As teachers, we always try to find a balance between seeking the deeper meaning in what we are doing while at the same time keeping a fresh "beginner's mind" that allows us to be in the moment with the children. We meet weekly to support each other's growth, to encourage self-reflection, to integrate what we know with what we experience, and to get feedback in order to expand our awareness of our personal edges and how our teaching can improve. At the same time we are not striving to be perfect and in fact, appreciate our imperfections, as they are often our best teachers. We think it is wonderful for children to see the adults in their life working with their rough edges, continuously growing and changing.
Kristin Lhatso, MA Educational Psychology and Human Development
Founder, Executive Director and Lead Teacher
Growing up in California, dance and theatre arts played a major role in my early life. My first introduction to teaching came in my late teens when I taught dance to children ages 3-16. After attending college in California and CU Boulder, I finally found myself at home at the Naropa Institute, where I graduated in 1994. I started Snow Lion in 1995 and this school has been an incredible blessing to me. I have been delighted, stretched, enriched, opened, and humbled by my work at Snow Lion. For the life experiences and lessons that I have learned from this school, I am grateful… every single day in the classroom I feel waves of appreciation that I get to do the work I do. Every child I have taught has been a teacher for me. I really mean that.
In my spare time I love to be with my teenage children (who have taken it upon themselves to grow me into a continuously more refined and deep version of myself), garden, and dance. I have been working with more improvisational/contact dance forms over the last years, which is helping me bring many of the things I have known conceptually out of my head and down into my body. My current practice in all areas of my life is allowing whatever is naturally unfolding to emerge and deepen and to take advantage of what is, instead of trying to always force things this way and that. I am trying to go with the energetic grain more and use natural timing to allow my work to be as deep as possible… this is all in contrast to my younger years when I would use sheer force and gusto to accomplish things. I am too old for that now! But in a good way! I love how much more genuine I feel when I can relinquish (tiny bit by very tiny bit) the facade of control I used to think I actually had in my back pocket. I am inspired by growth... smitten, really.
Lara Tuepker, MA Early Childhood Education
I am originally from St. Louis, MO, but headed West where I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I have taught preschool in Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado eventually earning my Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from CU-Denver.
My favorite part about teaching is being able to see the immediate world with children. Their views of the world are so different than those of adults. For example, the idea of justice varies from child to child and especially child to teacher. Something I might find as fair is completely unjust for a child. I try to remember this when working with children- understanding and respecting the individual is of utmost importance!
I love creating relationships with children and families based on the unique perspective they bring to the world around them. I truly admire children's ideas and ways of thinking... Hopefully they rub off on me a bit, as I am constantly learning from our youngest citizens.
I am honored to spend another year at Snow Lion. This school and community have been an amazing partnership for me. Snow Lion is a place that has allowed me to learn and has expanded my vision. On a personal level, being here has made me feel valued, appreciated, and seen as an individual.
My husband (come the end of September) and I recently bought our first home in Berthoud, CO. We spend a lot of time wandering trails near home with the dog. In my spare time I love going to live music, traveling near and far, and attempting random hobbies.
Nicole Ann Vollmerhausen
Assistant Director/Lead Teacher
I am originally from Trenton, Michigan. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I received my Bachelors Degree in May of 2001 in the College of English Language and Literature. I have been involved in the Snow Lion community since 2001, both as a teacher and as a parent. In August 2007, I finished the Teacher Education Program at Boulder Journey School which was a joint partnership with the University of Colorado Denver where I earned my Masters Degree in Educational Psychology. Through the same program I also received my Early Childhood Education endorsement and licensure from the Colorado Department of Education. My interests include reading, meditation and most of all I enjoy spending time with my family by playing board games, hiking, reading comic books and drawing together.
Snow Lion Teacher
I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the Snowlion teaching team this year. Originally I am from the cornfields of Iowa but have spent the last 20 years in Boulder planting my roots firmly in the rocky soil of the foothills. I live in Boulder with my husband Mark and my two lovely littles, Penny and Tilda. Penny just graduated from Snowlion and Tilda is a former Cub in her first year as a Lion.
