Misty Ostrowski

Secondary Art and TOK

Misty Ostrowski was born and raised in Alaska, where she began her path towards the arts. She attended both the University of Alaska Southeast and Northern Arizona University during her undergraduate years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. After obtaining her undergraduate degree Misty retuned to the University of Alaska Southeast for her Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Education. Since then Misty has taught ceramics to adults and teenagers with developmental disabilities at a non-profit in Alaska, and a variety of studio art classes at a public high school in Arizona. Misty has been teaching primary at North Star Charter School since relocating to the Treasure Valley.


Becky Albin

K-5 Computer Teacher

Mrs. Albin came to North Star in 2014 after moving to Idaho from Colorado where she had lived most of her life. She received her teaching degree at the University of Northern Colorado and has been involved in education ever since. Mrs. Albin has a variety of teaching experience including various subjects for K-8 grade students. She began her teaching career in 1985 as a 2nd grade teacher. She has been teaching computer applications for 10 years. She believes it is very important for students to have a firm foundation of computer skills for school and life in this ever-growing technological world. Mrs. Albin strives to balance students' computer skills with safety and wisdom that will help them to use technology for success in life.

Mrs. Albin has a wonderful husband, Rick, and five beautiful daughters. As a family, they enjoy backyard barbecues, hiking, camping, volleyball, movie and game nights, going for walks, and spending time with friends.

Mrs. Albin feels very privileged to have landed at such a high quality school and hopes to stay at North Star for many years to come.

Stan Ostrowski

Bus. & Tech/IB Comp Science

Recently retired from the State of Alaska, Stan Ostrowski recently move to Idaho after living in Juneau, Alaska for the past 37 years. While in Alaska, he attended the University of Alaska where he earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, with emphasis in computer and natural science. Stan has worked with computer technology since 1984, with employment as a computer and network specialist, research analyst, database administrator, and other technology related positions. Stan enjoys working with technology, and teaching technology to others.

Stan lives close to Marsing, ID, with his wife of 38 years, where they have an extensive vegetable and berry/grape garden, as well as a variety of fruit trees, chickens, and two cats. Stan holds a Master of Education in Secondary Education, a Master of Education in Education Technology Management, and is currently pursuing other educational activities of interest.


Danica Hare

K-5 Counselor/IB Coordinator

Danica Hare was born and raised in Spokane, WA. She grew up playing soccer and riding horses. She had a love for school and learning which guided her into the field of education and working with children. In 2012 she received a B.S. from Eastern Washington University in Applied Developmental Psychology. She then returned to Spokane and attended Gonzaga University where she received a Masters in School Counseling in 2014.

After graduation she traveled throughout Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam. This experience sparked a fire within her and she now aspires to someday travel to all 7 continents. Upon returning home she longed for more adventure and moved to Boise, ID in May of 2015! After spending a little over a year in Boise she has fallen in love with the city and its people. A large reason is due to her position her at North Star Charter.

Entering her second year she will not only be the elementary school counselor, but also the IB coordinator for the secondary school. She is excited for the challenge of learning about the IB and looks forward to building relationships with students from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade!

Buster Pettit

Secondary Counselor

Buster Pettit was born in San Diego, CA. He earned a BA in Political Science from Sonoma State University, located north of San Francisco. There he also earned his Teaching Credential for Social Studies, and a Master's degree in Counseling. He has taught, counseled and coached in California, North Carolina, and Oregon. Mr. Pettit has a passion for helping students to be the very best they can be, and to support families in the educational process.

Mr. Pettit enjoys sports and played college volleyball while getting his undergraduate degree. Until his knees failed him, he was an active doubles outdoor player in California. He has coached women's volleyball at various levels in different states and enjoys the game still.

He has always enjoyed traveling and has spent time in Latin America, Europe, and various places in the United States. Traveling has given him perspective and a new understanding of the freedoms that exist here in this country that many take for granted.

When he is not traveling, he is spending time with his family in the great outdoors. He is married and has two amazing boys age 5 and 7. They love exploring new places, and being active.

Karen Toerne

School Psychologist

Karen carries a Master’s of Education in Counseling and an Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She has 12 years of experience working in the mental health field, ranging from work in the school system as a school psychologist and school counselor, to counseling and group work in a residential treatment center for teenagers and young adults. Karen currently has a private practice providing counseling to children, teens, and adults and she contracts with several charter schools in the area.

When Karen isn’t bouncing between schools or offering therapy in her office, you will find her hanging out with her family, walking her dogs, or practicing yoga. She has lived in Idaho most of her life, bouncing between the southern and northern tips, only to land in the middle of the state in the Fall of 2012. She loves hiking, biking, and anything that gets her mind and body working together in harmony. She is passionate about her work, and is happy to be a part of North Star Charter!


