Phone: (831) 425-0519



Our exceptional faculty cultivate student’s interest in the class material, engaging them to form their own ideas and opinions as new concepts are introduced. This independence of thought and the experience of being valued as an individual within the group form a foundation of confidence and self-worth that shine in a Waldorf student.

We Love to Learn

A Waldorf education is guided by the tenet that a teacher’s most important goal is to support the development of a child’s unique individual capacities. By paying close attention to the developmental needs of children at each age, a Waldorf education seeks to nurture the gifts that each child brings to the world.

A unique aspect of a Waldorf grade school is the class teacher. The class teacher ideally remains with his or her students from first through eighth grade. This system allows the teacher to grow along with the students and facilitates a strong bond of trust between students, parents and teacher.

“You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”
-Rudolf Steiner, The Education of the Child

Alexa Redner

Preschool Teacher

Alexa joins the Santa Cruz Waldorf Rosebud preschool after leading a Waldorf preschool program, Star Mountain Playgarden in Sonoma, California.
She has spent the last decade teaching in Waldorf Early Childhood programs in the Bay Area as well as being a lead mindfulness teacher for Mindful Schools, based out of Oakland, California.
Alexa brings her passion for mindful presence into her daily teaching life with the preschoolers. She lives in Bonny Doon with her violinist husband Aaron and son Koya Moon.

Yoko Ballard

Preschool Teacher Assistant

Bio and picture coming soon.

Stephen Spitalny

Kindergarten Class Teacher

Stephen Spitalny is a long time kindergarten teacher and teacher trainer. He is a former editor of Gateways, the journal for early childhood teachers. He has written many inspiring and helpful articles on early childhood, and is the author of the book Connecting With Children. Stephen works with children from 3 to 7 years of age and has been doing this work for the past two decades.

Richard Corbal

Kindergarten Class Teacher

While living in Los Angeles and exploring various artistic careers, Richard and his wife, Erin, were blessed with the news of a new life joining their family. Considering the many changes a child would bring, Richard followed an impulse and became involved with the Waldorf Institute of Southern California’s teacher training program. After a transformative year of training, Richard, Erin, and baby, Parker Jane, moved back to Santa Cruz, a community which strongly reflects their ideals. Richard resumed his teacher training at the Rudolf Steiner College and is currently working towards his master’s degree in Waldorf Education. Upon relocation, Richard acquired a position at a Waldorf-inspired preschool on the Westside of town, where he co-taught for a year.

A three-week practice teaching stint brought Richard to Joan’s kindergarten in the spring of 2010. Shortly after, he was hired as the new preschool teacher at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School. Richard’s class has grown into a full kindergarten.

In addition to being a husband, father, artist, UCSC graduate in visual arts, surfer, fledgling drummer, and a SCWS board member, Richard is committed to Anthroposophy. With Waldorf Education, he brings truth, beauty, reverence, and goodness to the development of the well-balanced child. Richard’s daughter currently attends Ms. Casey’s 6th Grade.

Hailey Villa Brightman

Kindergarten Assistant

Hailey has been working with children, while also balancing her time in various modalities of healing arts and herbology for the past six years. It was when she joined the After Care team here last year that she was able to truly realize her deep inner passion for Anthroposophy. Aside from her position in the Kindergarten After Care, Hailey was also able to spend a great amount of time assisting Joan Agostinelli, Amy Kopald, and Richard Corbel in their Kindergarten classes. Her intuition and ability to tend to children’s needs make her a perfect fit for our Kindergarten.

Nadia Peralta

Kindergarten Assistant

Nadia Lucia Peralta has been working in Waldorf Early Childhood programs in Sacramento and Santa Cruz since 2013. She graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2012 with a bachelors of arts in a self-created major titled, “Cosmopolitics in the Americas” which was a study in the theory and praxis of the way stories shape social change and relationship to land, territories, and water. Nadia recently finished a 400 hour energetic herbal medicine intensive at the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine. She has the experience that plants and water can help people remember their inseperable connection to all of life and facilitate their remembering of their self-worth, power, and beauty. Nadia is passionate about participating in the practice of a more peaceful world. Nadia has participated in different community organizing movements led by indigenous people for the last 10 years, including every winter as a sheepherder in Navajo Nation, Black Mesa. Nadia is very curious about midwifery and birthing people’s health. Nadia’s favorite weather is coastal fog and she enjoys singing and playing music with friends sometimes performs the music she writes around town.


