All the staff and volunteers at Grassroots are available to help kids get what they need. We also have specialties that we particularly like to share. Here are some of our skills and the times that we are most often at school:
Amy von Chamier
Subjects: Science, High School Prep Writing
Amy spends much of her time at Grassroots in the garden, and is passionate about nature and gardening. She owns a small business, working as gardener for several private estates. She also volunteers with the UF IFAS Leon county extension master gardening program, writing articles about her love of nature for the Tallahassee Democrat. She and her husband, Ash, have a homestead with a vegetable garden, bees, chickens, guinea fowl, a cat and a dog, and even a few peafowl. Her son, Tristan, has attended Grassroots since 2011.
Amy was educated at Grassroots Free School from 1989 through 1997. She spent her days there writing stories, drawing, performing in theater, and reading books. She went on to Sail High School and graduated with honors, earned an Associates in Arts degree from TCC, and studied art at FSU.
She has shown her artwork in numerous venues including 621 gallery, Nectar, Museum of Fine Arts at FSU, Lemoyne center for the visual arts, TCC fine arts gallery.
Amy is inspired by the innate love of learning that children retain into adulthood in the free school setting. “I love to come and learn with the kids. We discover new and old things together. Seeing things through their eyes keeps my own wonder alive.”
Amy also enjoys sharing her love of writing and reading literature, as well as printmaking, painting, crafts, sports and cooking.
Brandi and her family joined Grassroots in 2014 with the enrollment of her daughter, Kathryn. Brandi’s unique way of communicating and connecting with students enables her to help resolve disputes, inspire curiosity, and encourage expression in kids big and small.
Subjects: Art, Newspaper
Jan Alovus (Bookkeeper)
Subjects: High School Prep Math
Subjects: Early and Intermediate Math, Creative Writing, Field Trips
Kim Weinrich (CAO)
Subjects: Early and Intermediate Reading and Writing, Social Studies
Kim joined Grassroots in 2008 when her children Ethan and Devin were enrolled. She began volunteering and then started working part-time. Kim came on as full time staff this year, and her youngest daughter Abigail is attending Grassroots school now too. Kim graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in child development. She has spent the past twenty years working in the Early Childhood field.
Outside of school Kim spends time with her husband Jason, and three children taking care of goats, chickens, rabbits and bees, as well as gardening on their small family farm. Her latest interest is making goat milk cheese and soap. She likes to take time away from the farm when she can going camping with her family.
She is happy to work at a school where each child is treated as an individual and is given the opportunity to explore all of their interests and find what they are passionate about. “I love being part of a school that allows me to truly be involved and spend as much time as I want, learning alongside my children.”
Subjects: Theater, Music
Robin Jackson is a Tallahassee native who grew up surrounded by the Grassroots school and community. For the past six years she has performed with Artspot: Educational Theatre, an international touring company bringing English educational children’s theatre to over fifteen countries. As well as performing, Robin led and developed “Teaching Through Theatre” workshops for teachers and students around the world. She holds an AS in Musical Theatre from Florida School of the Arts as well as a BFA in Musical Theatre from University of Central Florida.
Currently, along with her work at Grassroots Free School, Robin teaches and coordinates Southern Shakespeare Company’s (SSC) after school programs, directs Miccosukee Land Co-op Drama Camp, and has partnered recently with SAIL High School Drama Club on various productions. She is also assistant director and actor with the SSC’s upcoming production of Zombie Shakespeare.
Robin feels strongly about the importance of theatre education, especially the wonderful benefits it can bring to the students at Grassroots. She is thrilled and honored to be back in Tallahassee to share her experience and love with her hometown.
While our core staff have a reasonably predictable schedule, students, parents, and volunteers lead activities too. Upcoming projects are discussed in our weekly meeting (PowWow). Announcements and sign-up sheets are posted on the entry bulletin board. A weekly schedule of activities is passed out on Thursdays and the day’s activities are posted on the entry chalk board. We ring a bell to announce the beginning of most group activities.