High School Faculty and Staff
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.
Paula Blum, Middle and High School German Teacher
Paula teaches German in grades 5-7, and levels I and III German in the high school.She also teaches Health and ESOL in the high school. She holds a Master of Arts in German from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The Goethe-Institut San Francisco has designated her as a teacher trainer for German in the 13 Western states. She has taught German and Health in NZ, English as a Foreign Language in Germany and ESOL in the US. She was Department Chair of Languages at Pakuranga College in Auckland and Department Chair of ESL at the Harker School in San Jose, CA. Before coming to teach at SMWS, Paula was developing ESL curriculum for Intercambio de Comunidades, a Boulder non-profit. Paula loves to read, garden, ski, dance and travel.
Emily Anne Bowman, Strings Teacher
Emily Anne Bowman enjoys working with young musicians! Ms. Bowman conducts the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra Philharmonic and teaches viola, violin and fiddle with Boulder Suzuki Strings. Ms. Bowman is thrilled to join the faculty at Shining Mountain Waldorf School! In addition to her active teaching schedule, Ms. Bowman performs frequently with Seicento Baroque Ensemble and is a regular member of the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. Ms. Bowman also performs with the Free Range String Quartet, the Eldorado String Quartet and joins folk americana group The Bowmans whenever she can. Ms. Bowman received her formal classical training from the New World School of the Arts and the University of Colorado College of Music. Ms. Bowman graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Viola Performance and was the recipient of the Gabor Ormai Viola Award. In addition to making music Ms. Bowman delights in eating and spending time outdoors.
Joan teaches art and architecture classes at Shining Mountain Waldorf high school. In addition she is the 12th grade class coordinator, which involves coordinating the the events for senior year. She grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio and has lived in Colorado for 25 years. Joan has a B.S. from Miami University in Housing and Interior Design and a five year Bachelor of Architecture Degree from Kent State University. In 1985, she studied architecture in Florence, Italy under ‘Super Studio Architects’. Joan has practiced and studied architecture in various forms during the past 25 years. She has taught at SMWS in the middle school and/or high school since 2004. She completed her Waldorf Training in Art/Art History at the Center for Anthroposophy in NH, in 2013.
Cobus DuToit, Chorus Teacher
Singer/Flutist/Pianist Cobus du Toit is a South African native who moved to Colorado in 2007. He recently graduated from the University of Colorado with a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance and Pedagogy. Cobus enjoys the variety that exists between different genres and disciplines of music and inspires students through his varied musical experiences. These include touring Japan as a pop-star and performing in the Tsar’s Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Cobus lives in Lafayette with his wife, three-year old son and two very spoiled dogs. They’re expecting their second baby boy in December of 2015. Cobus’ son Logan will be joining our kindergarten this year as well!
Bridget Gallagher, High School Receptionist and Administrative Assistant
Bridget Gallagher is our High School Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. She (wo)mans our front desk and constantly interfaces with students, parents and faculty striving daily to create joyful harmony and order in our high school’s daily rhythm. Born and raised in central New York state, Bridget earned a B.A. in English Writing Arts from SUNY Oswego. Her passions are art, literature, and theatre. She and her husband, Stephen Smith, have two stunning Shining Mountain graduates, Rory (Class of 2004) and Patrick (Class of 2010). Rory graduated from Metro State University of Denver in May 2012 with a BFA in Printmaking and Patrick is majoring in Music Business at NYU.
Christina 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.
Leslie Hamdorf , High School Coordinator
Leslie is an experienced High School administrator, teacher and leader who was the Director of an Upper School at an independent high school of 120 students on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Leslie had her teacher training while attending the University of Colorado as an undergraduate and then joined AmeriCorps to serve at the Boys and Girls Club. She is excited to join the Shining Mountain Waldorf School Mountain Waldorf School community. Additionally, Leslie’s husband and one year old son have moved to Boulder to enjoy the hiking, biking and other outdoor activities. Working with adolescents is a passion of Leslie’s as she strives to help them navigate their challenges and create the space they need to explore and refine their best self.
