Project Description

Linda Lewis started the Early Childhood Program at Harmony and has remained a teacher there since its inception in 1993. Born and raised in Brown County Indiana, Linda currently lives just a couple blocks from Harmony with her husband and two children. Linda values play-based learning all the way through Kindergarten and advocates for preserving early childhood as a time for joy and discovery. (llewis@harmonyschool.org)

Christopher Abbott was born in Bloomington, Indiana and has lived here for most of his life. He studied at Indiana University and received his Bachelor of Arts in English in 2014, but has been working in early childhood classrooms since 2009. He enjoys reading, watching movies, playing and watching various sports, playing board and video games, traveling, baking, and spending time with his friends and family. He has been at Harmony with the ECP since 2017 and is grateful to work with so many amazing people everyday. (cabbott@harmonyschool.org

Sam Sondgerarth moved to Bloomington in 2008 to attend Indiana University.  She began working in the Harmony Early Childhood Program as a work-study assistant the same year.  In 2013, she became an afternoon and summer program lead teacher. She graduated IU in 2014 with a BFA in Textiles, with a focus on weaving.  Sam also runs Fairywood Farm and Forest School with her partner and has a small homestead with alpacas, chickens, cats, and the sweetest Great Pyrenees.  She works on a traditional floor loom with her own alpacas’ fleece and repurposed yarn. She enjoys hiking the Brown County hills, growing herbs, reading science fiction, and spending time with children in nature. (ssondgerath@harmonyschool.org)

Read More About Our Early Childhood Program

Jennifer Ruff, K-6 teacher, returned to Bloomington after several years of teaching in the Bronx. Her classroom has always been full of art, books, and laughter. In her own time, she loves making things, baking things, and most importantly, spending time with her husband, Paul, and her two children, Clem and Tal. (jruff@harmonyschool.org)

Adam Lehman, K-6 teacher, was born and raised in Indiana and has made Bloomington his home since 1999. Upon his completion of an education master’s program at IU, he was very grateful and excited to become a part of Harmony School. He sincerely appreciates the strong community and unique learning opportunities that Harmony provides. In his spare time he enjoys reading, listening to music, making things, daydreaming and spending time with his wife Hannah and two sons Henry and Teddy. (alehman@harmonyschool.org)

Laura Beth Wayne, 1st & 2nd grade teacher, has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and an international Montessori teaching diploma. She graduated from IU with a Nonprofit Management degree and fell in love with Bloomington. After living in 5 states after graduating from IU, she and her husband returned to Bloomington. They have two children who have grown up at Harmony School and now attend as students. Laura Beth loves continuing her education, specifically focused on herbs, yoga, self-growth, spirituality and minimal living. She loves wandering in the woods and has a deep love for the temperate forests of southern Indiana and swimming in creeks and lakes. (lbwayne@harmonyschool.org)

David Watters, 1st & 2nd grade teacher, has lived in Bloomington since 2004 and has a deep love for this land and community. He has his Master’s degree in Poetry from Indiana University. He loves to hike and spend time in the woods, specifically by fresh water. David is a 5 Rhythms Space Holder, loves to paint giant paintings and collecting bones and fossils and feathers. He lives on a farm north of town with his darling son and some really sweet people. (dwatters@harmonyschool.org)

Lana Beck-Cruce, 3rd & 4th grade teacher, holds Harmony School very near and dear to her heart. Not only is she a teacher here but also a parent and an alum. In fact, the locker she painted in 8th grade is still preserved in the upstairs hallway! She started her full-time teaching career at Harmony in 2010 after receiving her master’s degree in elementary education. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family, friends, and dogs. She loves to read, bake, work on projects, and spend time outdoors swimming, hiking, bike riding, picnicking, camping, and more.  (lcruce@harmonyschool.org)

Todd Riggins, 3rd & 4th grade teacher, has been teaching elementary students since 2008 and has been at Harmony since 2017. He was born and raised in Bloomington and loves getting out in the beautiful nature of Southern Indiana. He and his wife, Heather, have three children at Harmony; Evelyn, Sam, and Oliver. His family enjoys reading, swimming, hiking, camping, and canoeing. He loves music and enjoys sharing his love of knowledge with his students. (triggins@harmonyschool.org)

