Meet Our Administrators

Deanne Liu

Advancement Coordinator; Mini-Dachshund Wrangler, Amateur Foodie, and Crochet Enthusiast. 

It brings me so much joy to see people fully realize who they are, and Bertschi School has such a special way of giving students the capacity to see their possibilities. In every facet of education, the learning we do makes ourselves and the world a better place, and I am happy to be able to contribute to the journey of those in the Bertschi community. In my free time I like to try out new recipes in my kitchen, hang out with my family and friends, and spend quality time with my two mini-dachshunds Oscar and Rolo. 

B.A., Communication Studies, Westmont College    
M.Ed., Student Development Administration, Seattle University

Dianne Filip

Landscaper, Crossing Guard; Northwest Gardener

I enjoy how Bertschi School cares about our kids, how everyone contributes to a spirit of community, and how the school instills an attitude of "look beyond yourself.”  I see it in the 2nd graders’ Pike Place Market project and in the canned goods drive for the food bank. With the media talking about how modern parents are raising narcissistic children, it’s nice to see Bertschi School giving our parents and students the chance to see different worlds beyond home and school environments—so they become more aware of the world in which they live. I enjoy the school’s gardens, and outside of work I really enjoy gardening at my home.

Jory Lum

Facilities Manager; Cook, Traveler, and Grandpa

Being new and not knowing what to expect, I was extremely impressed observing the way the students conducted themselves (polite, caring, outgoing, full of life) and with how welcoming the staff and community have been to me. Having worked in school facilities for over 8 years, I can honestly say that I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Bertschi Family. I am really looking forward to the years to come. During my free time, I enjoy cooking Hawaiian food, traveling and spending time with my two granddaughters.

Ken Harrison

Facilities Coordinator; Artist, Outdoor Enthusiast

It is truly exciting to be part of the vibrant Bertschi community. I find it rewarding to be able to utilize a multiplicity of skills each day to facilitate safe learning environments throughout the school. Whether I am attending to a facilities need, or working inside the classroom; I truly value the evident positivity and abundant creativity that flourishes at Bertschi on a daily basis. Outside of work I enjoy hiking, rowing, bike riding, vegetable gardening, and making music. 

A.A., Shoreline Community College  
B.A., History, Western Washington University

Michelle Wotherspoon

Front Office Manager; Collector and Music Enthusiast

I am thrilled to be a part of the Bertschi family! I am excited to contribute to a school that works so hard creating a space for children to unlock their potential and spark their imagination. As a child advocate, I derive such fulfillment in my life working for an organization that contributes to the successes of our youth and community. In my free time, I love to explore and create. I am a collector of “things” and can often be found listening to records and entertaining with friends.

Certificate of Early Childhood Education, North Seattle College

Midori Saito

Executive Assistant to the Head of School; Metalsmith, Cook and Smooth Operator

I came to work at Bertschi because I was thrilled to be able to work for an organization that makes a positive impact on people's views and understanding of the world. Bertschi School is full of unique personalities, experiences and ideas. I'm happy to be a part of such an energetic, creative community and help contribute to the smooth operation of the school. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, reading and spending time with friends. I also like spending time in my art studio, keeping my hands and mind busy!

B.F.A., Metals, University of Washington

Mike Gardner

Chief Financial Officer; Dad and Outdoor Sportsman

I love being around kids. I enjoy their positive energy and their love of learning. And I am happy contributing in any way to their learning and life experience. When I’m not working at Bertschi, I love to spend time with my wife and two young children and do as much outdoors as possible, like camping, hiking, sailing and kayaking.

B.A., Psychology and French, Dartmouth College
M.B.A., Finance and Accounting, Boston University

Pam Lauritzen

Director of Enrollment Management; Photographer and Screenwriter

The absolute highlight of my work is meeting our applicant children, getting to know them, and watching them grow up here at Bertschi.  As special a place as it is for kids, it's also an amazing place to work. I love to see the world through the kids’ eyes and to share in their enthusiasm is a gift I'm grateful for every day. When I'm not pouring my creativity into my work, I'm deploying it with writing screenplays, taking photos, and navigating the teenage years of my lovely daughter.

