Faculty & Staff
Meet the people who bring our education to life!
Shanti McCarter, High School Chair and High School Admissions x221 | Shanti joined PWHS in 2013 as the High School Admissions Coordinator. She subsequently took up the role of High School Chair, later the work of High School Student Assistant Coordinator, one year as Interim School Chair and College Chair, and she now holds the positions of High School Chair and Career & College Counselor. A Waldorf alumna herself, Shanti attended the Honolulu Waldorf School from first to eighth grade. The Waldorf high school had not yet opened, so she received her diploma from a private college prep high school, followed by a Bachelors of Art in History from Willamette University. Shanti joined Honolulu Waldorf High School’s Humanities Department in 2001, where she taught and worked in administration for eight years. She now lives in Milwaukie with her husband and teenage son. Shanti is particularly passionate about student leadership and Community Based Education – connecting the curriculum to the people, businesses and the natural environment that surround the school through service, guest speakers, field trips, and projects. In her free time, Shanti enjoys hiking, gardening, biking, kayaking, and dancing.
Elizabeth Webber, Grade 7 Teacher and College Chair | Elizabeth Webber comes from a family of teachers and carpenters and grew up on a farm and a one-room schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania. Elizabeth studied painting and textiles at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, earned a BA in Sociology at Dickinson College and a teaching certificate at Sierra Nevada College. After years of public school teaching, Elizabeth discovered Waldorf education and anthroposophy. She then completed foundation studies at Micha-el Institute, earned a certificate in Applied Arts/Handwork at the Fiber Craft Studio in New York and a Waldorf teaching certificate at Antioch University New England (M.Ed 2016). Before taking her first class at PWS, Elizabeth taught Humanities, French, Art, Drama and Japanese in public, charter and alternative schools. She also substituted at area Waldorf schools, taught English to international students at PWHS and wrote and edited for LILIPOH Magazine. Outside the classroom, Elizabeth enjoys running, biking, yoga, reading, creating, studying and learning, travel and outdoor adventures with her husband and son.
Connie Stokes, Pedagogical Support and Operations Supervisor | Connie Stokes has been involved in Waldorf Education since 1976 when she began as one of the founders and kindergarten teacher at her hometown Waldorf school in Chicago. Over her 27 years at Chicago Waldorf School, Connie was teacher, parent, school administrator, board member, and development director. In 2003, Connie became the administrative director at Honolulu Waldorf School where she spent nine years. In 2012 she moved back to the mainland and became the pedagogical chair at Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge, CA. Family changes including new grandchildren prompted a move to the Portland area in 2016. Connie joined the PWS community in the fall of 2016 supporting the annual fund campaign through interviews and anecdotal descriptions of teacher, student, and parent experiences with PWS. Since the summer of 2017 she has been involved in consulting work, board membership, and board committee work. Recently, she has provided pedagogical support and now leadership support to meet the development needs of the school. Connie’s involvement with the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) has added to her experience over the years. She served on the association’s executive committee and board during the 1990’s, started organizing the North American schools’ conference in 2002 and continues this task today. Connie also serves on the AWSNA accreditation review committee. She managed the North American Waldorf High School alumni survey project from 2017-2020 for the Research Institute for Waldorf Education. The next project includes a continental parent survey project for parents in grades 1-12 in North American Waldorf Schools. Connie lives with her husband, Daniel, and helps care for her grandchildren Charlie and Oscar, in her spare time. She enjoys simple crafts, baking, walking outdoors, traveling and the flexibility of retirement when possible.
Kate McGill, Office Manager x218
Kate grew up on Long Island, New York and first came to Oregon to attend Reed College. Her resume includes office work, radio broadcasting, community organizing, events coordination, blood donor recruitment, actuarial work, and corporate pension consulting. Kate has had a series of enthusiasms, including a stint as a master gardener. She learned then that preparation of the soil is the basis for healthy growth and development, which is why her son Brian was a student at Portland Waldorf School. Prior to working at PWS, Kate worked in a host of volunteer positions at the school, including the library, finance, development, scrip committees and three years as parent council chair. Kate lives with her husband Terry and is very proud of their son for growing up to be a college basketball player and a person who talks to his mother.
