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.
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 cat. Sandra loves scuba diving, downhill skiing, hiking, dancing, and stargazing.
Aaron Schwaller, Class Teacher Grade 2
Aaron Schwaller was born and raised in Wisconsin and has spent ample time traveling and exploring the western states throughout his life. He has been involved in Waldorf education for over 12 years and has been teaching in Waldorf schools for 7 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and philosophy from Viterbo University and received his Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Antioch University. Aaron also has experience in organic farming practices, building construction, holistic health practices, natural science, and the arts. Before teaching at Shining Mountain Waldorf School, he was helping to pioneer an independent Waldorf-inspired school in Sedona, Arizona called Running River School. Aaron enjoys spending time with his family, exploring nature, creating art, meditation and gardening.
Stacie Schaefer, Class Teacher Grade 3
Stacie Schaefer was born and raised in northeastern Iowa where she received her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She has been an educator for over 25 years. Her passion for Waldorf education was initially kindled while traveling and studying in Europe during college. She went on to obtain her Waldorf Teacher Grades and Early Childhood training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA, along with a birth to three certification from Sophia’s Hearth in Keene, NH. She also holds a Colorado Teaching License and early in her teaching career helped to pioneer the Crestone Charter School in Crestone, CO. She has served as a grades teacher at Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork and as an early childhood teacher at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School. She has also owned and operated Meadowdale Kinderhaus, a Farm and Forest Kindergarten in Niwot, CO. Stacie and her husband Dan have a daughter attending Shining Mountain high school. She enjoys being in nature with children, tending to her farm animals and spending time with her family.
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 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.
Caela Schulz, Class Teacher Grade 5
Caela began her elementary teaching career in the public schools after completing her Masters Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1994. Caela spent 10 years teaching in the public schools in Boulder Valley and Adams County, Colorado. Seeking to enrich her teaching during this time Caela discovered Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education. After several years out of the classroom to raise her daughter, she began her Waldorf Teacher Training at Sunbridge Institute in Spring Valley, NY. Caela will graduate from Sunbridge in March, 2016.
Carma Feigal, Chorus Teacher
Carma is excited to bring her passion and love of singing to the students and adults at SMWS. She is teaching choir classes to grades 4-8 as well as directing the All High School Choir, the HS A Cappella choir and the SMWS Faculty & Staff choir. Carma was born and raised in Minnesota and she has enjoyed living in Colorado since 1986. She has a BA in Vocal Music Performance and Business Administration from Concordia College in Moorhead MN and 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.
Teaching music and directing choirs have always been a passion and interest of Carma’s. She studied choral conducting in college under a world renowned choir director, Paul J Christiansen and spent three years singing in his Concordia College Concert Choir. Carma has spent her entire adult life directing choirs and leading singing in addition to her professional career path as a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher.
Carma and her husband, Mark, have two sons who attended and graduated from SMWS, Raymond (2013) and Luke (2016). Spending time with her husband and sons, teaching, laughing, and singing are among her favorite things to do.
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.
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.
Craig Rubens, Games/PE Teacher, MS Outdoor Education, Circus Troupe Co-Director