Kathy Boone, 5th & 6th grade teacher, began her undergraduate career with a scholarship in the business school, although it wasn’t long before the poetry and prose of the English Department lured her towards a BA in literature. Before she graduated, she was accepted as a participant in the first IU exchange program with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), where she studied at Hangzhou University. She has been awarded a number of honors, including a Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher’s Fellowship to tour and study in Japan. After earning an MA in Chinese Linguistics, she worked for a while with adult new readers as a tutor trainer for an adult literacy program. This experience inspired her to pursue a career in education. She has been working at Harmony since she received her teacher’s certificate from IU. She especially enjoys teaching writing, literature, social studies, language, art, and multicultural courses. Kathy’s children all went to Harmony School. Her greatest joys in life are spending time in nature and with her daughters’ families, including her young grandchildren, who attend Harmony School.  (kboone@harmonyschool.org)

Zevon Adkisson, 5th & 6th grade teacher, is from Rockport, Indiana where he lived until moving to Bloomington in 2008 to attend Indiana University for Mathematics and Mathematics Education. Zevon grew up playing baseball, fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking, and exploring the outdoors with friends and family. He was a 21st Century Scholar allowing him the opportunity to attend IU and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Math and Math Education. While in college, Zevon observed and student taught in the Middle School for a few years before graduating. After graduating from IU, he taught as a substitute teacher in the Monroe County Public School System before getting a job in Harmony’s 5th & 6th Grade Class. Outside of school, Zevon is an avid disc golfer, playing other sports, cheering on the Atlanta Braves, hiking, fishing, reading, and spending time with his lovely family. (zadkisson@harmonyschool.org)

Read More About our Elementary Programs
Marty Belcher, liberal arts teacher in middle school, graduated from Indiana University with a BA in English & Social Studies and an MA in Education. Marty has taught at Harmony for over 40 years. He was a two-time Eli Lilly Fellow and a recipient of an Indiana Art’s Commission grant. He was acknowledged by Ford Motor Company’s  publication “What One Teacher Can Do” and has received multiple awards from Scholastic Publications for the Harmony School Yearbook. Marty has been active in publishing student work with 70 publications to date. He has also had a 25-year career as an experimental musician with releases on Family Vineyard, Public Eyesore, Urban Deer, and other labels. He is married to Staci Jennings and has one child who teaches English in Taiwan. (mbelcher@harmonyschool.org)
Kelli Debikey, math & science teacher in middle school, is a country girl at heart from Shelbyville, Indiana. She moved to Bloomington to go to school at IU to study secondary education in mathematics. She quickly discovered that Bloomington and Harmony were places she could call home. Kelli loves to cook, travel and overall just loves life. (kdebikey@harmonyschool.org)
Ursina Hastings-Heinz teaches Science and Art and integrates the two often, in classes such as: Out of the Earth – into the Fire; From Pinhole to Digital; and Color and Light. She spent time doing research and living with the Lacandones in the rainforest in Chiapas, is a native of Switzerland, and was amazed when Amish in northern Indiana spoke her mother tongue. Ursina holds a BFA from Indiana University and lives here in Bloomington with her husband and daughter. (uhastingsheinz@harmonyschool.org)
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Read More About Our Middle School Program
Alan Boucher, math teacher, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where he attended and graduated from St. Francis DeSales High School in 2002. He went on to the University of Kentucky and received his B.S. in Mathematics in 2006 and M.A. in Mathematics in 2008. While pursuing his M.A. he taught multiple classes as a teaching assistant, mostly algebra or calculus. He then moved to Bloomington, Indiana in August of 2008 with his fiancée, now wife, Katie. He worked at Indiana University tutoring student athletes in math. In June 2009, he started a Transition to Teaching program at Indiana University. In April, 2010, he received his Indiana teaching license for high school and middle school mathematics and was subsequently hired at Harmony School. In 2015, he and his wife moved to Greenwood, Indiana where he lives currently. In his spare time, Alan likes woodworking, watching animated TV and movies, and making unnecessary repairs to his house. Alan is passionate about mathematics and physics and will talk to anyone about these topics. (aboucher@harmonyschool.org)

