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OUR TEAM

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DEBRA MCCARTHY

Roots and Shoots Teacher

Debra became interested in Waldorf Education when her daughter started kindergarten. She believes it's the best education for children, but acknowledges it's not an easy path to become a Waldorf teacher or parent. Her favorite moments in kindergarten include observing children's wonder and excitement while exploring nature and building things. Outside of work, she enjoys being in nature, gardening, and spending time with her family.

Vanessa French Preschool Teacher

VANESSA FRENCH

Rosebud Preschool Teacher

Vanessa is our Preschool Teacher and has taught various subjects and assisted in kindergarten and nursery classrooms. She completed her Waldorf Teacher Training for Early Childhood at The West Coast Institute for Anthroposophy in British Columbia. In her free time, she enjoys going on adventures, gardening, making art, and continuing professional development. She serves on the Board as a Faculty Representative and the Early Childhood Program Committee.

Amy Stocker Kindergarten Teacher

AMY STOCKER

Red Rose Kindergarten Teacher

Amy’s entire adult life has been joyfully dedicated to the care and guidance of young children. Amy grew up in Mendocino County.  After obtaining a BA in Liberal Studies at California State University, Chico, she followed her dream of teaching children and obtained a California State Teaching Credential in 2005.  After teaching in various preschools (some of them “Waldorf-inspired”) in California, Arizona, and Oregon, she made her way back home to The Waldorf School of Mendocino County (WSMC).  In 2007, she began teaching at WSMC as a kindergarten teacher while simultaneously completing her Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair  Oaks, California.  In 2009,  her eldest daughter was born and after taking some time away from the classroom to be at home with her two young daughters, she rejoined the WSMC Faculty in 2015.  Since then, she has had the pleasure of leading Parent-Child classes as well as working and playing in the Rosebud Nursery, Yellow Rose Kindergarten, and now the Red Rose Kindergarten. 

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KELLY AUSTIN

Grade 1 & 2 Teacher

Kelly began her teaching journey at this school by taking up the 4th-grade class in 1997 while concurrently taking the Waldorf Teacher Training at the Center for Educational Renewal. This class graduated from 8th grade in 2001; at the same time, Kelly graduated from her teacher training program.  She then began an eight-year journey with her next class.  She stayed in the upper grades and graduated two 8th grade classes (2011 and 2012).  In 2012, she helped transition our school to a combined grades model. In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family and engaging in activities such as reading, knitting, drawing, puzzles, gardening, hiking, and birding. Kelly participates on the Board and Personnel Committee.

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JOY EVANS

Grade 3 & 4 Teacher

Joy Evans has a background in Theater that includes performing and teaching at all levels, from Kindergarten through Junior College.  She is also a  Licensed Acupuncturist.  She brings her experience as an actor, a director, a teacher, and a healer to her teaching.  She lives with her husband John, daughter Sage, dog Biscuit and two cats Muzby and Romeo.  Joy enjoys spending time in nature, camping, swimming in the river, and playing with her family and their pets.

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STARA THOMPSON

Grade 5 & 6 Teacher

Stara is an educator who has taught in various schools, primarily k-4, in Sonoma County, California. She graduated from the Center for Educational Renewal at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm in 2011 and was inspired by her Waldorf education. She went abroad in search of a great school for her and her daughter but decided to stay in Northern California. She did private tutoring and teaching before joining WSMC in 2021.

Inge Schaefer Grades Teacher

INGE SCHAEFER

Grade 7 & 8 Teacher

Since the birth of her two sons, Inge has embraced the philosophy of Steiner and taken on the work of understanding its relation to child development.  She home-schooled her sons using the Waldorf curriculum and worked with groups of home-schooled children to bring the curriculum to them. To strengthen her understanding, Inge 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 she 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 her Dad as he played accordion, and learned to knit from her expert mother. Within all these things are the stories that make us human and Inge’s wish is for students to seek their own stories through boundless curiosity and a freedom of thinking.

