Early Childhood

Lower School

Middle School

Subject Teachers

High School

ATHLETICS & Circus Arts

Professional Staff

- Sarah Gillis, SMWS Class of 2012 and Sr. Space Operations Engineer at SpaceX

“I feel like one of the really important things that you get out of a Waldorf education is curiosity—curiosity to go and learn and explore what’s out there in the world. I fell into engineering and a path that I don’t think I would have anticipated, but having an arts background where you’re bringing creativity and imagination into problem-solving, there’s a really incredible synergy between those.”

- Sarah Gillis, SMWS Class of 2012 and Sr. Space Operations Engineer at SpaceX

Shining Mountain Waldorf School Unveils New High School Campus in North Boulder: Grand Opening Event Friday, May 10, 2024
Mónica Maldonado

Choir Teacher

At age five, Mónica started piano lessons and fell in love with music. In 2014, Mónica received their Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the School of Music at The Master’s University. During their time at university, they participated in various ensembles and choirs, including the Women’s Chamber Choir as the accompanist and choir member. These experiences and watching the passion of their mentors are what inspired Mónica to teach music.

Mónica has been teaching music for 15 years, with an additional year of student teaching in a public school setting as a student-teacher. This helped Mónica achieve a firm grasp on the art of teaching music in the 1-on-1, small group, and classroom settings.

In addition to teaching, they also enjoy painting, playing with their Bengal cats, and writing and performing as a bassist throughout Colorado with their music groups. Mónica’s greatest desire as a music educator is that each of their students develop a deep appreciation for music, as well as enjoy the music they create and perform. 

Uriah Beauchamp

Gardening Teacher

Uriah Beauchamp is an educator, outdoor guide and forager with over a decade of experience teaching and guiding in various settings in Colorado and beyond. He is passionate about teaching real world skills in the great outdoors.

Uriah earned degrees in Humanities and Spanish from CU Boulder, and has been teaching everything from foraging and survival skills to mountain biking to organic farming and Permaculture in Colorado in the years since graduating. His interests include ecology, mycology, foraging, herbal medicine, survival skills and bushcraft, plant identification, botany, bikes, and of course permaculture and organic farming and sustainable community-based agriculture.

One of Uriah’s main goals is to share the wonder of plants and the natural world with as many people as possible.

Christina Perez

Early Childhood Summer Camp Lead Teacher

Christina Perez is a certified Waldorf early childhood teacher and conscious parent educator with greater than 20 years of early childhood teaching experience.  Christina is the founder of Little Sprigs which offers resources for parents to receive the support they need to cultivate a peaceful, loving home and a family dynamic based on core values, trust, and authentic guidance. She is passionate about guiding children in ways that build their emotional and social intelligence and foster respect for each other and the earth. 

 

Christina moved to Boulder, Co. in 2021, with her daughter, Mila, who is currently in the 5th grade. She immediately started volunteering, working as a substitute teacher in the early childhood classrooms, and is looking forward to being of service to the community. She is currently attending Antioch University to continue her education and will receive a degree in Human Development in December 2023. Some of her favorite activities are hiking, camping, making music, dancing, holding mama circles, anything handwork, celiac baking, comedy, and hanging out with tiny humans.

Ariana Papousek

Circus Arts Director

A true ringleader at heart, Ariana has been leading and directing circus productions for over 10 years. By blending circus arts with story-telling, Ariana has created original works, as well as adapted classic stories into full length productions.

From youth programs to touring with her adult troupe, Ariana has brought to life many stages and empowered hundreds of talented artists by helping them find their characters within different show concepts. When you see Ariana on the stage you will likely see her performing on unique invented aerial apparatuses, standing on someone’s shoulders, or dancing with flames.

Ariana is over the moon excited to be back at Shining Mountain for her 5th year as circus director for our program. 

Kate Alagna

Educational Support Teacher

Kate Alagna received her BA in English Literature in 1998, and went on to receive her teaching credential as well as a Masters Degree in Literacy Instruction in the Beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. She worked at Prosser Creek Charter School in Truckee, CA,
teaching first, second, and third grades. After moving to Telluride, CO in 2007, Kate was
hired at Telluride Elementary and took on roles as Classroom Teacher, Interventionist,
Enrichment/GT Teacher, and Technology Teacher.                                                        
After 12 years of teaching in Telluride, she and her family relocated to Boulder. She
then taught in BVSD teaching 1st, 2nd, and 5th. After feeling as though she could make
a deeper impact with fewer students, she launched Fireflies Learning Studio. After
initially assuming she would simply tutor, she realized that was only a small part of
fostering successful students. She believes in making a difference by continuing to
connect and support students to become their best selves. Her Big Dream is to open an
Educational Collective, a place where student support, in all forms, can live and grow
under one roof and is accessible and affordable to all.                                                        
In her free time, Kate spends time with her family and her naughty puppy! She loves
writing, reading, running, hiking, biking, cooking, eating, and watching “boring
documentaries” (according to her three teenagers). She does not love doing laundry.

Daniel Martinez

Lower School Receptionist & Administrative Assistant

Daniel Martinez is a Colorado native who grew up in Northglenn, Colorado. Daniel has always been a huge proponent of education. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1999-2004. He then received his M.A. degree, which specialized in School Counseling.

Daniel has served many families and institutions over the years. He has worked at the CU campus in Boulder, helping first-generation students get into college and learn how to get there. He also served as a School Counselor for nearly five years. Daniel is committed to helping young people see their true passion and potential.

Some of Daniel’s interests are spending time with his wife, Gina, and their two cats. He also loves spending time with his family and friends. Daniel is a huge sports fan and loves to watch his Colorado Buffaloes, Las Vegas Raiders, and Colorado Avalanche. He is excited to be a part of this wonderful institution and looks forward to working with the SMWS organization. 

Abby Haughness

Middle School Assistant Girls Basketball Coach

Abby Haughness grew up in New England. She played basketball for 4 years at the collegiate level, helping her team win a conference championship and move forward into the NCAA tournament in her junior year. She graduated with a master’s degree in physical therapy and while working in this new field also started coaching for her hometown’s middle school girl’s basketball team. This team took home a championship in the biggest tournament in the region,
her first year coaching. During the summertime, she co-coached girls’ high school AAU basketball for several years.

