Karl Zierhut, Head of School
2020-21 will mark Mr. Karl’s 26th year in the field of education. During this time, he has enjoyed working in diverse school settings, both large and small, private and public.
Mr. Karl began his career at the high school level as an educator both in the classroom and on the football field. He coached football and completed his student teaching at Mountain View High School, while earning his California State Clear Credential from San Jose State University. From there, he enjoyed teaching and coaching at the high school level at Valencia and Simi Valley High Schools in southern California.
2005 brought a move to El Dorado Hills and a new career in private education, continuing as a classroom teacher and Head Football Coach. From 2008-2014 Karl worked in high school and middle school administration with a 13 month break in those years during which he relocated to Melbourne, Australia with his family. While in Australia, Mr. Karl earned his MBA from the University of LaTrobe.
Mr. Karl sees this upcoming school year as a unique opportunity to provide leadership as Rising Sun Montessori School continues to grow significantly. He and his family look forward to watching our school community grow and flourish in the years ahead.
In his spare time, he enjoys riding just about anything with handlebars, cooking, cross-training and spending time with friends and family.
Hana Arbuckle, Lead Teacher
Ms. Hana’s teaching career began in high school when she decided to volunteer as a student teacher in her community’s local Head Start preschool program. She immediately fell in love with teaching and decided to pursue a career in the field of education. After high school, she attended San Joaquin Delta College and received her A.A in liberal studies along with her early childhood education certificate. She then moved on to attend California State University, graduating with a B.A in liberal studies and a teaching credential with authorizations in English, science, and social science.
Ms. Hana has taught Kindergarten in a private Montessori school, and was an elementary teacher in a public school. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for new ways to enhance her teaching practices. It is her dream to one day earn a Ph.D. in education.
Ms. Hana and her husband met when they were 13 years old at Sacramento Raceway where they used to race dirt bikes against one another. They have been inseparable since. Together they have two young children and a beautiful little farm with a garden and plenty of animals. As Hana says, “In our house, family is everything. After all, the adventure of life just wouldn’t be the same without their continued love and support!”
Linda Riek, Lead Teacher
Ms. Linda graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Graphic Design and worked in the illustration field for five years. After her three children were born, she was grateful to be a stay at home mom. When her youngest child started Kindergarten, so did she, and she has been teaching ever since.
Linda’s very first teaching experience was in her own neighborhood, as the home school teacher for six children who had a variety of special needs. She says, “They taught me so much more that I taught them”. The lessons Ms. Linda learned still inspire her today.
Linda has a multiple subject teaching credential from Chapman University, and a preschool/Kindergarten Montessori Diploma. She is currently working on having bilingual authorization attached to her credential.
Ms. Linda and her husband have two sons and one daughter. It was a very busy year in 2017, when both of their sons got married within 3 months of each other.
Teaching is her passion, but Linda also enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, and making fancy desserts that look like the picture.
Jeff Ritchie, Lead Teacher
Mr. Jeff graduated from California State University Sacramento with a Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts. He has a California Teaching Credential with a supplementary authorization to teach Earth Science, and a Montessori Teaching Certificate for lower elementary (6-9 year olds). Mr. Jeff has been teaching for over ten years and has taught everything from Kindergarten to 8th grade. The lower grade levels are still his favorite age group to teach and this will be his 7th year teaching them at RSMS.
Mr. Jeff has been married for 25 years and has two children, Emma and Connor. Mr. Jeff was born and raised in the Los Angeles area before settling down in El Dorado Hills.
Mr. Jeff enjoys travel; he as been to 11 countries and hopes to add to that list every year. He also enjoys working on his house. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time outdoors and working with computers. He enjoys teaching children reading, math and how to explore the world around them. He looks forward to many more adventures here at Rising Sun Montessori School.
Susie Carrillo, Lead Teacher
Amanda Crawford, Lead Teacher
Amy Lewis, Lead Teacher
Ms. Amy’s career in education began with a single Early Childhood Education (ECE) class shortly after her first child was born. Realizing she had discovered her passion, she quickly enrolled in every ECE class available and soon earned her Site Supervisor permit to begin working regularly with young students. Ms. Amy loves children and their innate desire to learn!
A lifelong learner herself, Ms. Amy is always creating new opportunities to learn and grow both in and outside the classroom. She continues to expand her understanding of how children learn and the best ways to guide the whole child through the process. As part of her growth, she earned her Master’s degree in Education, and then her teaching certification. She has now been in the field of education for twelve years and has taught classrooms from preschool to 7th grade in public and private schools. By interacting with learners across that range, she believes that students best reach their full potential when teachers create an environment of safety, encouragement, and joy while facilitating knowledge acquisition. In other words, when children are safe and happy, learning comes naturally.
Ms. Amy met her husband at a church dance in Sacramento when she bumped into him—literally. Since that event, laughter has always graced their marriage and family life. They have been married for twenty years and have a beautiful family. In their home, “love comes first,” and they strive to show their love in as many ways as possible.
Amber Miller, Language Arts Teacher
Ms. Amber was born in southern California but called Iowa her home for most of her life. She attended The University of Iowa and has a BA in Sociology and Education. After graduating from The University of Iowa she moved to North Carolina where she began her teaching career. She has taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts since 2010. She received her Masters in Education from East Carolina University in 2015.
