Amy Stocker - Rosebud PRESCHOOL
I grew up in Mendocino County. After obtaining a BA in Liberal Studies at California State University, Chico, I followed my dream of teaching children by obtaining a California State Teaching Credential in 2005. The magic and brilliance of Waldorf Education was first introduced to me when I was a student in a Waldorf Kindergarten. After teaching in various preschools in California, Arizona, and Oregon, I made my way back home to The Waldorf School of Mendocino County (WSMC). In 2007, I began teaching at WSMC as a kindergarten teacher while simultaneously completing my Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. After taking six years away from WSMC to be at home with my two young daughters, I rejoined the WSMC Faculty in 2015 and had the pleasure of teaching my small friends in the Primrose Classroom.
VANESSA FRENCH - ROSEBUD ASSISTANT
I’ve lived in Mendocino County for 30 years after moving from Greece when I was 2! As a child, I had a brief experience with WSMC and fell in love with its education philosophy and community. I knew before my son was even an apple in my eye that I wanted him to go to school here at WSMC. I began working at WSMC in 2008 as a specialty teacher and aftercare coordinator. I had planned to open an in-home daycare but the universe had something else in store for me: my dream job at WSMC. I have been lucky enough to teach games, movement, clay sculpture, beeswax, creative play, and rest & story.
When my son, Wyatt, was born, I left for 3 years, but returned in 2013 as a specialty teacher and aftercare coordinator when he was ready to start preschool. For the last couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of working as an assistant in the classroom which has furthered my interest in beginning my Waldorf Teacher training. I’m starting this summer through a program in British Columbia. I’m so blessed, grateful, and proud to be a part of this school education as a teacher and parent. As my learning grows so does my love for this education and lifestyle. In my free time, I enjoy going on family adventures, spending time in nature, organic gardening, making art, and having time with my amazingly wonderful son who is so full of surprises.
Debra McCarthy - Red Rose Kindergarten
I have been teaching at WSMC for sixteen years, and I was an assistant even before that time. I began my Waldorf journey when my young daughter was beginning kindergarten. We went to visit the school and immediately fell in love with it, not knowing anything about Waldorf Education. As you can imagine, it has been quite a journey for me and is always continuing to be so. The job and my life are intertwined, and I dearly believe that this is the best education for children. It's not an easy path to become a Waldorf teacher, or parent; I know I am always striving to do better.
There are so many favorite days in kindergarten, that I could not name just one. I thoroughly love any time the children are experiencing the beautiful world of nature or a magical moment when their imagination carries them into building a spaceship or a fairy house, to the excitement when they bring me a flower, or a worm, or a stone, and are so filled with wonder at their discovery. After they leave kindergarten, they might remember the day they got to make their own pizza, or the puppet show they performed before leaving the kindergarten to go on to first grade. Personally, I enjoy being in nature, swimming, and hiking. I like working in my garden and canning the summer bounty when I have time. I have a wonderful family to share life with, and I am very fulfilled and appreciate my good fortune.
Elizabeth Blecha - RED ROSE Assistant
I first joined the Waldorf School of Mendocino County in 2009 as a parent when my first two children began first grade and kindergarten, after relocating from Taos, New Mexico. Since then, I have been involved as a volunteer, substitute grades teacher, gardening teacher, and Rosebud Assistant. Creating daily rhythm, singing, and cooking nourishing foods are all part of the activities that inspire my work as a teacher. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University, and an Associate’s degree of Science in Business Administration from Mendocino College. Along with mothering my three children, I operate a small, local nursery business called Plant Friends Nursery. Other hobbies that I enjoy are farming, natural dying, baking, sewing, and hiking. My daughter is a student in Mrs. Austin’s class and my youngest son is in Ms. Evans' class.
