Early Childhood Teachers and Assistants

The Faculty of SMWS serves the school in many ways and is dedicated to bringing the children a living experience of Waldorf education. The faculty meets every Thursday after school as sections (Kindergarten, Lower School, and High School) and then together for common study, broadening their understanding of current educational challenges and practices, and for developing a greater perception of children and their needs.

Shining Mountain faculty members are also active in the administrative and committee life of the school. Faculty committees and pedagogical sections of the Governance Council meet weekly and include: Athletics, Early Childhood, Lower School, Middle School, High School and Subject class sections, Educational Support Circle, Social Health Group, Community Relations, Festivals, Parent Enrichment, Hiring, Personnel, and Teacher Support.

MBFiferMary Beth Fifer, Large Childhood Program Director, Fairy Blossom Parent/Child, Rainbow Garden, Aftercare and Camps, Ombudsperson
Mary Beth has been teaching in one capacity or another since 1982 and feels very blessed to have found her calling in life. She was born in Queens, NY, and spent most of her life on the South Shore of Long Island. Mary Beth graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with a BA in Early Childhood Education and has her Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from Sunbridge College. She met her husband Walter in high school. They have three wonderful children, a daughter-in-law and twin grandsons and two granddaughters. Jason, Amy, Colin, Aidan, Sloan and Taylor live in Pennsylvania. Ali graduated from SMWS in 2004 and Zachary in 2010 and both live in Boulder. Mary Beth loves all sorts of handwork and has a small Waldorf toy business, Beth’s Babies and Things. You can find Mary Beth in the kindergarten yard or in the Fairy Blossom room.

Cherie Flandrick, Red Rose Kindergarten Teacher Cherie grew up in Minneapolis, MN in a big family. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish in 1983, and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology in 1988. She worked as a Psychologist for many years. Cherie then worked as an assistant in kindergartens in MN and CA while she attended the Early Childhood program at Rudolph Steiner College in CA, and completed her training in 2003 She has taught Kindergarten at Waldorf schools in CA, Ireland and here in Boulder. She has 3 daughters, Sabina, Ariana, and Marina. Cherie dreams of having a small piece of land with an apple orchard, vegetable garden, chickens and an old house.

kimmcneilKimberly McNeil, Lark Song Kindergarten Teacher  Kim was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado, and a K-8 Teaching Certificate from Metropolitan State College of Denver. In Ohio she taught special education, and later earned a Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Bowling Green State University. While living in New Hampshire she taught fifth grade for seven years. It was Kim’s children who led her to Waldorf Education. As they entered preschool she was inspired to pursue certification in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Kim has enjoyed subbing in the Kindergarten classrooms, volunteering in the school bookstore, and being an assistant teacher in the Lark Song Kindergarten. Aside from being part of the lower school at Shining Mountain, she loves gardening, baking, crafting, and spending time with her family, dog, cats, chickens, and bees.

christine-summerfieldChristine Summerfield, White Dove Kindergarten Teacher
Christine Summerfield grew up in a large family in a French Canadian village in Ontario. As a child, she loved singing, crafting and spending time in nature. She studied Comparative Religions and Art History at the University of windsor, where she met her husband, Don. They started their family in Vancouver, BC, where their two daughters were born. There, Christine discovered the Dances of Universal Peace and Waldorf education and completed her Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy at the Vancouver Waldorf School. As a young mother, she taught urban farming and composting classes at City Farmer and worked as a freelance garden writer. Upon moving to Boulder in 2000, she became active in the local Waldorf community, assisting in the kindergarten at Shining Mountain for 4 years before completing her Waldorf teacher training at the Rudolf Steiner college. She went on to teach at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten and Shepherd Valley, where she also discovered a love for working with parents. For four years, she worked with many families, leading Simplicity Parenting circles, teaching felting classes with moms and working as a professional residential organizer. She has been an active parent volunteer in Waldorf schools for over twenty years and she has been a host parent to out of state teenagers for eight years. Since 2011, she has been a co-presenter at monthly Rosa Mira circles, (Rose of Peace), seeking to awaken in children and adults an understanding and respect for all faith traditions through story, dance and song. She is delighted to be returning to the kingdom of early childhood at Shining Mountain working in service to families. Her personal interests include spiritual study, gardening, singing, writing, felting and spending time with family and friends.


cristinageckChristina Geck, Eurythmy Teacher   Cristina was born and raised in New York City until her family returned to Germany when she turned nine.  At the age of twenty, she became deeply involved with the Camphill community of Brachenreuthe, Germany. She lived and trained at this Anthroposophical-based school and biodynamic farm, working with children in need of special care for six years. There, Cristina also discovered her love of eurythmy.  Cristina studied therapeutic eurythmy for children with special needs with Ms. Susanne Mueller-Wiedemann and did her eurythmy training from 1989 to 1992 with the Eurythmieinitiative Stuttgart, directed by Ms. Helga Mattke.   

