The Prairie Sky Team

Prairie Sky School has the great privilege of working with some of the most caring, passionate, and dedicated teachers in Regina.

Vanessa Nordmark-Beahm (B.Ed., B.Sc.) is our Taproots Teacher and Vice Principal. She joined the PSS team in April of 2019, but has been teaching middle schoolers for over 10 years and brings a vast wealth of knowledge and experience to PSS. Vanessa is passionate about nature and loves being outdoors. She especially enjoys gardening, camping and kayaking with her family. 

From Vanessa “My educational philosophy is centered on a desire to create an inviting environment for all levels of students – one that fosters learning and encourages critical thinking. In the rapidly evolving world we live in, I want to challenge my students to be resourceful and innovative – to take the endless knowledge that is available to them and know how to utilize it. Students need opportunities to think and work independently in addition to honing their skills in communication and collaboration with peers and the world around them. My hope is that my classroom will help to build resilient young people who will be better prepared to contribute to the world of their future.”. 

Peter Steele (B.A., B.Ed.) has been our Fireweeds teacher since May 2019, but has been long connected to the school as a substitute teacher. Peter has a wide array of experience working with, planning and facilitating programming for students of all ages, from infants to young adults. Most recently, Peter has led and developed programming at the Rainbow Youth Centre and has extensive experience working with individuals struggling with anger management, substance abuse related mental health challenges, and individuals healing and growing from trauma. Peter is passionate about Canadian History (BA degree), board games, sports and taking the curriculum outdoors.

From Peter “Looking at each individual child’s background and developing personal relationships with students take precedence over everything else in the classroom. Authentic learning happens when students feel valued, loved, supported and safe within their environment. Children develop in all areas (Emotionally, Socially and Academically) at different times and at various paces. Embracing the natural ebb and flow of their development means we must meet all students at their level and their interests in order to foster a love for learning and mutual respect and appreciation. Each child will unfold as nature sees fit, and we as teachers are here to walk beside them, not in front of them.”

Murray MacDonald, Professional Chef & Co-Owner of Groovy Mama, joined the PSS team in March 2019 as Learner Support staff. Murray  has spent the past 20 years as a Chef, teaching apprentices and cooks more holistic ways of learning about food. He loves cooking and food as it provides a universal medium for teaching and learning as well as tells the story of humanities history. Murray also brings his bilingual flair (French) as a huge asset, as well as his love for sustainability and local, naturally sourced products.

From Murray “There is not a single endeavor of human knowledge we can study where we couldn’t put it to practical use the next day in the kitchen. Physics lets us understand how to plate a desert so it seems like it should fall over; chemistry lets us understand if a custard will set properly; anthropology or social sciences allow us to understand both who we are feeding and the story behind the foods from their history. Being a Chef is about learning to teach & teaching to learn while achieving the goals set out by the environment you are in. I feel the only way to lift ourselves up in this world is through the education and protection of children and by providing them the opportunity for self discovery while challenging them to push their own boundaries and limitations.”

Samantha Lautsch (B.Ed.) took on the challenge of launching  the brand new Wolf Willows classroom in September 2019. She has experience planning and facilitating programs for youth in a variety of programs and with this, brings a variety of skills and knowledge that makes her an asset to the Prairie Sky School team. Samantha enjoys spending time outside, going on hikes and exploring nature, spending time at the beach during the summer, and practicing yoga.

From Samantha, “I believe that building relationships is the foundation for an effective learning environment. I strive to get to know all of my students deeply so I can provide them individualized learning opportunities which best suit their unique needs. In order to do this, I spend time having conversations with each one of my students every day. I enjoy learning alongside my students and my ultimate goal when working with youth is to help instill values of respect, teamwork, and curiosity so that they too, are excited to learn and grow together as they continue through their journey of life!”

Terra Dynna (B.Ed.) has been our Music and Movement Teacher since September 2019. She donned the additional hats of Learning Resource Teacher and Remote Learning Liaison in November 2020. She has been making music since starting piano lessons at age 4.  She has taught individual and group lessons for 22 years, as well as working with children from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8 in Regina Public Schools, at childcare centers, and as a summer camp counsellor.  When she’s not teaching, Terra volunteers as a certified cross country ski coach and leads outdoor education day camps.  She is passionate about pursuing a sustainable lifestyle through growing and preserving food, and wildcrafting.

From Terra, “I want to help children develop in a holistic way that nurtures them mentally, physically, and emotionally. Music and all of the Arts provide an opportunity to develop a strong sense of identity and a connection to other people and cultures through time and space. I strive to create a safe environment where students can feel free to explore and experiment with sound and movement.  I love seeing them make discoveries and grow in confidence!”

Anna Rose (B.Ed.) is our Starflowers teacher. She has been teaching at Prairie Sky School since 2012, and has enjoyed being part of the school’s evolution. Anna graduated from the University of Regina, spent time doing volunteer work in Africa and Latin America, and taught art, movement, and music (as well as numerous food and gardening classes) to young children. After homeschooling her own children in their early years, she joyfully made the leap to teaching nature-based kindergarten in 2012. She is passionate about teaching children holistically through art, community and nature, and appreciates getting to work in an environment that values taking the curriculum outdoors.