Dionne Kane, Operations Manager x212
Dionne joined our administrative team in 2013 as our receptionist/main office person extraordinaire, but she has been a part of the Portland Waldorf School community since her daughter began Parent/Child classes in 2007. Dionne’s interest in Waldorf education began many years before, when she was teaching meditation and studying esoteric psychology. Her studies led her to an interest in Anthroposophy and she delved into Waldorf Foundational Studies and teacher training. She now keeps many day-to-day elements of the school running smoothly as Operations Manager. Dionne spends most of her free time working in her garden.
Crystal Lawrence, HR/Business Office Manager x210
Crystal Lawrence has worked in the school’s Business Office since 2015. She comes to PWS with many years of experience in both Accounting and Human Resources and has a Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University.
Cathleen Arutunian, Bookkeeper x203
Cathleen received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, CA. Cathleen and her husband Aaron live in Milwaukie with their daughter Grace, son Ben, and two golden retrievers – Sadie and Venus. She is thrilled to be part of the PWS community.
Teresa Chou, Registrar/IT x202
Teresa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine and has many years of previous work experience as an Administrative Assistant with the County of Los Angeles. She is excited to bring her exceptional organizational skills to PWS!
Yvonne Cseko, Spring Creek Store Manager x208
Yvonne grew up in Southern California and studied Theatre, Voice and Design at Pierce College. She worked for a Fashion Designer for several years. After her Uncle brought Waldorf education to the family she worked for the Pasadena Waldorf School for several years as the Administrative Secretary. While starting a family she worked for Nickelodeon for many years as an ink and paint artist and color stylist. As her children began school at Highland Hall Waldorf School she offered her services as the Communications Coordinator and then the store manager. Relocating to Portland in 2006 with her husband Robert and two boys, Cameron and Lucas, she again offered her services as school Store Manager. She is a skilled craftsperson with an eye for color and a passion for gardening and cooking. Her two sons are PWHS alumni.
Justice Rosales, Athletic Director x211
Justice grew up in Houston, Texas, before moving to the Pacific Northwest and graduating from Washougal High School. Justice graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in Personnel Psychology and Human Resources. While attending classes, Justice coached basketball in Beaverton for four years, traveling across the country for basketball tournaments and events. Justice brings great knowledge and experience to leading, and enhancing the entire essence of a sports experience.
Brendan Eiswerth, Facilities Manager x222
Brendan grew up in Center City, Philadelphia where he attended a Quaker High School. He transplanted to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark College and graduated in 1995 with a BA in History. After spending a few summers leading trail crews and doing work as a wilderness ranger, Brendan settled down in Milwaukie in 1998 where he purchased a house and started the Milwaukie Sunday Farmers Market. Brendan continues to manage the Farmers Market May-Oct. From 1999-2004 he started and ran a landscaping business, Earl & Long’s Edible Landscapes, that focused on edible plants and organic practices. In 2005 Brendan began with a half time position at PWS helping to maintain the 7 acre grounds and transitioned into his current position as Facilities Manager a year and a half later. Brendan and his wife Tracy live a few blocks from PWS with their son Owen and daughter Rue.
Shay Roselip, Rose Classroom Co-Teacher | Shay comes to PWS most recently from California where he taught kindergarten for three years at the Berkeley Rose Waldorf School. Prior to living in the Bay, he attended the Waldorf Teacher Education Training in Eugene. Shay has enjoyed working with young children for over 10 years and is ardently dedicated to protecting childhood. He is always striving to develop further capacities and deeper insights into the true nature of the growing human being. Outside the classroom he enjoys playing music, cooking, herbalism, handwork, gardening and hiking.
