Hope Wilder, Founder, Staff

Hope Wilder is a lifelong learner and community builder living in Durham, North Carolina. She had an accelerated experience of the public school system, graduating from the University of South Carolina at the age of 19 with degrees in Biology and German.  For the past dozen years, she has worked and played as an alternative outdoor educator and science teacher at private schools and local nonprofits including Piedmont Wildlife Center and Duke Gardens. She enjoys making art & music, DIY fashion, and being outside.

Jesse Crossen, Co-Founder

Jesse Crossen is an entrepreneur at heart. A graduate from NCSSM and NC State School of Design, he co-founded Tackle Design, a successful industrial design and consulting firm. He is currently working as a software developer with VoiceThread, an online media sharing and communication tool for education and business. He enjoys breakdancing, cuisine, and tinkering with electronic musical instruments.


Deborah Amaral, Board

Deborah Amaral is an adjunct professor of Environmental Studies at Elon University. She has worked previously at NCDENR and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds advanced degrees in chemistry, engineering, and public policy. She has served on the board of the Cape Fear and Haw River Assemblies, and is the founder and managing director of the Handy Village Institute for alternative energy technology. In her free time, Deborah enjoys metalsmithing, weaving and painting silk.

Sally Erickson, Board

Sally Erickson is a semi-retired psychotherapist, and entrepreneur. She’s produced a documentary film, designed and installed several large outdoor tile mosaics, and founded a still-vibrant rural intentional community. Sally is the mother of two adults who as children experienced a wide variety of educational models including public school; a startup, alternative school-within-a- school; un-schooling ; charter schools, and a private arts academy. 

She loves the Sudbury model of self-directed democratic education and sees the importance of offering that choice to many students and families for whom the traditional systems are simply not working.


Hope tries out kite-skating, the new sport eveyone's crazy about