Dr. Erica Bruce, science teacher, is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but moved to Bloomington in 2002 to attend Indiana University, where she received two degrees: a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2006, and a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (with a focus on plant behavior and development) in 2016. Over the course of her graduate studies, Erica presented research at numerous scientific conferences, both nationally and internationally, and has published manuscripts on the nutrient foraging capabilities of wild strawberries in Frontiers in Plant Science, and Plant and Soil. She is an active member of the American Physiological Society and the Ecological Society of America.

In her (very limited) spare time, Erica enjoys spending her days with her husband Andy, two sons (George and Archie), and dogs. She is an avid geocacher, who enjoys long distance hiking and swimming, canoeing and other water sports.  Due to her immense love of food science, she enjoys honing her skills in the kitchen, cooking and baking; for the past several years, she has been developing her own cookbook. Erica has grand plans of one day being a contestant on the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament. (ebruce@harmonyschool.org)

Mark Bell, teacher of Digital Media Arts, is from Ontario Canada. He moved to Bloomington in 2007. After gaining a masters at IU, Mark joined the Harmony family in 2014. He teaches Digital Media Arts. He publishes comics, podcasts and makes music in his spare time. (mbell@harmonyschool.org)

Kara Duval-Fowler has been helping Harmony for several years, first as an observer in the 5th/6th class room, then as a student teacher, then as the high school math teacher in 2019, filling in for Alan. Kara is from Seattle, Washington. She first came to Bloomington to attend IU, where she studied middle school math education and voice performance at the Jacob’s School. Kara is an environmentalist and works to incorporate her beliefs into her diet, her hobbies, and her curriculum. In her spare time, Kara loves hiking, board games, and baking. 

Doris Loayza teaches Spanish at Harmony. She is an educator and multimedia storyteller specializing in Spanish and Quechua language and culture from her native Peru. She moved to Bloomington in 2017 and began teaching Spanish at Harmony School in 2018. She also works as a program assistant for The Language Conservancy, which works on Native American languages. Doris has worked on many documentaries from Latin America as a translator and production assistant and even directed her own short film about an Ecuadorian immigrant in NYC. Some of Doris’s favorite things about Bloomington include bicycling, gardening, and the farmers market. Ask her about trying “chicha morada,” purple corn drink from Peru! (dloayza@harmonyschool.org)
Sallyann Murphey teaches history, politics and media studies, and serves as the High School Coordinator and the Senior Advisor at Harmony. She began her first career as a journalist and writer at the age of 23, when she joined the British Broadcasting Corporation as its then-youngest producer. In 1985, she came to America to establish the news operation for “Good Morning Britain,” the sister program to “Good Morning America,” which brought her to New York where she met her husband, photographer Greg Murphey. The couple eventually moved to Chicago, his hometown, where their daughter, Charley, was born in 1987. Sallyann continued to work as an investigative journalist for a number of publications including the London Observer, IPC Magazines, The Chicago Times Magazine and The Utne Reader – until 1991, when the family moved to a farm in Brown County, Indiana. This change of circumstance gave rise to Sallyann’s first book, Bean Blossom Dreams: A City Family’s Search for a Simple Country Life (Hearst Books, 1994). Four books have followed, including The Zen of Food: A Philosophy of Nourishment (Berkley Books, 1998), and The Metcalfe Family Album: Six Generations of Traditions and Memories (Chronicle Books, 2000). An updated edition of Bean Blossom Dreams was published by Indiana University Press in 2009. Sallyann – who holds a B.A. (Hons) in Politics and Modern History – is a recipient of the “Realizing the Dream Award” from the Independent Colleges of Indiana for inspiring students to expand their educational horizons. (smurphey@harmonyschool.org)

