Faculty & Staff
Meet the people who bring our education to life!
Jamie Quirk, School Chair x207
Although new to PWS, Jamie is entering her tenth year working on behalf of Waldorf Education. Formerly the admissions and marketing director at the Waldorf School of Princeton in New Jersey, she is also passionate about the continental Waldorf movement, and the role of collaborative leadership within and among institutions. According to Jamie, “anthroposophical wisdom can and should fuel the administrative work of our Waldorf schools. Connecting people is my mission.” Jamie holds degrees and professional certificates from Rutgers University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Rowan University; she is also completing her certificate in Waldorf Administration & Leadership Development through Antioch University New England. In her rare spare time, she enjoys deepening her knowledge of the animal kingdom, handwork, poetry, and children’s literature.
Shanti McCarter, High School Chair 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.
Addie Buck, Main Office x200
Addie is originally from Minnesota where she graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a B.A. in Metropolitan-Urban Studies with a focus on Community Development and Sustainability. Her work experience includes several years as a front desk/receptionist and in sales and customer service. Most recently her family lived in Dallas where she worked as an Early Childhood block teacher for a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling group while also contributing her time as a volunteer parent working on committees such as finance, communications, and the welcoming committee. Addie enjoys reading, eurythmy, handwork, crafts, festivals, and studying Anthroposophy. She thrives in supportive roles and finds joy in working collaboratively with others. She strives to model patience, empathy, and intention while maintaining a peaceful, clean, and enriching environment. Her educational background holds a focus on Community Development and Sustainability, a broad area of study in the establishment and growth of vibrant, thriving communities – something she sees as very important work of the school.
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.
Kate McGill, High School Secretary & Registrar 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 in the high school, Kate worked at a host of volunteer positions at PWS, 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.
Crystal Lawrence, Business Manager x210
Crystal Lawrence has worked in the school’s Business Office as the Business Manager since 2015. Crystal 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 golden retriever Sadie. She is thrilled to be part of the PWS community.
Kathryn Foubister, Community Development Director x220
Kathryn worked at the German International School as their Development Director for the past two years where she worked closely with their leadership team, Board of Trustees, and faculty and staff to develop a strategy and budget for their annual support campaign and other major fundraising events. She has a passion for helping other local non-profits with their development needs as well, working for organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Friends of Tryon Creek; and she is a member of the Willamette Valley Development Officers Association. Kathryn received her BS in Business Administration from the Florida Institute of Technology as well as a Professional Certificate in Non-Profit Fundraising from Portland State University. Kathryn’s journey with Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy began by homeschooling her children with a Waldorf-inspired approach. When her family moved to Oregon, she enrolled her son at Swallowtail School and then later at Cedarwood Waldorf School. During this time, she attended Portland Anthroposophical Society meetings, volunteered at the schools, and served on the Swallowtail Parent Council. She has also attended workshops on Waldorf Education, Biodynamic Beekeeping, and Compassionate Communication.
Malia Winn, Middle School and High School Admissions and Alumni Coordinator x219
Malia comes to us with extensive professional, non-profit, and business experience over the past 20 years. She is highly organized, has excellent communication skills, and is an expert event planner. Her position oversees outreach, enrollment, and retention for students in Grades 7 through 12, as well as the main conduit to the alumni community. Malia graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Mass Communication and Business Administration and her sons Zayn and Axl are current students at PWS.
Teresa Chou, Lower School Registrar and High School Office Assistant 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.
Dania Miwa, School Store Cashier x208
Dania and her family recently moved to Portland from Minnesota where her children attended the Minnesota Waldorf School. Dania worked as the school store coordinator, front desk assistant, and substitute teacher there as well. She also volunteered on their Development committee and as a Class Parent. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Art and American Indian Studies.
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.
Ian Terrell, Library Manager x438
Ian has been a bibliomaniac all his life. His first job was as a used book seller and he enjoyed that work in many different bookshops all over the country. He has an English degree and a degree in Library and Information Science and has worked in Youth Services, Digital Projects, Medical Research, and Medical History. Waldorf schools have been a great fit for his son and daughter, and the PWS Library is a great fit for him. His wife also suffers from bibliomania and their home library is almost large enough to rival the PWS Library collection. When he’s not in a library or wrestling with his children, Ian tries to support local artists, and will go far out of his way to patronize good Shakespearian theatre.