Nick Hilliard, High School Math Teacher
Nick Hilliard grew up roaming the rolling hills and oak-hickory forests just west of St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were, and still are, deeply involved in education and they planted the seed that grew the same passion in him. Nick graduated from the University of Missouri – St. Louis in 2004, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He began teaching the next fall at an urban public high school in St. Louis, and has been in the classroom ever since. As a science teacher, Nick was disturbed that his students often lacked the mathematics skills necessary to understand the science concepts. He began teaching mathematics and while doing so discovered a love for math that had not been present in him as a high school and college student. Nick moved to Boulder in 2006 to be closer to the activities and landscapes he loves. He is an avid skier, runner, and climber, and he tries to squeeze in a yoga class whenever he can. Nick is excited to be a part of the Shining Mountain faculty and community and is looking forward to the school year.
Daniel Hindes, High School Humanities Teacher
Daniel Hindes was a Waldorf student K-8 in New York City. After high school in Western Massachusetts he served four years in the US Army. He received a BA degree in Liberal Arts with concentrations in history and sociology from the University of the State of New York, Regents College. He then lived in Europe for two and a half years, perfecting his German and studying anthroposophy, and traveling extensively. After seven years of corporate IT work he earned a Master’s degree in Waldorf education from Sunbridge College and began his teaching career as the high school history teacher at the Waldorf school of Garden City in New York, where he taught for three years. He broadened his teaching experience as a humanities teacher at the Austin Waldorf School over four years before moving into Waldorf Administration. He worked at the Highland Hall Waldorf school on a governance restructuring project, and served as Administrator of the Pasadena Waldorf School for two years. He is very much looking forward to working with students again. Daniel is married with three children.
Stephanie Hindes, HS Educational Resource Director
Stephanie brings many years of experience teaching and supporting students in Waldorf Schools, public schools, and in private settings as well. She holds a Master of Education in Reading and a Master of Science in Special Education. Stephanie’s role will be to help our students succeed in reaching their academic goals as well as working closely with their parents and teachers to ensure that ILPs (Individual Learning Plans) are followed. Stephanie is also an Associate Educational Therapist and holds teaching credentials in California for working with students with special needs. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and hiking with her husband and three boys.
Julie Irwin, HS Spanish Teacher
Julie grew up spending lots of time outdoors in between Philadelphia and New Hampshire. She attended Skidmore College in upstate New York where she majored in Spanish literature and Latin American Studies. Living in Chile and traveling throughout South America during and after college solidified her zest for travel, different cultures, and the Spanish language. She is passionate about using a hands-on, interactive approach with her students. She most recently taught High School Spanish for four years at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque, NM. She and her husband have two young sons who she is raising bilingually. She loves hiking, playing card and board games, skiing, fixing up their old house in Lyons, and spending time with her family. Julie is thrilled to be part the Shining Mountain community!
Katie Larson, Middle and High School Counselor
Katie Larson, Shining Mountain’s High School Counselor, holds an MA in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Art Therapy. Katie was born and raised in Grand Junction and for her, the desert will always be home. She did her undergraduate work at CU Boulder in Psychology and Communication. After graduating in 2005, Katie moved to New York City, Taos, Seattle, Los Angeles, West Yellowstone, Burbank, and she is now thrilled to be back in Colorado. Katie studied Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy at the Phillips Graduate Institute in Southern California. She enjoys running, watercolor painting, star-gazing, and spending time with her awesome partner, Joe. Katie’s heroes include (but are not limited to), Georgia O’Keeffe, John Muir, Oliver Sacks, and Frida Kahlo.
Gary Lloyd, Band Director and Conductor
Mr. Lloyd has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music Education with emphasis in Band Pedagogy and is recently retired from 32 years of teaching music in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado Public schools, including 24 years in Longmont, where he worked with Beginning, Intermediate, and H.S. band students during his tenure. He has served as the Praise Team Worship Leader and guitarist/singer at Longs Peak United Methodist church for 17 years, and he is entering his 2nd season as Conductor of the Longmont Concert Band. Mr. Lloyd’s experience in teaching all band instruments including Guitar is very extensive, particularly for beginning and intermediate students. He is a Brass instrument specialist and currently plays 1st trumpet with the Boulder Concert Band. Countless students under Mr. Lloyd’s guidance have successfully auditioned and been accepted into Honor and All State band events, at both Middle and High School level.