After moving to Colorado, she completed her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and began coaching in the adult running and multisport world. After taking some time off of coaching to raise her child while also running her own physical therapy business, she has decided to return to coaching again and is excited to share her love of basketball with others. She knows that her involvement in sports helped shape how she lives her life as an adult. Abby’s coaching strongly focuses on having fun, team camaraderie, working hard, and that mistakes are OK and will happen when challenging one’s self. Abby is truly grateful for the positive experiences she has
had in athletics and looks forward to sharing her passion for sports with the athletes and community of SMWS.

Daniel Gray

Health, Safety, and Community Life Administrator

Daniel Gray’s experience in education has ranged from teaching to curriculum development to administration. Whether leading teams, managing projects, or instructing, the throughline of his career has been interacting and working with people, from corporate CEOs to their children and everyone in between.

The community he strives for is a place where everyone is included and feels a sense of belonging, where everyone is healthy and safe, a place where all voices are heard with empathy, compassion, and respect, and a place where individuals know themselves and understand their relationship to the world in which they live.

In his free time, you will find Daniel with his family exploring deep nature connections, roaming trails in the high country, hanging from the side of rock faces, or practicing sound healing. He has an M. Ed. in Holistic and Integrative Education and a BA in Multimedia studies.   

Jen McMurtrey

Early Childhood Assistant

Jen McMurtrey joins the Shining Mountain staff after taking a break from teaching to stay at home with her twin daughters, who are now in the 3rd grade at the school.

Jen’s experiences teaching in public and private schools across middle school down to prekindergarten led her to search out alternative methods of education for her girls.  It was then that she discovered Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf education. Jen believes in Steiner’s approach to teaching the whole child at their developmental level and is excited to support the children in the community. 

Last year, Jen began her Anthroposophical journey through the Explorations program at the Center for Anthroposophy. Jen lives in Longmont with her husband and girls and enjoys hiking, camping, running, puzzling, reading, and all things handwork.

Christie Acton

Middle School Assistant Volleyball Coach

Christie Acton is thrilled to expand her role at SMWS by supporting our growing athletics department as assistant coach to alum, Jasmine Brown, and our middle school volleyball team! Youth sports have always been an important part of Christie’s life. She learned to play volleyball in middle school, developed through high school, and continues to play today in sand volleyball leagues. Her goal is to help our SMWS team develop a love for the game and practice key character-building moments that surface in youth sports, including teamwork, perseverance, respect, self-confidence, communication, and more. Go Lions!

Brigid Baker

Middle School Theater Teacher

Brigid Baker began her work with children at a young age, coaching, nannying, and working in enrichment programs. With a drive to help youth, she received a double major in Psychology and Human Development with a focus on clinical pediatric work.
After completing this undergraduate degree at Eckerd College, she began work at a Waldorf School in Florida. Brigid worked for two years as the physical education teacher and assisted in classes one through eight. Her passion for Waldorf education led her to pursue a Master’s Degree at the Freie Hochschule Stuttgart. This historic location of the first Waldorf school is the home of the international program that allowed Brigid to study with teachers from around the world.
Now, Brigid is excited to rejoin the Shining Mountain community after her internship with our school last year. 
Kevin Hanover

Middle School Cross Country and Track & Field Coach

Kevin is originally from Cape Cod, MA, and after spending 12 years in NYC building his fitness business, opted for some mountain life. Kevin founded HBodyLab LLC in 2009 and built a very successful fitness business in the city working one-on-one with a wide range of clientele, including adolescent athletes. He has worked as a head coach for E3Sports and T2 Multisport, churning out some of the best amateur athletes on the east coast. When his daughter turned two years old, he decided it was time to pack up and move the family (and the dog that won’t get out of his bed) to sunny Colorado. Currently he enjoys all the things about mountain life and building business all over the world. He is an ISSA certified elite strength coach with continuing education in sports nutrition, cycling, and run biomechanics and fitness therapy. He is currently working as the head coach for SMWS middle school XC and Track & Field, along with beginner triathletes, elite national trail runners, 70.3 world qualifiers, 140.6 Kona qualifiers, duathlon national and world championship qualifiers, and ITU short course pro athletes. He represented team USA in 2019 and raced the ITU duathlon world championships in Pontevedra, Spain.
Victor Mestas

 Accompanist

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Victor has been a professional musician since he was 17 years old. A well-renowned musician in Venezuela, he also spent much of his career playing internationally, living in Aruba and Spain and working on cruise ships, traveling everywhere, from Alaska to Istanbul.

Victor moved to Boulder in 2012 with his wife and two daughters and has been leading Latin Jazz ensembles at the University of Colorado – Boulder since 2016, and more recently, teaching Jazz Piano and conducting the Thompson Jazz Latin Jazz Big Band. He is active in the World/Jazz/Brazilian/Salsa music scene.

When he’s not playing piano, Victor enjoys gardening, collecting records and keyboards, watching baseball, and playing with Teo, his Blue Heeler.

Anne Brennand

Cello & Bass Teacher

Cellist Anne Brennand lives in Boulder, and has served as a member of the Boulder and Greeley Philharmonics. She has also played in the St. Mary’s Baroque Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson dance, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Fort Collins Symphony, Cheyenne Symphony, Springfield Orchestra, Northeastern Philharmonic, Pennsylvania Ballet, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra. She has participated in the Domaine School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians and the Peter Britt Festival Orchestra in Ashland, Oregon.

Ms. Brennand holds a Master of Music in cello performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she received the Denes Koromzay Chamber Music Award, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts. Principal teachers have been Ann Marie Morgan, Judith Glyde, Ronald Leonard, Raymond Davis, and her father, Charles Brennand.

She is a member of the Serenata String Quartet, serves as faculty at the Center for Musical Arts in Lafayette and for many years at the Midsummer Musical Retreat, and teaches students of all ages.

Anna Lugbill

Violin & Viola Teacher

Anna Lugbill is from Rochester, NY, and has been playing the violin since she was four years old. She was inspired by her own music teachers throughout the years and decided to pursue a music education degree at Ithaca College. Upon graduation, she was the 7th and 8th-grade Orchestra Director at Transit Middle School in Buffalo, NY.
 