Jessica Banks, Lily Classroom Lead | Jessica earned her Waldorf Early Childhood Certification from the Eugene Waldorf School in 2007 and has been teaching and pioneering Waldorf Schools in Idaho ever since. During this time, Jessica has taught kindergarten, preschool, aftercare, summer camp, gardening and handwork for grades 1-5. She has also served on the boards of both private and public charter Waldorf schools. She most recently was the founder, administrator and lead teacher of Sweet Clover School, a Waldorf preschool in Hailey, Idaho where she lived with her beautiful eight year old son, Edyn. Jessica’s educational interests lie in brain development, whole child teaching, inspiring a love of learning, parent collaboration/education, and supporting and advocating for special needs students. Outside of the classroom, Jessica enjoys backpacking, camping, hiking, knitting, sewing, felting, dancing, meditation, yoga and mothering.
Brittany Buynak, Lily Classroom Assistant | 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.
Shay Roselip, Rose Classroom Lead | 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 Assistant | 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 Lead | 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.
Jenny Nielson, Bluebell Classroom | Jenny is originally from a farm in a tiny town near the beach in New Zealand, but has been living here in Milwaukie for almost ten years. She has two children at PWS, one in Grade 2 and one in Grade 4. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture and has recently become a fully certified Waldorf teacher. Jenny writes, “I love working in Early Childhood. Young children fill me with so much hope for the world and I really feel that the environment we provide for them nurtures their whole being. I know that some of the lightness, reverence and wonder we bring to the children goes with them far beyond the kindergarten. I have been very grateful to be part of the PWS community for the past five years. As a stranger in a strange land with little kids, no family around and a traveling husband, I found so many dear friends and colleagues, so much care, so many new ideas and such a lot of social pleasure and support at PWS. I love the school very much and so am very happy to be here to welcome new families and their children.”
Jamie Hennessey, Bluebell Classroom Assistant | Jamie earned a BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies from Texas State University and is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Teacher Training program at Micha-el Institute. She most recently worked as a Waldorf assistant teacher at Hummingbird Nursery School in Portland as well as substitute teaching in the kindergarten at Portland Village School. She previously taught environmental restoration and education to students in a classroom setting and on field trips in California and Maryland. Jamie has two children and enjoys reading, knitting, and gardening.
Kristin Luce, Sunflower Nursery Teacher and Parent/Child Teacher | 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.
Ch’aska Quillo, Cricket Care Aftercare Lead | Ch’aska grew up in Minnesota, where she had her first experiences with anthroposophy in a Waldorf kindergarten and as a child at Camphill Village MN. The sweet simplicity and nourishing traditions and rhythms she found there enkindled a passion for anthroposophy, Waldorf Education, and the community found within. She volunteered in both places as an adult, after which she continued her explorations as an English teacher at Kusi Kawsay Waldorf School in Peru, kindergarten assistant at City of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis, and as the aftercare teacher at Micha-el Waldorf School in Milwaukie. Ch’aska is a musician, a lover of textile arts, and is currently studying eurythmy with the Pacific Eurythmy training program.
Chlöe Kunst, Cricket Care Aftercare Assistant
Jack Palmer, Grade 1 | 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 2 | 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.
Johanna Hibbard, Grade 3 | Johanna grew up in California and Eugene, OR. She attended the University of Oregon, majoring in Romance Languages. Her interest in Romance Languages grew out of her love for Italian cinema. She went on to receive her MFA in filmmaking from the University of Iowa and her MA in Media Studies from the New School in New York. Her award-winning, short, animated films have screened widely at festivals around the country and abroad. As a professor of Media Arts at Pacific University she found that her real passion was for teaching. She eventually left her job at the university to focus on her growing family. She discovered Waldorf education through her children and immediately knew that she wanted to become a Waldorf teacher. She attended Antioch University New England and received her Waldorf teaching certification for the grades. She has worked in classrooms ranging in age from 3-13. She is thrilled to be a part of the PWS community. Outside the classroom, she loves to go for walks with her family and their dogs in her SE Portland neighborhood.
Jill DeSantis, Grade 4 | 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.
