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
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 children’s dance classes. I did my undergrad work at Naropa Institute, where I was introduced to contemplative education. I started Snow Lion in 1995 and this school has been an incredible blessing to me.
In my spare time I love to spend time with my husband, 3 grown-up children (who have taken it upon themselves to propel me into a continuously more refined version of myself), garden, swim and dance. My current practice in all areas of my life is to embrace what is arising as fully as I can. I love how much more genuine my teaching becomes when I can relinquish (tiny bit by very tiny bit) the facade of control that interrupts real connection and presence. It is such an honor to be a teacher and to have the opportunity to support children and families on their unique life paths.
Nicole Ann Vollmerhausen, MA Early Childhood Education
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 Snow Lion teaching team. 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 (not so little) littles, Penny and Tilda. Both Penny and Tilda graduated from Snow Lion.
I love to be creative, head outdoors, 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 then received my Early Childhood Lead teacher certification from Front Range.
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 Snow Lion, first in the Cubs room and then with the Lions. I am thrilled to be continuing to connect with the children and helping to facilitate outlets of self-discovery. I look forward to sharing my creativity, energy, love and compassion with each of your children.
Maddie Schlick, MA Art Therapy
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 happily returned 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.
Outside of school I enjoy spending time in nature, being with the people I love, playing with my dog, making art, and playing ultimate frisbee.
Rachel Flax Kaplan
I am deeply grateful to be part of the Snow Lion community. I joined it first as a newcomer to Boulder, enrolling my twin boys as Cubs and substituting when needed. With each year, I increased my time and commitments in the classroom, and it feels warm and welcome to settle into my place here.
I moved from NYC to Boulder with my husband, Dan, and twins in 2017. In New York, I earned my MS.Ed in Museum Education with K-6 and early childhood certifications from Bank Street College of Education. I was a Head Teacher at the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, a lab school in the Psychology Department at Barnard College. My primary classroom training is focused on social emotional development and separation in toddlers. The journey children go through to discover that they are independent, capable little big beings is my favorite thing to witness. It is unique to each as well as a shared experience. Observing and supporting aha moments, resilience and the figuring out of where one person ends and another begins fills me with joy.
In addition to teaching in a classroom, I have coached springboard diving for ages six to seventy-six for over two decades. Instructing, encouraging and gently nudging people to do incredible things with their bodies and minds from a bouncy fiberglass plank into the water inspires and amazes me to no end!
I feel blessed and grateful to be serving the Snow Lion community as I myself continue to learn, develop and play. Having spent the past several years working and teaching in higher education, it is a gift to now bow to the wisdom of the bright children. I spent the bulk of my adult life dancing- West African, Afro-Modern, Postmodern, House and Improv- in perpetual awe of the healing power of rhythmic community dance. I was gifted the opportunity to study and perform many years in the companies of Maputo Mensah and Fara Tolno before finally earning my MFA in Dance with a Secondary Emphasis in Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
As I continue to clarify my life purpose, my prayers for greater alignment in career and life work have led me to Snow Lion and to the pursuit of my teaching license. I am a mother of a 15-year-old who prefers the indoors, math and Minecraft, while I am a worshipper of the sun, fresh air, hiking, boulders, trees and walks. I am passionate about inspiring and encouraging young people to explore their interests and actualize their highest potentials with loving kindness and respect for the earth, animals and humanity in all of its diversity.