Board of Trustees


The Work of the Board

Portland Waldorf School is a self-governing independent school that works with a collaborative leadership model. Within this model, the Board of Trustees is responsible for the legal and financial health of the school.

This means that the Board is striving to be a visionary, forward-thinking leadership body, tasked with the ongoing work of creating a Strategic Plan, cultivating a culture of openness in our community, and deepening their collective understanding of Waldorf schools and pedagogy and of Board best practices.

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Meet the Board

Our volunteer Board members are Waldorf parents, teachers, and administrators past and present…


Board Chair & Parent

Aaron Arutunian and his family joined PWS in 2017, when they moved to Portland from California. Aaron joined the Board in December 2018 and currently serves on the Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the Board Stewardship Committee. In California, Aaron co-founded a Silicon Valley-based IT services firm and managed it for 17 years. He currently works as a consultant in the areas of Information Security, Privacy, and Risk Management. Aaron’s wife Cathleen works in the PWS business office as an accountant. Aaron and Cathleen have two children — Grace in Ms. Webber’s class, and Ben in Ms. DeSantis’ class. Email Aaron


Trustee, Alumni Parent & Former Staff

Maya discovered Waldorf education in time for her son to join the first grade at PWS; he graduated from PWHS in 2008. From 2003 to 2008, Maya served as the first full-time Enrollment Coordinator for PWS. Maya has a BA in Geography from Hunter College and a Masters in Environmental Education from NYU. Prior to her position at PWS, she worked as a free-lance journalist for regional and national publications, writing on education, the environment, medicine, and the arts. Maya joined the Board in the Summer of 2012, returned as High School Enrollment Coordinator for the spring of 2013, served as Chair of the Board Stewardship Committee from 2014-2017, and became Board President in January 2018. Email Maya


Trustee, Faculty & Alumna

After graduating from the pioneering class of the Portland Waldorf High School, Mariama continued her education at Whitman College, where she earned a B.A. with honors in her self-designed major of Post-Colonial Studies. Mariama became the handwork assistant at PWS in 2008 and she began to attend Waldorf conferences and eventually enrolled at Rudolf Steiner College to pursue her interest in Anthroposophy and handwork teacher’s certificate. Mariama continued to assist for five years before becoming lead handwork teacher. A Portland native, Mariama feels strong ties to her Austrian and Senegalese heritage and is proud that her grandparents were tailors, an indigo dyer and a weaver by trade. Her most recent hobby is learning about plant dyes. In addition to handwork, she loves to dance, watch plays (particularly Shakespeare), do home improvement projects, laugh with friends, and practice eurythmy. Mariama joined the Board in 2018. Email Mariama


Trustee, Faculty & Alumni Parent

Nina Churchill grew up in Washington and comes from a family of artists, architects and designers, with art education being central to her family. Nina studied Fine Arts at WSU as a student in the Honors College, receiving her BA in Fine Arts, Summa Cum Laude. Upon graduation, she moved to New York where she earned a M.S. in Communications Design from Pratt Institute with honors. Following graduation, Nina stayed in New York, working professionally in art, graphic design and package design, where part of her work was creating identity systems for large corporations. Six years later, Nina and her husband moved to the Bay Area, where she continued to work in art and design and rekindled her lifelong interest in plants and the natural world. During these years, Nina’s two children were born and began their Waldorf educations. Nina began teaching at a Waldorf-inspired school in Marin County as a pre-school assistant. She received her teaching certification from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2005. That year, she and her family relocated to Portland, where she began teaching at our high school, first teaching main lesson in art history and growing to include main lessons in modern art history, architectural history, geology and orientation classes for students new to the high school. She has just completed an 8-year journey through the grades, and is taking another middle school class in addition to returning to her PWS roots in the High School. Nina enjoys creating art, being outdoors, gardening, sewing, reading, walking and especially spending time with her husband and two children. Email Nina


