Ellen Kaspi

Ellen Kaspi

Ellen Kaspi, One Community Progressive Educator, Mind/Body Modality Specialist, and Experienced Intentional Community Member: Ellen is a lifelong Progressive Educator. She has a BA in Physical Education from the University of Southern California and a K-12 teaching credential. She earned her MA in Somatic Psychology at Antioch University Seattle and is a member of PEN, the Progressive Educators Network and AERO, the Alternative Education Resource Organization. Ellen has traveled across America and did a Semester at Sea in 1979 where she traveled on the floating university circumnavigating the planet while studying. She has lived in intentional communities in Northern California and Malibu and spent 2 years living on a Kibbutz in Israel.

A young-at-heart and free-spirited woman, Ellen also has a love of children that is obvious both as a mom and a teacher. Everywhere Ellen has travelled, children would see her dancing or doing gymnastics skills and want to play with her or have her teach them. In the spirit of this, Ellen started her own Dance Studio called Everything Movement, functioning as owner, operator, and instructor for 10 years.

Ellen gave birth naturally to 2 kids 2 years apart and sold the dance studio when they were 3 and 5. She looked for an alternative school for them to attend and found The Little School. She ended up teaching there at this private progressive school in Bellevue for 15 years. This provided Ellen the opportunity to teach creative movement, yoga, gymnastics dance, fitness and physical education to 3 to 12 year olds. She had complete control of her curriculum and developed strong connections with her students as she taught them every year from preschool through fifth grade.

Ellen is also passionate about volunteering in her community, believing in the Gandhi quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” She was a Parks and Trails Commissioner for the city of Redmond, WA for 3 years and is presently a member of the Pierce County Art Commission, also in Washington.

 

PROGRESSIVE EDUCATOR – ONE COMMUNITY
August 2016 – Present

Ellen joined the One Community team having been a teacher for many years. Though Physical Education and Creative Movement have been her “subjects,” Ellen believes in integrative curriculum and teaches multiple subjects through movement activities. A “play specialist,” experience has taught Ellen that learning happens best when it is fun and intrinsically motivated. Her studies include Dewey, Montessori, Emilia Reggio, Steiner/Waldorf, and modern-day progressive ideas. She’s taught at preschools, a private school, public schools, and in intentional communities. She brings this lifetime of diverse and progressive educational experience to the One Community Highest Good education program.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

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MEMBER – PIERCE COUNTY ART COMMISSION
October 2015 – Present

Ellen believes acting locally ultimately helps globally. So when she moved to Pierce County, she immediately looked for ways to help her community. As a dancer and free-expression artist, the art in community is very important to her. She discovered an opening in her district on the Art Commission, was selected to the commission, and serves proudly.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Actively participates in conversations and decisions relating to public art in the county

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION SPECIALIST – THE LITTLE SCHOOL
September 1999 – August 2015

For over 15 years, Ellen was the Movement specialist at The Little School, a private progressive school. She taught all the students age 3 to 12 twice a week for half an hour and developed her own lessons, which she could adapt when any emergent curriculum popped up. The Little School being on 12 beautiful acres, Ellen also had the pleasure of frequently incorporating nature into her curriculum.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Created, conducted, and taught a Movement Program for 3 to 6 year olds
  • Created, conducted, and taught a Physical Education program for 6 to 12 year olds
  • Initiated and directed a Jump Rope for Heart annual fundraiser
  • Led Brain Dance for students, parents, and Faculty
  • Participated in professional development programs including Alfe Cohen and Positive Discipline
  • Wrote newsletters and sent articles to parents
  • Participated on the Diversity Committee
  • Trained in Positive Communication

 

MEMBER – CITY OF REDMOND PARKS AND TRAILS COMMISSION
August 2012 – August 2015

Ellen joined the Parks and Trails Commission because she valued the parks in her community and believes in recreation as an integral part of life. After a rigorous interview process, Ellen was selected to be on the commission and served for 3 years. Her highlight of this experience was being a judge with the Mayor at the annual Derby Days Parade.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Actively discussed city-related issues
  • Contributed ideas and time to making the City of Redmond a positive place to reside in
  • Collaborated with the Art Commission to bring art to the parks

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CONSULTANT – HEAD START BODY START
September 2010 – June 2012

The Head Start Program received a grant to provide play equipment and specialists to qualified preschools. Ellen was selected to be a consultant in the Seattle area.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Represented Head Start/Body Start
  • Observed Head Start Preschools
  • Made recommendations to preschools regarding play and movement activities

 

GYMNASTICS INSTRUCTOR – EMERALD CITY GYMNASTICS
January 2000 – June 2004

When Ellen sold her studio she was going to be a full-time mom for awhile. However, when she signed her daughter up for gymnastics at Emerald City, the owner, who knew Ellen’s teaching skills, begged her to work there. She took the position and coached while her kids were at school or when they were at the gym.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Taught preschool and recreational gymnastics to babies through 12-year olds

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OWNER & TEACHER – EVERYTHING MOVEMENT
January 1992 – December 1999

Ellen began Everything Movement while getting her MA in Somatic Psychology from Antioch Seattle. Getting that degree was an additional 2-year learning path that allowed her to experienced many of the mind/body practices including Feldenkrais, Dance Therapy, Play Therapy, Contact Improv, Yoga, Meditation, Alexander Technique, Craniosacral work, Authentic Movement, and more.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Designed and implemented a movement program for all ages
  • Networked with schools and communities

