Early Childhood for 2016-17
Vanessa Kohlhaas // Gina Mammano Vander Kam & Celeen Woodbury, T. A's.
NurseryVanessa has worked as an early childhood educator for the last 15 years. She holds a Master's degree in Education, as well as certifications in public school special education and Waldorf early childhood education. In addition to these trainings, she has studied at the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary and Resources for Infant Educators (RIE) in Los Angeles, CA. Vanessa and her husband have three children who attend WIWS; she has found parenting the most humbling and inspiring path of learning.
Gina comes to Whidbey Island Waldorf School with a long history of educating children, from working as a credentialed teacher for more than a decade in public schools, to working as a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher in the California charter school movement. She is also a certificated spiritual director, poet and author of the recently released SkyLight Paths Publishing book Camino Divina - Walking the Divine Way: A Book of Moving Meditations with Likely Unlikely Saints, as well as an upcoming children's book to be released by Pelican Publishing. She has worked at WIWS in a number of capacities since 2011 including the Sunflower Kindergarten class teacher assistant, early childhood long-term and daily sub, and in the EC After Care program. She is endlessly proud of her three grown children, loves enjoying the countless wonders of the people and opportunities of Whidbey Island, and takes great delight in making music with her husband, Rick Vander Kam in their various acoustic and electric iterations. Among her favorite things about working at WIWS is the chance to experience the wonder in children's eyes as she weaves and unfolds songs and stories in their presence, and the privilege of holding their hands as they walk through the forest weaving their own.
Celeen Woodbury has a long career working with children and families.
She began working with children in Jaurez, Mexico where she ran a feeding program for street children. She later worked at a child abuse prevention agency in Colorado and received an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She moved with her family to Whidbey Island so her children could attend Whidbey Island Waldorf School. Both of her children attended the school from kindergarten through 8th grade and Celeen worked as an early childhood assistant teacher whenever possible during those years. Celeen and Vanessa have worked together with young children at various times for the past ten years both at WIWS and in home programs. They are excited to be together again in the Butterfly classroom. Celeen is also a gifted massage therapist and a Shematrix guide. We will now have three teachers and 12 children each day with space available for 2 more children/ day once the other new Butterfly children are settled into the class. This new arrangement will allow for more ease and flexibility in meeting the individual needs of the Butterfly children and welcome more families into our school.
William Dolde // Carol Johnsen T.A.
Dyanne Harshman // Alea Robertson T.A.
was born and raised in the maritime Pacific Northwest. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology from Central Washington University in 1985, she enjoyed a brief hiatus in Tuscon, Arizona where where she married and continued her quest for a child-centered career. She gained useful experience working in home, daycare and preschool settings as well as co-creating summer programs for "at risk readers."
After then earning her Washington State teaching credentials from the University of Washington, she turned homeward to begin her own family. It was in her search for a school for her own children that Dyanne discovered Waldorf Education. She moved to Whidbey Island with her husband and children in 1995, and has taught at WIWS since 1997. Currently, Dyanne holds an M.S. Ed in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College, NY. She serves as adjunct faculty for Sound Circle Center for Anthroposophy in Seattle and is actively involved in the regional Waldorf Early Childhood movement as a regional representative and mentor. Dyanne loves living on this beautiful Island with her family and friends where she enjoys gardening, cooking, singing and playing flute and marimba.
Alea spent her childhood playing in the woods and on the beaches of Whidbey Island. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a BA in Ceramics, Sculpture, Printmaking and Painting, in 2011 Alea sought Adventure. She found what she was searching for in the world of Environmental Education Tall Ships. Intending to step on board the Schooner Adventuress as a one-month volunteer, she was swept up into the beauty of an intentional community sailing, inspiring, empowering and educating for the next three years. During this time Alea gained the experience of teaching all ages and realized the passion she had for the worthy purpose in the life of educating.
Since that day Alea has been involved in WIWS through many facets: substitute teaching, para-educating and co-designing/co-running the Spring and Summer at Chinook Camps on campus. During the summer of 2016 she began the enriching experience of her Waldorf Grades Teacher training at the West Coast Institute. Alea is looking forward to getting married in August 2016 and growing as an educator through the opportunity to be Dyanne's Assistant Teacher in the Sunflower Classroom for the 2016/17 year.
Alea returned home to Whidbey in the summer of 2015 to grow roots on the land with her partner Zach. This journey began with planting a kale garden and has grown into a quest to find a path of education that aligned with her belief that every child deserves to learn through experience and creativity where the child as an individual is the focus and the treasure. When she walked into the Whidbey Island Waldorf School for the first time in January 2016 Alea immediately felt that she might have found such a place just a stone's throw away from where she grew up.
Grades 1-8 for 2016-17
After that, she taught First Grade and Handwork here at WIWS before starting a family of her own. This year she begins another cycle of taking students from First Grade through Eighth!
2nd and 3rd Grade
4th and 5th Grade
After working several years as a journalist, artist and instructor of Native American Studies and English at the University of Cincinnati, Angela found her way to Waldorf education with the birth of her first child. She became certified in Waldorf Early Education and as a Therapeutic Educator, and started several Parent and Child programs in Denver Waldorf Schools and at our own WIWS. As her own children grew, Angela then became certified in Waldorf Elementary Education and also holds an M.Ed. She has been a class teacher for over 12 years at WIWS, graduating a class in 2014.
