Drew Harwell Director, Lead Preschool Teacher (T/Th), Afterschool Teacher, and Summer Camp Teacher
Drew Harwell is the founder and director of Pathfinders Nature Mentoring. He is a nature awareness and Permaculture mentor with over 22 years of experience working with children, teens and adults in nature and garden settings. As a child, he spent a lot of time exploring the Foothills and Baylands, as well as gardening at the community garden behind the main library in Palo Alto with his family. At the age of 17 he spent a month backpacking in the Wind River Wilderness of Wyoming with the National Outdoor Leadership School. Those experiences nurtured his passions and planted the seeds for his career.
His style of mentoring is to help students explore nature through their individual passions and creativity. He uses experiential activities, storytelling, songs and the art of questioning to inspire curiosity in others in developing their relationship with the natural world. Whether he is working in the garden or wandering in the hills, he loves to connect people to the healing powers of nature. He has a BA from Prescott College in Environmental Restoration and was trained in nature awareness and regenerative design at the Regenerative Design Institute. He is a lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Education, where he mentors Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) teacher candidates in garden education for elementary schools. He has worked as a guide and mentor for the Exploring a Sense of Place program, Tender Tracks and the Riekes Center He is the former manager of the Common Ground Demonstration Garden and the Stanford Community Farm. He loves to spend family time with his wife and two young children exploring the Foothills and Baylands.
Devon Quirk Lead Preschool Teacher (M/W/F)
Devon is an educator and counselor with 15 years of experience working with children, adults, and families. She is passionate about sharing the beauty, mystery, and magic of nature with young childern. Her teaching style emphasizes creating a calm and caring environment where imagination, connection, and play are cultivated.
Growing up in the East Bay, she developed a deep love for the landscape, plants, and animals of the San Francisco Bay Area. As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, she deepened this relationship by studying California botany, ethnobotany, and archaeology. These experiences showed her the value of nature and placed-based education and inspired her to become an educator.
After earning her Masters in Education from UC Santa Cruz, Devon moved to Mendocino County, where she lived for 10 years. There, she worked as a classroom teacher and school counselor with at-risk youth, and provided in-home behavioral services for children with developmental disabilities and their families. She is currently completing teacher certification with the Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers.
In 2015, she and her wife moved back to the Bay Area, where they both grew up. They welcomed their first child in 2017 and love sharing their passion for this place with their growing family.
Savannah Woods Afterschool Teacher
Savannah is an outdoor educator with a passion for getting children excited to learn about the natural world. Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, she fondly remembers tromping through the backyard with her brother, creating imaginary worlds with mud-pie bakestands and police officers on tricycles. At age 18, she left to study at UC Davis where she majored in Human Development and graduated with honors. At UC Davis, her environmental education career took off when she joined Sprout Up, a nonprofit group that brought outdoor science education to first and second graders in the region. At school, she also interned in a research lab that focused on how preschoolers developed and utilized self-regulation strategies. Fascinated by the research, Savannah pioneered her own project to study how these young children evoked emotion regulation strategies during developmentally challenging situations. Her work amassed to a final thesis and poster, which she presented at the Western Psychological Association’s 2017 national conference.
After graduating, Savannah accepted an internship in the Bay Area at Hidden Villa. Here, she worked as an environmental education intern, introducing preschoolers and elementary schoolers to the 1600 acre farm and wilderness preserve she called home. She gave tours nearly everyday and worked hard to help her students begin to cultivate a curiosity for the natural world. She is thrilled to now be with Pathfinders and to continue to grow inquisitiveness and empathy in the students she works alongside.
Teresa Gonsoski Assistant Preschool Teacher (M-F)
Teresa Gonsoski is an early childhood educator with over fifteen years of experience working with children zero through five years. Born and raised in San Francisco, she loved playing in the small wild spaces of her neighborhood, including Ocean Beach, the nearby grassy hill below the reservoir, and her backyard. It was also where she learned she loved working with young children, when in high school, she volunteered at the preschool she had attended as a child, Sunset Nursery Co-op.
She truly developed a love for the outdoors after spending several years exploring the redwoods in Santa Cruz and discovering the joys of car camping. This eventually led to becoming a volunteer backpacking trip leader for the Sierra Club, as well as organizing campouts for families and backpacking trips for adults with Trails Together. In the meantime, she also began working in the child care field, with an emphasis on the outdoors, creating "yes" environments, and allowing children to take risks. She shares her passion for working with children as faculty at Foothill College, teaching with the Teacher Pipeline Program.
Teresa has a BA in Art History from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. She is Wilderness First Aid certified. She is excited that she gets to be in nature with children every day with Pathfinders. In her spare time, she continues to enjoy the outdoors as a hiker, trail runner, backpacker, and gourmet campout chef. She lives in the redwoods near Skyline Blvd., with her husband and two cats.