Inge Schaefer - CLASS 2 and 3 Teacher
I have been involved with Waldorf education for the past eight years. It sometimes takes a seasoned tracker to find the start of a trace. How did I find my way here? Was it the long ago mention of the Steiner school just down the road from where I lived in Germany as an exchange student—“Oh, you have to sign your children up even before they are born!” Or was it years later criss-crossing Sonoma County as a bike tour guide with a fellow guide, whose parents were both Waldorf teachers—“I helped make that sign at the entrance!” Regardless, it was with the birth of my two sons that the path was clear beneath my feet. It brought the need and desire to serve them as best I could in their development as whole human beings (a work that is still in progress). I have since embraced the philosophy of Steiner and taken on the work of understanding its relation to child development. I home-schooled my sons using the Waldorf curriculum and worked with groups of home-schooled children to bring the curriculum to them. To strengthen my understanding, I have been involved with the Center of Educational Renewal for the past four years. Along the way, I have also worked as an archaeologist, biked cross country, sung German songs with my Dad as he played accordion, and learned to knit from my expert mother.
Joy Evans - CLASS 4 and 5 Teacher
When I began looking deeply at Waldorf classrooms as a place for my daughter, I realized it was where I belonged as well. I have a background in Theater that includes performing and teaching at all levels, from Kindergarten through Junior College. My interest in the mystery of being human lead me to become a Licensed Acupuncturist. I bring my experience as an actor, a director, a teacher, and a healer to my teaching. I was drawn to theater and Chinese Medicine because they encompass the whole human being: the physical, the emotional, the communal, and the spiritual aspects. As a Waldorf Teacher, I get to bring my love for the human being and all her potential to the classroom everyday. I live in Leggett with my husband and daughter. In my personal life, I enjoy spending time in nature, camping, swimming in the river, and playing with my daughter Sage and our pets, Biscuit the dog, two cats, one rabbit, and nine chickens.
Kelly Austin - CLASS 6 and 7 Teacher
I have been teaching at this wonderful school for nineteen years. I knew I was destined to work with children and families. I was eleven when I had my first babysitting job and fourteen when I got my first paycheck from the YMCA as camp counselor and swim instructor. When I had children of my own, other parents and I began to ask, “What capacities and qualities do we want our children to have when they are eighteen years old?” We met, studied, made lists, and after one year came up with a plan. Our choice of curriculum was Waldorf because we could see that it would provide what we wanted for our children. Thus, I began my Waldorf Teacher Training at the Center for Educational Renewal. I started with my first class in 4th grade, and they graduated from 8th grade in 2001; at the same time, I graduated from my teacher training program. I then began an eight year journey with my next class, which graduated in 2010. I stayed in the upper grades and graduated the 8th grade classes of 2011 and 2012. I began again with a new 1st grade in 2012. In 2015 our class, in our 4th year, was joined by the 3rd grade class. Now I am on a new exciting journey with the current 4th and 5th graders. We are moving together through the grades and will continue on until they are ready to graduate in 2020 and 2021. I am blessed to have a job that I love. Outside of school I spend every moment possible with my husband, my three children, and my three grandchildren. I enjoy reading, working puzzles, gardening, hiking, and birding.
BARBARA LAST - AFTERCARE
I came to Waldorf Education in Minnesota, when my first son was three. A stay-at-home mom with a teaching degree, I was immediately captivated. Indeed, the first time I walked into a Waldorf school I felt I had come home. As a parent I took all the classes that were offered. Then I took over a home preschool -- learning Waldorf as I went. Telling stories, singing to my students, wet-on-wet watercolor painting -- oh, my! Though it was sad to leave Minnesota in 2003, coming to California allowed my younger son to attend high school at Sacramento Waldorf School. It also allowed me to train at Rudolf Steiner College and teach three years, Grades 1-3, at Golden Valley Charter School. What fun to be a Waldorf teacher at last! Then there was a 4 and a half year hiatus teaching university students in China. For the past four years I’ve made my home in Ukiah, lured here by a position at La Vida Charter School, where I worked in Grades 1 & 2 for three years. You may spot me running errands around town on my bicycle!
I love getting to know your children and this lovely school by conducting the Grades Aftercare Program.
