Lauren Schimke


I am extremely passionate about the Sierra Nevada Mountains and I live full time in Bear Valley with my husband and two children. I grew up on the Hwy 4 corridor, and that's where I have many childhood memories. I've lived in some beautiful places, which include Hwy 4, Lake Tahoe and Carmel Valley. The beauty of the natural world has helped to mold me into the person I am today. My passion to live in the mountains has led me to want to share this healing lifestyle with as many people as possible as.

After graduating high school, I was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and have worked on ski patrol at Bear Valley Mountain, Squaw Valley and now currently at American Legion Ambulance. I’m a certified Massage Therapist and own and operate Trinity Wellness Spa & Fitnessin Bear Valley. I am very passionate about non profits, volunteering my time and also Secretary for the Nickolay Dodov Foundation.

Nothing brings me more happiness then helping our Bear Valley community thrive! The HEART of Bear Valley is the children here and my goal with BVEF is to keep that heart beating forever!

Amber Watts

Vice President

I am a mountain transplant. I grew up in the Bay Area where I attended high school and community college. I received a volleyball scholarship to The University of Maine where I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology. I then moved to San Luis Obispo, where I worked several jobs while working towards a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. Upon graduation I returned to the Bay Area and worked as an instructor, a volleyball coach, and a track coach at Chabot College, in Hayward. As much as I loved my job, I found a new love, my husband. After 9 years of teaching in the Bay I married my husband and moved full time to Bear Valley. We have since had two children and are local business owners. Since becoming a full time resident I have tried to get involved in the community in various ways. I have put on a couple of fundraisers, am the current Secretary of the County Service Area #1 advisory committee, and have worked with Lauren Schimke on getting the Bear Valley School reopened. My family loves Bear Valley and all it has to offer. We want nothing more than to see this town thrive!

Michael Presto


I am a real estate developer, business consultant, and owner of Pousada Toca do Mar, ( a boutique beach resort on Ilha Grande in Brazil.  Though I have a degree in law from Seattle University School of Law, my passions have always been in the real estate and hospitality industries and the development and operation of business organizations.  I am married to my wonderful wife Carol who I met in Rio de Janeiro in 2008 while studying Sustainable Metropolitan Growth Management and International Environmental Law and World Trade.  We have two children, Luca (age 6 and a 1st grader at Bear Valley Elementary) and Gianna (age 2 and a busy, busy bear) and are very excited to be an active part of the Bear Valley community!

Jill Wegenstein


Originally from Massachusetts, my family and I have been homeowners in Bear valley since 1994. My children grew up attending summer camp in Bear Valley and winters training on the Bear Valley race team. We fell in love with the community and as an educator I was particularly interested in supporting education here. Initially I was a substitute teacher and volunteer at the school and then was elected for 2 terms to the Alpine County Unified School District Board and Alpine County Board. In addition, I have been on the Bear Valley Residence Board for the last 8 years, currently serving as its vice president. Before changing careers and teaching in Menlo Park, I was in the retail industry in Chicago and St. Louis. I received my B.A. degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY and my teaching credential from Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont, Ca. Bear Valley is a unique environment that can provide numerous opportunities for children to thrive. With the reopening of the Bear Valley Elementary School our children now have an even brighter future.

Vicky Johnson

Board Member

BS in Physical Education from Cal Poly 1986. Married to husband Tim. Two high school children Nolan and April.

Vicky has worked extensively in the hospitality industry through Girls Scouts and Girl Guide working abroad in England, Mexico and Switzerland from 1989 to 1995. She moved to Bear Valley in 1996 to be the innkeeper for the Tamarack Pines Inn and later the Tamarack Lodge at Bear Valley as a bed and breakfast and family friendly lodging where she is currently running the business as innkeeper/manager with husband Tim. She is a Sierra Club member and has lead national outings in the local area.  She has been or is actively involved with Vallecito School District and Bret Harte High School Union School district as substitute teacher, intern teacher and cross country and track and field coaching. The boy and girl athletes competed as far as the High School State Meets. She is currently the Bear Valley Business Association representative on the Alpine Chamber of Commerce. Her hobbies include any outdoors sport especially running, snowshoeing and skiing, coaching, and photography. 

Justin Savaso


Welcome to Bear Valley Elementary! It is an exciting and unique opportunity to be an integral part of the re-opening of the school for the 2018-2019 school year.

I graduated from Sonoma State with a BA in Liberal Arts and obtained my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 2016. Coming out of the credential program, I taught at a small school that served students with special needs. I primarily taught Language Arts, ranging from grades K-12. I find the most rewarding part of teaching sharing my passion for reading with students, as they develop their own literacy interests and skills. Most recently, I served as an English Language Arts reader and rater for Smarter Balanced Testing.


Looking forward, I am excited to utilize the unique area of Bear Valley. Having participated in many sports throughout my life, I believe in getting students as active as possible at school. With a lake and ski resort in town, we certainly have no shortage of adventure opportunities! I look forward to infusing Common Core learning with the outdoor opportunities Bear Valley has to offer. 

Jennifer A. Manetta , Mam JAM

Instructional Assistant

I am so excited to be included in the reopening of the Bear Valley School as the Instructional Assistant. I come from, simultaneously being, the Site Supervisor and Teacher of Mountain Playschool Co-op, Lead 3-6 year olds in BV Summer Day Camp/Ski instructor and running a year round Out Door School. I am also a lifelong Portrait Artist, averaging two portraits a year where I often donate to fundraisers for children, for example, completing 75 fast portraits at the BV Box Car Derby.

I took Critical Thinking at Sonoma State for multiple semesters while finishing up my BA, with a disabilities waver, worked the International conferences on Critical Thinking, taught 3-8th in multiple subjects in Bogota’ Colombia SA, at UCLA, UCSD and UT Austin (in Israel), I pursued many passions, Archeology, Sculpture, and Philosophy of Early Childhood Education with Psychology.

Being raised by descendants of Vaudeville, I continue family traditions, for example I was for 4 yeara involved in of Days of Our Lives, several shows and an extra Movies, Opera filming assistance, and studied acting for 4 years with Harry Maestro George.

Substituting Special Needs students and Preschools/Summer Program Specialist Activity Visiting Teacher was a joy while being an at home parent of three now grown boys.

Enjoying sharing it all,

Mam JAM  

© Bear Valley Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization

BVEF provides a foundation for each child to experience individualized learning, shine brighter than ever imagined and allow their unique gifts to unravel.



Mail checks payable to BVEF to:
Bear Valley Education Foundation
Attn: Lauren Schimke
PO Box 5163
Bear Valley, CA 95223 

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Contact Us


Bear Valley Education Foundation
PO Box 5163
Bear Valley, CA 95223

All donations are tax exempt and a letter can be provided upon request.


Thank you for helping us support our children!