Davis Waldorf School
Our School

Meet Our Teachers


Jessica Efstratis, Lavender Preschool Teacher
Jessica was born in the foothills of northern California and grew up in the Sacramento area next to the American River.  She came across Waldorf education in 2006 while looking for a preschool for her own daughter. It was love at first sight and she decided to pursue her Waldorf Early Childhood Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College.  She worked at Camellia Waldorf school as their parent child teacher as well as owning and operating a home preschool program, The Rainbow Bridge.  She now has three children and is happy to be both a teacher and proud parent in the Davis Waldorf community.
 
B.A. Integral Studies, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California; Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Jenny Gannon, Golden Poppy Preschool
Jenny Gannon grew up in Sacramento in the '70s and '80s. Her father was a painter/sculptor and her mother and aunties were quilters. Jenny received her BFA from Eastern Washington University and returned home to Sacramento to pursue an MFA from Sacramento State University and to start her family.

When her boys were young, Jenny discovered Waldorf education, which was helpful to her as a parent, improved her family life and inspired her to become a Waldorf teacher.  After graduating from Rudolf Steiner College's Early Childhood program, she taught kindergarten at Camellia Waldorf School in Sacramento for eight years. Jenny has also taught preschool at BeeLoved Farm School in Shingle Springs, CA where she co-founded the Folkschool, a mixed-age kindergarten that focuses on farm-chores and folk-crafts.

Her stepdaughter attends Sacramento Waldorf School and her sons attended Camellia Waldorf School and Sacramento Waldorf High School and have graduated. Jenny is still engaged in the arts and continues to be inspired by Waldorf education as a parent and as a community member. She is delighted to be part of our Early Childhood Faculty and looks forward to many happy hours with your children.

Mary Caridi-Gorga, Morning Glory Kindergarten
Mary Caridi-Gorga has 15 years of experience working in early childhood education in Waldorf and Waldorf-inspired settings. She earned a BS in Child Development from Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois, where she is originally from. In 2003, Mary received her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks.  In 2013 she completed the “Nurturing the Roots” professional deepening course in Therapeutic Approach to Waldorf Early Childhood Education in Denver. She has a grown son who attended DWS from kindergarten through 8th grade. Mary loves dancing, making music and singing with friends, hiking in nature and curling up with a good book
 
B.S. Child Development, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Jennifer Slater, Climbing Rose Kindergarten Teacher
While pursuing a degree in Social Science, Jennifer Slater found Waldorf Education through a classmate, our very own Mary Nichols, and originally worked alongside her in the preschool. The stars aligned in 2013 and Jennifer took her first kindergarten class at DWS shortly after receiving her Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma. She enjoys crafting, traveling, hiking and camping with her husband, Chris. She is a storyteller and shares many a story of her dog, Roo, and cat, Franny, much to the pleasure of the Climbing Rose kindergarten children.  
 
 A.A. Social Science, Sacramento City College; B.A.Child Development, Sacramento State University; Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Meg Connell, 1st grade, Class of 2026, Meg was raised in Northern California and graduated from Santa Rosa High school.  She majored in English and minored in Theater at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; she then earned a double Secondary English/Theater Teaching Credential and K-12th Special Education teaching credential.   She previously taught middle school English and Theater and most recently taught First and Second Grade at the Singing Stones Waldorf School in the Bay Area.

Meg is enrolled in the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. She enjoys people, the arts, being outdoors, cooking, exploring and spending time with her two sons and husband.

 


Karen Holt, 2nd Grade, DWS Class 2025
Karen Holt has been a classroom teacher for 19 years; 15 years at the Davis Waldorf School, and four years at Sacramento Waldorf School, focusing on the lower grades and teaching first through fifth grades. She has one high-school aged daughter. Karen enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and hiking.
 
B.A. in Elementary Education, Augsburg College, MN; MA in Human Development, Saint Mary’s University, MN; Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California; Remedial Education Training, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Kathy Dean, 3rd Grade, DWS Class of 2024
Kathy started off her professional career working for over ten years in administrative positions. After working at the Camellia Waldorf School as the registrar and receptionist, she realized that she had found an environment she loved being a part of. She decided to seek a greater challenge and develop a new career path as a Waldorf School Grade Teacher. She held her first in classroom position as the First Grade Class Assistant at the San Francisco Waldorf School. She enjoys spending time in nature hiking and paddle boarding.
 
