Sara Beggs

Executive Director
Ph.D. Education and Disabilities Studies, Chapman University
M.Ed. Special Education, Chapman University
B.S. Elementary & Special Education, Radford University
I have worked in the field of education for 19 years. Following nine years of elementary teaching experience, I moved to the District Office as an instructional specialist supporting teachers and students in curriculum, instruction, and intervention in grades pre-k through 12.I then accepted an administrative position as Coordinator of Inclusive Schooling. In this position I worked collaboratively with district administrators, site administrators, teachers, and families, to support students with and without disabilities in general education. After four years I realized how much I missed being on an elementary campus and became the proud Principal of an Elementary school. Throughout my career, I additionally taught courses at Chapman University in the Masters in Curriculum and Instruction department as well as the Masters in Special Education program. After growing up, living, and working in Southern California our family decided to follow our dreams and move to the Palouse. We are thrilled to join the PPCS community! My deep-rooted philosophy and belief that all children can thrive and be successful in the education environment drives my passion to ensure a Multi-tiered System of Support for all students. I believe in using restorative practices to support positive behavior and problem-solving skills. I view a safe and collaborative school environment as key to a successful school culture. Partnerships with parents and community partners are essential components to that success. Lastly and most importantly, I am a proud mother of two beautiful girls Charlotte (9), and Caroline (6). As a mom of school-age children, I am keenly aware of the importance of family involvement and the significance of the school community. During my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with my daughters, husband Jeff, and our family pets. As the PPCS Executive Director, you can expect that I will be visible, accessible, and collaborative. I am looking forward to working together as partners in learning.
debbie berkana

Debbie Berkana

Business Manager
M.L.S. Emporia State University
M.S. Accounting, Dana College
PPCS Startup Coordinator
I have a background in accounting and information services and have had the privilege to work in a variety of places including as an accountant in a CPA firm and a large corporation, and as an information specialist with the Colorado State Department of Education and the WSU Libraries. When the school’s founding board was looking for assistance in the spring of 2009, I was thrilled to join the crew. While I may answer the phone, my main focus is supporting the amazing Palouse Prairie staff through sound financial reporting and management, so they can do their great work with our students. I have a passion for supporting education and personal growth both at the school and in the community. You might find me teaching parenting classes or empowering people through life coaching support when I’m not at the school. I am the proud parent of two young men, one of whom is a PPCS and University of Idaho graduate. I am grateful for the qualities of character that were nurtured in him at the school, along with the academic rigor.
renee hill

Renee Hill

Instructional Coach
Ph.D. Environmental Science, University of Idaho
M.S. Nutrition, Cornell University
B.S. Nutrition Science, University of California

Endorsements:
7010 - All Subjects (K-8)
I initially became involved with PPCS in 2008 as a volunteer for the board in the process of starting the school. I helped recruit the first Palouse Prairie students by calling families in the Moscow area to tell them about the Expeditionary Learning (EL) model and the new school that was soon to open. Since then I have been involved in the PPCS community in many ways. Since 2014 I have volunteered for the climbing club to help teach middle school students how to face challenges with grit and self-compassion. In teaching Art and Diversity in the middle school in 2016 I was continually impressed with how students approach difficult issues with curiosity and compassion. Over the years I have also supported students in presenting high quality expedition final products throughout the local community. In all my work in public health, nutrition, natural resource management, and the nonprofit sector in Latin America and the U.S., I have continually sought opportunities to be involved in education. I have fifteen years of experience teaching, advising and mentoring students. My K-12 experience includes co-teaching tenth grade Accelerated Biology at Moscow High School for the 2013-2014 school year, developing and teaching a Qualitative Research and Art course for the Northwest Nations Upward Bound summer program at the University of Idaho (UI) in 2009, leading an after school English as a Second Language program for K-5 students in 2001-2002, and developing a 5th grade curriculum for the University of Idaho REACCH project to teach the influences of changing climate on agricultural practices throughout the Inland Northwest. I have also developed and taught several undergraduate and graduate courses at Universities in the U.S. and Chile. When I’m not teaching, I spend my time backpacking, climbing, running, mountain biking, cooking, laughing with friends, and appreciating the beautiful world. As the fourth grade teacher at Palouse Prairie Charter School I aim to help students enjoy learning content by engaging in processes that help them more deeply understand themselves, each other and the world we live in. I am excited to join my students in their lifelong journey of self-discovery!
trish gardner

