Our Faculty

Scott Allen

Scott Allen, Math

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology (Stanford University); Master in Teaching (Seattle University)

Born in Illinois, raised in Georgia. Worked in Undergrad Admissions at Stanford and Student Support at U of O. He taught environmental science at NatureBridge, and then Math and Human Relations at University Prep, Seattle Country Day, and The Bush School. Their West Seattle family of four (wife and two high school youth) all enjoy the outdoors, the ocean, our dog - Poncho, and Scott's sense of humor. Scott plays pickleball, ping-pong, volleyball, and soccer and swims avidly (though torpidly). Epic adventures include Wash-Me bike trips, Rogue River rafting, Green River and Boundary Waters canoeing, Yosemite, and Olympic backpacking. They also love improvisational acting, picture books, wordplay (especially anagrams and ambigrams), and the elegance of mathematics (oh, and... ellipses and parentheses).

Virgil Beck

Virgil Beck, Math and Science

Bachelor of Education, Natural Science (Easten Washington University); Master of Education (University of Washington)

Having grown up in both Seattle and North Idaho, his heart lies somewhere in between––maybe at Vantage. Virgil is an avid cyclist and enjoys both the math and science of bicycle wheel building. In 1995, Virgil completed Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue School, as well as a successful ascent of Mt. Baker. He also hopes that his experience as a photographer, bike mechanic, sailboat crewmember, and dramatist will help him delight the 7th graders at EW.

Daniela Hall

Daniela Hall, Social Studies and Learning Services Coordinator

Bachelor of Arts, Earth and Planetary Sciences (Washington University in St. Louis); Master of Science, Geography (Oregon State University)

Daniela joins the Explorer West faculty after 13 years teaching middle school at the Evergreen School in Shoreline and 12 years teaching geography and science at Olympic College in Bremerton. Daniela loves middle schoolers for their enthusiasm, creativity, and corny jokes, and endeavors to capitalize on her students' energy and passions to guide her classroom activities. Originally from the east coast, Daniela grew up in Miami, Florida, and as a kid also spent much time visiting family in the New York City area. Like Lewis and Clark, St. Louis truly was her gateway to the west, and after college, she landed in the Pacific Northwest. Daniela lives in West Seattle with her husband, Mike, and two children, Dempsey and Mila.

Tara Kaine

Tara Kaine, Dean of Students and Drama

Bachelor of Arts, special focus on Drama Education (Toronto University); Washington Certified Teacher in Drama, K-12

Tara joins Explorer West in the Fall of 2017 after spending the last three years as the drama program coordinator, director, and teacher at Salmon Bay K-8 in Seattle. Tara is also the founder and director of Acting Out Literacy in Seattle where she designed the curriculum for theatre skills, literacy, and social and emotional development in alignment with meeting State and National standards. In addition, Tara has taught and directed at Seattle Children’s Theatre Summer Season and the Seattle Public Theatre’s Youth Program. She strives to create a caring community where students feel heard and are able to take risks to achieve excellence. Working with diverse populations and ages of students, with diverse needs, Tara has learned to prioritize students’ social and emotional development as part of all instruction. As part of community building, she uses a variety of teaching tools to model and deepen our understanding of equity and social justice. Once we have created that foundation together, students are able to thrive and shine in any subject they explore.

Lisa Keith

Lisa Keith, English

Master of Arts (Seattle University)

Lisa (she/her) grew up near Olympia and spent her childhood exploring the forests and tidelands of South Puget Sound and the homelands of the Nisqually people. She loved to play "school" in the woods near her home and these days is excited to teach at a school that loves the outdoors just as much as she does. Lisa studied creative writing at Western Washington University and was a Writing Fellow supporting students in the writing-intensive courses there. Before joining Explorer West, she spent six years at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center, most recently as School Programs and Site Supervisor. There, she led field trips, mentored high school interns in riparian fieldwork and community outreach, and developed and taught curriculum for teen programs. Lisa strives to create a welcoming and playful environment where students of all backgrounds are supported socially and emotionally and where they are encouraged to bring their best to all they do.

Kostle Matt

Matt Kostle, Outdoor Education Coordinator

Bachelor of Arts (University of Northern Iowa)

Matt has extensive experience leading outdoor excursions from ice climbing to canoe expeditions to wilderness first aid classes for kids and adults all around the U.S. He also works for Seattle's Parks Department as a Camp Long Challenge and Ropes Course Facilitator. Matt has led Explorer West's outdoor education program since 2015.

Kristin Moore

Kristin Moore, Science

Bachelor of Arts (Ripon College); Master of Education (University of Washington)

Kristin joined the Explorer West faculty in 1997. Claiming an inability to sit still for very long, Kristin sympathizes with her often-squiggly students. Consequently, her science classes teem with hands-on projects, and she emphasizes learning in the great outdoors during our overnight trips. Kristin brings a wealth of wilderness, community service, administrative, and middle school teaching experience to Explorer West. During the summers, she is the Sr. Camp Program Director at Camp Treetops, a 7-week camp on a working farm committed to simple and sustainable living. An avid backpacker and environmentalist, Kristin contributes a great deal of experience to our outdoor education program. She is currently certified as a Lifeguard and Wilderness First Responder.

