K-5 Faculty


Julie Handyside

Kindergarten/ Science 1st-3rd

I was born in Laramie, Wyoming and grew up in Eastern Oregon. I earned my teaching degree at Eastern Oregon University in LaGrande, Oregon. I earned my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2012. I have lived in Idaho for the past 17 years and have taught fourth and fifth grades for the past 15 years. I am currently teaching ½ time kindergarten and ½ time 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade science. This will be my 3rd year in these two positions. And I am loving it.

I have two children. My son Nathan lives in Nampa and owns his own remodeling business. My daughter Kellie graduated with a BS in psychology and lives in St.Louis. I love being a parent and take pleasure in sharing their challenges and triumphs. I also love teaching; it is right up there with parenting.

Art is one of my passions. I enjoy oil painting, charcoal and pastel drawing, as well as ceramics. During middle school, high school, and college I took as many art classes as I could along with private lessons. I have a minor in art and enjoy teaching and encouraging my students to love and appreciate the many elements of art. In kindergarten we are able to explore a huge variety of mediums.

Other things I enjoy include reading, quilting, camping, fishing, white water rafting and horseback riding. I love to hike in the mountains or just sit by a lake. Anything outdoors and I’m game.

Katie Nielsen


Mrs. Nielsen grew up right here in Eagle, Idaho. She spent her early years enjoying the great outdoors and learning to work. She is married to her soul mate, Kirt , who is a fantastic finish carpenter and cabinet maker. They have four darling girls: Jayde, Joslyn, Janessa and Jenica. Jayde graduated this year and will be attending BYU, Provo studying chemical engineering. Joslyn, Janessa and Jenica are all at North Star and LOVE it. Katie loves playing with her family. Together they love to laugh, camp, work, sing, cook, garden, four-wheel, waterski, and just enjoy each other.

Katie loves learning, especially alongside her curious kindergarteners, and aspiring colleagues. She loves teaching and has done so in many capacities. This is her 4th year and counting at her favorite place to teach, North Star. She looks forward to this year with your students and will strive to challenge and inspire those in her reach.

Tisha Vanderwiel


Tisha Vanderwiel graduated from Boise State University with her Associates Degree in Child Care and Development and her Bachelors in Elementary Education. She then went on to receive her Masters in Education from Lesley University. Prior to teaching, she opened, owned, and operated a large child care center in Boise, with approx. 120 children ranging in age from six weeks to twelve years. She owned that center for 10 years before selling it to teach. Tisha is extremely devoted to teaching and her passion is apparent as she makes it her personal goal to try and ensure that she is providing a rich learning environment in which each of her students are able to reach and/or exceed their personal capabilities.

Tisha has five children; Che’: 19 years old and attending Boise State University this year; Andrew: 17 years old and in 11th grade at Eagle Academy; Mitchell: 13 years old and in 7th grade here at North Star; Ryen: 11 years old and in 6th grade (also here at North Star); and Rylie, who is also 17 years old and in 11th grade at Mountain View High School. She lives right here in the Eagle with her husband Erik on a small (but fabulous) 3 acre farm. Some of her favorite things to do are ride her horse "Rusty", travel, camp, swing dance, and spend time with her family! In addition to her kids, her husband, her chickens, goats, horse, and dogs…her Alaskan Malamute (NaKoda) brings her absolute joy each day and she couldn’t imagine life without him! She absolutely loves and believes in North Star and feels blessed to be a part of the learning environment and incredible culture that takes place here each day! She can’t wait to work with you and your child to make their first school experience a fabulous one!

Tocara Koski

Kindergarten PM

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mrs. Koski relocated to the Boise area last summer. In addition to California and Idaho, she has also lived in Washington and New York. She and her husband are enjoying the Gem State with their two beautiful sons! Mrs. Koski earned her Kindergarten-8th Grade Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Monterey Bay. She has been teaching for the past four years, and she loves it! No two days in the classroom are the same, and teaching combines two of her favorite things: children and education. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mrs. Koski worked in the field of museum education in the Bay Area, as well as the airline industry in New York. When she isn’t teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, hiking, and visiting museums. She and her husband are avid travelers who have visited five of the seven continents. Australia and Antarctica are next on their list! Mrs. Koski is excited to join the North Star staff this year, and she can’t wait to inspire your children to become lifelong learners!


