Our Seedlings Instructors

Skagit Seedlings has a wide variety of quality teachers that come from diverse artistic, cultural and educational backgrounds. Please enjoy stepping into our community and learning who we are!

Amy Christianson Owner/Director

Owner & Director Amy Christianson has an extensive background in the arts and education reaching over 20+ years. Amy had the unique experience of being educated in a liberal arts “un-schooling” environment. Her passion for the arts began with her formal dance training in ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary at the age of 6 and grew to encompass community musical theater, teaching dance & writing poetry. During high school she  competed in National History Day competitions, which led her to a degree in History and minors in Dance and Art History from Case Western Reserve University. Joining her love of the arts together with teaching and entrepreneurship became an easy career answer after college. Amy never tires of seeing the spark of determination and love of learning ignite in her students.

Becky Everhart Venner – Jazz, Contemporary, and STEAM Instructor

Becky Everhart Venner began teaching dance to kids in 1995 after years of dancing competitively with Gotta Dance in Redmond and Westlake Dance Center in Seattle. In 1997 she acquired a NEVAC certification for Careers with Children from Bothell High School. She was director of an after school dance program in the Northshore School District, as well as, a full time teacher for Woodinville Dance Academy from 1996-2003. From 2003-2006 she danced for Holland America and Carnival Cruise Lines and in 2008 graduated from the University of California Irvine with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance (emphasis in choreography and education) as well as a teaching certification in The Pilates Method. Later, she attended Seattle Reflexology and Massage Center to become a licensed Reflexologist. In 2015 she opened her home studio New Leaf Center of Wellness where she continues to works as a Reflexologist and Pilates Trainer. She is excited to be working with Skagit Seedlings Dance and Educations students for the 2017/2018 season!

Nate Reese ~ Art History, Sculpture

Nate Reese received his Bachelor’s degree in Art from Western Oregon University. After completing the degree at Western, he has operated a home studio where he continues to make and sell his work at galleries around the Northwest. His focus in the arts, is mainly in three-dimensional sculpture, but he also enjoys many different methods of artwork such as drawing and pottery. Nate is focused on providing a fun and informative atmosphere for students to develop creative thinking and turning that into artistic practice. Nate’s favorite method of art making is the lost wax method and mold making. Many of his sculptures are made of cast aluminum, plaster, and cement. He is passionate about the arts and is excited to share what he knows about this fascinating subject with the students.

 Audrey Christianson: Ballet & Strength Training instructor

Audrey Christianson began her early dance training at the age of four with Skagit Valley Academy of Dance and later with Northwest Ballet Academy studying ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and partnering. Ballet became the focus of her studies at the age of nine when she gained a deep love for the delicate, precise movement qualities that she would continue to develop throughout her life. She has attended summer intensives with Northwest Ballet and American Ballet Theater (ABT). In 2011 at the age of 19 she would continue her studies in New York with Joffery Ballet School as a ballet trainee studying ballet, classical ballet variations, partnering, contemporary, character, improve, anatomy and music. In 2014 she graduated from University Of Washington with a major in Architectural studies and a minor in dance. Some of Audrey’s favorite performances include; The Nutcracker, UW’s Master of Fine Arts Concert and with local Seattle choreographers through Velocity Dance Center. Most recently she has focused her attention towards strength training for dance and discovered missing links in dancers traditional education, specifically in core and body placement. She looks forward to giving students some of the tools for stronger hips and core that were missing from her education for many years.

Patrick “Pat” Doran – Tap, Sax, Banjo, Flute & Clarinet Instructor

Pat Doran began Tap lessons at the age of four through the Lorrie Fraley-Wilson school of dance located in Twisp, WA. He took lessons and substituted classes there through high-school until he moved to Bellingham where he obtained his BA in Music degree from Western Washington University. Pat currently performs Tap Dance and plays Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Banjo, Harmonica and Sings in two Bellingham based bands: The Copacetics and YOGOMAN.

Melody Kuschnereit ~ Art & Science Workshop Instructor

Melody Kuschnereit grew up on Whidbey Island, surrounded by beautiful beaches and forests which nourished her love of nature and art as a child. These experiences set a strong foundation for her scientific and environmental pursuits as an adult.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Anthropology with a minor in Creative Writing from Western Washington University (WWU). During her college years she also worked as a soccer coach, a K-12 tutor at the Lummi Nation School, an educator for WWU’s Sleeping Over with Science Program, and a volunteer at the Bellingham Marine Life Center.

Today, Melody is an avid tide-pooler, hiker, painter, and child-wrangler. As a mother of four, she enjoys teaching her children about the world through art and science, and has been leading creative science lessons for children, and painting classes for both children and adults throughout the community.

