Michelle Gullage

Michelle Gullage

Michelle Gullage

Farm & Forest Kindergarten

Michelle worked in Adventure Education and Wilderness Therapy for twelve years before stumbling upon Waldorf Education while looking for a school for her oldest child.

Now with over a decade of experience serving as an Assistant and Lead Teacher in Waldorf Kindergarten, Michelle is so happy to have found OVWS—a place where her love of the outdoors and Waldorf Education meet. She looks forward to the many years of adventures with her students, all the while assisting them in finding the goodness in themselves and in the world around them.

In her spare time, Michelle loves to drink coffee, listen to bluegrass, and disappear into the forest on bike and foot. She has two children, who attend OVWS, a husband and an entire menagerie of animals who live on a mountaintop just a few miles from school.


Joe Astick

Joe Astick

Joe Astick

Chair [email Joe]

I believe that schools play one of the most important roles in our society. Strong schools strengthen our communities and our humanity.  As director of an alternative high school, I am passionate about building strong, small learning communities in Central Vermont. My wife and I choose to send our two children, ages 7 and 10, to OVWS because it reflects our personal values, in acknowledging a child’s spirit and personal growth, and supporting the whole child. I hope to give back to OVWS through my professional experience in legal, financial, policy, and strategic planning decisions that impact small schools in rural Vermont.

Madelief Becherer

Madelief Becherer

Madelief Becherer

Vice Chair [email Madelief]

As a Waldorf school graduate, bringing my oldest daughter Mia to OVWS as a Kindergartener felt like coming home. Mia graduated from OVWS in 2017 and is now at Lake Champlain Waldorf High School. I am also Mama to Rose (6th grader) and Dasha (Kindergartener). My husband, Marcus, and I live with these three girls in Cabot. I have worn many hats at OVWS, the most recent being Chair of the ATA (Accessible to All) Committee. I am very passionate about Waldorf Education being financially accessible to all . This was a founding principle when Waldorf education was started in 1919, it was a philosophy adopted by the families that founded OVWS, and it continues to serve our school community today. I am excited to bring my work with the ATA Committee to the Board, ensuring open channels of communication and working together to maintain and grow a strong, vibrant and diverse Waldorf school in Central Vermont.

Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle

Treasurer [email Brian]

My wife and I moved to Montpelier in 2015 with our three young children who are now 8, 4, and 2 years old. I am an eye surgeon in private practice in Montpelier.  Prior to our move, we lived in Hanover, NH and Philadelphia most recently. Our children attended the Upper Valley Waldorf School and the Philadelphia Waldorf School, and in our search for a place to settle down, finding a town in close proximity to a Waldorf School was a top priority. The Waldorf educational philosophy resonates with us both, and we have seen our kids thrive in this educational system. In joining the Board, I hope to help the school to grow, thrive, and continue to offer such an amazing education to our children.  

Rhonda Prensky

Rhonda Prensky

Rhonda Prensky

Secretary (email Rhonda)

When my son was about 18 months old, I saw a handmade sign inviting parents of young ones to a play group where children could bake bread, engage with handmade playthings, shape beeswax, and play with natural toys in a gentle play space. That was the beginning of our Waldorf experience, which eventually evolved into the creation of a Waldorf-inspired Early Education program in New York. A move to Vermont, motivated almost entirely by an education at Orchard Valley Waldorf School for my son and daughter, brought us to Central Vermont almost six years ago. My partner, Ken, and I live in Montpelier and proudly send our three children to Orchard Valley Waldorf School where they get to experience an education that nurtures their heads, hands and hearts. I can see the value of this education for our children at each developmental stage and I am grateful to have the opportunity to educate my children in this very thoughtful way.  

Erica Hare

Erica Hare

Erica Hare

Erica Hare lives with her wife and two grade-school children in Berlin, VT where they keep horses, chickens, and two unruly dogs. She joins the board after serving in several capacities through the 8 years her family has been connected to Orchard Valley, including service on the finance committee, development committee, and parent council. Erica works as the Chief Financial Officer at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and enjoys cooking, singing, and gardening in her spare time. She is endlessly grateful to the dedicated teachers at Orchard Valley and keeps their work at the forefront of her mind in her board work.

