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.
To email Michael, click here
John Darby, Director of Admissions and Enrollment
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.
Send an email to John.
Amy Flaum, Administrator
Amy has worked at Hawthorne Valley for 13 years, previously in the Admissions and Development Offices. She also is 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.
To send Amy an email, click here.
Taylor Race, Athletics Director, High School Physical Education teacher
Originally from Germantown, NY, Taylor attended Castleton State College where she played college basketball, attended the University at Albany where she received a Bachelor of the Arts, and attended the University at Cincinnati where she received a Master’s of Science degree. Taylor has experience in a variety of fields and a passion for athletics. She coaches numerous athletic teams including elementary, Junior Varsity and Varsity Women’s Basketball.
To send Taylor an email, click here
Emily Thorington, Main Office Receptionist
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Early Childhood Faculty
Andree T. Ward, 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.
To send Andree an email, click here
Walli Zay, Peach Blossom Nursery Teacher, Kindergarten Playgroup Teacher, Aftercare Teacher and 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.
To email Walli, click here
Send Walli an email by clicking here
Nancy Disbrow, Rose Kindergarten Teacher
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Dorothea Davis, Rose Kindergarten Assistant
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.
To email Janene, click here
Lower School Class Teachers
Kevin Kilb, Grade One 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 Waldorf training college in Chestnut Ridge, New York.
To reach Kevin by email, click here
Hannah Anderson, Grade One Assistant
Scott Esty, Grade Two 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.
Cara Stone, Grade Three 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.
To reach Cara by email, click here
Meaghan McKenna, Grade Four Class Teacher
Meaghan holds a Bachelor’s degree in the Social Sciences from Harvard University where she graduated cum laude. She also holds a Master’s degree in Education from Antioch University. Meaghan has extensive experience teaching at the Early Childhood level. Her Waldorf teaching experience outside of Hawthorne Valley includes three years at Morning Meadow Waldorf School. Meaghan moved into teaching in the grades in 2013. When not teaching, she enjoys visiting the beach, handwork, poetry, drawing, yoga, meditation and spending time with her three children.
To email Meaghan, click here
Andrew Sansone, Grade Five 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.
To reach Andrew by email, click here
Karin Almquist, Grade Six Class Teacher
Karin is a 2013 graduate of the Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center’s Teacher Training Program. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters of International Affairs from the University of Washington, and Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees 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 Tele Gymnazium and Tele Grammar School in the Czech Republic. Prior to joining the faculty at Hawthorne Valley School, Karin taught at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz.
To send Karin an email, click here
Trina Lacey, Grade Seven 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.
Kelly Weimer, Grade Eight Class Teacher
Kelly holds a B.A. degree from Evergreen State College with a major in Art History and Curatorial Studies. She received her Waldorf Teacher training from Rudolf Steiner College in California and Emerson College in England. Kelly has also completed course work at the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, the Steiner Waldorf Dyslexia Association, and Johansen Sound Therapy. Prior to Hawthorne Valley School, she worked as a first, second, and fifth grade assistant at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City.
To reach Kelly by email, click here
Stuart Summer, EARTH Program Teacher
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Lisa Damian, EARTH Program Teacher
Emily Kozakiewicz, EARTH Program Teacher and Gardener
High School Faculty
Susan Ambrose, Spanish Teacher, International Student Coordinator, and English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher
To reach Susan by email, click here
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.
To reach Simon by email, click here
Jennifer Kenyon, Language Arts and History Teacher
Abe Madey, Science, Math and Metalworking Teacher
To reach Abe by email, click here
Eric G. Müller, English and Drama Teacher
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 a collection of poetry. To learn more about Eric’s work, please visit his website [http://www.ericgmuller.com].
To reach Eric by email, click here
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.
To reach David by email, click here
Diane Barnes, Grades One, Two and Three Music Teacher, and Co-Teaching Grades Four and Five String Ensemble
Diane Barnes graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Education/Voice; from Rudolf Steiner College (foundation year and teacher training year, and Extra Lesson training); and from the Raphael School for Singing and Singing Therapy out of the Uncovering the Voice impulse brought by Frau Werbeck-Svardstrom. She attended many singing conferences in Eckwalden, Germany and worked with master voice teacher Jurgen Schriefer. She also studied the lyre for many years.
Diane was a Waldorf class teacher for 6 years and taught music to grades 1 – 8 in Waldorf schools for 26 years. For the past 4 years and continuing she is doing music/therapeutic singing work and Extra Lesson work with students at the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, teaches a block of music through the grades for the Alkion teacher training program, and is completing a year of teaching music for Lifeways training. She is well-versed in music through the grades and the Mood of the Fifth and recognizes the importance of bringing the new instruments into the music work. Diane also gives freelance concerts with singing and with the lyre, and has soloed and sung with the Hudson Valley Choral Society. She gives private lessons in singing and in lyre locally, and she offers therapeutic singing to those in need.
Maria Jimena Concha, Spanish Teacher
Kara Desiderio, School Nurse
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.
To reach Kara by email, click here
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.
To reach Cecelia by email, click here
Peter Elliston, High School Adjunct Teacher
Patrick Stolfo, High School Adjunct Teacher, Alkion Teacher
Mike Haley, Lower School Games Teacher
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.
To reach Claudia by email, click here
Nancy Lundy, Middle School and High School Chorus Teacher
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.
To reach Nancy by email, click here
Kristin Madey-Pilgrim, Lower School 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 founding member of Gallery 345 in Hudson, has exhibited her art work 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.
To reach Martina by email, click here
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.
To reach Bonnie by email, click here
Sylvia Nordoff, Lower School Eurthmy 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.
To reach Caroline by email, click here
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.
To reach Michael by email, click here
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.
To reach Marianne by email, click here
Helen Suter, High School Sculpture Teacher, Middle School Block Printing Teacher, and Mosaic 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.
To reach Helen by email, click here
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.
To reach Conrad by email, click here