In 2021, Anna moved to Colorado for graduate school at CU Boulder where she completed her master’s degree in Violin Performance and a certificate in Arts Administration. Anna has a private violin and viola studio and regularly plays with professional orchestras in the area, in addition to her work at Shining Mountain Waldorf School.
 
Anna is thrilled to be joining the Shining Mountain community and can’t wait to share her passion for music with her students. When Anna’s not teaching or performing, she enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, trying new recipes, and spending time with family and friends.
Manisha Bano

High School Science Teacher

Manisha Bano has a Master’s degree in Biosciences along with an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Bioinformatics from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi India. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Amity University, India.

Manisha has worked with Kaushalya World School, Greater Noida, India for 7 years as a High School Biology Teacher, and during her tenure, she was promoted to Sr. Headmistress. She has over eleven years of experience teaching Biotechnology to undergraduate students at the Bioengineering Research Centre, in India. She is passionate about teaching young minds about the wonders of Biological Science and believes in teaching a learning approach that is differential and student-centric.

Manisha relocated from India with her husband and 12-year-old son to Denver Colorado in September 2022. She loves to accompany her son along with her husband to his scouting activities. Manisha is enthusiastic about being part of the Shining Mountain Waldorf Community.

Rachel Haynes

Rainbow Garden Lead Teacher

Rachel comes from a family of teachers and knew she wanted to be one at an early age. A life-long educator, Racel is passionate about early childhood and Waldorf philosophy. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in Social Sciences and a double minor in Multicultural Anthropology and Psychology. She then went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and her Colorado Teaching License. Upon graduating, she embarked on a 12-year career that included teaching in public and private schools in Boulder County until she had her daughter, Sophia, and found Waldorf education through a parent/child class. This was a destiny moment that changed the trajectory of her life. She began studying Rudolf Steiner and taking Lifeways classes and opened a Waldorf-inspired preschool out of her home. Now that her daughter is starting 1st grade, she’s delighted to have the opportunity to join the Shining Mountain community. Rachel lives in Longmont with Sophia and their 4 chickens and can be found reading, biking, hiking, camping and collecting chicken eggs.
Alana Tempest-Mitchell

Rainbow Garden and Aftercare Assistant

Born in North Dakota and raised in Colorado Springs, Alana grew up hiking, reading stacks of books, and writing poetry to boyband members. She moved to Edinburgh, Scotland to study abroad, and came back with a love of Waldorf education, and a British husband.

After graduating with her degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado in Boulder, she took her family back to Scotland while she obtained a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Edinburgh Napier University. She later obtained her Master of Education in Teacher Education from North Dakota State University and is currently pursuing an EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Denver.

After a decade of teaching multiple subjects and grades in public schools,  Alana decided to follow her passion back to Waldorf education, where she could nurture her skills in writing, nature-based education, and the arts. When she’s not busy teaching or being a student, Alana enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and their two children – and she is still writing poetry. 

Monica Maldonado

Grade 1 & 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 Wiley
Registrar

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 husband 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 7

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. 

Alanna Marks

Admissions Director

Alanna grew up in California, then moved to Boulder nine years ago with her husband and daughter Odette. In Los Angeles, she worked as a literary agent and as a moderator for market research companies. She then traveled and taught ESL before completing a Master’s degree in Linguistics. When she moved to Boulder, Alanna worked as the Lower School Office Manager at Shining Mountain Waldorf School for five years, where she formed strong bonds with the community and her daughter attended school. She then took a position at Naropa University as a Graduate Admissions Counselor.

During the pandemic, Alanna helped Jamie York and Tom Altgelt launch The Front Range Anthroposophical Café, an online speaker series which provides a forum for discussion on topics related to Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education. The program has grown to over 1,500 members and has featured more than 90 guest speakers. Being a part of this initiative deepened her knowledge of Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education by engaging with the community on a consistent basis.

Alanna is thrilled to return to Shining Mountain in the role of Admissions Director and looks forward to introducing new families to Waldorf education and to the community she loves.

Christie Acton

Marketing Manager

Christie earned a bachelor’s degree in Media and Communications from the University of San Diego in 2000. She went on to be a media planner at several recognized advertising agencies in Southern California. Her experience as an ad professional grew from work on brands such as DIRECTV, Expedia, Hilton Hotels, and American Honda Automotive. In this time Christie was responsible for managing advertising campaigns across all media, including television, print, radio, outdoor, and online. Christie then shifted her career in 2010 to focus on sales and account management for Citysearch and then later LivingSocial, which increased her knowledge of digital platforms. Christie is now excited to support SMWS in the role of Marketing Director. She discovered the benefits of Waldorf education first-hand for her son at the Austin Waldorf School starting in kindergarten and now at SMWS in the grades.

Taliza Mizrahi

High School and Middle School Counselor

Taliza Mizrahi holds an MA, LPCC in Somatic Counseling Psychology and specializes in serving Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults through a combination of Creative Arts Therapies, Group Work, and Youth and Young Adult Mentoring. Taliza has been working with SMWS students and families as a mentor, dance teacher/youth empowerment facilitator, and therapist since 2006, and has formally been working as the middle and high school counselor since 2016. Over the course of her career, Taliza has served in a variety of settings from on-campus mental health counselor for undergraduate and graduate students at Naropa University, Family Therapist and Behavior Coach for high-risk youth and families, Surfing the Creative International Rites of Passage Youth Leadership Director and Lead Therapist, Hip Hop dance teacher and youth empowerment facilitator, youth/young adult mentor through her Buddhist community, and as a private therapist, mentor and case manager for youth from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. As a child of an immigrant, Taliza grew up with a different language and culture in her home and has personally navigated a life of straddling cultures and grappling with a multicultural identity. She enjoys working with youth from all over the world, with multicultural backgrounds and with blended cultural families. Taliza grew up in the Washington, DC area. She studied at CU-Boulder, Naropa University and is a graduate of Soka University in Southern California. When she is not at the school, Taliza is dancing as much as she possibly can, enjoying live music and natural waters of any kind,  laughing at every opportunity, snowboarding, camping, and adventuring with her husband and 3 small, busy, and hilarious little boys, usually outside somewhere beautiful! 