Jamie Schmiechen teaches English and Theater. He grew up in San Francisco and attended Lick-Wilmerding high school where he learned to rock climb and make things out of wood. In 1997 he received his B.A. in English and Film-Studies from Colorado College, a small school in Colorado Springs. He lived in Austin, TX and built houses for a year before returning home where he taught Language Arts in San Francisco public schools. He moved to Bloomington in 2006 with his wife Sarah to raise kids and tomatoes. The kids, Jacob and Hannah, turned out well. He hopes to imbue his students with an appreciation of vivid stories, passionate arguments and homemade food. (jschmiechen@harmonyschool.org)

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Read More About Our High School Program
Steve (Roc) Bonchek, Executive Director, is a founder of Harmony School. He has served as a director of Harmony School since its founding in 1974. He has been serving as Executive Director of Harmony Education Center since its founding in 1990. Steve’s wife, Barb, also helped to start Harmony and worked here until retiring in 2014. Steve and Barb’s daughter, Fern, graduated from Harmony in 1993 and in 2000 started her own non-profit organization in Bloomington, People and Animal Learning Services (PALS), a therapeutic riding program. Steve, Barb, and Fern, along with several other Harmony students, started Rhino’s Youth Center in 1990. From 1974 to 1979, he also taught Social Studies at Harmony’s high school. Steve grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1967. In 1971 Steve received his B.A. in the Independent Learning Program with a concentration on History and Creative Writing. In 1978, he received his Masters in Alternative Education from Indiana University. His experience as one of the first graduates of Indiana University’s Independent Learning Program contributed greatly to his ideas for Harmony School. In 1978, he was appointed by Governor Otis Bowen to a Managing Council for State-Wide Job Training Programs. From 1980-82, he served as Chairperson of the Youth Subcommittee for the Council. From 1988 to 1991, he sat on the National Board of the National Coalition for Alternative Community Schools from 1989-91 as Treasurer. In 1989, Steve was an original member of the Community Alliance for Lifelong Learning, a Bloomington Chamber of Commerce initiative that brings together leaders from business, education and government, and remained a member until 2000. In 1991, Governor Evan Bayh appointed Steve to the Indiana 2000 steering committee. In 1995, Steve was one of the founders of the National Center for Independent School Renewal. (roc@harmonyschool.org)
Natalie Bouse, Operations Director, is a Harmony parent and has worked at Harmony since 2013. She has over 15 years experience working in both the public and private sectors, working with children and families, and leading training and development initiatives. Natalie and her husband, Ash, have two children, Jackson and Amelia. Family time is usually full of baseball, movies, and cooking up delicious meals. (harmonyoffice@harmonyschool.org)
Fern Goodman, Development Director, is a native of Bloomington and has been a part of the Harmony family since she was born, the co-founders of Harmony are her parents (Roc & Barb Bonchek). As a 1993 graduate of Harmony High School, Fern feels that Harmony helped her develop the tools that she needs to be a productive and contributing member of the community. Fern has a B.A. degree in Psychology with a specialization in Human & Animal Interactions. She was the founder of People & Animal Learning Services (PALS) where she was the Executive Director for 16 years. Fern has extensive experience with fundraising, development and financial management. She is an adjunct instructor at Indiana University School of Public Health (formally HPER) and a 2010 graduate of Leadership Bloomington-Monroe County (LBMC). When not working Fern enjoys spending time with her husband – Josh and children – Jude, Nate and Katie as well as exploring the outdoors and spending time with her animals. (fern@harmonyschool.org)
John Soots, Administrative Director, from Indianapolis, Indiana, where he lived until moving to Bloomington in 1994 as a student in the IU GROUPS program. Besides Indiana, he has lived in Portland, Oregon and Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Before finishing his degree in design in 2008, John worked in a variety of fields and jobs including photogrammetrist, graphic designer, aircraft deicer, vehicle recovery agent, and glass caster. John enjoys building things, restoring things, designing things, composing music, exercise, and travel when spending time outside of Harmony. (jsoots@harmonyschool.org)
Tonya Walden, Development Coordinator, has been part of the Harmony family since 2009 when her son started in the Early Childhood Program. Since that time, her daughter has also started school here, and her husband is on the Technology Committee. In 2015, she took on the role of Development Coordinator and supports the school by coordinating events and fundraisers, performing clerical duties, and facilitating the school’s usage of the Federal Work Study program. Tonya studied Nonprofit Management at Indiana University. She enjoys spending time with her family, crocheting, geocaching, and playing board games. (twalden@harmonyschool.org)
Mandy Skinner, Alumni Coordinator, is working with Harmony to develop our alumni network, including updating our alumni database, event planning, newsletters, and fundraising efforts. Mandy first lived in Bloomington from 1999-2006, and graduated from IU in 2003. She moved back to Bloomington in 2017 with her husband and son after living in eastern Maine for several years, and traveling a lot before that. In Maine she worked at a rural community center and retreat space, a summer school for kids of migrant workers during the blueberry harvest, and an activist arts collective. Mandy has a background in theater, visual arts, cultural ecology, education, and community organizing. She has worked in and out of schools, at camps, and as a childcare provider with kids of all ages; traveled widely as a touring educator and facilitator, and has traveled, studied, and worked in Latin America. When she’s not at Harmony you might find her at her other part-time job, in the office at the Unitarian Universalist Church. (alumni@harmonyschool.org)

