Lower School Faculty
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.
Dorothea Altgelt, Class Teacher Grade 1
Dorothea joined SMWS in 1994 as a Physical Education and German Teacher. After ten years of serving as a subject teacher, she completed class teacher training at Antioch University in 2004, and became a class teacher. She was raised in Germany and received her degree as a Physical Education Teacher in Stuttgart. While teaching in a public school, she discovered Waldorf Education and was trained in Bothmer Gymnastics, Spatial Dynamics and Rhythmical Massage. Dorothea helped to bring Spatial Dynamics Training to North America, with Jaimen McMillan as the director. She has taught in Waldorf Schools in New England and Germany. She has also worked as a member of a kibbutz in Israel, and with handicapped adults in Camphill communities. Dorothea and her husband have three daughters who graduated from SMWS, and their grandson now attends SMWS. Dorothea especially enjoys the arts, gardening, and the beautiful outdoors here in the Rockies.
Dorothea Altgelt, Class Teacher Grade 1
Verita Perry, Class Teacher Grade 2
Verita Perry began her teaching career at the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork, in Carbondale, Colorado, where she took a class from 1st through 6th grade. She also taught Grade 7 at the Davis Waldorf School. She completed her Master’s of Science degree in Waldorf Education at Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, New York, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, from the University of Padua in Italy. Verita is also an alumna of Shining Mountain, and was in the first class to go all the way from first through eighth grade at our school. Her friendships from this time remain strong, and she is very happy to be teaching at the school that provided her with so much as a child. Verita is also a mother of two daughters, Melody and Eloise, who are enrolled at SMWS. Verita loves yoga, hiking, cross-country skiing, and cooking fresh, organic food.
Sandra Kirschner, Class Teacher Grade 3
Sandra was born in Colorado Springs and was raised in Southern California. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. While attending university, she met her future hus band, Corey Kirschner. Upon graduation, Sandra met Waldorf Education. She then attended the Waldorf Institute of Southern California at Highland Hall in Los Angeles for her Waldorf Teacher Training. With certificate in hand, Sandra and Corey moved to Colorado where she became the First Grade Teacher at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School in Niwot. Sandra led two classes (First through Eighth Grade) at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School and also worked for one year as an assistant at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten. In 2012, Sandra was hired as the First Grade Class Teacher at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. Sandra lives in the quiet mountain community of Jamestown with her husband, Corey, and their two cats. Sandra loves scuba diving, downhill skiing, hiking, dancing, and stargazing.
Marilyn Fox, Class Teacher Grade 4
Marilyn joined the faculty in 1992 when she took on her first class. She took that class through eighth grade, two subsequent classes through 5th grade, and is presently teaching fourth grade with her fourth class. She was trained as a Waldorf teacher at the Waldorf Institute in Detroit, Michigan. She received her Bachelors Degree from Mercy College of Detroit in conjunction with her Waldorf training in 1980. Marilyn has worked as a Waldorf teacher since 1980 in the capacity of handwork, painting, and class teaching. She has taught a variety of adult education classes related to Waldorf Education. Marilyn and her husband Stephen have two children who graduated from Shining Mountain’s high school.
Bertrand Johansen, Class Teacher Grade 5
Bertrand grew up in Los Angeles, California. He attended Santa Clara University and graduated with a degree in Religious Studies, with an emphasis in the Arts. While in college, he attended the University of Nantes, France, for one year as an exchange student. It was during this time in Austria that he first became acquainted with Waldorf Education. He has been a class teacher for 29 years now. During that time he took three classes all the way through to eighth grade, including classes at Highland Hall School in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Waldorf School in San Francisco and right here at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. He has five children and four grandchildren.
Theresa Baker, Lower Grades Handwork Teacher
Theresa is a native of Boulder who attended CU as a classical antiquities major. She began teaching handwork to grades 1-8 in September of 1988. Theresa and her husband, David Chappelle, have three children: Micah, Amalindé, and Beau; all three are SMWS alumni. A long-standing member of the College of Teachers, Theresa will serve this year on the Governance Council, Finance Committee, Personnel Committee and the Campus Planning Task Force.
Joshua Berman, Spanish Teacher Grades 1-8
After graduating from Brown University with a BA in Environmental Studies and eight years of French language studies under his belt, Joshua became fluent in Spanish as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua from 1998–2000, where he worked with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education and was first given the name, “don Josué.” Joshua has completed numerous World Language teacher conferences at Rudolf Steiner College; this is his 6th year at SMWS. Joshua has also worked as a bilingual Outward Bound instructor and is an accomplished travel writer, with a column in the Denver Post and four travel books under his name. His wife, Sutay, a Registered Nurse and doula, teaches prenatal yoga and childbirth classes at Boulder Community Hospital. They have three daughters: Shanti in 1st grade, Zenlana in kindergarten, and baby Sky.
