The perfect team — Our commitment to building better individuals and better students is uncompromising.
Valerie Villahermosa Ang
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and attended the University of Toronto where I obtained an Honors Bachelor of Science with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but rather than obtaining a traditional teaching certificate, I realized that the Montessori method of teaching fueled a brighter passion in me. I received my Montessori teaching certification from the American Montessori Society in 2003 at Sheridan College and have since been teaching at various Montessori schools in both Canada and the United States.
My husband Vince and I have 4 amazing children: Ceyan (12), Nate (10), Paisley (6) and Caleb (5). To the chagrin of our families in Canada, we moved to Florida in early 2014 and continue to LOVE the year-long warmth! In our free time, we love to watch basketball, visit the parks, go to the movies, and explore beaches, nature trails, and boardwalks.
I have always been an advocate for alternative education and have both homeschooled my children as well as had them attend Montessori schools where I’ve taught in the past. When I first discovered Walden and its child-centered approach to free thinking and the passion towards learning that I saw in both the staff and students, I knew it would be a perfect fit for my family. I am so honored and eager to be able to bring Montessori to WCS!
I was born in the small town of Plymouth, Wisconsin. As a child, I remember how much I loved walking to the library to get new books every week. I also loved music and took piano lessons for eight years, while also singing in choirs. After graduating high school, I attended Lakeland College, also in Wisconsin, where I worked at the campus and town libraries. For my first student teaching assignment, I taught all subjects in a 5th grade classroom; while at my second placement, I taught English and Social Studies to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I learned a tremendous amount in those six months, and in 2002, I graduated with an Elementary/Middle School Education degree and a minor in History. That same year, I married my husband, Tim, and started working as a substitute teacher for the school district. Our son, Triton, was born in 2004, and we relocated to Florida three months later. After staying home for a year with Triton, I began teaching at a private school here in Winter Park. There, I taught fifth grade for ten years. In my free time, I love to cook and read. And, I also enjoy watching sports -- especially football! It has been so exciting watching each child grow in the fun and creative environment that Walden Community School allows.
I was born and raised right here in Central Florida and have a large family in the area. I have four children, whom I immensely enjoy watching grow and learn, Tre (7), Lucy (5), and my twins, Carter and Mason (1). In my free time, I love to get outdoors with my kids and husband, cook and eat yummy food, and spend time with my own community of friends and extended family.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher, and I truly feel passionate about this career. I attended college in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina at Appalachian State University and graduated in December 2005 with my K-6 Elementary Education degree and a minor in English. After substitute teaching there for a bit, I moved back home and started working for Orange County Public Schools in 2007. As I continued working for the county, it became harder for me to hold true to my personal teaching philosophies as I saw the negative effects that county policy and academic changes were having on my students. I decided to open myself up to other options and was fatefully introduced to Walden Community School. I immediately fell in love and cherish being able to continue teaching with the freedom to facilitate children’s natural desire to learn -- and to nurture the whole child. It has been a dream come true.
Bonnie Burke, M.Ed
I am the product of two New Englanders, my mother from Boston and father from Maine, though my sister and I were born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL. My father taught secondary math and coached at St. Petersburg High School for 32 years and never missed a day. My mother trained revenue agents for the State, but couldn’t become one because she was female. I continue to learn from them every day of my life.
I graduated from Stetson University with a B.A. in both Psychology and Math, received my Masters from UCF in Exceptional Student Education and Math, and am A.B.D. (All But Dissertation) at the University of Florida in Exceptional Student Education and Neuropsychology. I have taught for over thirty years, working in the private and public sectors in Orlando/Winter Park and New Orleans. I am certified in a number of areas Math, Specific Learning Disabilities, and Varying Exceptionalities, among them.
I have experience teaching children with every conceivable “label” --but have often noted that traditional assessments, subsequent stereotypes, and resultant lowered expectations for students can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What if the student's only “learning problem” is that he or she doesn't fit into the local school system’s instructive model? Enter Walden Community School - where students' individual learning channels are explored, celebrated, and integrated into an educational paradigm built to nurture their success. I am so happy to be excited about education again - and I am so very happy to teach - and learn - at Walden Community School.
Ashley Butler, M.A.
I was born and raised in Winter Park and received my B.A. in Psychology from Wake Forest University in North Carolina. After graduation, I moved to NYC, where I lived (and played!) for three years before backpacking solo through Europe -- and through 15 countries -- for six months, which was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I accidentally ended up back in Winter Park, where I decided to continue with psychology, receiving my Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College in 2004 and becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (L.M.H.C.) several years later. I practiced as a therapist at several local agencies before my daughter was born, and I enjoy running, writing, and keeping up with my two amazing children.