Amy Burchfield, Rose Classroom Co-Teacher | Amy was raised in a mountain community of southern China surrounded by nature. Her introduction to Waldorf philosophy was in 2006 while attending college. She was very impressed with the curriculum. Her passion and strong desire to work with children in education led her to a job at Zhuhai Chuntong Waldorf School after graduation. She was a kindergarten assistant for four years and also attended training and received her WECC certification as a Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher. In 2013 her son was born and she took some time off to spend with him. In 2015 Amy and her husband and son moved to Portland, where she worked recently as a preschool teacher’s assistant at Shining Star Waldorf School. Some of her favorite activities are; gardening, cooking, reading, arts and crafts, and Tai Chi. She is eager to learn more about child development and to expand her knowledge as a Waldorf teacher.
Lisa Kimball, Lilac Classroom Co-Teacher | A California native, Lisa grew up in the warm sunshine: singing, dancing, and playing make believe. She married in 1994 and moved with her husband John to the Northwest in 2001 to raise their two girls. She fell in love with Waldorf Education while researching alternative teaching methods for her youngest daughter, Greta. Lisa began working in the kindergarten as a substitute and the next year began assisting. She worked in the kindergarten at Portland Village School for three years. For two years Lisa was working as an assistant in handwork when she realized she really missed early childhood. She has worked with infants and toddlers and led a preschool class before coming to Portland Waldorf School. She worked as an assistant in the Lily Kindergarten for a year and a half. Lisa has a Lifeways teaching certification and is currently studying early childhood education with the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. She began leading in the Lilac Kindergarten in Winter 2018. Lisa feels honored to be in the presence of children every day and feels she has the best job in the world. She is a loving defender of childhood and play.
Kristin Luce, Lilac Classroom Co-Teacher and EC Admissions | For the past ten years, Kristin was the Owner/Director and Lead Teacher at Waldorf-inspired Little Lights Playschool at her home in Portland, serving children ages 0-5. In addition to her standard teaching duties of planning curriculum, crafts, festivals, puppet shows, nature and field trips; she also worked closely with parents providing consistent communications, conferences and educational opportunities. As the Owner of the program, she was also responsible for outreach efforts, open houses, and admissions which will also be part of her duties here at PWS. Prior to owning her own program, Kristin worked in the early childhood programs at Shining Star, Cedarwood, Portland Village School, and Blossom House Preschool. Kristin has completed her Waldorf Early Childhood training at Micha-el Institute and has taken many Lifeways workshops including puppetry and storytelling. She is deeply committed to the Waldorf curriculum for the young child and strives to bring warmth, wonder and joy to the children and families during these magical early years. She is very passionate about parent education and helping families through the challenges and celebrations of parenthood.
Brittany Buynak, Grade 1 | Brittany has lived, worked, and volunteered all over the world. She has been a student volunteer in Australia, an intern in Florida, and an au pair in Germany. She has worked as an environmental educator in Ohio and as a Waldorf intern and teacher in South Africa, Scotland, Germany, and California. She received her Bachelor of Specialized Studies in sociology and geography and Certificate of Environmental Studies from Ohio University’s University College. She then moved to Stuttgart, Germany, where she received a Master of Arts in Waldorf class teaching and English subject teaching. Brittany enjoys exploring the outdoors, scuba diving, yoga, cooking and baking, is fluent in German, and even took a clowning course while studying in Germany.
Jack Palmer, Grade 2 | Jack comes to us from the Kona Pacific Waldorf Charter School on the big island of Hawaii, where he worked as a Class Teacher for the last five years. In addition to class teaching, Jack served in many other roles at Kona Pacific, including Faculty Chair, Board member, and part of the Leadership Council. Jack is an Oregon native and received his BA in English Literature from Lewis & Clark College. He went on to receive two teaching credentials, in Louisiana and Hawaii, as well as his Waldorf Teacher Training certificate from Antioch University in New Hampshire. Fun fact – Jack completed a 4,000 mile cross-country solo bicycling trip from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine! Jack is thrilled to be joining the faculty at Portland Waldorf School and looks forward to the journey ahead with the first grade class.
