Faculty and Staff
Michael Frosch, School Director
Michael has more than twenty years of experience successfully leading and managing Steiner-based educational organizations, specifically Ruskin Mill College, Ruskin Mill Trust, Sunfield School, and St Christopher’s School in the UK, and nine years of experience as a Science Teacher at the Vancouver Waldorf School. He earned a BS in Biology from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Canada, and holds an MBA from Bath University.
John Darby, Director of Admissions
John Darby brings his background in both academic administration and marketing to his new role as Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School’s (HVS) Admissions Director. A Georgia native, Darby graduated from Emory University with a degree in English. John taught in a Teach for America program for two years as a first and fourth grade teacher in New Orleans before moving into administrative work for the organization, including admissions. During that time, he also spent two years as a sixth grade teacher in Morocco at the American School of Tangier. He next took a role at Condé Nast where he could learn more about and develop his skills in digital marketing and magazine publication. Over the course of his career, Darby served as General Manager of ELLE.com, worked as the VP, Consumer Marketing at Hearst Publications, TheKnot, and StreetEasy (Zillow) in New York City. After spending many years in the online publishing field in New York, Darby decided to move full time to Columbia County and seek a role that would combine his interests in marketing and education. Admissions was the perfect fit.
Amy Flaum, Administrator, Director of Enrollment
Amy currently manages school enrollment and many other administrative tasks. She has worked at Hawthorne Valley for 14 years, previously in the Admissions and Development Offices. In the Fall, Amy is also the girls’ volleyball coach. Amy earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Springfield College, and is a Hawthorne Valley alum. In her off time she enjoys children’s literature, gardening, and playing volleyball. Email Amy
Eileen Lee, High School Administrator, ESL and French Teacher, International Student Exchange Coordinator
Eileen Lee is a multicultural teacher of languages. Born in Ohio to Korean parents and raised in Pennsylvania, Eileen moved to Korea when she was eight. Having learned both English and Korean during her childhood, Eileen has a pristine accent in both languages and is completely bi-cultural. Eileen understands first hand cross cultural issues and can identify the key cultural problems for students studying English and the American way of living. She loves languages and majored in French literature at Korea University.
Eileen has studied at Université Catholique d’Ouest in Angers France. She completed her Master’s in teaching English as a Second Language (MA TESOL) at SUNY Albany. Eileen taught EFL ( English as a Foreign Language) for over 10 years, and continued to teach Korean, French, and ESL in the Capital Region for over 10 years from pre-K to adult learners. She has taught students from 48 different cultures. Eileen worked as a certified NY Agent and Co- Director for Empire State English in addition to being the Academic Director for the school. As a lead presenter, Eileen has delivered over 40 workshops training the teachers in the state of NY- topics covering Pragmatics, Connecting Content to Real Life, and Strategies for Mixed Levels in an ESOL Classroom. Prior to her teaching career, Eileen spent over a decade as a commercial and fine art photographer with work published in the Wall Street Journal.
Marla Tolz, Main Office Administrator
Marla Tolz brings a diversity of talents to Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, drawing from a life of art education and agricultural endeavors. Marla graduated from the School of Visual Arts (‘10) with a BFA in Photography, and has refined her administrative skills in the fields of hospitality, arts, and education. Marla was born and raised in the Hudson Valley, and is passionate about exploring other cultures and cuisine. She has worked on vegetable and flower farms and is a freelance floral and plant designer. Outside of Hawthorne Valley you’ll most likely find her experimenting with new crafts techniques, nurturing her numerous plants, and arranging flowers.
Brian Yorck, Athletics Director
Kara Desiderio, School Nurse, Health Instructor
Kara serves as the school’s nurse. Originally from Columbia County, she holds a B.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a B.S. in Nursing from New York University. Kara has been a long time community healthcare advocate working for innovative harm reduction efforts in California and New York. Most recently she led a statewide transgender health program in California and worked in the Emergency Room at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. In addition to being a Registered Nurse, she is a certified sex educator, herbalist, and is passionate about school based healthcare. She strives to inspire young people to take care of their bodies and make healthy choices as they grow.