Sunset Sky Richter

1st Grade Class Teacher

Sunset Richter began the millennium by taking a first grade class at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School after completing a BA in Waldorf Education at Rudolf Steiner College. She is originally from Indiana, where her favorite childhood activities included swimming in Lake Michigan, acting in community theater productions, singing, and Irish dancing.

She first encountered Waldorf Education when working as an apprentice on an organic farm in Maine. While many groups of children visited this farm, Sunset was particularly impressed when the third grade from the local Waldorf school came to visit. Their ability to work as a team and have meaningful connections with their teacher and other adults inspired her to pursue Waldorf teacher training.

Sunset lives in Felton with her husband, Brad, and enjoys hiking with her dog, “Salty”. She still enjoys folk music and plays bagpipes with the Santa Cruz Pipes and Drums. She also loves the artistic nature of the Waldorf curriculum and particularly enjoys watercolor painting, writing plays, and researching everything from Anatomy to Zen at the public library. Her nickname, Sunny, seems to suit her well because you can often find her outside enjoying the sunshine with her students!


Angela Oswald

2nd Grade Class Teacher

Angela grew up in sunny San Diego, CA, near the ocean. She’s one of three siblings and has a twin brother. It was at home where she learned about sharing and close relationships. As a child, she enjoyed making crafts out of nature, mixing colors and textures, reading books, and exploring outside. In high school, she became a lifeguard and taught swim lessons. She learned of the beauty that comes with teaching, inspiring others; witnessing growth and confidence. Angela studied and graduated with a BA in Communications and a minor in Philosophy from the University of San Francisco. After taking courses in Early Childhood, she discovered Waldorf education and found, at last, a pedagogy that aligned with her beliefs of teaching a developmentally appropriate curriculum and to the wholeness of the child. She enrolled in the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training and graduated in 2016. During the 2016-17 school year, she was teaching English to grades 1-7 at Kusi Kawsay, an Andean Waldorf-inspired school. She came back to the US to take a job as the First Grade Assistant at the San Francisco Waldorf School. She looks forward to taking the Class of 2026 at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School on an 8-year journey.

Dexter Brightman

1st Grade Assistant/After School Program Director

Dexter Brightman is our After School Program Director, as well as the 1st Grade’s Assistant. He has a background and education in art and music, and thrives off of creative endeavors of all sorts. Before coming to the Santa Cruz Waldorf School he spent 5 years working at the San Francisco Waldorf School in the Kindergarten and After Care Programs. Organizing seasonal camps and craft activities is another expertise that he brings to our school. Dexter passionately provides the children with a space for safe, nurturing fun through Anthroposophical methods. Dexter is a Santa Cruz Waldorf School K to 8 alumni.


Esther Centers

3rd Grade Class Teacher

Esther has a passion for bringing out the best in children. Esther also serves families in her capacity as a certified Parent Coach. Native of Seattle, Esther attended Western Washington University studying child development. She earned her Waldorf teaching certificate from Rudolf Steiner College and was a founding class teacher at the Portland Waldorf School. Esther worked for over a decade at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor as music teacher, educational support tutor and pedagogical assistant before moving to Santa Cruz. She loves playing violin and walking by the water with family and friends.


Estasia Barrientosi

4th Grade Class Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Mireille Horton

5th Grade Class Teacher

Mireille (pronounced Moriah) grew up in the Netherlands where she had the privilege of attending the Waldorf of Driebergen from kindergarten through high school. She graduated Universiteit Utrecht with a degree in English Language, studied Early Childhood Education at Cabrillo College and then received her Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College in 2006. Mireille continues her second eight-year journey as the teacher of the class of 2023. She is inspired by the beautifully complex 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. She hopes her enthusiasm for learning will be reflected in the children’s joyful discovery of the world and of their own individuality. Mireille enjoys family, cooking, travel, running, gardening and swimming.

Katy Larson

6th Grade Class Teacher

Bio coming soon.


