K-5 Faculty


Julie Handyside

Full Day Kindergarten

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 21 years and have taught fourth and fifth grades for several years. The last six years I have been teaching full day kindergarten.

I have two children. My son Nathan lives in Nampa and just got married last November. My daughter Kellie graduated with a BS in psychology and lives in St.Louis. She is currently working on her master’s degree. 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

AM Kindergarten/PM Kindergarte

Mrs. Katie Nielsen grew up right here in Eagle, Idaho. She spent her early years enjoying the great outdoors and learning to work for desired results. She is married to the love of her life. Kirt is a fantastic Cabinet maker. They have four darling girls: Jayde, Joslyn, Janessa and Jenica. Katie loves playing with her family. Together they love to laugh, camp, work, sing, bake, garden, four-wheel, waterski, and just enjoy each other. One quirky thing about us, we are constantly mixing-up words (not on purpose) by switching letters--its bizarre--we call it our “Puper Sowers.”

Katie loves learning, especially beside curious kindergarteners and aspiring colleagues. She loves teaching and has done so in many capacities. Currently she teaches AM kindergarten and will add PM kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year.

Katie enjoys creativity and seeks to keep learning fresh and bring the “wow”. Katie earned her B.S. and graduated with Honors from BYU. She wrote her honors thesis about Hungarian music philosophy and the implications for American adoption--which translates into weaving music (singing in particular) into education to heighten retention and connect learners. Katie continues to seek growth, even though it’s painful: “Tell your brain YOU CAN!”. She looks forward to this year with your students and will strive to challenge and inspire those within her reach.

Tisha Vanderwiel

Full Day Kindergarten

My name is Tisha Vanderwiel and I am very excited to be one of the full day kindergarten teachers at North Star Charter School. I am extremely devoted to teaching each and every one of my students and make it my personal goal to try and ensure that I am providing a rich learning environment in which my students are able to reach and/or exceed each of their personal capabilities.

As far as my educational background; I have my Associates Degree in Early Childhood and my Bachelors and Masters in Elementary Education. I have been teaching for over 19 years, most of which have been in kindergarten. Aside from teaching, I also owned and operated my own child care center in Boise, with approx. 120 children ranging in age from six weeks to twelve years. I owned that center for 10 years before selling it to teach.

I have five amazing children ranging in age from 16-24 years, a new son-in-law, and one beautiful grandson who will turn one in November of this year! I live in Meridian with my incredible husband, Erik, and have been an Idahoan most all my life. Some of my favorite things to do are spend time with my family, travel, camp, swing dance, and hang with my dogs!

I absolutely love and believe in North Star and feel very blessed to be a part of the top notch learning environment and positive culture that takes place here each and every day! I look forward to working with you and your child and starting off their school experience with a fabulous kindergarten year!

Andrea Brekke

Full Day Kindergarten

Mrs. Andrea Brekke was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. She graduated from Borah High and went on to earn her elementary education degree from the University of Idaho. Mrs. Brekke will begin her 22 nd year of teaching this fall, but her first year at North Star. She is beyond excited to join the North Star family and be a part of this fabulous school!

Andrea now lives in Meridian, Idaho with her wonderful family- husband Jim, daughter Addi, son Ryan, and 2 super cute dogs named Jade and Murray. She has been married to Jim for 20 years. Addi will be a senior this year and Ryan is an 8 th grader.

Andrea loves spending time outdoors with her family. They enjoy hiking, camping, and paddle boarding. Summer is by far Andrea’s favorite season! If Mrs. Brekke could live anywhere besides Idaho, it would be in Maui. The beach is her favorite place.

Mrs. Brekke loves teaching kindergarten and is looking forward to team teaching with Mrs. Vanderwiel this school year. They are going to have so much fun!


Charleen Loper

First Grade

Charleen Loper graduated from Boise State University in 2008 with her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies. She holds two teaching certificates, birth-third grade and K-8. This year she will begin her 14th year of teaching and she is very thankful to teach here at North Star. Prior to coming to North Star, Mrs. Loper taught kindergarten for two years before realizing first grade was her true passion and has taught first grade for 12 years. She promotes a collaborative classroom atmosphere where children are excited to learn and grow both academically and personally. Mrs. Loper encourages her students to have a positive outlook and to believe in their ability to conquer any given task.

