What is it like to be a Waldorf teacher?
Little Lambs – Birth to Age 3
Lead Teacher, Infant Program
Jada earned a degree in Education and Creative Art Therapy from Goddard College and has been teaching for over a decade, in addition to teacher mentoring. She worked as an Early Childhood teacher and School Cook at Green Valley School, a nature-based Waldorf School in Putney, VT. One of Jada’s passions is holistic healing, including nutrition and herbalism and she has her own healing practice, Golden Spiral Healing. She is currently finishing a three-year certification program in Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy. Jada is the co-founder of Northern Lights, a Women’s Singing Community. In 2013 she was elected to the board of directors of Circle of Women International. Jada’s multifaceted range of experience make her a dynamic and creative teacher with a focus on progressive experiential heart-centered education honoring the individual.
Little Lambs Teacher
Megan is excited to work with our littlest children to help create and maintain a dynamic, compassionate learning environment. She brings a depth of experience in early education to Little Lambs, including Reggio Emilia and Montessori as well as Waldorf. Megan holds an MA in teaching and a BFA in printmaking, and enjoys playing outside, making things with her hands, and reading. She is also excited to return to Vermont, where she grew up, after spending many years living in Maine.
Director and Lead Teacher
Andi was drawn to Waldorf Education while exploring alternative education for her young sons after several years as a Special Education Teacher at both the elementary and secondary levels in public schools. Andi holds a Bachelors of Education from Buffalo State College and a Masters in Education from Antioch New England through the Waldorf Teacher Education program. She has taught at Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, Upper Valley Waldorf School in Quechee, VT, and the developing Ithaca Waldorf School in Ithaca, NY. Additionally, in 2012-13 Andi journeyed to Bali, Indonesia where she was a multi-age teacher of children of Western families while experiencing life in a traditional Hindu family compound. Her own childhood growing up on a 30-acre family farm filled Andi with love of the great outdoors and environmental appreciation. Painting, drawing, cooking and craftwork have continued as loves since childhood. The third of eight siblings gave Andi the instincts of a teacher and developed her love of storytelling.
Child’s Garden – Early Childhood
Director and Lead Teacher
Stephanie Hoelscher is director and lead teacher at the Child’s Garden. She came to Orchard Valley in 2010 when she started the Apple Blossom program, serving very young children. Stephanie received her certification in Waldorf Early Childhood education from Sunbridge and began her Waldorf work with young children at a charter Waldorf School in Phoenix, AZ where she taught in a large, mixed-aged kindergarten. Stephanie finds that her past training as a cultural anthropologist deepens the observational skills important to her work as a teacher and is deeply committed to creating a learning environment where the young child’s need for play, movement, and practical work can find its truest expression. Most recently Stephanie has started an advanced training course in therapeutic movement in order to bring new pedagogical insights to her mixed-aged class.
Apple Blossom Teacher
After two years at the Child’s Garden as an Aftercare teacher, Beth is excited to step into the role as the Apple Blossom teacher as well.
Beth has been in education nearly her entire career. In addition to teaching kindergarten at Wellspring and Upper Valley Waldorf Schools, she was a preschool teacher at a progressive holistic school in the Burlington area. Beth also served as a Program Coordinator and Assistant Director in early childhood programs throughout Central Vermont for over five years. Prior to pursuing her love for working with young children and their parents, she taught environmental studies, science and math for students spanning grades 1-6 in private schools and taught 3rd and 4th grades in a public school as well.
Beth currently holds a VT teachers license in Elementary Education (K-6). She received a BA in Elementary Education and has additional graduate courses in education as well as Waldorf Kindergarten courses through Sunbridge College, Antioch, and Steiner Institute.
Beth also has a healing practice and landscape design business, sharing her passion in working with both the inner and outer landscapes.
Main Campus – Early Childhood
Maple Tree Kindergarten
Miss Lizz is the Maple Tree Kindergarten Teacher at Orchard Valley Waldorf School. She came to the beautiful state of Vermont from Pennsylvania where she was born and raised. She holds a Bachelors degree in Art Education from Kutztown University and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2013. She also has completed the Lifeways Training at Kimberton Waldorf School and just loves to work with young children in the Waldorf setting. Miss Lizz likes to read, hike, play volleyball, and make art in her free time.
Farm and Forest Kindergarten
Lindsay Miles has been working in Waldorf Early Childhood education since 2008. She was initially drawn to this education for her daughter, but Lindsay soon realized that teaching children and Waldorf education were her calling. Inspired by nature, Lindsay began bringing her classes outside more and more and has been a part of the Farm and Forest movement for the past several years. She loves the joy, innocence, and adventure that comes with each day in the classroom.
