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

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. 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.

Melissa Lozoya

PM Kindergarten

Melissa Lozoya was born and raised in a small town in Northern California surrounded by a tight knit family. After completing her Bachelor of Arts 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 earned her first Master’s Degree in Higher Education. After a few years in the field, she realized that the work schedule was not conducive to having time to raise a family. So, Melissa found her way back to elementary education and the classroom. She taught in both a Kinder and 4th grade general education setting before going back to school for a second credential and another Master’s Degree, both 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 experience and knowledge helping new educators work towards completion of their teaching credential for the state of CA. By far her most favorite aspect of this chosen profession called education is the lasting relationships built with students and families. Receiving graduation announcements for high school, college, wedding invitations, birth announcements, etc are truly her greatest joy!

Melissa is overjoyed to be starting her 3rd year as part of the North Star team. She will continue in both of her roles. By morning, as the coordinator of teacher & student success and in the afternoon as the PM kinder teacher. Melissa brings energy, enthusiasm, her love of Idaho, coffee, music, bingo, her hubby, and two little kiddos along with her to the North Star family. Her daughter will begin 4th grade this year and her son will be in kindergarten.

When not at North Star, Melissa can be found spending time with her family enjoying the beautiful outdoors in Idaho on bike or by kayak, watching the 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 believes that’s part of building a true community!

Katie Nielsen

AM Kindergarten/K-3 Science

Mrs. Katie 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 the love of her life. Kirt is a fantastic carpenter. They have four darling girls: Jayde, Joslyn, Janessa and Jenica. Jayde recently married and is currently living in Morroco with her husband Steven. Joslyn (Sr), and Jenica (8th) are at North Star Janessa (10th) is attending Middleton High. 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 beside curious kindergarteners and aspiring colleagues. She loves teaching and has done so in many capacities. She loves to read and garden. Teaching Science has become a new passion. It is incredible to watch curiosity played out in tangible ways for kids and adults alike. Katie studied at BYU and graduated with honors. Katie continues to seek learning opportunities. 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 goes, I have my Associates Degree in Early Childhood and my Bachelors and Masters in Elementary Education. I have been teaching for over 15 years, most of which has been in kindergarten.

Aside from teaching, I’ve also opened, owned, and operated a large 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 three children of my own; Che’ is 22 years old, studying to be a teacher, recently married and living in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho with her husband. Andrew is 19 years old and currently working full-time in Eagle, Idaho. Mitchell is a sophomore at Eagle High School, playing football, rugby, and maintaining a 4.0 average. I also have two beautiful step daughters; Ryen is a freshman this year at Eagle High School and loves horseback riding and volleyball. Rylie is 19 years old and currently serving a mission in Arizona. I am a VERY proud Mama!

I live in the Eagle area with my amazing husband Erik and have been an Idahoan all my life. Some of my favorite things to do are travel, camp, swing dance, ride my horse, Rusty, and spend as much time as possible with my Alaskan Malamute, Nanuk and my two Goldens Benny and Bella! I absolutely love and believe in North Star and feel blessed to be a part of the learning environment and incredible culture that takes place here each day! I look forward to working with you and your child and starting off their school experience with a fabulous kindergarten year!


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 12th 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 10 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. Their entire family have attended Boise State University and 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 North Star to create a classroom full of lifelong learners!

Courtney Massimino

First Grade

This is Courtney Massimino's seventh 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 17 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 13 and will be a 8th grader and Xander who is 10 and will be in 5th 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!

Jill Trumble

First Grade

Jill Trumble was born and raised in eastern Idaho. She graduated from Idaho State University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, and a minor in Spanish. She married her high school sweetheart and has spent the past 27 years in the Boise valley. She began her teaching career in fourth and fifth grades. After spending five years in the classroom, she continued her education outside the classroom as a stay-at-home mom, raising her 3 children. She returned to the classroom 10 years later as a fourth grade teacher in the West Ada School District. She then spent three years in first grade before moving to North Star. She has enjoyed working with her first grade team the past two years. She has spent one year at North Star in first grade. She has a master’s degree in Educational Technology from National University, and enjoys both the challenges and the innovative uses of technology in the classroom.

Mrs. Trumble loves her North Star family, and enjoys her niche as a first grade teacher. When she is not thinking about her firsties, she is spending time with her family. She treasures the memories made with her husband, Brian, and her three children, Mary, 22, Sarah, 21, both at University of Idaho, and John, 17. Together, they enjoy skiing, boating, golfing, and watching sports together, mainly football and basketball. In the summer, she can be found attending a teaching conference, on the open road riding her motorcycle, or casting her worries away, fly fishing on a remote river in the Northwest. Mrs. Trumbel enjoys a challenge! She plans to learn how to play the guitar this fummer, so she can play and sing campfire songs with her firsties!