Andy Hatch

Andy Hatch

Andy Hatch

As the father of six, I have experienced several different school situations for my children: the public school system, home schooling, private boarding school, and Waldorf education. Three of my oldest sons attended the Green Mountain Waldorf School, and my two youngest children currently are enrolled in OVWS. The philosophy behind Waldorf education creates the environment in which my children thrive, and meshes with my own Anthroposophical beliefs. As residents of Heartbeet Lifesharing, a Camphill community, my wife Sara and I feel that supporting OVWS and serving on the board is essential to strengthening the ties between these sister communities, as well as growing and maintaining this local developmentally based Waldorf opportunity for years to come.   

Kathy Clark

Kathy Clark

Kathy Clark

It is with incredibly heavy hearts that we share the loss of a dear friend and longtime supporter of our school and community. Kathy Clark passed on Friday, March 29 at home, surrounded by her family, ending a ten-month struggle with cancer. We will miss Kathy's deep warmth of soul, enduring strength of spirit, and her truly human capacity to touch us all

Kathy came to Orchard Valley in July 2004 by way of her daughter, Mary Kathryn (OVWS class of 2008). Kathy served in many official roles at our school, including part-time Office Secretary, Office Manager, Administrative Coordinator, and in the last few years, Director of Operations. These job titles do no service to recount all the volunteer time Kathy gave, the many events she spearheaded, love she provided to the children, support she offered to parents, and continuity she brought to several administrative and faculty transitions.

Kathy’s love for Orchard Valley is evident in every nook and cranny of our school in that she is one of the cornerstones that helped support, and therefore, grow our school. Her dedication and service to this community helped to bring Orchard Valley to where it is today. Her deep commitment to our community and to Waldorf education, coupled with an optimistic enthusiasm and warm smile, will be missed by all at our school. Our gratitude to Kathy for all she did for OVWS cannot be adequately expressed through words. Our hearts emanate this gratitude for her hard work and dedication to Orchard Valley and will continue to do so as long as children are thriving in the classrooms and on the land of our campuses.

Johanna Polsenberg

Johanna Polsenberg

Johanna Polsenberg

My family’s decision to move from Washington, D.C. to Vermont was significantly influenced by OVWS. Our two sons started in the 3rd and 5th grades in 2017, and they already love OVWS! I have been thrilled to see the creativity, especially in writing, music and art, that has emerged from them already! The boys are half-Australian, and we all lived from 2011-13 in Gabon, Africa, so travel and global cultures have always been, and remain, very important to all of us. However, our move to Vermont was very much about living intentionally in place, and the way the OVWS community has embraced us has deeply fertilized our young roots here! I chose to be a Trustee to make a long-term commitment to this community.

Cathy Donohue

Cathy Donohue

Cathy Donohue

Communications Coordinator

Cathy and her family came to Orchard Valley in 2011 to participate in the Morning Garden program. Her son is now enrolled in the grades and Cathy has been working for the school since 2012. Cathy’s work has evolved to include print and online pieces as well as marketing for a growing number of OVWS programs and events. Cathy has a B.S. in Magazine Journalism from Syracuse University and an M.S. in Environmental Communications from Antioch. She has worked as a marketing communications manager, magazine editor, and environmental educator, and maintains a freelance writing and editing business. Cathy is excited to be part of the OVWS administrative team in this dynamic point in the school’s history. Gardening, swimming, traveling with her family, and reading and playing with her boy fill her up.

Anna Rankin

Anna Rankin

Anna Rankin

I moved to Vermont in the early 2000s with my husband Nick, eventually settling on a small farm in Central Vermont. Before taking time off to focus on raising our children, I worked as a preschool teacher and mentor to teachers in training and as a special educator. Despite my years working in various schools, it was not until we decided to send our oldest child, now a second grader, to kindergarten at the Child’s Garden that I fully understood the power and magic of Waldorf education. The dedication, passion and fierce intellectual and heart work the teachers bring to their daily interactions with children and families is unmeasured and awe-inspiring. The children are known, challenged and supported; it is these deep relationships with teachers that are at the heart of teaching and learning. For me, joining the board is one way to give back to this wonderful community and to help work toward a healthy, vibrant and sustainable future at Orchard Valley.