Jodi Casey

7th Grade Class Teacher

Since stumbling upon a small Waldorf initiative for her three children in the deserts of Arizona in 1996, Jodi Casey’s passion has been Waldorf education. She has been a parent, board member, administrator, consultant and volunteer for Waldorf schools all over the world. Anticipating her children’s graduation from the San Francisco Waldorf High School, Jodi completed the three-year Waldorf teacher training program at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. After substituting and assisting at the San Francisco Waldorf School for two years, she took her first class at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School in 2013. Jodi’s favorite part of being both a Waldorf parent and teacher is watching children grow, develop, and discover themselves through the diverse, artistic, and edifying curriculum while continuing to grow and develop herself through the challenges of being a parent and teacher. Jodi has a bachelor’s of science degree in Journalism, and was the owner of her own consulting firm specializing in the community relations aspect of the redevelopment of contaminated urban sites and prior to that was the marketing director at an environmental consulting firm. When not contemplating how to best meet the needs of her current group of students, Jodi and her husband enjoy hiking, traveling, exploring food, and spending time with family and friends.

Scott Olmsted

8th Grade Class Teacher

Scott received a B.A. degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College.

Scott’s journey with the Waldorf Education began when he was in high school. He researched different types of education and as a result, committed himself to starting a school with a unique philosophical foundation. Then he found Waldorf Education and thought, “This is better than the school I envisioned creating!”

Scott has been actively involved in Waldorf teaching for more than 20 years. During that time he served as a class teacher at the Live Oak Waldorf School near Auburn, CA, successfully carrying a class from first through eighth grades.

He also worked in teacher training programs at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in San Francisco, and with the Sunbridge College in New York. For three years, Scott was on the executive management team at the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).

Scott joined the Santa Cruz Waldorf School in 2006. His three children all attended Waldorf Schools.

Ximena Sierra

Spanish Teacher

Ximena Sierra was born in Cali, Colombia, and was reared in both Brazil and Columbia. In 1996 she received her master’s degree in electrical engineering from the State University of Campinas, Brazil. After working for years as an engineer in California, she decided to leave engineering to embark on a new career in teaching.

It was in Brazil that she first heard about Anthroposophy while attending a program called “Trabalho Biografico” developed by Founder Gudrun Burkhard. The extensive study and conscious exploration involved creating a personal biography in which she experienced her life connected to all of human evolution. She was assisted by several fundamental professionals: an Anthroposophical doctor, a nurse, a biodynamic gardener, a painting teacher, and a music teacher. This beautiful, nurturing experience led to an epiphany and a quantum shift in how she related to the world.

Upon returning from a summer visiting Brazil, Ximena visited the kindergarten at the San Francisco Waldorf School and as a result of her earlier work with Burkhard in Brazil, chose Waldorf Education. She pursued Waldorf Teacher Training and completed her certification in 2005 at the Rudolf Steiner College. Ximena ran her own Waldorf-inspired early childhood program for two years. .

To accommodate her daughter’s interest in differing cultures, Ximena volunteers as the Arts and Crafts Coordinator for “Mensageiros da Cultura”, a Bay Area cultural program for Brazilian children organized by Brazilian mothers.

Raised in Brazil and Colombia and immigrating to the US in 1996, Ximena’s experience is that teaching a new language builds bridges from one culture to another, and accesses different thought processes which brings a richness to experiencing the world. In 2009, she joined the Santa Cruz Waldorf School as the Spanish language teacher for all eight grades.


Kerry Maloney

Handwork Teacher

Kerry is a native Californian who has long been inspired by the beauty and diversity of Northern California and is a devoted ocean lover. She studied fine arts at Cabrillo College and earned her livelihood as a seamstress for many years. She began working at the SCWS in 1984, first as a parent volunteer, and then in the Aftercare Program. She substituted as a classroom teacher, taught handwork classes, and became a full faculty member in 1994. Kerry enjoys teaching children and adults alike and is dedicated to bringing the joy of the creative process to her community. She credits her alternative upbringing with imbuing her with the inspiration, self-reliance, and ingenuity that she is so eager to share with her beloved students. Kerry has a depth and breadth of handwork knowledge and her skills and talents include the following: quilting; doll-making; hand-spinning; felting; silk painting; Hawaiian quilting, and paper crafts. She is also an avid knitter. Kerry is the mother of four children, all of whom have attended the SCWS.

