Meet Sara

Sara

One of my earliest memories of fourth grade is sitting in class listening with rapt attention to my teacher reading a mystery story about a castle. Somehow the title is long forgotten. Oh, how I wished she would read out loud all the time and skip math lessons. The other strong elementary school memory is my hours in the awesome school library. I became a library assistant, filing cards and learning the Dewey Decimal System. The best part was handling all the books and challenging myself to read authors like Madeleine L’Engle and John Steinbeck. Books took me away from my troubles at home and on the playground. Books were like a vacation for my brain!

Fast-forward a few decades to my kitchen table where a mass of local teens hangs out quite frequently. I’m on about my third conversation with different kids about the importance of reading and I just can’t believe another young adult (two years from voting) is telling me that “they just don’t like to read,” or “I just don’t care to read.” I’m thinking to myself, this is a crisis in the making.

I home schooled my two children who are well into their teen years and I’m really glad we spent LOTS of time reading and discussing history and current events from the beginning. I see now how it was vital to developing their critical thinking skills. So many of their peers don’t have this ability, worse yet, they think the decision to be a reader on par with deciding that they don’t like spinach! This is scary to me for obvious reasons.

Would you believe me if I told you that everything I know to be true about education in America has come from my observations of illiteracy creeping into the population?

I decided to home school my children long before I had them. It was a miracle that I found Kim at a tag sale where we began discussing education. Out of this conversation came many glorious years educating our children together and developing a philosophy of education. We schemed and planned by night the curriculum and art projects we would do with the kids all the while making sure we tackled stacks of great books. That decision has paid rich rewards.

Now that my children are busy in their teen years, my daughter a freshman in college, my son a junior in public high school, I am listening intently to that world in which they revolve. I see how sensitive these years are and how much teens are still affected by their parent’s long ago and present actions. My heart is with them as they try to make sense of this world. I want to gather them together as much as I can to encourage them and love them.

So, that’s who I am and what I’m about these days.

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Sara Evans embraces an individualized philosophy of education believing that each child’s raw potential is a worthy investment. For this reason she home schooled her two children for 10 years as co-director of a cooperative school dedicated to cultivating individuality in students. Through the years, Sara has facilitated workshops in the arts for children of all ages. She considers working with children a privilege and loves to see their talents blossom.  Sara is a Blackbird & Company partner, contributing expertise in the area of curriculum development and editing. She is passionate about cooking, gardening, and is an accomplished artisan who spends much of her time creating works in various media including, rug hooking, ceramics, and mosaics. A graduate of the Color Style Institute in Menlo Park, she received her Bachelor of Science in Child Development from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo. 

Meet Kim

Kim

Me?  

What if I told you that the day my grandmother gave me a dinky white portable typewriter I made each of my family members mailboxes for The Friday Night Flash out of a Captain Crunch cereal box? What if I told you that I can still feel the tin keys, hear the comforting “plunk, plunk, plunk” as I whiled away childhood? What if I told you that the day the typewriter came into my life was the day that I became a writer?

What if I told you that when my grandmother died I stumbled upon a box that contained a sizeable archive of those newspapers that continue to twitter, “imagination matters” … what if I told you this is why I decided to set off on an incredible journey into the world of education?  

Would you believe me if I told you that I became a teacher at a tag sale, transformed 100-square feet of our flat roof bungalow to a one-room school house, invited 7 families to join my Guild, and delivered my third child a week before the first day of class?

 True story.  

Fast forward…  

The Guild Method has been taking shape for over fifteen years. Though we’re not housed in the flat roof bungalow anymore, my guildschool is still a cluster of cozy spaces where children engage in their important work. Often I pause to soak in the glorious hum. Founding academics on creativity is at times chaotic, often loud, but it affords our students ample opportunity to bring shape to their ideas. And this is worth every bit of the swirling motion, every single elevated decibel!  

I suppose you’d say I’m a visionary, the founding director of an academic amalgamation.  

I’m a wife— 33 years and counting. I’m the mother of four amazing adult children.

Long ago I received my bachelor’s in biological psychology and fine art, graduate training in clinical art therapy, and later in life chased down an MFA in writing.  My book, Habits of Being: Artifacts From the Classroom Guild recounts the many observations and ideas that sprang from schooling my children and others.

I’m a founding partner of Blackbird & Company and love bringing shape to the curriculum we offer.

I’m often puzzled when asked, “How do you keep all those plates in the air?”

My response? “It’s either that or stand barefoot in shards of porcelain.”

Guess I see life teeming with possibility. I’m with the Red Queen on this one, “Why sometimes I’ve believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

So that’s me.

I suppose it all boils down to that dinky white portable typewriter.         

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Kim Bredberg has been an advocate for reform in education for nearly three decades. She is a founding partner of Blackbird & Company Educational Press, Waterhouse Guild, curriculum expert, and author of Habits of Being: Artifacts from the Classroom Guild. Her writing and visual art students have won numerous awards and been recognized on the regional and national level by the Scholastic Alliance for Arts & Writing and have been published in international writing journals. Kim has been recognized nationally for her role as an arts and writing mentor. The California resident, mother of four, long ago received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in biological psychology and fine art, graduate training in clinical art therapy from Loyola Marymount University, and received her Master of Fine Arts in  writing from Antioch University.