She grew up in southern California and fell in love with her husband who grew up in Nampa, Idaho. They spent five years in California and moved to Idaho to raise their children. All three of their children have graduated from Boise State University. Mrs. Loper's favorite colors are, of course, blue and orange! During her free time, Mrs. Loper enjoys reading, working on creative projects, planting flowers, riding her bike, and especially spending time with her family and friends.

Mrs. Loper looks forward to working together with her student's families here at NorthStar to create a classroom full of lifelong learners!

Courtney Massimino

First Grade

This is Courtney Massimino's eighth 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 19 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...needless to say, they are big BSU fans! She has two boys, Vincent who is 15 and will be a 10th grader and Xander who is 12 and will be in 7th grade. Xander attends North Star! They both love hanging out with their friends and playing games. 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!

Shalayne Asin

First Grade

Shalayne Asin was born in Tucson, Arizona. She moved to Boise 16 years ago with her amazing husband, Todd, and loved it. She is the mom to three wonderful children; Adison, 15, Avery 11, and Tanner, 8. Her three children all love North Star as much as she does! She is excited to start her second year here at North Star teaching the wonderful first graders again.

She graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education focused on K-8, with a Literacy endorsement, a Reading Specialist certificate for both K-8 and 8-12 and a history minor. She has taught 3rd grade, 4th grade and Kindergarten. She is passionate about teaching and the students that she teaches. She strives to encourage their delightful sense of wonder and individuality in and out of the classroom. One of her favorite things each year is to get to watch as the students grow in confidence, grasp new ideas and come to see that learning is an exciting and fun experience. She strives to make her classroom a welcoming, happy environment that inspires students to want to learn.

She enjoys biking, swimming, taking long walks with her family that usually end up at a park, and just about anything out in the sunshine. She likes snowshoeing and sledding with her family. She loves to read, as do her children. They spend a great deal of time reading, at the library and just hanging out in the bookstores.


Sheri Drain

Second Grade

Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, Sheri Drain always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Sheri grew up loving school, while excelling in many sports such as volleyball, swimming, and track throughout her school years. Wanting a small town feeling she decided to attend Northern Arizona University where she went on to earn her Bachelors of Science degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities. She then taught in the Phoenix area for the next 7 years until her family relocated to the Boise area in 2002.

Sheri was then fortunate enough to stay home with her two young children until they were of school age when she then returned to the classroom. Always wanting to continue to educate herself, she then went to earn her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. While Sheri has more than 20 years' experience in teaching at the elementary level as well as special education and administration, she continues to love most of all working directly with students. She joined the North Star team in 2009 and looks forward to many more years of teaching at what she believes to be the best school in Idaho. It brings her such joy to see students' excitement as they grow both socially and academically.

Rebecca Franks

Second Grade

Rebecca Franks was born in Twin Falls Idaho. Her family moved to New Mexico for five years, and then to Utah where she graduated high school at Logan High. She completed her undergraduate degree at Boise State University in Bilingual/ESL Elementary Education in 2002 and did her student teaching in second grade and sixth grade in Nampa. In 2007, she completed her Master’s degree in Education with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction and Bilingual Education. Rebecca has taught first, third, fourth, and fifth, and loves the challenge each one brings. Rebecca has spent many years teaching upper elementary until 4 years ago when she moved to first grade and fell in love with the littles. This year will be her third year in second grade and twentieth year teaching!

Rebecca has been married to the love of her life, Bryan, for almost 20 years and they have one daughter Abigail who keeps them very busy! The three of them stay very active together whether it’s fishing for bass on the Snake, or golfing, riding bikes, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. When she isn’t busy chauffeuring Abigail to her dance events Rebecca loves to craft, sew, garden, scrapbook, and read!