Courtney Massimino

First Grade

This is Courtney Massimino's fourth year at North Star Charter! She is a graduate of Boise State University in Elementary Education with an Endorsement in Early Childhood Education, and has taught now for 14 years, all in the 1st grade.

She is very passionate about teaching students how to read, as well as the fundamentals of the core subject areas. She strives to ensure the success of all the students in her class and firmly believes that setting goals, both personal and academic, leads directly to achievement at all levels in the classroom.

Mrs. Massimino met her husband, Dan, at BSU where he currently works…needless to say, they are big BSU fans! She has two boys, Vincent who is 10 and will be a 5th grader and Xander who is 7 and will be in 2nd grade, both at North Star! They both love to play outside with their friends as well as swim in their backyard pool whenever they have the chance. When she is not working, Mrs. Massimino loves to go boating, camping, and fishing (she's the best fisherperson in their house!), and spending time with her family. She and her children LOVE being at North Star and are looking forward to another great year!

Sheila Nielson

First Grade

Sheila Nielson is an Idaho native and has been in the Treasure Valley for the last 40 years. Mrs. Nielson attended Boise State University as a non-traditional student and fulfilled a dream by graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1995. Prior to coming to North Star, Mrs. Nielson taught 18 years for the Nampa School District. This is Sheila Nielson's third year at North Star Charter. She is thrilled to be a part of an excellent learning community. Teaching children is her passion, and she feels it is important to create a safe, engaging classroom where students feel successful and love learning! Mrs. Nielson is excited to meet another group of children and making a difference in their lives.

Her husband, Taylor, is a pharmacist and they have three children and five grandchildren. Mrs. Nielson cherishes the time spent with her family and loves to be called, “Nana.” When Sheila is not teaching or playing with grandchildren, she enjoys reading, bike riding, gardening, and attempting to play golf.

Mrs. Nielson is looking forward to another great year working with remarkable parents and children at North Star!

Anna Stallones

First Grade

Anna Stallones graduated from Boise State University with her teaching degree and endorsement in Literacy K-12. She has taught kindergarten through 3rd grade and loves the amazing learning that takes place in these first years of school! She is currently teaching 1st grade as she enters her 11th year of teaching. Here she will continue to focus on her love for helping lay the many foundations that will hopefully be built upon for a lifetime. She treasures the role she can play to inspire and teach; as well as to come alongside children as they endeavor to discover new things as they navigate through the amazing experience of learning. She counts it a blessing to work with children and their families and to form partnerships and relationships that allow for great learning to take place!

Among her loves is her amazing husband and their three boys, Caden and Jacob-both North Star students, as well little Malachi. They have 3 dogs and chickens that help keep them entertained and busy. As an Idaho native it’s probably no surprise that the Stallones family loves to spend time together doing most anything outdoors: gardening, camping, hunting, hiking, boating and fishing; or in colder months indoors watching movies or playing games. Mrs. Stallones also enjoys reading and writing for pleasure! She looks forward to another great year at North Star and is grateful to be a part of this amazing, one-of-a-kind school community!


Jane Gardner

Second Grade

Jane is an Idaho native, born and raised in Caldwell. She attended Boise State University and received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with additional interests in early childhood as well as art. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to become a teacher and is proud to say that in her 30-year teaching career, she has taught nearly every grade from Kindergarten to 7th grade English – and has truly enjoyed them all!

In her leisure time, Jane enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, homemaking, and reading. She loves family get-togethers with her two grown children, four siblings, mother, and numerous nieces and nephews. Fortunately, her entire family lives here in the valley, so there are frequent birthday celebrations, holidays, game days, and sporting events to attend. She also enjoys outings with friends and taking walks with her yellow lab, Jake. Appreciating the year-round beauty of nature and continually learning and discovering new things are important to Ms. Gardner.

Jane’s classroom mission is to provide a nurturing, respectful environment which encourages a passion for learning and the development of responsibility. She feels very blessed to have a career she loves at an incredible school with the best of colleagues, students, and families!