Nicole LoBue, Farm-to-School Lunch Program Chef
Nicole LoBue is a chef, herbalist, and educator. Nicole’s work has linked food as medicine, wellness, service and education in various collaborations, organizations, and in her own private practice. She is a co-founder of Kite’s Nest, an alternative learning center for young people in Hudson, NY where she served as programming director and co-founder of Wild Gather, a foundations in herbalism program and herbalism school in the Hudson Valley. She worked for many years as a chef, herbalist, and educator in the Bay Area, where she co-founded the alternative school, Brightworks in San Francisco, CA.Currently, Nicole is also the Culinary Arts Director of the Alimentary Kitchen in Hudson, where she facilitates workshops and experiences that offer a supportive environment for children and teenagers to pursue and develop a relationship to herbalism, wellness, self care, food access and food justice. She has taught multidisciplinary workshops for all ages at the Hudson Area Library, the Liberi School, Kite’s Nest, Basilica and in the Bay Area such as her series at the San Francisco Waldorf school, ‘Feeding the Family’, a series for parents which focused on sharing recipes and techniques for incorporating nutrient dense, whole foods to support the family. Additionally Nicole is a caterer in the Hudson Valley serving large and small scale events, weddings, fundraisers and dinner parties. Across her work — in her herbalism practice, in the kitchen, or in the classroom — Nicole fosters critical inquiry and systems- thinking connection to plants and to the natural world, and that which speaks to the intersections between political, personal, and ecological well-being.
Nicole is excited to bring her practice to the Hawthorne Valley community, and to have an opportunity to support the school’s priority of wholeness, health and social well-being in tandem with academic goals.She is looking forward to the possibilities of involving families and students, and hopes to support the goals of rooting relationship between people and this inspiring region’s gifts.
Early Childhood Faculty
Andree T. Ward, Peach Blossom Parent-Child Teacher
Andree has been a Waldorf Early Childhood educator at HVS since 1982, teaching Kindergarten, Nursery, and Parent-Child classes. Andree received a BA from the University of Texas at Austin in the Honors Liberal Arts Program and an MA from Columbia University Teachers College in Early Childhood Education. Her other professional responsibilities include mentoring and evaluating Waldorf Early Childhood teachers and evaluating developing member schools for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN). Andree has been a core member of the Alkion Center since its inception and teaches in the two year Foundation Studies program and the annual Summer Intensive. She directs the courses in the Early Childhood Specialization of the Waldorf Teacher Training Program. Email Andree
Walli Zay, Robin's Nest Nursery Teacher, Kindergarten Playgroup Teacher, Summer Camp Coordinator
Walli has been with Hawthorne Valley School for more than twenty-five years, teaching German and Kindergarten. Before that, she was a Kindergarten teacher in Munich and Freiburg. Walli completed the Foundation Year at the Alkion Center and also attended the Rudolf Steiner Institute for Language Instruction. She received a certificate for Social Studies and Family Care, a certificate for Home/Family Helper, and was trained at Fachschule fur Sozialpadogogik (South Germany) for Educator and Kindergarten teacher. Walli is interested in Anthroposophical Medicine, was trained in Switzerland for Rhythmical Massage Therapy. Email Walli
J'Mae Shemroske, Robin's Nest Nursery Assistant, Nursery Playgroup Leader
Nancy Disbrow, Rose Kindergarten Teacher
Dorothea Davis, Rose Kindergarten Assistant, Kindergarten Playgroup Teacher
Janene Ping, Morning Star Kindergarten Teacher and Kindergarten Chair
Janene studied Humanities at San Francisco State University. Her Waldorf training includes a degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College, attendance of yearly seminars at Rudolf Steiner Institute, and attendance of yearly conferences at the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. She has taught Puppetry Arts at Antioch Center for Anthroposophy & Early Childhood and Puppetry Arts at Rudolf Steiner Institute. She is the Artistic Director at Magical Puppet Tree, attends summer seminars at Antioch’s Center for Anthroposophy Renewal Program, and attended the Canadian Conference for Early Childhood Teachers. Her interests include travel in Europe and the Northwest, gardening, herbal studies, craft curriculum study, researching world cultural myths, exploring world mystery centers, fairytales and folktales & Anthroposophy.
Anne Graham, Morning Star Kindergarten Assistant
Corinna Komenda, Kindergarten Playgroup Assistant
Corinna Komenda has long standing experience in Waldorf Education.
Being a Waldorf student herself she raised her three children supporting and working in different Waldorf schools in Germany. She was a Homemaker at Camphill Village Copake for 9 years, attained her Social Therapy degree, attended the Teacher training at the Alkion center and taught German and Handwork at HVS for 7 years. After a break from teaching supporting her husbands business in administration she now returns to HVS Kindergarden to continue working with children and putting her love for the development of the child into action. Corinna is working towards her CDA certificate and her Waldorf Early Education certificate through Alkion. She also gives private Violin and Viola lessons since 8 years. Her interests include dying of silk, cooking and baking, singing, music, gardening, and many outdoor activities in this beautiful country.
Lower School Class Teachers
Rachel Loshak, Grade One Class Teacher
Rachel has lived in the U.S. since 1995 after being raised on an apple farm in the U.K. She has held a life-long love of nature and music, studying violin, piano, and voice. She holds a BA Honors degree in Creative Arts from Nottingham University, a certificate in Music Therapy from The New School in NYC, and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from The Alkion Center.
