Teachers & Staff

Christin Butler

Executive Director

One of the co-founders of the school, Christin oversees all things related to curriculum, teaching, and education and organizational thinking at Solid Ground. While she is often found organizing curriculum and coordinating school projects and initiatives, it is working directly with children that grounds her most.

Christin's previous work as a teacher has spanned the age range and the globe, and she has worked with students from age 2 to 65 in 3 different countries. She graduated summa cum laude with an MA in Foreign and Second Language Education from Ohio State University, has a CELTA certificate from Cambridge University, and a B.A in English with a minor in Spanish from Indiana University, where she also spent a semester studying abroad at The National University of Costa Rica. She has continued her education with coursework at Ohio University in curriculum and child development.

An avid, life-long learner, Christin seeks to support a strong sense of community at Solid Ground and to promote the value of nature and creativity for the human spirit more broadly.

Keith Barron

Assistant Curriculum Coordinator

Lead Teacher, Roots

Keith spends his days in the school house working alongside the Roots (preK-K) and Shoots (grades 1 & 2). He loves the excitement in helping children develop projects and challenging their play; however, nothing gives him more joy that listening to the children create stories and guiding them in acting them out. Working alongside Christin, Keith developed and continually refines the curriculum for Solid Ground School as the Assistant Curriculum Coordinator.

Keith graduated from Ohio University with a BA in Early Childhood Education, followed by a MA in Reading Education. Since Keith has been an early childhood educator for over fifteen years. From his earliest experiences in education, he was drawn to the idea of researching children and how they make connections with their world. Hoping to share this passion, Keith has presented at professional conferences at the local and national levels. He has spoken as a keynote and featured speaker on topics from school gardens and Reggio Emilia study group facilitation to integrating superheroes and storytelling into the curriculum.

Matt Johnson

Lead Teacher, Shoots

Matt works with our 1st and 2nd graders, called the Shoots. He has a diverse background in the field of education and enjoys challenging children to think critically while building on their strengths and self esteem. Matt believes that children who are intrinsically motivated to learn through interest based projects are empowered to apply their learning in more relevant and meaningful ways. He is also a major proponent of place based education and the ways in which engaging children in their communities and the natural world can positively impact their perception of the human condition.

Matt holds a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Ohio University, and a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Denver. Matt began his career in education teaching kindergarten through third grade in an inner city school in Denver, Colorado. There, he was introduced to the wonders of diversity while working with a population comprised mostly of second language learners, refugees and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. After seven years, Matt and his family moved back to Athens, Ohio where he taught at the Ohio University Child Development Center for over four years before joining Solid Ground School.

Matt brings an abundance of outdoor experience to the farm in addition to his teaching skills. He has backpacked and skied hundreds of miles in the mountains of Colorado, and even ran sled dogs in the Oregon wilderness for a time. His passion for the outdoors compliments his love of learning and he enjoys introducing children to the wonders and knowledge of the world around them.

Charlie Cook

Lead Teacher, Middle Childhood

Charlie spends his days with our middle grade students. He is excited to join Solid Ground as the middle childhood teacher, and to return to the hills of Ohio that he calls home. Over the years, he has worked in various capacities with children of all ages. As a homeschooling father, he discovered a deep interest in integrative, holistic pedagogy and an enduring aspiration to work with children.

Charlie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Middle Childhood Education, holds an Associate in Science, and has been trained in an American Montessori Society accredited teacher education program. He came to Solid Ground having spent the prior few years developing and teaching in a Montessori adolescent program at a charter school in North Carolina. He can think of no greater honor than supporting young people in becoming self-actualized individuals and engaged world citizens, and he is eager to share his passion for exploratory education with the Solid Ground community.

He enjoys learning, gardening, cooking, building, playing music, contemplating the mysteries of the universe, losing himself in the woods, and spending time watching his sons learn and grow.

Weston Lombard

Nature/Entrepreneurship Teacher

A co-founder of the school and our Nature & Entreprenuership teacher, Weston facilitates hands-on project work and outdoor experiences that engage students directly with the natural environment and our local economy. In creating the rich outdoor environment at the farm, he has invited engagement with nature and outdoor recreation for students and visitors alike.

After graduating from business school in 2005, Weston turned his passions for sustainable agriculture, outdoor adventure, and youth education into a series of youth education programs. He then teamed up with other youth educators to start Rising Appalachian Warriors (RAW) summer camp in 2011, and has overseen its growth from a single weekend camp into a nine-week outdoor education and adventure program for the past several years. His independent research and writing is featured at agriculture and sustainable conferences and events around the state. For this work as well as his present role as the Youth Coordinator at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival, and past roles as the Director of Ohio Brew Week, and the Local Foods Sector Leader for the Winding Road, he was awarded the Rural Action Sustainable Livelihood Award.

Weston continues to work on his broader mission to inspire appreciation for the outdoors and encourage sustainable participation with nature.

Heather Hively


Rina provides invaluable administrative support to Solid Ground School, having originally come to our team through sheer enthusiasm for the project. As an administrator, she organizes tuition payments for our families, as Treasurer, she helps us keep our budget on track, and as a Board member, she chairs our fundraising committee. She brings knowledge and experience from her previous work as environmental educator, an Ohio University graduate, and as a mother of 2 Solid Ground students. She describes herself as a lover of exploration and discovery of our natural world.