I love to be creative, head outdoors, run, hike, bike, garden, adventure and most importantly spend time with my family. I graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Fine Arts and have professionally experienced everything from landscaping and stone masonry to slinging coffee/bagels/eggs/sushi/pasta to selling eye wear and working in the Asian travel business. I am a Jackie-of-all-trades that never felt truly grounded in a career path, ironically, until I became a mother. Having children made me realize how much I want and needed to be a part of something bigger than what I had been doing.
After spending time caring for my girls, as well as caring for others' children while I was a stay-at-home mother, I realized I wanted to be in a classroom on some level. I was fortunate to find a place at Snowlion, first in the Cubs room and now with the Lions. In that time I became lead teacher certified and began to delve deeper into Early Childhood Education and it’s importance in our children’s lives. I am looking forward to continuing to connect with the children and helping to facilitate outlets of self-discovery. I’m excited to share my creativity, energy, love and compassion with each of your children.
Hello! I am extremely excited and honored to join the Snow Lion team. A little bit about me: I am an enthusiastic childcare provider with a background in Neuroscience, Mindfulness-Based Education, and Yoga. I am also a Buddhist practitioner, artist, gardener, and (sometimes) excellent cook! I recently moved to Boulder and have been really enjoying walks along the creek and hikes in the Flat Irons. While I am originally from the East Coast (West Philadelphia, born and raised!), my connection to Colorado is through Shambhala Mountain Center, where I’ve spent the past two summers volunteering and deepening my personal practice. One of my favorite summer programs at SMC is Family Camp, where I got to lead Nature Walks and paint faces for families interested in contemplative practice! Thank you all for the warm welcome and I very much look forward to forming deeper connections with you and your children!
Originally from Georgia, I taught Freshman English for many years before moving to Boulder. I moved here with my husband 13 years ago.
Since arriving in Colorado, I have become certified in teaching yoga and meditation through Shambhava Yoga. Additionally, I’ve taught conversations in English classes at the public library, and taught grades 5 – 8 at a nature based school where I led weekly hikes in the beautiful Foothills of Colorado.
I first started working with pre-school children through the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department about 6 years ago. My love for working with these beautiful little ones started from there, and has expanded over the years. During this time, I also worked as a nanny for several families. I feel very fortunate to have found this lovely school to spend more time with the children. And I’m looking forward to a great year at Snow Lion!
Before devoting to a full time teaching position at Snow Lion School, Patrick has been a daycare and nursery staff for a number of years. Having developed a vested interest in individualized childcare, he spent his energy soughting out the outliers of the conventional eye -- catering to the needs and interests of not just the less fortunate, but those written off as “problem children,” or “at risk” in an academic setting. Hyper conscious of the degradation associated with personal struggles and family dysfunction, particularly in the scholastic setting, he has cultivated a self driven incentive to let the outliers be heard.
In Boy Scouts, he has been in various leadership positions throughout his scouting career. Now as an Assistant Scoutmaster, he has led numerous trips which require technical backcountry skills, experience and knowledge. In result of his knowledge and experience with mental health services, scouts with various afflictions such as anger management issues, post traumatic stress disorder, behavioral issues and severe learning disorders have been included on extensive and difficult backcountry trips who would otherwise not have.
Being adopted, bilingual with Spanish and English, an advocate (during his high school years) for LGBTQ students, and aware of the afflictions of personal hardship, there is a range of understanding, compassion and acceptance brought to the classroom setting.
During his free time, he is an avid mountain biker, climber, runner, and kayaker. In the upcoming future, he hopes to exercise the studies of behavioral sciences, cognitive sciences and play/art therapy on the collegiate level.