Shana Langer, Grade 5 | Shana comes to PWS from Portland Village School where she taught a class for the last three years from 5th-7th grade. Prior to that, Shana worked at two Waldorf charter schools in California, where she taught multiple rounds of 5th-8th grade, including some subject classes. She completed the Foundations year training at Rudolf Steiner College as well as many other summer Waldorf teacher trainings, including the Art of Teaching Grades 6-8. Shana graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Biology and Sociology, then received a Master’s degree in in Public Health from the University of Michigan. After that, she spent a year at Lesley College in Massachusetts in an Environmental Education Experiential Masters Program with the Audubon Expedition Institute Graduate Program. She has a teaching credential in both Oregon and California and also has training in Restorative Justice and Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. She has a strong background and interest in the natural sciences, outdoor school, and environmental education and is excited to bring this to her students here at PWS. Shana’s son Jeremiah just graduated from Portland Waldorf High School in the Class of 2019, so she is now officially an alumni parent! She is thrilled to be joining the faculty at Portland Waldorf School and looks forward to the journey ahead with the fifth grade class.
Elizabeth Webber, Grade 6 | 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 7 | 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.
Jim Conlon, Grade 8 | Jim has been involved in Waldorf education for thirty years, including completing two cycles of eight years as a class teacher. He studied secondary school science education (Biology) at the University of Vermont and Pomology at Cornell University. He received his Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Institute in Detroit, Michigan and studied biodynamic agriculture at Emerson College in England. He also completed the Spacial Dynamics training in 1994. He taught at the Hawthorne Valley School from 1986 to 2004, taking one class through eight years and then teaching movement/PE for grades 2-12 and Geography and Astronomy main lessons in the High School. After moving to Portland, Jim took one class through the grades here at PWS. With his current class, he is on his second cycle here at the school.
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.
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.
Kimberley Lehecka, Handwork Assistant | Kim grew up in the Northwest. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Pacific Northwest College of Art here in Portland. She worked for a number of years in graphic design and advertising. She was introduced to Waldorf education through her son and began volunteering in handwork and eventually assisting at the Portland Village School. She is so happy to be here at PWS continuing to assist in handwork. When she is not knitting, Kim enjoys exploring and making all kinds of art, traveling and taking in as many outdoor adventures as possible with her family and friends.
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.
Lisa Harrison, Living LAB | Lisa received her BA in Elementary Education from Whitworth University in Spokane and completed her Waldorf Teacher training at the Micha-el Institute with concentrations in both Grades and Early Childhood. Since then, she has continued her studies in Anthroposophy and has attended many Waldorf workshops and conferences. Lately, she has pursued studies in Permaculture for Youth Educators with the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children focusing on nature immersion, ecological design, and social justice; and she received a School Garden Coordinator Certificate from Growing Gardens in Portland, which focused on developing a school garden master plan, garden based activities, and class management in an outdoor setting. Lisa previously worked at Portland Waldorf School in a variety of roles: Class Teacher, Grades Assistant Teacher, and Vacation Camp Teacher. She also worked at Micha-el School as a Grades Interim Teacher, Kindergarten Assistant Teacher, and Summer Camp Teacher. Her volunteer work is extensive, both at Portland Waldorf School helping with festivals and classroom projects; and as a Garden Educator at Schoolyard Farms in Milwaukie, where she taught multiple classes about soil health, water harvesting, and growing cover crops during the winter months on a working one-acre farm with a CSA. Lisa is passionate about health and wellness and is an expert yoga instructor. Her son Jasper is a PWHS student and her daughter attended PWS from Parent/Child through 8th grade. She looks forward to the journey ahead!
Rochelle Giametta, Student Care Coordinator (Kindergarten through Grade 6) | Rochelle has worked in many roles at PWS over the past two 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.
Kim Sinclair, Director of Auxiliary Programs | Kim has held many positions here at PWS, including intern, substitute, first grade assistant teacher, and aftercare teacher. Kim graduated from Antioch University in New England last year with her Waldorf Teacher certificate and a Master’s in Education. She has also received a Forest Kindergarten certification from Cedarsong on Vashon Island in Washington. She previously created and directed a Forest Kindergarten in Fairview, Texas with The Living Ethics School. At this school, she also worked as a Handwork Teacher, Preschool Teacher, as well as directed and coordinated all of their Waldorf-inspired events and festivals, such as Lantern Walk, May Day, Michaelmas, Autumn Fair, and Spiral Walk. As the new Director of Auxiliary Programs, Kim will manage our Aftercare program, Camp program, and Afterschool clubs and activities, ensuring all of these programs are developmentally appropriate for our early childhood and grades students and are in alignment with the Waldorf pedagogy. She looks forward to collaborating with the rest of the Faculty and Staff to build up these programs over the next year! Kim is a current parent to Finley in fifth grade.
