Woolman Staff


Headshot Gray Horwitz, Head of School

In guiding Woolman, Gray hopes to foster experiential learning, caring communities, acceptance and Quaker values. Having been involved with Quakerism from a young age has helped Gray develop a deep appreciation for Quaker Education. After attending Oberlin College, where he graduated with a B.A. in Physics, he worked at The Boys Club in Harlem creating and directing STEM programs for elementary, middle and high schoolers. Following that, Gray worked at The Island School, a semester school in The Bahamas, teaching placed-based math. His work there led him to seek out other semester schools and, eventually, led him to Woolman. After teaching Environmental Science for two years, Gray untook the Head of School role.

Headshot Carl Sigmond, Operations Manager

Carl grew up in a progressive family and community in Philadelphia, PA, and was an active leader in Quaker youth programs, both regionally and nationally. He attended the Spring 2009 Woolman Semester, an experience that changed his life. He fell in love with the community and land here at Woolman and dreamed of coming back. After attending Haverford College, where he majored in Computer Science and developed an independent minor in Quaker Studies, Carl returned to Woolman in August 2013 to give back to a place that gave him so much. For the 2013-14 academic year, Carl was our Media and Technology Intern and the co-teacher of our Peace Studies Documentary Class. He became our Operations Manager in June 2014. In his free time, you might find Carl exploring the woods of Woolman's 230-acre campus or relaxing (or eating) with an episode of Democracy Now!.


Headshot Emily Wheeler, Admissions and Outreach Director

Emily was born and raised in northern Vermont where she learned the terms "democracy" and "capitalism" at age 10 from giant puppets on the stages of the political theater organization Bread & Puppet. Wondering why these words/concepts/institutions didn't show up again in her schooling until the college classroom, Emily developed a deep longing for liberatory education. Time in the woods has always been important to Emily. As an educator, she sees the dire need to cultivate healthy relationships to self and the world via nature-connection. She is devoted to improving access to educational opportunities for all youth across the country.


Headshot Amelia Nebenzahl, Global Thinking Teacher

Amelia is originally from Massachusetts and throughout the years she has come to find a home in many places around the world. She has studied International Relations and Peace Education at both the bachelor and master's levels an is thrilled to be putting her expertise, passion, and experiences into practice at Woolman. In the past she has led community service and cultural immersion programs for high school students in Senegal, Ghana, Rwanda, and India. She enjoys being in the outdoors and always gets a kick out of learning words in new languages. Amelia finds immense hope in the spirit, ideas, and motivation of Woolman students and trusts that they will bring great change to the world in their own unique ways.

Headshot Andrew J. Sellery, Ceramics Instructor

Born and raised in sunny Southern Ca. Andrew moved to the Grass Valley area with his family of two boys in 1990. The ocean his back yard growing up, he soon fell in love with the Yuba River and has been an active member of SYRCL which looks after the health and well being of the river. Working in clay has been his primary passion since childhood. Growing up in a family of artists, freedom of expression was always supported. He has worked as a scenic artist for Warner Bros., taught pottery in private studios, and was the Art Dept.Tech for Sierra College from 2005-2010. He first felt the magic of Woolman in 2002 during a woodfire event held annually on the campus of Woolman. To teach here has been his dream for many years, and is now realized ! He looks forward to creating a safe place for personal expression, artistic growth, and a deeper connection to Mother Earth.

Headshot Hilary Ellis-Lavigne, Nonviolent Communication Teacher

Hilary came to Woolman in 2006 as an intern. She now teaches Nonviolent Communication, has worked many hours in the kitchen and the garden, still cooks for camp and other events, and is also Woolman's housekeeper. Prior to her Woolman days she worked as a professional actress, an Outward Bound Instructor and a white water raft guide. She was co-owner and operator of G.A.I.N. Inc. (Growth and Adventure in Nature), an outdoor adventure team-building business. She was born in Yaddlethorpe, England, grew up in Derbyshire, rescued worms from the garden pond, bred rats and guinea pigs, walked dogs, and rode horses and motorcycles. She rode a Honda 500/4 all around Eastern and Western Europe before the wall came down and then happened to be in Berlin when that amazing event happened. She lives on campus with her two children, Shendo and Sebastian, and never wants to leave.

Headshot Lisa Putkey, Peace Studies Teacher

Lisa is excited to be learning, creating, and dreaming with the Woolman community. She comes to this community on Maidu land most recently from Costa Rica where she studied Peace Education at the United Nations University for Peace and is currently working on her master’s thesis. Prior to grad school she lived, worked and organized in Chimayó, New Mexico. There she made deep friendships and sought to support grassroots resistance, education and mobilization efforts for environmental justice and healing from the US theft of the sacred Jemez Mountains from the Northern Pueblo Peoples for the Manhattan Project and continued operation of the UC run Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory. She originally moved to Chimayó to help organize Think Outside the Bomb’s Disarmament Summer activities and direct action encampment for youth calling for the abolition of nukes, the capstone to US militarism, the enforcement mechanism of its global imperialism.  Prior to this Lisa worked as a Scoville Peace Fellow in the national DC office of Peace Action Education Fund. There she collaborated with multi-issue, multi-generational activists and educators nationally and internationally to organize peace and disarmament conferences, workshops, and demonstrations focused on amplifying youth and community voices omitted from mainstream narratives. Prior to DC Lisa worked with United Healthcare Workers representing convalescent home workers, and then as a community organizer with ACORN in East Oakland. She graduated in 2008 from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Intern Program

Headshot Nicole Esclamado, Intern Program Coordinator and Kitchen Manager

Nicole graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a B.S. in Biology and four years of work in a bioengineering lab.  After sneaking peaks into the microscopic worlds that thrive within and around us, she became hooked on the mysterious ebb and flow of life.  She left the lab to continue exploring these connections that shape and shift our vitality. She worked at a sustainable living and environment education center in Costa Rica, the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, California, and Round the Bend Farm in Massachusetts.  She first came to Woolman to teach math and art, connect with the wonderous landscape of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and live with brilliant, hilarious, and curious people.  She now is the intern program coordinator and kitchen manager.  And for fun she walks her goats around campus, plays with her pups, studies functional medicine and nutrition, and practices listening through her hands with craniosacral therapy.  


Headshot Jared (Red) Feola, Maintenance Staff

After spending four years exploring outside the US, teaching, traveling, volunteering and learning about permaculture and sustainability, Red feels right at home at Woolman. A community member since 2009, he strives to continue learning the skills necessary for becomming self sufficient. Red's passions include spending time outdoors, hiking at the Yuba, playing music and soccer, and enjoying the satisfaction of a hard day's work.

Headshot Maggie McProud, Farm to Table Manager

As the Farm to Table Manager, Maggie is very excited to participate in all things food-related! Her experience farming and studying holistic nutrition have inspired such a profound appreciation for life that she hopes to present the opportunity for others to explore and experience natural systems through growing and enjoying healthy food. Whether in the garden or in the kitchen, she hopes to design a program wherein the essential values of farming naturally support nutrition education and healthful eating. It is in this union that she hopes to engage our community to foster balanced lives, healthy bodies, an exciting learning environment, and, of course, to have some fun!