Early Childhood Education Teachers and AssistantsMary 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 for the past 30 years 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 a granddaughter. Jason, Amy, Colin, Aidan and Sloan live in Pennsylvania. Ali graduated from SMWS in 2004 and Zachary in 2010 and 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.
Carma Feigal, White Dove Kindergarten Teacher Carma is originally from Minnesota and she has enjoyed living in Colorado since 1986. She has a BA in Vocal Music Performance and Business Administration and has completed her Waldorf Teaching Certificate for Early Childhood at the Rudolf Steiner College. In 1997 Carma helped to found the Front Range Waldorf Preschool/Kindergarten in Lakewood, CO and taught there as an assistant teacher. She also taught Kindergarten and directed the 5th through 8th grade choirs at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School. Carma and her husband, Mark, have two sons Raymond and Luke, who attend SMWS. Watching her sons play baseball games, teaching, laughing, and singing are among her favorite things to do.
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.
Lisa Gromicko, Lark Song Kindergarten Teacher Born in Texas, Lisa spent many childhood years living on a sailboat in CA and then in the mountains of WA. She received a B.S. in Physical Sciences from the Univ. of Pgh, where she met her husband Nick. Lisa has been teaching in Waldorf kindergarten/preschools for 19 years. She completed her M.S. Ed. in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College, helped to establish the Waldorf School of Pgh., and taught in the kindergarten at Kimberton Waldorf School for 7 years, before moving to Boulder in 2004. She has previously taught at Boulder Waldorf Kdg., at SMWS in the kindergarten & Rainbow Garden Program, and in the Middle School Practical Arts. She completed LifeWays training and has taught adult education classes for Waldorf and LifeWays student teachers, serving also as a mentor. Lisa holds a Colorado Level IV Teaching Credential and is currently a student of the Denver Therapeutic/Remedial training for Waldorf early childhood teachers. She loves hiking, skiing, mtn. biking, music, gardening and camping. Her two sons are alumni of SMWS.
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, Fairy Blossom and Rainbow Garden Kindergarten Assistant Rachel was born and raised in Southern California and was thrilled to move to Colorado in 2007. She received her B.A. in Child Development in 1996 and has 18 years of experience working with early childhood programs and schools. Rachel has her Early Childhood Certificate from the State of Colorado. Last year she had a small Waldorf-inspired kinderhaus in her home and is now currently an assistant in the Rainbow Garden Kindergarten. Rachel has two daughters, Isabella and Chloe attending SMWS. Rachel’s interests are Waldorf education, handwork, baking, hiking, swimming, and spending time with her family and friends.
Kimberly McNeil, Lark Song Kindergarten Assistant Kim was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado, and K-8 Teaching Certificate from Metropolitan State College of Denver. With her husband John, she moved to Ohio where she primarily taught in a special education classroom, and received a Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Bowling Green State University. Her husband’s studies then took her to New Hampshire where she taught fifth grade for seven years, and lived in a small cabin in the woods. Kim and John returned to Colorado with their one-year-old daughter Grace, and two years later welcomed a second daughter Audrey. It was Kim’s children who led her to Waldorf Education as they thrived at Star Garden Preschool in Boulder. From there Kim was inspired to pursue certification in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Kim loves being part of the lower school campus at Shining Mountain where her daughters attend, has enjoyed subbing in the Kindergarten classrooms, and volunteering in the school bookstore. She lives on a rural property in Longmont with her family, chickens, cats, bees, and biodynamic garden. Kim also loves to hike, ski, bake, craft, and dreams of having sheep and a cow.
Dana Sher, White Dove Kindergarten Assistant
Dana Sher has had the good fortune to work in the kindergarten with Mary Beth Fifer in Rainbow Garden for one fabulous year; with Cherie Flandrick in Red Rose Kindergarten for two amazing years and now, begins her fourth incredible year with Carma Feigal in White Dove Kindergarten. Before arriving at the kindergarten, Dana worked as an RN in labor & delivery, post-partum, hospice and long-term-care. Prior to that, she earned a masters in teaching from Columbia University Teachers College and taught English for Speakers of Other Languages for several years. She has been a Reiki practitioner for over 20 years, became a Reiki Master in 2005, and has had a private practice teaching Reiki and offering Reiki/Angel healing sessions since that time. Having participated in as many study groups on Rudolf Steiner’s work that the school has offered, she has begun the Waldorf Teacher Training for Early Childhood Education. Dana is the proud mother of Eli, who graduated from Shining Mountain in 2014, and Ariel, who graduated from Shining Mountain in 2010.
Lower and Middle School Class Teachers
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.
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.
Meg Gardner, Class Teacher Grade 6
Meg grew up in Oklahoma building tree houses and playing her viola. She attended Indiana University, receiving a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies. While working with high school students with disabilities, she learned about Waldorf Education, and immediately enrolled at Sunbridge College. She received her MSEd in Waldorf Education and began teaching at the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork in 2005, where she discovered her passion was teaching middle school. Meg joined the Middle School faculty at SMWS in 2013-14. Her husband Jon Ray is a biodynamic gardener, and together they are raising their sons, Solomon and Oliver. Meg loves exploring the world with her sons, cross-country skiing, hiking, painting, printmaking, cooking, sewing, and reading.
Jan Miller, Class Teacher Grade 7
Jan has a degree in Elementary Education from Boston University as well as her Waldorf Teacher’s Certificate from Sunbridge College. She has 12 years experience as a class teacher in Waldorf Schools. Jan’s journey into Waldorf Education began over 25 years ago at the Cincinnati Waldorf School. Her daughter Liz Linsley went through Waldorf schools, graduated from CU, and is currently a teacher at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten.
Michael Janzen, Class Teacher Grade 8, MS Boys Basketball Coach
Michael attended Antioch New England Graduate School for Waldorf Education in 2003. After a successful program, he and his daughter, Zailen, traveled from the lush Northeast to the rugged Southwest to start his teaching career. He taught grades 4-8 and grade 1 in Taos, NM before moving to the SMWS community. He has a plethora of interests and his favorite thing to do is “wake up in the morning”. One bit of recent news for Michael: He was recently married to his lovely wife Holle, and their son is in kindergarten at Shining Mountain.
Subject Teachers, Class Assistants and Accompanists
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Keith will teach middle school woodworking and games this year. Keith has a BS in Electronic Engineering and in 1998 completed Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher training at Sunbridge College. He has assisted in Waldorf Kindergartens for five years. Keith has two children, Madison and Logan.
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.
Katie Larson, Middle School Counselor
Katie Larson, Shining Mountain’s Middle 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
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.
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.
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