Virgil Beck, Math & Science
BAE Natural Science, Eastern Washington University. M. Ed. 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.
Leslie Boba, Latin & English
BA Latin and BA English, University of Washington; MA English, University of Virginia, and Master of Librarianship, University of Washington. Born in Germany to an American mother and Eastern European father, she early on developed an affinity for language study and comparative grammar. Her study of Latin led to an interest in Rare Book Librarianship, and she worked in the Special Collections units of a number of libraries including the research branch of The New York Public Library in Manhattan. Raised in Seattle, she attended Hidden Valley Camp in the Cascade foothills, and during college years participated in summer abroad programs in England and in Poland. Most of her adult life has been spent in the Pacific Northwest, an exception being three years as Library Director in the village of Moravia, in upstate New York. Her interests include classical music (piano and voice), garden design, interior decorating, historic houses, archaeology of the Near East, the growth and structure of the English language, and cats.
Daniela Hall, Social Studies/History
BA in Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis; MS in 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.
Andrea Jostol, Mathematics
BS, Mathematics, University of Redlands. Currently enrolled in M.Ed Global Perspectives, Boston College. Andrea has taught every math class from 3rd grade through AP Calculus. Through this experience, she has developed a love for middle schoolers, their quick wit, sharp minds, and colorful personalities. She teaches her students that the 8 standards of Math Practice are equally as important as the content standards because they teach us how to apply and work with math in real life. "If you can persevere through a problem, explain your thinking using clear and precise vocabulary, and find patterns within structure, then you are a successful mathematician ready to tackle any problem that comes your way!" In her free time, Andrea unwinds by reading too many books at once, trying new vegan recipes, and studying Italian on Duolingo.
Tara Kaine, Dean of Students & Drama
BA, Toronto University with a special focus on Drama Education and Washington Certified Teacher in Drama for grades 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.
James King, Outdoor Education
BA, Antioch University and MAED IslandWood/Antioch University. (he/him/his) Mr. King is from Atlanta, Georgia, land in which the Muscogee/Creek tribe cared for millennia. He graduated from Antioch University Seattle with a B.A. concentration in Urban Ecology, Leadership and Sustainable Business, Global and Social Justice (’17). He completed his MAED in Urban Environmental Education (’18) at IslandWood /Antioch University Seattle. James currently works on multiple environmental & outdoor recreational projects, facilitating the growth & awareness surrounding multicultural education, alongside government agencies, conferences, communities, schools, and now the filming industry. Professor of Environmental Science at Seattle Central University. Mr. King has been a member of the Explorer West community since 2016.
Matt Kostle, Outdoor Education Coordinator
BA, 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, Science
BA, Ripon College and MEd, 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.
Anna Morin, English
BA Music and Religious Studies, University of Oregon and MA in Teaching, Seattle University. Anna joined Explorer West in 2020 after eleven years of teaching Language Arts and Social Studies at The Center School, Hamilton International Middle School, and Bellevue Big Picture. She values knowing students well and creating an inclusive, anti-racist community with them. She believes that teaching and learning can make the world a better place as students grow individually and as a community. Anna is an avid reader, knitter, gardener, baker, and lifelong learner who loves talking books and telling corny jokes. Raised in the redwoods of Northern California and the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Anna is a lifetime West Coaster who lives in Seattle with her husband, kids, and the cutest cat and dog in the world.
Tim Owens, Dean of Students & Social Studies/History
BA Politics and Government, The University of Puget Sound and MA 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.
Sarah Robertson Palmer, Art
BA Art History, University of California at Santa Barbara; MA Art ED, 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.
Sarra Sharif Doyle, Instrumental & Vocal Music
BM Music Education, University of Washington; MA Music & Music Education, Columbia University. Sarra joined Explorer West in 2020, after eleven years teaching middle school music in the Lake Washington School District. Sarra strives to create a supportive community that emboldens students to take risks, build musical independence, and become leaders in the classroom. Outside of school, Sarra directs the Allegra choir at the Seattle Girls Choir and sings professionally with many Northwest arts organizations, including the Byrd Ensemble, Tudor Choir, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. When she is not busy teaching & making music, Sarra enjoys gardening, cooking, walking, and hosting dinner parties for family and friends. She lives in West Seattle with her husband, Orrin, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Annie.
Maripat Webber, Latin
BA Latin/English, Dominican College and MA 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, Athletic Director, Physical Education, & Health
BEd 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.