Eliza Bethany, 3rd Grade Assistant
Finding a happy niche assisting Sandra Kirschner with her wonderful third graders, Eliza brings a passion for learning, the arts and the outdoors. While she first learned of Waldorf education many years ago and was a founding board member with the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School in CT, she only recently went to Antioch to get her Waldorf teacher certification. Early on she was an instructor with NOLS and later graduated with a BFA from NMSU. She co-owned an archival picture framing studio and gallery and has also been a pre-press graphic designer. She currently works some of her off hours at Barnes and Noble in Fort Collins, where she has lived for the past ten years. Her children have grown and both are also involved in Waldorf education.
Suzanne Frankovsky, Grade 1 Assistant
Working in the front office last year showed Suzanne that Shining Mountain Waldorf School is where she belongs. Suzanne brings with her seven years of substitute teaching experience and multiple school volunteer projects. She has a BA from Hobart William Smith Colleges. Suzanne has lived in Boulder for twenty years and is a proud mother of two boys in high school who are both avid soccer players. Suzanne’s interests are biking with her husband, hot yoga and walking her two big labs. She is elated to be joining SMWS as the first grade assistant.
Christina Geck, Eurythmy Teacher
Cristina was born and raised in New York City until her family returned to Germany when she turned nine. There, at the age of twenty, she became deeply involved with a Camphill community. She lived and trained at this highly idealistic, Anthroposophical based school and biodynamic farm, working with ‘Children in Need of Special Care’ for six years. Here, Cristina also discovered her love of eurythmy. It was fascinating to her that this art form allowed her to express the gestures of speech, nature and cosmos through movement. Cristina went on to study the artistic, pedagogical and therapeutic aspects of eurythmy. She holds a BA in Eurythmy. In the summer of 2000, Cristina was ready for new challenges. She came to Colorado to teach eurythmy at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School and Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten. Together with her partner Russell Michael , she lives in South Boulder where they enjoy growing and processing the fruits from their garden. She loves to hike, dance, cross-country ski and work with fiber arts.
Carol Hanlein, Educational Support Director Grades K-8
Carole Hanlein has been involved with Waldorf Education since the late 70’s both as teacher and parent. She has spent the past ten years living in Rural Wisconsin, teaching in many capacities, especially Eurythmy and Extra Lesson at TRWS in La Crosse and at PRWS in Viroqua, and parenting three sons. She began her foray into Steiner Education at Emerson College in the mid 1970’s, studying Anthroposophy and Steiner Education, later followed by Eurythmy Training which she completed at Ringwood/ Botton School of Eurythmy. After Emerson she was founding teacher at Gainesville Waldorf School where she taught Kindergarten, First Grade and mentored Kindergarten teachers. Her husband’s work in Community Forestry and Conservation took them to Nepal and Pakistan where their three sons were born. After raising children and homeschooling three sons in remote corners of the world she furthered her studies and received a MS in Waldorf Remedial Ed and has been working with Extra Lesson through a private practice since 2006. Her husband, Mark, continues his work as a development consultant, her youngest son will be a senior at SMWS and sons Gabriel and Gaelan are students in Madison, WI.
Debra Holland, Violin Teacher Grades 3-8
Debbie has been teaching at Shining Mountain for nine years. She also teaches privately, as well as playing in the CO Ballet Orchestra, the Boulder Philharmonic, and CO Symphony. She went to school in Tucson, with graduate work at USC and in Vienna. She played in the Tucson and Phoenix Symphonies, as well as Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Orchestra. While in Pittsburgh, Debra taught at the Westmoreland Suzuki School as well. She has two daughters and one stepson in college, and one stepson working and living in Boulder. Gardening, camping and reading are passions.
Robin Mathews, 2nd Grade Assistant
Robin grew up in Washington State, Italy, Greece and Spain. In Seattle she met and married her college sweetheart, Lawrence Mathews. They lived in Stockholm, Sweden, San Diego, California, and then Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they discovered Waldorf education. Their children, Chloe and Dylan, attended the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, K – 12, and Robin and Lawrence became teachers there as well. Robin taught early childhood and founded a preschool, based on Waldorf Education and the Forest Kindergarten movement. She also taught 7th and 8th grade handwork, and parent child classes.
