About Our School

Shining Mountain Waldorf School (SMWS) is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 independent school. We are an accredited member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS), as well as a member of the National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS).

SMWS was founded in September 1983 with more than eighty students in PreK/Kindergarten through Grade 4. The Lower School campus was purchased in 1986, and in 1991 the High School campus was purchased and a Grade 9 inaugurated. Eight years later we completed the first phase of the Festival Hall. The Campus Planning Task Force of the Board is currently working with an architect to determine our next phase of expansion, which will likely include a new high school building.

Philosophy of Waldorf Education

Shining Mountain adheres to the philosophy of education and pedagogical indications initiated by Rudolf Steiner in 1919. Rudolf Steiner, scientist, philosopher, and educator agreed to establish and direct a school for the children of the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. Steiner’s goal was to establish an education with a culturally rich, age appropriate curriculum that would educate the body, mind and spirit of children. The school was to be independent from state interference, educate boys and girls together, and to be inclusive of children of all economic backgrounds. The teacher was to be free to teach in association with a circle of colleagues, and the school affairs were to be “self-administered.”

Steiner intended Waldorf education to focus not only on what knowledge must be acquired to enter society, but also to awaken capacities in children that would bring new impulses into society. Since the founding of the first school, Rudolf Steiner Waldorf education has become a global independent school movement with more than 1000 schools worldwide in over 60 countries.

What is true education?

True education is much more than simply imparting information.

Love. Awe. Devotion. Compassion. Trust. The ability to recognize beauty; to discriminate between right and wrong; to carry out a chosen course of action. These are the qualities consciously cultivated at Shining Mountain Waldorf School from early childhood through adolescence.

Shining Mountain’s well-rounded academic curriculum, enlivened by the arts, music, movement, and world languages, provides a learning environment that fosters creativity and healthy social interactions. As you explore the many facets of this rich curriculum, you will see that the experiences at Shining Mountain are about transformation – the gradual unfolding of faculties and capacities which take the individual beyond tradition and the conventions of our time.

Today’s students will become tomorrow’s initiators of cultural progress. We believe that a lifelong love of learning and a curiosity to ask deep questions are vital to this process. Our graduates leave school with clear, independent thinking; feelings of empathy and creative activity; and ultimately a strength of will that propels them toward moral courage and social responsibility.


To read “Why Does Accreditation Matter?” click here.

Shining Mountain Waldorf School has dual accreditation status. We are a fully accredited school through AWSNA, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, as well as ACIS, the Association of Colorado Independent Schools. Shining Mountain undergoes a rigorous process to achieve this status, which includes a school wide self- study every 7 years, 2 week site visit by outside teachers, administrators, and leaders, a 100 page document outlining required recommendations, and the school completing a one year and three year response to both organizations on meeting the requirements listed by the evaluating teams.

By holding this dual accreditation status, families can be assured that Shining Mountain is following “Best Practices” across the entire school and is continuously be held to these standards by these outside organizations.

We encourage current and prospective families to better understand the advantages to their children’s educational experience that being an accredited independent school holds for them.
Marian Munkvold-Saunders
Interim High School Administrator

Marian was born and raised in Norway, before moving to Houston, Texas in 1998. After graduating high school there, she attended EM Strasbourg Business School in Strasbourg, France, and the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas where she received a BBA and MBA in Finance. After college she moved to Carlsbad, California where she continued working in the business and investment field. Once she became a mom, she and her husband moved to Santa Barbara, California where she stayed home full time, raising two children. In 2010 their young family returned to Texas and settled in Austin. At this time she discovered Waldorf education. Both children have attended Austin Waldorf School since kindergarten, and Marian was actively involved in the parent volunteer community there. In 2017 she joined the administrative staff at the Austin Waldorf School where she worked as Administrative Support and then Office Manager. She and her family are thrilled to call Boulder their new home and to become part of the Shining Mountain Waldorf School community. Marian loves to read, cook, do handwork, travel, and spend time outside with her family skiing, biking, and hiking.

Monica Maldonado

Grade 6 Assistant

Monica Maldonado began their professional teaching career in 2014 after receiving a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from The Master’s University School of Music. Monica has experience in teaching music and art in one-on-one, small group, and public school settings, as well as one year of teaching music, art, and history in the elementary school setting as a student-teacher. Thanks to their teaching experiences, Monica strongly believes that every child can become a musician and artist and that all learners deserve a well-planned, differentiated arts education. They are very excited to be working at Shining Mountain and supporting their class in any way they can. Monica is also passionate about traveling, performing shows with their band and creating abstract mixed media artwork.

Ashley Marsico

Ashley grew up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois and has traveled to many different places all over the world including: Mexico, Portugal, France, UK, Morocco, Spain, and the British Overseas territory of Gibraltar. In 2014, after studying and living abroad for two years in Granada, Spain, she moved back to the city of Chicago where she met her fiance Tom. She first learned about Waldorf education from Tom as he attended the Chicago Waldorf School from PreK-8th grade. In an effort to learn more about this education, she attended a CWS holiday fair where she was immediately inspired, and in 2015 started Waldorf Teacher Training in Chicago. Ashley is a Fiber Artist and has been perfecting her craft since she started to crochet at 7 years old, so when learning that the Waldorf curriculum included crochet, she was hooked! Ashley brings over 7 years of teaching experience including a year as an Early Childhood and Handwork Assistant at CWS, as well as 4 years of administrative experience at CWS working as their High School Office Manager and Registrar & Database Manager. She is very excited to join SMWS and is grateful to take on this new position remotely as Registrar.

Lee Griffith

Class Teacher Grade 6

As an accomplished cellist and music teacher, Lee has broadened his teaching capacities to become a Waldorf middle school class teacher. After completing his music degree at the prestigious University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, Lee discovered his love of teaching extended beyond cello lessons, and that he was inspired by the art of teaching encompassed in the rich array of subject matter brought through the grades 6-8 journey. Waldorf philosophy and pedagogy, specifically the picture of child development, aligns with his approach to being an educator. Lee has been a class teacher in the grades and a cello teacher at the Cincinnati Waldorf School. He looks forward to continuing his Waldorf teacher certification for the grades school cycle. Lee enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, meaningful conversations, thrifting, rock climbing, teaching private cello lessons and, of course, performing.

Mike Terborg

Athletic & Auxiliary Programming Director

Mike Terborg first served as the SMWS Athletic Program Director from 2006 to 2010 while also coaching the High School Boys Basketball Team. In 2010, Mike moved to Seattle with his wife where he began his career as a Strength Coach and Injury Rehabilitation Specialist, and since 2018, has also been writing educational content for health, fitness, and wellness companies. During his time at Shining Mountain, Mike led an athletic program that fostered a healthy balance of physical, social, emotional, and psychological development. During his first tenure, Mike also served as the 5280 League President for two years, was three-time 5280 League Coach of the Year, and received recognition from the Positive Coaching Alliance for his dedication to teaching life lessons through participation in school sports. While program director, SMWS was also awarded the 5280 League Sportsmanship Award for the 2009-2010 school year. Mike has a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He lives in Gunbarrel with his wife and three children. 

Soni Albright

Admissions Director

Soni Albright has spent the last 10 years working in Waldorf School Admissions, previously at East Bay Waldorf School in Northern California, and currently at City of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis, MN. She has all the while, also been in the classroom, as a Cyber Civics teacher for 6-8th graders. Before that, she spent a decade in a variety of school settings (Public, Montessori, Charter, etc.) as a classroom teacher, and has taught a wide variety of subjects such as visual arts, study skills, social studies, and language arts.