Catherine M. Wallace

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.

Catherine M. Wallace

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Acorn Village Forest School


Acorns Preschool Program

Tracy received her BA in social science from the University of California, Irvine and finished up her masters in the Child Development department at California State University, Long Beach.  She has completed her Waldorf teacher training through the Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC) and the Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training through the Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers. Through her continuing education and in the readings of several educational theorists such as Alfie Kohn, Bev Bos, Rudolph Steiner, and Thomas Gordon; Tracy has developed a philosophy for her teaching and her school that is not commonly found.  She is married and has three sons.  She moved to Los Olivos in July 2011 and soon after fell in love with the valley.  She started Acorn Cottage/Village after her second child was born.  When not at Village, she can be found playing baseball in her front yard, hiking the trails in the valley, roaming the river, reading in her hammock, or gardening.



Lead Teacher

Woodpeckers Preschool Program

Brenda was raised on the Central Coast of California, Mom ran a daycare for the better part of 35 years and Dad worked and continues to work in the agriculture business. The trials and tribulations of being raised in that child care environment would ultimately prove to be an invaluable apprenticeship. Guiding children would turn out to be a reoccurring theme in her life from early babysitting ventures, working at the YMCA as a teacher for the afterschool and summer programs, eventually becoming a Mom and then as an assistant teacher and lead teacher at the Acorn Village. As a teenager Brenda had grand dreams of traveling the world and living a life of luxury. Throughout her 20’s while traveling the world with her partner in crime Jimmy, she found herself living a version of her teenage dream. Even though the life of luxury was replaced with life on a “shoe string” the experiences were real, vivid and life altering. Some of these moments involved experiences with children that highlighted the bond between family, community and how a child interacts with its surroundings. Fast forward to having her own child, feeling overwhelmed and underprepared she became dedicated to reading, reflecting and listening to as much information as possible about those child development ideas that most aligned with her own inner instincts. She realized early on in parenthood that community was going to play a vital role in her child’s development. It was from within that search for a community that prioritized children’s needs that she found the Acorn Village. In her free time Brenda most enjoys creating art and spending time at the beach with her husband Jimmy, son Owen, who is a Sapling and their dog Lola.



Lead Teacher,

Saplings Kindergarten Program

Tara Trujillo is a native of the Central Coast and has worked in public education for over 10 years. She has completed her training with the Waldorf Institute of Southern California in Northridge. Her love for Waldorf Education has branched into formal training in Werbeck singing through the School of Uncovering the Voice. She also has completed two years of Forest Teacher Trainiing as well.  She has studied at and worked at Acorn Village in many capacities before taking on the Saplings program, and continues to be a student of many subjects, including Mediation through Non-Violent Communication. Tara earned her BA in Psychology from Chapman University and is currently working toward her degree in Early Childhood Education at Allan Hancock College.


In her spare time, Tara practices Transcendental Meditation and the martial art of Aikido, while running part-time businesses in the fields of dog training and hospitality. She loves to play and sing, especially with her son Tucker, who is also in the school.


Kiri Pickering

Substitute Teacher

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and grew up with lots of time outdoors (near the ocean, on farms and in forests). I studied at the University of Auckland (civil engineering) and worked in the engineering field (construction then structural design) for several years. I took a break from engineering to travel in South East Asia, then worked a harvest season at a winery in New Zealand, where I met my husband Drew. I continued to work in wine industry for the next few years. I have lived in the Santa Ynez Valley for the past 8 years, at home with my three kids. My interests include camping, hiking, reading, playing the piano and guitar, being the best parent I can, and learning about California’s plants and animals.



Lead Teacher

Woodpeckers Preschool Program

Sarah joined Acorn Village in the Woodpecker class in 2019.  Together she and Brenda guide our newest preschool class of Acorn Village on thrilling adventures through song, craft and play. Sarah's professional forest school experience began in Jan of 2019 as an apprentice mentor with Outside Now! in San Luis Obispo, Ca but she has been hiking and crafting in the great outdoors for many moons. Sarah received her 200hr yoga teacher training certificate in 2014 and found her niche working with women in the birth community through prenatal/postnatal and healing yoga sessions.  She is an avid barefoot hiker in the hills surrounding her home which is where you'll typically find her on the weekends. She is a mother to 3 , Dylan, June and Lauren, who is a Sapling this year, and will celebrate 19 years of marriage to her high school sweetheart, Darren, this summer.  When she's not tromping around the bush with your children, she's tending her medicinal garden, singing in the kitchen or losing herself in a good book.  Sarah is thrilled to be attending the Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training in Santa Barbara soon.


Savannah Hall

Assistant Teacher

Saplings Kindergarten Program

Savannah is very excited to be joining the Acorn Village community. Savannah has her Associates Degree from Volunteer State College which is in Tennessee, her home state. Savannah has her 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo. She taught Taekwondo at an after school program for 6 years. She worked for 5 summers at the Taekwondo’s summer camp as well.
Savannah has spent the last year and a half living in a converted shuttle bus. She has been to 32 national parks and has hopes of going to all of them! Savannah being outside and loves helping kids learn. 


Julitta Knox

Substitute Teacher and Volunteer

I was raised in the Santa Ynez Valley my entire life. Growing up I would go to help out with my mom (Special Needs Teacher) since the age of four. Through my mom I learned to love teaching. Growing up my playground was the Santa ynez river and the beach and I spent hours watching animal planet. My work experience started with volunteering at local summer camps which led to me working for boys and girls club as a youth development specialist. After graduations high school I was an au pair to three boys in spain for three months. I’ve also done babysitting and volunteered in preschool and kindergarten classrooms for a year. My hobbies of late include riding my road bike, hiking, swimming, travel, and reading.