In the summer of 2000, Cristina came to Colorado to teach eurythmy at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School and Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten. She has held a BA in Eurythmy since 2013 and is currently in her second year of teaching at Shining Mountain Waldorf School .  Cristina has been part of Sound Circle Eurythmy Ensemble and has been teaching in the pedagogical training of Eurythmy Spring Valley in Chestnut Ridge, New York.    

Joe Koller, Red Rose Kindergarten Assistant Joe Koller has been involved with Waldorf pre-schools and kindergartens for fourteen years—first as a parent, and later as an assistant.  “Papa Joe” has been an assistant to his wife Cherie Flandrick in the Shining Mountain kindergarten since 2008.  He has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and became a Colorado certified Early Childhood Teacher in 2011.  He also has numerous years of restaurant and baking experience and especially enjoys sharing his cooking and baking skills with the children.

Rachel Manning, White Dove Kindergarten Assistant  Rachel was born in California and remembers many trips to the ocean and sandy beaches. Also as a child, she fondly remembers yearly family trips to Yosemite National Park for recreation, hiking and camping, star gazing and singing songs outside by the camp fire. Rachel enjoyed babysitting her younger sisters and the neighborhood children as a teenager. She decided to take a gap year and explore the world a bit after High School. She was working full time and moved away from home at age 18.  She started back at her local community college and studied art, sign language and anthropology. She transferred to California State University, Northridge and thought she wanted to major in elementary school age children and then studied more and realized her passion was for the early childhood age.  She graduated at CSU, Northridge in 1996 with a BA in Child Development. Working in many different preschool settings, she still did not find the exact philosophy that could serve children in a way that would nurture the whole child. After her first daughter was born, Waldorf education was introduced to her when she saw a brochure from the Waldorf School of Orange County. When deepening her education philosophy’s and values for her family, Waldorf education was the source to what made the most sense.  Waldorf education looks at the child in a developmental appropriate pedagogy that is holistic and nurturing. This was the missing piece to her destiny and life goals and inspirations that she was yearning to find. It was a moment of joy and happiness that has never stopped. Rachel and her first daughter along with her newborn second daughter joined a Parent-Child Waldorf class in Long Beach, California and since then she has always been involved with Waldorf education. Rachel was fortunate enough to stay home with her two young daughters and make a Waldorf inspired home for them.  In 2007 her family moved to Colorado. Her oldest daughter started at Boulder Valley Waldorf School and then transferred to Shining Mountain Waldorf School in the grades and her younger daughter started at Shining Mountain in the Kindergarten, where they still are and thriving. Rachel has been working at Shining Mountain Waldorf School since the spring of 2012 in the Early Childhood classrooms. She feels blessed and privileged each and every day to be serving the children at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. Rachel received her Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College, Sacramento in 2015. Rachel loves being out in nature and finds beauty and delight with each season the year brings. Her favorite past times are hiking, gardening, baking and spending time with her family and friends.

dana copyDana Larson Sher, Lead Rainbow Garden and Aftercare Teacher
Dana grew up in Williamsville, NY, a small town outside of Buffalo.  She worked at the U.N. for several years, giving tours in English, Swedish and Spanish.  During that time she received a Masters degree in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.  After teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages for several years, she worked for a number of non-profits before heading to nursing school after having children.  She graduated from Columbia University School of Nursing in 1998 and worked as an R.N.; for 10 years in Med/Surg, Labor & Delivery, Post-Partum, as a school nurse, and in Hospice and Long-Term Care.  In 2007 she became Mrs. Fifer’s assistant in Rainbow Garden, while still working part-time as a nurse.  She worked as an assistant with Miss Cherie in Red Rose Kindergarten for two years and with Mrs. Feigal in White Dove Kindergarten for five years.  After graduating from Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College in July of 2015 she became the lead Angel Garden teacher at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten, where she worked until beginning this position at Shining Mountain Waldorf School.  She is the mother of two Shining Mountain graduates, Ariel (2010) and Eli (2014) and is so happy to be back at SMWS.

Zoe Solomon, Early Childhood and Aftercare Assistant
Zoë was born and raised in Los Angeles, but moved to Colorado in 2009 to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Zoë graduated with a Major in Sociology and a Minor in Environmental Issues. After graduating, Zoe could not leave this great state and decided to move to the mountains of Aspen. There, she taught adaptive skiing to children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities, as well as ski school for children ages 3 to 6. After moving to Boulder, Zoë applied for her position at Shining Mountain, knowing that she enjoyed working with children and had a passion for learning and education. She feels so fortunate to have found this wonderful community of people and this past summer was able to become certified as as an Early Childhood Teacher. In her free time,  Zoë enjoys playing in the mountains, on skis and by foot, and enjoys knitting items to keep her warm while doing so!