Rachel’s previous work experience includes creative arts/music therapy, art photo retouching, administration, and performing arts management. Rachel has toured nationally and internationally, and has composed and recorded six albums as a singer/songwriter/bassist.
Prior to joining the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School as the first grade teacher in 2016, Rachel began her teaching career leading children’s choirs and singing groups for ages 3-14 years. Rachel and her family regularly visit Hawthorne Valley and they are looking forward to joining the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School community next year.
Sophia Paffenroth, Grade One Assistant, Grade One Playgroup Lead
Raised in the Hudson Valley, Sophia is looking forward to returning to the upstate New York area for this coming 2019 school year. At Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, she will be assisting first grade and leading the afternoon playgroup, while completing her certification in Waldorf teacher training. Sophia is a recent graduate of St. John’s College, a small liberal arts college with multiple campuses. There, she studied the Western Canon of Great Books.
Sophia has practiced and loved the visual arts from a young age, inclining mostly towards drawing and painting. She has traveled abroad to study art, and hopes to continue both art and travel throughout her life. She enjoys dabbling in poetry and has also spent over 15 years of her life dancing, having focused mostly on ballet.
Excited to be joining Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Sophia hopes to gain valuable classroom experience while helping inspirational young minds grow.
Kevin Kilb, Grade Two Class Teacher
Kevin began teaching at the school in September 2000. He originally came to the community out of an interest in sustainable agriculture, but was so impressed by the children that he pursued the Waldorf teacher certification. After taking his first class through the eight years of elementary school, he taught for a year at Camphill Triform here in Columbia County, and a year at the Freiwaldorfschule in Karlsruhe, Germany before starting with his second class of students, who he also taught for eight years. In the summers, Kevin has enjoyed traveling to destinations relevant to the curriculum, including: China, Rome, Florence, Iceland, Norway and other parts of Europe, so far. In his spare time, he has enjoyed performing in shows at the Ghent Playhouse. Kevin graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program at Boston College in 1993 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and pursues other coursework that relates to his teaching. Kevin has also taught courses at the
Scott Esty, Grade Three Class Teacher
A Waldorf parent of over 16 years, Scott holds a B.A. in Music from Bates College, a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a Master’s degree in Education from Antioch University, where he completed his Waldorf teacher training. As a professional violinist, Scott performed for over 15 years with orchestras including the Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera Orchestra, and the Oregon Ballet Theater, as well a diverse range of chamber music ensembles. Scott maintained a private violin teaching studio for nearly two decades. Inspired by what his sons were experiencing through Waldorf education, Scott brought his musical experience to the Waldorf arena, becoming a strings and orchestra instructor. He began class teaching at the Taos Waldorf School in New Mexico, and taught at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs prior to coming to Hawthorne Valley. In his free time, Scott enjoys cooking, running, archery, acapella singing and playing chamber music. Email Scott
Cara Stone, Grade Four Class Teacher
A graduate of the University of Texas, Cara holds a B.A. degree in Anthropology with a double minor in French and English. She is a lifelong student of Anthroposophy and has been active in Waldorf Education for over 25 years. She has taught in various Waldorf school settings for 10 years and will carry her Waldorf Teacher Certification training through to the end in 2017. Cara has also worked in the healing arts as a massage therapist and energy bodywork therapist since 2000. She loves to travel, meditate, be in nature, spend time with her family, and do many artistic activities including, knitting, painting, sewing, acting, singing, and leading an ongoing Circle for the women of the community. Email Cara
Meaghan McKenna, Grade Five Class Teacher
Meaghan has been teaching in Waldorf schools since 2006 and at Hawthorne Valley since 2013. She has taught a vast age range from the youngest preschool children through adults in teacher training. Her favorite thing about Waldorf education is that it allows a teacher to look at each child as a deeply unique individual with varied gifts and challenges.
Meaghan graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor’s degree in the Social Sciences. She has a Master’s degree in Education (with a Waldorf focus) from Antioch University.
Meaghan is interested in the arts, cooking, writing, meditation, and psychology. She takes long road trips each summer with her three children, when they enjoy beach camping, hunting down natural springs, and exploring the South.