I remember my first experience touring Walden: the teacher was standing on a chair, creating a “brain map” diagram with students, all of whom were relaxed and attentive on the floor, excitedly answering questions and coming up with their own. I was sold, knowing that this was the kind of school that would foster my children’s inquisitive natures and love of learning. I am thankful to contribute to Walden as the Coordinator and be a part of this wonderful community of teachers, students, and families.
Sara Beth Couvillion
Like many of my fellow Walden teachers, I am not originally from Central Florida. I am a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I love performing, and I took dance lessons for the majority of my childhood and teenage years. I also enjoy traveling, and as a senior in college, I had the opportunity to live in England for part of my student teaching assignment, where I taught first graders in a local school just outside of London. I graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in December 2013, earning Summa Cum Laude.
I've worked in schools ever since, but none like Walden: the child-centered environment in which our students get to learn is truly unique. Class sizes are small enough to get to know each child individually, but large enough to provide opportunities for collaboration. Teachers are given every opportunity to do what is best for the students in their care. It's exactly the type of school I was hoping to find when I set out to become a teacher in the first place.
In addition to my position at Walden, I also work with a company that offers virtual ESL classes to children in China, where I teach classes and coach teacher candidates through the hiring process. When I'm not teaching or working, I love reading, crafting, going to the beach, and visiting Disney with my husband, Brian. I am thrilled to join the Walden team!
I was born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts and stayed there until I moved to Florida in November 2018. I cannot remember a time that I did not want to be a teacher, although my parents tell me being a clown and a bus driver were on my job list also. Books were my go-to pastime when I was younger, and they still are, along with baking and playing with my dog. I was also a cheerleader and part of the Drama Society in my middle and high school years.
I attended Emmanuel College in Boston to get my Elementary Education and Liberal Studies degree. After graduation, I began working in the elementary school in my little town in the third fourth, and fifth grade, and at one of the afterschool/summer programs there, too.
Quickly after moving to Florida, I visited Walden Community School and decided within minutes of arriving that it is where I wanted to teach. I am so lucky to have been given the opportunity to be part of the Walden Family, and I look forward to seeing how the students grow -- and how I grow as a teacher.
Kenn Glaser, M.D.
My full name is Donald Kenneth Glaser. I have 4 siblings and was born in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin, which is right on Lake Michigan. My first school was a one-room school house called Victory School. We grew up enjoying streams, ponds, fields, and trees, whether it was the hot summers or the very cold winters, and then moved to New Jersey, where we lived on a mountain with miles of woods and rivers.
I attended undergraduate school at Rutgers University, followed by New York Medical College, which afforded me the excitement of living in New York City. I also joined the army and completed my Internal Medicine Internship and Residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where I later completed my Cardiology Fellowship and Interventional Cardiology Subspecialty training. I left the army with the rank of Major after 11 years, spending the majority of my army career working in Washington, D.C. Following that, I was in private practice for over 30 years as an Interventional Cardiologist based in Boca Raton, where I also taught medical students, residents, and Cardiology Fellows. My wife Kaye and I moved to the Orlando area after we retired to be near grandchildren.
My desire is to share my life experiences and knowledge and to encourage others to live happy lives through education, wise use of time, and informed decision making. I hope to offer what I have learned to this next generation of change agents and to the students of Walden Community School.
Aaron Wright, B.S.
I was born and raised in sleepy North-Central Ohio about an hour and a half north of Columbus in the midst of cows and corn. I found myself fascinated with animals and spent my youth freely roaming neighborhoods, forests, and farms. As I grew older and larger, my focus grew smaller, and by the time I graduated high school, I had a love of microbiology.
Being an outside-the-box kind of individual, I broke the cardinal rule of all Ohioans and pursued my degree in the dreaded state to the north -- Michigan. While attending Eastern Michigan University, I got the opportunity to intern at an animal life park here in Florida. There, I got my first exposure of sharing my love for biology and nature with others, especially the K-12 campers. Suddenly, my plans evolved from destroying viruses to building a passion for science.
At the conclusion of my second internship, I was offered the opportunity to continue working for the park -- or I could head back to the frozen North. I obviously stayed and spent eight years teaching about life, nature, and conservation.
Through an odd set of adventures and experiences, I began to consider the challenge of classroom teaching. I contemplated my role and how I would find success, as measured by encouraging curiosity and inspiring passion. After examining the public school system, I found that this was not the environment for me. Walden, however, was: the collaboration and discussion-driven nature of the school was something I could get behind, and I believe that my unique perspective and passion will help guide students in their learning and individual growth.