Brenda Sieczkowski

Brenda Sieczkowski grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, but has roamed broadly in pursuit of various degrees: a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida (Gainesville), and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah, ABD (Salt Lake City), which she recently returned to after taking time off to work full-time with chronically homeless individuals and street youth. The author of poems and creative essays in a wide variety of literary journals and magazines, she has published two chapbooks, Wonder Girl in Monster Land and Fallout & Flotation Devices. Like Oysters Observing the Sun, a full-length poetry collection, was published by Black Lawrence Press. In her free time, Brenda enjoys hiking, laying soccer, exploring abandoned amusement parks, and attempting to grow sundry succulents.

Sharon Beecroft

Sharon spent her childhood in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington) collecting seashells and climbing trees. Nearly 14 years ago she moved to Utah to study and ended up staying. Sharon has been a part of Walden since it's early beginnings. She has two sons who both attend Walden. Sharon enjoys traveling, running and reading books in the sunshine. She has taught Yearbook, Running and Sewing classes at Walden.

Sharon Beecroft has been educator for over a decade.  Her degree is in History Secondary Education, but her role at Walden for the past many years has been primarily in administration.  Sharon has filled the role of Business Manager, HR Director and more. She currently is the middle school director and serves on the board of trustees as the secretary and middle school representative. Sharon is world traveler, taking time to visit exotic and far away places on a yearly basis.  She loves yoga and spending time with her family. 


Phone: 801-655-5889

Jennie Smithson

Jennie has worked at Walden since 2013. She graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in family studies, and is currently in the process of obtaining both her Montessori early childhood teaching credential from Westminster College and her elementary level teaching license. Jennie loves spending her days with her adorable, joyful, and inquisitive students, and considers it a great honor to work beside them.

Lara Candland

Lara Candland has taught literature, creative writing, and English composition at colleges and universities from coast to coast, including the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.  After her first child enrolled at Walden more than ten years ago, Candland began her adventure teaching high school language arts.  At Walden, she teaches Language and Literature, International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, Language and Literature, International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Creative Writing, Poetry, and Locavore Cooking and Writing.  Candland has a passion for supporting students in finding authenticity in their writing and ways to share and publish their work.  She has served on the international Teacher Advisory Board for Scholastic's Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, and is committed to increasing equality of access in public education for all students.

An award winning poet and playwright, Candland is the author of Alburnum of the Green and Living Tree (BlazeVox, 2010) and the forthcoming The Lapidary's Nosegay (Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University, January 2018).  Her work can be found in many journals and literary publications.  She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College, Mills College, and a doctorate in Literature and Creative Writing (poetry) from the University of Utah.  


Vanessa Kerr

Vanessa graduated with her Bachelor's in Psychology with an emphasis in education in 2004. She has directed and taught at her own preschool program and is currently loving the "Montessori and Me infant and toddler" parent/child class this year.  She is beyond happy to be apart of the Walden family volunteering/teaching for the past 5 years. Vanessa enjoys singing, hiking, yoga, meditating and taking her kids on adventures!

Hannah Marie Salvesen

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Hannah M. Salvesen is a filmmaker, teacher and organizer. Since age 7, she has been planning, producing and directing events, starting with short plays in her backyard.  Since then she has directed and produced many short films, taught film labs at Brigham Young University, and managed a family-owned honey company.  

Hannah has lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Israel, and London, but she spent much of highschool and college in Provo, first at Timpview High School and then at Brigham Young University.  She loves to teach, edit her husband’s novels and screenplays, and write film reviews for her website,

Hannah loves learning, but always struggled with school in its more traditional forms.  She loves Walden’s smaller, more versatile approach to teaching and learning.  Hannah is excited to help the students at Walden grow in knowledge and experience.

Cheryl Gesullo

Cheryl grew up in the military, living all over the United States and Europe.  Her family settled in Pennsylvania, where she met her husband and remained until four years ago.  She has five children, ranging from 8-16.  She has been passionate about French since High School, and even lived in France for a year and a half, where her love of the language and culture deepened.  She graduated from BYU with a degree in teaching (both French and History).  She previously taught in the French Immersion Program in Provo School District.  When not in school, Cheryl loves to cook, quilt, and spend time with her family in the beautiful outdoors.