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Silver SPRUCE Academy Staff


We have a wonderful, educated and talented staff here at Silver SPRUCE Academy.

All of whom are here to help with your school choice needs. 

Executive Director

Program Teacher
Natalie Howard

As a lifetime Colorado resident, Natalie Howard enjoys the outdoors, learning, and exploring her world for knowledge. She graduated from Ignacio High School in 1999, attended Fort Lewis College earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and continued her studies in a distance education program at CU Greeley earning a Masters in Education in Administration and Educational Leadership. 

Natalie, her husband and their children have a great appreciation for nature, embarking on family adventures, and learning new things each day.

Natalie has worked with school choice families since 2005. Her outgoing and bubbly personality create a social environment for students that exemplifies group interaction and allows for ample opportunities for students to engage in educational experiences. 

Natalie quotes, "I love learning and I love inspiring others to learn. Each person is unique and is skilled in certain qualities, the key is celebrating each child's special gifts and exploring education with that at the forefront."

" Natalie's motto to teaching is organized chaos with no box!"

Executive Assistant
Program Teacher

Janna Schmutz

Janna was born and raised in the Four Corners area and graduated from Ignacio High School in 1999. She became certified as a Medical Transcriptionist in 2006 from San Juan College and Career Step. In 2014 Janna obtained a certificate from The Photography Institute in digital photography and became a certified user of Quickbooks. She maintains a substitute teacher license through the State of Colorado each year. Janna is currently studying Marriage and Family Science through Brigham Young University Idaho and earned her first certificate in working towards her Bachelor's in 2021. 

Janna and Natalie have known each other since preschool and connected again through the school choice program that Natalie previously directed. Janna was excited when she heard that Natalie was starting Silver SPRUCE Academy because she believes in the value of school choice.       

Janna and her family enjoy Jeeping, boating, camping, and traveling. She states, "A traveler's destination is not a place, but what you see and experience"

Program Teacher 
Amethyst Egger

Amethsyt is a former student of Ms. Natalie's. She graduated in 2023 from San Juan College with an Associate's Degree in Biology. 

Program Teacher
Trudy Kremer

Trudy has lived and raised her children in the Pine River Area. One of her sons still lives in the area. Trudy enjoys riding horses, ranching, roping, barrel racing, and raising dogs. Trudy went back to college after raising her kids. Teaching was her first choice, but after working for the Forest Service spraying weeds and working fires, she realized that she would rather stay outside. She has taught swimming ever since graduating high school in Bayfield. She has worked for the Southern Ute Community Center since it opened. She learned to scuba dive and has spent 10 years working for LandShark Scuba as a cook on their dive trips. Trudy has also taught horseback riding lessons and worked for a substitute teacher in Bayfield, Ignacio, and Las Cruces School Districts. Being around kids keeps a fresh perspective on everything, and she quotes, “It is important to count your rainbows and not your thunderstorms.”

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