Lindsey Benton

Lindsey Benton

Lindsey Benton

Faculty, Grades

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.

Libby Case

Libby Case

Libby Case

Faculty, Grades

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 became OVWS’s graduating class of 2018.

Cathie Ely

Cathie Ely

Cathie Ely

Director of Enrollment and Outreach

Cathie joined the administrative team in 2017 after being a class teacher in the grades building for ten years. She also brings eleven years of experience teaching in Vermont’s public schools to her role as the Enrollment and Outreach Director. In this position, Cathie is passionate about helping families discover and experience the wonder and beauty of Waldorf education. She lives in Barre Town with her husband, Ken, and two daughters, Hannah and Audrey. Both graduated from Orchard Valley and continued their education at Lake Champlain Waldorf High School in Shelburne. With her family and friends, Cathie finds peace and joy paddling in the quiet Adirondack and Vermont waterways as well as hiking and biking in the Green Mountains. 

Georgeanne Baker

Georgeanne Baker

Georgeanne Baker

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.
 

Dana Cudney

Dana Cudney

Dana Cudney

Faculty, Grades

After initially pursuing music and creative writing in college, Dana completed a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and worked for ten years in the computer field. She was inspired to become a teacher by her mother and grandmother, both educators who began teaching in mid-life. While her children were young, she completed a Master’s in Education at Virginia Tech and taught a variety of subjects in public and private schools. Her children led her to Waldorf education which tied together many threads in her life, personally and professionally, and she completed the Waldorf teacher training at Antioch NE in 2005. She has been teaching in Waldorf schools since 2002, including teaching in kindergarten at Upper Valley Waldorf School, teaching combined grades classes at Wellspring Waldorf School, and most recently, taking a class from first through fourth grade at Lake Champlain Waldorf School. Dana has lived in Vermont for 18 years and has two children, both now in their twenties. She enjoys contra dancing, biking, and hiking. At home she enjoys campfires in the backyard, sing a-longs, gardening and cooking.

Elisa Otter

Elisa Otter

Elisa Otter

Faculty, Grades

Elisa has come full circle in her Waldorf education story. Born in Germany, she moved to Montpelier, Vermont at the age of three. Her parents helped start the Child’s Garden for her and her twin sister to attend. Elisa continued her elementary years at the Green Mountain Waldorf School in Wolcott. After graduating from Warren Wilson College with a BS in Environmental Sciences, Elisa raced mountain bikes professionally throughout the US for several years. She also traveled extensively and now brings her international experience and perspective to her everyday life and her teaching. After coming home to Vermont and coordinating the afterschool program at Northfield Elementary School, Elisa knew she was meant to return to the Waldorf education. In 2017, she received a Masters in Education with Waldorf and State teaching certificates from Antioch University of NE. She taught in the Aftercare in the Grace Farm Kindergarten and is now looking forward to her journey as a grades teacher in her home community of Central Vermont.


Claudia Reinh​ardt

Claudia Reinh​ardt

Claudia Reinhardt

Faculty, Grades

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.

 

Kate Camilletti

Kate Camilletti

Kate Camilletti

Handwork Teacher and Lower Grades Woodworking Teacher

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.

Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis

On the Land Teacher

Kelly grew up in Pomfret, Vermont and earned a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Vermont. She has spent time living and working with children, growing food, and exploring wild places in Washington, Patagonia, the Virgin Islands and across the Northeast. She has a passion for the fusion between agriculture and wilderness and in the connection between humans and their environment. Kelly is excited to dig in to her role at Orchard Valley through immersing students in their surroundings with creativity, games, exploration, nurture, and wonder. When not teaching, Kelly can be found traveling the landscape on skis, bike, canoe, or foot, working in the garden, or knitting.