Tim Owens

Tim Owens, Dean of Students and Social Studies

Bachelor of Arts, Politics and Government (University of Puget Sound); Master of Arts in Teaching (Seattle University)

Tim joined Explorer West after teaching eight years at Madison Middle School in West Seattle. He was first hit with the teaching bug while teaching at a high school in rural, northern Japan where he was an assistant language teacher for two years. Tim has a vast appreciation and understanding of the world through study and travel. In addition to living in Japan, Tim lived and studied in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Tim and his wife, Shelby, live in West Seattle and enjoy hiking, backpacking and international travel in their spare time.

Kali Poore

Kali Poore, Music

Bachelor of Arts, Music Performance (Tennessee State University); Master of Arts, Music Performance (University of North Carolina School of the Arts); Washington Certified Teacher in Music (Instrumental, Choral, and General Music) Grades K-12

After teaching in the Kent School District, Kali joined Explorer West in the Fall of 2023. Before then, she taught grades K-8 music in Florida and North Carolina before moving to Washington in 2020. Kali has been a part of various performing ensembles for the last 20 years and loves the community that being in a musical group provides. She has performed in several bands, orchestras, and chamber ensembles throughout the years and was a part of an award-winning woodwind quintet that performed at Lincoln Center in New York City. During her time teaching for AmeriCorps, Kali discovered her passion for providing students with musical experiences and decided to earn her teaching certification. She has been teaching since and strongly believes that she has one of the best jobs by getting to bring music into the lives of students every day. In her spare time, Kali enjoys running, hiking with her family, and curling up with a good book with one of their 4 rescue cats.

Sarah Robertson Palmer

Sarah Robertson Palmer, Art

Bachelor of Arts, Art History (University of California at Santa Barbara); Master of Arts, Art Education (Art of Education University); additional studies at The California College of Arts and The Pratt Fine Arts Center.

Sarah has developed, taught, and administered art programs for over 30 years at numerous arts and educational organizations. Sarah enjoys painting, printmaking, ceramics, metalsmithing, collage, mixed media, and jewelry. She has created, exhibited, and sold her art in a variety of venues, and is co-author of a cultural arts activity book, Festivals of Light. Her artwork is featured in the book, Wild With A Glue Gun. World travels inspire her to create a multi-media fine arts and crafts curriculum for her students that includes art history, cultural awareness, and celebration of the imagination.

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Cilla Scofield, Latin and English

Bachelor of Arts, Ancient Studies (Bates College); Bachelor of Arts, Comparative Literature, Mater of Arts, Classics (University of Washington); Master of Teaching (Seattle University); Washington certified teacher in Latin and Language Arts.

Cilla grew up in Hopkinton, New Hampshire where she has fond memories of bike riding on back roads and swimming in lakes. She has worked in education for over 20 years, as an early childhood teacher, a Classics TA, and a middle and high school Latin and Language Arts teacher. Prior to joining Explorer West, Cilla taught at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. She is excited to teach English to EW students who are also learning Latin, as there are so many opportunities for students to make connections: understanding how language works reinforces an understanding of how literature creates meaning. Cilla is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive classroom where students feel safe sharing ideas and interpreting challenging texts. One of the many things she appreciates about middle school students is that "they ask really interesting questions!"

Maripat Weber

Maripat Webber, Latin

Bachelor of Arts, Latin/English (Dominican College); Master of Arts, Classics (University of Hawaii); Graduate work in Classics and English (University of Washington)

Maripat grew up in the Bay Area and came to Seattle in 1976 for graduate school. She subsequently worked in a variety of roles for various non-profit organizations in Seattle and tutoring in her off hours before gravitating to technical writing. She was Production Editor for Linux Journal and has held editing and writing positions at a number of software companies. Maripat joined the Explorer West faculty in 2004. Since 2006, she has co-led the annual 8th grade trip to Rome. Her interests include books, gardening, books, ancient cultures, Medieval and Renaissance Literature, books, Hawaiiana, and aboriginal canines. Maripat has raised, trained, and lived with Basenjis for 40 years. She and her dogs enjoy long walks, lure coursing, and curling up after all that activity with a good book, usually about the history and archaeology of Rome.

Terra Yara

Terra Yara, Athletic Director, Physical Education, and Health

Bachelor of Education, Physical Education with a Minor in Athletic Training (University of Hawaii)

Born and raised in Hawaii, Terra taught Health/Lifeskills for over 5 years in Hawaii and middle school PE for 13 years in Seattle.  She taught the PACE (Prepared Attitude Cooperation Effort) concept to former Physical Education faculty at Explorer West, so she knows the current system well. She has coached high school volleyball and tennis for 18 years and has earned the Coach of the Year award on several occasions. Terra loves to play tennis and volleyball whenever she can and competes in USTA team tennis competitions on a regular basis.  In her spare time, she invests in real estate, is learning computer programming, and loves to travel to new places.