Andrew Sansone, Grade Six Class Teacher
Andrew holds two B.A. degrees, both from the University of Vermont, one for European Studies and one for German Language. Andrew received his Waldorf Teacher Training certificate from Eugene Waldorf in Oregon. He is a member of the Anthroposophical Society. Prior to joining the faculty at Hawthorne Valley School, he taught at the Corvallis Waldorf School in Oregon and the Rudolf Steiner School in Massachusetts. Andrew’s interests and hobbies include tennis, squash, meditation, camping, music, and carpentry. Email Andrew
Karin Almquist, Grade Seven Class Teacher
Karin did her teacher training at Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center’s Teacher Training Program. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in International Affairs from the University of Washington, and an M.A. and M. Phil. in Religious Studies from Columbia University. Her teaching experience ranges from kindergarten to the university level, including teaching English at the Seattle Refugee Resettlement Program, and at the Telc Gymnazium in the Czech Republic. Prior to joining the faculty at Hawthorne Valley School, Karin was a substitute teacher at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz. Email Karin
Trina Lacey, Grade Eight Class Teacher
Trina received her B.A. degree from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied Creative Writing and Humanities. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from the City College of New York, and will complete final requirements for her Waldorf Teacher Certification in 2018. Trina comes to Hawthorne Valley from The Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, where she taught high school English and worked in the nursery and kindergarten. She completed the New York City Teaching Fellowship in 2010, and taught at the middle school level for five years in NYC and then Detroit. Trina’s teaching career began in 2004 with therapeutic farm-based education; she trained in therapeutic settings for several years. She has served as an academic advisor, residential counselor, and house parent for early adolescents and teenagers. Trina has also worked as a published curriculum author in the area of Language Arts, and as a developmental editor for spiritual writers. When she is not teaching, Trina loves to sing, kayak, hike, write fiction, practice yoga, and study the healing and contemplative arts. Email Trina.
Lisa Damian, EARTH Program Teacher
A Waldorf educator for over 25 years, Lisa has worked with elementary and high school aged students and those with special needs, as well as mentoring. She has a broad background in Waldorf education and pedagogy, phenomenology, Spacial Dynamics and environmental education; and has a deep interest in the relationship between the natural work and the development of the inner life of human beings. Surrounded by nature as a child and growing up in blue collar community, the natural world and practical life have figured heavily into her biography. She homesteaded for 17 years in Vermont while Waldorf teaching and has been a founding faculty member for two Waldorf high schools.
Emily Kozakiewicz, EARTH Program Teacher and Gardener
A trained Waldorf teacher, Emily has worked with children in many different settings over the last ten years, including early-childhood programs, public school programs, and children with special needs at Camphill Special School Beaver Run. She has been a farm-based educator at Hawthorne Valley for the last four years, working with children in the garden, caring for the horses and honeybees. Prior to this, she apprenticed on a number of biodynamic farms. She feels blessed to be a part of the EARTH program, working with the soil, plants, animals, and children on such beautiful land.
Allison Bradley, EARTH Administrative Support
Amelia Schaaf, EARTH Program Intern
Amelia Graduated from Green Meadow Waldorf School, and holds a BA in Art History. Amelia lived and worked at the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Community for 7 years before coming to Hawthorne Valley in 2018 as an Education Intern at the Visiting Student Program. Amelia has worked on different organic and biodynamic farms in New York, California, and Italy, and is passionate about farm and nature education.
High School Faculty
Tom Brown, High School Science and Math Teacher
Thomas started his career as a Mechanical Engineer for the Port Authority of NY and NJ. His teaching career started at the Kolburne School where he taught Math to high school students. He then taught Math, Science, and Language Skills at the Kildonan School to dyslexic students from second grade through twelfth grade. He enjoys empowering students by getting them to increase their confidence and to find their voices when it comes to education. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Science degree in Martial Arts.
Thomas is also a Grand Master of Taekwondo. He is a certified seventh degree back belt, Master Instructor and Judge in Taekwondo by the Kukkiwon (one of the certifying bodies in Korea). He runs two martial arts schools, one in Great Barrington, MA and the other in Pittsfield, MA.
Thomas enjoys traveling around the world with his wife and three children, learning about different counties and cultures and sharing his experiences and what he has learned with his students.
Candace Christiansen, Chemistry, Math, Lab Skills, and Practical Arts Teacher
Simon Frishkoff, High School Chair, Science and Music Teacher
An alum of Hawthorne Valley, Simon is the high school’s chairperson and biology teacher. He studied at the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program with a Science track at the Center for Anthroposophy. His prior education includes a B.A. in Theater from Oberlin College and a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. Simon has taught the sciences (primarily biology) and music classes at Hawthorne Valley School in both the lower and high schools. Previously he guest taught at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School and Burlington College. He practiced naturopathic medicine in Vermont for seven years. Simon’s interests include natural medicine, music, writing, and performing.
Jennifer Kenyon, Language Arts and History Teacher
Jennifer Kenyon’s undergraduate experience was at Bates College. She did graduate work in American Studies at Hood College. She loves teaching high school students, thinking, talking, listening, walking, working on her house, having great conversations, and being with her family.
