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.

Anna Cole


Assistant Teacher

Woodpeckers Preschool Program

Anna was born and raised in Santa Barbara County. Loving the outdoors and what our California central coast has to offer. Anna comes from a long line of musical family and educator’s. To which has inspired her musical air. With passion and empathy she’s volunteered for a number of band camps, student recitals, and concert events with Certain Sparks Music in Lompoc, CA. Anna’s good nature and adaptability is always appreciated to the environment that she’s in. She has embarked on this educational journey with Acorn Village, seeking to be apart and help flourish the children of this school. Being active and active listening are constant in her life and follow her wherever she goes. As the great Bob Dylan once said, “A song is anything that can walk by itself”. Namaste 

FernanDa Hang


Assistant Teacher

Saplings Kindergarten Program

Fernanda is a yoga enthusiast, adventurer, and explorer. She was born and raised in Brazil. During her childhood, she enjoyed climbing fruit trees, and playing freely in the woods in her hometown in Santa Catarina.
She is passionate about forest school philosophy. She has B.A in Communication Studies from Universidade Positivo, and A.A in Early Childhood Education from Santa Monica College.

She lives in Solvang with her partner John.  And in her free time treasures taking Brazilian Afro Dance at the Brazilian Cultural Center in SB, playing tennis, and hiking.

Tori Andrade


Assitant Teacher

Acorns Preschool Program

Tori was born and raised in Hawaii but considers herself to be a native of the Central Coast. Being brought up through Waldorf philosophies, she has always had a passion for art and nature. This passion blossomed into a love of science which led to a B.S. in Earth Science from UC Santa Cruz where she did research in and focused primarily on paleoceanography (the study of ancient oceans). Tori also works at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History as a Naturalist where she first discovered how much she loves teaching and talking with children. She believes it is important to cultivate children’s curiosity about the natural world by letting them explore, observe, and ask questions.

In her free time, Tori loves to be creative through painting, sewing, knitting, sculpting, jewelry-making, singing, baking, and gardening. She has a fairly large mineral collection and sometimes takes small field trips to find even more. 

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.