Meet Our Teachers

hConnect works with families who provide home-based instruction to support them in the education of their children.  Parents remain the primary teacher in their child's education, but hConnect is here to be supportive with resources, strategies, and classes that are more difficult to provide at home.

Karina Champion   Multi-Grade Math & Science / MAST 7-8  

Karina Champion

Ms. Champion grew up in the Olympia School District attending Roosevelt Elementary, Reeves Middle School, Olympia High School and SPSCC. After teaching at Sky Valley Education Center in the Environmental Science School and Parent Partnership Program (like hConnect at ORLA) she returned to Olympia to raise her family and teach at ORLA. 

She has four children, a partner, a dog, goldfish, and our classroom bearded dragon Joey. Someday she hopes to get a pair of kittens and backyard ducks to complete her small aquaponics system, plus they are adorable! 

Ms. Champion is the advisor of the Three Circle Support Club (a student run gender and sexuality support and social club), Pizza Klatch (a sexuality and gender support group for LGBTQA+ students and allies), and the ECHO club (Extension work Collaboration and Help Organization) a student run academic peer support club. 

You will find Ms. Champion outside with students in most types of weather. She has only had to cancel field trips due to weather twice. Once for an electrical storm and once for an ice storm. 

Loves: lava, crystals and fossils, animals, plants (especially edible and medicinal), finding animal bones for our naturalist case, cultural and natural history, health, being in or near bodies of water, sewing and fiber arts, new crop apples, chocolate, and sparkle water.  kchampion@osd.wednet.edu

Rachel Erickson  Multi-Grade Science & Algebra / MAST 7-8 

Joined ORLA in September 2017   rlerickson@osd.wednet.edu

Rachel Erickson


Sarah Fuller Learning Facilitator ORLA Buddies and Barton 

Sarah Fuller

I grew up in California, which is where I completed my teaching certificate from Fresno Pacific University. I taught in a self-contained special education program for 3 years, in Fresno and San Luis Obispo, CA.


I took time off teaching to be home with my little children, and stayed active in education through tutoring and homeschooling our kids. This is how I first began teaching at ORLA in 2009 as a substitute for the hConnect program and started ORLA Buddies soon after.

Our family has been a foster home since 2010 and we love serving with Joni and Friends camp, a camp for families affected by disability. All of our kids have been in the hConnect program and I love being a part of the ORLA community.   


Annie Hankins   Multi-Grade Math & Science / MAST 7-8

Anne Hankins

I was born and raised in Seattle and attended college in Minnesota. Upon graduation, I completed an internship in environmental education and worked as a seasonal naturalist at Olympic Park Institute and in Florida. During this period, I decided on teaching as my path and completed my Masters in Teaching at The Evergreen State College in 1993.

I enjoyed five years on the sunny side of our state in Yakima teaching 7th grade Life Science and Math before the birth of my daughter and moving back to Olympia. I changed course and taught Pre-K at the Eastside Cooperative Preschool for five years, and more recently grades 3-5 for the OSD in their PATS program before joining the hConnect staff at ORLA in 2015.

My summers are spent in the great outdoors with husband Roy (also a teacher) and daughter Jasmine (19) and son Reed (9), and our pets Tara the tarantula and kitty "Dandelion". Hiking and camping is our usual pursuit, and this year we enjoyed exploring waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. I love all kinds of sports (my latest favorite is floor hockey in the ORLA gym) and ride my bike whenever I can.

I am thrilled to be a part of the ORLA community where there are so many things to like: multi-age classrooms, interdisciplinary studies, engaged students and supportive parents and staff to name a few. I'm looking forward to returning to ORLA this fall and working with both hConnect and MAST 7 programs!  

Richard Harrington Multi-Grade hConnect & MAST 7/8

Richard HarringtonI am the 5th oldest of 7 children and went to high school in St. Louis, Missouri. I spent a lot of my free time canoeing around Southern Missouri, sailing on the area lakes, hiking and exploring caves.

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas and taught and coached in Kansas for 5 years. My wife is an only child and a nonprofit consultant; as she grew up in Dallas we moved there start a family close to her parents. We raised our two children there and both kids went to college out of state. Our daughter is now a librarian in Chongzhou, China for Wycombe Abbey International School. Our son teaches social studies and coaches football, wrestling, and track coach for the Dallas School District (where I worked for 27 years).