Enrique Olivares

Facilities and Grounds Assistant

Enrique is a California native born in San Diego. He is married and has two boys ages 12 and 19. Enrique moved to Colorado in 2017 and enjoys the mountains and nature. Hiking has become one of his favorite activities, as well as fishing—no success so far, but it’s a peaceful pastime to be with my family. Even just a simple picnic on the weekends is meaningful to Enrique. He has been working in maintenance at different locations and is now very grateful to be here at Shining Mountain Waldorf School.

Joanna Lynden

Accompanist

Joanna grew up outside of Chicago, Illinois, playing the piano, roaming the remnants of tall grass prairie, and wandering the vast forest preserves. She began accompanying choirs in 8th grade and has supported choral groups, ensembles, and vocalists ever since. Joanna is a composer/arranger with a Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Colorado, and as an organist has served many congregations in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and even Switzerland. She directed the local women’s a cappella group, IRIS, for thirteen years, and her choral compositions have been performed by high school choirs and various ensembles across the country. Joanna loves a wide variety of musical styles and is proud to have two sons living in Boulder who also play professionally: Aaron on violin and Otis on electric bass. Joanna has accompanied eurythmy and choir classes at several of the Waldorf Schools in the area for the last decade, and she is very excited and honored to again be contributing to the musical life of Shining Mountain.

Megan Corcoran
Games/PE Teacher Grades 1-8

In addition to teaching part-time Games & Movement in the lower grades at Shining Mountain Waldorf School, Megan is the founding director of Re-Embody Somatics, a health and wellness business that supports emotional empowerment following traumatic stress and anxiety. Megan earned her dual master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and Dance/Movement Therapy in 2007, from Antioch University in New Hampshire. During that same time, she studied Waldorf Movement Education at the Spacial Dynamics Institute in upstate New York. Additionally, Megan is a Somatic Experiencing Trauma Practitioner and a certified Health and Wellness Coach. From 2007-2021, Megan was the first through eighth grade Games and Movement Teacher at Prairie Moon Waldorf School in Lawrence, Kansas. In the summer of 2021, she and her family delightfully moved to Boulder, CO to join the wonderful school community at Shining Mountain! Megan enjoys time with her family and friends: swimming, hiking, hiking, soaking in the hot springs and dancing!

Jill Ryerson

Middle School and High School Math Teacher

Jill grew up in the heart of Washington, D.C., a few blocks from the Capitol. By the end of high school, a few special teachers had sparked her interest in math and art, which eventually became passions that wove their way throughout her adult life.

After graduating from Brown University with a B.A. in Mathematics and Visual Art, Jill moved to Colorado in 2001 to teach math. Since then, she has immersed herself in education by teaching in private and charter schools, working as a tutor, a teacher mentor, and a homeschool educator.

In 2009, Jill earned a master’s degree in secondary math curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado. This work further fueled her passion for developing creative lessons that foster authentic learning. Waldorf education entered Jill’s world when she enrolled in parent-child classes at Shining Mountain in 2013. She is inspired by the principles and practices of Waldorf education and is grateful that her teaching journey has led her to be a part of the Shining Mountain staff.

Mary Alice Daniel

Rainbow Garden Teacher

Mary Alice grew up on a beautiful farm in the blue, slow rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont. Her childhood memory stew is steeped in moss, turtle shell, horse mane, and pond water. She is drawn to the Waldorf world because of her reverence for nature, story, magic, and beauty. Mary Alice has lived in Boulder for over 25 years. She is a graduate of both Naropa University and the University of Colorado. At Naropa, she studied Painting and Environmental Ethics. At the University of Colorado/Denver, she acquired a Master of Landscape Architecture. Mary Alice worked for the city of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks as their Sign & Graphics Specialist for many years. She also completed Early Childhood Montessori training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. She is passionate about protecting the beautiful world of childhood. Mary Alice loves a few things (in no particular order): making art, Watercolors/ Encaustic /Mixed-Media, teaching piano to children, running, salt water, plane tickets, and rescuing Chihuahuas! Most importantly, Mary Alice is the proud parent of Margaux, a sparkling, fun-loving teenager currently attending high school.

Alex Hardesty

Class Teacher Grade 6

Alex Hardesty was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, where he spent his time exploring the beautiful Idaho wilderness and playing music. He completed his undergraduate degree in Double Bass Performance at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and moved to Denver in 2018 to study architecture at the University of Colorado Denver.

Alex joined the Shining Mountain Community in 2021 as the cello and bass teacher and graduated with his Master’s degree the following year. Throughout his life, Alex has worked a variety of different jobs and has always found his way back to teaching. He is thrilled to be a part of the Waldorf community to guide each individual child in discovering the well of knowledge the world has to offer, and the unique gifts that he, she, or they contribute.

Alex is an artist at heart, a lifelong learner, and an optimist. While not teaching, he loves exploring the Colorado trails, climbing, writing poetry, picking up new hobbies, and sharing good meals and music with his family and friends.

Doug Walker

Rainbow Garden Teacher & Aftercare Lead

Doug Walker spent his childhood in coastal Connecticut, playing guitar, skateboarding, and romping about with his friends. The son of a kindergarten teacher, Doug was taught from a young age about the goodness of childhood.

He received a BA in Theology from Gordon College in 2016. He comes to Shining Mountain via the Cincinnati Waldorf School, where he taught early childhood education. He was initially drawn to Waldorf education because it creates opportunities for children to sit in wonder, engage in play, and deepen in care. He brings an attentiveness to the emotional lives of children and adults. Over the last year and a half, he has been working towards certification in Hakomi, a somatic therapy.

When Doug is not at school, he enjoys cycling, yoga, playing music, and spending time with those he loves.

Eric Ayrault

High School Humanities Teacher

Eric Ayrault grew up in Seattle, where he was active in sports and wilderness activities.  After receiving a BA and teaching certification at Harvard, he spent five years teaching overseas in Kenya, Tanzania, France, and Italy, before returning to Seattle where he earned a Master’s in Speech Communication, and taught Humanities in Public Schools for over 20 years. Eric learned about Waldorf education by sending his son to Waldorf Kindergarten, and watching his nieces go through Seattle Waldorf School where his sister was on the faculty. 

