A letter from Holly Wu and Valerie Sahyoun

Holly Wu, NBCT


Holly-founder-275Holly Wu is an educator and mother. She was raised in Missouri and fell in love with the southwest United States during her college years. Ms. Wu was awarded “Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Elementary Education” for her graduating class in 2000 from Eastern New Mexico University. She became certified K-8, and her undergrad minor was math. Ms. Wu received her Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico in 2004 and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She earned the credentials to become a reading specialist with this degree. She later earned her National Board Certified Teacher credential in 2006 and renewed in 2016. Ms. Wu also became endorsed in English as a Second Language in 2006.

We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety, a hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. Try to be at peace with yourself and help others share that peace. If you contribute to others’ happiness, you will find the true goal, the meaning of life. -The Dalai Lama

Her teaching background includes kindergarten through fourth grade, with experience in Reading Recovery as well. She spent two years as a K-12 District Math Coordinator and has led countless teacher and academic coach trainings.

Ms. Wu is the author of On A Whim: A Poetic Journey. Her book can be purchased through Amazon in paperback or Kindle version, and the proceeds will benefit Chinook Spirit Children’s Academy. Ms. Wu continues to write on the subjects of education and spirituality for both adults and children.

Valerie Sahyoun, NBCT


Val-founder-275Valerie Sahyoun was born and raised in the Colorado mountains in the small town of Leadville. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico in 1992. She returned to her home town of Leadville where she taught in a multi-age setting for four years. Ms. Sahyoun moved back to the Albuquerque area where she has been an educator for the last 17 years.

In 2000, Ms. Sahyoun completed her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico. In 2002 she achieved her National Board Certification. After nine years teaching in the classroom in grades 2-4, she became a Math Instructional Coach at a K-6 school for two years. For the last six years, Ms. Sahyoun has been in an educational leadership role where she has been a District Mentor Coordinator and Peer Support Teacher in a K-12 setting. In this role she facilitated ongoing training and support for new and veteran teachers.

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake. ~Henry David Thoreau

Two life events preceded her desire to return to the classroom. In 2009 her daughter was born, which inspired her educator self to merge with her spiritual self as a teacher for her own child. In 2012 she borrowed a classroom of students to renew her National Board Certification. She successfully re-certified for 10 more years, but had a difficult time returning the students back to their teacher. She knew that teaching children was her life’s purpose and began to co-create her dream school – Chinook Spirit Children’s Academy.


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