Connie Aizeki, MA Educational Psychology
Snow Lion Cubs Lead Teacher
Hello! I am so looking forward to teaching the new toddler class at Snow Lion. I have spent over the last 20 years in the beautiful Boulder area, working and raising my two children who are 12 and 16. The last two years have been spent working on my teaching license and masters in Educational Psychology through a joint partnership with CU Denver and the Boulder Journey School. I came to teaching because I love to learn and I find it absolutely fascinating to watch children learning. I just love the authentic human honesty of young children and I honestly cannot imagine a better job.
When I am not teaching I try to get out and trail run or hike along all of Boulder's magnificent open space. When I mountain bike I mostly walk my bike up trails, but I get out there, and that's what's important. Being outside in a natural environment brings me joy and replenishes my spirit.
I have found my children to be my best teachers in life. They have provided me times of insane joy and times of heartbreaking frustration. Interestingly both types of experience have served to teach me the same lesson. Let go and be present. When I hold on tight to needing things to go a certain way my children have been excellent teachers. When I breathe, center myself and focus on the beautiful way the moment is unfolding just as it is, my children have been excellent teachers. When I enforce someone else's agenda and methods, my children have been excellent teachers. When I open myself to approaching challenges from a creative angle, my children have been excellent teachers. I continue to learn every single day, and my children continue to teach me. I so look forward to implementing the lessons I have learned both formally and informally in the classroom with your children. We are going to have a wonderful, laughter filled year full of songs, and stories, and laughter and discovery.
Cubs Assistant Teacher
Hello, Snow Lion families! I am thrilled to be joining the Snow Lion community this coming fall as an assistant teacher in the Cubs program. I’ve been substitute teaching this past year with Connie, and it’s been a sweet, joyous experience that I greatly look forward to continuing next year.
I have a bachelor’s degree in English from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in transpersonal counseling psychology from Naropa University. I also have a music background and am passionate about writing. I’m fascinated by cognitive and developmental psychology, and I find that so much of the work of relating to young people revolves around holding space for them to unfold and helping them integrate the various traits they came into the world with. I’ve always gravitated toward workplaces that focus not only on helping children master skills but on helping them understand who they are as learners. My jobs with children have included teaching writing, tutoring in reading and writing, and working as a nanny for several families. My most recent job involved providing phonemic awareness training to children and adolescents with language-based learning disabilities. Part of that work centered around helping the students appreciate and tap into all of the unique abilities and brilliant compensatory tactics they brought into the program with them; acquiring new reading and writing strategies was framed as a way to give voice to their creative ideas and share them with the world.
Singing, reading stories, doing imagination-based play, and improvising spur-of-the-moment games are all things I enjoy about teaching and caregiving. I love working with young children, because their minds are wide open to all the possibilities life has to offer. They’re vivacious, enthusiastic, and endlessly curious, and those qualities are such a gift to support and be around!
My personal experience with Snow Lion is that my daughter attended preschool here for three years. Words cannot describe how much esteem I hold for Snow Lion staff and for the program itself. My child grew in leaps and bounds throughout her time here, and she left the school last May with deep self-understanding, unbounded joy in learning, and a strong sense of responsibility and connection to the people around her. I’m so happy at the thought that I can plug into this amazing school and help provide that same experience for other families!
I look forward to meeting you and your children next fall!
Cubs Assistant Teacher
As a teacher at Snow Lion School, I seek to create a positive and nurturing classroom environment that cultivates peace and joy and nurtures the unfolding potential of each child. Everyday, I work to utilize my contemplative practice to acknowledge all of the children’s innate beauty, creativity and intelligence. This might take the shape of pausing for a deep breath with a child or during blessing, song or ritual throughout our day. I love to hold space in the classroom for artistic, creative exploration and believe in the power of art to spark brilliance, alleviate conflict and restore balance. I am inspired by the children of Snow Lion, who radiate a sense of vibrant self - confidence and look forward to developing relationships with the children and their families over the coming year! When I am not in the classroom, I work in my art studio as a printmaker, papermaker and painter. My work is currently exhibited locally as well as nationally.