Torreyana Carl, Grades Aftercare Assistant Teacher | Torrey is a Waldorf alumni, having attended Preschool through 10th grade at the Waldorf School of San Diego, then 11th and 12th grade at High Mowing Waldorf School. She recently graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a Bachelor’s degree in French Studies and was lucky enough to study abroad in Paris for a year. She has worked as a preschool teaching assistant at L’Etoile French Immersion School for the past year; but her passion is to become a Waldorf teacher herself. She looks forward to working with the Waldorf students in our aftercare program at PWS!
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.
Jamina Shupack, Mathematics | Jamina graduated from University of Oregon with a degree in Environmental Science and Biology. She comes from a long line of math teachers and envisioned being a math teacher from a very young age. Jamina worked as a tutor in Eugene, which gave her intimate insight into how different people process math concepts. After college, she spent a few years working on small organic farms and teaching in school gardens. Jamina has been enjoying working with the Living Lab to create hands-on real world projects that enliven and enrich our curriculum. When she is not in the classroom, Jamina loves to sew, knit, garden, cook, ferment, hike, and venture off on bike tours.
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.
Gavin Warnock, Physics & Mathematics | Gavin earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in physics and studio art, both with honors, from Grinnell College. He most recently taught STEM classes at Howard Street Charter School in Salem, where they focus on education that is personalized, active and engaging. He has experience teaching classes in mechanics, cosmology (astronomy), electricity and magnetism, optics, quantum physics, general relativity, the physics of music, engineering, astrochemistry, and algebra. Needless to say, he adores physics and math! Fun fact — Gavin is also the assistant roller derby coach for the Rose City Rollers: Breakneck Betties!
Bec Blanchette, Humanities | Bec Blanchard spent her early years in Minnesota, but moved to the Pacific Northwest as a child where she fell in love with mountains. After completing her 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, she moved to Eugene, Oregon by way of San Francisco, in order to pursue a career in teaching. Bec earned her Waldorf Certification for grades 1-8 from Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene and then earned her 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 her thesis on transgender and Waldorf pedagogy. Bec divides her time between teaching, stories, and running long distances. There being few things as glorious as an Oregon summer, she will be sure to be found ensconced in the mountains over the summers, keeping company with her books and her 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.
Liz Truesdall, Humanities | Liz is a Waldorf graduate, having attended Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, Colorado from K–12th grade. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Portland State University, where she made the Dean’s List. She is currently completing Waldorf High School Teacher training with an emphasis on Humanities from the Center of Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire. Liz has a passion for literature and an intimate knowledge of Waldorf pedagogy. She is responsive to high school students’ specialized and changing needs and wishes to inspire students to excel in meeting their goals. Liz has worked for many years instructing students in martial arts, self defense, and kettlebells and barbells (her favorite hobbies). She has also recently been a guest teacher at Haleakala Waldorf High School in Makawao, Hawaii.
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.
Katherine Pomeroy, Applied Arts | Katherine was born in Philadelphia, moving to the Portland area as a second grader. Katherine studied fine arts at Portland State University with a concentration in drawing, weaving, and ceramics. Later, she continued at Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, where she studied weaving, textile surface design, natural dying and Book Arts and Printmaking. Katherine completed the three-year Applied Arts Program at Sunbridge College in 1998 and she currently serves as a part-time faculty member at Rudolf Steiner College’s Handwork Teacher Training program. Her outside interests include fabric arts, gardening and cooking, bookbinding, printmaking, and playing the piano. Handwork, crafts, and the home arts have been a centering thread running through her life and she enjoys the opportunity to share her many years of practical experience and her love of the activity with the students at PWS. Katherine has taught at PWS since 1994 and her grown sons are both PWS alumni. She lives in Beaverton with her husband and their two dogs.
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.
Carlye Bryant, Games/Movement | Carlye has been a member of the Portland Waldorf community as a parent, teacher and volunteer for more than fifteen years. A lifelong mover and athlete, Carlye enjoys cycling both on and off road, running, paddling, skiing, rowing, and anything to do with the out-of-doors. She is a former endurance racer, having trained and raced duathlons, Olympic and half-ironman distance races for nearly a decade. She is a registered yoga teacher, and has taught throughout Portland over the past decade. Her two children attended PWS from preschool through 8th grade. Carlye has received Spacial Dynamics training, and she holds a degree in Communications from Northern Michigan University, with minors in English and Journalism. She is passionate and enthusiastic about working with adolescents and brings a fun, spirited energy to her teaching.