NSRF logo

The National School Reform Faculty organization is a professional development initiative of the Harmony Education Center in Bloomington, Indiana. NSRF trains educators around the world to use protocols and activities in the development of Critical Friends Group® work which seeks to empower educators to create meaningful learning experiences for all, by collaborating effectively in reflective democratic communities that foster educational equity and social justice.

Michele Mattoon, NSRF Director, works with schools and national facilitators across the country and overseas to implement Critical Friends Trainings, strategic planning sessions and other work relating to collaborative learning. Michele has been a facilitator with NSRF for 9 years and enjoys facilitating trainings for educators interested becoming coaches for Critical Friends Groups. Michele also facilitates strategic planning sessions for educational and business groups.Before becoming director for NSRF, Michele taught school at Harmony for 26 years. She was awarded the Hoosier Educator Award in 2000 and the Dorothy Johnson Award for Excellence in Education of Young Children in 2001. During her teaching years, Michele created and developed a conflict resolution, mediation, and life skills program and still works with schools to transform their cultures into ones of peace, mutual support, and collaborative learning. She has been trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and teaches adults and students how to acquire a greater peace of mind and focus. (michele@nsrfharmony.org)
Luci McKean, Assistant Director of NSRF, helps develop new materials and service lines for the NSRF and manages the operational staff and independent contractors for us. As an International Facilitator of Critical Friends Group work, she helps train educators and others in collaboration skills, belonging mindset, and running meetings more efficiently and effectively. Luci is also the curator of TEDxBloomington, a freelance writer and presentation consultant, Lotus Festival committee member, resident of Bloomington since 1986, and the parent of two Harmony students. (luci@nsrfharmony.org)
Rachel Hartley-Smith, NSRF Office Coordinator, supports the NSRF office as well as its members, coaches, and facilitators through event planning, communications, website support and development, marketing, and designing and developing materials. Rachel is also an adjunct online instructor for college-level composition and creative writing courses for College of DuPage. She is an Indiana Master Naturalist, and loves to photograph, write, and hike.  She has graduate degrees from Ball State University in Digital Storytelling and Creative Writing, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. She has a child at Harmony in High School. (rachel@nsrfharmony.org)
Ashley Wright, NSRF Administrative Assistant, works in the NSRF office to assist by managing memberships, requests for supplies and materials, website support, providing logistics support for CFG trainings and clerical support. She graduated in 2018 from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and has a daughter named Zoey. She is an aspiring fiction writer and avid adventurer, loves Disney movies, poetry, and all things super spicy. (ashley@nsrfharmony.org)
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Visit The NSRF Website!

Harmony School is upheld by talented and dynamic faculty and staff that come together to create an open, welcoming community and to cultivate a unique, creative, and flexible environment for students. We work collaboratively with our students to achieve outstanding results.

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