Lukas Schneider, Grade 3 | Lukas is a Waldorf “lifer.” The son of biodynamic farmers, he attended Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School from kindergarten through 12th grade, and went on to double-major in music and German at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. After college, he spent a summer teaching cooking and farming skills at a Hawthorne Valley summer camp designed to share those skills with students who couldn’t access them elsewhere. There, he realized two things: he loved working with 7-12 year-olds; and he was so inspired by the joy and enthusiasm these students found when working with their hands, discovering nature, and exploring their environment. Out of his own experience as a student, Lukas remembers these lessons as the most inspiring—the ones where lessons from the classroom were given shape out in the world. Field trips, class plays, practical arts, and athletics transformed academic and social concepts into active and tangible lessons. He believes that learning through these real experiences gives Waldorf students the particular strength and confidence to dive into new projects and activities without the fear of not knowing the outcome. Lukas has spent the past two years as a class teacher at Swallowtail Waldorf School. Before that, he worked at a Waldorf early childhood program here in Portland. Lukas began his Waldorf teacher training at Micha-el Institute and will complete his training this summer at Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center in New York. He enjoys observing his own students in their learning and reflecting on ways to enrich the experiences he brings to them.
Kim Sinclair, Grade 4 | Kim has held many positions here at PWS, including intern, substitute, first grade assistant teacher and Director of Auxiliary Programs. Kim graduated from Antioch University New England in 2018 with her Waldorf Teacher certificate and a Masters in Education. She has also received a Forest Kindergarten certification from Cedarsong on Vashon Island, WA. Kim began her teaching journey in 1998 as a Music Together teacher and program director in Concord and Lexington, MA. She then taught Waldorf-inspired early childhood and handwork at The Living Ethics School in Fairview, TX, and introduced their first Forest Kindergarten and Waldorf-inspired events and festivals. Last year at PWS, Kim managed all the aftercare, camp and club programs, ensuring they were developmentally appropriate for our early childhood and grades students and were aligned with Waldorf pedagogy. This year, she looks forward to stepping into the role of Grade 4 teacher for the 2020-21 school year. Kim’s daughter Finley is a sixth grader at PWS.
Jill DeSantis, Grade 5 | Jill has been a member of the PWS community since her children began attending Parent Child classes in 2001. She has over 25 years of teaching experience, the majority of which has been in Waldorf education. She began her teaching career as an ESL instructor while working abroad for several years. In 1997, Jill received her Master’s degree in Waldorf education from Antioch University New England. Since that time she has worked in both in public and private schools. For many years she taught math to middle and high school students here at PWS. She has also been a guest and substitute teacher for extended periods while a couple of our teachers were away on family leave. Jill’s most recent classroom experience has been as class teacher for grades 3-8 at Portland Village School.
Rochelle Giametta, Grade 6 Teacher/Class Coordinator and Student Assistance Coordinator | Rochelle has worked in many roles at PWS over the past three years, including High School Office Assistant, High School Admissions, and College and Career Counseling Assistant. Prior to that, she worked as a Case Manager for The KINDNESS Project in New York for three years where she provided case management, screening/assessments, and educational support for children with learning and behavior differences, collaborating with teachers, tutors, and parents to develop IEPs and interventions with measurable outcomes. She also worked at Sierra Vista Child and Family Services in Modesto as an Early Intervention and Childcare Consultant for a year providing counseling services that focused on early intervention and identification of mental health needs of children. She brings strong skills in collaboration, empathy, positive energy, and clear communication to her role as Lower School Student Care Coordinator at PWS where she coordinates our Educational Support Program, including coordinating student assessments, tutors and therapists, and communicating support programs to teachers, parents, and the Student Care Committee. Rochelle graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Latin American Studies. She has also completed several professional development courses on executive function success, teaching students to study smarter not harder, engaging career paths for teens with ADD, and early childhood assessment implementation. She spent many years as a homeschool teacher and has also been tutoring PWS students in executive functioning over the past two years. She is a current parent to Matteo in high school, Ellie in Ms. Nelson’s class, and Gabe in Mr. Palmer’s class.
