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Our Team

​Dove Oldham ~ Administrator and Teacher

  • BA from Vassar College

  • Studied Fine Arts at the Corcoran School of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Art

  • Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College for grades 1- 8. 

  • CA Elementary Teacher Credential

  • 12 years of teaching experience in private, public and alternative schools

  • Co-created a Parent-led outdoor school in Chico CA 

  • Lead Editor for a Buddhist magazine and 4 non-fiction books

  • World traveler to 20 countries and nearly every US state. 

  • Homeschool parent of 2 youth

Shandin Oldham ~ Teacher

  • AA in Multi-Media Design from Butte College

  • BS in Bio-Geography from Chico State University

  • Studied Fine Arts and Photography at Butte College in Chico CA

  • Tutored college students in Anatomy, Biology and Math for 6 years

  • Led youth programming at Twin Oaks Community: an income-sharing cooperative

  • Field Botanist with the Forest Service in Plumas National Forest, CA

  • Lead Farmer and Builder for Madrona Family Farm

  • Certified as a Life Guard and in Wilderness First Aid (NOLS)

  • Lifelong adventurer including backpacking the Sierras since he was 6 years old

  • Homeschool parent of 2 youth





Serena Barton ~ Teacher 

Serena Barton is a lifelong resident of southern Oregon and currently lives with her husband and two daughters in the Illinois Valley near Selma. Serena graduated from Illinois Valley High School as class valedictorian and graduated with summa cum laude honors from Southern Oregon University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies: Social Science and Policy, and a minor and certificate in Native American Studies. She has worked with youth in various capacities over the years, from environmental youth instructor at Siskiyou Field Institute to coaching high school varsity girls basketball and softball, and she continues to coach little league softball and assist with various youth athletic development programs. 


Serena is a skilled writer and uses her educational background and love for the natural world to educate about, and protect, our region's rare and unique ecosystems through her work with various local nonprofits. Serena is passionate and knowledgeable about the homeschooling movement and is excited to join the Madrona Folk School homeschooling community!



Madrona Folk School ~ Mission Statement


Madrona Folk School offers high quality supplemental educational classes for homeschoolers during the academic year and summer camps for all local youth during the summers in Grants Pass, Oregon and surrounding areas. Madrona Folk School offers classes in academics, fine arts, crafts, performing arts and land-based living skills. 


Philosophy and School Culture

Madrona Folk School's educational philosophy and offerings weave together elements of Classical education, Waldorf education, and deep nature-connection. We create offerings that are hands-on, experiential, literature-based, arts-centered and engage youth where they are at. Our classes are embodied, encouraging play and enjoyment as well as critical thinking and creativity. Tolerance and appreciation for other's life experiences and points of view is actively supported through open-ended discussions and an environment of respect and care for each other. 

Madrona Folk School offers education that centers connection and relationships and encourages a learner’s intrinsic motivation to learn new things, to participate in interesting, new experiences and to excel in whatever activities he or she engages in. We do not use rewards or punishment to motivate cooperation and learning experiences. We seek to inspire and cultivate the learner’s inner motivation to learn and gain mastery in the given subject. 


In addition we share principles of emotional intelligence and how to form and maintain healthy relationships including identifying emotions, building emotional safety and connection in our learning spaces and sharing proactive ways for resolving tension and conflict. We encourage playfulness, sociability and curiosity through our classes to contribute to a positive and uplifting learning environment. 


Behavior Agreement 


Our basic tenets for behavior in the classroom include: Care for self, care for others and care for the environment. 


What is allowed: having the full range of emotions and expressing what you are feeling with words without judgement from others: asking for space or to take time alone if you are feeling overwhelmed or agitated: asking for one on one connection with a teacher at an appropriate time (such as during a break): asking before touching someone else’s body or using their personal property: asking questions when one is confused or curious: enthusiasm for learning: celebrating one’s successes and other people’s successes: asking for help from others and offering help to others: having fun and learning.


What is not allowed: bulllying (name calling, belittling, and insults), touching others out of anger or frustration (such as pushing, hitting or rough-housing) or destruction of property out of anger or frustration: speaking disrespectfully to others, including youth and adults: excessively interrupting or disrupting group instruction: taking or using other people’s property without permission: or any other behavior that is harmful to one’s self, to others or to the environment. 


If a learner engages in any of the disallowed behavior we will ask that learner to take a break, with a quiet activity, at a separate table away from other learners. If the learner’s behavior does not resolve after intervention from teachers we will communicate with the parent as soon as is appropriate and come up with a mutually agreed upon plan of action to support positive behavior. If there are still behavioral issues (as outlined in the “what is not allowed”) after talking with the parent we will need to ask the learner to discontinue the class. The exception to this policy is if there is outright violent behavior, including causing harm to another person or property. This behavior may result in immediate expulsion from our program. 


If we need to connect with a parent regarding any behavioral issue: we will need to speak on the phone or in person. We will not discuss behavioral concerns via text message or email due to the need for emotional attunement and sensitivity in such a discussion. Please know that we truly hold everyone’s highest wellbeing in mind as we offer our classes and never see ourselves in an adversarial relationship with families or youth. We aim to partner with families and to work as a team to support your youth. 


Cellphone Policy


At Madrona Folk School we have the privilege of in-person learning and connecting. Madrona Folk School is a low-EMF environment and we do not have WIFI or a “smart meter” on the property. We ask learners who have a cell phone to turn it off or leave it on airplane mode. The only exception to this is if a learner has permission to use a cellphone as a medical device. Please keep all cellphones and other devices tucked away in your backpack during your time at Madrona Folk School. If a learner needs to contact a parent during class, he or she may ask a teacher to help him or her do that. 

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