About the Team
Dreamed up over play dates and late night texts, Silver Oaks Cooperative School is the creation of two moms with a deep background in education and passion for learning. Co-founders Alicia and Annette collectively have 24 years of experience in public elementary education. Our parenting and educational experiences have cemented our desire for a new type of elementary school. We can't find an affordable, community-driven, child-centered school in our area, so we're building it, and lucky to have educator Christine Waltz join us!
Alicia Cacace, Director, Co-Founder and Lead 2-3 Teacher
Alicia is a California native and earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley in International and Area Studies, Latin America. Having spent her college years running tutoring programs, leading birthday parties, nannying, and volunteering with children in Guatemala and Mexico, she knew she wanted to be a teacher and received her bilingual multi subject K-5 teaching credential from California State University, East Bay. She taught Spanish bilingual and Reggio Emilia inspired arts integrated Kindergarten and first grade in the Oakland Unified School District for five years.
Inspired to learn more about best practices in education, Alicia moved to Boston to complete her masters degree in Educational Policy and Management at Harvard University. Alicia continued to teach and lead in schools for another three years in Boston and D.C., until her first son was born. Alicia is in her third year on the board at Silver Spring Nursery School and lives in Silver Spring with her two sons and husband.
Annette C. H. Nelson, President, Co-Founder, and Support Teacher
Annette taught in Howard County Public Schools as an elementary classroom teacher for five years until becoming an elementary school library media specialist. After 12 years in the county she had her son Jack and transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom. In 2015, she returned to work as a school library media specialist for Prince George's County School. Since the fall of 2016 she has worked as a school library media specialist for Montgomery County Public Schools. Annette is a Nationally Board Certified Media Specialist, holds a Maryland State Certification for grades 1-6, and has co-authored two books for school librarians. She is passionate about creating Silver Oaks to provide a unique educational experience for her own child and those in her community.
Christine Marie Waltz, Head Teacher and Lead K-1 Teacher
Christine is an early childhood educator who has worked in the private preschool setting in Maryland. Her teaching philosophy is to teach to the whole child, incorporating all domains of learning by addressing the child’s senses in a realistic environment to encourage authentic learning. As the lead teacher for six years in a preK 5-day four-year-old class, she has mentored three teaching assistants, developed and implemented curriculum and assessments, was responsible for the classroom environment, hosted parent-teacher conferences and communicated with parents on a regular basis. Christine frequently took the classroom outside, believing that learning can and does happen anywhere and everywhere. Mindful of the Maryland preK standards of learning, Christine teaches each child at the child’s pace. When a child masters the preK standards, she begins to teach the kindergarten standards; this progression continues individually for each child. Grounded in the philosophy that children must feel valued in their own education, she is creative in streaming all disciplines of learning within a child’s topic of interest.
She holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in both Economics and Business with a minor in German. With a belief that further study is always valuable, she continued to advance her own education by earning an AAS in Early Childhood Education, graduating with Honors.
A proud mom of four daughters, she and her husband live in Montgomery County, where her daughters attended public school. She enjoys any day on the beach and skiing in western Canada. She serves on the board of the Potomac Association of Cooperative Teachers and is active in Operation HomeFront through Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.