Elizabeth Webber, Grade 7 and College Chair | Elizabeth Webber comes from a family of teachers and carpenters and grew up on a farm and a one-room schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania. Elizabeth studied painting and textiles at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, earned a BA in Sociology at Dickinson College and a teaching certificate at Sierra Nevada College. After years of public school teaching, Elizabeth discovered Waldorf education and anthroposophy. She then completed foundation studies at Micha-el Institute, earned a certificate in Applied Arts/Handwork at the Fiber Craft Studio in New York and a Waldorf teaching certificate at Antioch University New England (M.Ed 2016). Before taking her first class at PWS, Elizabeth taught Humanities, French, Art, Drama and Japanese in public, charter and alternative schools. She also substituted at area Waldorf schools, taught English to international students at PWHS and wrote and edited for LILIPOH Magazine. Outside the classroom, Elizabeth enjoys running, biking, yoga, reading, creating, studying and learning, travel and outdoor adventures with her husband and son.
Alynn Nelson, Grade 8 | Alynn graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Studio Art and Art History. After college, Alynn moved to Salt Lake City, where, serving as an Ameri-Corps volunteer for a year, she worked with under-served women and teens as an educator and medical assistant for Planned Parenthood. For four years Alynn was an art teacher for a Montessori-influenced preschool and kindergarten. She then completed the three-year Waldorf teacher-training program at the Micha-el Institute, overlapping with coming to PWS in 2007.
Jeremy Bates, Math Specialist | Jeremy Bates grew up in Utah, where he learned to work hard in school and get along with his five siblings. He studied science and teaching at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and taught for two years in mainstream schools before accepting a position at a Waldorf Kindergarten in Salt Lake City. He has been teaching at Waldorf schools ever since and completed his Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Jeremy comes most recently from Mendocino County, California, where he took a class from third to eighth grade. While there, he developed a passion for teaching mathematics, especially in the middle school. Jeremy enjoys running, hiking, reading, recreational mathematics, woodwork, fishing, general relativity, playing the guitar, and spending time with his family.
Carrie Mass, Eurythmy | Carrie was introduced to Waldorf education when she attended a Waldorf school in California from grades 3 to 8. She then completed the four-year eurythmy training in Spring Valley, NY in 2002 and spent an additional year doing artistic training, followed by a year of pedagogical training. Carrie has worked with various performing groups and ensembles over the years and currently works and tours with Portland Eurythmy. Carrie began teaching eurythmy in 2005 at the Live Oak Charter School and the Sebastopol Independent Charter in California. Carrie came to PWS in 2008 and enjoys teaching eurythmy to students in the grades, parents, alumni and the larger community.
Corey Averill, Strings | Corey was the first high school freshman to win the Oregon State Solo Contest on cello and has studied with such teachers as Stephanie McDougal, Hamilton Cheifetz, and Yo Yo Ma. He played in the National Honors Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from PSU in 1993 and taught cello at Clark College in Vancouver, WA from 1991 to 2006. He plays in a variety of orchestras, including Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theater, and the Eugene Symphony, and also formed his own music business, Duo con Brio, in 1989. Corey has worked at PWS since 1998, teaching strings, band, orchestra, bell choir, and 11th Grade Music History.
Victor Garza, Spanish | Maestro Victor studied Business Administration and worked in the movie industry for seven years as a Production Engineer. He then became a language teacher in Oaxaca, Mexico and has worked in many different settings: universities, language schools, art schools, and high schools. He has taught history, dance, art, and languages. He received his Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate in 2008 and has been teaching at PWS since 2004.
Ute Luppertz, German (Grades 1–4) | Ute has a M.A. in Special Education and German from the University of Cologne, with an emphasis on German as a second language and holistic learning. She has many years’ experience teaching and developing programs for children, adolescents and adults learning German as a second language. She has been teaching German at PWS since 1995.
David Lane, German (Grades 5–8) | David received a BA in both Economics and German from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. While at Rhodes he worked as a German Teaching Assistant and German tutor and was a member of the German Honors Society. He then went on to receive a Master’s degree in German from Middlebury College in Vermont. During that time, he studied German Literature and History abroad at Freie Universität in Berlin. From there, David worked at Baylor School in Tennessee for five years as the middle school and high school German Teacher. Most recently, David worked at Belmont University in Nashville as a part-time Adjunct German Professor and has been tutoring students in German for many years. Fun fact: David is also an experienced wrestling and cross country coach!