When Lindsay is not teaching, she loves to sing and play music, read and garden. She and her husband are avid farmers and enjoy spending time outside with their children.
Apple Tree Kindergarten
Peggy has been in a Waldorf Early Childhood classroom since 2003. Having initially been drawn to the beauty of the Waldorf Early Childhood classroom and the artistic, soulful quality of Waldorf education, Peggy especially enjoys the laughter and joy of sharing snack time together and creating handwork with little ones. She studied fiber arts in college, earning a Master of Fine Arts, and has always believed in the gift of creating beauty for our world. Peggy has traveled extensively in West Africa, Asia and Europe. She taught preschool in South Korea and there her love of the small child was born. She and her husband Moss enjoy camping, reading, and going out to eat with their daughter, Maeve and their son, Rowan.
Lindsey received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York at Geneseo. After spending time traveling the country as an environmental educator, Mrs. Benton realized her life’s calling was to be a teacher. She was particularly attracted to Waldorf education for its artistic methods, developmentally minded curriculum, and philosophical foundations. This led her to earn her master’s degree in Waldorf education from Antioch University New England. Drawn by the vibe of central Vermont and the students she would be teaching, Mrs. Benton joined OVWS in April 2012.
Teaching has always been the career of choice for Libby. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Ed. and spent ten years directing and teaching for Lesley College in an Environmental Ed. BA and MS program. It was during this time that she first was introduced to Waldorf Education and found its holistic approach to be a match to her ideals about education. When her own children were ready to begin school, Libby and her husband Ben, chose a Waldorf school. After completing a Foundations Studies program, Libby began assisting in the Kindergarten and running a summer program for 4-8 year olds in MA. In 2000 the family settled in Vermont and in 2001 Libby became the lead Kindergarten teacher for the Montpelier Child’s Garden. The next few years were spent administering and teaching, adding a nursery program, and helping facilitate the creation of the Orchard Valley Waldorf School in 2004. In 2010, after 14 years of early childhood education, Libby began her career as a class teacher teaching 1st graders who will become OVWS’s graduating class of 2018.
From a young age, Cathie knew she wanted to be a teacher. She never strayed from this goal, remaining in her beloved Green Mountains for teacher training and the start of her career. Cathie first taught 3rd and 4th grade at the Orange Center School and then entered the Peace Corps, serving in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where she met her husband, Ken. Upon returning to the states, Cathie continued teaching public school 4th and 5th grade in Hartland and Quechee, until the birth of her first child, Hannah. Her family moved to the Adirondacks where their second child, Audrey, was born. It was through a parent/child playgroup that Cathie was introduced to Waldorf Education. She appreciated the beauty, love of nature, and the view of the whole child that are the cornerstones of Waldorf pedagogy. From here Cathie entered trainings and became a first grade teacher at Northern Lights School in Wilmington, NY. The discovery of OVWS called Cathie and her family back to Vermont in 2007 when she joined the faculty as a first grade teacher.
Stasha strives to be flexible in her thinking and life experiences. She has taught in many educational environments including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and nature-based programs. She has lived and/or worked with children and youth in Russia, Italy, England, and Mexico and many US states. She has a strong background in musical and performing arts and has been an actress, shadow puppeteer, red-nose clown, professional storyteller and (w)rites of passage facilitator. Her poems, short stories, essays, and coming-of-age memoir have been published and she has been a poet in the schools. Stasha has a BA in Russian studies, an MA in Transformative Language Arts and an elementary Waldorf teaching certificate. She is delighted to return to VT with her partner and daughter, after working for Project Harmony in Waitsfield twenty years ago.
Claudia grew up in a small Bavarian village where she enjoyed a wonderful childhood of roaming the woods. She graduated from pediatric nursing school in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1995 and was drawn to the creativity of the Waldorf philosophy when her now teenage sons were young children. She started teaching at the Waldorf School of Louisville in 2002, first as a German teacher, later also leading the Parent-Child program. Claudia completed her Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in 2007. From 2008 to 2016 Claudia successfully journeyed through grades one to eight with a vibrant class of amazing students at the Richmond Waldorf School in Virginia. Claudia is deeply committed to offering a culturally diverse curriculum and to promoting inclusiveness in the classroom. She loves to read and share stories from around the world. Knitting with heirloom yarns and drinking coffee help her maintain her equilibrium.
Waldorf Education has been at the heart and center of Linda’s life for 43 years. As a Waldorf grades and high school student, Linda attended the Sacramento Waldorf School in California and graduated 12th grade from Michael Hall Steiner School in Sussex, England. She attended Aalborg University and Aarhus University in Denmark where she received B.A. and M.A. degrees in teaching. After completing her Waldorf teacher training in Denmark she began teaching Waldorf high school in Aarhus. From 1988-1995 Linda co-founded and directed a “Camp Hill” curative community for young people with special needs on the Danish Folkhojskole model of sustainability. She grew up farming on bio-dynamic gardens and farms throughout Britain and Scandanavia. She has been a Waldorf class teacher for 20 years. Linda was a founding teacher of the Great Lakes Waldorf Teacher Training in Milwaukee, WI and of the Waldorf High School initiative in Plainfield, Vermont.
