Rob joined our school in 2013 and now serves as the Director of Upland Hills School. He has a sixteen-year career as an educator, with particular experience combining academic programs with experiential learning and teaching interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and awareness. He came to us after serving as Director of Education at The Leelanau School and, before that, he was at Charles Armstrong School in Belmont, CA where he directed the counseling department and started an outdoor education program. Rob is interested in creating learning experiences in which all children can find meaning, inspiration and success. He's approachable, warm, and engaged with students of all ages as well as staff and parents, and deeply committed to Upland's philosophy of honoring love, kindness, and the unique genius of all children. Personally as well as professionally, he's keenly interested in the natural world, in local food, and exploring ways to have a much smaller personal footprint. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Michigan State and a master's degree from Appalachian State.
Morning Meeting Teachers
1 - Judy Amso
When Judy first entered Upland Hills School, it felt very familiar to her. And when she entered the Ecological Awareness Center she immediately knew that this unique space would make a beautiful space for her morning group as a homelike setting that awaits the children each day. For many of these young children, it is their first time away from home. How wonderful that they are surrounded by the natural beauty that is the hallmark of Upland Hills School - and just across the bridge from the magic of the main school. Judy feels very grateful to have this incredible space which allows the children to thrive. Judy holds a Nursery Nurses degree from England and obtained her Waldorf Early Childhood Diploma through the Waldorf Institute of Southern Michigan. She is also a member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. Judy and her husband emigrated to America from England in 1992, and she began her teaching career in 1994. She has taught both preschool and kindergarten classes. Judy is an avid reader. She also loves spending time outdoors exploring, and as such, she is very grateful to have not gotten lost in the landscape that is Upland Hills!
2 - Melissa Gervais
Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and a Master of Arts in early childhood development from Oakland University. She also holds a teaching certificate with endorsements in both language arts and early childhood. Melissa has four children, three of whom attend Upland Hills School. Melissa brings a wealth of talents and skills to our staff. She loves teaching language arts, cooking, yoga, gardening, and nature classes.
3 - Robert Crowe
Robert began working with our school in a part time capacity in 2009. Robert is now the full - time morning meeting teacher for the 5 to 7-year-olds at the school. Robert teaches afternoon programs that range from All School Games to The Hobbit. Robert graduated from University College Chester (UK) and holds both a Bachelor of Arts in education and a Master of Arts in education. He taught for 8 years in England in Key Stage 2 (7 to 11 year-olds) working as deputy head teacher and Key Stage manager in the final 3 years. He has taken a number of classes in mental health and social work, focusing on school counseling.
4 - Megan Gougeon
Megan found Upland Hills School in the winter of 2015 and knew it was a place that teaches in the way children best learn. She loved the way the teachers were with the children and how the children were with one another. Megan graduated from Oakland University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and an endorsement in language arts. She then started as a morning meeting teacher in the fall of 2015 to the 7 to 9-year-olds. Megan loves to read with children and listen to them read. She enjoys teaching art, yoga, and language arts classes. She has years of experience working with summer camps and writing clubs in the surrounding area. She has been a yoga teacher in the community since 2011 and shares this passion with Upland Hills.
5- Deb Byrd
When Debbie walked down the steps from the apple tree lot for the first time, she felt like she was coming home. Upland Hills School captured her heart because it is a place where children and teachers are empowered and learning is a joyful, co-created endeavor. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Southern California. Deborah is trained in the Montessori Method through the Adrian Dominican Montessori Teacher Education Institute, is a member of the Michigan Montessori Society, and holds a teaching certificate through the State of Michigan. She enjoys time in the natural world and seeks always to make lighter and lighter her footprint upon Mother Earth.
6 - Lori Schultz
Lori began teaching at UHS in 2006. She is the mother of three alumni students: one a college graduate, another still in college, and her third in high school. Lori earned her Bachelor of Science in education from Oakland University in 1990 with a concentration in language arts and social studies. While she has taught in the private school sector for most of her career, her eclectic interests had led her everywhere from teaching concepts at Cranbrook Science Museum to attending Mindfulness in Education training at Omega Institute in New York. Lori is most interested in helping students discover who they are as learners, find strategies that work for them, and explore that which brings them joy.