Eric has coached tennis, lacrosse, and soccer, led Outward Bound trips, taken students to Canyonlands and Vietnam, been a raft guide and white water kayak racer, and has been an active triathlete, and sailor. He has endorsements in English, History, Speech, PE, and Special Education, as well as having a NOLS Wilderness EMT certification. 

Eric comes to us after three years of teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area; this is Eric‘s second year in Boulder.  We got to know him last year as an occasional substitute at Shining Mountain, and we are happy to bring him on to teach High School humanities. On winter weekends he will again be teaching alpine skiing at Eldora, and spending time with his partner Nance who is a teacher in Boulder Public Schools.  

Kerry Kent

Educational Support Coordinator

Kerry Kent’s educational journey has centered on identifying the factors that drive each individual to thrive. Kerry is originally from a suburb of Chicago. She earned her BA in Education from Naropa University and her MA in Learning, Developmental, and Family Sciences from the University of Colorado Denver. She holds a Director Qualification and Teacher’s License. For over a decade, she has been working with children of all ages and abilities. Her passion for working with children stems from their genuineness, curiosity, and their remarkable capacity for love, comprehension, and creativity. Kerry spent many years as an early childhood teacher and assistant director.

Kerry strongly believes if we provide young children the skills they require while meeting their needs, they will be set up for happy, fulfilling, and successful futures. Guided by an enthusiasm for brain development, she sees it as a compass to assist each educational journey. Through evidence-based and culturally sensitive interventions, Kerry aims to guide educators, administrators, and families in creating enriching environments and responsive relationships.

Kerry is grateful to be at SMWS and part of the community. Kerry enjoys music, photography, tending to her garden, being outside in nature, and pursuing fun-filled experiences to the fullest extent!

Angie Parham
Middle School Specialist in Humanities

Grateful to all of the teachers who cultivated her love of literature and appreciation for language, Angie hopes to foster that same enthusiasm for language arts in her students. She takes great pride and pleasure in guiding Shining Mountain’s future authors, scribes, translators, journalists, essayists, correspondents, dramatists, editors, and poets. Angie brings over 25 years of teaching experience in English and German 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.

Page Zekonis

High School Art Teacher

Originally from Washington, DC, Page Zekonis grew up in a family that encouraged her to love art and nature. In high school, she discovered photography—using her uncle’s old twin-lens reflex camera—and began her lifelong journey in the visual arts. Page holds a BFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MFA in painting/mixed media from Maryland Institute of Art. She also has an MA in counseling psychology with an emphasis on art therapy.

When Page moved with her family to Boulder in 2000, she had no idea that teaching would grow into a passion as strong for her as making art. She founded Open Window Studio in 2005 to teach art and creative thinking to adults, youth, and children. Over the years, she has become especially interested in working with middle and high school students. She has developed an art program specifically for this age group, which includes classes, open studio time, and art excursions to Washington, DC/Baltimore, and Santa Fe, NM.

For Page, teaching is about helping students feel the excitement of possibility, helping them follow through on that first spark of an idea, and letting their unique voice take form through painting, drawing, mixed media, or whatever material speaks to them. When she is not in the studio or with her family, she is riding her sweet horse, Roo. 

Zephyr McConnell

Something

Zephyr moved to Boulder to attend Naropa University in 2011 and graduated with a degree in Contemplative Psychology and Eastern Arts. Before that time she had a career with the National Park Service as a firefighter, backcountry trail worker, volunteer coordinator, and llama packer. She worked in Yosemite, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, King’s Canyon, Redwood State Park and in the winters did two tours in Antarctica as a carpenter. Zephyr has also studied architecture and is passionate about working with her hands in many creative capacities and in bringing joy and playfulness into all of her pursuits. Even when living out of a backpack she always managed to have some kind of costume available. Currently she lives in Longmont on a small tree farm with her partner, their many furry and feathered companions, and an extensive workshop and costume collection.

Fred Annexstein, PhD
High School Math, Science and Computer Science Teacher

An exceptionally experienced university professor specializing in the disciplines of Computer Science, Mathematics, Cryptography, Distributed Systems, and Software Engineering, Fred also teaches math and science at the Cincinnati Waldorf High School. We look forward to Fred joining our high school faculty to teach advanced level math and science courses. Fred received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, and a BS and MS in mathematics Amherst and a MA in Mathematics form the State University of New York.

Lori Ann Kran, PhD

Pedagogical Director and Grade 8 Teacher

Lori Kran was raised in upstate New York where she loved school, her teachers, playing in her neighborhood, swimming competitively, and ballet. Lori earned a PhD in American and Women’s History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She earned her Waldorf teacher certification from the Waldorf Teacher Development Association in Ann Arbor, MI. Before arriving at SMWS, Lori was a grades 1-8 Waldorf class teacher, Waldorf HS Teacher, and university history/gender studies adjunct professor. Lori has served as an AWSNA delegate for 20+ years. Lori has experience as a teaching mentor and as a visiting school evaluator. She enjoys the outdoors and playing her banjo!

In addition to her pedagogical director work, Lori is thrilled to carry the 8th grade class for the 2023/24 school year. Lori envisions the 8th grade year as a bridge from lower school into high school. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she has assembled a team of outstanding HS faculty to teach blocks in the eighth grade. Lori expects this 8th grade class to experience academic and artistic rigor, leadership, and service opportunities, and a spectacular school year!

Samara McDonald

White Dove Early Childhood and Aftercare Assistant

Samara McDonald grew up in Sedona, Arizona, in a big family. After being a stay-at-home mom and volunteering for many years in her children’s classrooms, she decided that working with young children was her calling. Samara worked as a preschool teacher for the City of Fort Collins. Before becoming an assistant teacher at Shining Mountain, she was a kindergarten teacher at River Song Waldorf School. She has three wonderful children and a two-year-old puppy. You can often find Samara at the lake with her chocolate lab, hanging out with family and friends, or practicing yoga.

Kristina Wyatt
White Dove Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Kristina comes to SMWS after working as an Assistant Teacher in the Early Childhood Department at the Washington Waldorf School, just outside Washington, D.C, for the last six years.

