THE TEAMOur staff

Director/Educator, Co-FounderMadeline Herrera

Madeline Herrera grew up in the midwest and has wanted to be an educator since she was 12 years old. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from KU School of Education. Her Masters degree is in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, an area she became passionate about at a young age. Madeline is known for her high level of student engagement and strong classroom culture. She credits these close bonds to dynamic project-based learning units she designs with current students in mind. Collaboration with professionals in areas outside of education is standard practice for her as she creates her units of study. She has taught in both elementary and middle school settings, rural and urban, as a classroom teacher as well as an English Language Acquisition Specialist.

EducatorSarauniya Pelts

Sarauniya (SA-RON-KNEE-AH) Pelts grew up on the Southside of Chicago, IL and has been a resident of Lawrence, Kansas since 2017. During this time, she has worked for Lawrence Public Schools in multiple capacities. Her experience includes working with children with multiple disabilities, children with Autism, gifted students and students with behavioral disabilities. As an educator she has devoted her time assisting all students in and outside of the classroom. She has taken her homeschooling experience and applied her knowledge with the children that she assists. Currently, she is attending Fort Hays State University where she will obtain her Elementary Education degree. In her free time Sarauniya loves spending time with her three children, reading, playing different sports and watching movies.

Culinary/Outdoor EducatorJeffery Heppler

Jeffery Heppler (he/him/his) was born and raised in Eastern Kansas. He has an intimate knowledge of the bioregion. Graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Studies from KU in 2017, he has been in the food service, farming, finance, and landscaping industries before and since. Jeffery obtained his Permaculture Design Certification in 2016 and is currently learning about farm planning and land management through the Regrarians platform.

Librarian/Systems ManagementBailey Pike

Bailey Pike is a Kansas native with a lifelong passion for all things literary and organizational. She holds an undergraduate degree in musicology from the University of Kansas and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has held numerous positions within university libraries, including working in circulation, cataloging, and interlibrary loan. Bailey has won awards for her book collecting from multiple universities, as well as from the Library of Congress. She specializes in creating informational systems, synthesizing data, and implementing functional solutions. Bailey helped to found the library program at Limestone, where she continues to advocate for childhood literacy through the ongoing expansion and refinement of the collection. She is a strong proponent of lifelong learning, and especially enjoys reading (and listening to!) nonfiction books.

EducatorSara Mwagura

Sara Mwagura has spent the majority of her professional life working with young children. After completing high school and many babysitting jobs in a small town in North Dakota, she realized that a career with young children fit who she was becoming. As she studied early childhood education and learned how brains develop, a passion grew to ensure that children have an environment where they can truly thrive. Through the years she's learned that research shows play, movement, art, sensory experiences and authentic connections are some of the most effective ways to do so. She's spent her career searching and working for ways to integrate these aspects into early childhood environments. Her first professional endeavor was creating early childhood education programs in Mozambique and training community members to find strategies to educate children in a way that worked for them. That experience spurred her to get her Master's degree in early childhood education. She has since worked as a preschool teacher, child care director, Head Start coordinator, and a professional development specialist and coach. She recently moved to Lawrence with her husband and two daughters. They enjoy camping, playing games, gardening and traveling.

EducatorChad Scherbarth

Chad Scherbarth has lived in many places and had many jobs. Chad’s road to becoming an educator began with the birth of his twin children when he committed to being an at-home parent for his kids all the way until kindergarten. It was when his children were at a cooperative preschool that Chad found his passion for education and alternative learning models. He became very active in the community and eventually became co-president of the school. He focused on growing the school community, supporting the teachers, and continuing to provide an amazing experience for the children. After moving to Lawrence, Chad began pursuing a degree in elementary education while also working as a paraeducator for Lawrence Public Schools. Chad worked largely one-on-one with kids with special needs both in middle school and elementary school. Working as a paraeducator taught Chad the importance of building relationships with individual students as a key to their success.

Educational AideEmily Gardner

Emily grew up in Topeka, KS, and graduated from Kansas State University. After college, she lived in NYC and worked in the fashion industry in Product Development for eleven years. In 2022, Emily moved back to Kansas and followed her heart to begin an alternate career trajectory which included caregiving, teaching yoga, and assisting in Montessori schools. Currently, along with working at Limestone, she teaches yoga and meditation locally. She also assists with planning meditation immersions and travels occasionally for this. Emily loves learning, children, being an aunt, nature, creativity, wellness, and community!

Limestone Community School is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization based in Lawrence, KS.

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