Angela grew up working and playing on a small farm, nestled by rolling hills, a forest and a river in southern Ohio. She has traveled extensively in the United States and lived in France and Switzerland. Her greatest joys come from spending time with her husband, six children and two grandchildren. Angela enjoys expressing herself through art, music, writing and dance. She loves reading, gardening, hiking and the outdoors. Angela is very active in her Native American culture (Ojibwa and Cherokee) and is the hostess/director of the annual Pacific Northwest Waldorf Schools Potlatch.
Christian comes to us from The City School, a Waldorf school in the Los Angeles area. After beginning college early through Running Start, Christian decided to join the Marine Corps. While in the Marines, he began tutoring and teaching fellow soldiers and taught classes in various subjects, including electronics, math and applied physics. After five years of being stationed throughout the world, he completed his military service and moved to Los Angeles, where he met his wife Yukimo. It was at this point in his life that he began working towards his California State teaching credential. Just as he graduated, Christian discovered Waldorf education while searching for a school for his children. He then entered the Waldorf teacher-training program at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California and quickly found a job teaching at The City School. Mr. Gonzalez took his class from grades 3 through 5 there, and now fully Waldorf trained, is excited about relocating to Whidbey Island with his wife and three young boys.
7th & 8th GradeAshley was born and raised on a 100-acre homestead staked out by her grandparents. She spent her youth outdoors with her brother Conor and, later, sister Claire. Her immediate and extended family were commercial fishermen; she spent much of her youth and teenage years on salmon vessels and in salmon canneries.
After travelling throughout the East Coast, Europe and South America she earned her B.A. in English with an emphasis on writing from the University of Washington in 2000. She worked for awhile in the web industry, then worked with at-risk youth in Seattle while exploring the teaching profession. Realizing that her passion and skills were united and ignited in this work, Ashley returned to U.W. and earned her Master's Degree in Education in 2003. She worked in Bellevue and Seattle school districts, teaching English for four years.
Her love of teaching has expanded exponentially in the Waldorf setting, with this education of head, heart and hands. Ashley brings strong classroom management and artistic skills to her work with this class, and loves bringing drama and play into the classroom. Her three children all attend WIWS.
Upper Grades Math Teacher
Brian began playing the violin at the age of five, and since then has put his fiddle to use playing in orchestras, string quartets, chamber ensembles, rock bands, improvisational groups, traditional Irish and Old-time fiddling sessions and more. Since moving to Whidbey Island in January of 2013, he has played with the Saratoga Orchestra, Island Consort and other musical ensembles. He also plays guitar and writes both songs and short instrumental pieces. he worked for several years in a New England violin shop outfitting teachers, school programs and students with instruments and acessories, introducing thousands of children to their first violin, viola or cello. He looks forward to joining the WIWS music program and helping our students in their musical education.
Movement & Games, Middle School Support
The birth of her son, Luc, led her on a quest for an authentic, arts-based education which nurtures the soul--a.k.a. Waldorf Education! Karen studied Waldorf teaching at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training with Dorit Winter for two years, and completed her certification at Sound Circle Center in Seattle, WA.
She is the mother of a WIWS graduate and a second child currently enjoying her middle school class. Karen has completed the five year Spacial Dynamics Training and currently teaches Movement and Games for grades 1-7, and middle school math for grades 6 and 7.
Adam Fawcett, Guest Middle School Games Teacher
Adam received his Waldorf teacher certificate from Sound Circle Center in 2006.
He has a background in mechanical and environmental engineering, and also spent several years in the Far East, studying and practicing Eastern movement, meditation, and healing arts, including chi-gong, yoga, and shiatsu.
He is a well-known local fitness trainer, and owner of a gym and fitness company in Langley.
Adam enjoys teaching movement here, both for what he gets to bring to the students, and for what he learns through observing the developing child from the Waldorf Education perspective.
Susanne was born into a German family and raised in South America. She spent her childhood attending German private schools, and became fluent in three languages from childhood onward. Her family travelled extensively and lived in Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Canada and Germany for various lengths of time all before the age of 18, at which time she independently moved to Toronto, Canada to finish High School and attended the University of Toronto to receive a double BA in Modern Languages and Literature: German and Spanish and a Certificate in Travel and Tourism from the Canadian Travel School.
Susanne married in Canada and had two children, they are both in their 20’s now. In 1997 the Schnippering family was transferred from Toronto to New England, where they stayed until October 2016, 19 years. During the time in New England, Susanne became certified as an Early Childhood Montessori teacher and she taught as an EC teacher at two schools over a span of 8 years. Curious and ever wanting to expand on her learning she continued with further training and completed (2013) full certification in Montessori Lower and Upper Elementary teaching. During her tenure at one school over a span of 16 years, she taught Spanish for 6 years to 160 students ages 3 through 14 and was also a classroom teacher in Lower and Upper Elementary classrooms. She also organized and led two field trips to Costa Rica for 10- 14 yr old students over the past 4 years.
In October 2016 her husband Roland was once again offered a chance to relocate to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and they landed on Whidbey Island. The mutually exciting opportunity presented itself for Susanne to join the WIWS as a Spanish teacher. Susanne is eager to share her knowledge of language and culture with children of all ages.
Susanne loves to travel, cook, hike, read, kayak, garden and photography.
Cordula Hetland // Gina Mammano Vander Kam T.A.
Extended Day Coordinator