Our People - Lakeland


Wendy Bradshaw has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in special education from the University of South Florida (2015). She also earned her Master of Arts from the University of South Florida (2006) in special education with a concentration in behavior disorders. She earned her undergraduate degree (2003) in preschool/primary, elementary, and special education at Florida Southern College. Dr. Bradshaw has served in multiple roles in the field of education, including preschool and elementary teacher, early interventionist, and college instructor. She co-founded R School after leaving the public school setting so that she could create a place for children to learn to love learning utilizing the 'whole child' approach and grounded in research on child development and learning.


Susan graduated from the University of South Florida in 1992 with a BS in Elementary Education (K-6). She is also a graduate of the Suncoast Area Teacher Training Honors Program. She has more than 20 years of experience in working with young children in the Lakeland area and has five children of her own with her husband Erich. Susan loves planning developmentally appropriate learning experiences grounded in Sociocultural Theory

Kristen Kirby-Intermediate pRIMARY tEACHER

Kristen graduated from Southeastern University with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education with endorsements in ESOL and Reading. She taught 3rd grade for 3 years in the public school system, but realized there must be a better way to "do" education. In her search, she taught art to children and adults at a local studio. Kristen was excited to learn about R School, a place where she could encourage students to be creative and independent! She loves that kids can be kids while learning what they need and want to learn. Kristen emphasizes a growth mindset to help children become continuous learners. 

KEvin Peoples-Upper Primary Teacher

Kevin graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. He taught in the public school system for 13 years before deciding that he would rather teach children in creative and interesting ways. Kevin enjoys teaching through games and encouraging children to read and write for enjoyment. 


Carolína graduated from George Jenkins High School and has worked with young children for the past decade in several different capacities. She is knowledgeable of developmentally appropriate practices and enjoys guiding our youngest students through both structured and play-based activities to acquire reading and math skills. She is a native Spanish speaker and teaches our Spanish language classes using music, Spanish literature, games, and art activities.

Sara Jones-Art Instructor

Sara is a local artist who was home educated through middle school and graduated from Lakeland High School. She and her work have been featured in several publications and she has been an invited artist at many events, including Lakeland's very own Art Crawl. Sara enjoys helping students tap into their artistic talent and introducing them to various media and techniques to broaden their knowledge. 

"Farmer Alex" Ruesing-Garden Instructor

Farmer Alex is the proprietor of Lifegarden Farm and you may have seen him selling his hot peppers and other organic produce at Lakeland's Downtown Farmer's Market. Alex loves teaching others about organic and sustainable gardening practices. He has four lovely children who attend R School part-time. 

Brandon Snipe-Vocal and Guitar

Brandon works with Strings in Need, a local not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing music lessons to all children, regardless of financial status. He is a highly trained musician and excels in guiding children through the beginning stages of their musical journey.