B.A. Sociology, California State University, San Diego, CA; Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California

Coleen Borrego, 4th Grade, DWS Class of 2023
Coleen Borrego majored in English and minored in Education at the University of California, Davis, and then continued on at UC Davis to earn her teaching credential.  She taught English at Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville for nine years.  While seeking a preschool for their eldest daughter, she and her husband came upon Waldorf education and Coleen felt as though heaven opened and the angels sang -- she had found the home of her heart.  After the birth of her second daughter, Coleen earned her Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate at Rudolf Steiner College.  In due time, both daughters enrolled at Davis Waldorf School and Coleen was ready to take up her first class.  She has taught at DWS since 2006, and loves every minute of her time with the children!
 
B.A. English, UC Davis, Davis, CA; California State Teaching Credential, UC Davis, Davis, CA, Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California

Karen Roos, 5th Grade, Class of 2022
After graduating from college, Ms. Roos joined the Peace Corps and lived in Niger, West Africa. Upon her return to the United States, she began a successful 12-year technology marketing career in the Silicon Valley. As her sons began their schooling, Ms. Roos discovered Waldorf education, and knew that her dreams of teaching creatively and holistically would be fulfilled.
 
Ms. Roos’ teaching career began in 2006.  She has taught at both Camellia Waldorf School in Sacramento and at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School. While living in Santa Cruz, she initiated the Poppy Mountain Waldorf Home School Program, serving as a teacher and enrichment director for elementary and middle school grades.Ms. Roos strives to build connected community through warm enthusiasm and respect for each individual, and is dedicated to fostering a deep love of learning and living. Her talents and passions include storytelling, history, geometric and form drawing, creative writing, handwriting, and natural sciences.
 
B.S. Business Administration, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA; Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California

Cindy Toy, 6th Grade, Class of 2021
Ms. Toy’s background is richly diverse and includes a B.A. in English Literature with teaching as an emphasis from UC Davis. In addition, she has her degree in nursing, is an RN, and worked at Sutter Davis Hospital in the Medical/Surgical department and at Sutter Davis Women's Health.  
 
She attended the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento and has completed the Waldorf teacher training program. Ms. Toy has taught at the Davis Waldorf School for nine years, teaching one class from grades one through eight and also serving as our upper grades mentor.
 
Cindy is married and the mother of 3 boys - 29, 27, and 18 years old.  She notes that being a mother has been her greatest educational experience. Her family owns and operates an organic farm in the Little Applegate Valley near Ashland, Oregon. Every moment not spent teaching or traveling to basketball games with her son, Max, is spent gardening. During the summer, Ms. Toy holds environmental camps at the farm for children.  Her additional interests include music, textile crafts, creative writing, cooking, Ultimate Frisbee, backpacking, Shakespeare, and especially Golden Retreivers.

David Gomes-Bourdier, 7th Grade, Class of 2020
Mr. Gomes Bourdier is a Math and Science teacher and a native of France. He has lived for the past four years in Davis with his wife, a graduate student in Economic Development at UC Davis, and two daughters who are enrolled in Kindergarten and Preschool at Davis Waldorf School.

After studying Physical Sciences and Civil Engineering at the undergraduate level in France, he decided to become a high school teacher. During the same period, he became a mountaineering and rock climbing instructor at a local association. Upon completion of a teaching credential in Math and Science in 2004, he taught in France for six years, and in Ethiopia and Kenya for two years each. During those years, he introduced several projects linked to flying machines in the classroom, and led students on field trips to learn paragliding in the South of France and to climb Mount Kenya for humanitarian fundraisers.

He completed his MA in Education with a minor in History in 2014, a few months prior to arriving in Davis. His first experience as a teacher in California was at the French American International School of San Francisco. After completing his California State Teaching Credential, he recently taught at Woodland High School. During the two last years, his family joined the DWS preschool and deepened his understanding of Waldorf education. He has completed the Waldorf Foundations Teacher Training.

Steve Brannon, 8th Grade, Class of 2019
Steve Brannon began his teaching career in 2005. He has taught at White Mountain Waldorf School in Albany, New Hampshire; the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City, and at the Waldorf Homeschool Initiative in Ghent, New York. He has also worked in IT administration, web and graphic design, and non-profit fundraising. 
 