Carrie Benton


Growing up, Carrie was fortunate enough to have lived all over the states and overseas. After graduating from high school in Idaho, she stayed in Idaho to attend BSU. With a degree in psychology and a new husband, she decided to make Boise/Eagle her new home.

Carrie was excited to take on the role as North Star’s librarian in 2004. She loved the close-knit community and high achievement focus found at the school. A move to Tokyo, Japan with her family in 2009 necessitated her departure.

She continued her work in the library at the American School in Japan while she lived in Tokyo. The experience was life-changing and rewarding. After returning to Eagle in 2015, she was grateful to assume the role of North Star librarian once again this year.

Carrie has a daughter at Baylor and a son at BSU. When her son graduates, all members of her family will have graduated from BSU. Go Broncos!


Shirley VanPaepeghem

Elementary Choir & Music

Shirley Van Paepeghem first came to the Boise Valley from Coeur d ‘Alene in 1978 where she began working on her BA in music education at BSU. After teaching for one year in the Boise District, she and her husband moved to Bend, Oregon. During this time, Mrs. Van Paepeghem’s teaching experience included Jr. High choral music, K-8 general music and private voice. Since its 1997 inception until 2003, Mrs. Van Paepeghem developed and directed the Youth Choir of Central Oregon’s Debut Choir, which provided choral experience and vocal training to children in grades 3 through 8. Her area of teaching expertise is the young voice through adolescence. Mrs. Van Paepeghem is a Level Two certified Orff Music Instructor. In 1997, she served as consultant for a National Arts Assessment Pilot Program. She has been a guest presenter at both state and national music education conferences and performs regularly as a jazz vocalist. She is currently the Idaho Past-President of the Orff Schulwerk Association for music educators, the Repertoire and Standards chair for the state chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfMe), and she was a Co-Chair for the National Women’s Honor Choir for the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

After 19 years in Central Oregon, the Van Paepeghems and their children, Jake, now 30 and Mallory, now 27 returned to Idaho in the fall of 2003. She recently completed her Master’s degree through Lesley University in Integrating the Arts into the Curriculum. Since moving back to Idaho she has taught Music/Choir K – 12 at North Star Charter School in Eagle, Idaho. She one of 2 original remaining staff of NSCS which opened in 2003.

A.J. Davidsen

MS and HS Band

AJ Davidsen comes from the Great White North. He was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta where the influence of great band directors led him to pursue a degree in music education.

AJ graduated in April 2013 in the top 10% of the graduating class of BYU-Idaho. His main instruments are the piano and French horn. In February of 2013, AJ was given the “Outstanding Piano Soloist” award at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. AJ will receive his Master's degree in Piano Performance this year from Boise State University.

AJ met his wife Ashley at BYU-Idaho where she received a degree in piano performance. Ashley recently completed her Master's Degree at Boise State. Ashley and AJ are the proud parents of one daughter, Cleah Lynn.

Kyle Downs

MS and HS Choir

Kyle Downs began directing choirs at the age of sixteen. A member of the American Association of Choral Directors (ACDA) and National Association of the Teachers of Singing, he earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Puget Sound, where he studied conducting and choral literature with Dr. Steven Zopfi. Kyle holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Boise State University where he focused on developing a pedagogical model for the teaching of bel canto technique in the choir classroom. In addition to his private voice and piano students, Kyle is a frequent guest instructor throughout the Treasure Valley. He has served as a vocal coach, conductor, and artistic director for church, high school, adult, and community choirs in Oregon and Idaho.

As a performer, Kyle has sung on numerous studio albums, movie and video game soundtracks including Halo 3, and been a guest soloist throughout the Northwest. Kyle is active as a composer and producer and is passionate about developing the next generation of songwriters and artists in all genres, including pop, rock, hip-hop/R&B, and folk. Kyle writes and records with the Boise-area band, Interstate, who made their second appearance performing for fans at Centurylink Field for the Seattle Seahawk’s home win over Atlanta in October of 2016. Kyle lives in Boise with his wife, Julianne, and their two dogs.


Emily Parker

Physical Education

Emily Parker was born in Boise, Idaho and got her bachelor's degree from BSU. She has always enjoyed having an active lifestyle and wanted to install the same passion in others. This is the reason she chose to teach PE. Before teaching she enjoyed working for the forest service in Idaho City where she worked firefighting, trails, and leading Youth Conservation Corps. Her first teaching job was at O'Leary Middle School in Twin Falls where she spent the past three years. Emily is excited to come home to Boise and be part of North Star where she is very excited to work with the great staff and students that make NS great!