Mariama Loos-Diallo, Handwork | Handwork has been a constant and beloved interest for Mariama since she learned to knit in grade one. 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.
Tom Myers, Woodwork | Tom worked as a commercial fisherman, was the vice president of the United Fishermen of Alaska, and was on the board of directors of the SE Alaska Fishermans’ Co-op. He then became foreman of SE Alaska’s largest shipyard until moving back to Portland in 1979 to open a custom woodworking shop. Tom has taught as a woodworking teacher at PWS since 1992. He completed the three-year applied arts course at Sunbridge College and has taken continuing Waldorf education classes through the Micha-el Institute, where he teaches adult woodworking and teacher training classes. He is a founding High School teacher.
Theodora Mason, Games/Movement Teacher and Grades Admissions Coordinator | Thea was born in an Indiana suburb of Chicago to two educators. Along with her three sisters, she attended the only K–6 Montessori school in the region. While she admired the philosophy of Maria Montessori, as a mother to three sons, she found deep resonance with the philosophy and pedagogical intelligence of Rudolf Steiner. Thea has earned the Bothmer Gymnastics certification through ABGA, Association for Bothmer Gymnastics in America. She is also a graduate of the level one Spacial Dynamics training, and is currently in the Level III program. Thea has over twenty years of movement teaching experience with over thirteen of them teaching children in a Waldorf school. She loves movement, the joy it brings to body and spirit, and the community that benefits from the participation and engagement of capable, joyful people.
Jeremy Bates, Mathematics | Jeremy Bates grew up in Utah, where he learned to work hard in school and get along with his five siblings. He studied science and teaching at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and taught for two years in mainstream schools before accepting a position at a Waldorf Kindergarten in Salt Lake City. He has been teaching at Waldorf schools ever since and completed his Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Jeremy comes most recently from Mendocino County, California, where he took a class from third to eighth grade. While there, he developed a passion for teaching mathematics, especially in the middle school. Jeremy enjoys running, hiking, reading, recreational mathematics, woodwork, fishing, general relativity, playing the guitar, and spending time with his family.
Shannon Casey, Mathematics | Shannon received her Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics with a minor in Spanish from the Washington State University, Honors Program. She then went on to study Waldorf education at the Rudolf Steiner College receiving a Waldorf High School Teacher Certificate in Life Sciences and Chemistry. She also has a passion for Permaculture and studied at the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children, receiving a Permaculture K–12 certificate. As a Waldorf Certified High School teacher with 8 years of teaching experience, Shannon is able to fill many roles within K–12 schools, with an affinity for High School math and sciences. She excels at weaving interdisciplinary curriculums and collaborating with and supporting colleagues, particularly involving project based, outdoor/out of the box learning. She previously taught a Physics block and a Botany block at PWHS as a guest teacher. She also has many years of experience working at Cedarwood Waldorf School, working as a Handwork teacher and a Middle School Math & Science Teacher. During her Waldorf Teacher training, she worked as a student teacher at Seattle Waldorf High School in Embryology and she taught a Botany block at Highland Hall Waldorf School.
Sam Wasko, Mathematics & Life Sciences | Sam first came to Portland Waldorf School as a student in the 7th grade, and graduated from the High School in 2008. Since an early age, he has been fascinated by the processes and results of experimentation, whether with the natural world, or manmade materials. He pursued this fascination during higher education, studying biology and chemistry at Warren Wilson College, where he also met his wife, played rugby, and continued to develop a passion and talent for blacksmithing forged during his 11th grade practical arts block with Mr. Myers. Bringing his enriched knowledge, deep appreciation, and infectious enthusiasm for the sciences back to Portland, Sam returned to PWS as a math and science teacher in the high school, and is currently completing his Waldorf High School teacher certification at the Center for Anthroposophy’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program. Despite his busy schedule, Sam finds time to constantly absorb new scientific and historical facts, go hiking and camping with his family, and recently, road trip his way across the United States.
