Summer Program Bios
Rachael Pruitt is an award-winning author, teacher, and storyteller with a passion for empowering creativity—both inside and outside of the traditional classroom. Her work in fantasy-writing and teaching has garnered praise by the Smithsonian Institute as “not simply enrichment, but an example of the way we should be teaching our young people.” Rachael's first novel, The Dragon’s Harp, received both Global Ebook and Visionary Fiction Awards. She is also a published poet and author of non-fiction articles encouraging writers to explore the fantasy genre. She holds a M.Ed. from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill College.
Rachael has been fortunate to teach at Oak Hill Summer Programs for 4 years, where her successful writing classes have consistently garnered rave reviews from students. Locally, she has also taught creative writing workshops at Wordcrafters, Ophelia's Place, the Lane County Migrant Program, and for adults at the Healing Trauma Center.
Jessica Van Meer
Jessica graduated from Lewis and Clark and spent time working as a behavioral health specialist, first grade teacher, and is currently Oak Hills Pre-K teacher. Jessica is full of enthusiasm and warmth and is looking forward to working with our youngest children and their families. When asked what three words her students would use to describe her, Jessica replied, “Funny, nice, and giving.” Others who worked with Jessica described her as, “Great with the kids, a team player, problem solver, impressive, and open.” Jessica is excited and eager to work with the camp students to help guide them to the smoothest possible transition into Pre-K.
Ms. Sophie is an experienced Mandarin Chinese teacher of 18 years. She is currently a member of Oak Hill faculty who teaches Mandarin Chinese for K-8 students. She has a great passion in teaching Chinese and exploring Chinese culture with her students.
Daphne Smith Michie
Hello! My name is Daphne Smith Michie and I just graduated from Connecticut College with a major in psychology and a minor in classics. I am originally from Utah, but Oregon is like a second home to me. Being part of the women’s rowing team and having the opportunity to be captain my senior year allowed me to pursue my passion for and understanding of the importance of physical activity. I am a strong believer in the psychologically restorative benefits of exercise and spending time outdoors. I have worked with 3 and 4 year old kids in the classroom, high schoolers in various positions of leadership related to sports, and leading practices on my collegiate rowing team. My course, Outdoor Adventures & Mindfulness, will allow your child/children to experience the outdoors, be active (hiking, going for runs, walks, etc.), practice mindfulness and meditation, and spend time with other kids in a positive, supportive space. I am so excited to be a part of camp his summer!
Alex Lowe is the returning robotics instructor of Oak Hill's Intelligent Robotics classes. For those of you who don't already know him, Alex began teaching robotics in 2010 designing the curriculum for the City of Eugene's first robotics camp at Petersen Barn. A few years later, Alex found himself involved in Summer on the HIll, and has, until the pandemic, taught robotics at Oak Hill School year-round. Alex also designed the curriculum for and taught robotics at the Village school. Alex loves teaching all STEAM classes, and spends the rest of his time as a math and science tutor, musician, house painter, graphic artist and research consultant. Alex has a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics
Vicki is a local accompanist, educator, performer, arranger, and vocalist. She currently teaches music at Oak Hill School and Lane Community College, accompanies for the Women's Choral Society, serves with the music ministry team at First Congregational Church, and teaches private lessons. Vicki has worked extensively with local arts organizations such as The Shedd Institute, Eugene Concert Choir, Eugene Symphony, and high school theater programs throughout the region. In her free time she loves camping with her spouse and dogs, reading, gardening, and taking her motorcycle on "throttle therapy" excursions.
Cyndy is an American Heart Association Instructor and an EMT Intermediate with over 35 years experience teaching youth and adults. She has taught at Lane Community College in the EMS programs for over 10 years. She primarily teaches the skills/ hands on portion of the Emergency Medical Technician classes. She was an active member and instructor for National Ski Patrol for over 25 years. She was the past Oak Hill School Auxiliary Director for 5 years. In her spare time she loves to train her dogs in agility and spend time with her friends and family.
Mary is an artist and art educator and has been working with youth for 10 years and teaching art full-time for 6. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Studio Art and a Masters in Teaching Visual Art Education. She teaches a wide range of ages, from preschool to adults, workshops and classes in Art Foundations, 2D Studio, 3D Studio, Ceramics, Sculpture, and AP Studio Art. She strives to empower her students by helping them connect to themselves, to their community, and to the earth. She teaches from a holistic perspective and facilitates social-emotional learning using journaling and mindfulness practices.
Hello! My name is Alli Arnsdorf! I will be graduating from South Eugene High School this June. This fall I plan to attend California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo to major in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish. After graduation I intend to pursue my Master’s in education, and eventually become an elementary school teacher. In my free time, I take many dance classes, and love to cook and spend time outside. I volunteered at Summer on the Hill last year and had a blast, so I’m beyond excited to become a faculty member. I look forward to meeting you!