ALE Teacher Updates

Andrea Mitchell (grades 3-5)

Andrea wore many hats before getting her Masters in Teaching and embarking on her journey as an educator in the United States. 

Andrea has worked as a site manager for disaster relief in Louisiana, taught English in South Korea, led community organizing in both Seattle and Spokane for a non-profit that works towards social, racial, and economic justice, and made a living in construction of residential homes.

Andrea has a passion for building relationships with students and families and building community. She believes in breaking down the barrier between school and "the real world" and strives to create experiences for students that allow them to make a positive difference in their communities and the broader world.

Michele Sakaguchi (grades 3-5)

Michele Sakaguchi began her teaching career at Summit K-12 school, at the time, the only alternative program in Seattle public schools. She moved to Whidbey Island and continued on the trajectory of teaching in alternative traditional settings, at Bayview High School, Skagit Valley College, South Whidbey Academy and South Whidbey Middle School. At the core, Michele’s teacher/mentor role is to ‘see’ each and every student, support them with respect, kindness and care. She strives to provide opportunities to draw forth each student’s potential and challenge them academically, implement “growth mindset” approaches to learning and to encourage critical thinking. She believes that community connections, stewardship and social emotional foundations are the key to a well-rounded education.
Nature and outdoor education is a passion of Michele’s life-long learning: during the summer and throughout the year, you may finder her out on the beaches monitoring Pigeon Guillemots, forage fish, dead birds, and teaching clam digging classes with her husband.

Andrew Fersch
Andrew Fersch (grades 1st-2nd and 6th-8th)

Andrew Fersch is a writer and a teacher and spends much of his time

happily out-of-doors. He is an avid proponent of public school
programming and also started an alternative education program called
The Penn Program (there is a documentary about it that you can watch
at He writes children's books, plays, and non-fiction
stories. He loves spending time outside (including having cycled cross
country and thru-hiked the AT & LT), especially when he is with his
family. He is also an avid yoga practitioner and is a certified yoga
teacher through a 500 hour program with Rolf Gates. His goal is to
follow the words of William Penn as best he can: "I expect to pass
through this life but once, if, therefore, there be any kindness I can
show, or any good thing I can do for any fellow being, let me do it
now, for I shall not pass this way again."

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