Kristina first discovered Waldorf Education ten years ago, after reading the back of a Hawthorne Valley yogurt container one morning. Since that time, she has made every effort to educate herself and her family about Waldorf philosophy and pedagogy. She completed her Waldorf Early Childhood Education training from the Toronto Rudolf Steiner Centre in Canada. Prior to that program she completed her Waldorf Teacher Preparation Certification from the NOVA Institute, completed Foundations Studies through the Center of Anthroposophy, and took several summer courses at the Sunbridge Institute in New York. Prior to her Waldorf Education, Kristina received a Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University in Virginia and an undergraduate degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Kristina loves nature and being outdoors, hiking, camping and travelling with family and friends. She has learned a lot while traveling in Eastern Europe, hiking in the Eastern United States and Central Asian mountains, and studying in India. Kristina has two boys who have been part of a Waldorf School community for the past ten years.

Whitney Johansson
Educational Resource Teacher

Whitney has always found joy through working with children. Understanding, appreciating, and supporting how individuals learn is a lifelong passion for her. She has worked as an educator in the Boulder area for the past 15 years, including at the Sister Carmen Community Center, Cure Organic Farm, and The Growe Foundation. Whitney earned her Bachelor’s degree in English from Western Washington University. She is a Clinical Herbalist and has a Master’s degree in Science focusing on Human Nutrition. Through teaching Nutrition to kids, Whitney knew that teaching was the path for her. From there she earned her Elementary Education Teacher’s License from CU and was recognized for being in the top of her class. Whitney went on to study the Orton-Gillingham approach extensively, finding gems in the different approaches from different organizations. Through this training, Whitney witnessed the remarkable impact that multi-sensory, direct, explicit instruction can have and how through this instruction, students’ brains can be activated in varying ways so that their learning and processing style is honored and attended to, whether the subject is literacy or math or beyond. As an Educational Resource Teacher, she aims to connect with the whole person and hold them and their learning in the highest regard. When she is not teaching, you will find her frolicking in her garden, playing the ukulele, sewing up a storm, reading about literacy, hugging her dogs and cats, smooching her daughters, and dreaming of their next adventure.

Bret Schacht

Class Teacher Grade 3

Bret Schacht received his Waldorf Certificate and Masters in Education from Antioch New England Graduate School in 2004. The last fifteen years of his Waldorf teaching career have been pioneering at Prairie Moon Waldorf School in Lawrence, Kansas as class teacher and faculty chair. Bret arrived to Boulder with his wife, Megan Corcoran, and their two children, Caden and Mia. The family loves the outdoors, hot springs, stories, good food, campfires and dancing. Bret trained in organic farming at Sunflower Fields CSA, in outdoor education at the Earth Skills Semester Program, and in movement education with Spacial Dynamics. 

Anne Nadelson
Anne Nadelson

Campus Operations Director

Anne holds a BA in Anthropology from Rutgers University and pursued postgraduate studies in Psychology at New York University. She worked for many years in the psychology field with both adolescents and adults as a counselor. After her children were born she was a Waldorf homeschooler, a childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and served on the Board of a Holistic parents group. Anne grew up on the beaches and forests of the East coast and came to Colorado in 2007 so her oldest child could join the second grade class at Shining Mountain. For many years she was very involved in the parent life of the school, and joined the administrative staff as the Lower School Coordinator in 2014. Currently she is completing the Center for Anthroposophy’s Waldorf Leadership and Administration training and has recently begun work on her Masters in Education Administration with Regis University. Back East she was always looking for her Waldorf community and has found it in Shining Mountain. In her free time she loves to hike, run, swim and knit, usually with her beloved Great Dane.

Karen Kumar
Karen Kumar

Human Resources Director

Karen joined Shining Mountain Waldorf School in August 2013. Born in Michigan, she has enjoyed living in the Boulder area for over 30 years. Like so many, she came to visit and decided to stay. Her business career has been in the financial sector, which lead to an opportunity to be a founding member of a bankcard processing company where she designed and implemented operational and human resources systems. A wife and mother of two teenage boys, Karen loves to spend time with her family, traveling, reading, skiing and hiking. Karen is thrilled to bring her experiences to SMWS and embraces the caring culture and talented community of SMWS.

Cindy Hauser
Cindy Hauser

Bookkeeper

Cindy has been a long-time resident in the mountains of Colorado. She has been employed in the accounting field for over 30 years. Cindy currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Nederland Food Pantry. Cindy is married and her hobbies include chasing after her 4 grandchildren and riding motorcycles.

Sarah Engle
Sarah Engle

Business Director

Sarah grew up in Berkeley, CA and has lived in many wonderful places but loves Colorado, and has lived here for the past 19 years. She is very excited to be a part of the Shining Mountain community and brings her 25 years of experience in the finance world with her. Sarah has worked in public accounting and has been the controller for a real estate development company, a general contractor, and the CFO for a public relations and marketing firm. Sarah was the controller for The Economics Institute here in Boulder that offered graduate school prep to students from developing countries. She has her Bachelor of Accountancy from The College of Santa Fe in NM where she also obtained her CPA license. Sarah is the mother of a very active 15-year-old son who is a x-country runner and an explorer at heart. She loves Colorado for its active lifestyle and enjoys running, biking, swimming, x-country skiing, snowshoeing and backpacking.

Paul Boak
Paul Boak

Facilities and Grounds Director

Paul grew up in England, spending the first ten years of his working life in a Civil/Structural Engineering office. He moved to the United States in 1996 and spent ten years in California before moving to Boulder in 2007. He brings a skill set which lends itself well to the facilities department, being well-versed in all levels of building construction and maintenance. Paul has a young daughter, Annabelle. He plays soccer in the local Boulder league and enjoys running in our beautiful state.