Catherine Hutchison - CIRCUS ARTS
I grew up in the mountains of Colorado, where I was lucky enough to attend Shining Mountain Waldorf School. The incredibly rich curriculum steeped in arts really met my needs and I loved going to school every day. Over the years, I took and later taught aerial circus arts and taught at various circus camps and after school programs. After graduating college with a degree in art, I was looking for a way to bring my love of education, circus and the arts to others. I attended the last full-time Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, which helped illumine and deepen my understanding behind the education I had received. For the past few years, I have been teaching Circus and Games at River Oak Charter School. I am delighted to also be joining WSMC this year to teach Circus Arts.
Maestra Thaxter - Spanish
I grew up in Lima, Peru and I have taken care of children continuously since I was 6 years old. Before encountering Waldorf, I worked in public and private preschools and studied sculpture and clothing construction (I have been knitting since I was 6 or 7). I studied Waldorf Education in Lima, Peru at the I.S.P. Schiller-Goethe, where nearly all the instructors were visiting professors from Europe. This was an excellent, full-time, five-year program. I met my husband there when he was teaching marionette construction and performance. I taught Waldorf first grade for one year, but I left it because our own two children still needed my full attention. In 2013, we moved to Ukiah, and I have been teaching Spanish at WSMC ever since. In my free time, I love to paint, sculpt, and dance.
Karen Zimmerman - Strings
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and my first memory is about music. My mother played piano for the church choir and she took me to a rehearsal as I was only 4 and not in school yet. My being came alive with what I heard. When I was older, I decided to play bass much to my parents chagrin at the size of the thing, but they were rewarded when I graduated from the Juilliard School in New York with a bachelor's degree. I went on to gain my master's degree also. I now play with the Santa Rosa Symphony and am also the music librarian. What I love about it is that I never have a boring day.
I am looking forward to working at WSMC as I love to teach young people how to play in an ensemble. It is a coming together as a whole to create something extraordinary.
John Cunnan - Woodwork
I have been a wood craftsman since 1972 when I taught woodcraft to the apprentices of Allan Chadwick. I founded the Round Valley Wood Wrights in 1979 and ran the wood shop for the Covelo Garden Project while it was active. I took 4th place in a national competition to create a Peace Garden as a symbol of what America really stands for, living in harmony with all of life.
I enjoy teaching wood work to developing children with the hope of promoting their love of wood and nature.
In my free time, I make natural wood furniture for my side business, Wildwood Crafts.
Jami O’Connor - OFFICE COORDINATOR and REGISTRAR
Jennifer Krauss - Business Manager
I was born in California, but spent most of my childhood in the mountains of Colorado. Mendocino County has been home to me for almost 17 years, and I find it comforting that it is so similar to the small mountain communities I was so familiar with as a child. Most of my employment background consists of work for local governments, and after 16 years in Mendocino County government I decided to go a different direction. I dreamed of a place where appreciation and kindness are integral to the culture of the organization. The Waldorf School is exactly what I was hoping for. I have Associate’s degrees in Business Management and Psychology from Mendocino College. I spend most of my free time enjoying the company of my husband and our two dogs, reading, and kayaking on the lake. I enjoy several hobbies including cake decorating, gardening, knitting and crocheting. I look forward to getting to know the teachers, parents, and students of The Waldorf School.
Spring Senerchia - Administrator
I was born and raised in Mendocino County; my childhood was spent outdoors and with books. I graduated from Mountain Meadow Waldorf School (now WSMC) in 1992. Since then I have lived in a Zen Monastary, Guatemala, Santa Cruz, New Mexico and Willits. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community. I have worked for an Intentional Community, in classrooms, offices and commercial kitchens of all sorts, as a Natural Builder and as a mother. In my work I am passionate about supporting individuals towards working effectively within larger organizations that operate out of reverence for the spiritual nature of life, and whose goals are social health and renewal. At WSMC, my daughter, Sylvana (Class 5) daily astounds me with her talents and beauty and my son, Salvio (Class 1), constantly on the cusp of so many discoveries, astounds me with his spontaneous joy. Working here brings together almost all of my passions and deeply held convictions in a way that is deeply satisfying. I am thrilled to work with fantastic colleagues in service to the children of our future.
I most like to be in wild places and with my family.
My best friends are farmers and spiritual seekers.
Cooking and serving excellent food to my friends and family is a great love of mine.