MEET OUR TEAM!
We are so excited about our innovative and experienced team!
Anything new especially requires creative ideas and input, experience, hard work, passion, resilience, and determination. We have an amazing team at Vandermont. Learn a little bit about them below!
Mandy Goggans is a proud stay-at-home Mom to two sets of twin boys, a wife of thirteen years, and an entrepreneur who dedicates each day to her family and living an intentional, productive, and meaningful life.
She uses her time to seek an understanding of the world around her and find ways to make it better. She strives for excellence in what she does by pairing her goals with research and receptiveness.
Education has always been a passion and through research, development, and an unwillingness to settle, Vandermont was born. She formed the non-profit and set out to create the coolest and most fun and intentional school, blending pencil and paper with new-age adaptable data-driven technologies in open learning studios where personalizing the learning experience for each student takes place in a stable and nurturing Christian school. It's the only one of its kind far and wide. Her dedication to her own four children left her no other option but to make sure they had every opportunity to experience a 21st-century purposeful education for themselves. It came down to two options: settle or build. She chose to build. Loving the challenge of creating something new with foundations of proven methods, she looks forward to all the fun ahead!
HEAD OF SCHOOL
HEAD OF SCHOOL
After a national search and an extensive interview process, Vandermont is delighted to announce the Board of Trustees has selected Carrie Koch to serve as the school's Founding Head of School.
Mrs. Koch joins Vandermont as a seasoned educator with over 20 years of experience in public, private, charter, and Montessori schools. Most recently, Mrs. Koch has led at Resurrection Christian School in Loveland, CO. Carrie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Psychology from North Central College, a Master’s of Science in the Teaching of Mathematics from the University of Illinois, and is currently finalizing her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Equity, and Transformation at Colorado State University.
Mrs. Koch has a passion for innovative and personalized education within a Christian environment. She piloted a program with Numino, a mathematics program developed in Seoul, South Korea, to develop a personalized, inquiry-based curriculum for her students. Most recently, she led her previous school district’s innovation team to discover and implement new educational practices across grades K-12. Carrie demonstrates a sincere and enthusiastic commitment to providing students with authentic learning experiences using multiple learning pathways tailored to each student’s strengths, passions, and interests.
Mrs. Koch, along with her husband and two children relocated to the greater Dallas area from Denver, Colorado in late June.
Philosophy Education Innovation Consultant
Lifetime Warrior in the Education Revolution
"School should be a magical place, full of wonder and joy. That’s why I create contexts where children and adults can approach complex challenges with creativity and confidence. My mission is to make schools more human and learning utterly meaningful.
Our differences shouldn’t divide us, they should bring us together to make new things, to fully engage in solving real problems, to discover the wonder of life and the joy of love.
I speak about how to do this, and I write about it, but most importantly, I actually do it, in a school, and it works. Our differences make us unique. They are our strengths and children who are lucky enough to develop theirs lead meaningful lives."
Jenifer worked with Vandermont hand-in-hand to help execute everything from the smallest detail to the largest concepts in it's first year!
Natalie Newton is a Mississippi native who planted her roots in Texas 7 years ago. She has a Masters Degree in Elementary Education Curriculum and Instruction, and has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade as a classroom teacher. She has a son and daughter who also attend Vandermont! She is so excited for her family to be immersed in the Vandermont community this year! Natalie stands firm on the idea that uniqueness is something to be celebrated. She desires to help her students discover and apply their own unique learning and leadership styles! Her classroom is a safe, equitable, and caring environment where students are able to express their thoughts and feelings and show empathy for others. She loves to look around the room and see communication, critical thinking, creativity, goal setting, leadership, and innovation. She aspires for students to develop positive attitudes towards learning so that they will take pride and ownership over all of their achievements. She is so happy to have found a school where Christian leadership, everyday life skills, deep creativity, responsibility, goal setting, and positive social interactions are fostered for both students and staff. She understands that learning through our mistakes gives us the tools that we need to conquer more in the future, which she believes is a good skill for people of every age! She is so excited about meeting her Vandermont students and their families this year! She says, “Learn, Lead, LIONS!!”