Abe Madey, Science, Math and Metalworking Teacher
Abe has a B.S. in Meteorology and Oceanography from SUNY Maritime and did Masters work in Atmospheric Sciences at SUNY Albany. He taught Meteorology at SUNY Albany and Sailing and Navigation at Sea at the Education Association. He has studied at the Alkion Center and attended Bring Science to Life – a professional development program at The Nature Institute. His interests include watercolor painting, computer layout and graphic design, baking and electronics.
Eric G. Müller, English and Drama Teacher
Eric was born in Durban, South Africa, and double majored in literature and history at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He attended Emerson College in Sussex, England, where he completed the Foundation Year, with emphasis on drama and creative writing. He studied Waldorf pedagogy at the Waldorf Institute in Witten-Annen, Germany, where he specialized in music education. Together with his family he moved to Oregon, where he became a class teacher at the Eugene Waldorf School, carrying a class through the eight year cycle. During this time he also taught German and music (orchestra, chorus, and individual classes). He was a co-founder of the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training Program.
Currently he teaches English and Drama in the High School. The blocks he teaches include Eschenbach’s Parzival, Goethe’s Faust, Homer’s The Odyssey, History through Music, and Comedy and Tragedy. He is a founding member of the Alkion Center, and the director of the education department. Over the years he has served as both faculty and college (council) chair, and sat on numerous committees, such as the Teacher Development Committee, which holds a special interest for him. He has written two novels as well as acollection of poetry. To learn more about Eric’s work, please visit his website [http://www.ericgmuller.com].
James Thompson, English Teacher
James completed coursework for his BA in Psychology & English and his MA in English at the University at Albany. His academic interests include positive affect, sustainability, and stewardship. James primarily teaches mid-day English classes at HVS with an emphasis on the development of critical and creative thinking.
David Anderson, 10th and 12th Grade Play Director
David was an English Teacher at Weimar Waldorf School in Germany and has taught various courses in England and Ireland. He spent three years acting, writing, and teaching at Shakespeare Alive! in Massachusetts. In addition to directing plays at Hawthorne Valley, Mr. Anderson is a director, actor, and workshop leader at Walking the Dog Theater. His other significant interests include poetry, performing, and hiking.
Maria Jimena Concha, Spanish Teacher
Jimena has extensive experience teaching Spanish in all grades. She taught at several private schools, including Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in the early 2000’s and Housatonic Valley Waldorf School. She also worked as a private tutor for both Spanish and English language learners. Jimena received a B.A in Modern Languages from the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, and has participated in education and language workshops at universities in Germany, Canada, and the United States.
Kristen Daley, Handwork Teacher
Cecelia Elinson, Early Childhood Place-based Resource Teacher
Cecelia began teaching at Hawthorne Valley in 1987. In the past, she has served as a Cobbler’s Assistant, a dairy farmhand, and as an organic garden assistant in Israel tending to orchards, beehives, and gardens. She studied Botany and Meteorology at Cabrillo Junior College, has received her Certification in Waldorf Education at Highland Hall and also studied the Classics at Wayne State University.
Peter Elliston, High School Adjunct Teacher
Born and raised in Washington DC I graduated from Pomona College in 1964 majoring in history. Following that I graduated from Georgetown Law School. For a brief time I worked on Civil Rights in the South. My passion for books led me to open a bookstore in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the university area for the following ten years.
I then pursued my interest in education and attended Emerson College in Sussex, England where I met my future wife. After one year of foundational studies in Anthroposophy I began the eurythmy training and obtained a diploma from Spring Valley Eurythmy in 1984. At this time we settled in the Berkshires and I took over the 6th grade at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner school and we began raising our family of four.
After graduating the eighth grade I moved to the high school level. I’ve been teaching history and English at HVS since 1990. Currently I am teaching part time at HVS (poetry and Moby Dick) as well as the Berkshire Waldorf High School in Stockbridge ,MA. (The Constitution and China).
Renni Greenberg, Lower School Learning Support Coordinator
Prior to joining the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in 2018, Renni was the Learning Resources Teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School in NYC, and preceding that she worked closely with the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School as an Educational Support Teacher. Renni was a founding faculty member of the Berkshire Waldorf High School, and in the early years of that school she fulfilled many roles, including Educational Support Teacher.
A native of Minnesota, Renni moved to NYC at a young age to pursue a career in dance. Renni’s professional life as a dancer included performing, teaching and choreographing in the US and Europe. Concurrent with working as a dancer, Renni attended City University, CCNY where she majored in Special Education. While raising two sons, she returned to the study of education, completing her training in Transdisciplinary Therapeutic Education with the Gradalis Program and her M.A. Ed. with a specialization in Waldorf Remedial Education at Touro University and Rudolf Steiner College in CA. Renni has also completed the Associate Level training in Orton Gillingham Literacy Instruction and is currently completing her training in Multi-Sensory Math Instruction, an Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching math.
