Young School

Aristea Fulcher

Classroom Assistant

I am a Preschool Assistant at Summers-Knoll and a SK alumnus. Even when attending Summers-Knoll in middle school I knew it was a special place. I’ve always loved how community-focused the school is, and I am so excited to be able to rejoin this community. It has been amazing to get the opportunity to revisit my old school and see how they’ve continued to improve it. While most schools and school plans haven’t changed for years, Summers-Knoll is constantly changing and evolving to make sure it’s the best version of itself for the student body. I spent several years tutoring and babysitting before working at the school, which ignited my love of teaching and spending time with children. I love getting their perspective of the world, even though they assume I am 55 and have children. No one sees the world quite like a kid. I’m interested in pursuing a career in teaching, but for the time being I’ve been enjoying just spending time with the kids, telling stories, making crafts, and playing games. I enjoy playing guitar, reading, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends in my free time. I love animals and am a pescatarian and cat owner. I have two cats, one which my friend theorizes is stuffed with bean bag filling and the other which is named Rocket Ship. My Favorite color is periwinkle, mostly because I think the name is funny. The color is pretty too though.

Thea Givens

Classroom Assistant

I began at Summers-Knoll two years ago as a classroom assistant and aftercare attendant for the Young 5s and Kindergarten class. I’ve grown up in the Ann Arbor area and have forayed in my personal and academic learning into foreign language (French, Japanese, Spanish), global cultures, and various slices of biology such as medical science, native plants and trees. Anything that has to do with humans or the natural world will often pique my interest. I’m very excited to be working at a school with a Project-Based Learning curriculum. I hope to somehow transmit my zeal for knowledge to those I work with at Summers-Knoll. I began at Summers-Knoll two years ago with one of our kindergarten classes as an aftercare attendant and classroom assistant. I grew up in the Ann Arbor area and have forayed in my personal and academic learning into foreign languages (French, Japanese, Spanish), global cultures, and various slices of biology such as medical science, native plants, and trees. Anything related to humans or the natural world will often pique my interest. I’m very excited to be working at a school with a Project-Based Learning curriculum. I hope to transmit my zeal for knowledge to those I work with at Summers-Knoll.

Valerie Tibbs-Wynne

Preschool Director & Lead Teacher

Valerie Tibbs-Wynne (Val) has been in the field of education, in various capacities and age groups for over 30 years where she combines her passions for both education and art. She previously taught SK Kindergarten (8 years), Preschool (24 years total, two at SK) and piloted the Young 5s program (two years) at Summers-Knoll School. She enjoys the opportunity to create and intermingle the disciplines through project-based/place based learning experiences. She strives to glean her student’s interests and passions in order to drive the learning process and areas of study. For her part, she hopes to consistently provide relevant, participatory, creative, authentic, and hands-on learning experiences with the children she serves through literature, field trips and guest presenters. She also uses her artistic background and passion for artists and literature to enhance the whole curriculum in unique and thoughtful ways. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University.

Valerie has been a presenter at the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children’s Conference (MiAEYC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan on several occasions. She wrote her curriculum, “Andy Warhol Can, Can You?” as a reflection of the actual activities and principles she has applied in her own classrooms throughout her career. She gives tangible examples of how even the most hesitant, “I can’t draw a stick figure” teacher can incorporate art into their Early Education environment (birth-8 years) and across all domains of the learning environment.

Valerie has been married to hubby Jonathan for 39 years and is the proud mom of 4 grown children. All are artistic in their own way and most are educators! She is an even prouder Grandmother to two sets of twins who she spends evenings with just about every single day.

Mary Perrin

Art Teacher

This is my 8th year at Summers-Knoll. My BFA is from EMU, and my skill base in the arts is wide, varied, and always growing. I currently work with an artist’s collective based in Detroit, building themed vehicles, sets, and activities for creative events.

Though I am working towards becoming a certified teacher, I believe my background in the “real world” of Art, as opposed to arts education, is one of the strengths I bring to the school. Many things can only be learned through doing, and I have a lifetime of experience being an artist, working with other artists, and presenting my art to the public. My goal is to teach your children how to teach themselves art so they can continue to learn and grow as artists and creative thinkers long after they leave my classroom. 

Imogen Giles

French and Latin Teacher

I am the Languages teacher at Summers-Knoll and have been an SK faculty member for over a decade. I teach Latin to every class from Preschool to 8th grade and French from 1st to 8th grade. This role in our school life means I am known as Magistra and as Madame, and I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to begin a Latin program for the School when I was first appointed to transform what was a small French program to one that embraces all our students.

I gained my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of London in England. I taught in a number of independent schools before becoming the Head of Classics at Cobham Hall School in Kent and then moving to this country.

I am an ardent reader and love classical music, ballet, drawing, and painting. I also love to travel and look forward to spending each Summer with my family in our home in France.

Colin Coviello

Music Teacher

Colin is very excited for his second year as the music teacher at Summers-Knoll! He recently moved to Michigan with his wife, Ashani, who is in a graduate program at the University of Michigan. Colin is a recent music education graduate with a passion for all things music.

Colin began studying and performing music at a young age when he began violin lessons at 3 years old. Having grown up in a musical household, there was never a time when Colin was not involved in some musical activity. Colin inherited a love for music education from his mother, who is a choral director. He has performed in orchestras, choirs, and musical theater productions which has given him an appreciation for the broad and diverse field of music.
Colin believes there is a place for music in everyone’s life, whether it be listening, performing, creating, or teaching. As a teacher, Colin wants to foster curiosity and appreciation for music no matter what interest his students have. Colin strives to show his students the beautiful and complex art form that is music, and make sure to have some fun along the way.

Clara Ashwood

Young 5s & Kindergarten Teacher

I am an educator of young scholars with a background of 21 years experience in Preschool and Kindergarten. I have an Elementary Education degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a certificate of Education Leadership from Capella University. I have been at Summers-Knoll School for five years. When first visiting Summers-Knoll, my initial thought was that I wanted to teach here because I wished I could have been a Summers-Knoll student. I would have loved it.

I have specific experience teaching Kindergarten in project-based schools, having spent 8 years at Tesseract School and Minnesota Excellence in Learning Academy. At Tesseract School I gained exposure in implementing a project-based approach to education within a team of Kindergarten and First grade teachers. At Minnesota Excellence in Learning Academy I led in creating the Math Curriculum and Personalized Learning Plan program for Kindergarten.

I live in Ann Arbor with my fiancé Matt. I love to run long distance races, bake bread, dance, and travel. This October I’ll be running the Detroit half marathon.

I draw inspiration from the young children to continue to be creative and explorers of the world. I am passionate about sharing to others the importance of the young child.

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