Alicia Donohue

High School Math Assistnt Teacher 

Alicia Donohue was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, where she developed a deep love for learning and dancing ballet. After living in Pittsburgh, PA, for five years, Alicia returned home to teach at her alma mater and earn her Master’s in Differentiated Instruction. She is passionate about providing individual attention to her students to develop approaches that challenge each student appropriately. She feels most fulfilled when she positively affects her students’ math self-esteem. In the fall of 2022, Alicia moved to Colorado with her family to be closer to the mountains (and the sun). She enjoys hiking, running, and traveling with her husband and Siberian husky when she’s not teaching. She can also be found gardening, reading, skiing, and planning new adventures.
Julie Irwin
Julie Irwin

High School Spanish Teacher

Julie grew up spending lots of time outdoors in between Philadelphia and New Hampshire. She attended Skidmore College in upstate New York where she majored in Spanish literature and Latin American Studies. Living in Chile and traveling throughout South America during and after college solidified her zest for travel, different cultures, and the Spanish language.  She is passionate about using a hands-on, interactive approach with her students. She most recently taught High School Spanish for four years at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque, NM. She and her husband have two young sons who she is raising bilingually. She loves hiking, playing card and board games, skiing, fixing up their old house in Lyons, and spending time with her family. Julie is thrilled to be part the Shining Mountain community!

Esther van Zyl

Early Childhood Assistant

Esther van Zyl, originally from Cape Town, South Africa, cultivated her passion for theater by earning a BA in Drama and Theater Studies in 2014. In pursuit of a professional acting career, she relocated to New York.

In 2018, a twist of fate landed her in Lyons, Colorado, where she discovered a newfound passion for working with children. What began as babysitting evolved into the establishment of DraMagic Theater Group, a children’s drama program led by Esther. Concurrently, she joined Magical Moments, a nature-based, Montessori-inspired Kindergarten, where she taught dance and drama classes, served as a substitute teacher for two years, and gained valuable experience in alternative, holistic, arts-focused early childhood education. Esther resonates naturally with this approach and is eager to expand and deepen her involvement in this field, leading her to assume the Early Childhood Assistant position at Shining Mountain Waldorf School.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Esther finds joy in meditation, gardening, meaningful connections, outdoor activities, games, and quality time with her husband, Michael.

Craig Rubens
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.

Thyria Ogletree
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.

Cristina Geck
Cristina Geck

Eurythmy Teacher, German Teacher

Cristina was born and raised in New York City until her family returned to Germany when she turned nine.  At the age of twenty, she became deeply involved with the Camphill community of Brachenreuthe, Germany. She lived and trained at this Anthroposophical-based school and biodynamic farm, working with children in need of special care for six years. There, Cristina also discovered her love of eurythmy.  Cristina studied therapeutic eurythmy for children with special needs with Ms. Susanne Mueller-Wiedemann and did her eurythmy training from 1989 to 1992 with the Eurythmieinitiative Stuttgart, directed by Ms. Helga Mattke. In the summer of 2000, Cristina came to Colorado to teach eurythmy at Shepherd Valley Waldorf School and Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten. She has held a BA in Eurythmy since 2013 and is currently in her second year of teaching at Shining Mountain Waldorf School .  Cristina has been part of Sound Circle Eurythmy Ensemble and has been teaching in the pedagogical training of Eurythmy Spring Valley in Chestnut Ridge, New York.

Doug Felkley
Doug Felkley

Woodworking Teacher

Doug Felkley, Woodworking Doug was born on beautiful Catalina Island, in California. Leaving the island when Doug was still a young child, he and his family moved many times before finally settling in Boulder half way through seventh grade. Boulder was the perfect place for him to land, and Doug enjoys all that the Colorado outdoors has to offer. Climbing, cycling, skiing, kayaking, and mountain running have all been on the activity list at one time or another. Doug joined the staff of the City of Boulder gymnastics program in 1982, and after thirty-four years as a coach, coordinator, and supervisor he retired 2016 to pursue an education in furniture design, wood craftsmanship, and sculpture. Combining his love for working with children and his love for creating with wood, teaching woodworking at SMWS is the ideal fit. It is time for another new chapter in his life, combining two things that are very close to his heart: teaching and woodworking. Doug and his wife Jean met nine years ago while attending Bands on the Bricks on the Pearl Street Mall. Together they explore the art and music opportunities in Colorado every chance they get.

Emily Bowman
Emily Anne Bowman

Strings Teacher / Violin and Viola, Orchestra Co-Director

Emily Anne Bowman lives, breathes and dreams in music. A dedicated educator, she keeps a regular schedule as Artistic Director of the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra and conductor of the GBYO Philharmonic, as faculty with Boulder Suzuki Strings where she teaches violin, viola, fiddle and conducts the Senior Solo Orchestra, and as instrumental music teacher for grades 3-12 violin, viola and orchestra at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. Ms. Bowman has been recognized with the “Exemplary Teacher” award four times by the American Strings Teachers Association of Colorado. Ms. Bowman is an active performer. With music, she has traveled to Europe, South America, Central America, and throughout North America. She can be heard regularly performing with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. Ms. Bowman graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Viola Performance from the University of Colorado, receiving the Gabor Ormai Viola Award and the Outstanding Graduate Award from the College of Music. Ms. Bowman lives with her husband and two cats in beautiful Boulder where in addition to making music she delights in spending quality time with family and friends, eating and enjoying the outdoors.

Joshua Berman
Joshua Berman
Spanish Teacher Grades 1-8 and MS Cyber Civics Teacher

Joshua, who is also our school’s Social Media Director, became fluent in Spanish as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua where he worked with the Ministry of Education and was first dubbed, “don Josué.” He spent much of the next decade in Central America, working as a trip leader and guidebook writer. Joshua has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Brown University and has continued his teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College. Joshua has also worked as an Outward Bound wilderness instructor and is an accomplished travel writer. He has a monthly column in the Denver Post called “Around Colorado” and is the author of six books about travel. He has been a teacher at SMWS since 2007. Joshua’s wife, Sutay, a Registered Nurse and trained doula, teaches prenatal yoga and childbirth classes at Boulder Community Hospital. They have three daughters who attend Shining Mountain.

Theresa Baker
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. Theresa will serve this year as the Governance Council chair, as a member of the College of Teachers, and on the Campus Planning Committee.

Michael Janzen
Michael Janzen

Class Teacher Grade 7

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”.

Meg Gardner

High School Director

Meg Gardner grew up in Oklahoma building tree houses and playing her viola. She attended Indiana University, receiving a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Meg discovered Waldorf Education and immediately enrolled at Sunbridge College, where she received her MSEd.  She began class teaching at the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork in 2005. Meg joined the faculty at SMWS in 2013.

