Early Childhood Education Teachers and Assistants
Mary 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 and having been able to stay in the field for so long. 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 West Wales, PA. 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.
Denean Johnson, Assistant in Rainbow Garden and Aftercare
Denean was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She moved to Boulder in 1986 to attend the University of Colorado. Denean has her Colorado Early Childhood Teaching Certificate, and is currently completing her certification for Early Childhood Directorship. Denean comes to us from Shepherd Valley Waldorf School where she worked in the Early Childhood Program. Denean has been involved with Waldorf Education for twenty years. Denean and her husband, Mark, are the proud parents of three boys, Dylan 17 years old, Liam 10 years old, and Logan 7 years old. They have raised their boys in the Waldorf tradition. Dylan is a former student of SMWS – while Liam and Logan are current students. Denean has a great passion for Waldorf Education as well as for Early Childhood Growth and Development. She is elated to be joining the Early Childhood program at SMWS. Denean’s interests are: traveling, photography, gardening, cooking, reading, entertaining, and spending time with her family!
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, 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, hand work, baking, hiking, swimming, and spending time with her family and friends.
Kim Marie, Lark Song Kindergarten Assistant
Kim Marie comes to Shining Mountain’s Larksong Kindergarten with a diverse background. She is the mother of two boys, ages 10 and 6 1/2, and has been involved with Waldorf Education for over 8 years. She is self studied, with significant reading and research on Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy, and has studied with Claudia McLaren, a respected Waldorf Educator and Child Development Expert, for nearly 7 years. Kim assisted in the Rainbow Garden at Shining Mountain last year, and fell in love with the children and interacting with them. She is thrilled to be joining Lisa to assist in guiding and teaching the beautiful Larksong children this fall. She has bachelors degrees in Applied Mathematics and Interior and Environmental Design. She is also a certified yoga instructor and is trained as an ontological life and family coach. She has her own coaching practice and loves to help people simplify and create lives that generate peace and joy.
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 third incredible year with Carma Feigal in White Dove Kindergarten. Before arriviing 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 just committed to the Waldorf Teacher Training for Early Childhood Education that begins this October. Dana is the proud mother of Eli, currently in 11th grade here at Shining Mountain, and Ariel, who graduated from Shining Mountain in 2010.
Lower and Middle School Class Teachers
Sandra Kirschner, Class Teacher Grade 1
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 husband, 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 2
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 going into first 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. During the past 10 years 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 3
Bertrand grew up in Los Angeles, CA. 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 28 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.
Dorothea Altgelt, Class Teacher Grade 4
Dorothea joined SMWS in 1994 as a Physical Education and German Teacher. After ten years of serving as a subject teacher, she became a class teacher, and is currently teaching the 4th grade. 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 expanded her traditional training to include Bothmer Gymnastics, Spatial Dynamics and Rhythmical Massage. Dorothea helped to bring the Spatial Dynamics Training to North America, with Jaimen McMillan as the director. She has taught in Waldorf Schools in New England and Germany for eight years. In 2004, Dorothea completed her class teacher training at Antioch University, New England. In the past she has also worked as a member of a kibbutz in Israel, and with handicapped adults in Camphill communities. Dorothea’s husband, Tom, is a landscape architect. Their three daughters graduated from SMWS, and her grandson, Corbin now attends SMWS. She especially enjoys the arts, gardening, and the beautiful outdoors here in the Rockies with her family.
Jan Miller, Class Teacher Grade 5
Jan has a degree in Elementary Education from Boston University as well as her Waldorf Teacher’s Certificate from Sunbridge College. She has 11 years experience as a class teacher in Waldorf Schools. This will be Jan’s third time taking over a class from another teacher. 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. Jan’s husband David Miller, is a retired remodeling contractor and they live in Longmont.
Michael Janzen, Class Teacher Grade 6, 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 this summer they welcomed a son to their family.
David Hill, Class Teacher Grade 7
A native Michigander, David was a class teacher in independent Waldorf schools for 18 years. He also taught gardening, folk dance, and woodworking. For the past nine years, he has been a principal/director in public charter schools in California and Michigan. His wide experience outside of the school setting includes work on a Bio-Dynamic farm in Norway, ornamental blacksmithing, precision machining, and a family rental car business in Honolulu. David received a B.A. from Mercy College of Detroit and an M.A. in school administration from San Jose State University. He did Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College. David loves to write and play trumpet. He has two sons and three grandsons. David is very excited to be a part of the faculty this year at SMWS.
