Faculty and Board of Directors

Govinda,Arlo&ShaktiWillow’s Co-Founders

Govinda Reinhalter, M.Ed and Shakti Sutriasa, LCSW, MA

In 2004, Govinda and Shakti decided it was time to create a new school concept for Indian River County. After spending nearly two years researching best practices and coming up with an exciting concept that included: the ideas of multi-age classrooms, project based and experiential learning and a holistic approach, they were ready to find a home in Vero Beach.

Thankfully, the Unity Center embraced their vision and eagerly rented them space to begin.

Willow launched that September, 2004, with 11 children in grades 4-8. The following year, the school expanded to accept children in Grades K-8 and grew to 36. Since then, the school has continued to grow and expand, has become accredited with Advanc-Ed, SACS & CASI and has received over $250,0000 in grant monies.

The Willow Staff and Board Members

Peter Turner
Principal
Board of Directors Member
5-6 Teacher

Peter was born and raised in Vero Beach. In 2010, he graduated from the University of North Florida with a BA in History. He was a Boy Scout from the age of five and is a lifetime member of the National Eagle Scout Assoc. Peter is a Board member for Florida Diabetes Camp and is a counselor each summer. He co-founded an organic, sustainable farm in Sebastian and has taught classes for adults and children. Peter joined Willow in 2014 and is passionate about making school engaging. In his free time he enjoys fishing and camping. Email Peter

 

Stephanie Heady
Board of Directors Member

Stephanie served as Principal of The Willow School for 4 years. She has a wide background in administration that includes over 15 years working for education institutions, non-profits, and small businesses. Originally from the Treasure Coast, Stephanie and her family moved to Costa Rica for six years where she taught English as a second language. Upon returning to Vero Beach, she joined the Willow family. Additionally Stephanie holds a BA in Business Administration and holds several certifications in early education. Stephanie enjoys time with her family, being outdoors and she loves to travel.

 

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Christine Nielson, MD
Board of Directors Member

Christine Nielson MD is a medical acupuncturist at Indian River Acupuncture. She has worked in academic medicine and as a medical director in a large hospice organization. Currently, she enjoys doing acupuncture and being a lifelong student. She and her husband have twin boys who attend Willow. She is devoted to the school and its mission and volunteers at their events and fundraisers.

 

Kerri Murphy
Board of Directors Member

Kerri Murphy is a certified professional in Human Resources, and has worked at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach for over 10 years, currently as the Club’s HR Director. Kerri began her HR career after earning a degree in Sociology from the College of New Jersey, and has worked in hospitality, healthcare, and educational settings. Her first job in Human Resources was at the Lakeview School, a private school offering special programming for children with disabilities. Kerri’s son Dylan was a student at the Willow School through 8th grade, and he recently graduated high school Summa Cum Laude. Kerri believes that the supportive and individualized experiential learning model that is unique to the Willow School contributed to her son’s success in high school, and she is proud to serve the school as a board member.

 

Rachel Collier
Office Manager

Rachel has been working with children in elementary education for the past ten years. In her previous school position, she ran a busy office where she focused her energies on administration and public relations. She also successfully implemented a new art program and opened a school library. Rachel is a mother of two, loves to travel and dedicates her spare time to Vero Beach’s Theater Guild. Email Rachel

 

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Cheryl Meade
Bookkeeper
Board of Directors Member

Cheryl has been working in bookkeeping and accounting over 30 years. Originally from New Jersey, Cheryl has lived in Vero Beach since 1968. In her previous positions, she ran her family’s construction company as well as managed several local and international businesses including her own. Cheryl is the mother of two dogs and enjoys gardening, kayaking, photography and has a passion for travel. Email Cheryl

 

Felicia North
7-8 Math & Science Teacher

Felicia has been teaching at Willow since 2008. She is a certified teacher and holds a dual Bachelors’ Degree from Lincoln Memorial University in English and Fine Art. Prior to joining the Willow Staff, Felicia lived in Takasaki, Japan where she taught English as a Second Language, focusing on grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, writing, reading, and American culture. Felicia has enthusiastically embraced the project based learning at Willow. Email Felicia

 

DSCF4988Catherine Brown
7-8 Language Arts & Social Studies Teacher

Before joining the Willow family, Catherine worked for Broward County Public Schools for 2 years. As a recent graduate from Florida International University with her BA in Exceptional Student Education, Catherine first started her education journey teaching 4th and 5th grade special education. She is passionate about building the “whole child” and is truly invested in educating our future. Catherine is excited to continue her teaching journey here at The Willow School. As a Florida resident her whole life, she enjoys being outdoors, swimming, and painting. Email Catherine

 

Frantz Polimice
7-8 Teacher’s Aide
Physical Education

Frantz was born and raised in Florida.  He graduated  Bayside High School in Palm Bay, FL. He then went on to play college football at North Dakota State College of Science where he earned his Associates Degree In Liberal Arts. Then transferred to Concordia St. Paul University where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree In Kinesiology.  Frantz has worked as a personal trainer and has taught at the 5th grade level. He currently lives in Port Saint Lucie with his fiancé and new born son. His hobbies include working out, watching sports, and spending time with family. 

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Brooke Mullins
K-1 Teacher

Brooke studied at The University of Florida and earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with an ESOL endorsement. Brooke taught math and science at The Willow School from 2007-2009. While taking time off to start a family, she has worked with students as a private tutor for the past six years. During this time, she opened and operated a local tutoring and enrichment center in Vero Beach. Brooke looks forward to returning to The Willow School to teach full time. Email Brooke

 

Laurie Lindeman
K-1 Teacher’s Aide & Art Enrichment

Laurie is a professional artist and graphic designer who enjoys teaching children. As a Willow parent since 2008, she has assisted in all the Willow classrooms. Her second favorite subject is math. Laurie’s first love is hands on activities and art projects bringing her love of art and enthusiasm to the classroom daily. She has extensive knowledge of both graphic and traditional art. When she is not in the classroom, you can find Laurie on her computer updating Willow’s media. Email Laurie

 

10446629_879122449775_7076419186318419977_nKatie Hasenauer
2-4 Teacher

After graduating from Florida Tech with her B.S. Katie joined the Willow family in 2011 for two years. Katie went back to school to get her teaching certification and taught at a public school before returning to Willow in 2016. Katie has helped out across the school as a teachers aide for several years before taking over as the 2-4 grade teacher in 2020. In her free time she enjoys being outside diving, doing 5Ks, and working on her photography. Email Katie

Riley Heady
After Care Coordinator & Spanish Enrichment

Riley is currently a student at Indian River State College where he is pursuing a BA in ESOL/Elementary Education. Riley was raised in Costa Rica and speaks fluent Spanish. Riley enjoys working with children and has been a private tutor for math and Spanish over the past 3 years. In his spare time, Riley enjoys diving, camping, and kayaking. Email Riley