Trish Gardner

Administrative Assistant
M.S., B.S. Biological Systems Engineering, University of Idaho
B.A. Theatre, University of Utah
I was raised in southern Idaho and spent my youth and young adulthood in the performing arts. I performed in musical theatre productions and with modern dance companies in Salt Lake City, Tucson, Chicago and New York. After returning to Idaho I pursued another passion and eventually received degrees from the University of Idaho in Biological Systems Engineering. Moscow, marriage and parenthood have changed my goals, but not my dreams. I find myself doing meaningful work supporting adults I respect and admire, and kids I cherish, in an environment of fun, challenge, and compassion. Who could ask for more?
ingrid french

Ingrid French

Special Education Teacher
B.A. Child, Consumer and Family Studies, Washington State University
B.S. Special Education, University of Idaho
Endorsements:
7029 - Exceptional Child Generalist (K-12)
Greetings and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to teach in such a wonderful school community. Although I grew up in Western Washington State, I have lived on the Palouse for the past 29 years. I have been married to my wonderful husband, for the past 20 years and we have made our home in the north eastern part of Latah County. My family is small, having only myself, husband and our red heeler dog named Mick. Mick is my baby and I love spending time playing with him. When I am not working, I enjoy gardening, reading, and relaxing near a body of water. I recently acquired a boat and can't wait for spring and summer so that I can go boating on the many lakes and rivers in our area. Before coming to Palouse Prairie I was fortunate to spend 7 years teaching on the Coeur d' Alene Indian Reservation in the public school system. I love Native American culture and was blessed to be a part of the community. Previous to my time in Plummer, Idaho I worked for the Moscow School District for a total of 10 years working at Lena Whitmore and at the middle school when it was still a junior high.

Amy Lichte

Kindergarten
B.S. Early Childhood Development and Education, University of Idaho
M.S. Special Education, University of Idaho
Endorsements:
7083 - Blended EC/EC Special Ed (birth-Grade 3)
Hello! I was raised in Moscow and attended the University of Idaho out of high school where I gradated in 2014 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduation I headed out to western Washington to be with my husband, who was serving in the U.S. Navy, and spent a year and a half working with young children with developmental delays. We moved back to Moscow after my husband fulfilled his duty to the Navy and I started teaching special education to preschool aged children. In the summer of 2020, I graduated from the University of Idaho with a masters in special education, focusing on behaviors. I have loved the population of students I have been working with but always knew my passion was in a general classroom, which is what brought me to Palouse Prairie! I have two children, two dogs, and a husband at home that I love to spend time with. We enjoy camping and swimming in the lake with our boat in summers and playing in the snow (sledding or skiing) in the winter. I am very excited to be at Palouse Prairie!
Alissa Klemencic

Alissa Klemencic

1st Grade Teacher
B.A. English, Gonzaga University
M.Ed Educational Leadership, Eastern Washington University
Endorsements:
7010 - All Subjects (K-8)
My name is Alissa Klemencic and I am originally from Bishop, California. Growing up in the Eastern Sierra I was spoiled with endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. After graduating from Gonzaga University (Go Zags!) I spent a few years teaching outdoor education. I spent many summers at a camp near Lake Tahoe facilitating a challenge course and sharing my love of rock climbing with campers. I lived in North Carolina where I taught environmental education and discovered how much I love bugs. Taught coastal and forest ecology on the central coast of California where I made friends with raptors and learned the art of falconry. With these experiences in experiential and outdoor education it became clear that Expeditionary Learning was the model of education that I was most passionate about and where I knew I needed to be as an educator. This brought me to Moscow and Palouse Prairie. I am grateful to have been welcomed into this wonderful school community. I love seeing the ownership that our students take over their own learning and getting to facilitate meaningful learning opportunities for them. Watching the students grow as they face challenges throughout the year and the excitement they have to share their learning with the world around them continues to drive my teaching and excitement for what primary students are truly capable of.
cassie schierman

