Faculty

Mountain Valley educators inspire our students by modeling the attitudes appropriate for learning and treating others with respect. They have the range of experience and expertise to meet the individual needs and challenges of our students with skill, compassion, and understanding.


Ruth Zilch
Nevada City, Site School Principal

Ruth attended California State University in Sacramento where she majored in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Science. She also received an Education Specialist credential for Mild to Moderate disabilities from Brandman University.

Ruth began her teaching career as a substitute teacher at Pleasant Ridge School District before transitioning full time to Mountain Valley Academy. Here, Ruth likes to integrate science concepts with outdoor activities. Her students are always the first ones to make a name sign in wood-shop and to start beans and tomatoes in the garden.

Ruth’s commitment to students at Mountain Valley evolved into the administrative role she holds today as Assistant Director of Schools. Her strategy is to apply what she has learned to help mentor MVS teachers. Her core belief is that an effective school is the result of a “strong administrative staff.”


Sharon Loucks
School Administrator  

Sharon holds a Doctorate Degree in Educational Administration from the University of the Pacific, a Master’s Degree in Reading/Language Arts from Fresno Pacific College and a B. A. in Sociology from California State College at Los Angeles.

Sharon started as a high school English teacher, but has held many additional roles at County Offices of Education and School Districts. Currently, she assists Mountain Valley School primarily with the implementation of standards-based curriculum and professional development. She facilitates the School Accreditation (ACSWASC) process, coordinates professional development and guides curriculum development.

Sharon loves to get students reading. She promoted the Read Across Mountain Valley for guest storytellers, the use of novels to supplement History-Social Science courses and she helped start the Ranch Library.


Rick Beberg
Special Education Teacher

Rick has degrees from California State University at Sonoma and California State University at Chico and an Educational Specialist Credential for Mild to Moderate Disabilities from National University. He has joined in two successful Initial ACSWASC Reviews.

Rick Beberg knows residential services from a variety of perspectives. He has worked for Mountain Valley as a Mental Health Worker, House Supervisor, Residential Supervisor and Special Education Teacher in Sacramento and at the Ranch Campus.

Rick is an accomplished athlete. In 1976, after touring the United States, he was named the Foos-ball World Mixed Doubles Champion and Player of the Year. He has also been a Professional Snow Ski and Ski Patrol Instructor. Currently he teaches Pickle Ball locally.

Rick’s students are always active in sports and engaged in academics. Class discussions often explore a variety of perspectives in current issues in history and science. In the last three years he has helped six students receive high school diplomas and two students to pass the HiSet/GED examinations.


Kathryn Miller
Special Education Teacher

Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a minor in Spanish Literature and a minor in American Studies and a Master’s Degree in Education. In addition, she has an Education Specialist Credential from National University and a Multiple Subject Teaching and Waldorf Credential from Antioch New England University.

Before coming to Mountain Valley Academy, Kathryn worked as a special education teacher in non-public schools, home school programs, and public schools, including the Williams Academy, Vision in Education, and Sacramento Unified School District.

Kathryn loves to intrigue future scientists. To learn about energy, her class designed solar ovens to bake cookies. Kathryn probes students, “What would happen if we move the ovens from the classroom to outside?” Class experiments culminated with the First Annual Science Fair in Sacramento.  She is also known to broaden students’ awareness of world languages by translating common English expressions into Spanish, German and French.


Karen Seagraves
Special Education Teacher

Karen’s life as a teacher has been a potpourri of educational experiences, in public and non-public school, in big cities, and small seacoast towns, foothill gold country, and now here at Mountain Valley.

Karen likes to promote reading in the classroom by offering a weekly trip to the Nevada City Public Library and making available current Nevada County Read Across America titles for students to read and discuss in small groups. In her free time, Karen likes to hike and do yoga.


Tamara Flora
Special Education Teacher

Tamara Flora has enjoyed two years of classroom experience working with special education students. She is new to Mountain Valley and started her work in the classroom in the fall of 2018. Ms. Flora is currently pursuing her Education Specialist Mild/Moderate credential and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Davis. She has served as a research assistant in multiple laboratories at UC Davis including Developmental Psychology, School of Education, and Affective Neuroscience.

Ms. Flora brings her extensive knowledge of the brain to MV students through informational presentations and discussions that help students to understand the neuroscience behind the brain and behavior. She believes that every student has the potential to thrive and to succeed. Her goal as a Teacher’s Assistant in the classroom is to provide a safe and healthy learning environment that instills hope, fosters curiosity, and supports a growth mindset. Ms. Flora states that she witnesses her students flourishing every day and is grateful to be a part of the MVCFS team! She resides in Davis and enjoys rock climbing, playing the piano, and traveling with friends.


Jesse Kinseth
Teacher


Ashley Webster
Teacher