Our Staff


Gayle Peterson

Head of School, K & 1st Grade Teacher, PE Teacher & Music Teacher

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. After high school I attended the local community college and then transferred to Eastern Washington University where I received my degree in education and psychology. I did some subbing in the local school district but eventually became a stay at home mom until my children were in school.

I was very fortunate to find a local independent school where our philosophies of education and how to treat children were the same. For over 25 years I honed and expanded my skills as an educator and administrator. I kept current with practices and trends through attendance of many continuing education classes and workshops.

However, I know that what has made be a better teacher and facilitator in the classroom is all the life experiences I have collected as a friend, mother, coach, teacher, administrator and grandmother. I believe that students need to know you care but that you also have high expectations for their behavior and education. Humor, love, firmness and kindness are a part of my classroom and interactions with staff and parents.

Colleen Curran

Executive Director

Colleen Curran started her professional career by managing a medical practice for two neurosurgeons and a neurologist in Missoula, Montana. While working at this position, she attended the University of Montana and graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting. Colleen then attended graduate school at the University of Washington in the Henry Jackson School of International Studies. While attending UW, Colleen also worked as a medical transcriptionist. She then went on to form a medical transcription service 16 years ago in Seattle. The business started with one client and 4 transcriptionists. Currently, Colleen's company has several clients (mostly in the Pacific Northwest) and 150 workers (10 employees and 140 independent contractor transcriptionists) scattered all over the nation. In what spare time she has, Colleen enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, movies and traveling.

Colleen became involved with Riverday School because she believes that an innovative educational program administered by dedicated teachers who encourage and challenge students to enhance their individual strengths is a recipe for personal, vocational and civic success.


Nicole Simon

2nd & 3rd Grade Teacher & First Lego League Coach
If you would have asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, Teacher would have been the furthest from my mind. I struggled as a student both academically and behaviorally and did not particularly like teachers. When I was in fourth grade I had a wonderful teacher that simply “liked” me. For the first time in my life I thought of myself as a capable learner. Even though my future teachers didn’t find me as “likable;” I knew that I could learn, just not the way they were teaching.

I graduated in 2003 with my Masters in Teaching from Washington State University. My lofty goal was to be my fourth grade teacher and change the way students thought of school and themselves. I got my first job at a local independent private school, and found what I was destined to do.

I have found that my experience as a student has made me a better educator. I can identify with being frustrated and misunderstood. Being part of a Positive Discipline school has made me better aware of why kids do what they do, and how I can facilitate them as they navigate through their education.

I have two kids of my own that went through the private school experience and I am very proud of what great teenagers they are today. I am a strong believer in that the journey is more important than the destination.

Mark Smith

4th & 5th & 6th Grade Teacher & First Lego League Coach
I believe that your experiences growing up influence the important life choices you make as an adult. I had many amazing teachers growing up that made me realize that I was a very capable person. They allowed me to be who I was and appreciated the way that I did things. When I was a senior in high school, it clicked that the teachers that I respected were passionate about their jobs. I wanted to have a career that I was passionate about. More importantly, I wanted to have the opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives in a positive way. I decided then that I wanted to teach.

I have been teaching for almost twenty years and it still feels as exciting as the first day of student teaching (but without the nervous vomiting before going to work). My favorite days are the ones when we are all learning, even me, for when we stop learning we stop growing as people.

I love that I get to make a difference every day. As a teacher I believe that I have high standards for my students and I strive to make sure that they know that I will be here to help them meet those standards. I also work at making sure that my students know that I care about them as if they were my own kids.

Kelly Williams

Art Teacher

Hi, my name is Kelly Williams (supergeneous). I love Looney Tunes cartoons. I graduated with a BA in Graphic Design, and Fine Arts from Montana State University. Prior to teaching I designed costumes and set for the Unicorn Theater in Sandpoint, ID for about 10 years. I started teaching art for Riverday School in 2011, and I really enjoy working with kids. I think of myself more as a facilitator than a teacher. I like to put out the supplies and see what the kids come up with. They can be truly amazing!