Cassie Schierman

2nd Grade Teacher
M.A. Education, Oregon State University
B.S.Ed. Sport Science & Health Education, University of Idaho
Endorsements:
7010 - All Subjects (K-8)
7126 - English as a Second Language (K-12)
Greetings! I am Moscow born and raised. I graduated from the University of Idaho in 2006 with degrees in Sport Science and Community Health. After graduating I moved to the woods of New Hampshire where I fell more in love with the outdoors and teaching children science through experiential learning. I came back to the West Coast and attended Oregon State University to get my M.A. Teaching. I enthusiastically returned to Moscow ready to jump into schools and incorporate my background in experiential education. I began working at Palouse Prairie in the Fall of 2013, and have loved the opportunity to work with second graders who are enthusiastic about learning and more compassionate than people twice their age (or older!). I enjoy challenging my students and giving them real-world opportunities to share their learning with the world. I am excited to continue working with Palouse Prairie and learning from our community of wonderful staff, students, and families.
Erika Larsen

Erika Larsen

3rd Grade Teacher
B.S. Education, University of Idaho
Endorsements:
Erika is currently working towards her K-8 All subjects endorsement.
Hello Palouse Prairie Families! My name is Erika Larsen and I am very excited to begin my teaching career this year at Palouse Prairie Charter School. I was born in Montana, but raised in Cody, Wyoming. I come from a whole family of teachers going as far back as one of my great grandmothers, who taught in a small farm schoolhouse in the Big Sky countryside. I will be graduating from UI in December with a BS in Education. During my time at UI, I was a student-athlete and thrower for the Track and Field team. Moscow’s environment has been a change from what I grew up in, but I have loved every minute and opportunity it has given me. When I am not at school, I love to spend time with my family and friends, go hunting or fishing, try new activities, and take my Springer Spaniel dog on runs. I am excited to be able to teach and learn from the wonderful and welcoming staff, students, and families at PPCS!
Savanna Kilborn

Savanna Kilborn

4th Grade Teacher
B.S. Education, University of Idaho
Endorsements:
7010 All Subjects (K-8)
7120 6-12 English
I am thrilled to officially join the PPCS team as a teacher! I am a recent graduate from the University of Idaho where I pursued teaching certification in K-8 Education and secondary English. During my undergrad, I ventured into additional studies that allowed me to explore English Language Learning, as well as courses specific to teaching neurodivergent learners. In 2019, I was connected to the PPCS team while completing a directed study focused on investigating sociocultural responsive school models and teaching practices in K-12 classrooms. I immediately fell in love with the school, became a substitute, and returned within a year to complete my student teaching internship with the Palouse Prairie Middle School! Since then, I was invited to share my love of the Palouse with K-5 students at Virgil Phillips Farm where I co-taught my first sessions of nature-based learning. While I am a proud Moscow native, I've found that the Palouse provides me with endless opportunities for exploration and learning. While away from school, I’m spending time with my people and dabbling in all sorts of hobbies—botany, geology, painting, reading, guitar, and so much more! My most favorite pass time is traveling and hiking with my fur-babies! If I’m not found in the water, I’m found in the hills! I couldn’t be more excited to begin my career with such an amazing crew!
Liz Jeffers

Liz Jeffers

5th Grade Teacher
Liz Jeffers was raised in Atlanta, GA, and later married her high school sweetheart (who serves in the Air Force... so they've lived all over the place). They have two kids at PPCS and one goofball dog. Her hobbies are cooking, hiking, camping, and traveling. Liz's background includes:
  • Graduated with a BA from University of Richmond, double major in Spanish and International Studies, minor in History.
  • Graduated with an MS from Our Lady of the Lake University in Nonprofit Management. Taught middle school social studies and Spanish.
  • Taught preschool/early elementary Spanish.
  • Worked in child welfare (specifically the foster care system).
She has subbed in every single classroom at PPCS, as well as for Special Ed, the front office, and all the aids/paraprofessionals!
Greg Pierce

Greg Pierce

Middle School Social Studies
B.A. Marine Biology, Sonoma State University
M.A. Teaching, Eastern Oregon University
Endorsements:
7010 - All Subjects (K-8)
8220 - Social Studies (5-9)
8421 - Biological Science (5-9)
I am so excited to be a part of the Middle School team at PPCS! I have been teaching at PPCS for over 5 years now and can honestly say I’ve never taught the same year twice. I started out as the K-8 PE teacher, then switched to teaching 6th grade, and am now part of the 6-8 Middle School team. Outside of teaching, the way that I experience the world, and center myself, is through rock climbing. My partner and I have traveled all over the western states on climbing trips and have climbed everything from desert towers in the Southwest to technical peaks just shy of 14,000ft in the high Sierras. A few years ago I began to share my love of the vertical world with a few middle school students at Palouse Prairie and this eventually evolved into the Palouse Prairie Climbing Club. As climbing club and its members progressed we saw a real need to expand those opportunities and so I created the Outdoor Leadership course series for our middle school. I am so excited to continue fostering a love for adventure, the outdoors, and the journey of self. I believe there are many ways of helping a middle school student discover these things, and I am thankful every day that I get to do it in a way that I am so passionate about!
Andrika Kuhle