Jeanne Rogers, Drama | Jeanne was trained as an actress at the world-renowned Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, where she studied under legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. A professional actress for over 30 years, Jeanne has performed opposite many well-known actors such as Nick Nolte, Don Johnson, Ron Howard, Marion Ross, and Margaret Hamilton. She has guest starred on TV shows such as LOST and Grimm and has been featured in several movies, most recently You May Not Kiss the Bride with Rob Schneider. Jeanne has extensive experience teaching teen’s and children’s drama classes on a regular basis. She was Director of Youth Education in Hawaii at The Academy of Film and Television, taught at the non-profit Free Arts Clinic in Los Angeles, and for 10 years Jeanne was the Drama Teacher at the Honolulu Waldorf High School. Jeanne has also directed many plays including; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Harvey, Look Homeward Angel, The Crucible, Hamlet, and many others… Since moving to Oregon, she has taught drama for the Northwest Children’s Theatre and Oregon Children’s Theatre. She is thrilled to be working as the Drama Teacher at Portland Waldorf School.
Michael Johnson, Life Skills | Michael “Chael” Johnson received his B.S. in Psychology specializing in developmental psychology and Youth Development from Utah State University. Shortly thereafter he moved to Perth, Australia, where he became a counselor and sexual educator for rural primary and secondary schools as well as adults with developmental delays and Downs Syndrome. His passion for sexual education stems from prevention of sexual assault on children and this preventative passion began branching into other fields of prevention. After returning to the US he became the Program Manager for Salt Lake County’s Youth Services Substance Abuse Prevention program and a certified Rape Crisis Advocate and Prevention Coordinator. This passion has continued to drive him toward education. The recent move to Portland, with his new young family, opened up the opportunity to teach in his first experience with a Waldorf school. He also enjoys camping, acting, public speaking, and continued education in mental health and prevention.
Joshua Talbert, Student Care Coordinator (Grades 7-12) | Joshua is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Waldorf parent. He graduated Lewis & Clark College with a Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling, and prior to that from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics. Joshua is currently training to be a certified Waldorf Educational Support Teacher. Prior to his time at PWS, Joshua worked for 6 years as a therapist for teens and their families. Part of this was at a unique, outdoor clinic in Canby, OR. There he worked with a pioneering team engaging animals and the environment as an integral part of the change process. Joshua also brings a strong background in Dance & Somatics to his work – emphasizing the body’s profound wisdom combined with focused attention on ‘here and now’ experience. Joshua currently acts as the Student Care team leader for the Upper Grades (7 – 12). He also teaches the Mindfulness Skills curricula for HS students. Joshua is a Waldorf parent and a strong advocate for teens.
Marie Stromberg-Wojcik, ELL | Born in Racine, Wisconsin Marie received her BA in Sociology and Spanish from St. Johns/College of St. Benedicts in Minnesota and studied in Spain and Guatemala. She later spent three years as an ALT with the JETT (Japan exchange and Teaching Program) in Ishikawa-ken, Japan teaching High school English and spent time in India, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, and China. She continued her training in TESOL at the Monterey Institute of International Studies/Middlebury College in Linguistics and taught at the American school in Chiapas, Mexico. Her summers were spent teaching at Concordia Language Villages in northern Minnesota teaching English, Spanish and French during the summers. Marie finished her MA in Education/Language and Literacy focused on International students at San Francisco State University and worked with UC Berkeley on her final project /thesis, helping her to achieve the Changemaker Fellowship at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA while teaching at the ELS language center. She finished her second MA in Social Transformation focusing on Spirituality and Social Change with an emphasis on the Holocaust from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. This past summer she received an award as a Powell Fellow at the Summer Institute focused on the Holocaust and other forms of Genocide. She is currently on the teacher’s advisory board at the Holocaust Center in Portland. Marie and her husband enjoy camping, biking, yoga, folk dancing, the symphony, ceramics and traveling in their free time. Marie currently acts as the ELL high school instructor and assists with the aftercare program. She is also a member of the Pacific School of Eurythmy.
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.