Silverleaf School provides individualized project-based instruction to students in grades 1-8 in a mixed age classroom.  Silverleaf School is the right environment for eager learners that have aptitudes for STEM and creative expression through the arts.

Our curriculum is proven to be particularly effective for highly gifted learners–allowing differentiation, compaction and acceleration to support the asynchronicity and high intellectual capacity of our students.

We inspire personal attributes of: Respect, Originality, Communication, Kindness, Empathy, Trustworthiness, Boldness, Open-mindedness and Teamwork.

We utilize proficiency-based reporting methods and the Silverleaf BLAST Program to monitor progress and recognize individual student achievement.

Our school is an active and collaborative learning space that encourages movement, teamwork, exploration, and self-awareness.

Our team has first-hand experience of growing up gifted, and seeks to understand and support the needs of each student and family.


Please complete the Contact form to set up an individual tour.  Potential students will spend a day with us at school prior to registration.

More information regarding admissions is available on the Contact page.


We have a dedicated Board of Trustees who understand giftedness first-hand and who care about the mission of our school.  Members of the Board are experienced in non-profit administration, education administration and oversight, policy development, and non-profit financial management.  This group provides sound and knowledgeable leadership to Silverleaf School.


Silverleaf is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to providing an environment that supports gifted education and inspires lifelong learning.

We are a member of the Oregon Federation of Independent Schools.

In addition to excellent education, we aim provide advocacy and support for the Salem-area gifted community

Our Board members have expertise in education and non-profit administration.


Jason Kline
Lead Instructor

Jason grew up in Northwest Indiana and moved to Oregon in 1999.  Jason graduated Summa Cum Laude from Western Oregon University with a Bachelor of Science in Education–Language Arts and ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages).  In 2014, Jason was recognized by the Microsociety International organization as the MicroSociety Coordinator of the Year.  The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation recognized him as a Crystal Apple Honoree in 2016.

Bradley Levandowski
Lead Instructor

Bradley has a degree in Mathematics from Indiana University; as well as a degree in Audio Engineering and a certification in Medical Lab Science.  He has more than 15 years of experience in STEM-related fields and served four years as a lab technician in the United States Army.  Bradley is an experienced mathematics instructor and utilizes inquiry-based learning to support his belief that student engagement is the key to success.  Growing up as a gifted learner, he understands the challenges and needs of our students and strives to provide instruction that will help nurture and support their success.

Hollie Newton
Art Instructor

Artist Hollie Newton lives in Salem with her husband and their teenage son. Hollie holds a degree in Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute and has brought art to grades K-12 for twenty years. She continues to strive for innovative ways to provide a meaningful art experience for her students. She currently teaches art for Silver Falls School District and the Salem Art Association. Hollie is Chair for the Oregon State Fair Fine Arts and her work is in various galleries.

Katy Ohsiek
Music Instructor

Katy is a practiced vocalist and guitarist from Monterey, CA.  Her love for singing eventually brought her to study at Willamette University with a scholarship in vocal performance. At WU, she sang in Willamette Singers and Chamber Choir and performed with a number of jazz combos.  In guitar, she is proficient in folk, rock, and jazz playing with a current preference for funk and neo-soul stylings.  Katy is the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Eugene pop-fusion band Chromatic Colors.

Jewelia Owens
Music Instructor

In school, Jewelia focused primarily on voice and violin and was encouraged to learn guitar, piano and start writing, performing and recording original material.  She teaches violin, voice, bass, guitar and piano to students of all ages and has taught many genres of music including classical, jazz, early 17th century consort, bluegrass, cajun, broadway, opera, modern contemporary, grunge, rock, country, folk and everything in between.  She is an instructor with River City Rock Star Academy.

Karen Toombs
Executive Director and
Spanish Instructor

Karen is the co-founder and Executive Director of Silverleaf School.  She has 25 years of experience in program development, project management and non-profit administration. Karen is knowledgeable about the the needs of gifted learners and best practices in gifted education.  She has first-hand experience in navigating the complexities of parenting and educating gifted children.  Growing support for the gifted community is her passion.

Karen has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Western Oregon University.  She has taught in a variety of institutions and organizations in her career, including private school settings.  She has provided instruction to learners of all ability levels and ages from preschool to adult.

Jenifer Trivelli
Wellness and Yoga Instructor

Jenifer first began teaching yoga to children as an elementary school counselor in Central Oregon in 2007. Her post-graduate studies have focused on the intersection of neuroscience, attachment theory, and trauma resolution/resiliency. She currently teaches yoga and social-emotional education to families and early childhood educators through her local company, WiseMind Educational Services.  She holds degrees from Oregon State University in both Human Development & Family Science and  Counseling, as well as multiple certifications: Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, YogaCalm Youth Yoga Instructor, and Oregon Registry Master Trainer.  Jenifer is also an accomplished writer, including:  Peanut and the BIG Feelings: A Guidebook for Children and Jamie’s Gift: A Young Teen’s Guide to Fears, Worries, and Other Life Challenges (Like Being Irritated by Other People). 



I am the mother of two amazing sons.  In February 2016, at the age of 6 I had my son assessed due to his advanced vocabulary and literacy for his age and learned about “giftedness.”

Like most parents of highly gifted children, I knew early on he was exceptional–accurate sentence structure in verbal speech at age 1, starting to spell at age 2, self-taught reading at age 3–yet thought he was essentially like other kids.  It was only once he entered pre-school at age 3 when the parents of other children began commenting surprisingly on aptitudes that I began to pay closer attention.

He was at a “safe”, private school that he attended through kindergarten.  The teachers understood him and he made some good friends.  I volunteered monthly  in class and was able to observe his typical school days.  As kindergarten went on, he struggled more to fit in socially, was struggling with boredom in class and was becoming more emotionally intense at home after school.  When it was time to find a place for first grade, I was at a loss.  I was familiar with public school TAG programs, having frequented them as a child, and though they are helpful for level 1-3 gifted learners, they don’t offer individualized differentiation or individual coaching required to support the needs of highly gifted learners.  After researching 27 elementary schools and interviewing 13 local principles, I made a reluctant decision to send him to a local private school that teaches a traditional model with smaller classes.  The school has worked very hard to challenge him and make accommodations for his learning yet he is short-changed every day and hasn’t been afforded an opportunity to do what he loves best–learn.

So, Silverleaf School was founded in order to create a place for learners like him to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically through individualized learning taught in a team-based environment.  Highly gifted children are vulnerable and they thrive when they are with other learners that think like they do and understand the experience of being a gifted kid.

To put a highly gifted child in a school all day not learning anything new is torture, as learning is their favorite activity and they love the promise of school.  It would be like taking a kid who loves to swim more than anything else in the world, sitting them on the edge of a pool and telling them they can never get in.  Would a child sit there wanting to swim 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 12 years?  I’d lose interest in swimming fairly quickly, wouldn’t you?

We can’t risk our kids’ education and well-being.  I hope that you relate to our story.  I hope that you will connect with us and tell others about us.

Silverleaf may be brand new, but it’s great!  This is the safe place where kids can know they are okay just how they are, and they are not alone or unique.  This is a 21st century curriculum, designed to ensure these children are ready for a future world that normal schools are not preparing children for.

I hope you’ll join us on the journey to make the world a little better for these amazing kids.

Best wishes,


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