Robin holds a BA in anthropology and MA in sociology, from the University of Washington, Seattle. She is certified in Waldorf remedial education through the Association for a Healing Education, and attended classes in Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Teacher Development Association/Waldorf Institute of Southeast Michigan.
For the last 2 years Robin has delighted in assisting Ms. Perry and her lively class of students here at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. In her free time she loves to go hiking and spend time with dairy cows!
Glenda Monasch, Eurythmy Teacher
Glenda teaches eurythmy in the high school, public eurythmy classes for wider community, and provides therapeutic eurythmy for the children and families of SMWS. She grew up in South Africa surrounded by the song and rhythmic dances of the cultures around her, and sought this playful sounding life first professionally as a kindergarten teacher and then as an eurythmist. She is a graduate of the Teacher Training College of Witswatersrand University SA, Emerson College UK, the Goetheanum in Switzerland, and the Therapeutic Eurythmy Training UK. She has extensive performance experience, and is a trainer of eurythmists. Glenda taught eurythmy in the Seattle Waldorf School before moving to CO where she now lives with her husband David-Michael and their son Mio in Gunbarrel. She is the resident therapeutic eurythmist in the graduate anthroposophic medical training in the US and sees patients in her private practice.
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, German Teacher Grades 1-4
Angie inherited her love of the German language and culture from her mother, a native German. Throughout her childhood, Angie spent many summers and holidays with her family in Germany playing in her grandparents’ backyard under the cherry trees, hiking in the hills near the Rhine River, picking berries, and exploring old castles and Roman ruins. Angie is excited to share her love of German through singing and storytelling with her young students in the lower school at Shining Mountain. She brings over 15 years of teaching experience in German and English 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.
Craig Rubens, Games/PE Teacher, MS Outdoor Education, Circus Troupe Co-Director
Craig wears multiple hats at Shining Mountain. Besides varied teaching responsibilities, he coordinates the Pentathlon, Medieval Games, Michaelmas Games and Field Day. He is a graduate of the Spatial Dynamics Institute and has taught for 25 years in CO and northern CA both as a class teacher and movement specialist. Born in OH, he moved to Boulder to attend CU, and completed his BA at Prescott College in AZ. He has spent many summers leading 4-season backcountry expeditions and class trips into the canyons, rivers, and mountains of the Southwest and the Sierras. Hobbies include hiking, kayaking and gardening.
Ryan Sargent, Band Teacher
Ryan joined SMWS in 2013 and teaches wind instruments to both Lower School and High School students in addition to directing the various bands at Shining Mountain. He has lived in Colorado since 2007 after growing up in the Pacific Northwest and Texas, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Musicology at CU-Boulder. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance and Philosophy from Baylor University. Ryan also teaches courses in popular music and music history at CU, and performs regularly in the Boulder area with the funk band Honeycomb. Ryan is incredibly passionate about the ways that music and culture intersect in everyday life and tries to pass that on to students every day in his teaching.
Ben Seidman, Chorus Teacher Ben Seidman was born and raised in Philadelphia. He studied theater at the Tisch School of the Arts, and lived in New York for seven years working in music and theater. Recently, Ben completed a masters program in teaching music at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is very joyful to join the Shining Mountain Community where his philosophies on life and education fit in beautifully!
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.
Nancy White-Schram, Educational Support Teacher / Middle School Practical Arts Teacher Nancy is currently working for SMWS as a part time Educational Support teacher in the Lower School, a practical arts teacher for the Middle School, and a tutor after school. Over the past ten years she has also substituted in SMWS 1st – 12th grades, taught blocks in the Lower School, and taught High School Practical Arts. Nancy received a BS in secondary education from Miami University in Oxford Ohio, a MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy from the Naropa Institute, has a nearly completed MA in Experiential Ed. from CU, and extensive training in special education and learning differences. She spends her mornings working with special needs students at The Hillside School in Boulder. Nancy and her husband, Bob, have three daughters in high school who have attended SMWS since kindergarten. She is passionate about Waldorf Education. Her interests include creating with her hands, swimming, hiking, reading, traveling, and studying both anthroposophy and neuroscience.
Bethany Yarolin, Aftercare Assistant Bethany has a B.A. from John Carroll University, with additional training in literature and math enrichment across all age groups. She taught for 6 years in 1st grade and kindergarten in diverse settings across the country with a plethora of students. Bethany has spent the last couple of years pursuing her own love for learning in areas that intellectually excite her, in order to further her knowledge in the areas of neuroscience and its relationship to how the body works to move and learn. She is any avid rock climber, and loves Colorado and everything it has to offer.