Trevor Holladay

MS Physical Education, Health

Trevor Holladay grew up in the great outdoors of Western Montana, He likes to spend his down time hunting, fishing, hiking, or playing city league sports such as volleyball and basketball, He is originally from Kalispell, Montana where he went to a private school K-12th grade. Following his passion, he moved to Bozeman, Montana and went to Montana State University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Enhancement. Trevor wants to instill upon his students the same passion he has for being fit and healthy.

Last year, Trevor also has coached a variety of sports such as: middle school girls basketball, high school men's basketball, and middle school track. He truly enjoys seeing children active outside of school exercising and learning new skills. This will be Trevor's second year at North Star and he is excited to continue teaching new students and continuing to grow the Health and Fitness curriculum.


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.

Patrice Rex

Elementary Science Grade 4-5

Patrice Rex was born and raised primarily in Utah, with a few summer excursions to Virginia where she worked as a full-time nanny. She spent her teenage years playing lots of basketball, volleyball, softball and running track, and particularly loved basketball and high jump. She has always been curious about the way things work and natural processes, especially human physiology and natural sciences. Mrs. Rex believes her love of science can be traced back to the times that she spent accompanying her grandfather on his Forest Service rounds throughout Utah and Idaho. She attended Brigham Young University on an academic scholarship and graduated with honors in 1998 with a degree in Zoology and a minor in Biochemistry. Mrs. Rex has taught and tutored science and math in Utah, Nevada and Idaho.

After her first child was born, she was a stay at home mom and part-time tutor for 10 years. She returned to teaching in 2009. She holds Secondary Teaching Endorsements in Biological Science and Natural Science. She also has an Elementary Teaching Certificate. Mrs. Rex is extremely excited to be teaching science at the elementary level and getting kids excited about science at a young age. She loves to do lots of “hands-on” lab work and watch students make discoveries.

Mrs. Rex loves to spend time with her husband of 22 years and her two kids (ages 16 and 12). Some of their favorite activities include traveling, camping, hiking, biking, swimming, playing games and doing puzzles. She also loves to read, play sports, watch college football, garden and take naps. She has been an Idaho resident since 2006 and loves living here.

Jill Hettinger

HS Biology

Jill is an Idaho native with teaching credentials in Elementary Education (K-8), Secondary Education (6-12: biological sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, natural sciences, and standard mathematics), and Administration (K-12). Jill has Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Secondary Education from the University of Idaho. She holds Master degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction focused on STEM leadership (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) from Boise State University.

Jill has 13 years of K-12 public school teaching experience. Jill was the founding 1st-8th grade science teacher at North Star Charter School. She left North Star Charter in 2010, and returned in 2014 after completing her Doctor of Education degree. Her doctoral dissertation, titled Finding Success in Elementary Science across Socioeconomic Boundaries, was a statewide study that evaluated the quality of science instruction within high achieving low and high socioeconomic schools in Idaho.

While Jill was at Boise State University, she developed and taught a course titled Investigations into Sustainable Development offered through the Biology, Geoscience, and Environmental Studies departments. Her work in this class was featured in the book, The ACTivist Learner: Inquiry and Service Learning to Make Learning Matter. She also taught several education courses for Boise State University, including Elementary Science Methods. As a graduate advisor for the Boise State University Undergraduate Microgravity Research Team she helped guide students through the development of numerous outreach activities, development of a NASA reduced gravity research proposal, and fulfillment of their research agenda. She accompanied the team, composed of majors from Biology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science, to Houston where they tested their research apparatus in a microgravity environment created on board NASA’s C9 airplane. Over the last two years at North Star Charter School she has directed the Student Spaceflight Experiment Project (SSEP). Over 500 North Star students participated in developing microgravity research proposals for SSEP and one student team had their experiment sent to the International Space Station to collect data. During the summer of 2017, Jill will be traveling to Hell Creek State Park to be a part of DIG field school in which she will get the opportunity to unearth a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a Triceratops.

Jill has had an adventurous spirit that strives to engage her students in real-world application of science and opening their eyes to the world of opportunity that awaits them. She enjoys teaching and sharing her passion for science with K-12 students. Jill and her husband, Rob, have two children, Ayden and Tyler. They also share their home with a long-haired Weimaraner. As a family they enjoy skiing, camping, and traveling.

Victoria Woodward

Physical Science - 8th

Mrs. Woodward has been teaching for 13 years. She came from being a Navy airplane mechanic on the F/A-18 to graduating with honors from BSU in Chemistry with a professional emphasis and a minor in Mathematics.