Lisa Holt

Second Grade

Lisa Holt has lived in Eagle, Idaho for eighteen years. She graduated from BYU Provo many moons ago in Elementary Education. This will be Lisa Holt's ninth year of teaching, five of which have been at North Star Charter School. She feels blessed and honored to be able to come to work each day and be a part of this community and teach these students. Ms. Holt teaches second grade and she LOVES it. She is very involved in the school and the community.

She is the mother of four daughters and feels like she hit the jackpot with them. Her oldest is studying Art Ed at BYU and should graduate this year. Her second daughter is serving a church mission in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Her third and fourth live with her and will be starting their senior year and eighth grade year.

Ms. Holt loves tennis and wishes she could find more time and energy to play. She has enjoyed teaching one of her daughters, who plays in high school. She also enjoys camping, walking, reading a good book, and a good movie. She is looking forward to another great year here at North Star Charter.

Carin Moats

Second Grade

Carin Moats grew up in Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and Idaho City. She graduated from Boise High exactly 75 years after her great grandfather and 50 years after her grandfather. Go Braves! After graduating from Boise High, Carin attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. During her studies in child psychology, she completed an internship at an elementary school and confirmed her true love…teaching! She graduated with a BA in Child Psychology. One week later, she began her graduate studies at Lewis and Clark College and fifteen months later received her Master’s degree in Elementary Education.

Carin taught for 11 years in North Bend, Washington. During those years, she taught first through third grades and four of those years taught a 1st-3rd grade multi-age class. Since returning to Idaho 15 years ago, she has worked with several charter schools either as an employee or a volunteer. The last seven years she has taught at North Star for five years in first grade and two years in SUPER SECOND! Carin loves the energy and excitement of the staff and families at charter schools. She is so excited to have found the most amazing school of all at North Star Charter School! She feels very blessed to work with the incredible children who attend this school.

When she is not teaching, she can be found spending time with her three children, Connor (18), Hannah (14), and Emma (11). She enjoys skiing, spending time with friends, cooking, walking, and reading.


Teresa Eardley

Third Grade

Teresa Eardley grew up in Provo, Utah. She attended Brigham Young University where she received her degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has taught in Utah, South Carolina, and Tennessee. She was so excited to be able to move to the Boise area in 2011 and come to North Star.

She loves teaching 3rd grade. She has an amazing daughter whom she loves spending time with. Mrs. Eardley, her husband and daughter love to travel; their favorite place is going to Disney World. She loves to read, bake and spend time playing games.

Laiena Leatherman

Third Grade

Mrs. Leatherman was born and raised on the beautiful island of Guam, USA. She left the island during her sophomore year to attend high school in Hemet, CA and live with her aunt & uncle, whom she calls her second set of parents. Mrs. Leatherman attended NAU in Flagstaff, AZ where she met her husband, Greg, and received a dual major in Elementary & Special Education. After interning in Sedona, AZ for a year, they moved to California and she taught special education & elementary grades K-3. Mrs. Leatherman received her first Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University and became the youngest vice principal in her school district. During that time, she received her second Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from CSUSB and was blessed with their first son, Hunter, who attends eighth grade at North Star. Mrs. Leatherman moved to Idaho in 2004 to stay home with her son and was blessed again with another wonderful son, Ty, who is a fifth grader at NS. Mrs. Leatherman enjoys any water-related sports and fiesta-style BBQs with family & friends. This will be her 8th year team teaching 3rd grade at North Star!

Michelle Obenchain

Third Grade

Michelle was born and raised in Boise, Idaho and knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher. She attended Boise State University and graduated in 2013 with an elementary education degree. With a great love of traveling, Michelle began to look into teaching positions overseas and spent a year substitute teaching in all sorts of different grades while also finalizing the details of moving to Southeast Asia.

Michelle taught for two years in Vietnam, and loved getting acquainted with a new culture, learning to drive a motorbike, eating new foods, and learning a new language. But most of all, she enjoyed getting to know her precious students and teaching them English, Math, and Science.

After moving back to the States from the tropics, Michelle joined the North Star Staff as a paraprofessional and loved getting acquainted with the students, staff, and culture of North Star, and now is even more excited to transition to be part of the rockin' third grade team.

