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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2016 I joined Snow Lion as a practicum student while completing my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Transpersonal Art Therapy. After graduating in 2017 and working with children and families at a mental health agency in Denver, I now happily return to Boulder to re-join Snow Lion.
I am passionate about the way children are supported while learning, and I have worked with a range of children, advocating for those that other adults labeled as “problematic.” I seek to lead with heart and compassion in order to connect with each child’s true essence. I love to find creative ways to meet children’s needs and find paths for them to flourish on and express themselves unabashedly. I find children to be deeply wise and I hope to do everything in my power to allow their unique wisdom to grow and change the world for the better.
As a human you might run into me on the trails, playing ultimate frisbee, or at the grocery store singing to myself under my breath about what I’m shopping for!
Rachel Flax Kaplan
Rachel moved from NYC to Boulder with her husband, Dan, and twin boys Leo and Max (currently Cubs!), in August 2017. In NYC, Rachel earned her MS.Ed in Museum Education with K-6 and early childhood certifications from Bank Street College of Education. Previously, Rachel was a Head Teacher at the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, a lab school in the Psych Department at Barnard College, which focuses primarily on social-emotional development and separation. Additionally, Rachel has coached springboard diving for ages six to seventy-six for nearly two decades. Although she misses the sushi place across from her old apartment, since moving to CO, she is enjoying fresh air, mountain views, a lack of grime, and not having to plan family life around subway stroller access, traffic and/or parking.
Ana Caroline de Carvalho
Assistant Teacher in Cubs and Snow Lion
Born in Brazil and moving to the United States at the age of two, I grew up with a passion for people, interculturalism, and travel. During my sophomore year of college, I lived in Nepal and India for six months, during which I also spent three months studying the ancient traditional art of Thangka painting at the Center for Living Buddhist Art in Dharamsala. I moved to Colorado in 2017 to study at Naropa University, a Buddhist-inspired contemplative university located here in Boulder. I am currently working towards my BA in Liberal Studies, Leadership for Service and Change, through Antioch University Online, which consists of intercultural studies, peace and conflict studies, and courses in education and youth in development. I am super passionate about self-reflection and self-development.
In my free time, I love to make art, read books, write poetry, go hiking, and take naps in the sun. Children have always been my biggest inspirations in life, reminding me to see the world through a lens of wonder, curiosity, and excitement. I hope to offer them love, care, and a passion for learning and growth in return. I am delighted to join the Snow Lion team and look forward to getting to know everyone!