Who We Are
Weaving communities together
Chief Executive Officer / Co-Founder
Cindy is passionate about creating learning opportunities that engage students in their own learning as they discover their passions and share their unique gifts. Cindy was founder and Executive Director of Laura Jeffrey Academy (LJA) for eight years, the first and only 5th–8th grade girl-focused STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) public charter school in St. Paul, MN. She is thrilled to work with the Whatcom community to launch WIHS.
Cliff’s passion for small schools began in 2003 when he became a member of the founding team at a start-up charter school near Portland, OR. Cliff later travelled the world, serving in international schools as Coordinator for Student Services and ESOL Programs, Assistant Principal, and as Head of School in Italy and China. He holds a deep appreciation for exploring cultures as well as co-developing innovative school programs with his school community.
Director of Operations
Erum has been in the education field for over a decade, beginning as a teacher and quickly moving into leadership. She was the Principal of Genesee Academy in Flint, MI for four years then moved to be the Principal of Huda School in Franklin, Mi for three years. She was successful in leading both schools in academic and school culture improvements focusing on reading and writing and implementing strong literacy programs.
Rachel Phair is a Lummi Nation Tribal member who attended school in the Ferndale School District. She has worked for The Lummi Nation for 20 years in various departments but the longest department was the Tribal Employment Rights Office as a Compliance Officer/Apprentice Coordinator for 14 years. She worked for Swinomish for over two years, and Samish Indian Nation for a short term. She has a passion for assisting in any way possible for the community.
She is excited to be part of the team at Whatcom Intergenerational High School and to see it grow for the families in the community.
Cam is passionate about public education that addresses the needs of all students and uses research based practices to close the opportunity gap. Cam has worked the last 4 years in San Jose developing my practice to create a literacy focused science classroom. He is looking forward to creating opportunities for students at WIHS to ask powerful questions, work in an authentic context and build capacity to live fulfilled, happy and successful lives.
Kesia believes in building communities where all students can thrive, including those experiencing disabilities. She has worked in both large and small districts and brings with her a culturally responsive lens when serving students and families. She is best known among her colleagues as a passionate teacher who helps students and families plan for their future and is often called upon from state, university, and local-level professionals to discuss special education issues. During her free time, Kesia enjoys traveling with her family.
Dawn Krenz has over ten years in education. The root of her passion for education is knowing that the skills taught in her classes help create tools of success and advocacy for the future. Some favorite courses taught over the years include AP-US History and Social Justice. Originally from Santa Cruz California Ms. Krenz is looking forward to living closer to family in Whatcom County. Especially her nephew August and niece Elliot. When not working Ms.Krenz enjoys being out in nature with her two pups Peanut Butter and Coach Honey Pecan. A student in Ms. Krenz’ class can expect to think deep and keep it real.
Beth has a BA in Mathematics from Lycoming College and her education certification from Rutgers University. She is passionate about making math accessible for all students and making math relevant to everyday life. Beth believes small-group learning is the best way for students to connect with each other, themselves, and their own educational journey. In her free time, she loves cooking, baking, kayaking, and hiking with her wife and two dogs.
Austin was born and raised in Washington state and feels a strong connection to the area. He completed his BA in Literature with a minor in Anthropology before earning his teaching certificate at Western Washington University. As a language arts teacher, it is important to him to share the significance and necessity of stories in all of our lives. He is very excited to prepare his students to better understand the world around them through critical literacy. Outside of school, Austin loves to read comic books, train Pokémon, and play games at his local game store
Maia has a BA in Studio Art from the University of Puget Sound and recently completed her teaching certificate at Western Washington University. She loves sharing the experience of making art with others and is looking forward to working with students at WIHS to create an equitable classroom community where all students can explore, grow, and find success in their own artistic endeavors. When she’s not teaching, you can find her making art and spending time outside, no matter the weather
Maria Torron-Gomez has been a teacher and mentor for over 30 years. She worked with Miami-Dade County Public schools for over 15 years teaching all levels and programs in Spanish from kindergarten to high school. Mrs.Torron graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in Literature and Humanities. Her research work on Spanish literature was published by the university’s literary journal. After moving to Miami, she completed a Master’s Degree in Modern Languages Education from Florida International University. Mrs.Torron became a Spanish/Young Adults “National Board Certified Teacher” in 2005. She is a member of the Foreign Language Teachers Association and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and has been a certified AP Spanish teacher and exam reader with the College Board since 2006.
Mary’s been a nurse since 1982 and has worked in Community and Mental Health, Hospice, camp nursing and cancer care. She got her Masters in Education last year but had served as an educator overseas for 10 years, teaching music and drama. A skilled musician, she loves cross-cultural communications. Mary moved to Bellingham last year to be closer to her sons. She grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains and loves to walk among trees.
Diana has returned to the Pacific Northwest after spending the last 37 years in Interior Alaska. The last 22 years have been spent in Secondary Education. Upon retirement Diana wanted to give one year of service, which brought her to Americorps. As an Americorps Vista with WIHS she is working with our Allies to provide personal connections between our students and our community. She is the proud mother of two grown children and the grandmother of the world’s most amazing grandson.
Mady is an Americorps VISTA with WIHS, working to connect students, families, and community partners to build supportive and enriching relationships that extend beyond the classroom. Mady graduated from Seattle University with a double major in Literature and Spanish, and is energized by learning environments that challenge norms and center student voices- particularly through creative writing. When she’s not working, Mady loves visiting her home on San Juan Island and taking her cats on walks