Aside from traveling, Michelle enjoys reading, hiking, mountain biking, and spending time with friends and family.

Erin Waller

Third Grade

Long-time Eagle resident, Erin Waller, grew up in Allendale, New Jersey. She has always had a love and interest in educating children. After graduating from Penn State University, Erin immediately put her teaching credential to use, teaching kindergarten and preschool in New Jersey for three years. Continuing to pursue her love of children, Erin was an owner of a preschool for three years as well as one of its teachers. Erin took a hiatus to raise her large family and was thrilled to return to teaching in 2010. She taught 4th grade at Rolling Hills Public Charter School and LOVES teaching third grade and being a part of the incredible North Star Staff.

Each year, Erin hopes that her students in her class feel valued and comfortable in her classroom environment so they are happy and enjoy coming to school. Her goal is to reach each student based upon their individual learning style so that every student is appropriately challenged. Erin looks forward to building lasting memories with each of her students!

Erin and her husband, Ken, enjoy spending time catching up with their six children, Stephen, Katelyn, Ryan and Sean (twins), Kevin, and Morgan, over family dinners. She also has two grandsons, Asher and Max, and three granddaughters, Zoe, Nadia and Kodiak that she loves spending time with.

Erin’s other passions are cooking, camping, planting flowers, watching football, riding her bike, dancing, reading, and watching “chick flicks.” One of her special talents is making homemade, “fancy decorated” cakes for her kids and grandkids on their birthdays. Personal motto: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” -Theodore Roosevelt-


Carol Hendershot

Fourth Grade

Carol Hendershot has been happily teaching at North Star Charter School since the school’s beginning in 2003/2004. A graduate of Boise State University in elementary education with an endorsement in Special Education, Carol found the perfect fit at North Star Charter School. The community of students, parents and staff makes each day a bright and exciting experience. With a passion for reading and history, Mrs. H. finds 4th grade to be full of daily amazing experiences. Born in Utah, early childhood in Northern California, raised in Idaho and later with time spent living in Alaska and Hawaii she loves each place, however Idaho is hands down the favorite for its four distinct seasons. Besides a love for reading, Mrs. Hendershot enjoys camping, hiking, river rafting, cooking, gardening, and watching the stars. She and her wonderful husband have two grown children, Kemish and Kirsten, along with their spouses, and six grandchildren, Kaleb, Joshua, Katie, Tucker, Elizabeth and Zachary who make life fun, meaningful and full of zing.

Bill Lavin

4th Grade

Bill Lavin is excited to be joining the North Star Charter team. He will be starting his 27th year in education. Mr. Lavin has taught 4th, 5th, 6th grades and has also been an assistant principal. He started his career at St. Mary’s School in Boise, taught in the Middleton School District, and worked close to 20 years in the West Ada School District. He has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Boise State University and an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Idaho.

Mr. Lavin lives in Eagle, Idaho with his wife (Lisa), daughter (Kaylee,18), and son (Ian,16). Kaylee will be attending Colorado State University in the Fall and Ian will be a junior at Eagle High School.

During his free time, Mr. Lavin prefers to be hunting or fishing. In 2014, he became an Idaho licensed fishing guide. He guides ice fishing trips on Lake Cascade in the winter and also does open water trips in the summer for walleyes on Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. Most recently, Mr. Lavin earned his Captain’s License from the United States Coast Guard. He hopes to spend more of his free time as a fishing guide on the Columbia River in Oregon.

Mr. Lavin is thrilled to become a part of the North Star faculty. He has heard wonderful things about the students, parents, and staff. Mr. Lavin cannot wait to meet his new group of fourth graders and share his love for learning with them.

Mariah Rodeghiero

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Rodeghiero was born and raised on a ranch in Eastern Montana. She attended Montana State University in Bozeman, MT and moved to Boise, ID with her husband, Mark, in 1995. Mrs. Rodeghiero completed her Elementary education degree at BSU. For eight years, she taught second, third and finally fifth grade where she successfully team taught part time with Casey Hawkins. During this time, she also earned a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Idaho. Mrs. Rodeghiero took a break from teaching to stay at home with her son, Gavin, now twelve, who attends seventh grade at North Star. She also has twins, Ivy and Royce, who are in 3rd grade at North Star. She team taught third grade for five years, however now that her kids are in school full time, she decided to embark upon a new adventure in 4th grade. Her hobbies include spending time with family & friends, camping, scrapbooking, and reading.