Trustee & Parent

Kimberley and her family joined the PWS community when her son entered Trillium Kindergarten in 2009. She discovered Waldorf education while traveling in Ireland and sharing time with two uncommonly engaging and confident teenagers, both Waldorf students. Kimberley grew up in the Boston area and moved to Portland in 1987. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Southern Methodist University in 1982, and her J.D. from San Diego School of Law in 1987. She has served as a public-sector lawyer since 1988, working for Clackamas County. Kimberley joined the Board of Trustees inspired by the opportunity to participate in preserving and growing the well-being of PWS. Email Kimberley


Trustee & Grandparent

Rebecca Soloway taught at the Waldorf School of Garden City on Long Island, NY, for twenty-three years, fifteen as a class teacher and eight years as a math specialist in the middle school and high school. During her teaching career, she also served at various times as Faculty Chair, College Chair, and on the Board of Trustees.  Since her retirement in 2012 she has worked with Waldorf schools around the country, consulting on curriculum and mentoring teachers.  She is active in the Portland Branch of the Anthroposophical Society and serves on the Western Regional Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America.  Rebecca has two grown children who are Waldorf graduates and two granddaughters who have attended the Portland Waldorf School since 2011. Email Rebecca


Trustee & Parent

Ryan’s introduction to Waldorf education and Steiner’s philosophy began in 2014 when his daughter Eden was enrolled in the Early Childhood program at the Minnesota Waldorf School. Following a work opportunity, the Buck family relocated to Dallas, Texas where his wife Addie utilized a Waldorf curriculum to home-school their two children and teach within a Waldorf inspired co-op. With the desire to provide a more robust Waldorf education for their children and put in permanent roots in a community, the Buck family relocated once again in the spring of 2018, to Portland OR. Ryan has worked with the YMCA since 2011 in a variety of roles and is currently the Executive Director for the Sherwood Regional Family YMCA. Ryan enjoys reading, deep conversations, finding the light in any situation, allegory, laughing and anything full of physical movement. Ryan’s devotion to living a life of service, paired with the appeal of working alongside other thoughtful adults who strive to uplift humanity, led him to commit to volunteering his time, treasure and talents to the board of trustees. Email Ryan


Board Secretary & Parent

Aimee Panyard discovered Waldorf education in San Francisco, in 2007, when she took her first son to a parent-child class. She was taken with the beauty and simplicity of the classroom and drawn to the ways Waldorf offered an alternative to mainstream parenting trends. Aimee has been a member of the PWS community since 2008; both of her boys started at PWS in parent-child classes. While in the Bay Area, Aimee worked in publicity, marketing, and communications. Since moving to Portland, she has substituted in our kindergarten, been a class parent and new-parent liaison, and is currently enjoying work as a postpartum doula. Email Aimee


Board Treasurer & Parent

Oliver moved with his family from Germany to Portland in January 2016, and since then he and his wife Stefanie have had their children enrolled at PWS—Pheline in the lower grades and Linus in high school.  Over the years the PWS community has become a resource for many new friends and a great inspiration for their family life—in particular, watching the seniors graduate from the PWS high school well-equipped for life and becoming positive role models in their communities and work environment. Oliver currently works at Adidas managing international IT teams, and is excited to support PWS in its sustainable growth through the strategic work of the Board. Email Oliver


Trustee & Parent

Nick Hurndon is a current parent at PWS with Odin and Magnus in the Lower Grades program. His family discovered Waldorf after one year in Portland Public Schools, where they recognized the public school approach to education, community, and child development was not a fit. As they researched other options, it became very clear that the Portland Waldorf School’s core values were in line with their family’s values. They began their Waldorf journey three years ago at PWS. Prior too retiring and moving to Portland, Nick was a Marine officer, serving in a variety of jobs and positions for 20 years. He is a Northern California native, a graduate from the University of North Florida and holds a Master’s of Science degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. Eight years ago he started and opened CrossFit Magnus, which he currently runs with a business partner. He lives with Magnus, Odin, and his partner Amanda in SE Portland. They enjoy travel, judo, camping, and hunting. Email Nick