In 2023, she moved from class teaching into her role as High School Director.  She and her husband, Jon Ray, enjoy their many adventures with their sons, Solomon and Oliver. Meg loves hiking 14ers, backpacking, cross-country skiing, printmaking, painting, making encaustics, cooking, reading, and traveling.

Sandra Kirschner
Sandra Kirschner

Class Teacher Grade 2

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 cats. Sandra loves scuba diving, downhill skiing, hiking, dancing, and stargazing.

Caela Schulz
Caela Schulz

Class Teacher Grade 1

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, prior her BA in English Literature from  Barnard College/Columbia University in NYC. 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, graduating in 2017. In  2016, Caela took the third grade class at Shining Mountain through until  fifth grade, and is currently with her second class. Caela lives in Boulder  with her husband Eric, who works for Sherpa Mountain Adventures, and  her daughter Lily, who is in high school.

Dorothea Altgelt
Dorothea Altgelt

Class Teacher Grade 5

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.

Sarah Guneratne
Sarah Guneratne

Class Teacher Grade 4

Before becoming a Buddhist monk, Sarah Guneratne’s grandmother was a Montessori teacher for over 40 years. Growing up, Sarah spent summers with her cousins working at her grandmother’s school. Sarah was initially led to Waldorf Education as a parent. The daily rhythms, connection to nature, beautiful rituals, and inspiring holistic view of the developing child led her later to assistant teaching at both a Waldorf Kindergarten and Elementary school in Ashland, OR. There she had incredible mentors and many opportunities to substitute, lead yoga classes and interact with various learning styles.

Sarah received her MEd in Waldorf Education from Antioch University in 2020. The following fall, Sarah joined the SMWS community as a Class Teacher. Sarah also holds a Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture from the World Medicine Institute in Honolulu and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Colorado State University. She enjoys spending time with her family, being out in nature, doing hot yoga, cooking, and creating art.

Joe Koller
Joe Koller

Red Rose Kindergarten Assistant

Joe Koller has been involved with Waldorf pre-schools and kindergartens since the turn of the century—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.

Cherie Flandrick
Chérie Flandrick

Red Rose Kindergarten Teacher

Chérie grew up on the Mississippi river in Minneapolis, MN, in a big family. In 1983, she received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish, and in 1988, her M.A. in Counseling Psychology. For many years she worked as a Psychologist until she fell in love with her oldest daughter’s Waldorf preschool and decided to become a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher. Chérie attended Rudolph Steiner College in California and graduated in 2003. With much love and delight she has taught in Waldorf schools in Minnesota, California, Ireland and Colorado. Chérie has been the Red Rose teacher since 2007. She has 3 daughters that have attended Waldorf schools since preschool.

Mary Beth Fifer
Mary Beth Fifer

Early Childhood Education Director and Aftercare Teacher

Mary Beth has been teaching in one capacity or another since 1982 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. Mary Beth met her husband Walter in high school and they have three children – Jason, Ali and Zachary. Ali and Zachary graduated from SMWS in 2004 and 2010 respectively. She has five beautiful grandchildren.

Mary Beth has been an ECE Director for 21 years, beginning her Waldorf career at Boulder Valley Waldorf School as a kindergarten assistant and then the Assistant ECE Director, handwork teacher, Extended Care and Aftercare teacher. She designed and started the camp program at BVWS. Mary Beth joined the SMWS faculty in 2005 as the Director of Licensing, Rainbow Garden and Aftercare teacher. She again designed and started the camp program at SMWS. She has served on the Advisory Board of Boulder TEC -ECE program and is an active member of a number of Director groups including ACIS and ECCBC (Early Childhood Council of Boulder County), as well as being SMWS representative to WECAN.

Sara Fernald
Sara Fernald

Bluebell Prekindergarten Teacher

Sara grew up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, where she gained a great appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors. She always loved working with children and knew she wanted to be a teacher from an early age. Sara studied to be a public school teacher in Vermont, but reading “School as a Journey” by Torin Finser, convinced her that Waldorf education is much more aligned with what children really need. This led her to study to be an early childhood teacher at Rudolf Steiner College, graduating in 2010. Following graduation, she worked at Sophia’s Hearth Family Center , a Waldorf child care center in NH for almost five years, before moving to Boulder in 2017. Sara enjoys being outside in nature, especially hiking, spending time with friends and family, and doing crafts.
Lauren Smith

School Director

From a career in advertising and marketing for national brands, Lauren began her journey with Waldorf education. To prepare for the work of starting a Waldorf school in Palm Beach County, Florida, Lauren enrolled in the Waldorf Teacher graduate program at Antioch New England. Soon after her role shifted from administrator to teacher. The brand development perspective remained strong in Lauren’s work in Waldorf education as she continued to ask the question: “The Waldorf method brings the inspiration and respect every child deserves. How can we make it possible for more children to learn in this transformative way?” Striving for greater awareness and accessibility, Lauren has served in governance, development, and trustee roles in addition to teaching for the past 20 years. During a
sabbatical year, she was a founding teacher and board member in a public school enrichment program and nature preschool with a diversity mission. For the past two years, Lauren has led the Waldorf School of Lexington, Massachusetts as the Interim School Director. 

In the years prior to this school leadership role, Lauren served as Class Teacher for two eight-year cycles at the Waldorf School of Lexington. In addition to graduating the two classes, Lauren led faculty committee work in The College of Teachers, Professional Development, Diversity, Identity, Governance Design, and 50th Anniversary Fund Advancement.

Lauren has also served as the faculty officer on The Board of Directors for WSL. For the past two years as the Interim School Director, Lauren has led the school into a period of growth in both enrollment and staffing. Under Lauren’s leadership, the school reinvigorated community life post Covid, reimagined on-campus admissions events, expanded programs, and successfully onboarded many new families and staff members. Highlights from that time include getting to know all the students in the school, welcoming an increasingly diverse student body, and sending graduated classes off to their preferred schools as confident students.

Lauren looks forward to supporting the Shining Mountain community and joining the Board and Faculty as they find the future of the School together. With this work, she hopes to see Shining Mountain Waldorf School serve an expanding population of the Boulder
community.