Rebecca is an incredibly passionate person. She believes that all children are capable of amazing things! She strives to create a cooperative classroom where students are challenged to do their best and be successful learners. She believes in creating independent creative thinkers and doers.

Lisa Holt

Second Grade

Lisa Holt has lived in Eagle, Idaho since 1998. She graduated from BYU Provo many moons ago in Elementary Education. This will be Lisa Holt's thirteenth year of teaching, ten of which have been at North Star Charter School in the second grade. 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. 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. She only has one still living at home with her who will graduate this year. The others are off pursuing their interests in careers, college, and life.

Ms. Holt loves tennis and wishes she could find more time and energy to play. 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. She believes each year is a new beginning and there is growth for all kids awaiting them. She believes in making a good connection with each kid and strives hard for them students to feel safe to take risks in her classroom. She tries hard to build a community within her classroom of mutual respect and admiration. She loves teaching and second grade is the best.


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 has been at North Star since 2011 and loves it. She truly feels this is the best place to teach. She loves teaching 3rd grade. She has fun with the students as they learn and discover new and exciting concepts..

She has an amazing daughter who is in college. Mrs. Eardley, her husband and daughter love to travel; their favorite place is going to Disney World-she went again this summer. She also loves spending time at the Coast- relaxing and just enjoying the beach. She loves to read, bake and spend time playing games.,/p>

Maryann Peik

Third Grade

Maryann Peik was born and raised in San Diego, California, and decided to call Idaho home in 2017. She completed her education degree in Diversified Liberal Arts from the University of San Diego with an ELL Endorsement. After some time, she decided to further her education and earned a Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in Gifted and Talented Education.

Maryann has taught students in various settings, but where she feels the most at home is in 3rd grade! She loves third grade specifically because students have a brilliant spark for learning. Maryann commits to making her classroom a warm and inviting safe space for making mistakes and learning from them. Mrs. Peik is thrilled to be coming back for her second year at North Star Charter.

When Maryann is not teaching, she can be found at her daughter's lacrosse games (Hannah-16, Emma- 13, and Nora- 8), at home in her garden, or traveling throughout the beautiful state of Idaho.

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. Erin was also an owner of a preschool as well as one of its teachers. Erin took a hiatus to raise her large family and was excited to return to teaching in 2010. She taught 4th grade at Rolling Hills Public Charter School and absolutely 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 gatherings. She also has three grandsons, Asher, Max, and Yukon and three granddaughters, Zoe, Nadia and Kodiak that she loves spending time with.

Erin’s other passions are cooking, camping, planting flowers, riding her bike, dancing, reading, doing house projects and watching “chick flicks.”

Personal motto: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” -Theodore Roosevelt-


Tamara Michel

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Tamara Michel grew up as a headstrong tomboy in the Central California town of Madera. After graduating high school, Mrs. Michel moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a career in law enforcement while attending college. Mrs. Michel worked in the field of law enforcement for 14 years.

Mrs. Michel graduated college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Studies from California State University, Long Beach and a teaching credential from California State University, Monterey Bay.

Mrs. Michel is married to her amazing husband, Art, and has two fantastic sons, Quinton and Mason. Quinton is a freshman at BSU, and Mason is a junior at Eagle High School. The Michel family’s trio of dogs (two female Boston terriers and a male rescue that strongly resembles Scooby Doo) are a huge part of their lives.

Mrs. Michel made the transition to teaching not long after her sons were born. Although she enjoyed the field of law enforcement, she felt education was a more prolific career to have while raising her children.

This school year will be her fifteenth-year teaching and her third year at North Star. Mrs. Michel has taught multiple grades ranging from first to seventh grade. She looks forward to an amazing year getting to know her students and their families! Go Huskies!

Michelle Obenchain

Fourth Grade

Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Miss Obenchain has always had a passion for working with children. She attended Boise State University and graduated in 2013 with an elementary education degree. Miss O had the opportunity to spend her first few years teaching overseas in Southeast Asia before joining the amazing staff at North Star!

Fourth grade is her absolute favorite grade and she loves that every day is a new adventure learning alongside her students.

