OUR FACULTY

Vanessa French Preschool Teacher

VANESSA FRENCH

Rosebud Preschool Teacher

I’ve had the privilege of growing up here in beautiful Mendocino County. When I was young, my older brother had the pleasure of attending WSMC for a brief time. I still remember the smell of lavender and beeswax, and the feelings of love, and warmth. I was not so lucky and went to public school here in the Ukiah Valley. I knew before I even had my own child I wanted him to go to this school.  I began working at WSMC in 2008, as a specialty teacher and aftercare coordinator.  I had studied and planned to open an in-home childcare program in Redwood Valley, however the universe had something else in store. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to be the aftercare coordinator, to teach games, movement, clay sculpture, beeswax, creative play and rest & story. I have assisted in the kindergarten and nursery classrooms, as well as leading Rosebud and plenty of subbing over the many years.  Last year I completed my Waldorf teacher training for Early Childhood at The West Coast Institute for anthroposophy in British Colombia. It was an amazing program and experience that further inspired my deep love for my work as a Waldorf teacher. In my free time, I enjoy going on adventures with family, discovering new things, organic gardening, making art, cooking and baking, connecting with friends, family and nature, as well as learning new things and continuing my studies.

Amy Stocker Kindergarten Teacher

AMY STOCKER

Yellow Rose Kindergarten Teacher

I grew up in Mendocino County.  After obtaining a BA in Liberal Studies  at California State University, Chico, I followed my dream of teaching  children by obtaining a California State Teaching Credential in 2005.   The magic and brilliance of Waldorf Education was first introduced to me  when I was a student in a Waldorf Kindergarten.  After teaching in  various preschools in California, Arizona, and Oregon, I made my way  back home to The Waldorf School of Mendocino County (WSMC).  In 2007, I began teaching at WSMC as a kindergarten teacher while simultaneously  completing my Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair  Oaks, California.  After taking six years away from WSMC to be at home  with my two young daughters, I rejoined the WSMC Faculty in 2015 and have had the pleasure of teaching my small friends in the Early Childhood Program.  

Debra McCarthy Kindergarten Teacher

DEBRA MCCARTHY

Red Rose Kindergarten

I have been teaching at WSMC for sixteen years, and I was an assistant even before that time. I began my Waldorf journey when my young daughter was beginning kindergarten. We went to visit the school and immediately fell in love with it, not knowing anything about Waldorf Education. As you can imagine, it has been quite a journey for me and is always continuing to be so. The job and my life are intertwined, and I dearly believe that this is the best education for children. It's not an easy path to become a Waldorf teacher, or parent; I know I am always striving to do better.

There are so many favorite days in kindergarten, that I could not name just one.  I thoroughly love any time the children are experiencing the beautiful world of nature or a magical moment when their imagination carries them into building a spaceship or a fairy house, to the excitement when they bring me a flower, or a worm, or a stone, and are so filled with wonder at their discovery. After they leave kindergarten, they might remember the day they got to make their own pizza, or the puppet show they performed before leaving the kindergarten to go on to first grade. Personally, I enjoy being in nature, swimming, and hiking. I like working in my garden and canning the summer bounty when I have time. I have a wonderful family to share life with, and I am very fulfilled and appreciate my good fortune.

Christy Barron Grades Teacher

CHRISTY BARRON

Grade 1 Teacher

I started working with children in Early Childhood Education when I was a high schooler in Richmond, Virginia. Within months of declaring my major, I was the recipient of the Excellence In Early Childhood Award at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Just prior to receiving my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education, I learned about Waldorf Education in a chance encounter with a Waldorf alumni. A requirement for graduating from Warren Wilson is the completion of 100 hours of community service. This instilled in me a deep love of service, and right after graduating, I began a year-long service as an Americorps member in Ukiah, California at FIRST5 Mendocino. When my year of service was completed, a position as Debra McCarthy’s assistant in Red Rose Kindergarten at the Waldorf School of Mendocino County became available. The first year I worked in Red Rose, I was also the Aftercare Provider for the Grades; the following year, I became the First Grade Teacher. After my class finished fourth grade, I worked within the Waldorf movement as the Enrollment Coordinator at Yuba River Charter School in Nevada City, and taught first grade at a Waldorf-methods school in Shenandoah, Virginia. I was delighted to return to WSMC last school year as the Red Rose Assistant and Grades Specialty Teacher. Now I am overjoyed to be teaching again at WSMC as the First Grade Teacher for the 2020-2021 school year. Since coming to WSMC in 2010, I was and still am an avid roller skater; when not at school, I am at a skatepark. I have a strong love of plants, stories, culture, and am passionate about social justice. I am currently completing my Waldorf teacher training at the West Coast Institute. 

Stephanie C. Grades Teacher

STEPHANIE C.

