Meet WSP

High School Faculty

​Lisa Babinet (she/her)

Math, Middle and High School
Lisa earned a BA in Mathematics, MS in Mathematics Education, and PhD in Science Education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also taught graduate school. She has a master’s degree in Applied Psychology and is trained in Waldorf Education. She has taught mathematics in middle and high school for over four decades in independent schools on both coasts. Lisa has taught Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College as well as in in programs in Asia, and currently serves on the AWSNA Leadership Council as the Northern California/Nevada Regional Leader. She is the parent of two lifelong Waldorf students, now alums, who are deeply grateful for the gifts of their Waldorf Education, as is she.

MichaelaMichaela Bergmann

Eurythmy, Middle and High School
Michaela completed a five-year training course to become a stage eurythmist and eurythmy teacher for all ages, at the Eurythmeum Stuttgart, Germany. She also has a diploma from Micheshof Hepsisau, Institute for Therapeutic Pedagogy and has studied acting and drama. Michaela has been a eurythmy teacher since 1999, and is also experienced in working with children who have special needs using therapeutic eurythmy techniques. Michaela joined our school in 2003.

Marina Budrys

Humanities, Music & Art
Marina is an alumna of WSP and attended Waldorf Schools K-12. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of California-Santa Cruz, a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco, and a Waldorf High School Teacher Diploma from the Center for Anthroposophy. Like most Waldorf grads, Marina has a hard time pinpointing one interest and is equally interested in history, sustainable agriculture, singing, and cooking. She is always reading from a big stack of books. Marina is delighted to share with students her enthusiasm and curiosity for discovery.

Phil

Phil Dwyer (no preference)

Earth Arts, Middle and High School
Phil’s love for the land and practical arts stretches back to his formative years in rural New England. This passion led to decade-long journeys apprenticing with master craftspeople, farmers, educators, and cultural creatives. Phil began exploring biodynamic agriculture and Waldorf education while working with early Waldorf initiatives in Oregon and Georgia and taught at Honolulu Waldorf School for many years. Decades of experience as a professional artisan, handyman, farmer, cooperative business manager, and director of  nonprofits inform all aspects of Phil’s work as a creative and compassionate educator supporting students, parents, and colleagues.​

leaf2015Lea Fredrickson, PhD

Physics, Spanish, Math
Lea is a California native and attended Waldorf school from kindergarten through eighth grade. In high school, she became interested in Physics, which she pursued further in college. She always enjoyed studying Spanish and spent one year abroad at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. Lea received her PhD in Physics from UCLA studying the Biophysics of hearing. She earned her Waldorf High School Teacher Diploma at Rudolf Steiner College.

Laura Grau, MS

Spanish, Middle and High School
Laura was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain, where she graduated from ESADE Business School with a bachelor’s degree in Tourism. She moved to the US in 2010 where she completed her master’s degree in Project Management. Laura worked as a Conference Manager for ten years organizing events in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Motherhood led her to Waldorf Education. She earned her Waldorf Language Teacher Education Certificate from Sunbridge Institute and is working on her Waldorf High School Teacher Diploma. She is passionate about inspiring young minds to discover the world through the lens of her language and culture.

Mia Hammerschmidt (she/her)

Middle and High School Educational Support
Mia spent her childhood in Germany and moved to the Bay Area (for the first time) in 2006. For many years, she lived stayed in the lovely Santa Cruz Mountains before returning to Germany. Mia is a licensed Ergotherapist (1997), Sensory Integration Therapist (2000), Graphomotoric and HandinessTherapist (2019), and Neurodevelopmental Therapist (2021). She works in partnership with Benaudira to assess and treat auditory processing disorder, and is currently pursuing her masters in Psychology. Through 25 years of experience Mia has accumulated significant knowledge, judgment, and insight working with all age groups from young children to adults. Since her daughter is a Waldorf student, Mia has always been an enthusiastic Waldorf parent. She taught handwork at the Freie Waldorfschule Flensburg/Germany. Outside of work Mia loves to connect with nature through hiking, swimming, and gardening.

Bridget Kenevan (she/her)

Middle and High School Counselor
Bridget was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado but has lived in the SF Bay Area for many years. Prior to moving to the SF Bay Area, she lived and studied in Boston and England. Bridget holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from SFSU, and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been providing therapy and counseling services in schools for over twenty years. Previously she has worked for San Mateo County as a school-based therapist, and then more recently as a crisis intervention specialist at Mountain View High School. As a school-based counselor, Bridget strives to support the emotional, academic, and social health and development of students. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, listening to live music, reading, and spending time with her teenage son and their mini Goldendoodle.

leal2015
Leah Lader (she/her)

Orchestra, Middle and High School
Leah is an educator, musician, designer, and parent. She received her BS in Industrial Design with a Certificate in Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati. After designing products ranging from women’s footwear to toys to washing machines, she decided to shift her career and focus on her passion – teaching music to young people. Upon arriving in the Bay Area, Leah taught general music, recorders, and strings in public elementary schools for the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA). After four years of teaching, Leah took over as the In-School Music Program Manager at CSMA, and led the program for nearly five years. During that time, she began teaching music for us and now manages the concerts in addition to teaching students from grades 3 through 12. Leah is currently a first violin in the Redwood Symphony, after having been a member of the Cleveland State University, University of Cincinnati Conservatory Sight Reading and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestras.


Sarah Lockwood (she/her)

Humanities
A transplant from Canada, Sarah has now lived in the Bay Area since 2013. She has been an educator for almost two decades, with experience at every level from primary to post-secondary. Her degrees include a Master’s in Literature, as well as undergraduate degrees in English, History, and Educational Pedagogy. Sarah’s role as a parent introduced her to Waldorf and she continues to learn more about it in practice. She is delighted to be able to share her love of different cultures, storytelling, and critical thinking with her students. When she’s not at school, Sarah can mostly be found hanging out with her family, or making jam, baking, reading, or creating costumes.