Julie McMahon

Fifth Grade - Social Studies

Ms. McMahon is delighted to be returning for her second year at North Star! In addition, she is thrilled to be joining the 5th fifth grade team in an exciting, new “compartmentalized” approach to the curriculum; further bridging the gap between elementary and middle school.

Julie McMahon will be teaching writing in a variety of genres as well as social studies with an emphasis on American History. Her 15 years of teaching experience in Massachusetts were primarily centered around English Language Arts and social studies in both 5th and 6th grade.

Julie received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Montana and her Masters of Education Degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, Ms. McMahon has an administrative license in Curriculum Development and taught middle and high school English and social studies as well as IB Psychology at ACS International School in London, England for two years.

Ms. McMahon is so happy to be back out west and particularly in Idaho! She feels “at home” at North Star and is grateful to have met such caring, dedicated educators she now calls friends. When she’s not teaching, Ms. McMahon enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, cooking, and hanging out with her dog, Stanley.

Ashley Koch

Fifth Grade - Reading

Ashley Koch (pronounced Cook) grew up in Spokane, Washington and absolutely loves living in the Pacific Northwest! She is not married and does not have kids, but does have an awesome family made up of her mom, Lori, dad, Doug, and younger sister, Kelsey. As a family, they love spending time at their lake cabin in Northern Idaho on the Pend Orielle River. Their favorite summertime activity is boating and picnicking in the boat where they play a competitive game of Sequence. Miss Koch especially loves to wakesurf and slalom ski, but anything to do with water or sunshine, she is there! A country girl at heart but passionate about city life, the Treasure Valley is a great place for her to live! On the weekends, Miss Koch enjoys dancing of any kind, but country swing and Latin dance are her favorite. Nicholas Sparks is her favorite author when she has spare time to read. Her passions include discovering new places through travel, football, and spending time with her family and friends.

Miss Koch moved to Nampa in 2007 to attend Northwest Nazarene University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2011. She completed her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from NNU in July 2014. She will be entering her sixth year of teaching fifth grade and is ecstatic for a great year ahead. When she is not busy teaching or studying, she enjoys coaching the Skyview Cheerleading squad in Nampa. Her favorite quote is one by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” This quote outlines her opinion on teaching and the work in the classroom. Her desire is to make a difference in the lives of her students, to help them grow in their education and push them to be successful citizens. It is her belief that student relationships are key and it is her ultimate desire that students trust her as a person and as their educator. Miss Koch is excited and looks forward to this year of teaching at North Star Charter!

Tammy Warnick

Fifth Grade - Math

Tammy was born in San Diego, California, but raised in Minden, Louisiana. A true country girl, she grew up riding horses, climbing deer stands and catching fish in her pond.

Tammy has always loved school and was involved in many organizations and activities during high school, including French Club, Student Council, Forensics Club, cheerleading and of course, Future Teachers of America!

She met her husband, Bill, in Northern California where they lived for ten years before moving to Eagle, ID. Bill and Tammy have three beautiful girls: Payton just turned 18, graduated from Eagle High School and will be attending BYU Idaho in January. Leah is 16 and is a sophomore at Eagle High. Audrey is 9 and is in 4th grade at North Star.

As Tammy’s children grew, she loved volunteering in their classrooms and participating in PTO. In 2009 she realized it was time to accomplish one of her goals and finally finish what she started years ago. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix while juggling motherhood. Tammy had an amazing experience when she had the opportunity to student teach Second grade with Shay Davis at North Star and fell in love with the culture and staff there. She is passionate about the high standards that are synonymous with North Star and is grateful to have started her teaching career at this school. She has taught second and fifth grade at North Star and is so excited to teach 5th grade Math this year.

Tammy enjoys reading, photography, jet skiing, scuba diving and spending time with her family.