Renni is particularly interested in working with movement and the senses as they support learning, and draws from a range of modalities including Extra Lesson, HANDLE (Holistic Approach to Neurodevelopment and Learning Efficiency), and BalAVisX. Renni serves on the Board of the Association for a Healing Education (AHE), and continues her love of movement by teaching dance at Berkshire Pulse in the Housatonic, MA.
Claudia Knab-Vispo, High School Adjunct Teacher
Claudia earned her PhD in Land Resources from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Diplome Arbeit from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen, in Munich Germany. Claudia one of the founders of Hawthorne Valley’s Farmscape Ecology Program, and is the field botanist there. After working on enthnobotany in Venezuela, she returned to look at the plants of farm fields (ethnobotany of a sort) and wilder places in and around Columbia County. Much of her recent work has involved following-up on Rogers McVaugh’s flora of Columbia County. The fieldwork for that publication was done in the 1930s and, with the help of Rogers’ unpublished fieldnotes, Claudia has been returning to his sampling sites in order to update our botanical knowledge of the County.
Aldo Lavaggi, Lower School Adjunct Teacher
Aldo studied sustainable design, tiny houses, and sculpture at Goddard College where he received a B.A. degree in 2010. For over a decade he has taught violin, fiddle, mandolin, and leads workshops in Music and Dance throughout New England. Aldo is co-director and founder of the the Columbia County Contradance where he plays regularly with his band, The Russet Trio since 2007. He studied Eurythmy and music at the American Eurythmy School and later completed his Waldorf teachers certification at the Alkion Center. Aldo also holds a level 1 certification in Spacial Dynamics and is a Level 3 candidate.
Nancy Lundy, Adjunct Music Teacher, Voice Coach
A former Hawthorne Valley parent, Nancy Lundy has worked with the MS chorus girls for the past two years while also supporting sectional rehearsals with the HS. She prepared the soloists in HVS’s last 6 Winter Concerts of Handel’s Messiah. She has been a professional opera singer for the past 23 years. Her career has taken her around the globe as a soloist with some of the world’s most prestigious opera companies and orchestras including La Scala, NY City Opera, Houston Grand, Netherlands Opera, Montreal Symphony at Carnegie Hall, and Philadelphia Orchestra. She has a Masters of Music degree from Eastman School of Music and was a fellow at The Juilliard Opera Center.
Kristin Madey-Pilgrim, German Teacher
Martina Angela Müller, Arts Teacher
Martina is a graduate of the Rudolf Steiner Schule Bochum, Germany where she attended K-13. She studied art and English at Ruhr University Bochum and Emerson College in England and holds a four-year, full-time Waldorf Teaching Diploma from the Institute of Waldorf Pedagogy in Witten-Annen, Germany with a specialization in high school art teaching and art history. She moved to Eugene, Oregon with her family where she was artist-in-residence with the Lane County Council on the Arts, and was on the founding faculty of Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene. Since moving to the Hudson Valley she has been teaching in the middle and high school at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School for two decades and at the Alkion Center for Adult Education since 2003. She is an internationally published children’s book illustrator, was a founding member of Gallery 345 in Hudson, has exhibited her artwork in numerous venues throughout New York and Massachusetts including Sculpture Now at the Mount in Lenox, MA, Diana Felber Gallery, LaMama LaGalleria NYC, Center Point Gallery, NYC and many more. She is the recipient of grants and prizes. She lives in Ghent,NY where she maintains her studio. To view her work and full resume please visit her website.
Stephanie Murphy, Learning Support Teacher
Stephanie brings 25 years of teaching experience in preschool through collegiate level to Hawthorne Valley School. She holds a Masters degree in Special Education with a provisional certification in Reading (NYS Certification MSEd, Sage Graduate School, Troy, NY K-12). Her undergraduate degree is in photography and journalism.
Stephanie is also a New York State licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant and co-owner of On Track Occupational Therapy, PLLC. Her company specializes in pediatric sensory integration therapy and sensory learning, and adult stroke rehabilitation. Through On Track, Stephanie has combined both of her vocational passions: literacy and occupational therapy. She brings a therapeutic approach to teaching and a holistic view of each child to her teaching.
In her free time, Stephanie runs a seasonal antique shop, donating a portion of all sales to individuals and families affected by epilepsy, a cause dear to her heart. Stephanie’s interests include mediation, yoga, reading and writing, and spending as much time as possible enjoying nature with friends and loved ones. She has two children, one of whom graduated from Hawthorne Valley School in June 2018.