Liam Metzger (he/him)

Middle and High School Movement/PE Teacher
A lifelong Mountain View resident, Liam is also an alum of WSP, having graduated from our high school after spending fourteen years with us! While at WSP, he played on the basketball and soccer teams, and baseball in a local league. After high school, Liam ventured abroad to Estonia to study at the Tallinn Technical University for two years. Once life brought him back to the Bay Area, he realized he missed having movement as a part of his daily life, and fortunately for WSP, he accepted our call to serve as the HS Boys Basketball Coach. During this time, Liam also had the opportunity to teach PE classes as a substitute and was glad to take on the role full time when it became available. Liam finds it rewarding and a joy to give back and coach where he himself enjoyed being coached for so many years. In his spare time he enjoys running, hiking, playing basketball in a local men’s league, and spending time with his family and friends. You can also find him out in nature or learning to play the piano!

Christina Oran (she/her)

Mathematics
Christina earned her Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Haverford College and her Master of Arts in mathematics from UCLA. In addition to mathematics, she studied chemistry, computer science, and fine art. Christina has taught high school mathematics in independent schools in Los Angeles and the Bay Area since 2006 and joined WSP in 2017. She enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time with her children.

christopher2021

Christopher Otte (he/him)

Humanities, Spanish, Mathematics, Music
Christopher grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Pasadena Waldorf School 1st through 8th grade. He received a BA in Global Economics from UC Santa Cruz and holds a certificate in permaculture design. Having spent a semester at the Autonomous University of Mexico, he later taught middle school math at Arising, a Waldorf-inspired homeschool collective. A music lover, Christopher has played in a number of groups and also studied in a jazz and commercial music program for three years. In his free time, Christopher enjoys tending his worm farm, improving health and fitness, and spending time with friends and family.

Sarah Jane Pinkerton

Humanities, Spanish
Sarah Jane holds a PhD in Feminist Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara and her Waldorf High School Teacher Diploma from the Center for Anthroposophy in New Hampshire. She earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley where she studied abroad at the Complutense University of Madrid. Sarah Jane’s love for the Spanish culture and language lead her to pursue a Joint Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree at the University of Granada, Spain and Utrecht University, The Netherlands respectively. Sarah Jane’s interdisciplinary humanities background combines her passion and dedication to social justice, environmental stewardship, and her love of the visual and language arts. When she is not running around after her twins, she enjoys going to the ballet, traveling, baking and reading in both Spanish and English.

LeonaLeona Rexhepi

Athletic Director, Middle & High School
Leona earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Pacific Union College. She is currently completing graduate studies in sport management at the University of San Francisco. Having been born and raised in Kosovo, her passion for sports began at a young age. Before coaching basketball throughout the Bay Area, Leona has played basketball overseas and in college. She believes sports are essential to a healthy development and to creating lifelong memories. Leona enjoys spending time with family, reading, and connecting with nature in her free time.

JenniferJennifer Staub (she/her)

Chemistry, Biology, Art, MS Math
Born in Germany and raised in Northern California, Jennifer attended the Sacramento Waldorf School from first through twelfth grade. It was in high school where she developed a deep love and enthusiasm for the sciences and arts and returned there to teach in 2009. She holds a MS in General Biology from Mississippi State University, a BA in Psychology from Beloit College, minors in chemistry, and biotechnology, and completed her Waldorf HS Teacher Training courses at the CofA in New Hampshire. Jennifer has been a teacher at the Sacramento Waldorf School, the Haleakala Waldorf School, and the Waldorf School of Orange County having taught courses in the sciences, humanities and arts. Her interests are broad, ever-evolving and include practical arts such as ceramics and knitting, the theatre arts, Latin ballroom dancing, camping, and gardening.

Rachel Taylor, PhD (she/her)

Biology
Rachel grew up in New York and attended Green Meadow Waldorf School from 5th-12th grade. Having graduated from San Diego State University, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from UC San Diego, Rachel continued her research during a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford studying the expression, regulation, and structure of bacterial capsular polysaccharides. She is currently working towards a Waldorf High School Teacher Diploma from the Center for Anthroposophy. Rachel is thrilled to be teaching high school biology and sharing her passion for science and excitement for learning. In her spare time she enjoys crocheting and doing baking and craft projects with her two young daughters who are students at WSP.

Larisse Teixeira Ewerton (she/her)

Pianist and Music, Middle and High School
Larisse was born and raised in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. She encountered Waldorf Education in 2013 when was invited to be the pianist at a Waldorf school in the capital while being part of the international summer course in Brasilia at Brasilia Music School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Brasilia and is finishing her master’s degree in Musicbiography. Her research is on musical training experiences in the biography of a Waldorf music teacher. Larisse has also participated in Waldorf high school teaching courses, workshops, and seminars in Brazil, as well as the basic training course in anthroposophy in Brasilia and Goiania/Brazil. She moved to the Bay Area in 2023, motivated by living other experiences in her personal and professional life. In her free time Larisse loves to make scrapbooks, journal, Ikebanas (art of arranging flowers), craft projects, handwriting and paint.

Ayzin
Ayzin Uludag

Art
Originally from Turkey, Ayzin has been working with children of different ages since 2007. Holding her BA in Early Childhood Education, she worked both as a kindergarten class teacher, and a co-teacher for children’s art projects in Museums and Photography workshop in public schools. After moving to California, Ayzin studied Traditional Chinese Medicine on Medical Qigong Therapy at Five Branches University and then completed her Waldorf teacher training at Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2018. During the last two years of the training she worked closely with our former gardening teacher and taught art classes in upper grades. Doubling her passion in nature with art, she is very enthusiastic about working artfully with children in the garden as well as practicing sustainable design and biodynamic principles. She enjoys playing flute and ukulele, spending time in nature, cooking, wood working and designing.