Mrs. Vertz was born and raised in Lubbock, TX. Wreck ‘Em! From an early age, education and being involved in church was important to her. She began serving in children's ministry in the 6th grade and continued throughout college. She spent all her summers home from college as a youth intern at the church she grew up. She graduated from Abilene Christian University and moved to Dallas shortly after. She believes it is important to foster kindness, independence, and perseverance in her students. She is excited to integrate her love for teaching and ministry into the Vandermont model.
When she is not teaching, she is spending time with her husband, a Garland Fireman, working out, going on walks, reading, and spending time with her family.
Abbie joins the Vandermont Team with a unique background of education and ministry experience. She is passionate about making engaging learning environments where children get to experience what they are taught. She is passionate about students understanding their value as individuals made in God’s image, and the ways in which they can grow alongside one another as a community.
After graduating from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Health, Abbie joined Sky Ranch Camp’s Fellowship and Master’s Programs. In these roles, her love for teaching was developed as she worked as an Outdoor Education Instructor. Through these programs, Abbie earned a Masters of Arts in Global Leadership from Dallas Baptist University. After completing her time at Sky Ranch, Abbie accepted a job in women’s ministry at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, TX. After a year of serving in the church, she had the desire to live closer to family and get back into the classroom. She is excited to bring her experience in education and ministry to Vandermont as the Lead Makerspace and Outdoor Educator.
ADMISSIONS COORDINATOR/ ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Robin has always had a passion for children, education, and Jesus. After High School, she spent two years at Eastfield College, learning everything she could about Early Childhood Education. She has spent more than 20 years in the classroom with children ages 2 through Pre-K.
Four years ago, an opportunity arose to move out of the classroom and into the office. This sparked a new passion for supporting others. She brings with her experience in admissions, enrollment, clerical duties, and teacher support from a private Christian preschool.
Robin enjoys spending time with her husband and four boys in the outdoors. She also enjoys reading, painting, and crafting.
Raised by a teacher and a pastor, Liz has spent her life in schools and churches. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Biomedical Science and began her teaching career as a high school science teacher. After many years in the classroom, she earned a Masters of Library Science degree from Sam Houston State University and spent six years in high school libraries. She believes that learning through projects and hands-on experiences is the best way for students to understand concepts deeply. She is excited to bring her blended background of technical instruction, research and literacy, and project-based learning to Vandermont. When not at school, she enjoys camping and hiking with her family, swimming, and reading.
A lifelong learner and information enthusiast, Stella joins the Vandermont Team with the ultimate goal of providing quality education for all. "Engaging learners in creative ways and facilitating their ownership in learning is imperative to ensure the next generation of leaders are ready to take on the world beyond the classroom," she says. She has unique insights on analyzing student learning objectives, meeting students where they are, and helping them set reachable goals for where they want to go.
After graduating from Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences, Stella obtained her teacher certification specializing in Early Childhood through 6th grade with the Science of Teaching Reading. When she's not teaching, she is serving at her church in the Children's Ministry, and planning adventures with her two children. After serving in the public school system for 2 1/2 years, she is excited to join the Vandermont team in a way that fulfills not only her desire to teach but also her desire to impart wisdom and truth with a Christ-centered view of the world on the next generation.
DISCOVERY STUDIO + ASL
Mrs. Ray is passionate about the Deaf Community, her School Communities, Church, and using her gifts of sign language. She was born with severe hearing loss, but that has not stopped her from singing her heart out with praise and worship music. Mrs. Ray has had some of her hearing restored with the help of cochlear implants, and she is able to hear and read lips very well.
Mrs. Ray graduated with a Bachelor’s in Arts and Performance from University of Texas at Dallas with a double major in photography and education. She has put her education degree to good use teaching American Sign Language for a variety of schools and tutoring clients. She put her photography degree to good use by creating her own business, Wendy Ray Photography.
When she isn’t pouring her heart into her work, you will find her spending time with her husband, spoiling her precious daughter, Abigail, reading and signing her WORD, watching movies, and traveling.
Courtney Cain graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in History.
Before having her first child, she taught ELAR and History at the primary and secondary levels for Mesquite ISD for 8 years.
She currently teaches Reading for Academic Associates and recently helped complete a project for Innovative Assessment Solutions.
Beyond her professional experience, she volunteers with YoungLives and leads worship at her church.
Most importantly, she is Matt’s wife and Mom to her favorite people: Lewis and Ezra!