Our Team

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Jess Divine: Ms. Divine

My name is Jess Divine, you can call me Miss Divine; I am the director of Iron and Pine Preschool.

I have worked in the field of early education for almost nine years and have had the opportunity to explore and experience an incredible range of educational philosophies, skills, situations, and classrooms. All of these experiences have been working with children ranging in age from 4 weeks old to seven years old.

My experience ranges from private care, to working as the Bilingual interpreter in early ed. classrooms, to a lead infant toddler/preschool teacher for an Early Head Start/Head Start program, to working in our very own local Waldorf K-8th program in their Waldorf preschool program. 

 

I learned early-on in my professional life that I was passionate about early childhood education, and after exploring the various teaching philosophies, it became very clear to me that the Waldorf philosophy was the one that resonated with my heart and my work as an educator/director. I, and my staff, are continually enrolled in Waldorf teacher enrichment training for Early Education. I am always looking for new ways to improve myself, my program, and continually expand my knowledge of early education to help support my staff and our families in the development of the whole child. 

 

My reverent and intentional approach to education reflects my personal outlook on life, and is aligned with my continual dedication to myself as both a teacher and person. Being present and authentic with the young child, intentionality, humor,  creating beauty with and for the child, humility and daily self reflection, trusting/respecting each child’s unique process of growth, and modeling reverence for all aspects of life is the synopsis of my personal teaching philosophy. In today’s world technology and fast paced lifestyles dominate our reality making it all the more crucial that we as educators create a safe haven for childhood: where children can grow in alignment with their truest highest selves and give back to society what has been lost and or forgotten. 

 

I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to be a teacher to your child during this incredible and magical period of growth in their lives. 

 

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Kara Rane: Ms. Rane

Hello Dear Ones, My name is Kara Rane.
All my passions come together in the nurturing of a child. As an artist, I create beauty from chaos, transform suffering into meaning, and communicate universal truths. Having traveled and lived in many places, I understand how to relate to all people, different cultures, and diverse perspectives.


My dedication to Earths creatures, the plants and trees, the entire natural world is a continuous source of inspiration and peace. As a lifelong practitioner of yoga, the union of the self with the divine, I am reminded that each moment is an opportunity for connection.


Being a mother is the greatest teacher of all. Guiding my children has ultimately guided myself to higher consciousness and awareness, as I seek to be the best person I can in my shadows and in my light, for the service of the next generation.


I studied Environmental Science and Art Studio at the University of California at Santa Barbara, graduating with a B.A. and worked at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network
rehabilitating Birds of Prey. I am credentialed in Child Play Yoga from Kundalini Yoga East NYC. As an entrepreneur, I had an art gallery and yoga studio in Prospect
Heights, NY and then moved to Vieques Island in the Caribbean, where I had a small business on the beach selling food and art. My experience in health and healing lead me to a job as a vitamin and wellness specialist at Whole Foods Market in the SF Bay area. I moved to Nevada County in 2014, and to learn more about growing
food and permaculture, I worked locally at Peaceful Valley Farm supply. My first child, Felix, was born in 2015 and my second child, Flora, in 2016. I devoted myself to motherhood and also have an online business selling ecofriendly greeting cards and Cosmic Circles sunlight catchers.


My children have both attended Iron and Pine preschool, and through our involvement I have seen from the very first moment and over many years, just how special this school is. It is a living example of the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and the visionary dream of a New Earth becoming reality. Currently, I am obtaining my credentials in Child Development at Sierra College and I am expanding my
knowledge in Waldorf education. I am also working towards my Masters degree in Marriage and Family therapy, so that I can further assist families and children.

It is an honor to be of service to the children and families in this loving community.

Elena Cortese: Miss. Elena
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Hello everyone! Elena here, some of you may know me and some of you may not. I am Lilly's mama. Miss Divine is Lilly's Godmother. I have been working at this preschool on and off for nearly four and a half years now. I started volunteering during Lilly's first year at Iron and Pine Preschool. I was completely blown away and impressed with this incredible preschool!  I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to work part-time as Administration Services for the school and as one of their Lead Teachers. Waldorf education has been a beautiful and healing discovery as I dive deeper into my journey learning the principles of a truly enriching and meaningful education philosophy that resides authentically upon the intentionality of the teacher to help bring out a child's true authentic self. Waldorf education to my understanding seeks to customize a child's experience at school by meeting children where they are at while respecting their individuality and bringing a reverence for the changing world around them.  