 

Grades 1 – 8 Faculty

Jessica Sykes (she/her)

Grade 1 Class Teacher

Growing up in the rocky mountains of Canada, Jessica developed a great respect and admiration for nature. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education focused on Social Studies and Fine Arts, and went on to earn a Masters degree. Embracing artistic research methodologies, she discovered the wonder-filled pedagogy of Waldorf during her Curriculum Studies in graduate school. Jessica entered into her Waldorf Teacher Training at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto and led her first Waldorf class through middle school at the WISE school. There, she honed her art of teaching as she worked to expand the social-emotional growth of her class while offering a kinesthetic and aesthetic educational approach. Outside of the classroom, Jessica can be found traveling leisurely, learning languages, writing, and practicing yoga.

Taylor Noll (she/her)

Grade 2 Class Teacher
Prior to joining us at WSP, Taylor has had a long career teaching early childhood and elementary school, and spent several years at Pasadena Waldorf School. She holds a master’s degree in Waldorf Education, and a Waldorf teacher certificate from Antioch University New England. Taylor grew up in Los Angeles and studied Art Education at San Francisco State University. Outside of teaching, she is a ceramic artist and enjoys spending her time on the weekends hiking with her young child and their energetic border collie mix.

Andrea2021Andrea Metzler (she/her)

Grade 3 Class Teacher
Andrea was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal with a Bachelor of Music, she moved to Europe to pursue a career in opera. When she settled in Vienna, she transitioned to working with children and discovered her love of Waldorf Education. Since then, Andrea has received a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California and has attended the Academy of Waldorf Education Mannheim and Rudolf Steiner College Canada, where she continues her studies. Though she has taught in a variety of settings, Andrea took on her first Waldorf class starting first grade in 2016. She is honored to be joining WSP with the Class of 2033.

Amy Van der Wyk (she/her)

Grade 4 Class Teacher
Amy is a lifelong resident of the Bay Area and graduate of Sonoma State University. When she beheld her own childrens’ joyful experience in a Waldorf-inspired nursery school, she felt called to become a Waldorf teacher herself. She earned her Waldorf teaching certificate from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2002. As a class teacher she has completed two first through eighth grade cycles, and begins her third as the first grade teacher for the class of 2032. She is inspired by the insightful picture of child development that informs the pedagogy in Waldorf schools, and continues to be in awe of the wisdom in Rudolf Steiner’s curriculum. In her free time Amy enjoys gardening with her spouse.

Ramona Budrys

Grade 5 Class Teacher
Originally from Connecticut, Ramona moved to the Bay Area in 1988, completed her law degree at Santa Clara University, and worked as a prosecutor for several years. Motherhood led her to Waldorf education, and she completed her Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California. Finding the classroom infinitely more interesting than the courtroom, she has been teaching since 2004. Ramona hopes the children entrusted to her at WSP find her love of learning infectious.

Catherine Dwyer (she/her)

Grade 6 Class Teacher
Catherine joined WSP as our Grade 1 teacher in 2018. She has a degree in Educational Psychology from UCLA and earned her Waldorf Teaching certificate from the Kula Makua Waldorf Teacher Training Center in Hawaii. Catherine came to us from the Honolulu Waldorf School and brings with her many years of experience, not only as a grades teacher, but also in handwork, junior high humanities, middle school/high school science, early childhood, and in administration.

suman2019Suman Desai (she/her)

Grade 7 Class Teacher
A teacher by calling and an engineer by education, Suman, a native of South India, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering. She started her career as a software engineer in India and continued to have a successful career in the Bay Area. A move back to India a decade later provided a chance meeting with Waldorf education. Suman subsequently served as a class teacher in a pioneering school in Bengaluru (Bangalore) for four years. Her quest to dive deeper into Anthroposophy led her to pursue formal training at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. Beyond her professional life, she finds joy in cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family. With over eight years of association with WSP, Suman is eager to continue her journey as a class teacher and contribute to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula.

monica2015Monica Laurent (she/her)

Grade 8 Class Teacher
Monica was born and raised in Milan, Italy. Following her heart, she moved to the United States in 1992 and earned a master’s in Multicultural Communication from DePaul University. Monica graduated from the Rudolf Steiner College Teacher Training Program in 2005 and the Gradalis Institute in Trans-Disciplinary Therapeutic Education in 2006. Monica started as an intern in 2002 and, in 2005, became the co-director of the Educational Support Department before taking her first-grade class in 2008, which she graduated in 2016. Monica is delighted to be on this journey again with the class of 2028. Monica has enjoyed teaching the Dante block in high school along with her class teaching. She is pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational and Professional Practice focusing and Waldorf Education at Antioch University. Monica’s particular interest is in the intricacies of adolescents’ social and emotional development and well-being. In her spare time, she enjoys creating art, being outdoors, cooking, reading, and spending time with her husband and three adult children, all WSP graduates.

 

 

 

Grades 1 – 8 Subject Faculty

​Lisa Babinet (she/her)

Math, Middle and High School
Lisa earned a BA in Mathematics, MS in Mathematics Education, and PhD in Science Education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also taught graduate school. She has a master’s degree in Applied Psychology and is trained in Waldorf Education. She has taught mathematics in middle and high school for over four decades in independent schools on both coasts. Lisa has taught Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College as well as in in programs in Asia, and currently serves on the AWSNA Leadership Council as the Northern California/Nevada Regional Leader. She is the parent of two lifelong Waldorf students, now alums, who are deeply grateful for the gifts of their Waldorf Education, as is she.