B.A., Goddard College, Plainfield, VT; advanced studies in visual arts, anthroposophy and teaching from Rudolf Steiner Institute, New York, and West Coast Institute, Vancouver B.C.

Ute Isabel Luebeck, Lower Grades Mentor
Ute was born and raised in a small German village to what was then close to the border of East Germany, close to what was then the border of East Germany. She describes her first three years of school much like Rudolph Steiner described his! She later finished her education in Braunschweig, Germany with a degree in business.
 
Ute was fully trained in Waldorf education at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, from which she graduated in 1999. She has taught ever since, mostly in the younger grades including  2½ years teaching at the Nairobi Waldorf School in Kenya, Africa a time of immeasurable experience she wouldn’t miss for anything.
 
Ute is a member of the First Class of Spiritual Science and had the privilege of participating in the Consciousness Studies program with Dennis Klocek at the Rudolph Steiner College. She considers Rudolf Steiner work as a lifelong spiritual path. Since 2014, Ute has used her extensive experience to mentor the young teachers at the Davis Waldorf School and elsewhere.

Subject and Other Teachers


Bill Critchfield, Woodworking Teacher
Mr. Critchfield studied Biology (BS, UC Irvine) and Nutrition (MS and PhD, UC Davis) in college.  Following a career in laboratory research, he pursued a desire to teach and joined the faculty at DWS.  Mr. Critchfield aspires to create a teaching environment where students develop confidence, enthusiasm, and creativity.  He believes that crafting with wood offers the rewarding experience of creating objects that are both beautiful and useful.  Outside of teaching, Mr. Critchfield is a garage inventor.  He also cherishes time with family, friends and nature.

Samantha de Bie, Upper Grades Math Specialist
 Bio to come.

Dahlia Haberman, Handwork Teacher
Mrs. Dahlia Haberman has been the Handwork teacher at DWS since 2005. Before coming to the U.S. in 1985, she trained in Art Teaching and Handwork Education in Israel. In 2008 she completed her Handwork Subject Teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks.
 
Mrs. Haberman’s passion is passing the joy of making things of beauty on to children and adults.
 
She has been involved in the life of the school as a parent volunteer, member of the College of Teachers, editor of the yearbook and chair of the Winter Craft Day as well as having taught handwork to DWS parents and served on several committees.
 
Her daughter Ella graduated from DWS in 2009. Mrs. Haberman loves to be in nature, spend time with family, and, of course, sew, knit, and learn and teach crafts from different cultures.

Alisa Haller, Gardening Teacher
Alisa has been involved in school gardens since 2013, first as a classroom parent volunteer, then as a Garden Coordinator at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Davis, and now as the Gardening Teacher at Davis Waldorf School. Alisa’s passion for bringing fresh and seasonally-inspired foods from the garden into the kitchen began while working in several local and Bay Area restaurants. She is dedicated to providing nutrition, garden, nature and ecology education to children of all ages. Alisa has a daughter attending DWS and they both enjoy growing and learning together at this beautiful school.
 
BFA, Sonoma State University; MFA, Mills College.

Marta Juliao, Spanish Teacher
Marta has been a Spanish Teacher at Davis Waldorf School for the past 16 years and currently teaches First through Eighth Grade. Marta was born in Colombia and moved to the United States in 1993. She has attended several Spanish training classes at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento. Marta is also an interpreter and a translator, and has mentored other Spanish teachers in the area. Marta is an artist and has had several landscape exhibitions in the Sacramento region. She currently teaches art lessons as an after school activity at DWS. Marta loves traveling, painting and learning from other cultures. She is married and has two daughters.
 
B.S. Economics. Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia

Angela Kost, Strings Teacher
Angela Kost earned her AB in biology from Stanford University and her MS in ecology from UC Davis.  She did post graduate studies in music at UC San Diego. During twenty years working as a biology research assistant, she started music ensembles at UCSD, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and at the University of Washington. These groups comprised scientists from academic departments and ranged from bluegrass bands to chamber music orchestras. She also played in university symphonies at Stanford, UCLA, and UCSD.  
 