From Anna, “I love getting to help young people connect with nature. I believe that children learn best through play and strong relationships. Our connections to each other, our families, communities, and this place are all integral parts of the story that we are creating here on Treaty 4 land.  Nurturing children’s imagination, curiosity and wonder has become my greatest joy and passion, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow with my students.”  

Chris Edwards (B.A.) joined PSS in 2016.  Chris has a wide range of experience in education and social services working as an Educational Assistant, ESL Teacher, Personal Support Worker, and a Primary Care Paramedic. Chris’ academic background is based in Psychology, Anthropology, and Paramedicine.  He also works and performs locally and nationally as a DJ.  Chris loves all kinds of music, art, and athletics, and he especially enjoys relaxing at the lake in the summertime.

From Chris, “It is so empowering and rewarding to provide a diverse and individualized learning experience for our students.  When we have the opportunity to help students find themselves through learning and realize a set of skills and abilities which they hadn’t realized before, it is an incredible feeling to experience the growth with them along their journey.  We see how the students get stronger and grow as people along the way.  We are there to support and encourage them through challenges, and to celebrate and acknowledge their success.  As the students learn, we learn with them, and together we all bring out the best in each other.  I’m so proud to be a part of the growth here at Prairie Sky, and I can feel the strength of our community growing with the school.”

Jillian Scott (B.Sc.) has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and has been involved in the non-profit sector for the last 15 years as a board member and administrator in various organizations. She has been involved with Prairie Sky School since the planning phase in 2008 as a parent, volunteer, board member, fundraiser and currently as the Finance and Human Resources Manager. 

Jillian is a certified Master Organic Gardener and Master Composter. She has two sons, is a passionate environmentalist, and a great lover of cats, plants and living creatures in general.

David Vanderberg (B.A., B.Ed., Baccalauréat ès arts en Français) is Prairie Sky’s Principal as well as the Director of Outdoor Programming. David has been involved with Prairie Sky School since 2018. David has collected a diversity of life experiences and careers over the years: tree-planting camp supervisor, French Immersion teacher, youth pastor, vermiculturist, and more! David is an avid outdoors enthusiast and environmentalist. By sharing with students his love for canoeing, cycling, mycology, botany, bushcraft, cross-country skiing, hiking, and Saskatchewan’s pre-colonial and contemporary history, David hopes to cultivate a sense of care for the environment and wonder in the natural world. 

  

Allan Dotson, (B.A., BEAD) is the PSS STEAM teacher (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). He has been a part of Prairie Sky School since the very beginning in 2008. Allan has worked as a documentary assistant director, a videogame tester, and has also led large-scale art projects and created child-friendly spaces for various Regina schools, libraries, art galleries, and festivals. In addition to his teaching career, Allan maintains an active art practice, and recently published his first graphic novel.  When Allan isn’t teaching or drawing, he enjoys climbing things and playing Dungeons & Dragons.

From Allan: “I love teaching at Prairie Sky School because I am passionate about hands-on, project-based learning. I believe in changing the world through education, and in making learning fun and meaningful through large-scale, long-term, multi-disciplinary projects like creating movies, plays, or giant parade puppets. I also love how the small, multi-age classes are great for building relationships with the students. As a STEAM teacher I get to work with a wide range of different students and see their ability, confidence, and independence grow from year to year. I feel so blessed to be a part of this caring community, and to spend my days hanging out and making stuff with kids!”

Jacqueline Tara Thompson (B.Admin, First Nations University of Canada), is a Nakota Cree from Ceģa Kin and Ochapowace First Nations, Treaty Four Territory. She joined the PSS staff in February of 2020 and serves as the Indigenous Cultural Support Liaison. She was born and raised in North Central, Washington Park, Regina Saskatchewan. She attended Herchmer Elementary Public School and graduated from Scott Collegiate. After high school, Jacqueline participated in a Youth leadership program in Northern Poland. While studying at FNUniv with a focus on International Business she attended university at Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, Scotland and Ulsan University in Ulsan, South Korea. Her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents attended Indian Residential Schools in southern Saskatchewan. 

Upon convocation Jacqueline became the first Indigenous Program Coordinator at the University of Regina. After coordinating and establishing new programs and an Indigenous centre presence on campus, Jacqueline left for Nicaragua, Central America serving International Indigenous Youth Internships and Community Development Projects. Jacqueline comes to Prairie Sky from Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Wellness & Community Development Unit. 

“My family historically has traumatic experiences with education, on and off reserve. I’m thankful to all those Indigenous trailblazers who changed the face of education before me. I believe as Educators that we serve the Great Creator everyday by protecting and preparing his children for a safe determined life full of adventure and wonderment to learn and to contribute to family, community, and our sovereign nations.” 

Sarah Fowler (B.A., BEAD) is our Cattails Teacher.  Sarah joined the PSS team in 2018.  Previous experience in education includes work as a substitute teacher with Regina Public Schools as well as operating an Early Childhood Education Preschool Program. Sarah spent 12 years working for Parks Canada developing and implementing educational interpretive programs for National Historic Sites.  

Sarah has an extensive background in dance having studied ballet and creative dance from a young age.  When she’s not teaching, Sarah enjoys spending time with her three daughters, engaging in her visual art practice, and doing CrossFit.

From Sarah “I love working within the Prairie Sky School community.  It is so rewarding to develop authentic relationships with my students and guide and encourage them on their educational journeys – it really enriches my life to be a part of their lives and to celebrate their growth and achievements with them.”