History

The Madrone Trail Public Charter School is a public charter K-8 school that has been open in the Medford, Oregon school district since September 2007.

The plan set out by the founders of this school was to create a kindergarten through 8th grade school. Madrone Trail started as a kindergarten through second grade school located in very small quarters near the YMCA.

In the Fall of 2010 MTPCS moved into its new campus. The purchase of the facility was made possible by a generous contribution and loan provided by a benefactor. Ongoing support of donations of work and funds by parents and community members has enabled Madrone Trail to grow and thrive.

Each year, we have added a grade, and in 2013 reached our full kindergarten through 8th grade school size.

As a public charter school, there is no tuition and the school is open to anyone residing in Oregon. If demand exceeds spaces, preference is given to students residing within the Medford School district.

Madrone Trail adapts Waldorf educational methods to public education. The school features parent and community participation at all levels, including governance.

At Madrone Trail, movement and the arts are not add-ons to a predominately cognitive approach, but are integrated fully into all aspects of teaching. The inclusion of heart and hands is more than a technique for enlivening academic instruction. In a three-fold approach, the heart and the will, as well as the head, are the subjects of educational endeavor. In other words, the arts are not merely a means to an end– improved academic performance-but an end in themselves.

To educate the feelings is to edify and refine the emotions so that they are sensitive and responsive to beauty, truth, and goodness.

To educate the will is to build a foundation of inner strength leading to a life of conviction and purpose.

Board of Directors

Monica Rathjen – President
Steve Farrington – Secretary
Erik Johnsen – Treasurer
Gesine Abraham
William Mieger
Katie Stumpff

If you have questions or are interested in serving on the board email us here.

View Policies, Meetings & Agendas
Read all grades teachers bios here by selecting a grade or subject.

Staff

Executive Director

John Bissey

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.

Interim Director

Cori Royer

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.

Interventionist

Daena Ross

Daena grew up in Burbank, California. She has always loved movement, folklore, poetry, cooking, gardening and all of the creative arts. She currently sings with the Southern Oregon Threshold Choir and the Rogue Valley Peace Choir.

Daena started working as a math tutor in High School at the request of her teachers, and then worked as a kindergarten assistant while attending UCSB. She completed her BA at Cal State University, Northridge studying Anthropology with the renowned folklorist Beth Hawes Lomax, and completing a minor in psychology. Her first full time job was at a home for children where she taught music, movement, and arts and crafts; and met her husband. After having three children, she became an ordained minister of the Universal Worship, a nondenominational practice that honors wisdom traditions from around the world, and a leader of The Dances of Universal Peace. In addition, she became an award-winning professional textile artisan making children’s clothes.

Daena completed her Waldorf Teacher Training in 1984 which included training for the Extra Lesson with Audrey McAllen. She met Jaimen McMillan, and completed the Level I Spacial Dynamics, and Level II Spacial Dynamics Movement Therapy trainings. She was asked to develop the Remedial Education Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College (RSC), based on the Extra Lesson, and taught remedial education, movement, and form drawing to teachers and students for 15 years at RSC, as well as giving lectures and workshops at local, national, and international conferences.  Completing her State Credential at Chapman University, she worked as an Educational Specialist at a public home school charter for 9 years while she continued her work with RSC, mentoring Waldorf teachers, and doing support work with Waldorf students. During her 35+ years in Waldorf, she has served as Kindergarten, Class, Handwork, Music, PE, Form Drawing, and Support teacher. She greatly enjoys working with students with learning challenges, helping them release blocks, and build confidence and learning skills.