What is it like to be a Waldorf teacher?
Little Lambs – Birth to Age 3
Little Lambs Director and Lead Teacher
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.