Ms. Amber loves to travel. She has been to many countries in Central America, Europe and Asia. She spent last year teaching in China. She moved back to California with her husband to be closer to family.
Ms. Amber loves to read, to run, and to spend time with family and friends. But most importantly, she loves teaching and being around children.
Mona Lisa Coburn, Program Specialist/Special Education Teacher
Mona Lisa has a M.S. degree in Special Education. She is a Program Specialist/Special Education Teacher for TK through 8th grade. Mona Lisa has over seven years of experience with Montessori. She has been a teacher for 20 years!
Deborah Dymont, Assistant Teacher
Ms. Deb has been a resident of El Dorado Hills for over 15 years. She’s returning for her fifth year at Rising Sun as a Teacher’s Assistant. Her prior experience before joining our team included working as a Yard Supervisor at the Rescue Union School District, where she also volunteered regularly in the classroom. She loves working with children, watching them learn and grow.
Ms. Deb and her husband have three boys, with two in college, and a senior at Oak Ridge HS. She loves spending quality time with her family: riding, traveling, movies, and school activities.
She’s looking forward to another fun year at Rising Sun, and is excited to be part of this great community.
Margarita Thomas, Assistant Teacher
Ms. Maggie attended Fresno Pacific University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. For the past six years she has had the opportunity to work with children as a teacher assistant, preschool teacher, and an early Head Start teacher.
Ms. Maggie is a “military wife” and has been married to her husband for over 7 years. Two years ago they decided to put down roots in Pollock Pines. They have two energetic kids, Ella and Alexander. They love spending time together as a family, enjoying the outdoors.
Ms. Maggie welcomes the opportunity to teach at Rising Sun and is excited about working with your children this school year.
Stacey Gregersen, Science Teacher
Ms. Stacey earned a bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After a career in the wine industry, she moved to El Dorado Hills with her husband and raised her 2 boys. As the boys were growing up, she was involved with their school and various sports teams. She was a “professor” for Mad Science and a children’s Director for Lakehills Church. When Rising Sun Montessori opened in 2014, she was in charge of the extended day program and eventually started subbing in the classroom. When the opportunity for a Teaching assistant job was offered, she jumped at the chance to be part of this wonderful school. Ms. Stacey leads the middle school science program at RSMS.
She enjoys gardening, home improvement projects, and spending time with her family.
Sumita Ghorpade, Assistant Teacher
Sumita earned a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from India. She has completed early childhood Montessori education from the Bay Area. Sumita has been working with Rising Sun Montessori school since August 2018. She loves working in the positive and enthusiastic environment of RSMS. Sumita has over 5 years of experience in teaching.
Sumita fell in love with the Montessori style of teaching when her son started his preschool education over 10 years ago. She is a very passionate early childhood teacher and loves to work with children and see them grow.
Sumita has been married for over 15 years and has 2 cheerful kids. She enjoys music, dancing, reading, cooking and spending time with family.
Jessica was born and raised in Placerville, Ca. After graduating high school Jessica moved to colorful Colorado with her high school sweetheart Daniel. The two met in middle school and have been inseparable ever since!
During their time in Colorado the two married and were blessed with two beautiful daughters!
Jessica is driven to help students overcome barriers that impact learning. She has taught in various classroom settings including leading a Montessori primary classroom, co-teaching kindergarten, and co-teaching in a lower and upper elementary classroom. She has served in various school improvement teams and served as a director/Part-Owner of a Montessori school. In total she brings 14 years of Montessori teaching experience.
Jessica and her family were given some life changing news and without hesitation the Freeman family moved back home.
Cathy Hallman, Assistant Teacher
Risha Karnawat, Assistant Teacher
Jenn Short, Administrative Assistant
Ms. Jenn grew up in Massachusetts where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. In addition she also received her teaching credential. Shortly after graduating, she moved to San Diego, CA, where she met her husband. After a couple years, they moved north to his home town in the bay area. Two dogs, 2 kids and 8 years later, they relocated to El Dorado Hills with their twin daughters, Samantha and Casey. They love spending time with family and friends, traveling, and getting out to enjoy all our beautiful area has to offer.
Ms. Jenn has enjoyed teaching K-5th grade in elementary schools for eight years; as a substitute teacher, reading and math tutor, and Montessori Teacher Assistant. After two rewarding years as an Assistant Teacher here at RSMS, she made the switch to Administrative Assistant supporting not only students, but our entire RSMS community.
Robin Zierhut, Curriculum Coordinator
Ms. Robin has Montessori teaching certifications in Early Childhood (3-6) and Elementary (6-12) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Education Administration. Robin is currently enrolled in a Master’s program to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has been teaching children and designing curriculum for over twenty years. At a private Montessori School in Folsom, where she was a teacher and the director, Ms. Robin not only taught all grades from PreK-5, she also conducted professional development training with the teaching staff, sharing her knowledge of Montessori best practices to ensure a school-wide authentic model.
Ms. Robin is a board member and Chief Executive Officer of a local behavioral therapy company, which she co-founded in 2006. She has vast experience serving children with diverse needs and helping families gain access to therapy services that enable their children to be contributing members of their community.
As an original founding member of Rising Sun Montessori School, Ms. Robin continues to provide her vast knowledge and support to the classrooms, teachers, students and families by ensuring RSMS provides authentic, meaningful Montessori education to all students.