7 - Dominic Lanzotti
Dominic joined the school in 2014 as the oldest group morning meeting teaching.
Dominic brings a true knowing of the school and it’s culture in his experience as a UHS student from 1975 – 1987.
While attending Lake Orion High School Dominic lettered in three sports. He continued his education at Oakland University obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in communication. While working full time Dominic went back to Oakland University for a Master of Arts Degree in education.
Dominic is married to Betsy and has three daughters Clare, Lucy and Laine. Lucy and Laine attend Upland Hills School.
Deb Byrd (Curriculum Coordinator)
When Debbie walked down the steps from the apple tree lot for the first time, she felt like she was coming home. Upland Hills School captured her heart because it is a place where children and teachers are empowered and learning is a joyful, co-created endeavor. Debbie is a parent and teacher, and provides administrative and staff support. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Southern California. Deborah is trained in the Montessori Method through the Adrian Dominican Montessori Teacher Education Institute, is a member of the Michigan Montessori Society, and holds a teaching certificate through the State of Michigan. She enjoys time in the natural world and seeks always to make lighter and lighter her footprint upon Mother Earth.
Terry Gardner (Business Administrator)
Terry found her way to Upland Hills School in 1997 while seeking a love-based educational experience for her children. Terry began her work at the school as a volunteer, eventually becoming an integral part of the fabric of the school. Terry’s children and grandchildren have attended Upland Hills School, contributing, as many long-standing families do, a sense of multi-generational history to the place. Terry is often the first voice people hear when they call Upland Hills School. She has a seat by her desk for children who need a moment of respite. Adults of the community sit there at times, too. And though she is the school’s full-time Business Administrator, she never seems too busy for the soul who sits in that seat. She is patient and has the perspective that only comes from decades in a place. Terry expresses her creative spirit through handwork, sewing, and gardening and shares this knowledge with the children of UHS.
Part Time Staff
Ken has an insatiable curiosity. His interests range from insects and butterflies to iMovie and PowerPoint. He learned a great deal from growing up on Upland Hills Farm. His father and mother taught him the invaluable lessons of hard work, and the uncommon practice of making a dream come true. Ken is an exceptional math teacher and has developed our curriculum for Algebra 1 and 2. Ken also loves the natural world and teaches classes that form the foundation for biology, ecology, and nature studies. Ken graduated from Oakland University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts and teaching certificate. He has taught for over 20 years at Upland Hills School, and he has also taught in the Lake Orion Public schools and another independent school. Ken enjoys teaching through building projects and a class he calls Trailblazers.
Karen began teaching at Upland Hills School in 1972. She is a professional actress and an expert on children's literature. For many years, she taught the 10 to 12 year-olds at our school. She now teaches special poetry and literature units, and is our librarian and theatre arts teacher. Together, Karen and Ted Strunck have written and produced three original plays at our school. Karen has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre and performing arts and holds a teaching certificate from the State of Michigan.
Ted has been teaching with us since 1989. Ted is a professional musician and a professional builder. For 26 years he taught the oldest group at our school and was committed to preparing them for their next placement. He continues to design comprehensive units that are large practical building experiments which challenge students on many levels. His students have built a 160-foot bridge, a stained glass window, and a solar greenhouse. Ted earned a Bachelor of Arts and holds teaching certificate from the State of Michigan. He has also earned postgraduate credits in music and writing instruction.
Brian joined the staff of Upland Hills in 2014. He teaches math and science as part of our core curriculum for older students and classes such as computer programming, model rockets, and origami as part of our afternoon program. Brian is interested in a wide variety of things, including science, music, philosophy, math, gardening, and camping, and he brings his curiosity and fascination with the natural world to the classroom.
Prior to joining UHS, Brian was the global Senior Director of a data visualization/analytics consulting team and he had 14 years of experience in mixed business/technical roles in the computer software industry. Brian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University and holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.