimone
SDesimone @

“Sarah is passionate about supporting her students and their families. She has experience working with children ranging from birth to age 17, in both an outpatient clinic setting and in local school districts. Sarah’s goal is to meet children where they’re at to help them to grow, learn, and communicate in ways that are the most functional for THEM. She is excited to be a part of the HCC family this year!

Sarah is a PNW native who grew up in Spokane Valley and recently relocated to North Idaho. She earned both her Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees in Communication Disorders from Eastern Washington University and has been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist since 2016. Sarah has a passion for supporting children who have a history of trauma and recently earned a Post-Master of Science in Counseling: Trauma Certificate from Grand Canyon University.

When she is not working, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband, Louis, and 2 young children, Wes & Maddy. They live in Athol with their 2 cats and handful of chickens. Some of her other hobbies include drinking coffee, painting flower pots for her houseplant collection, rewatching The Office, and enjoying all things nerdy (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Disney, etc).”

Our Mission: Achieving breakthroughs in academic excellence and character development by inspiring passion for inquiry and lifelong learning – utilizing hands-on discovery, real world application, collaboration and community; preparing each student for engagement in productive, thoughtful citizenship.