“Every afternoon at the end of the school day, my child is happy and excited, satisfied and enriched by the day’s activities. The depth of personal attention and skill that the teachers bring to the classroom follows us home each day.” —City Garden Parent
“An increasing body of empirical research is showing that young people—starting from our earliest learners—who have regular experiences with nature, children who bond with nature, develop critical and creative thinking skills that will help them succeed in life. We’re also learning that immersing children in nature to play and learn can result in reduced stress, improved brain development and restoration, increased social and emotional skills development, and civic engagement.” – The Children and Nature Connection: Why It Matters by Judy Braus and Sarah Milligan-Toffler
Our Teachers & Staff
Ms. Jordan Johnson Ms. Nicole Knapp-Webber Dr. Rebecca Bruton
School Director Middle School Head Teacher Middle School Math Teacher
Jordan Johnson, Director 2022-23
Jordan Johnson graduated Southeast Missouri State University with a BSW in Social Work, has obtained a teaching certificate in Elementary Education through the American Board, and recently graduated from The University of Missouri with a Masters degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.
As a classroom teacher, Jordan has always been a proponent of outdoor education. She loves that she now gets to work within our community to expand our nature-based Waldorf approach to educating and nurturing children and make this style of learning accessible to more children!
Nicole Knapp-Weber, 5th/6th grade teacher,
Head Middle School Teacher
Dr. Rebecca Bruton
Ms. Lauren Holland Ms. Emily Harryman Ms. Neeley Current
Fourth Grade Teacher Third Grade Teacher First/Second Grades Teacher
Lauren Holland, 4th grade teacher
Lauren has been working to change lives through education since she first began her teaching journey in 2011. She has since earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Art Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Before finding her City Garden home in 2019, Lauren taught many subjects and age groups in the United States, Nicaragua, and New Zealand. In her free time, Lauren delights in spending time with her family and deep, restorative immersion in the beauty of nature. She is also a passionate creator of medicine music and visual art.
Lauren is a dedicated advocate and facilitator of development for the whole child. Her primary goal is to educate children for the future of our Earth through the meaningful strengthening of intellect, discernment, willpower, and the wisdom of the heart. Through City Garden’s holistic educational philosophy, Lauren seeks to equip our children to bring about a more perfect world.
Emily Harryman, 3rd grade teacher
Emily has always felt a call to care for others through teaching, and the holistic and integrated approach of Waldorf education piqued her interest several years ago. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Rasmussen College and has been an educator for more than a decade. Emily has nurtured and taught children from infancy through high school in various settings before finding her way to City Garden in 2020. Emily led the school’s forest-based afterschool program at Camp Takimina and the summer camp program at Rock Bridge State Park. She is delighted to now fulfill her role as City Garden’s second-grade class teacher.
Emily strives to create a loving and nurturing environment for all students, encouraging the children in her care to use their intuition and individual talents to better the world. Having grown up exploring the woods and creek beds of mid-Missouri, Emily has a deep love and respect for the beautiful land where we hold our outdoor school. When she is not teaching, you can find Emily hiking and foraging in the woods, working in her garden, and spending time with her partner and their senior citizen bunny, Janis Hoplin.
Neeley Current, 1st/2nd grade teacher
Drawn to the beauty, simplicity, and interconnectedness of Waldorf education, Neeley Current was City Garden School’s first Board President. Working with teachers, the board, and parents she was instrumental in transforming the vision of City Garden School into a fully operational organization. Now, as the first-grade teacher, she has been able to pursue her love of teaching by directly serving the children at the school.
Neeley earned a B.A. in German and Anthropology and a Master’s in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri. She worked for a decade at the University of Missouri College of Education where she helped run a user-centered design lab and an educational research center. Prior to that, she was a librarian at Stephens College where she also studied dance, music, and film. She continues to learn dance & movement education from Nancy Stoy and most recently she studied storytelling from Dr. Eric Miller at the World Storytelling Institute.
Neeley loves dancing and restful time at home with her family.
Ms. Molli Nichols Ms. Jody Frank Ms. Katy Schaffer
Head Kindergarten Teacher Kindergarten Assistant Teacher Reading Specialist, Activity Coordinator
Ms. Molli Nichols
Molli is a skilled educator with almost a decade of experience as a public school teacher in Missouri and a drive to bring her talents to City Garden School’s kindergarten program! She has four years of experience in early childhood education, and as an educator, she strives to support her learners in developing a sense of community, independence, and empathy. She loves being a part of the City Garden School Community because it will allow her to marry her passion for education with her love for nature, animals, and the environment. She is looking forward to helping the kindergarten program grow and flourish!