Bec Blanchette, Humanities | Bec Blanchard spent their early years in Minnesota, but moved to the Pacific Northwest as a child where they fell in love with mountains. After completing their B.A. at Whitworth University, triple majoring in history, theatre and French, Bec spent a nomadic decade working as a nanny and running half-marathons. In 2010, they moved to Eugene, Oregon by way of San Francisco, in order to pursue a career in teaching. Bec earned a Waldorf Certification for grades 1-8 from Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene and then earned a high school certification from Rudolf Steiner College in their summer program in Sacramento. Bec is currently working on a Masters in Education through Rudolf Steiner College, writing their thesis on transgender and Waldorf pedagogy. Bec divides their time between teaching, stories, and running long distances. There being few things as glorious as an Oregon summer, they will be sure to be found ensconced in the mountains over the summers, keeping company with their books and their running shoes.
Christopher Zinn, Humanities | Christopher grew up in New York, in a close-knit Italian-American family. He attributes his devotion to poetry to his love for the music of his Italian relatives’ speech. He was educated at Georgetown University and New York University, where he received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature. He taught Humanities and American literature at Reed College, directed Reed’s American Studies program and was Fulbright Senior lecturer in Turkey in 1993-94. In 1997, he was appointed Executive Director of the Oregon Council for the Humanities and continued in that position until 2006. He has taught cultural history at the Oregon College of Art and Craft and he lectures and writes frequently on American literature and culture and leads Delve readers’ seminars for Literary Arts. Christopher also has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the National Advisory Board of Imagining America, and the Friends of Chamber Music. After eight years as a Waldorf parent, Christopher began teaching literature, history, and social studies at PWHS in 2007 and has studied at the Rudolf Steiner Institute, Rudolf Steiner College, and the Center for Anthroposophy. Christopher has a lifelong love of basketball and music; he persists in playing pickup basketball at any opportunity and likes to stumble along the fretboard of his guitar and ukulele. He is also a devoted cyclist and is grateful to live in one of the most bike-friendly cities in North America. His wife, Nathalia King, is Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College. Their two sons, Gabriel and Sebastian, are PWHS alumni.
Wibke Fretz, Humanities & German | Wibke is a native of Hamburg, Germany. Her experience of growing up in this multicultural city led her to study political science and international relations. She attended Philipps University in Marburg, where she had the opportunity to explore the humanities, study abroad and work for the Goethe Institute in Accra, Ghana. In 1999, she completed her studies with a M.A in Political Science. Wibke moved to the United States to teach German and European History at McPherson College in Kansas, from which she previously received a B.A. in American History in 1996. Here, she discovered her love of teaching and decided to pursue this path by adding a M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literature from the University of Kansas in 2002. With a toddler in tow, her family moved to Oregon in 2003, where her husband worked with the Indian Health Service on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation and Chemawa Indian School in Salem. In 2010, life-changing events took them to Eugene, where her husband pursued a path in architecture. Here, Wibke reconnected with her bicycling roots by undertaking a cargo bike-building and community agriculture apprenticeship at the Center for Appropriate Transport while teaching German for various institutions. Her family moved to Portland in 2013 and she joined PWHS as a part-time faculty member the following year. Immediately feeling at home, she was mentored by Rebecca Soloway, who led her through Foundation Studies. Wibke now teaches Humanities and German and received her Waldorf teaching certificate from the Center for Anthroposophy’s High School Teacher Training in 2017. Wibke’s family enjoys making things (ask her about their wool mattress endeavor) and when she is not involved in a project, she can be easily spotted riding her cargo bike around town.
Isabel Umanzor-Fleming, Spanish | Isabel has been teaching middle school and high school for more than fifteen years. She is a Spanish native speaker, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Teaching from the University of Bio Bio, Chillan in Chile. Since she began teaching, she has been passionate about maximizing individual student performance, inspiring them to enhance their Spanish language development by bringing Hispanic culture to the students through readings, films, music, and theatrical performances.
