Phone: 1.831.425.0519



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
Candace Achenbach

Candace Achenbach

Preschool Director and Lead Teacher

Candice grew up in rural Pennsylvania in a tight knit community which included many of her grandfather’s 13 brothers and sisters. In high school she informed her mother that when she finished college she was going to move to California. A few short years later she was packing up her car and heading quite literally from one end of route 80 to the other. After a few years of teaching in California she discovered a small Waldorf home program in Petaluma and fell in love. She joined a family from this program for a year as they moved to Tuscany full time and when she returned she began her Waldorf Teacher Training. After a brief stint in Los Angeles where she was the first teacher at a tiny Waldorf Early Childhood Program she found that Northern California was calling her.

When she is not teaching (or preparing for class) you can find her caring for her succulents, reading, hiking, rock climbing, organizing community events and experiences, and exploring the intersection between art and science.

Kendra Barnett Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher

Kendra Barnett

Kindergarten Class Teacher

Kendra Barnett has been working at the school for the past four years as the Director of the Parent/Toddler Program and most recently assisting in the Pre K Rosebud Play garden.

Kendra started taking Early Childhood Courses at the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento in 1998 and graduated in 2005 and became a Kindergarten Teacher. Since then she has dedicated herself to studying Waldorf Early Childhood Education and Anthroposophy.

Kendra is from Canada and has been living in the USA for fifteen years. She and her husband have one child, Asher, who has been a Waldorf student since kindergarten. He will be starting second grade in the fall.

Richard Corbal Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher

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 Anthrosoposophy. 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 2nd Grade.

Lolly Rogers Waldorf 1st Grade Class Teacher

Lolly Rogers

1st Grade Class Teacher
Mireille Horton Waldorf 2nd Grade Class Teacher

Mireille Horton

2nd 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 next year’s 2nd grade students, 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.

Christopher Sblendorio Waldorf 3rd Grade Class Teacher

Christopher Sblendorio

3rd Grade Class Teacher

Christopher, after getting a university degree in education and training at Emerson College, taught his first year at the Rudolf Steiner School in NYC. He then led four classes, first through eighth grades, at the Rudolf Steiner School in Great Barrington, MA. He is also known as professional clown, musician, country dance caller, published writer—in short a jack of all trades and master of none, except perhaps of teaching children how to have fun while learning.

Jodi Casey Waldorf 4th grade Class Teacher

Jodi Casey

4th 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.

Esther Olmsted Waldorf 5th Grade Class Teacher

Esther Centers

5th Grade Class Teacher

Esther has a passion for bringing out the best in children. After completing an eight-year cycle she led another class from grades one through five, and is currently teaching grade 5. 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.

Alison Gee Waldorf 6th Grade Class Teacher

Alison Gee

6th Grade Class Teacher
Sunset Sky Richter Waldorf 7th Grade Class Teacher

Sunset Sky Richter

7th 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!

Scott Olmsted Waldorf 8th Grade Class Teacher

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 Waldorf Spanish Teacher

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.

Anne Cleveland Music Teacher, Tutor & Parenting Coach

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.

Nadia Tarlow, art teacher

Nadia Tarlow

Art Teacher

Nadia received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design where her studies centered on painting and included: sculpture, drawing, ceramics, film and animation, photography, performance art, and visual perception. In addition, she studied fine art at Parsons in Paris, painting and printmaking in New Mexico, and in the Boston area. She has spent extensive time creating, enriching her spirit, and appreciating nature in Mexico and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the past 20 years Nadia has been assisting and teaching art to all-ages while pursuing her career in fine art and film.

She views art in 6-8th grades as a way to help students refine their skills, explore new ways of seeing, express themselves, connect to nature and nourish their souls. In addition to Waldorf art curriculum, fundamental themes in her classes are observation, experimentation and expression, involving studies of composition, form, color, design, and mark-making.

Wanda Taylor, Tutor

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.

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.

Dexter Brightman , Tutor

Dexter Brightman

After School Program Director

Dexter Brightman is our After School Program Director, as well as the grade’s Lead After Care Teacher. 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.

Hailey Villa, Kindergarten After Care

Hailey Villa

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.

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.

Clint Walters, Movement Teacher

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.

Cristina McCutcheon, Garden Teacher/Manager, Site Committee Co-Chair

Cristina McCutcheon

Garden Teacher/Manager, Site Committee Co-Chair

What a gift it is when life presents a path which brings together the passions of one’s lifetime. Cristina has had a passion for organic gardening, education, animals and farming since early childhood. A native of Santa Cruz County, Cristina grew up immersed in imaginary play and practical work in the forests and fields of the redwoods. She began learning the art of organic/biointensive gardening and raising small animals alongside her mother more than forty years ago. After graduating from local schools, Cristina attended San Francisco State University, where she obtained a BA in English/Linguistics, and then Chico State University and St.Patrick’s Teacher’s College, in Ireland, on the path to receiving single and multiple subject teaching credentials. In addition to teaching, Cristina’s deep curiosity about, and enthusiasm for life, has led to a varied and diverse work life which has included care for the elders, construction, veterinary work, law enforcement, farming and landscaping.

Cristina is a member, and co-President, of the Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden, co-Chair of the Santa Cruz Waldorf School Site committee, a member of the Biodynamic Association of Northern California, an active participant in TimeBank Santa Cruz, and owns a business dedicated to helping people participate in the cultivation of their landscapes while cultivating a reciprocal relationship with nature. She lives with her son, who is in Mr. Sblendorio’s class, on their neighborhood farm in Bonny Doon, where they enjoy the gift of lifelong learning in the company of chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, abundant wildlife, a variety of edible and ornamental plants, and the beloved redwoods whose magic first ignited her love of nature. In her “spare” time, Cristina enjoys reading, wood working and wild-crafting, drawing, baking bread, and acknowledging the gift of each new day with her son.



Phone: 831.425.0519
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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