MichaelaMichaela Bergmann

Eurythmy, Middle and High School
Michaela completed a five-year training course to become a stage eurythmist and eurythmy teacher for all ages, at the Eurythmeum Stuttgart, Germany. She also has a diploma from Micheshof Hepsisau, Institute for Therapeutic Pedagogy and has studied acting and drama. Michaela has been a eurythmy teacher since 1999, and is also experienced in working with children who have special needs using therapeutic eurythmy techniques. Michaela joined our school in 2003.

PhilPhil Dwyer (no preference)

Earth Arts, Middle and High School
Phil’s love for the land and practical arts stretches back to his formative years in rural New England. This passion led to decade-long journeys apprenticing with master craftspeople, farmers, educators, and cultural creatives. Phil began exploring biodynamic agriculture and Waldorf education while working with early Waldorf initiatives in Oregon and Georgia and taught at Honolulu Waldorf School for many years. Decades of experience as a professional artisan, handyman, farmer, cooperative business manager, and director of nonprofits inform all aspects of Phil’s work as a creative and compassionate educator supporting students, parents, and colleagues.​

Laura Grau, MS

Spanish, Middle and High School
Laura was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain, where she graduated from ESADE Business School with a bachelor’s degree in Tourism. She moved to the US in 2010 where she completed her master’s degree in Project Management. Laura worked as a Conference Manager for ten years organizing events in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Motherhood led her to Waldorf Education. She earned her Waldorf Language Teacher Education Certificate from Sunbridge Institute and is working on her Waldorf High School Teacher Diploma. She is passionate about inspiring young minds to discover the world through the lens of her language and culture.

Mia Hammerschmidt

Middle and High School Educational Support
Mia Hammerschmidt (she/her) spent her childhood in Germany and moved to the Bay Area (for the first time) in 2006. For many years, she lived stayed in the lovely Santa Cruz Mountains before returning to Germany. Mia is a licensed Ergotherapist (1997), Sensory Integration Therapist (2000), Graphomotoric and HandinessTherapist (2019), and Neurodevelopmental Therapist (2021). She works in partnership with Benaudira to assess and treat auditory processing disorder, and is currently pursuing her masters in Psychology. Through 25 years of experience Mia has accumulated significant knowledge, judgment, and insight working with all age groups from young children to adults. Since her daughter is a Waldorf student, Mia has always been an enthusiastic Waldorf parent. She taught handwork at the Freie Waldorfschule Flensburg/Germany. Outside of work Mia loves to connect with nature through hiking, swimming, and gardening.

Bridget Kenevan (she/her)

Middle and High School Counselor
Bridget was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado but has lived in the SF Bay Area for many years. Prior to moving to the SF Bay Area, she lived and studied in Boston and England. Bridget holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from SFSU, and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been providing therapy and counseling services in schools for over twenty years. Previously she has worked for San Mateo County as a school-based therapist, and then more recently as a crisis intervention specialist at Mountain View High School. As a school-based counselor, Bridget strives to support the emotional, academic, and social health and development of students. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, listening to live music, reading, and spending time with her teenage son and their mini Goldendoodle.

Robin Lacey (she/her)

Middle School Wind Ensemble
Robin grew up in upstate New York and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY, and a Masters Degree in Saxophone Performance from San José State University. She has taught general music classes, coached school band programs, and teaches privately throughout the Bay Area. Robin is also an active professional musician, having performed and soloed with several orchestras such as Modesto Symphony, Opera San José, Redwood Symphony, Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra. When not performing and teaching music, she enjoys spending time at home with her husband and their two guinea pigs Piper and Pearla.

leal2015Leah Lader (she/her)

Grades 3-5 Strings and Music, Middle and High School Orchestra
Leah is an educator, musician, designer, and parent. She received her BS in Industrial Design with a Certificate in Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati. After designing products ranging from women’s footwear to toys to washing machines, she decided to shift her career and focus on her passion – teaching music to young people. Upon arriving in the Bay Area, Leah taught general music, recorders, and strings in public elementary schools for the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA). After four years of teaching, Leah took over as the In-School Music Program Manager at CSMA, and led the program for nearly five years. During that time, she began teaching music for us and now manages the concerts in addition to teaching students from grades 3 through 12. Leah is currently a first violin in the Redwood Symphony, after having been a member of the Cleveland State University, University of Cincinnati Conservatory Sight Reading and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestras.


Liam Metzger (he/him)

Middle and High School Movement/PE Teacher
A lifelong Mountain View resident, Liam is also an alum of WSP, having graduated from our high school after spending fourteen years with us! While at WSP, he played on the basketball and soccer teams, and baseball in a local league. After high school, Liam ventured abroad to Estonia to study at the Tallinn Technical University for two years. Once life brought him back to the Bay Area, he realized he missed having movement as a part of his daily life, and fortunately for WSP, he accepted our call to serve as the HS Boys Basketball Coach. During this time, Liam also had the opportunity to teach PE classes as a substitute and was glad to take on the role full time when it became available. Liam finds it rewarding and a joy to give back and coach where he himself enjoyed being coached for so many years. In his spare time he enjoys running, hiking, playing basketball in a local men’s league, and spending time with his family and friends. You can also find him out in nature or learning to play the piano!