Corey Averill, Orchestra | Corey was the first high school freshman to win the Oregon State Solo Contest on cello and has studied with such teachers as Stephanie McDougal, Hamilton Cheifetz, and Yo Yo Ma. He played in the National Honors Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from PSU in 1993 and taught cello at Clark College in Vancouver, WA from 1991 to 2006. He plays in a variety of orchestras, including Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theater, and the Eugene Symphony, and also formed his own music business, Duo con Brio, in 1989. Corey has worked at PWS since 1998, teaching strings, band, orchestra, bell choir, and 11th Grade Music History.
Tom Myers, Applied Arts | Tom worked as a commercial fisherman, was the vice president of the United Fishermen of Alaska, and was on the board of directors of the SE Alaska Fishermans’ Co-op. He then became foreman of SE Alaska’s largest shipyard until moving back to Portland in 1979 to open a custom woodworking shop. Tom has taught as a woodworking teacher at PWS since 1992. He completed the three-year applied arts course at Sunbridge College and has taken continuing Waldorf education classes through the Micha-el Institute, where he teaches adult woodworking and teacher training classes. He is a founding High School teacher.
Nina Churchill, Fine Arts | 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. She expanded her work into residential landscape design and received a certificate in Landscape Design from UC Berkeley. 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. Alongside her high school teaching, she taught pedagogical sculpture, middle school art and assisted in handwork in the lower 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.
Sarah Rem, Eurythmy | Sarah was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California where she attended the Waldorf School of Santa Barbara from Kindergarten-8th grade. She completed her eurythmy training in 2008 at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Upon finishing the training, she taught for two years at the Chicago Waldorf School, then joined the Eurythmeum Fairytale Ensemble in Stuttgart, Germany, where she toured and performed eurythmy throughout Europe. Sarah came to Portland Waldorf School in 2011, where she teaches in the High School. Sarah is very happy to be in Portland, where she continues to work artistically and deepen her pedagogical capacities. Taking advantage of the natural beauty the Northwest has to offer, she also enjoys fly fishing, baking and gardening.
Rochelle Giametta, Student Assistance Coordinator | Rochelle has worked in many roles at PWS over the past three years, including High School Office Assistant, High School Admissions, and College and Career Counseling Assistant. Prior to that, she worked as a Case Manager for The KINDNESS Project in New York for three years where she provided case management, screening/assessments, and educational support for children with learning and behavior differences, collaborating with teachers, tutors, and parents to develop IEPs and interventions with measurable outcomes. She also worked at Sierra Vista Child and Family Services in Modesto as an Early Intervention and Childcare Consultant for a year providing counseling services that focused on early intervention and identification of mental health needs of children. She brings strong skills in collaboration, empathy, positive energy, and clear communication to her role as Lower School Student Care Coordinator at PWS where she coordinates our Educational Support Program, including coordinating student assessments, tutors and therapists, and communicating support programs to teachers, parents, and the Student Care Committee. Rochelle graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Latin American Studies. She has also completed several professional development courses on executive function success, teaching students to study smarter not harder, engaging career paths for teens with ADD, and early childhood assessment implementation. She spent many years as a homeschool teacher and has also been tutoring PWS students in executive functioning over the past two years. She is a current parent to Matteo in high school, Ellie in Ms. Nelson’s class, and Gabe in Mr. Palmer’s class.
Simone Levine, Outdoor Program Coordinator | Simone has a BA in Communications and Photography from DePaul University, and an MA in International Education and Development Cross-Cultural Exchange and Training / Peace and Conflict from New York University. She worked as the Program Director and International Educator at Carpe Diem Education in Portland for seven years before founding her own business called Intrepid Gap, where she is the Chief of Endless Opportunities (CEO). She counsels and coaches students and families who plan on taking a gap year by connecting them with alternatives to education and work, matching interests with internships, volunteer positions, apprenticeships, and cultural study programs worldwide. Simone is also a certified Wilderness First Responder and an experienced yoga teacher, and has worked on several PWHS outdoor trips in the past. She is looking forward to leading the trips this year with our high school students.