I spent two years in Fuzhou, China teaching and running an international school; which gave me an excellent base to explore China and the rest of Asia. My wife and I decided we needed to escape the heat of Texas and make changes in our lives so we headed to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I look forward to exploring and learning all about the area.  rharrington@osd.wednet.edu


Cristy Havens     Multi-Grade hConnect, ASB Advisor, Activities Coordinator MAST 7-8 

Cristy HavensOlympia has always been my hometown, although after attending 3rd through 12th grades, I did spend a little time away.  In 1987, I went away for college to warm and sunny Tucson, Arizona, and received my Bachelors in Fine Arts with an endorsement in Music Performance.  I spent the next couple of years traveling and singing in a band and when I decided that was not the life for me, I realized that where I really wanted to be sharing my love of music was in the classroom! 

I attended Seattle University and received my Masters in Teaching and was also lucky enough to have met my husband, Michael.  We have shared the wonders of teaching and education for 15 years together.  We have 2 amazing daughters who keep us on our toes and laughing through life. I have always loved teaching, but I love teaching at ORLA most of all.  chavens@osd.wednet.edu


Laura Herman   Multi-Grade Language Arts & Social Studies & MAST 7-8

Laura HermanI was born in Longview, Washington and resided in our state until the age of 10.  When I was in 5th grade my family moved to Mississippi, and I lived in the "deep South" until I was 20 years old. I then moved back to Washington to be closer to my family and finished my studies at Washington State University.  Working in education for the past 25 years has given me the opportunity to teach all grades 4th-12th. I specialize in teaching language arts, social studies, and various writing classes and have been at ORLA since 2011.  I am married and have a 13-year-old daughter named Ava and six-year-old twin girls named Zoe and Maya.  My hobbies include gardening, reading, volunteer work, spending time with my family, and cooking.  lherman@osd.wednet.edu

Lea Mitchell    Multi-Grade/ Visual Arts /MAST 7-8

Lea Mitchell

I grew up on an island in Maine where my family ran an Inn, a restaurant, and a small marina. I learned how to paint, organize things, welcome customers, and count change. I consider this my first homeschool experience. We lived in the Inn and it was drafty and freezing cold in the winter. Instead of all going our separate ways after dinner, we would often gather in the living room by the fireplace. My dad would carve birds and my mother and grandmothers would sew, knit, and do needlepoint. I think this is where I learned to love art and to believe that everybody, in their own way, is an artist.

Most of my life I taught and created art but it was always as a volunteer and often at the end of the day after I had completed my "real" work. I had a successful career working on environmental protection and related public policies but something was missing. I realized that my "real work" was teaching and creating art. I returned to school and received my teaching certification from Pacific Lutheran University.

My husband Jim and I have lived in Olympia for over twenty-five years and we both share a love of nature, hiking, and our local community. I am honored to be part of the ORLA community and to have the opportunity to help build ORLA's Visual Arts program.  lmitchell@osd.wednet.edu

Rebecca Stoddard   Multi-Grade k-7

Rebecca StoddardJoined ORLA in September 2018. Teaching k-7th grade classes rstoddard@osd.wednet.edu

Steve Youngs  Multi-Grade Robotics/Science/ MAST 7-8

Steve Youngs

I was born in Seattle and grew up in the suburb of Burien.  I always loved the out of doors, music, and theater, so it was difficult to decide upon a career path.  My first major in college was theatrical stage lighting and audio engineering at Eastern Washington University.  After two years of study and somewhat discouraged by the unpredictability of employment, I changed my major to environmental science and transferred to The Evergreen State College.  I loved this area of study.  It allowed me to work in a variety of ecosystems, from the open ocean to the inland forests. 

I worked in the dangerous and exciting Bering Sea on crab boats and fishing trawlers, hiked across the open tundra of the North Slope of Alaska, spent time in the subtropical waters around Hawaii, and worked in the forests of the west coast.  Lots of adventuring, but then I decided it was time to put down roots.  I had always had summer jobs in high school working with children at the YMCA, so it seemed logical that teaching would be my next career choice.  So, back to school, I went.  After teaching in a private school as well as a public alternative school for struggling youth, I am very happy to have found a home here at ORLA. syoungs@osd.wednet.edu