Lawrence Matthews, High School Math and Science Teacher
Lawrence comes to Shining Mountain from Michigan, where he took two classes through 8th grade at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. He is excited to have the opportunity to work with high school students. Lawrence has a B.S. in Chemistry from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington; he worked in research labs in Stockholm and San Diego, then taught Biochemistry at the University of Michigan for six years before becoming a Waldorf teacher. He did his teacher training through the Waldorf Institute of Southeastern Michigan, and has since also taught future teachers there. As a class teacher, Lawrence enjoyed coaching middle school basketball, writing plays, and leading students on wilderness adventures. His love of nature was kindled growing up hiking the deserts and mountains of Arizona.
Matthew Messner, HS Math and Science Teacher
While working as a research computer scientist for his alma mater (Cognitive Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997), Matthew suddenly found himself called to teach. The call came by telephone. A local community college asked if he would be willing to create an object-oriented programming course for adults. He was, and their good company convinced Matthew to devote himself fully to teaching. From there his path led to summer camps, a progressive pre-school in New York, an experiential boarding school in North Carolina, a Friends school in Virginia, and a Waldorf school off the coast of Maine. Though each undertaking brought its blessings, it was through Waldorf education (Math and Physical Sciences, Center for Anthroposophy, 2009) he found what he most longed for. Beyond this, Matthew is a theatrical lighting designer, has completed a Sivananda Yoga training (Kerala, India), and is a pupil of Sound Circle Eurythmy. He joined the Shining Mountain faculty in 2012.
Thyria Ogletree, Eurythmy Teacher
Thyria joined the SMWS faculty in 1998. She received a diploma from the Boulder Eurythmy Program, directed by Helga Michaels and a Pedagogical Eurythmy Certificate sponsored through AWSNA. She is the proud parent of two adult children, Nyal and Kyra. Thyria’s other interests include: cooking, the farm to table movement, literature, and movement of all kinds including dance, volleyball and basketball.
Angie Parham, Humanities Teacher
Grateful to all of the teachers who cultivated her love of literature and appreciation for language, Angie hopes to foster that same enthusiasm for language arts in her students. She takes great pride and pleasure in guiding Shining Mountain’s future authors, scribes, translators, journalists, essayists, correspondents, dramatists, editors, and poets. Angie brings over 15 years of teaching experience in English and German to the classroom. In addition to Shining Mountain, she has taught at River Song Waldorf School, University of Colorado, Fairview High School, and Boulder High School. Angie has studied Waldorf education at the Center for Anthroposophy in New Hampshire and holds a BA in German and English, an MA in German, and an MA in Secondary English Education. She enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and playing guitar.
Kathleen Starr, Music Director Grades 3–12
Kathleen, SMWS Music Director, has taught cello and orchestra at Shining Mountain since 2001, and has also taught the high school History Through Music class since 2004. Kathleen grew up in a family of musicians and played piano and cello as a child, going on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Indiana University and the University of Massachusetts. She has played professionally in chamber groups and orchestras and has taught at schools in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Colorado. In addition to her work at SMW, Kathleen teaches privately and with the Boulder Suzuki Strings program. Her son Joseph Lessard graduated from SMWHS in 2003. A reluctant musician throughout his school years, Joe now plays fiddle and sings in three bands. Kathleen enjoys music-making, reading, hiking and attending Joe’s bluegrass shows around Colorado.
Jamie York, Middle School and High School Math Teacher
Jamie York grew up in Connecticut and Maine. After studying computer science, teaching at a boarding school, running a tennis camp, traveling, and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, he settled in Boulder in 1993, and shortly thereafter started teaching middle school and high school math at SMWS. He has been there ever since, except for a brief hiatus at a Waldorf school in Holland. Jamie is also the author of a series of books titled, Making Math Meaningful. Jamie consults at Waldorf schools, teaches math workshops across North America, and in the summer, he serves on the faculty at the Center of Anthroposophy (in Wilton, NH) as part of their Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program. In his spare time he most loves camping, skiing, and studying math, history, and philosophy. Jamie and his wife Karen have two children: Arie and Shanti.