Andrika Kuhle

Middle School Science
Secondary Teaching Certificate, Lewis Clark State College
M.S. Earth and Planetary Science, University of New Mexico
B.S. Geology, Oregon State University
Endorsements:
7320 - Mathematics - Basic (6-12)
7420 - Natural Science (6-12)
7451 - Earth and Space Science (6-12)
I grew up in Spokane, WA with a boisterous family of five kids. After high school and living abroad in Germany, I ventured to Oregon State University for my geology undergraduate. Then I attended the University of New Mexico for my M.S. in geology. From there I lived in Alaska, Montana, and Hawaii before settling in Moscow. I have a secondary teaching certificate from Lewis Clark State College along with lots of years of professional experience working as a field geologist, water and environmental specialist, and university instructor. I am a parent of two Palouse Prairie alumni and have been affiliated with Palouse Prairie School since its founding. I am proud of my rich content background and am intrigued by the many different ways people learn. I love understanding the world and the people around me. I also enjoy anything outdoors, especially backpacking, skiing, and hiking. My favorite description of education is Howard Gardner’s vision of education for all human beings: “a world citizenry that is highly literate, disciplined, capable of thinking critically and creatively, knowledgeable about a range of cultures, able to participate actively in discussions about new discoveries and choices, willing to take risks for what it believes in.” I think our school excels at supporting this vision of education, and I am excited to be part of the talented and committed PPCS Crew.
Benjamin Doucette

Benjamin Doucette

Middle School Teacher
B.S. Secondary Education, Social Studies
M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction
Endorsements:
7200 Social Studies (6-12)
7221 History (6-12)
I grew up in a family of educators, my dad is a high school vice-principal, my stepmom is a preschool teacher, and my mom is a textile art teacher. So, naturally, I grew up wanting to pursue any career that was not teaching. As I became older however I realized that teaching encompasses everything that I am passionate about, service to my community and country, and being a positive influence in young people's lives. So, much to my younger self’s chagrin, I began my journey as an educator at the University of Idaho. I was lucky enough to find myself in Rebekka Boysen-Taylor’s classroom during one of my practicums, and I came to value Palouse Prairie and the EL Education model. I stayed involved with the school through a research project I worked on with Rebekka, and eventually I did my student teaching with Greg Pierce. After going back to the University of Idaho to obtain my Master of Education, I find myself once again back at the school that helped shape me so much as an educator. When I am not teaching, I enjoy running track, fly fishing, skiing, camping, and playing disc golf with my wife Kendra.
Nora Locken

Nora Locken

Middle School Math
Master In Teaching, Washington State University
B.A. Economics and History, University of Vermont
Endorsements:
7221 - History (6-12)
8320 - Mathematics - Middle Level (5-9), in process
I am originally from a farm family in northeastern South Dakota. My upbringing was filled with values like a strong work ethic, respect of nature, and a love for education. I have always been an avid reader, and I also love to do puzzles and play games. I will bring my passion for learning, exploring, and mathematics to my middle schoolers! My husband and I moved to Moscow 15 years ago. We have stayed because it’s a wonderful place to raise a family and we have a deep love for the Palouse. It is a joy to be engaged with youth in Moscow. I love their outlook – it is often similar to my own: life is meant to be enjoyed, give back to your community, and relish time with friends and family. When I’m not teaching, I enjoy spending time outdoors, hanging with my family, and reading good books.
Issac Ries

Isaac Ries

Physical Education / Adventure
Hello! My name is Isaac Ries, I have travelled a long way from home as I was born and raised in Wadena, a small town in Minnesota. From there I moved to Fargo, North Dakota to complete my BS in Education at North Dakota State University. I am excited to have moved from the Midwest into the western side of the states but, it is not my first experience with travelling as I have been doing so my entire life and have been to thirty-five different states. I enjoy travelling and with that I enjoy hiking and backpacking. Anything in the outdoors or in sports piques my interest, but I really enjoy swimming or biking, and love anything related to golf. This will be my first-year teaching, and I am excited to jump in and meet the kids and help them learn hands on about an active life and help them learn from experiences of hands-on adventures and the importance of the outdoors and physical activity.