Mrs. Trumble can’t wait to meet your firstie! She promises to provide an environment filled with learning, growth, expectations, communication, and most importantly, LOVE!


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 (1995) where she 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 (2013).

While Sheri has more than 19 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 most of her 16 years in the upper grades until two years ago when she moved to first grade and fell in love with the littles.

Rebecca has been married to the love of her life, Bryan, for almost 19 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 ATV’s. When she isn’t busy chauffeuring Abigail to her competitive gymnastics events Rebecca loves to craft, sew, garden, cook, 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.

She is so excited to join the North Star family this year!

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 eleventh year of teaching, seven 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 attend Eagle High School. 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 for 8 years and loves it and says 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 collage. 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 is in the 11th grade and plays lacrosse for Eagle High. 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 8th grader at NS.

Mrs. Leatherman enjoys any water-related sports and fiesta-style BBQs with family & friends. This will be her 11th year team teaching 3rd grade (3rd year with Mrs. Russell) at North Star and feels truly blessed to be a part of an amazing school family/community! Third grade has always been her favorite grade level and she LOVES everything about it, especially the kiddos. She can’t wait for another wonderful school year with the BEST students, wonderful parents and the most incredible staff!

Melissa Russell

Third Grade

Melissa Russell grew up all over the state of California. She attended California State University, Fresno where she earned a BA degree in Liberal Studies and went on to get her teaching credential for grades K-8. She started teaching in Southern California working in the Garden Grove Unified School District, one of the largest districts in California. Melissa taught grades 2nd , 3rd , and 4th for seven years. After having twin boys, she took some time off to focus on her family.

In January 2006, the Russell family moved to Eagle, Idaho for a quality of life change. In 2015, Melissa began teaching again as a Title 1 teacher in the West Ada School District. In 2017, she joined the North Star Charter School team and co-teaches with Mrs. Laiena Leatherman. This will be Mrs. Russell’s third year at North Star, and she is looking forward to another great 3rd grade class!

When she is not teaching, Mrs. Russell enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her boys, Aiden and Ashton, are in the ninth grade, full of life and keep her and husband, Steve, on their toes. They also share their home with their two dogs, Charlotte and Scout.

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 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-


Carol DeFriez

Fourth Grade

Carol DeFriez, formally known as Ms. 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. DeFriez 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.DeFriez enjoys travel, hiking, river rafting, cooking, gardening, and walks along the greenbelt. She and her new husband, Craig, have six children and 17 grandchildren to make life fun, meaning and full of zing.

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 Obenchain 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 Belle!

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, one of North Stars awesome 6th grade teachers. 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 fifteen, who attends ninth grade at North Star. She also has twins, Ivy and Royce, who are in 6th grade at North Star. She team taught third grade for five years with Mrs. Leatherman, another one of North Star’s awesome 3rd grade teachers. However, she decided to go back to 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 and friends, camping, scrapbooking and reading.


Bill Lavin

Fifth Grade Social Studies

Mr. Lavin is in his fourth year teaching at North Star Charter School. The 2019-2020 school year will mark 30 years as an educator. He is excited to teach Social Studies and Guided Reading this year. Mr. Lavin has taught 4th, 5th, 6 th , 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,21), and son (Ian,19). Kaylee is a senior at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Ian will be a sophomore at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

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 walleye fishing guide on the Columbia River out of Umatilla, Oregon.

Once again, Mr. Lavin is thrilled to be a part of the North Star faculty. He cannot wait to meet the upcoming 5th graders and share passion for history and reading with them.

Ashley Loos

Fifth Grade - Reading

Ashley Loos (Low-se) grew up in Spokane, Washington. She and her husband, Steve 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. On the weekends, Mrs. Loos 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.

Mrs. Loos 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 eighth year of teaching fifth grade and is ecstatic for a great year ahead. 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. Mrs. Loos is excited and looks forward to this year of teaching at North Star Charter!

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 18 years ago, she has worked with several charter schools either as an employee or a volunteer. The last ten years she has taught at North Star for five years in first grade and three years in second grade and two 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 (21), Hannah (17), and Emma (14). She enjoys skiing, spending time with friends, cooking, walking, and reading.