Jody Frank, Assistant Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Frank has always been very fond of the outdoors. She started her time with City Garden as a summer camp teacher in 2021. While walking through the woods and playing in the creeks at Rock Bridge State Park she knew that City Garden was the perfect fit.
Ms. Frank has a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri, School of Natural Resources with an emphasis in Natural Resource Management. She has worked as an Outreach and Education Coordinator at Prairie Fork Conservation Area where she spent many sunny days teaching children about different aspects of the environment. She very much enjoys working with children and seeing the wonder of nature through their eyes. She has spent much of her career teaching and spending time with children of all ages.
Ms.Frank enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, and knitting. She loves to be outside with her two children, Olive and Ezra and her husband Indi. They enjoyed traveling and finding fun adventures together.
Roxana Gomero, Spanish language teacher
Katy Shaffer, Reading Specialist, Friday Activity Coordinator, 1st/2nd grade assistant
Katy Shaffer began her work with City Garden School in December of 2021 stepping into the role of Interim Director. As a mother to two with a background in Education, Katy was drawn to City Garden after hearing about the program through her friends. She understands the benefits of outdoor education and Waldorf pedagogy and is happy to be a part of furthering City Garden’s mission.
Katy graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Minor in Elementary Education. She is a certified 1st through 6th-grade teacher with Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She taught 5th grade at a private school in Columbia for 3 years before having her two babies. After becoming a mother, Katy began exploring alternative education opportunities here in Mid-Missouri. She enrolled her daughter in, and started working at, a Peace in Nature Education preschool (Little PINE). Through the outdoor education experience, she was witness to its incredible effect on children. She is passionate about the success and scope of City Garden School and supporting the students and staff for years to come. Educating the whole child with a nature-based approach, an emphasis on the arts, nourishing relationships and self-regulation, and access to play is what Katy wishes for her children and yours. She is grateful to have found City Garden School when she did!
Outside of school, Katy enjoys spending time with her two young children and her husband, Josh. She enjoys reading with her kids, doing chalkboard art, and staying in touch with Mother Nature and the Moon.
Ms. Monica Everett Frayne Ms. Suzan Schuetz
Handwork Teacher Aftercare Teacher Foreign Language Teacher
Monica Everett Frayne, handwork teacher
Suzan Schuetz, after care teacher
Foreign Language Teacher
Ms. Kristy Jackson
Kristy Jackson, administrative assistant
Kristy Jackson began her journey with City Garden School when she was looking for alternative education options for her son. She put in many hours as a parent volunteer in 2020 and quickly fell in love with working behind the scenes. In 2021, she joined City Garden as the Administrative Assistant.
Kristy is a hairstylist who owned her own business for nearly 10 years in Columbia. After having her second baby, she left the styling chair and became a stay at home mom. She wanted something different for her boys and discovered City Garden School. She is passionate about the school and continues to work behind the scenes and gives support to the director, teacher, and families.
CGS Board Members
Lawrence Dugan -President
Jessi Musick - Vice President
Beth Anderson - Treasurer
Kristin Hawley -Secretary
Hope Shaberg -Member at large
Matt Arthur- Member at large
Molly Campbell -Member at large
Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
The City Garden School community is a unique and ever-evolving tapestry that weaves together people from diverse social, economic, and international backgrounds with different beliefs, identities, family structures, abilities, and life experiences. We are committed to respecting and honoring these differences in the life and activities of our school responsibly, with clarity, historical accuracy, and purpose.
We know that we have far to go as a school and as individuals in our understanding of oppression and social justice. Advancing inclusion and equity is one of the guiding forces behind our education and the way that we wish to conduct our day-to-day living. These priorities make equity and inclusion central to our work and aim to bring us closer to the world that we want for our students.
CGS aims to develop a healthy social consciousness within each student. Pedagogically, Waldorf education encourages a critical consciousness by nurturing students’ inherent curiosities, helping them to develop critical reasoning skills, and promoting a consciousness among students that is both empathetic and socially responsible. In addition to the work in the classroom, CGS parents play an important part by sharing their unique cultures and lived experiences with the school. We see the active contributions of our families as vital assets to deepening our understanding and appreciation of each other.
Honoring and exploring diversity is an essential strength to both our community and the education we offer. Students benefit from a deep and rich understanding of the world that is inclusive of all perspectives and experiences.
CGS supports the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America’s Statement of Equity and Racial Justice.