Teachers & Staff
Walbridge teachers have specialized training, experience, and/or certifications in special education.
Sally Allen, Teacher
B.A. (Child Development), University of Minnesota; M.A. (Special Education with emphasis in Learning Disabilities), University of California-Riverside; Masters Program for Teacher Licensure, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Sally has been a faculty member at Walbridge since 1987, teaching reading/literature, writing, and math to students at all grade levels. She is trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach for instructing children with dyslexia, and is known for individualizing instruction to meet the needs of students who learn differently.
Kären Bakken, Teacher
B.A., (Education), University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Kären has been a member of the faculty of Walbridge since 1998. Kären is trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach for instructing children with dyslexia, and is known for her effective blended approach to education (classroom instruction, one-on-one instruction, and online programs that allow students to academically progress at their own pace).
Colleen Lourigan, Director of Education
B.S. (Geology & Geophysics), University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A. (Education), Edgewood College.
Colleen is trained in Orton-Gillingham, Project Read, Making Math Real, and Processing Approaches to Learning and Self-Regulation. Colleen has been a member of the faculty at Walbridge since 2004. She taught science, math, language arts, and technology class for the first ten years and has been the Director of Education since November 2014. She is known for teaching to the learning strengths of students through individualized instruction.
Julie Mazer, Teacher
B.A. (Music Therapy), University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Julie is trained in the Orff-Schulwerk approach to education that combines music, movement, drama, and speech in a way that is similar to child’s play. She has taught music classes for Walbridge since 2009. She has experience working with early childhood, children and adults with developmental disabilities, and the elderly.
Jo Yarwood, Teacher
Training in Special Needs and Physical Education (U.K).
Jo works at Madtown Twisters Gymnastics and runs the physical education classes for the Walbridge students twice a week. She has a blast doing cardio, strengthening and conditioning activities. Jo also works on team building through games and structured play. She has four children and came to Wisconsin from England, almost 20 years ago. Jo is great at being able to offer differentiated physical activities for children of all ages and all abilities.
Jeff Campbell, Teacher
B.S. (Sociology) UW-Madison, Teacher Certification at Marian University, Reading Certification - UW-Stout.
Jeff Campbell grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. He then received his teaching certification at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and a reading teacher certification from UW-Stout. He is currently training in Orton Gillingham through the Madison Dyslexia Center. Jeff taught in Minnesota at an urban alternative high school that took great pride in helping refugee students. He has proven to be an adaptable educator who has worked with elementary, middle, and high school students. Jeff has an aptitude for using a multi-sensory approach to learning. When he is not teaching, Jeff enjoys spending time with family, reading, kayaking, camping, biking, and fly fishing.
Melissa Gower, Teacher
B.A., (American and Medieval History), Pomona College; Teacher Education at UW-Madison School of Education.
Melissa went back to become a teacher after a career in insurance because she felt it was her calling. She taught history and English for several years in public school before discovering Walbridge School in 2013. The warm and collaborative culture at Walbridge convinced her she'd found the perfect place to teach. She teaches history, English and math in the High School and history in the middle school classes. She recently took a intensive week long course in Orton Gillingham instructional techniques for older students and is excited to share her new knowledge about Latin and Greek roots and affixes.
Josh Williams, Teacher
B.S. (Education), Edgewood College.
Josh has 8+ years of experience working with students with learning challenges. He coached for Madison Timberwolves Special Needs Hockey Team and worked closely with the Cutting Edge special education program at Edgewood College. He served as a live-in mentor for students enrolled in the cutting edge program. Josh teaches math, science, and health classes for the middle school age students and is an assistant cross country and track coach at Madison West High School.
Michelle Huizenga, Teacher
B.A. (Child Development), Lynchburg College, Virginia.
Michelle is originally from the Pacific Northwest and recently moved to Madison so that her son could attend Walbridge. She has had a varied career teaching in public and private schools and for the Department of Defense overseas. Michelle is excited for the opportunity to share her passion for art with students this year. She believes that the creative process of making art helps develop an understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Michelle is honored to give children new experiences every day to help enrich their lives. When not teaching, Michelle enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors.
Walbridge School does not discriminate in admission, hiring, or administration on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender identification, or sexual orientation.