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KATHLEEN HENNINGS

Educational Support

Kathleen Hennings has been the Reading Resource Teacher at WSMC, providing educational support to those students in need, since 2019. After growing up in Saratoga, California, and attending CSU Chico, she graduated in 1976 with a BA in Child Development. She moved to Willits in 1979 and in 1985 decided to pursue a California State Teaching Credential. From 1986-2008, Kathleen taught in the Willits Unified School District, all the while her daughter attended the Mountain Meadow Waldorf School (now WSMC). In her personal life, being with her family and three vivacious grandchildren is her greatest joy, with a close second being an active participant in outdoor activities.

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MOIRA JORDAN

Spanish and After Care Teacher

Moira grew up in Spain and has always enjoyed sharing time with kids. She studied for a Bachelor's degree in Art History. During the last year of her degree she did an exchange to Mexico. She lived there for a few years and developed as an instructor of Yoga Kids and Aerial Silks. Moira moved to California to learn English in an immersive way and have the experience of living again in a different country. In her free time Moira enjoys exploring new places, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and learning new things.

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MINDY KELLEY

Early Childhood Assistant

Ms. Mindy Kelley joined us in 2022 and this is her second year as our early childhood assistant for the Rosebud classroom. Mindy was born in Northern Michigan and has been a part of the Mendocino County community for 19 years. Mindy has two children who have attended WSMC. She spent many years volunteering for school events and has been a dedicated member of our school community. She is currently continuing her early childhood education. Mindy is passionate about self-sustainability, motherhood, gardening, animals, and community.

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BARBARA LAST

Storytime and Creative Play Teacher

Barbara Last has been with WSMC for several years as a Grades aftercare provider and substitute teacher, and more recently has been teaching Creative Play, Rest & Story, and Beeswax. Storytelling and singing are two of her great joys, so it has been a good fit. She came to Northern California after teaching University students in China for four and a half years, to teach at La Vida Charter School for 3 years. Before China, she taught Class 1 through 3 at Golden Valley Charter School near Sacramento. Barbara grew up and raised her two sons in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota, respectively. In Minneapolis, she had her Waldorf-style preschool for 6 years. Since coming to Ukiah she has also been a respite provider for Tapestry Family Services. Her newest passion is acrylic painting!

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CLOVICE LEWIS

Beginning Strings Teacher

Clovice is a professional cellist and composer who composed his first symphony at the age of 17 and was a professor of computer music at UC Santa Barbara from 1978-1986. He has also been a serial entrepreneur and software designer since 1984. In addition to music and technology, he has had a life-long passion for aviation and has been a private pilot since 1987. He is also a published author of theological books, a one-act play, and two musicals. Clovice received a Master of Divinity degree from the Starr King School for the Ministry in May of 2021 and was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist Minister in March of 2022. His ministry emphasizes breaking down racial, class, and ethnic barriers, and preaching the gospel of the madness of human self-extinction.

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KARRIN PALMER

Social and Emotional Support

Karrin was born and raised by back-to-landers in the hills of Willits and was introduced to Waldorf in preschool. Karrin has a degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work. After years of running programs with youth and community activism, she returned to her hometown and is focused on family while working to build the Social Justice, Equity, and Responsibility committee at WSMC. She believes in supporting the whole child; head, heart, and hands - with honor, dignity, and the utmost respect. Karrin enjoys good food, coffee anytime, and a raucous game night.

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SUNI ROBIN

Educational Support

Suni Robin is an educator and artist from Concord, Massachusetts, with a BA in Education from Union Institute and University. She has a rich educational background, including a Waldorf Teacher Certification from Rudolf Steiner College she earned in 1980. With 11 years as a full-time grades teacher at WSMC and additional roles such as board member, fundraiser coordinator, educational support, and faculty chair, Suni has made significant contributions to WSMC. Ms. Robin has worked with special needs students, served as a childcare provider, and been involved in various artistic endeavors. She is currently a therapeutic harpist for Adventist Health patients and a passionate advocate for the Monarch Butterfly in Hawaii. Suni is a tireless contributor to her community through her artistic and educational endeavors.