Barbara Neumann (she/her)

Eurythmy, Early Childhood – Grade 5
Barbara comes to WSP having been a eurythmist in the Bay Area for over 30 years, performing, teaching and conducting eurythmy therapy. She earned her BA in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. Barbara also holds a Diploma in Anthroposophical Studies from Waldorf Institute of Mercy College of Detroit, an Artistic Eurythmy Diploma from Eurythmy Spring Valley, a Pedagogical Eurythmy Certificate from Emerson College in England and a Therapeutic Eurythmy Diploma from Dornach, Switzerland. She and her husband raised two boys in San Francisco, both of whom attended a Waldorf school from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Christina Oran (she/her)

Mathematics
Christina earned her Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Haverford College and her Master of Arts in mathematics from UCLA. In addition to mathematics, she studied chemistry, computer science, and fine art. Christina has taught high school mathematics in independent schools in Los Angeles and the Bay Area since 2006 and joined WSP in 2017. She enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time with her children.

Katie O’Toole (she/her)

Art and Mathemiatics
Katie has had a love for the arts all of her life. Having grown up in the Palo Alto hills, she found that the shades and colors of landscapes were endlessly interesting, from the twisting of oak branches to the shadows of the hills, and she was dedicated to drawing, sketching, and painting all through primary school. At Humboldt State University Katie earned her BA in Engineering and Studio Arts She found that her art was most inspired while studying Math or Physics. After college, Katie worked as a graphic designer and an outdoor educator. She and her husband are currently raising two young children. In her (very) spare time she loves to cook, hike, go backpacking, swim, and exploring arts and crafts with which she is not yet familiar.

Meeta Panicker

Interim Movement Teacher, Grades 1 – 5
Meeta grew up in Mumbai, India and completed a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Commerce as well as a Master’s degree in Information Technology before joining the IT industry. She spent thirteen years in that industry creating software products and managing engineering teams. Dissatisfied with the mainstream education system, Meeta discovered Waldorf education when seeking a more wholesome learning experience for her children. After moving to Bengaluru, India she volunteered with the local Waldorf school and completed a year-long Foundation course in Waldorf teacher training before moving to the U.S. Meeta holds a Waldorf Teacher Training certificate from the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy in British Columbia, Canada and has completed HANDLE training levels 1 and 2. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Jane Schwartz Philipson (she/her)

Parent-Child Program Director/Lead Teacher and Grades K-5 Extended Care Director
Jane is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. She holds degrees in both Education and English and American Literature. Inspired by her mother’s work as an early childhood educator, Jane went on to teach early childhood and primary grades both in the Midwest and the Bay Area. Jane has been an Independent Educational Consultant with a focus on parent education, and reading and language development. Jane holds a Waldorf Birth to Seven Early Childhood Certification from the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. A parent of three WSP alumni, in her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and treasure hunting in nature and in thrift stores.

kerstinp2015Kerstin Pintus (she/her)

Handwork, Grades 1 – 8
Kerstin received her BA in Physical Therapy from the University of Cologne, Germany and also holds a diploma in physical education with focus on movement and special education from the staatlich anerkannte Gymnastikschule Dortmund, Germany. In her 30 year career in Physical Therapy, she focused on working with children of all ages. Her interest and passion in all aspects of handwork and fiber arts originated at a very young age and have only grown stronger with time. Since 2001, Kerstin has volunteered, substituted and assisted in various handwork classes at WSP from grades one through twelve. She graduated from Rudolf Steiner Colleges Waldorf Handwork teacher program and has taught Handwork at WSP since 2013. Additionally, she has taught doll-making to parents, teenagers and educators since 1998. Her goal is to kindle a passion for handwork and inspire to create beautiful work.

anna-rAnna Rainville (she/her)

Master Teacher
Anna has taught in public and Waldorf Schools for over thirty years, and has been a class teacher at the Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts and at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. She has taught in the Public School Institute at Rudolf Steiner College for teachers interested in integrating the arts and Waldorf methods and travels nationally as a mentor and teacher.  Her book, Singing Games for Families, Schools and Communities, includes dances for all ages which she presents in workshops and community gatherings coast to coast. For her work in early childhood, she was chosen outstanding teacher of the year by the California Kindergarten Association. Anna is delighted to share her love for history, grammar and music in middle school and high school blocks.

Leona
Leona Rexhepi

Athletic Director, Middle & High School
Leona earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Pacific Union College. She is currently completing graduate studies in sport management at the University of San Francisco. Having been born and raised in Kosovo, her passion for sports began at a young age. Before coaching basketball throughout the Bay Area, Leona has played basketball overseas and in college. She believes sports are essential to a healthy development and to creating lifelong memories. Leona enjoys spending time with family, reading, and connecting with nature in her free time.

Claire Roberts (she/her)

Gardening, Grades 1 – 5
Claire graduated from the University of Iowa, with her BA and Certificates in Cultural Anthropology, Sustainability, Global Health, and Spanish. While attending UI, she spent a month in the the Andes of Ecuador, learning about local efforts to reclaim traditional farming methods. A forever life-long learner, Claire received a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Regenerative Design Institute, and completed RDI’s Ecology of Leadership course. She has most recently worked as an Outdoor Educator at the Web of Life Field School, where she developed and facilitated programs in environmental studies and leadership for students of all ages. Claire is grateful to have the opportunity to unite her passions of sustainable agriculture, community building, and the great outdoors as our elementary school garden teacher.

Géraldine Strub (she/her)

Spanish, Grades 1 – 8

Géraldine was born in México City and lived in Southern California for twenty-three years before moving to Seattle in 2019. Being a Waldorf parent for eleven years made her appreciate and cherish Waldorf Education. Géraldine immersed herself in many different branches of Waldorf training and is a certified Waldorf Teacher as well as holding a B.A. in International Relations from the ENEP Acatlán, Estado de México. Additonally, Géraldine holds a degree in Applied Linguistics: Teaching Spanish as a foreign language from the Universidad Europea del Atlántico, Santander, Spain. She offers a wide variety of natural immersion teaching methods to bring the language and culture alive, including rhythm, storytelling, songs and dances, rhymes, tongue twisters, fun grammar game exercises, literature and art, and even Spanish cooking. Géraldine’s prime objective is to create a safe, loving, and caring learning environment where students are happy to participate, eager to learn, and receive attention individually. Géraldine’s numerous other interests include world history, geography, handwork of all kinds, and nature walks. She participates in various Anthroposophical branches, the Waldorf Spanish Teachers’ Association (WSTA) and the Wonder and Wisdom of Handwork Teachers Association.