Jai Bolwell

Upper Grades Art Teacher

Jai grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains, and spent grades 2-8 at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School. She spent her teenage years developing her love for all things artistic, and graduated UC Davis in 2016 with Bachelors degree in Studio Art. Her work has been displayed around the city of Davis and in Santa Cruz. As an alumni of the Waldorf School, she uses her memories and own experiences as a student to create projects that are creative and engaging, while teaching the students tools and techniques to help them create beautiful works of art. Jai spends her free time enjoying nature, which serves as her main inspiration in the classroom and in her own work.

Ivy Young

Garden Teacher/Manager

Bio and picture coming soon.

Clint Walters

Movement Teacher

Half Moon Bay born and raised, I enjoyed living and playing on the coast. I attended all the public schools in my area playing mostly baseball and football as my preferred sports. After high school I attended College of San Mateo studying all my undergraduate courses and playing football. Our team went from worst, in my first year at the school, to first and almost won the title for northern California junior college football. After two years at CSM I transferred to Chico State where I received my B.A. in history and minored in physical education. It was at Chico State when I became hooked on tennis and continue to play to this day. After graduation I spent one more year at Chico State receiving my public teaching credential for grades 7-12. After substitute teaching at my alma mater for two years I began working for a friend who was a contractor and learned carpentry and other phases of construction. Four years later I discovered Waldorf education on a job site in Half Moon Bay from a 4th grade child who was visiting from the Haleakala Waldorf School in Hawaii. It was then I heard the calling to end my career in construction and begin my career in Waldorf teaching at the Steiner College in Fair Oaks, Ca. It was here I met my wife Terry who I married in 1995. After a two year training, I applied at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School and was given the job in 1993 as the first grade teacher for 28 students. I taught for five years and then became the movement teacher at our school. While at the school I took a five year training in Spacial Dynamics which is a movement training for Waldorf Teachers. I left the school for two years at one point to take a break and worked as a carpenter. After my return I taught fifth and sixth grade then again became the movement teacher. I am dedicated to Waldorf education and feel it is the best education since we care about the child’s development. Rudolph Steiner knew that keeping the education alive and appropriate for their age was critical for their healthy development. Yah Waldorf!!! I enjoy singing and playing my harmonica. Nature is a major influence in my life and I enjoy hiking and jogging in it when I get the chance.

Kyle Lutz

Kindergarten Aftercare

Kyle’s work of the past ten years includes teaching preschool, teaching music in early childhood, musical programming in summer camp and ECE centers, bilingual art therapy in Colorado, and surf instruction on the Chilean and California coast. Other than a month and a half long work-study teaching third and fourth grade at a Waldorf-inspired school in Peru, he is new to Waldorf education and looks forward to learning more about it alongside the students and teachers in this wonderful school.

“I am from Los Angeles, CA, and graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and Philosophy major in 2015. In my free time, I play guitar and banjo, surf, skateboard, write fiction and poems, and go camping/backpacking all along the great big West Coast.”

Jeanne Feeney, Parent-Child Teacher

Jeanne Feeney

Parent-Child Teacher

Jeanne Feeney is a graduate of Sophia’s Hearth, a Waldorf early childhood training program in Keene, NH to work with families with children from birth to three. In 2008, she was invited to collaborate on the design and implementation of the first Parent-Infant and Parent¬-Toddler programs for the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD. Jeanne taught in that program and also inaugurated the 2 year old drop¬-off classes (for children without their parents) until moving to Santa Cruz, CA in 2013.

A master practitioner of the somatic movement and healing modality, Body-Mind Centering ®, she works with adults and children using gentle hands-on techniques and exercises to lessen pain and promote well¬-being. Jeanne’s children, now in their early 20s, are both graduates of the lower school at the Washington Waldorf School.

Polly Malan, Strings Teacher

Polly Malan

Strings Teacher

Polly Malan started the strings program at SCWS fifteen years ago. She graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in British History and Music. She has studied music at the graduate level at Northern Illinois University, Stanford University, and UCSC. As a violist, she can be seen performing throughout the Bay Area in various symphonies and chamber ensembles. She also teaches violin and piano privately. She lives in Bonny Doon with her violinist husband.