Tempeste Langille – Ballet, Jazz, Ballroom, Contemporary and Pointe Instructor

Tempeste Langille began her training at the age of 12 at the Nancy Whyte School of Ballet, and later trained with Northwest Ballet Academy studying classical ballet, variations, partnering, modern, lyrical, jazz, character, and even men’s classes. She attended multiple summer intensives with Olympic Ballet Theater, Northwest Ballet Theater, and the Glenda Brown Choreography Project.
She was introduced to ballroom at 16, and finds its element of partner dancing to be one of the most challenging and rewarding dance genres. She trained with multiple coaches in ballroom at U&Me Dance, including Grand Master and Master dance instructors Mary Simler Evans and Nathan Simler. Tempeste competed at the 2009 and 2010 Seattle Starball ballroom competitions in both Professional/Amateur and Amateur/Amateur partnerships. Additionally, today Tempeste is pursuing her National DVIDA ballroom certification as a full instructor in American Rhythm and American Smooth technique. She is thrilled to continue sharing her love of dance with Skagit Seedlings students for the 2017/2018 season!

Betsy Christianson – Financial Education & Reading Instructor

Betsy Christianson is a long time homeschooling mom from Stanwood Washington.  She has degrees in K-12 German, K-8 Elementary Education and K-12 Physical Education from Western WA University.  She successfully “Unschooled” her 4 children 180 degrees differently than she learned at University and is a major proponent of “children learn what they need to know when they need to know it.

Stormie Reece – Tae Kwon Do Instructor

Ms. Stormie Reece is a 6th Degree Black Belt instructor with over 30 years training. She has taught at various locations in the Pacific northwest. Most recently she taught for 12 years at the Skagit Valley Learning Center to homeschoolers ages 5-18yrs with as many as 30 students in a class. Ms. Stormie is known for making her classes exciting, fun, rewarding and motivating for each individual child as they gain life changing skills.

Beverly Rodenberg – Piano Instructor

Beverly has been teaching piano since 2013. She has 15+ years of private study with piano and now composes her own music. Beverly is from New Hartford, CT and just recently moved to Bellingham WA in 2016. Her favorite quote regarding music is “Music allows us to express ourselves in ways words cannot”. She looks forward to teaching piano at Skagit Seedlings this upcoming 2017/2018 season!

Amanda McLaurin: Sewing & Fiber Arts Instructor

Amanda McLaurin grew up sewing and crafting with her mother, an avid quilter. In college she focused on art, studying Commercial Photography at Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA and exploring fiber arts including knitting, crochet and embroidery. Her teaching experience began when she and her husband moved to Semarang, Indonesia where she took a position at Bina Bangsa International School teaching Arts & Crafts, English and Photography to students ages 3-17. During their time in Indonesia, the couple paired Amanda’s love of textiles and her husband’s background in import/export to start their company, Raya Exchange Indonesian Imports. Now Amanda gets to sew professionally, producing a variety of home goods using handwoven Indonesian textiles. Amanda looks forward to inspiring a new generation of sewers and crafters at Skagit Seedlings.

Glenn Elliron Clark ~ Ballroom, West Coast Swing, Cha Cha Instructor

Glenn Elliron Clark began his dance training at age 24, growing up an avid Mixed Martial Artist he enlisted in the Marines at age 19. Serving two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, after leaving the service he found he had developed a curiosity for dance. He began his dance training with Brie “Boogie” Helmuth in Hip Hop and Modern Dance at Whatcom Community College before finding a passion for Partner Dancing. He has spent the past 4 years training with Dvida Grandmaster Instructor Mary Simler Evans in Ballroom, Swing, Latin and Country dancing. He is currently working on his National DVIDA ballroom certification in American Rhythm and Smooth with Mary Simler Evans and Swing Literacy with Canadian West Coast Swing Champion Tessa Cunningham Monroe.

Benjamin Vanderwerff ~ Plein Air and Multi-Disciplinary Art Teacher

Benjamin Vanderwerff is a traditionally trained artist with focuses in painting/illustration and degree in graphic design.  With Additional focuses in social media/market research, woodworking and education, Ben is always looking for new things to learn as a way of expanding and strengthening existing skills. Ben currently works freelance design/art jobs while pursuing local teaching opportunities and continuing to pursue more permanent design work. When hes not working, Ben loves to spend his free-time outside ensconced in nature usually doing a pleinair painting. He also has a deep interest in video games both in terms of playing them, but largely with how they are made and their artistic nature.
Ben is excited to offer a unique learning environment for students both young and old to experience the joy of creating within a wide range of styles, mediums and subject matters. Ben is a strong believer that all things are connected especially within the art world and is excited to utilize everyones unique personalities and skill sets to contribute towards the class environment.