Larisse Teixeira Ewerton (she/her)

Pianist and Music, Middle and High School
Larisse was born and raised in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. She encountered Waldorf Education in 2013 when was invited to be the pianist at a Waldorf school in the capital while being part of the international summer course in Brasilia at Brasilia Music School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Brasilia and is finishing her master’s degree in Musicbiography. Her research is on musical training experiences in the biography of a Waldorf music teacher. Larisse has also participated in Waldorf high school teaching courses, workshops, and seminars in Brazil, as well as the basic training course in anthroposophy in Brasilia and Goiania/Brazil. She moved to the Bay Area in 2023, motivated by living other experiences in her personal and professional life. In her free time Larisse loves to make scrapbooks, journal, Ikebanas (art of arranging flowers), craft projects, handwriting and paint.

AyzinAyzin Uludag

Gardening, Grades 6 – 8
Originally from Turkey, Ayzin has been working with children of different ages since 2007. Holding her BA in Early Childhood Education, she worked both as a kindergarten class teacher, and a co-teacher for children’s art projects in Museums and Photography workshop in public schools. After moving to California, Ayzin studied Traditional Chinese Medicine on Medical Qigong Therapy at Five Branches University and then completed her Waldorf teacher training at Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2018. During the last two years of the training she worked closely with our former gardening teacher and taught art classes in upper grades. Doubling her passion in nature with art, she is very enthusiastic about working artfully with children in the garden as well as practicing sustainable design and biodynamic principles. She enjoys playing flute and ukulele, spending time in nature, cooking, wood working and designing.

Pamela York

Art, Educational Support
Pamela grew up in North Carolina where she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel with a BS in Business Administration. She left international consulting in the software industry to volunteer in the WSP kindergarten in 1997. Pamela graduated from the Rudolf Steiner College Teacher Training Program in 2005 and from the Gradalis Training in Trans-disciplinary Therapeutic Education in 2006. She was the founding teacher of the WSP Preschool program and then became the Director of Educational Support. Pamela is a HANDLE Practitioner, an artist, and a sailor who returning to WSP having sailed across the Pacific.

 

Early Childhood Faculty

christinaa2015Christina Assirati

Honeybee Nursery Teacher
Christina Assirati has many years of experience working in early childhood education in both private and Waldorf school settings. She earned a BA in Education and BS in Health and Nutrition from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; where she is originally from. In 2007, Christina received her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Teacher Training Program. She holds a Site Supervisor permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In 2016, she completed the RIE Foundation Course at the Resource for Infant Educarers. In her free time, Christina enjoys knitting, gardening, and being outdoors with her family.

JessicaJessica ChangChien

Apple Blossom Nursery Assistant Teacher
When she was fourteen years old, Jessica moved to the United States from Taiwan. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development and a Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, followed by working in the medical administration industry for ten years before she had her child. Jessica discovered Waldorf education when exploring a more heartful learning style for them. She is currently participating in the Waldorf Teacher Training course at the West Coast Institute in Anthroposophy in British Columbia, Canada.

Leysan Fatykhova-Villasenor

Sunflower Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Leysan grew up in Russia, earning a master’s degree in education, mathematics and computer science, as well as completing undergraduate studies in art, sewing, singing and choreography. She worked as a math and computer science teacher in Russia before traveling to India to pursue her interest in Yoga, Vedic Astrology and Vastu Shastra. Her experience with WSP started as a mother of three children, who all have attended Waldorf since Kindergarten with one child each currently in elementary, middle and high school, respectively. She has worked at the school as a substitute teacher for different grades on both campuses and is now engaged full time in Early Childhood. Leysan currently sings in a local Russian-Ukranian Folklore ensemble based in the Bay Area and enjoys bringing the gift of interactive live music to children as a foundational basis to promote culture and connection between all ages.

Leila Ghaderyan (she/her)

Bluebell Nursery Assistant Teacher
Leila has had the privilege of working in the field of early childhood education in Iran since before 2013, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the Shiraz University. Having moved to California, Leila began working as a substitute teacher while attending West Valley College, where she earned an additional Associate’s degree in Child Development. She discovered Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy through the Early Childhood Education courses in college. She says working as a substitute teacher at WSP is the best thing that happened to her. Leila felt an immediate connection to the Waldorf pedagogy and community. She joined WSP as a nursery teacher assistant in 2022 and decided to further her education with a focus on Waldorf Education, as it aligns with her principles and personal worldview. In her free time, Leila enjoys spending time with her family and her dog as well as baking and gardening.

yasukoi2015Yasuko Inoue

Nursery Center Director, Apple Blossom Nursery Teacher
Yasuko grew up in Kobe, Japan and graduated from Osaka University of Foreign Studies with BS in German Studies, where she met Waldorf Education for the first time. This special meeting and her own educational experiences in Japan led her to the decision to come to the United States. She explored the different styles and possibilities in Education at Indiana University and received her Master of Science degree in Elementary Education. After working as a second grade teacher at a public language immersion school in Culver City, Yasuko moved to Northern California to start her family. Since then, she has been following her passion for Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy, and has been part of WSP community for many years, first as a parent, an aide in Extended Care, and an assistant teacher in Rose Kindergarten. Yasuko received her Waldorf teaching certification from Rudolf Steiner College in 2010.

hannah2021Hannah Larson (she/her)

Morning Glory Kindergarten Teacher
Hannah grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a WSP alumna. She holds a BA in Theater Performance from the University of California at San Diego and delights in finding the places where her work as an artist intersects her work with young children. Hannah worked for many years in the WSP Extended Care and Early Childhood summer programs before moving out of state in 2015. She is currently completing her final year of the early childhood teacher training program at West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. Hannah is also a trained postpartum doula. In her practice, she seeks to support families through the tender, post-birth transition in the spirit of Waldorf early childhood principles. Hannah has a deep love for the outdoors and in her spare time can be found rock climbing around the country.

