Calyx Mentor Team

The term “mentor" speaks to Calyx’s progressive educational pedagogy. We understand education to be a process of drawing out the learner through responsive facilitation of learning experiences. Rather than filling a learner with knowledge, we help guide them through a process of inquiry, reflection, critical thinking and discovery so that they can construct knowledge from within and, ultimately, embody that knowledge in a deep and meaningful way. Our mentoring team combines more than four decades of experience facilitating learning and working with children in different educational settings. They also bring independent expertise in a variety of fields.



Calyx Director & Lead Mentor, Human Rights Lawyer, Writer, Documentary Filmmaker

Lisa was schooled in public schools in Milwaukee, WI, during a time of exciting experiments in public school education that emerged out of state-mandated desegregation. The daughter of a special education teacher, Lisa walked the picket line as a 6-year-old, assisted in her mom’s class when she was still in school herself, and mentored “at risk” youth when she was in college, studying literature and literary criticism. As a young adult, she worked as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence before buying a one-way ticket to Calcutta, India, to work with Mother Theresa and the children at the Mother Theresa orphanage Shishu Bhavan.


This path eventually led her to law school, where she sought to become a more effective advocate for women and for children, and to two decades of human rights work internationally on issues of violence against women, children’s rights, and armed conflict. In addition to her work with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, Lisa has woven her passion for the arts into her human rights work through her writing, documentary filmmaking and arts activism.


After living and working in Sri Lanka for 13 years, Lisa and her then 2-year-old daughter Aaliyah returned to Whidbey Island, where Lisa had spent many formative summers as a child running wild on her Aunt and Uncle’s homestead in Greenbank and at her grandparents’ home on Bush Point. Lisa and Aaliyah hadn’t planned on staying, but found the peace and healing powers of the earth so strong on Whidbey that they did.


The inspiration for Calyx grew out of Lisa’s work as a human rights lawyer and advocate for children, her questions about the substance of the right to education, her experience as a mother, aunty and mentor, her strong sense of responsibility to children and to the earth, and a chance meeting and enduring friendship with Whidbey Island artist and naturalist – Esther James – who became a mentor to Lisa.


Lisa believes we desperately need new models of education: ones that better serve children, communities and the earth, and ones that nurture the next generation of environmental and social justice leaders. She believes that Calyx is such a model.



Lead Mentor, Teaching Artist, Visual Artist, Social Justice Activist

Lauren’s creative practice has evolved over her life; she works professionally as a collaborative visual artist and teaching artist working with people of all ages and communities. Lauren is inspired by nature, as a child spending many hours with her older brother going on long adventures exploring the land in the many places they lived. 


Lauren’s work is grounded in the power of learning by doing. In her role as a mentor, she considers herself a “bridge,” extending her hand to support each individual’s way of being and seeing. She works with many arts education organizations in the Pacific Northwest and is a founding member and master teaching artist with Arts Corps, an innovative and nationally recognized arts education program in Seattle. A passionate collaborator, Lauren works with her husband Donald Green photographer and mixed–media artist they live on Whidbey Island, where she offers private lessons, classes and workshops, and currently works with Whidbey Children’s Theater teaching drawingLAB  and artLAB in collaboration with visual artist Melissa Koch.



Lead Mentor, Reading Specialist

Bio coming soon



Calyx Administrator & Support Mentor, Systems Thinker, Environmental Educator, Social Justice Activist

Maisie started teaching experiential education as a classroom aid for twice exceptional students at age nine and has been immersed in authentic learning, project-based education and program development ever since. In rural and urban areas around the globe, Maisie has created and instructed environmental educational programming, conducted environmental research, implemented entrepreneurial programs and events, contributed to her community, ensured no one felt left out, and coordinated and facilitated experiential adventures, community gardens, public workshops, educational fairs and symposiums, and many a fundraiser.

Maisie is dedicated to connecting people to one another and to earth systems through community outdoor learning experiences. She sees nature connection as a key to unlocking our ability to be in right relationship with ourselves, each other, and the earth.



Special Projects Mentor, Naturalist, Geologist

Caveman is a naturalist mentor, a member of the core team at Calyx Community Arts School, and the Founder and Director of Terra-Forma Education. Inspired by our earliest ancestors, Caveman believes in a deeply-connected, earth centered approach to education, nurtured by the wisdom of the elders, enlivened through stories and adventures, guided by children’s quest for meaning, and answering the earth’s call. After running eight weeks of summer camp in and around Seattle each summer, Caveman enjoys the pace of Whidbey Island during Calyx’s school-year program.


Bryn McAfee

Mentor, Naturalist, Song-Carrier, Writer, Peace Activist

After working for many years as a peace activist in the Bay Area, Bryn moved to Whidbey Island in 2013 in search of a life more deeply connected with the living landscape… and has never looked back. A painter, writer, song-carrier, and deep listener to the more-than-human world, Bryn is inspired to connect herself and others with the thrumming, healing web of life through stillness, play, spontaneous ritual and creative expression. A graduate of the Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake Outdoor School, with a BA in Religious Studies from Naropa University, Bryn draws inspiration from the teachings of Bill Plotkin and Jon Young. She is continually amazed and humbled by the support and guidance of the natural world in the developmental process, whatever one’s age. 

Board of Directors

Calyx functions under the fiscal umbrella of Service, Education & Adventure (SEA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2008. SEA's sole program is Calyx which has the board's full support. Learn more about SEA.