John grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and attended Clemson University as more than 40 other family members before him had done. He studied Biology and Anthropology with dreams of becoming a zookeeper. After graduating, he set out for California where he had been offered a summer internship with the Performing Animal Welfare Society which operates a 2,500 acre private elephant sanctuary for victims of the animal trade.
Not wanting to head home after the internship, he made his way to Corvallis, Oregon to further study Zoology. He concurrently worked at the local food coop and as a chef at the only vegetarian restaurant in town. It was while serving in these positions that he developed a love for cooking and excellent ingredients. After a brief stint at Brad’s World Reptiles, a private herpetology collection of more than 2,000 exotic snakes, lizards and turtles, his passions turned to working with adolescent primates of the Homo sapiens variety.
John earned his Master of Arts in Teaching at Western Oregon University. To help pay for the degree, he sustainably collected small mountains of Golden Chanterelles while climbing actual mountains with his dog. He also worked with two prominent organic farms, Gathering Together Farms and Denison Organic Farms, running their farmers’ market booths. The markets were held in locations from Corvallis to Beaverton and from Portland to Hillsdale and exposed John to even more modes of self-sustainability. After graduating from Western Oregon, he spent a year as a beekeeper before moving to Portland and starting his teaching career as a high school science teacher.
It was not long before John’s girlfriend, Haley, also pursued graduate school and, to his chagrin, enrolled in the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where she studied Sustainable Urban and Environmental Planning. It was while teaching here that John began to think about administration. Though he knew he was having a positive impact on his science students as well as those he took abroad on international trips, he desired to make a bigger impact. This desire became a reality when they moved back to Oregon, got married and settled down in Medford. While John kept working as a science teacher, he also pursued his administrative license at Southern Oregon University. Haley landed her dream job as the Parks Planner for the City of Medford, cementing their roots in the area.
John is very excited to begin this next chapter of his life. Madrone Trail is exactly the type of school he envisioned ending up when he first enrolled at SOU. He looks forward to getting to know the children, staff, parents and the Waldorf approach to education. When he isn’t at school, he is often riding bikes with his wife, road tripping to various hot springs, or romping around in the woods looking for delectable mushrooms to cook or clone for later cultivation.
Cori Royer was born and raised in San Diego, California before going off to college at the University of California, Santa Cruz. There she graduated with a degree in Art with a concentration in Photography and a minor in Education. She continued her migration north, getting her teaching credential at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. After graduation, she spent two years in the Straight Up! AmeriCorps program, assigned to a local school where she worked one on one with students in the classroom, ran organized games at recess, and helped at the after school program.
During that time she met her future husband, and after finishing the program moved with him to a tiny town near Garberville, California, deep in the redwood forest. There she got a job at a small, rural, private Waldorf-inspired school as a class teacher in a mixed grade classroom. The school was off grid and had solar power, a back-up generator, composting toilets, no cell service, and a wood stove in each of the two classrooms at the school. She would have to chop kindling and start a fire each morning in winter before the children arrived. She also taught all the subjects, since there were no specialty teachers other than a volunteer parent to teach Spanish. She taught there three years before getting married and moving to the Rogue Valley to be closer to her husband’s family.
In 2011, Cori came to Madrone Trail as the Games teacher when her daughter was 10 months old. A few years later she had her son, and after a brief maternity leave babywore him while teaching the rest of the school year. In June of 2018, she took over as Interim Director and is now currently serving in that capacity for the near future.
In her free time, Cori enjoys hiking in the forest, knitting, making quilts, reading, and spending time with her family.