Grade 2 & 3 Teacher

Some of my earliest memories are of standing at keyboard height, watching the piano keys moving as my mother played and sang.  A second-generation native-born Sacramentan, Sundays and summer vacations were spent in the car, which carried me through all parts of California, all but five states, and 6 Canadian provinces.  Deeply connected to my Danish heritage, I began years of German study in Jr. High, which culminated with a minor in German and a summer of work there at the age of 20.  A passion for working with differently-abled persons arose naturally through growing up with my severely developmentally-delayed sister.  This led to pursuing two years of a degree in Psychology, after which I returned to my true love, music.  I was able to return to music and the performing arts, eventually completing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, Bachelor of Arts in Piano, and intensive training in Dance and Theater Arts.  I met the work of Rudolf Steiner through becoming a Eurythmy accompanist at age 26, and within a year's time, I began my career as a Waldorf Educator and Teacher Trainer.  After two years of study at the Rudolf Steiner College, I journeyed to Quebec and Nova Scotia, where I eventually became a French-speaking Canadian citizen.

 

It was 4 years later that the most incredible journey of all began – that of motherhood, and I spent the next two decades living the life of single-working-Waldorf-Teacher-Mom to my wonderful son, who was born in Montreal and raised mostly in Washington State.  My love for Anthroposophy, Education and Healing Arts coalesced in becoming a certified Anthroposophic Singing Therapist during that time. My current vocation of Class Teacher arose naturally out of "rescuing" various classes in crisis until I resolved, once and for all, to find "my own" class to carry on this transformative journey from Grade One. . . which is what brought me joyfully back home to my Native Northern California!!

INGE SCHAEFER

Grade 4 & 5 Teacher

It sometimes takes a seasoned tracker to find the start of a trace.  How did I find my way to Waldorf education?  Was it the long ago mention of the Steiner school just down the road from where I lived in Germany as an exchange student—“Oh, you have to sign your children up even before they are born!”  Or was it years later crisscrossing Sonoma County as a bike tour guide with a fellow guide, whose parents were both Waldorf teachers—“I helped make that sign at the entrance!”  Regardless, it was with the birth of my two sons that the path was clear beneath my feet.  It brought the need and desire to serve them as best I could in their development as whole human beings (a work that is still in progress no matter how time marches on). 

I have since embraced the philosophy of Steiner and taken on the work of understanding its relation to child development.  I home-schooled my sons using the Waldorf curriculum and worked with groups of home-schooled children to bring the curriculum to them.  To strengthen my understanding, I completed the teacher training program at the Center of Educational Renewal in Santa Rosa as well as a semester long study at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. Before then  I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Languages and Literature at Bard College, lived in Hungary and Indonesia, worked as an archaeologist for California State Parks, biked cross country, sang German songs with my Dad as he played accordion, and learned to knit from my expert mother. Within all these things are the stories that make us human and my wish is for students to seek their own stories through boundless curiosity and a freedom of thinking.

JOY EVANS

Grade  6 & 7 Teacher

When I began looking deeply at Waldorf classrooms as a place for my daughter, I realized it was where I belonged as well.  I have a background in Theater that includes performing and teaching at all levels, from Kindergarten through Junior College.  My interest in the mystery of being human lead me to become a Licensed Acupuncturist.  I bring my experience as an actor, a director, a teacher, and a healer to my teaching.  I was drawn to theater and Chinese Medicine because they encompass the whole human being: the physical, the emotional, the communal, and the spiritual aspects.  As a Waldorf Teacher, I get to bring my love for the human being and all her potential to the classroom everyday.  I live with my husband John, daughter Sage, dog Biscuit and two cats Muzby and Romeo.  In my personal life, I enjoy spending time in nature, camping, swimming in the river, and playing with my family and our pets.

KELLY AUSTIN

8th Grade Teacher

I have been teaching at this wonderful school for twenty-three years.  I knew I was destined to work with children and families. I was eleven when I had my first babysitting job and fourteen when I got my first paycheck from the YMCA as camp counselor and swim instructor.  When I had children of my own, other parents and I began to ask, “What capacities and qualities do we want our children to have when they are eighteen years old?”  We met, studied, made lists, and after one year came up with a plan.  Our choice of curriculum was Waldorf because we could see that it would provide what we wanted for our children.  Thus, I began my Waldorf Teacher Training at the Center for Educational Renewal.  I started with my first class in 4th grade, and they graduated from 8th grade in 2001; at the same time, I graduated from my teacher training program.  I then began an eight year journey with my next class.  I stayed in the upper grades and graduated two 8th grade classes (2011 and 2012).  I began again with a new 1st grade in 2012.  In our 4th grade year, we were joined by the 3rd grade class, when WSMC switched to a combined grades model.  We moved together through the grades and in the spring of 2020 the 8th Grade class graduated. Now the current 8th Grade will have their final year at WSMC and graduate in 2021. I love to travel and so the opportunity to go on adventurous field trips is always a favorite part of teaching here. I am blessed to have a job that I love.  Outside of school I spend every moment possible with my husband, my three children, and my five grandchildren.  I enjoy reading, knitting, drawing, puzzles, gardening, hiking, and birding.