After working in research on anti-cancer drugs and then EPA testing for the City of Meridian and Nampa, she obtained her teaching certification and has taught all math levels from 6th grade through Calculus, AP, General, and Intro Chemistry, and Physical Science.

Harold Strom

Secondary Science

Harold (“Hal”) Strom teaches the two-year IB Biology (Higher Level) course to students in grades 11 and 12. In addition, he teaches the Standard Level IB Environmental Systems and Society to some students in grade 12. He also teachers grade 9 General Biology. He notes that the students in these classes clearly have excellent science backgrounds and are very pleasant to work with.

Hal grew up in southern California but had the good sense to marry Nancy, who grew up in Ashton, about fifty miles north of Idaho Falls.

Hal brings intelligent hard work to his science classroom and expects the same in return from his students. Recognizing that close cooperation between school and family is an important element of North Star’s academic program, Hal encourages parents to contact him (hstrom@northstar.org) or visit his classroom whenever they have questions or concerns. Hal received his Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University. He did his teacher preparation work at the University of East Africa’s campus in Kampala, Uganda: the course work was designed and taught by Teacher’s College, Columbia University (New York) and London University as part of a State Department program to provide teachers for East Africa’s newly independent countries. After two years in rustic western Kenya, Hal moved from the Serengeti plains to the tropical coral reefs of the western Pacific. Taking advantage of a strong marine biology program, Hal earned an M.Sc. (Biology) degree from the University of Guam.

Much of Hal’s professional career was spent teaching the children of American diplomats and business families in overseas locations. As you might expect, the State Department sets very high standards for these schools. In 2009, Nancy and Hal returned to Idaho after raising their seven children overseas. In recent years, their children have turned Nancy and Hal into very proud grandparents.

Hal very much enjoys reading, photography, gardening, and playing with his dogs that delight in digging up his annual efforts in the garden. He continues to proof read professional papers in English written by geologists who are posted to the Russian Academy of Science’s Geology Institute in Vladivostok.


Catherine Griffin

Special Education Director

Catherine Griffin is new to North Star Charter. Ms. Griffin has taught special education in Idaho for more than 15 years and has worked as a director of special education for five years.

Ms. Griffin received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and is certified to teach secondary social studies. In 2007, she received a master’s degree in Special Education after pursuing an interest in twice-exceptional students. She supports inclusion, differentiation, and teaching literacy through content instruction and has endorsements in literacy, gifted and talented facilitation, and English language development. Ms. Griffin recently graduated from Northwest Nazarene University with an Education Specialist degree in Leadership with a focus on Special Education Administration.

She has two adult children and likes to go hiking, canoeing, work in her garden, and spend time with family. Exploring the natural areas surrounding Boise with her Siberian Husky mix Mirra is a favorite pastime. Originally from Northern California, she enjoys returning for visits with family and to spend time at the Pacific coast. She lived in Central America for several years and is looking forward to the opportunity to return in the near future.

She is excited about teaching at North Star. She hopes to serve students, families, and staff at North Star through her commitment to support student learning through beauty, ingenuity, and peace. One favorite quote by Margret Mead demonstrates her ideals, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Vicki Rannow

Special Education

Although Vicki grew up in sunny, Southern California, she and her family call Idaho “home”! Vicki and her husband, Randy, recently moved back to Idaho with their Golden Retriever, Stormy. They are happy to be back among Idaho’s beauty and wildlife, and enjoy biking, kayaking, and walking the dog by the river. Returning to Idaho also allows them to be “Aunt” and “Uncle” to 3 of the newest members of their family; Jackson, Alex, and Ben.

Vicki is new to North Star Charter and brings 13 years of teaching experience in both general and special education. She received her Master’s in Special Education at the University of Nevada, Reno and, her Master’s in Business at Colorado State University. Also, she carries educational certifications in both Autism and Teaching English Language Learners. She loves using creative strategies in helping students learn and adheres to F.D.R.’s philosophy that “happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”!


Kelly Williams

Speech Pathologist

Kelly Williams grew up in Battle Ground, Washington and lived there until moving to Boise in 2005. In her younger years she was very active in sports and enjoyed any sport she could play! She left Battle Ground in 1992 to attend Washington State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She moved back to Vancouver, Washington to start working as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant for the Battle Ground School District.

After three years, she decided to pursue her Masters of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology from Portland State University. Kelly has 15 years of experience working with children in the private and school settings. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys running, hanging out with her family, going to the movies and reading. She enjoys helping students with their speech and language skills and feels blessed to be a part of North Star Charter!