Why Waldorf...


"Waldorf education places the development of the individual child in the focal point, convinced that the healthy individual is a prerequisite for a healthy society."


~The International Conference on Education of the United Nations Educational & Scientific Cultural Organization




"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."


~William Butler Yeats



Early Childhood for 2016-17

Vanessa Kohlhaas // Gina Mammano Vander Kam T. A.

Nursery

Vanessa 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.

William Dolde // Carol Johnsen T.A.

Kindergarten
William grew up in Pittsburgh and Connecticut and received a BA from Yale. In addition to receiving early childhood credentials at the University of Maryland and Waldorf certification at Rudolf Steiner College, William has taken RIE I training in Los Angeles. William has taught workshops for parent & child teachers at Sophia's Hearth in Keene, NH. In addition to teaching kindergarten in Maryland and Monterey, William has taught nursery and parent & child classes at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. He works as a parent coach and curriculum consultant for an adult education institute. He finds work with young children and their families rewarding and just right. His greatest teachers are his sons Liam and Crispin.

Carol Lynn Johnsen studied Waldorf teacher training in San Francisco, remedial education at Steiner College, and film/fine arts at SF Art Institute. She enjoys tending to children in nature, sometimes while doing crafts. This brings perspective, joy, and challenge. She especially appreciates head teacher William's initiative to go barefoot.

Dyanne Harshman // Alea Robertson T.A.

Kindergarten

Dyanne 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

Natasha Zimmerman

1st and 2nd Grade

Natasha grew up in Colorado and Washington. She studied Elementary Education and Sociology at Gonzaga University and taught in public schools for a few years before entering the Waldorf Teacher Program at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California. Natasha moved to Whidbey Island in 2000 to teach a First Grade class here at Whidbey Island Waldorf School. She taught that class from 1st through 8th grade, and recently enjoyed celebrating her former students' High School graduation!

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 and Second Grade through Eighth!


Kristin codda

3rd Grade
 Kristin is the second oldest in a family of nine children. She hails from California, where she developed her love of children while tending her many siblings! She met her husband in 19978, before beginning her coursework in Early Childhood Education at American River Colleg in  Sacrament, CA. She taught preschool before their first child was born, and then opened her own preschool, which she operated for eight years before closing the doors to spend more time with her family.

She developed an interest in Waldorf education as she considered options for her own children, and then began working in a Waldorf Kindergarten in California before moving to Whidbey in 2012. Since then, she has served as n Early Childhood aftercare assistant teacher and as an Educational Support teacher in the Grades. She loves helping children in their varying capacities discover their abilities to succeed. Kristin is currently studying Special Education and earning her Washington State teaching certificates in both Elementary Education and Special Education. She has begun her Waldorf training at Rudolf Steiner college. When not at school, Kristin enjoys exploring the natural world and, above all, cherishes time spent with her husband and two children, both students here at WIWS.

Angela Lindstrom

4th 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 Childhood 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 a M.Ed. She has been a class teacher for over 10 years at WIWS, recently graduating a class in 2014.    

 

Angela grew up working and playing on a small farm, nestled by rolling hills, a forest and 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.

Susan Jones

5th Grade 


Susan hails originally from a northern New Jersey suburb of New York City, She has known from childhood that she wanted to teach children and received her B.S. in Education, cum laude, from New York University.

 

A sabbatical of Goethean Studies with Dennis Klocek was followed by the gift of becoming class teacher for grades 1 - 8 at the Waldorf School of Santa Cruz. Another sabbatical in English Studies at the Goetheanum led to work at the East Bay Waldorf School, as Pedagogical Administrator and parent-child and nursery teacher. She was then called back to Santa Cruz to take a class from grades 3 - 5, and has now delightedly become  a new resident of Whidbey Island, where, in addition to  preparing for her class, she enjoys walking in nature, cooking, writing, gardening and watercolor painting.


Christian Gonzalez

6th Grade


Bio & Picture coming soon

Ashley Umlauf

7th & 8th Grade

Ashley 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.


Specialty Teachers


Brian Kenney

Strings 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.

Frances Kenney

Music
Frances grew up in the Midwest in a very musical family. She attended the School for Creative & Performing Arts in Cincinnati, majoring in vocal and instrumental music. She went on to major in oboe performance at Indiana University, during which time she fell in love with working with young children.

Frances took a break from music to explore this work further, which brought her to Waldorf education and, eventually, to Sound Circle Center in Seattle. She earned her certificate in Waldorf Early childhood Education from Sound Circle in 2008. Since then, Frances has re-kindled her interest in music She now plays oboe with the Saratoga chamber Orchestra and teaches music part-time at WIWS. She loves living on Whidbey island with her husband, Nick, and daughters Gabriella and Sonja.

Karen Benson

Movement & Games, Middle School Math

Karen grew up in southern California, loving the outdoors and playing teacher with her dolls. She received a B.S. in Wine Production Management from U.C. Davis and worked as an Assistant winemaker from Napa, CA all the way to western Australia. She left winemaking to pursue a public teaching credential at U.C. Santa Cruz in Physics and Chemistry. She also holds teaching credentials in K-8, Biology and Environmental Science.

The birth of ther 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.

Joanna Spagnolini

Spanish


Photo coming soon!   

Señora Jo's first teaching experience was at the Sacramento Waldorf School, where she taught Spanish, Beginning Recorder, Remedial Reading and Mathematics while attending California State University, Sacramento. She then taught K-12 in California public schools for more than 30 years.
 
After retirement in 2001, she just couldn't stop “cold turkey” and continued to teach on the mission field in Mexicali, Baja California, the Highlands of Peru, at a university in Shandong Province, China, and finally at an international Christian School in Albania.

 

Now the circle is complete; not back to “square one”, Señora Jo has come home to her first love.

Cordula Hetland // Gina Mammano Vander Kam T.A.

Extended Day Coordinator
Cordula was born in Hannover, Germany. Both of her parents were Waldorf teachers; her father was a student in the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany.  He was full of stories about growing up around Rudolf Steiner!  Cordula enjoyed a rural childhood and graduated from Waldorf school in 1980. After receiving Waldorf Teacher training in Kassel, Germany, Cordula moved to Austria, near Vienna, where she worked as a kindergarten teacher for the next 10 years.

She then met and married A Whidbey Islander on his travels abroad. When their son, Lars, was 9 months old, the family left Austria for Whidbey Island. There Cordula fell in love with our beautiful Whidbey Island Waldorf School, where she coordinates our Extended Care program.

See Bio above under Nursery.

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