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Sara Casey Taleff
Co-Founder & Director

Sara has been involved in education professionally for 14 years.  After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education & Social Policy from Northwestern University, she taught Special Education grades 3-6 in New York City as a corps member for Teach for America. Sara earned a Master’s of Science in Education and went on to work for Montana’s Office of Public Instruction for 5 years.  Sara worked in special education compliance, professional development and she spearheaded the beginning of the State’s School Mental Health Initiative.  For the last 6 years, Sara has lived between Helena and New York creating learning environments. She founded and directed a micro school for kids ages 2-8 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  Credentials aside, Sara’s passion is curating space and facilitating conversations that lead kids to make their own discoveries.

Christopher Taleff
Co-Founder & Facilitator

Christopher graduated from The Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York City.  Architecture came after a degree in studio art (emphasis on photography and painting) and work as a teacher, chef, and exhibit designer for a science museum.  His architecture thesis “The Walking School” focused on education through the lens of peripatetic exploration. Through the creation of wearable classrooms and mobile pieces, students can fully explore the natural and cultural landscape around them. Instead of an insular system of classroom education, the things the students carry become the space for investigation. As an architect, Chris finds building and making with kids to be the ultimate inspiration.  As co-founder of Cottonwood ALC, Christopher continues to explore curiosity and learning as the catalyst for design.