Consulting Mentor: Megan Grieco is a teacher originally from New York State with a passion for sustainability, environmental and social justice, and teaching children how to listen to their minds and bodies. With seven years of teaching experience, Megan took this past year to dedicate time to international exploration. She spent time in Peru and Colombia with the purpose of learning about unfamiliar cultures and spending time on sustainable farms to discover how to bring these practices into the classroom. Megan moved to Topanga a year and a half ago. She holds a bachelor's degree in general education and master's degrees in Literacy and Special Education. Megan is passionate about making changes to education, which is what led her to PETALS.
Co-Mentor : Haydeé Virginia Jiménez MacFarland, a dual resident of San Diego and Tijuana 1981, is a transdisciplinary artist, cultural activist and curator. She is the co-founder of nettnettradio and nettnett Tijuana. Explorer in the realms of artistic and holistic approaches to healing through sound frequencies, vibrations and computer music, she shares this passion with our learners. Composer / producer / performer of electronic music aka AyDD / / Hidhawk and promoter of experimental / electronic musicians and artists of the region - Borderlandnoise.
Lead Mentor: Orlando Salazar brings both local and International expertise to our community. With nearly 20 years in the field, he has established himself as a successful teacher and team player with the ability to help guide all children in their learning adventures, as well as build their confidence and well-being, both in the "unschooling" classroom and at home. Communicating with parents and staff to provide children with an exceptional support system that tends to their specific needs and talents is his forte. Orlando's educational experience includes involvement and training in the following areas: Montessori, Reggio, High Scope, Multiple Intelligence, Early Years Foundation Stage, International Baccalaureate, SEN, STEM, Waldorf, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, and Forest School/Outdoor Education
Co-Mentor and Music: Sage Ryan experienced a range of schooling options and found that no traditional or alternative model fit for all children. He began his own independent education and ended up graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Performance Studies and Art when he was only 16 years old. Since then, he has been a substitute teacher at progressive schools such as Brightworks in SF, Muse in Calabasas, Manzanita in Topanga, and now PETALS.
Founder: A teacher of over two decades, Jessica London Jacobs has spent the last 15 years consulting and advocating for students in public and private schools, homeschoolers, child actors, and athletes. Her professional consulting services have led to exceptional college admissions, improved grade point averages, drop-outs earning diplomas, and students' voices being heard. But, through all this experience, Jessica knows she wants something different for her young children. She believes PETALS will make for happy and successful youth.
Founder: With a background in marketing, entertainment, healthy eating, and green business, Janabai Owens is an experienced entrepreneur and active mother who was one of the founders of Petals. She has experience lobbying local government, raising funds for non-profits, and running successful small businesses. Living with her family in Northern California, Janabai still consults for Petals while working as the CEO of a forward thinking farm tech company.
Advisor: Former Dean of Education at Oglala Lakota College and tenured Associate Professor of Education at Northern Arizona University, Four Arrows is currently a professor with Fielding Graduate University. Author of numerous publications, he was selected by AERO as one of 27 "Visionaries in Education" for their text, Turning Points. His book, Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education, was selected by the Chicago Wisdom Project as one of the top 20 progressive education books. He continues to teach about Indigenous worldview on behalf of both Indigenous communities and for the sake of all people indigenous to Mother Earth.