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, and Morning Garden Teacher
Marianne earned her BA in Theater and English from Holy Cross College, then earned a JD and a Masters in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. She served as an Agriculture Volunteer in the US Peace Corps in Paraguay, then returned to Vermont to serve as a VISTA volunteer. She also worked as an attorney for the Vermont Juvenile Defender. Childbirth and motherhood stirred her inspiration toward the craft of caring more consciously for people and for the natural world and brought her to Waldorf Education. For 12 years, while her three children attended OVWS, Marianne developed her own practice as a certified Childbirth Mentor, Doula and Simplicity Parenting Coach. Marianne completed Certification as a Waldorf High School Teacher from the Center for Anthroposophy in 2015. She was a member of the faculty of the Initiative; a Vermont Waldorf High School, for four years.
Grace Farm – Early Childhood
Farm & Forest Kindergarten
Michelle worked in Outdoor and Wilderness education for more than 10 years, and stumbled upon Waldorf Education in 2008 while searching for a Preschool for her first-born. After becoming a parent volunteer with the Waldorf-inspired Kindergarten Cooperative in Asheville NC, she quickly realized that this was how she had always hoped to teach. She began to study, participate in workshops, and became a member of the initiative that led to the opening of a school, now over a decade old.
Michelle dreamed of finding a school where her love of Waldorf Education and the outdoors would meet. She is so happy to have found it at OVWS, and looks forward to many years of sharing and creating experiences that assist children in finding the goodness in themselves and the world around them.
In her spare time, Michelle loves to read, drink coffee, listen to bluegrass, and disappear into the woods on bike or foot. She has two children at Orchard Valley, a hard-working husband, and a whole team of dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits and horses!
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.
Grace Farm – 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.
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.
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.
Svenja was born in Germany to a New Zealand Mother and a German Father. She spent most of her childhood in New Zealand making tree houses in the bush, sandcastles on the beach and cookies in the kitchen, and attending a variety of schools including a Waldorf School. In 2012, she graduated from university in Wellington, New Zealand with a Bachelor of Arts in German and History and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. After teaching in a New Zealand public school for three years, she was drawn to the artistic, caring, healing education she experienced as a child and undertook a year-long training to become a Waldorf teacher at Taruna Essential College in 2014. Svenja then spent time traveling around New Zealand volunteering on organic farms. It was during this time that she met her Vermonter husband, and ventured across the globe to join him. She enjoyed her time at Orchard Valley Waldorf school in her role as a long-term substitute and later as an assistant in the kindergarten and aftercare teacher, and feels very fortunate to now be guiding an energetic and inspiring group of first graders in their grade school journey. Svenja strives to cultivate a warm, loving and empathetic classroom in which students are both challenged and nurtured. Svenja lives in Greensboro with her husband, young dog, and elderly cat. She loves walking, swimming, baking, sewing, and generally making things beautiful.
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.
Grace Farm – Subject
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.
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.
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!
Strings and Middle School Choir Teacher
Katie Trautz (www.katietrautz.com) is a native Vermont fiddler who has toured nationally and internationally sharing traditional music and original folk songs. Katie plays fiddle, guitar and banjo crossing genres with her numerous ensembles. She has studied with some of the greatest fiddle players in the US including Dirk Powell, Pete Sutherland, David Greely and Bruce Molsky. Katie has released a number of albums in the past seven years with her various bands (Mayfly, Wooden Dinosaur, Kick em Jenny, and more). Katie is the co-founder of the non-profit folk music school ‘Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture’ based in Montpelier, VT. Following her 8-year directorship at the Summit School, she became the Executive Director of Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, VT. Following the release of her book 'American Harmony Singing: Kid Songs' in the fall of 2016, she decided to return to teaching fiddle lessons from her home in Vermont, while raising her new baby son.