Viktoriya Lazarchuk

Bluebell Nursery Assistant Teacher
Viktoriya grew up in Brest, Belarus and majored in Computer Science at Brest State Technical University, graduating in System Engineering in 1997. After the birth of her first child, she moved to Korea in pursuit of studying languages and expanding her career in marketing. Viktoriya worked for a pharmaceutical company as an administrator, at the same time looking for opportunities in the field of education. After relocating to the United States in 2011, she focused her studies in the field of child development. Her interest in early child development guided her towards helping young children find their own way in this world from an early age. Viktoriya is currently furthering her education with a focus on Waldorf, as it aligns with her principles and personal worldview.

Megan Lin

Bluebell Nursery Teacher
Megan is a Bay Area native. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies and an Early Childhood Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College. She has been working with young children and their families in a Waldorf setting for many years, and has taught parent/child playgroups, nursery, kindergarten, and high school students. Megan founded the High School Handbell Music Ensemble for WSP and has been working for the school since 2011. In her free time, Megan enjoys training and performing in classical ballet, watching baseball, reading, and spending time with her family and two dogs.

Alejandra Rios (she/her)

Rose Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Alejandra grew up in San José, CA. She has been working with children ages 2-13 for many years, and joined the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in 2019. She is currently working on earning her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Studies. Alejandra discovered Waldorf education through one of her Early Childhood Education (just guessing) courses at De Anza college and instantly felt a connection to the Waldorf pedagogy and community. During her free time, Alejandra enjoys spending time out in nature and exploring new places with family and friends. Some of her very favorite things to do are dancing and singing Karaoke.

Jane Schwartz Philipson (she/her)

Parent-Child Program Director/Mornings Together Teacher and Grades K-5 Extended Care Director
Jane is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. She holds degrees in both Education and English and American Literature. Inspired by her mother’s work as an early childhood educator, Jane went on to teach early childhood and primary grades both in the Midwest and the Bay Area. Jane has been an Independent Educational Consultant with a focus on parent education, and reading and language development. Jane holds a Waldorf Birth to Seven Early Childhood Certification from the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. A parent of three WSP alumni, in her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and treasure hunting in nature and in thrift stores.

Denise Sacks

Warm Beginnings Teacher
As a computer scientist in her 20s , Denise volunteered serving unhoused families, which is how her experience with young children began. The adventure of becoming a mother with all of the complexities and decisions, starting with childbirth and feeding, then building community led her to Waldorf Education. Having graduating from Rudolf Steiner College in 1997, Denise formed The Mulberry Cottage, a WECAN-accredited and State Licensed Early Childhood Program which ran through 2016. Parent-Child programs have always been at the heart of Denise’s work, along with her own personal development through her Nurturing Arts programs, mentoring for LifeWays, and Deep Nature Connection.

Julia Sonderman

Morning Glory Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Julia was born and raised in Tracy, California. She moved to Alaska to be a nanny for seven children, where she first discovered and fell in love with Waldorf Education. When her nanny contract ended, Julia began working as an Archaeological Field Technician on historic and prehistoric sites around the globe, including in the Arctic Circle and in Durham, UK. She is currently studying for her Anthropology degree through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Julia has worked in childcare for many years, from being a nanny to volunteering at a local art exhibit as a docent. She has always incorporated art, play, and free-thinking into her work. In her free time, you may find Julia reading up on ancient history, hiking scenic trails, or learning a new hobby.

PaviPavithra Suresh

Rose Kindergarten Teacher
Pavithra grew up in Bengaluru, India. With a bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Commerce, she worked in the corporate world for several years . Her innate need to provide a holistic environment for children to live their childhood freely led her to Waldorf Education. Pavithra worked as an Early Childhood Educator in Bengaluru, India before moving to the Bay Area with her family. She has been a part of our community since 2016, first as a parent volunteer and then as a faculty member. Pavithra is pursuing her Waldorf Teacher Training with the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy in British Columbia, Canada. She finds spending time with friends and family very rejuvenating and the ‘unconditional love’ that children offer the most inspiring and motivating.

Hans2021Hans Walser

Sunflower Kindergarten Teacher
Hans’ childhood, spent in a small rural town playing with other children in nature, planted the seed for him to become a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher. He is a Waldorf graduate himself and following his graduation immersed himself in the life of a local Waldorf nursery school. There he learned that the best way to develop a child’s social, emotional, and physical growth in the early years is through play. Hans continued working for them before becoming an assistant kindergarten teacher in Hawai’i. He later moved to California to join the faculty at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, first in the Extended Care program, then as a kindergarten assistant and lead teacher, a role he held for eight years before continuing to teach at schools in the North Bay. Hans enjoys creating outdoor experiences for the children for work, play, and meal times. He is thrilled to be back at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. Hans holds a Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Studies from Union Institute and University, and a Certificate of Curative Education from The Mulberry Center for Curative Education. He currently lives in Los Gatos with his two children, wife, mother-in-law, and their two dogs.