Bonnie Nordoff, Piano Accompanist
Bonnie recieved a BA in Music from Bard College at Simon’s Rock. She has accompanied Eurythmy and choruses at Hawthorne Valley for the past nine years, prior to that she was at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School for many years. Bonnie also teaches piano privately in Great Barrington and is currently the music director at two churches.
Natalia Shevchuk, Piano Accompanist
Natalia Shevchuk, a native or Ukraine, had graduated from Kyiv State Conservatory named after P. Tchaikovsky, now known as the National Academy of Music. She was among the winners of Kyiv Rachmaninoff Piano Competition in 1993. Over the past seven years she performed in NH, Maine, NY, and released her first CD, “Schubert Sonata in B-flat major, D. 960.” She’s the organist/choir director at Calvary UMC in Latham, NY, and also an accompanist at Hudson Valley Choral Society. Natalia and her husband Chris Young moved from Conway, NH to New Lebanon, NY in July, 2016. For more info please visit: http://www.nataliashevchuk.com
Natalia also has a channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCtM96yJ7fTt9aJz7Ro173w
Sylvia Nordoff, Lower School Eurthmy Teacher
Sylvia Nordoff was born in New York. Her parents were Paul Nordoff, the famous composer, and Sabina Zay, a Broadway eurythmist and choreographer. Sylvia showed an early interest for movement, performing eurythmy for the first time 12 at Spring Valley Auditorium.
Sylvia studied at the Theater of Arts at New York University. She carried out her formal studies in eurythmy with Marjorie Spock and Sabina Nordoff of the Zucholi School of Eurythmy in Switzerland. As well, she trained in modern dance at the Martha Graham Dance School in New York City and in Flamenco with Margaret Flores in Woodstock, NY.
Sylvia has spent over 25 years teaching movement to children at the kindergarten, elementary, and high school levels at the Ottowa & Parsifal Waldorf Schools, and the Santa Fe Waldorf School, to name a few.
Sylvia’s goal is to bring the beneficial effects of meaningful movement into today’s challenging daily life.
Lily Rosenberg, Eurythmy Teacher
Caroline O’Neill, Handwork Teacher
Caroline has taught all lower school grade levels, and also serves as manager for the school store Turose Craft & Gift Shop. She received her certification for Handwork at Sunbridge College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Urban and Environmental Planning from Worcester PolyTech. She has both attended and taught at Handwork conferences. Caroline’s hobbies include hiking, canoeing, traveling, craftwork and natural dyeing.
Sara Parrilli, Middle and High School Arts Teacher
Sara Parrilli is an alumna of the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Spring Valley, NY. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, with a BA cum laude in Fashion Design, Specialization Knitwear. She spent a college semester abroad at Nottingham Trent University in the UK, where she expanded her knowledge of both manually-operated and computerized knitting machines. Prior to joining Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Sara completed two years of anthroposophical painting training at the Free Columbia Art Course in Philmont, NY. She is currently in the final stages of completing her Waldorf Teacher Training at the Alkion Center. When she is not teaching, Sara works as an artist, pursuing her many creative interests. She is often found painting, drawing, sewing, gardening, hiking, dancing and experimenting in the kitchen. Examples of her artwork can be found on her website at saraparrilli.com.
Michael Pewtherer, Practical Arts Teacher
Mike studied Adventure Education at Prescott College, Biology at SUNY Columbia-Greene and received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Minor in Wilderness Education from SUNY Empire State. He has received Waldorf teacher training at Alkion Center. He taught the Naturalist Program at Hartsbrook. His is a director at Woodland Ways, a Wilderness First Responder and author. His interests include SCUBA and free diving, hunting & tracking.
Bill Pernice, Lead Music Teacher and Music Program Coordinator
Bill’s passion for music began as a child when he was offered piano lessons at the age of four. He trained and performed classically and studied music education at SUNY Fredonia. Eventually the creative and improvisational genre of jazz offered an immersion into the satisfying complexity of deep listening, technique and co-operative musicality in the present moment, an art form that Bill’s classical roots have built upon and that he brings to his students and his performances. Bill has conducted, composed, arranged and performed music for orchestra, band, chorus, theater and individual performers in various music styles.
Bill began his career in Waldorf education by accident when he volunteered to assist in his son’s preschool. He holds a teaching certificate in Waldorf Education from Sunbridge College. Bill was the founding teacher at Dayspring Community School in Warwick, NY and taught kindergarten there for four years. Bill went on to teach both instrumental and choral music to students at Green Meadow Waldorf School for 18 years. He worked as Development Director for three years and Pedagogical Administrator for four years at Green Meadow and then returned to teaching music there until last year. Bill has served in ASWNA and NYSIAS, community renewal and inclusion-based group work, as well as consulting for developing Waldorf Schools.