Emma Back is a professional singer, songwriter, violinist, and multi instrumentalist with a background in classical violin and voice, composition, improvisation, and world folk music. She began teaching at OVWS in the Spring of 2016 and has been an educator and coach for the past five years, teaching private music lessons and leading group programs for children and adults in Boulder, CO and San Francisco, CA. She holds a BA in music from Naropa University, is trained in the Alexander Technique, and the Estill Voice Method, and is an alumni of the Green Mountain Waldorf School.
Ms. Back’s passion is for inspiring creativity and self-expression in others. She strives to nurture children in unlocking their voice within through improvisation and by exposing them to music from a variety of cultures, languages, time periods, and geographical locations. Ms. Back is a modern-songstress with a not-so-hidden love of beat boxing and is inspired by the power of vocal harmony and the acoustic beauty of wooden instruments. Visit www.shesingsoutloud.com/musiclessons or www.emmasong.com for more.
Educational Support Teacher
Georgeanne grew up in Waterbury, VT with her parents and three sisters, and credits her grandmother for her creativity and teaching prowess. Each weekend there was always a surprise waiting, such as a sewing, knitting, crocheting, crafting, or cooking lesson, while her father worked the family farm. She loves to sew, record family history with picture and word, paint, and handwork. Georgeanne attended Trinity College and received a bachelors in Elementary Education with a minor in History. She then attended the University of Vermont, receiving her masters in Curriculum Development. She currently holds her license in elementary (K-6) and early education. She lives in Waterbury with her husband Don and her daughter Cecilia a student at UVM majoring in international business. She is honored to be a member of the OVWS community.
Kate grew up in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle, mostly following her older siblings into the woods. As the youngest child she learned early to pay attention, observe how things are done, then do. Perhaps the same can be said of Kate's introduction to teaching. At first, she assisted Sue Cheyenne, Orchard Valley's original Handwork Teacher. Later, Kate also assisted Meg Scherbatskoy with Handwork, Heinz Rathmann with Woodwork, and Jessica Rubin with Earthcrafts. After nearly ten years of assisting she began the Applied Arts Training at the Fiber Craft Studio in Chestnut Ridge, NY, finishing in March 2017.
Kate holds a BA in Archaeology from Boston University, working in the field following graduation in 1991. After traveling the lower 48 states in a small camper with Paul Betz, they settled in Central Vermont in 1995. Kate built a pottery studio and made functional stoneware while gaining vegetable farming experience on the crews of local farms. She helped Paul establish a small farm operation on an old hill farm in Woodbury. Their two children have grown up attending OV and the Montpelier Farmers Market.
Jacqueline was a class teacher from 1999 to 2013, taking a class from grade one through five and then a second class from grade one through eight. She finds great joy in working with people as well as furthering the development of Waldorf education and anthroposophy. This year, Jacqueline will be enjoying the beautiful campus of OVWS as the new movement teacher. Prior to working at OVWS, Jacqueline was a dance teacher and choreographer. Now she is grateful for the opportunity to blend many of her passions into one vigorous job: working with people, play, the outdoors and movement. Jacqueline grew up in Ottawa, Canada. In 1992 she moved to Vermont and now lives in Barre with her husband.
Magali is from Quebec City, and moved to Montpelier in 2012. She received a BA in Elementary Education in 2008 and is a certified K-6 teacher. French is her native language, having been born and raised in Quebec. Her experience teaching French was in schools where French was a 2nd, 3rd or 4th language for the students and the entire curriculum was taught in French. Magali loves working with her students at Orchard Valley Waldorf School!
Heinz lives in Braintree with his partner, Ellen, and their dog, Charlie. He is originally from Germany, but has lived the last 25-plus years in Vermont, a state that he has fallen in love with. Heinz discovered the gift of woodworking at the age of fourteen. After college and an apprenticeship in Germany, Heinz entered the Civil Service and introduced woodworking to folks needing healing therapy from drug abuse. Following his arrival in Vermont, Heinz began his work in the local Waldorf schools among others. He has taught at the Green Mountain School, Wellspring Waldorf School, Upper Valley Waldorf School, Montpelier High School and others. One of his most treasured projects is the Peace Monument next to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in downtown Montpelier. In addition to teaching, Heinz is a professional woodworker who crafts beautiful cabinetry.