Renata Bratt

Strings Teacher

Renata Bratt is Kuumbwa Jazz Artist in the Schools for Santa Cruz County, past chair of the American String Teachers Association Eclectic Styles Committee, conducts the Festival Strings through Cabrillo’s Youth Strings program and teaches cello in her private studio. Her string orchestra arrangements are published by Alfred and her cello books by Mel Bay. She has taught classical styles, jazz improvisation and fiddling at international string workshops including Alasdair Fraser’s camps, Southern Hemisphere International School for Scottish Fiddling, the New Directions Cello Festival, Wintergrass, the Mandolin Symposium, ASTA, MENC and Suzuki institutes. Renata records and tours with Cindy Lee Berryhill (rock) and Reel of Seven (Scottish Dance) and has played back-up with luminaries such as Darol Anger, Liz Carroll, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Lyle Lovett, and Dionne Warwick. Rolling Stone dubbed her an “ace performer” for her work with alternative rocker Cindy Lee Berryhill’s Garage Orchestra. She received her Ph.D. in Music from U.C. San Diego and is a former president of the Suzuki Music Association of California.

Anne Cleveland

Music Teacher, Tutor & Parenting Coach

Anne Cleveland currently teaches choir to the 4/5 and 6,7,8 grades and through music has dedicated her life to creating harmony in the world through teaching, performing, and composing music, as well as coaching families to find more balance and harmony in the home.

Anne grew up in Maryland and from an early age, music was always a central theme. She loved singing rounds with her mother and brother and playing piano, guitar and flute. She eventually found her way west and graduated from UCSC with a degree in Music and has since taught and performed music and throughout the Bay Area in numerous Classical, Folk and Jazz ensembles. She is currently completing the Werbeck singing training with Christiaan Boele at the “School of Uncovering the Voice, and has begun the pedagogical singing course as well.

Anne discovered Waldorf education through her nieces who attended the Sacramento Waldorf School. In 1990 Anne joined the San Francisco Waldorf teacher-training program and in 1994 began teaching in Santa Cruz where she has served the Waldorf Community for over 20 years as a class teacher for 10 years, specialty teacher in music and Spanish, tutor, mentor, faculty chair and parenting coach. After graduating her last class in 2010 she went on to get her Master’s in Waldorf Education at Antioch University, where she became even more dedicated to helping Waldorf to thrive in the world.

Anne loves combining her many years of experience as a musician and Waldorf teacher along with her training as a Life Coach and Simplicity Parenting Group Leader in all her work with the children, teachers and parents. When Anne is not teaching she loves to sing, dance salsa, compose her own music and work in the garden.


Wanda Taylor


While receiving her degree as a public school teacher in Switzerland, Wanda Taylor was introduced to Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy. Ever since that day she dreamed of going through Waldorf Teacher Training. After teaching in Switzerland for 10 years she moved to the US with her family and while her two girls started attending the Waldorf School in Costa Mesa, she finally was able to fulfill her dream and received her Waldorf Teaching degree through the Antioch University in New Hampshire. In 1999, Wanda moved to Santa Cruz from Southern California and had the opportunity to tutor at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School while her children attended the Santa Cruz Waldorf School. She very much enjoys working one on one with children, to discover and help them depending on their individual needs.


Marina Thomas

Eurythmy Accompanist

Marina Thomas is a piano teacher and accompanist with 30 years of experience in Ukraine. She loves children very much. She came to Santa Cruz to marry musician John “Tuba” Thomas in Santa Cruz. Marina works in many children’s programs and projects, such as children’s choirs and productions of children’s musicals, as well as teaching private lessons.

Thomas Nold

Woodworking Teacher

Thomas was a teaching tennis pro in his younger years. He earned a BA in art and a BS in education from Northern Illinois University, and retired after 30 years of service in the Santa Cruz probation department. He has four children, two boys and two girls, ages 35 through 22. Since retiring, he teaches woodworking at Waldorf school and plays music in local venues many times a week.




Phone: (831) 824-2161
Address: 2190 Empire Grade
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Location: Next to UCSC,
10 minutes from downtown
Aftercare: After 1PM, Aftercare can be reached at (831) 425-0346
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