Bill has a passion for helping students to find joy, creative thinking and connection for themselves and with others through music. In his spare time you can find Bill reading, writing music, doing yoga, hiking and traveling with his wife, Kate and playing jazz gigs. He has two sons who are Waldorf school grads.
Marianne Rannenberg, Reading Specialist
Marianne brings over 25 years of teaching experience in a variety of settings to her work at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. With a strong background in humanistic, student-centered education (Ecole d’Humanité, Switzerland) and early music and music education (Schola Cantorum, Musik Akademie, Basel, Switzerland), as well as a degree in developmental reading (MS, University at Albany; NY State certification K-12), she brings a creative, individualized approach to her work. Her long-standing involvement with Waldorf education since 1980, together with her strong interest in learning differences help her to integrate a holistic vision of each child with instruction that is carefully tailored to address specific needs. Marianne currently teaches both in her home in Harlemville and at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School.
Patrick Stolfo, High School Adjunct Teacher, Alkion Teacher
Before coming to Harlemville in 1987 from Detroit, Michigan, Patrick had completed undergraduate studies in fine art at Wayne State University, four years of specialist training in the sculptural arts at Emerson College, England, and his M.A. in Waldorf Ed. from Mercy College of Detroit. During his 22 full time years at HVS he taught across the grades in clay modeling/sculpture, woodworking, stone carving, drawing, and the high school history blocks in art and architecture. In addition, he served in numerous administrative and governance roles including faculty chair, high school chair, and the school board of trustees.
Since going part time at HVS in 2009, he has been able to focus more on teaching and co-directing at the Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center for Adult Education, mentoring teachers and teaching guest blocks at numerous Waldorf high schools, and working freelance in sculpture and drawing. Patrick has also been an adjunct instructor at the Center for Anthroposophy and the Antioch New England Waldorf Teacher programs in New Hampshire since the early 90s.
Patrick’s artwork has been exhibited and/or commissioned in New York, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, England, and Sweden.
Helen Suter, Middle School & High School Arts Teacher
Helen has lived in Switzerland, Peru, and South Africa, where she attended the German School and made her first acquaintance with Anthroposophy. She received a B.A. with honors in Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Arts. She went on to earn an Advanced Diploma and M.F.A. in Sculpture, both summa cum laude, while teaching History of Art Seminars and Foundation Year Sculpture at Michaelis.
Her work includes large-scale welded and assembled steel and mixed-media constructions, as well as textile and installation works. Her art has been exhibited internationally in more than 80 gallery and museum shows, including the Cape Town Biennial, the Newark Museum and the Norman Rockwell Museum grounds.To see some of her work, visit her website.
She attended the Alkion Center at Hawthorne Valley and received a certificate in Foundation Studies. Taking up teaching in the Waldorf school environment and sharing her passion for art with her students, is a hugely rewarding and inspiring experience for Helen.
Conrad Vispo, High School Adjunct Teacher
Conrad earned his PhD in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin, an MS in Wildlife Ecology from Indiana State University, and a BS Wildlife Ecology from Cornell. Conrad is currently adjunct faculty at the Cornell University Dept. of Horticulture. Before returning to Columbia County, where he grew up, Conrad conducted ecological research on a variety of organisms, including mammals, birds and fish in a variety of places, including the woods of northern Wisconsin and tropical Venezuela. His recent focus is on agroecology – investigating the questions of what habitats can farmland provide for native species and, in turn, what can those native species provide to farming? Conrad’s passion is understanding historical and modern patterns of animal (including human) ecology on the land. Conrad is a founding member of Hawthorne Valley’s Farmscape Ecology Program.
Elizabeth Young, School Therapist
Wayne Ruhl, Lower School and High School Games Teacher
Wayne Ruhl brings his knowledge and enthusiasm for games and sports to Hawthorne Valley School from his time spent teaching in New York, Florida, and as the Games Teacher at a Waldorf school in Colorado. He has coached several sports at the middle school, high school, and college levels including a stint as a Head Coach at a NCAA D-II college athletics program in Ohio. Mr. Ruhl also has a long history of leading residential summer camp programs in the Poconos (PA) and Berkshire Mountains (MA). In addition to being an American Red Cross certified instructor in CPR, AED, WSI, and Lifeguarding, he has also had Spacial Dynamics training and judged events at several Waldorf Grade 5 Greek Olympiads. When he isn’t teaching, he enjoys swimming, tennis, reading, collecting vintage vinyl records, and hiking all the local trails.