B.A., Psychology, University of Washington

Rachel Cumbow

Director of Extended Day and Summer Exploration Programs; Trivia Queen

Running Extended Day and Summer Exploration allows me to experiment and try new activities, new classes, and meet teachers from all over the community. It’s a wonderful way to engage and involve outside resources that don’t necessarily fit into the school day, and make a rich contribution to children’s lives. Watching kids of all ages develop friendships and social skills is continually rewarding and exciting. I love seeing the kids’ individual interests and personalities shine in a structured, yet non-academic environment.  Away from school, I enjoy watching movie and playing trivia; I currently play on three different trivia teams around the city!

Rafael del Castillo

Head of School; World Traveler and Lover of Science Fiction

On my first visit to Bertschi, I discovered a school where outstanding teachers are guided by a compelling vision. Education is a balance between what is timeless and what is informed by ongoing research on how each child learns best. Throughout its 40-year history, Bertschi has been an exemplar of that balance. Compassion, confidence, and creativity are woven into the school’s mission – and the goal for each child is deep learning for life as a global citizen. Consistently asking, “What’s next for our children?,” the school prepares them for their future, not our past.

When I am not on the Bertschi campus, I am connecting with all the diverse people that make up our great city. I love to read, and I am always planning for a future travel adventure with family and friends. 

B.S., Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida
M.S., Science Education, Florida International University

Rose Bellini

Director of Development; Professional Cellist, Food-Lover, and Mom

I am excited to be a part of a school that values creativity, confidence, and compassion. Connecting families with each other, and building a supportive community that sustains these values, ensures that Bertschi kids will always have a positive impact on the world. On my own time, I perform classical and avant-garde music as a professional cellist, serve on some local music boards, and enjoy cooking and being outdoors with my family.

B.M., Cello Performance, Indiana University-Bloomington
M.M., Cello Performance/Cognate in Business, Indiana University-Bloomington
D.M., Cello Literature and Performance/Minors in Business and Music Education, Indiana University-Bloomington

Saul Vest

Technology Support Specialist; Walker, Biker, Restaurant Foodie, KEXP lover, and Cat Enthusiast

I worked in local Television for over 25 years doing almost any role imaginable in News, Sports, Creative Services and Engineering. I am so excited to move into an entirely new discipline among so many passionate, enthusiastic and bright minds and personalities both young and not so young. I'm looking forward to supporting and contributing to the Bertschi Mission.

Stan Richardson

Director of Technology and Campus Planning; Reader, Walker, and Artist

Bertschi is an exceptional place. Working in technology and facility planning for young learners is especially rewarding. I like the challenge of planning and completing projects that make a difference.  Away from Bertschi, I enjoy reading, walking, and spending time at my cabin on Skagit Bay.

A.A.S., Industrial Electronics, Lamar University
B.F.A., Photography, University of Washington

Teri Barnett

Assistant Head of School; Beach-lover and Reader

I am so grateful to be part of a school whose values resonate with my own, and whose mission is visible in everything from the facilities, to the people, to the curriculum and student engagement. I love being part of a community where learning is joyful and risks are taken by children and adults, alike. When I’m not at Bertschi, I enjoy long beach walks, gardening, yoga, and reading.

B.A., English, Colgate University
M.A., English, University of Washington

Van Kantner

Assistant Controller; Bike Commuter and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer: Benin, West Africa

I enjoy working in the business office, interfacing with parents, faculty, staff and vendors. I studied mathematics in college, so numbers, patterns and problem solving are my strengths.  The accounting field fits me like a glove because I find organizing and filing soothing. Outside of work, I enjoy long distance running, day hiking, and reading.

B.S., Mathematics, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Accounting Certificate, North Seattle Community College