We are delighted to introduce to you our new first grade teacher for the 2020-21 school year: Brittany Buynak!

Many of you may recognize Ms. Brittany from the Lily Kindergarten, where she has assisted Ms. Jessica for the past two years. What you may not know is that she holds a Master of Arts in Waldorf class teaching and English subject teaching from Freie Hochschule Stuttgart, and is thrilled to be embarking upon the grades journey with these rising first grade students, many of whom she already knows and loves.

Ms. Buynak has only ever wanted to be a teacher. She began studying education when she entered college, but when the classes didn’t bring the inspiration she had imagined, she fell back into more enjoyable coursework, graduating from Ohio University’s University College with a Bachelor of Specialized Studies in Sociology and Geography and a Certificate of Environmental Studies. It wasn’t until the summer after her college graduation that, while visiting an aunt in Dubai, she heard about Waldorf education for the first time. She found the idea interesting, but it seemed very far away, and she wanted to travel, so she put it aside. Her travels took her to Germany, where she worked as an au pair in Stuttgart, not far from the very first Waldorf school. There, she says, was her “light bulb moment.” The following year, she enrolled in a full time Waldorf teacher training program, where she spent 18 intensive months diving deeply into Waldorf education and her own conceptions of herself and the world. She spent a whirlwind year teaching in early childhood programs at Singing Stones School and Wild Oak Education, a pioneering forest kindergarten program in California, before making the move north to Oregon and finding PWS.

Ms. Buynak’s travels have taken her from Australia to Kenya, Scotland to South Africa, and she cannot wait to weave the threads of her world experiences into stories and lessons to share with her students. She feels deeply connected to the rising first grade students here at PWS, and is so excited to bring that loving connection and her own passions together in the classroom.

Outside of the school day, Ms. Buynak enjoys cooking, traveling, and exploring the outdoors. “In the woods and in the classroom,” she says, “that is where I feel like I am my best self.”