 

 

Administration

ashleyAshley Brickeen (she/her)

Admissions Director, Nursery – Grade 8
Ashley grew up in Los Altos Hills. She earned a BS in International Security from Wellesley College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude. She taught 3rd and 4th grade mathematics at a local private school while volunteer managing a tutoring program for at-risk elementary school children. Ashley has managed speakers and events for The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco for many years, where she got to hear lectures by scientists, politicians, and entertainers. Her favorite speakers were Dr. Jane Goodall and Dr. Madeleine Albright. She worked at Google in recruiting and special projects, where she co-created and ran a series of programs to engage middle and high school girls in computer science. Ashley came to Waldorf while searching for an education that would support the healthy and natural growth of her children while engaging and challenging them in ways she never experienced in her more traditional education. In her free time she enjoys HIIT training, kayaking, crafting and occasionally sky diving and scuba diving.


Ami C Evergreen (she/her)

Pedagogical Administrator, Early Childhood – Grade 8
Ami was born and raised in California, and spent her childhood in constant movement on stilts, pogo sticks or skateboards! She attended Colorado University where she earned BAs in English-Creative Writing and Philosophy. Ami also has an MA in Waldorf Education from Rudolf Steiner College, as well as continues to pursue and study other aspects of Waldorf Education. Ami has been involved with Waldorf education for over 30 years, having taught movement, and working to integrate neurodiverse students into grades classes. In her free time you can find her tree climbing, practicing yoga or matra, or creating hikaru dorodango.


Dr. Jon Herzenberg (he/his)

School Director

Dr.J is a Bay Area native, who grew up in Palo Alto and graduated from Henry M. Gunn High School. Growing up he was a dedicated soccer player who played for the University of San Diego and UC Santa Cruz where he earned a BA in Cultural Anthropology and the history of world religions. During his college years, he studied abroad in Asia twice. This afforded him the opportunity to live in mainland China as well as travel to South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as well as study in his mother’s city of birth in East Java, Indonesia at IKIP Malang. Dr.J earned his doctorate degree from the California School of Professional Psychology with an emphasis on child and family therapy after completing his Post Doctoral Internship at Palo Alto’s Mental Research Institute. Dr. J has worked in over fifteen schools, including public, private and international ones. Among his various roles in his almost thirty-year career, Dr.J was the Associate Head of School at Drew School in San Francisco, High School Principal at The American School in Japan, as well as the Associate Upper School Director at San Domenico in California. Dr.J earned a third degree black belt in Kung Fu San Soo. He likes spending his free time in his garden, taking his wife’s yoga class, or traveling with his wife and daughter.

Kevin Krasnow (he/his)

Director of College Counseling
Kevin grew up in Rockville, Maryland, and received his International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Diploma in high school. He received his BA in Political Science and Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After spending a year working on Capitol Hill on behalf of the State of Illinois Governor’s Office, he spent over a decade and a half as an Admissions Counselor and Assistant Director of Admissions at American University in Washington, D.C., and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Kevin is thrilled to be teaching both students and their families about the college essay process, how to choose a college, and how to navigate the financial aid process, among many other topics. In his spare time Kevin enjoys reading, listening to music, playing the piano, and exploring the food scene in the greater Bay Area.

audreyAudrey Lee

Admissions Director, High School
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Audrey moved to the Bay Area when she was offered a full college scholarship. Audrey holds a BA and a MA in Industrial Psychology and Organizational Behavior and worked in human resources for several start-ups in the Silicon Valley as well as at large global corporations internationally for 15 years. Audrey discovered Waldorf Education through parent-child classes with her young children. Audrey is also a trained Waldorf high school teacher.


Christine McQuade Hsu (she/her)

Advancement Director
Christine McQuade Hsu grew up in New York City and the Bay Area and graduated with a degree in History from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining WSP, she led product and user-experience design teams at start-ups, corporations, and nonprofits for over two decades. Christine is the co-author of four editions of the composition anthology Seeing & Writing (Bedford/St. Martins), a teacher and practitioner of traditional Chinese healing arts, and a former professional modern-dancer. The mother of three, she is passionate about giving all children access to the principles of Waldorf education.

​Paula Piemonte

High School Pedagogical Administrator
Paula holds a Waldorf High School Teacher Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College in California and a Waldorf Administration and Leadership Certificate from the Center of Anthroposophy in New Hampshire. Born in Venezuela, Paula graduated with honors and received her BA in Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. She taught several Design classes at the university and practiced in the architectural field for several years while completing her Business and Administration Program in Venezuela. After moving to the United States with her family, Paula discovered Waldorf Education while finishing her Fine Arts program at UC Santa Cruz. After initially teaching at WSP, Paula held various leadership roles at Waldorf High Schools since 2003. She also worked as the Pedagogical Administrator at both WSP and the East Bay Waldorf School, as well as High School Faculty Chair at the San Francisco Waldorf School. Paula is passionate about art and nature and loves gardening. She was an adult karate instructor for many years and holds a second-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.

JoAnn Waldman

Director of Finance and Operations
JoAnn was born and raised in the Bay Area. After receiving her BA from San Francisco State University she remained in San Francisco and worked as a small business consultant. Pursuing her MA, she moved to Jerusalem, Israel, living there for seven years. Upon return to the United States to be closer to family, JoAnn lived in Breckenridge, CO and worked as the controller of a property management company. After four snowy years, she returned to her native home, Sunnyvale, California to join another local school in the position of Director of Administration and Finance and has continued to hone her skills at local independent schools. JoAnn brings with her a blend of strategic leadership, business management experience and organizational skills. In her free time, JoAnn enjoys reading, art, camping, road trips and most of all spending time with her family.

Our children’s class teachers became friends in the course of the our time together. We felt that they took a personal interest in each student and built close relationships with them. They were approachable and supportive.
Katharina Woodman

Alumni Parent of Two, Waldorf School of the Peninsula