Angela enjoys fiddling and has won numerous fiddling contest awards, including first place in twin fiddling with her daughter at the 2016 California State Fiddle Championships. Angela began teaching strings at DWS in 1993 and currently teaches strings in grades 4 to 8 as well as after school fiddling classes. DWS strings classes and fiddle groups perform at school and community events. Angela also enjoys performing with her family and friends at nursing homes, weddings, and special occasions. When she is not playing her violin, Angela farms a 13 acre organic walnut orchard in Rumsey in the beautiful Capay Valley.
 
BA Biology, Stanford University; MS Ecology, UC Davis; Post-graduate studies in Music, UC San Diego

Alice Stamm, Preschool and Kindergarten Eurythmy Teacher
Alice Stamm has been teaching eurythmy since 1975. She began her eurythmy training in Eckwalden, Germany and finished with Else Klink in Stuttgart. Alice also trained in therapeutic eurythmy, receiving a diploma from the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.
 
Having moved back to the States in 1978, she has taught in trainings, Waldorf schools, and did performing work in Spring Valley, Kimberton, Chicago, on the west coast in Los Angeles, and now in Fair Oaks. For the past 12 years until she retired, she built up both pedagogical eurythmy and remedial work at a Highland Hall Waldorf school in L.A. and since 2004 has been teaching at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks as well kindergarten eurythmy at Davis Waldorf School and several public schools in the Sacramento area. She does mentoring of colleagues as well.
 
She is president of the Eurythmy Association of North America which she began with six other colleagues in 1979. She also helped to form the Section Collegium for the Performing Arts in North America in 1988.

Miyoung Schoen, Eurythmy Teacher
Bio to come.

Andrew Taylor, Band Teacher
Andrew Taylor grew up in Australia playing Jazz Big Band music with his Mum. He gained a Bachelor of Music, and a Bachelor of Drama, from the University of New England (the Aussie one). He then re energized the Young Regional School of Music, a regional conservatorium in the Aussie Bush, from four private students in 1994 to over 500 students in five towns and 15 schools by 1997, a growth that was rewarded by the government with an Australia Day Cultural Medal. 

Andrew then traveled to teach music in schools on Kangaroo Island, in Vietnam, Turkey, Romania, and then Washington DC for many years, where he taught at Capitol Hill Day School and Alexandria Country Day School. This gave him the opportunity to work with the National Symphony Orchestras of these countries, bringing professional musicians from these ensembles into his schools each week to give instrumental lessons to school students. While on his travels, Andrew was able to complete an Honors in Musicology at the University of Adelaide and an MA in International Education at the Westminster Institute of Education at Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. He plays Trombone, Trumpet, Sax, Bass Guitar, and a little Flute (but not the piccolo, though...). Andrew’s wife is from Sacramento and they met in Turkey, of course. She brought his Aussie cat with her from Turkey to Sacramento, and now they have 4 cats to herd and wrangle in the beautiful California sunshine.

 
Simone Demarzi, Parent-Child Class Facilitator
Simone Demarzi has a BS in Education, a Waldorf Teaching Diploma, has completed three levels of RIE training, is a PITC (Programs for Infant Toddler Care) trainer, and holds a Child Development Site Supervisor Permit from the California State Department of Credentialing. She has taught at five different Waldorf Schools in their Early Childhood Programs over 40 years. She ran the LifeWays Child Care Program at Rudolf Steiner College, and had an Infant Care Program in her home for five years. Simone developed Parent Child programs at Live Oak Waldorf School and Sacramento Waldorf. She has three grown children all of whom went Preschool – 12 grade in a Waldorf School.

Karen Hansen, Sunflower Aftercare Program Coordinator
Karen brings her deep love of children to DWS as the Aftercare Program Coordinator for grades children. Karen is a mother of 3 (adults now), and has worked with children most of her life. She has worked as a Doula and Childbirth Educator assisting pregnant couples and families. She has worked in preschool settings, and as a Waldorf teacher’s assistant in a private school setting. She home-schooled her children, with her daughter attending private and public school as well. She used a Waldorf inspired curriculum with her children. She owned and operated a tourist retreat and bison ranch in Canada for 14 years, where she hosted private and group workshops and retreats, and offered educational programs and events for children.

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