 

OWNER & INSTRUCTOR – GYM JAM MOBILE DANCE AND GYMNASTICS
September 1990 – January 1992

When Ellen moved to Seattle, she decided to take a break from teaching at a school and met a woman with a mobile dance and gymnastics program. Ellen became her business partner and did this until she started her own studio.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Secured contract dance and gymnastics positions at a variety of preschools
  • Designed curriculum for after-school programs
  • Taught after-school dance and gymnastics to 3-15 year olds
  • Coached the high school gymnastics team

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER – MARYMOUNT JUNIOR SCHOOL
September 1985 – January 1990

While at The University of Southern California, Ellen received an opportunity to teach at Marymount while obtaining her teaching certificate. She was a member of the Physical Education department and ran the dance and gymnastics programs.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Taught K-8 Physical Education class
  • Ran after-school dance and gymnastics programs

 

DANCE & GYMNASTICS INSTRUCTOR – KIBBUTZ MISHMAR HA EMEK, ISRAEL
September 1983 – June 1984

In 1983, Ellen wanted to live in a socially acceptable intentional community and moved to a Kibbutz in Israel. While there, she studied Hebrew and worked in the dairy farm. While waiting for the milking machines to work, Ellen would swing on the bars and dance. The head athletic director for the region saw this and invited her to teach. Ellen ran after-school dance and gymnastic programs for 5 to 12 year old girls.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND SKILLS USED

  • Taught after-school dance and gymnastics
  • Won an honorary award for being a connected volunteer to the community

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EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Ellen’s most recent formal education has been participation in the Summer Dance Teacher Institute at Creative Dance Center, Seattle WA in 2014. She was also a participant in 2008, 2004, and 1998. From January 1991 to December 1993 she attended Antioch Seattle, and received her Masters in Psychology Individual Studies with a focus on Somatic Psychology. Before that, from September 1984 to June 1986 she attended the University of Southern California and received her B.A. in Physical Education, Single Subject Teaching Credential K – 12 in Physical Education.

Ellen also has a long list of related achievements. In 2016 she contributed to discussions on Progressive Education as a participant at the National AERO conference in Portland, Oregon. In January of 2015 she worked to establish a local chapter for PEN, assisting the founder of SEAPEN to organize a local PEN network. In October 2015 and October 2013 she was a participant at PEN Progressive Educators Network national conference. In March of 2010, she led a Creative Movement Workshop for faculty at The Little School Professional Development Day. In October 2009, she led a Brain Dance Workshop at the WAHPERD conference in Shoreline, WA. She also led a Brain Dance Workshop at thePNAIS Conference in Portland, Oregon in October of 2006.

Ellen’s professional memberships include SHAPE (previously AAPHERD), WAPHERD, PEN, PNAIS, and AERO.

 

ELLEN’S JOURNEY TO ONE COMMUNITY

I always knew I was different. As a child I was very hyper and, lucky for me, my parents put me in dance and gymnastics. I grew up in the sixties and early seventies and, when I was 20, I did a Semester at Sea around the world. We started in San Francisco and circled South Africa and ended up in Florida. This trip showed me the oneness of our planet and the strange differences in how various countries ran.

I clearly witnessed that we are all humans on a planet and that we share this planet with nature, including animals and plants. After studying economics on the ship and seeing the “raw resources,” I became an environmentally concerned citizen. I had been studying business at USC and I had one summer class left for my degree. Instead of finishing, I packed a backpack and became a hippy of the sixties.

I found people of consciousness scattered all over the place and experienced living in a couple of intentional communities I encountered. None of the communities felt like home, so I went to Israel and lived on a kibbutz. There I worked on the dairy farm and then, when the members discovered my gymnastics skills, I became the gymnastics coach for the region.

I met my ex there and we couldn’t resist returning to Los Angeles in 1984 to see the Olympics. Though scared to return to the states, I’d come to realize my mission was to make the world a better place by giving children values through movement skills. I returned to USC and received my BA and my teaching credential. I worked as a PE teacher in Brentwood for a while then realized the lifestyle was not a good fit for me.

My ex and I packed our dogs and birds in a camper and moved up North to Seattle. Ready to try something different from the traditional school setting, I ventured out and did mobile dance and gymnastics. Then I desired less driving and started a permanent studio. While running the studio I decided to get my MA in Somatic Psychology and also have my 2 kids.

Once my kids were schoolageish, I knew I did not want mainstream education for them and I found The Little School. I sold my business, divorced their dad, took a little break from teaching altogether, ended up subbing at their school, and eventually teaching full-time there. Years passed, my children outgrew The Little School, and are now beautiful independent young adults.

In September of 2014, I decided that that would be my last year at the school. I met a man on an island in Washington and decided to “retire” and move there. I found my dream house facing West on the beach and settled down to pursue my personal mission statement of helping the world by teaching teachers and finding other like-minded people. Facebook led me to One Community and I knew I found a family of likeminded, earth-loving, and creative, caring and thoughtful individuals.

Recently retired from teaching and moved to an island, finding One Community was exactly the next step I was looking for. I am excited to be a part of the new global design working for The Highest Good of All

Ellen Kaspi, One Community Satellite Member