Outside of school, Miss Obenchain enjoys hiking the foothills trails around town with her family, friends, or faithful hiking buddy, her dog Benji!

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, North Star’s Elementary PE teacher. 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 seventeen, who is a senior at North Star. She also has twins, Ivy and Royce, who are in 8th grade at North Star.  She team taught third grade for five years with Mrs.Leatherman, now She decided to go back full time once all her kids were in school full time.  It was at this time that she decided to embark upon a new adventure in 4th  grade.  She loves being in the classroom! Her hobbies include spending time with family & friends, camping, scrapbooking and relaxing up North.


Melissa Lozoya

Fifth Grade- Social Studies

Melissa Lozoya was born and raised in a small rural town in Northern California surrounded by a tight knit family. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies at California State University, Chico, she took a year to travel and perform community service around the world with a global program called UP WITH PEOPLE. Having both the textbook education and the real world international experiences to go along with it uniquely prepared Melissa to work with young students both in and out of a classroom. Before jumping right into her own classroom though, Melissa used her skills at the University level working in the field of student affairs. It was during that time that she worked towards a Master’s Degree in Higher Education. After a few years in that field, she realized that her work schedule was not conducive to having time to raise a family. So she found her way back to elementary education and the classroom.

Melissa taught in both a Kinder and 4th grade general education setting before going back to school for a second certification and a different Master’s Degree, this time, in Special Education. For 8 years, Melissa worked as an education specialist serving students with special needs in grades Kinder – 8th. When not in the classroom working with children, Melissa taught night classes at the Teachers College of San Joaquin where she was able to use her experiences and knowledge to help new educators work towards the completion of their teaching credential for the state of CA. By far her most favorite aspect of this chosen profession called teaching is the lasting relationships built with students and families. Melissa works diligently to create a family atmosphere in her classroom with her students and their families. Receiving graduation announcements for high school and college, wedding invitations, and birth announcements from former students are truly her greatest joy!

Mrs. Lozoya is overjoyed to be starting her 4th year as part of the North Star team. This year she takes on a new challenge of teaching full time in a 5th grade classroom! Melissa brings energy, enthusiasm, and a little bit of silliness to the classroom. She also brings her love of Idaho, coffee, music, bingo, and two kiddos along with her to the North Star family. Her daughter will begin 5th grade this year and her son will be in 1st.

When not at North Star, Melissa can be found spending time with her family enjoying the beautiful outdoors of Idaho on bike or by kayak, coaching/watching her kids sporting events, or embroidering and sewing up in her craft room. If you see Mrs. Lozoya around town, feel free to stop and introduce yourself…she wholeheartedly believes in being part of a true "village"!

Ashley Loos

Fifth Grade - Reading

Ashley Loos (Low-se) has taught fifth grade for ten years, making this coming year her eleventh year. Mrs. Loos attended Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho for both undergraduate and graduate school, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

She desires to make a difference in the lives of her students, to help them grow in their education, and push them to be successful citizens. She believes that student relationships are key and it is her ultimate desire that students trust her as a person and as their educator. Mrs. Loos is excited and looks forward to another year of teaching at North Star Charter!

Mrs. Loos, her husband Steve, her son Brantley (6 months), and their Rhodesian Ridgeback Autzen Avalon (2), love spending time at their lake cabin in Northern Idaho on the Pend Oreille River. Their favorite summertime activity is boating and picnicking where they play a competitive game of Sequence. Mrs. Loos especially loves to wakesurf and slalom ski, but anything to do with water or sunshine, she is there. Her passions include discovering new places through travel, cheerleading, football, and spending time with their family and friends.

Carin Moats

Fifth Grade Math

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 20 years ago, she has worked with several charter schools either as an employee or a volunteer. For the last twelve years, she has taught at North Star for five years in first grade and three years in second grade and four years ago moved on up...to fifth! She loves teaching math which is a true passion of hers and wants all students to be just as enthusiastic about math as she is. Carin loves the energy and excitement of the staff and families at charter schools. She is so happy 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 (23), Hannah (19), and Emma (17). She enjoys skiing, spending time with friends, cooking, traveling, and reading.