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JESS WELLING

Gardening and Games Teacher

Jess Welling teaches Gardening, Games, and Movement. She has been a resident of Mendocino County since 2010 and has been cultivating a cut flower farm in Redwood Valley. She has a background in environmental education and a BS in marine biology and has worked with children in various settings for most of her life. She enjoys farming and gardening, spending time with her son, music, traveling, camping, and visiting the ocean.

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KAREN ZIMMERMAN

Advanced Strings Teacher

Karen Zimmerman (Ms. Z) has been the strings instructor since  2017.  Karen was born and raised in Los Angeles.  She attended the Juilliard School where she was awarded a Bachelor's and Master's degree.  Karen has played with many orchestras over the years including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  Since moving back to California she has been a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony for over 30 years and is also the music librarian for the Symphony.  Karen lives in Ukiah with her wife, Rebecca, plus 2 dogs, a cat, 4 chickens, and 3 ducks.

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RENATA ABBADE

Administrator

Renata was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and grew up exploring various art forms which sparked her journey to becoming a multidisciplinary artist. Her career has been centered around creative collaboration, working with people to enhance communication and amplify awareness. After graduating in design, she spent over a decade in New York City working as a stylist in the fashion industry. Renata and her husband were nomadic before settling in Mendocino County and built a home using natural, locally available, and repurposed materials.

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LITA ALDEN

Office Coordinator

Lita Alden is the Office Coordinator at WSMC. Born and raised in Orange, California, she moved to the mountains of Redwood Valley 20 years ago. Lita became part of WSMC first as a parent of a preschooler and then in 2022 as the Enrollment Coordinator. She is a certified equine body worker and enjoys baking and hiking. Lita loves working at the front desk and brings passion, resilience, and a genuine love for fostering connections within the Waldorf community. As her daughter has progressed into the grades, together they have been able to strengthen ties with other Waldorf families, contributing to the warm and inclusive atmosphere that defines the school community.

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JENNIFER KRAUSS

Business Manager

Jennifer was born in California but spent most of her childhood in Colorado.  Mendocino County has been her home since 2001.  She has earned associate degrees in Business Management and in Psychology. Most of Jennifer’s employment background consists of work for local governments. After 16 years in Mendocino County government, she decided to go a different direction. Jennifer dreamed of a place where appreciation and kindness are integral to the culture of the organization and found that here at WSMC. She spends her free time enjoying the company of her husband, their grown children, and their dogs.  Jennifer enjoys several hobbies including cake decorating, gardening, knitting and crocheting, reading, and kayaking. 

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KORI ALLBRITTON

Enrollment & Outreach Coordinator

Kori Allbritton is the Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator as well as a Resource Teacher and 7th and 8th-grade Math teacher at WSMC. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and then attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. There she received her multiple-subject teaching credential and MA in Education. She has been working as a resource teacher for WSMC since 2017, providing supplemental instruction in reading and math. Some of her favorite activities are horseback riding, cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family.

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CALEB MORRIS

Grounds Maintenance

Caleb shares the groundskeeping position with his wife, Taj. He is a tradesman from upstate New York and has worked in construction since 2000. Caleb attended Colorado Mountain College where he earned an associate’s degree in general studies focused on outdoor recreation leadership. He worked as a wilderness instructor and worked construction while in Colorado. He moved to Mendocino County in 2007 and built his home. He loves to surf and explore our rugged coastline, but his true passion is spending time with his family.

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TAJ UVARO

Grounds Maintenance

Taj Uvaro shares the groundskeeping and maintenance position with her husband, Caleb. Taj was born and raised in Cocoa Beach, Florida. After graduating with a BS in Psychology from the University of Florida, she pursued her love of traveling for a few years. Taj moved to Mendocino County in 2008 and quickly fell in love with the area. She has been a parent at WSMC for 6 years and is new to the staff this year. She enjoys keeping the campus beautiful for our children and our community. Some of her favorite activities are adventuring with Caleb and their two sons, baking, gardening, and spending time at the coast.

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