DJ (Joe) Mason, Class Teacher Grade 8
Of his fifteen years educating middle schoolers, this will be his eighth working full time here at SMWS. Joe received his BAE in Secondary English Education from the University of North Florida and is also a certified middle and high school Waldorf educator, with additional trainings in physics, chemistry and biology. Leading the way in Waldorf Education with the creation of a middle school, Shining Mountain continues to enrich and deepen this branch of the school. Joe has been involved in the middle school from its inception, through his work in the Middle School Support Team and with his lower school colleagues. He also coaches basketball, and enjoys running and mountain biking, when he is not spending time with his son and daughter.
Subject Teachers 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.
JoAnne Bell, 3rd Grade Garden Coordinator
JoAnne has been cultivating her garden knowledge almost her entire life. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania where large family gardens were the norm. Her first experiences were with a mother truly gifted at making plants (animals and kids too) grow and bloom. She graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Nutrition, and became a health and nutrition writer for Rodale, Inc., contributing to Men’s Health magazine and Women’s Health books. Also, gathering seeds of knowledge from Organic Gardening editors along the way. After 6 years in publishing, she moved to CO, changed careers and began working with plants full-time. For five years, she ran a hydroponic nursery growing plants for TV appearances (on the Today Show, Ellen, The View, among others) and catalog shoots. And now works in aquaponics–helping people live sustainably by growing fish and vegetables in their backyards. JoAnne and her husband, Jason, a firefighter for Summit County, are SMWS parents, with Sabrina in 3rd, Jonah in Larksong and a 2-year old Madeline eager to join her siblings in school.
Joshua Berman, Spanish Teacher Grades 1-8
After graduating from Brown University in 1995 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 5th year at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. Joshua has also worked as a bilingual Outward Bound instructor and he is an accomplished travel writer, with a column in the Denver Post and four book titles about traveling in Central America and Mexico under his name. His wife, Sutay, a Registered Nurse and doula, teaches prenatal yoga and childbirth classes at Boulder Community Hospital. They have two daughters—Shanti Ayla, 5, a student in Lark Song Kindergarten, and Zenlana Summer, 2.
Claudia Gregori-Samson, German Grades 1–4
Claudia will teach German to grades 1-4 this year. She was born and raised in Switzerland, where she studied and became fluent in several languages. She trained as an elementary school teacher and taught for a few years in the public school system. In search of a more satisfying alternative, she encountered Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogical approach and took the Waldorf teacher training at the Goetheanum near Basel. She has taught for over thirty years in Switzerland, Germany and the United States. She has worked with most age groups, but enjoys the young grade school children the most. She is married to teacher and author Donald Samson, and their two sons Raphael and Mischa, both SMWS graduates, are wonderful budding young adults. Besides teaching at SMWS, Claudia gives massages, body journeys in water, does tutoring and life coaching and facilitates women’s groups and retreats. Claudia’s passions are awareness trainings and traveling.
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.
Pam Hayoun, Eurythmy Accompanist
Keith Hayse, Woodworking, Games
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.
Danny Meyer, Band Teacher
Danny Meyer was born in Colorado and began playing the saxophone at the age of 10. He has performed throughout the United States and has had the privilege to play alongside notable musicians such as Ron Miles (Bill Frisell, Don Byron), Art Lande, DJ Logic, and Kent McLagan (Jane Ira Bloom), Colin Stranahan (Kurt Rosenwinkel), Oro Solido, Theo Peoples (Four Tops, Temptations), John Popper (Blues Traveler). A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Music in Boulder, Mr. Meyer has developed his own original music projects as well as contributed to notable local ensembles such as the FreeBear, Art Lande’s Funko Moderno, the 9th and Lincoln Jazz Orchestra, the Legacy Jazz Orchestra, the Future Jazz Project, the Lelah Simon Quartet, the Carmen Sandim Sextet, the Bijouix Barbosa Trio, amongst others. Danny Meyer currently teaches full-time and is on staff at the Parlando School for the Arts, Shining Mountain Waldorf School, and the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts.
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 also supports the eurythmy movement by working with Sound Circle Eurythmy as the board president and as a member of the performing ensemble. 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.
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.
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