David Herbold

Adventure
I love being outside and I am excited to share that with the students of PPCS. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and though I have hopped around and lived in many places, it has always been my home. In 2008 I found my way to Idaho to enroll at the University of Idaho in pursuit of an MFA in Fine Art (sculpture). From my previous teaching experiences, I have learned that my favorite way to teach and learn is hands on learning and sharing adventures with students. I am eager to share my experience and curiosity about our world with the students at Palouse Prairie and how one might interact with the world cooperatively and respectfully.
Jodi Fisher

Jodi Fisher

Music K-8
B.S. Music Education, University of Idaho
B.S. Spanish, University of Idaho
I am a creative mix of mother, teacher, nature explorer, photographer, barista, author, and artist. I am excited to offer music class to the Palouse Prairie community. My classes are colorful, fun, bright, engaging, interactive, and educational. After graduating from the University of Idaho with dual majors in music education and Spanish, I have spent the last ten years also teaching English as a second language, private music lessons (piano, guitar, & singing) and Spanish. I also love being active in our community by performing concerts at our local coffee shops, teaching a baby music class, and writing music picture books and coloring book songbooks with my business Colorfully Playing the Piano. When I’m not coming up with the next creative music idea or project I have in mind, you can catch me drinking coffee and playing with my kiddo or taking photos of the beautiful nature the Pacific Northwest has to offer. It is a joy to now have this opportunity to bring music to your kiddos and as a result to your homes!
Celeste Woodland

Celeste Woodland

Title 1 Teacher
B.S. Child Development and Family Relations, University of Idaho
I am a native Idahoan. I grew up in Buhl Idaho. Outside of school I love to craft and garden. I have three wonderful children Josh, Hallie, and Rieder, and a grandchild, Lincoln. Even as early as second grade, I developed a strong desire to become a teacher. It was my love of reading the “Dick and Jane” books, that inspired me to help others learn to read. I worked for six years as a paraprofessional for the Meridian School District supporting students with special needs in the classroom environment. In 2012, I graduated from the University of Idaho with a B.S. in Child Development and Family Relations. I was a preschool teacher at The Community Childcare Center in Pullman for three years and decided that I wanted to go back to a school environment teaching children skills to be lifelong learners. This is my fourth year as a Title One Teacher at Palouse Prairie Charter School. It is the proud smiles and celebrations of learning that make it all worthwhile.
Angela Schweigert

Angela Schweigert

School Counselor
M.Ed Counseling and Human Services, School Counseling Emphasis, University of Idaho
B.A. Journalism, South Dakota State University
Endorsements:
Idaho Pupil Personal Certificate, School Counseling K-12
I am the school counselor at Palouse Prairie School, and I am thankful to be part of this amazing educational community! I have lived in the Moscow area for many years and earned my master’s degree from the University of Idaho. I have worked as a family support specialist and youth mentor coordinator with the Moscow School District and worked as a school counselor on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana and as a school counselor in St. Maries Idaho. My other experience includes my time at the University of Idaho as a learning disability specialist providing academic coaching and accommodations to students with disabilities. My experience in the mental field includes counseling and supporting adults and children as a psychosocial rehabilitation counselor as well. In my free time, I enjoy yoga and exploring nature with my dogs and husband. I love to camp, hike, bicycle, canoe and spend time with friends and family. I am thrilled to be here to provide support and encouragement to all students as they learn, grow, succeed, and become their best selves.
Elsie Cree

Elsie Cree

Paraprofessional
My name is Elsie Cree. I am a member of the Yakama Nation, but am also a descendent of the NiMiiPuu (Nez Perce) and have lived on the reservation in Lapwai Idaho for most of my life. I am a mother to two awesome boys. I have experience teaching Nez Perce Language, teaching preschool and various substitute positions in Moscow and Lapwai. In my free time, I enjoy watching my kids play sports. I also enjoy doing beadwork, artwork and spending time with my extended family. I am very excited to be a part of this amazing educational community.