Here's a little bit about Lilly and myself! We absolutely love being outside! We love gardening and growing flowers as well as vegetables. Lilly and I love taking our dogs on hikes, and cuddling with our kitties at home! Not only do I work at Iron and Pine Preschool four days a week, but I also work for 211 Services at night, and on Thursday's I work at Deer Creek Elementary in my daughter's classroom. My life has continued to align with the care and education of the young child making my transition back into the classroom a joyous and deeply fulfilling process. Iron and Pine Preschool is a magical place! I have never in my life seen someone that loves and cares and understands children more than Miss Divine. It is an honor to be a part of the staff of this amazing School! My coworkers are my community and fast friends. Ms. Rane and I were among the first families to enroll in this school four years ago and we have yet to leave even though are wee ones have flown away! I'm just so excited to see what the future holds in this beautiful life within our school and this incredible County we live in! 

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Molly Trowbridge: Mrs. Molly

Miss Molly is a new teacher at the school! She is mother to Daniel aged four and Henry aged six. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Masters in Education plus a early education teaching license from Indiana University. She has worked with all ages of children, infants and up. Mrs. Molly has also been a Director of an in home childcare for preschool aged children. 

Robin Harp: Mr. Robin
Luke Hefele: Teacher Luke

Robin Harp will be joining our team as a Teacher’s Assistant and has provided Music Enrichment for our school for the past year. Upon becoming more active with our community Robin is now pursuing his Director's license for early childhood programs. He presently works at our school, Madrone Grove Private School, and is alos a private nanny for some of his students. Robin is a father of 4 and now a new grandfather! Originally from Boulder CO, he moved to Nevada County in 2001. Robin has a variety of experience working in preschools, with elementary aged children, and in a church setting. Robin has taught music and performed his songs about taking care of ourselves, each other, and the planet we live on for nearly 30 years. If you are interested in private music lessons with Mr. Robin he teaches begining guitar ages 5 and up for $25 per lesson. He is also the creator of a workshop called Parenting With Wisdom, which he taught at Unity of Boulder for many years. He is a resource for parents who may want a little calming advice on how to improve the harmony in their family lives and in relationship with their kids. He has been an excellent addition to our team and we look forward to many years with Mr. Robin at Iron & Pine Preschool. 
 

Hey Everyone! I'm Luke. It's great just to know this movement exists, efforts to fundamentally improve the education for our kids. I spent my middle school and high school in Philadelphia in a Quaker based education, Germantown Friends School. I graduated in 2002. I appreciate the perspective it gave me, the ability to question and to think for myself. The Quakers were part of many revolutionary acts and peaceful social protests during the early days of this country, and vocal during times of war and crises. More and more I'm feeling like I'm pulled to be a part of that revolutionary history.   

 

I've been facilitating arts education in Northern California since 2010. I was based out of Sonoma County in Sebastopol until the current escalation of what was already a huge crisis that small businesses, education, families and communities were up against. The task of finding our way in these bizarre and intense times has been a global challenge. Maintaining the highest principles in my role as an educator in my areas of skill and passion has been essential to how I have coped as a single parent, a small business owner uprooted by Covid, and as a human being trying to navigate the ever changing landscape of our new reality with as much compassion, awareness, and truth.

 

My focus in the arts has been movement: martial arts and dance. I ran a non profit movement arts space in Sebastopol called SHDWBX (shadowbox) with my focus being its Capoeira program, Brazilian Dance, Martial Arts, and Social Tool.  I had a large community of families, and individuals involved. I hosted special guests, influential figures in specific fields, and events covering a large range of topics with a focus on lineage based and ancestral arts. Aside from traditional and modern movement arts, I have a diverse art background.  Since the early 2000's I have been a student of Tom Brown Jr. and The Tracker School, a wilderness arts and earth skills survival school based in The Pine Barrens of New Jersey. The Tracker School community is what brought me to Nevada County, working as an instructor at 4 Elements Earth Education. Since I was a teenager, I worked in the restaurant industry holding almost every position from dishwasher up and eventually ending up as a cook and a chef. In Sebastopol, with support from the Sebastopol Community Center, I started multiple programs at a local charter middle school: culinary arts, wilderness and earth skills, and dance and martial arts. I'm also a visual artist, mainly drawing and painting, and I have been an aspiring musician since I was a kid as well.

 

I'm a single dad. I have my 9 year old daughter who is with me every other month. Her mom lives in Grants Pass, Oregon. Since the start of the school year in fall 2020, we have been homeschooling, registered in Oregon.

I'm slowly getting settled here in Nevada County, it's been tough to say it simply. I've finally started offering Capoeira classes at The Yoga Dive in Grass Valley, as well as a program at Iron and Pine Preschool in Nevada City. One of Capoeira's strengths is in community creation and it makes me happy to be able to say my community is growing. 

More than what you'll find if you google "capoeira", I see Capoeira as a social tool for helping people explore their potential as humans, a forum for celebrating each other and a theatre to play with societal dynamics.  Its pedagogical roots are in tribal methods, the way our ancestors taught and learned, through fun, songs, games and creativity. 

If you're interested in learning more or attending a class feel free to message me or checkout my website: www.lukehefele.com

 

Thank you all for caring about our kids' futures, which is the future of this world. I'm excited to see where we go this year.