Alumni Updates

November 2014
Michael Beleson (Class of 2012) recently became the Alumni Class Liaison for the Class of 2012.  In this role he collected updates from his classmates, all of whom are looking into internships in their chosen fields over the next year as college juniors.  If you are interested in supporting them in this process, please contact Seraph White at swhite@sfwaldorf.org. Class of 2012: Brittany Salazar: Biology, interested in genetic research. Karin Narita: International Relations, interested in diplomacy, NGO’s, and human rights. Andre Amarotico: Political Science and Theater. Alexander Woodhouse: Economics, interested in monetary and fiscal policy. Allison Morello: Nursing, midwifery. Adriana Petersen: Anthropology and Humanities, with a minor in History. Reilly Hurley: Political Science, focused on international relations and political theory. Karina Berry: Wildlife Conservation and Restoration, biology minor. Jessi Ferguson: Illustration with a focus on entertainment art. Trevor Sargent: Theater (design/tech) and Computer Science. Bryan Jensen: Computer Science. Ishmael Watkins: Psychology. Michael Beleson: Mechanical Engineering, interested in nuclear research. 

October 2014
Zoe Brezny (Class of 2009) wrote: “In May 2014, I graduated from California College of the Arts in Oakland with a B.A. in Writing and Literature. I am beginning the MFA program in Poetry at Columbia University in New York this fall. I have been working as a journalist for the East Bay Express in Oakland. For the week of July 30, 2014, I wrote the cover story for the paper. The piece is entitled “Books Are Dead. Long Live Books.” It's about the artist cooperatives, innovative bookstores, poetry reading series, presses, and gritty, grassroots communities behind the East Bay's literary renaissance. Find it here: http://bit.ly/1tvY3eZ”

Claire Furlotte (Class of 2005) is an NBCOT certified Occupational Therapist working in a sub-acute rehabilitation center in Albany, Oregon where she is also the Director of Rehab. Claire graduated with honors in 2010 from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Kinesiology. She completed a Master of Occupational Therapy with honors from Pacific University in 2013. She is currently pursuing a clinical doctorate. Claire teaches, choreographs, and performs with Zephyr, her Improv Tribal Style bellydance company. They produce an annual bellydance retreat that hosts some of the world’s foremost bellydance artists and musicians. Claire has happily settled into her first home with her boyfriend, three cats, and a dog.

March 2014
Christopher Evart (Class of 2006), a Technical Animation Artist for Walt Disney Productions, was on the team that created Frozen, the latest animated fairytale out of Disney and also the winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Film. Congratulations Christopher!

Alex and Logan Hart (both Class of 2011) are studying abroad this semester. Alex is in Copenhagen, Denmark--although at the moment she’s spending a week skiing in the French Alps (with some kids from her program). She’ll spend a week studying in Milan and France and later she’ll kayak the Norwegian fjords. She promises that she’s studying a lot and that the program is academically challenging. Lots of fun travel though. On another note, Alex will be team captain of Amherst’s soccer team next year.Logan is spending his semester studying in Bali, Indonesia.He had been taking Bahasa Indonesian for his language requirement at Yale and now he’s enjoying the warm Bali weather and becoming fluent. He just spent last week in a rice farming village sleeping on a dirt floor and then he climbed the most active volcano in Indonesia. Send in your updates or find out more about our alumni program at www.sfwaldorf.org/alumni. 

January 2014
Martina Brimmer (Class of 2001) recently shared: “In 2008, I began a bicycle bag company called Swift Industries. In true Waldorf fashion the company was born of creative drive, passion, and curiosity. My early childhood and adolescent education at SF Waldorf School sculpted my approach to business management and continues to inform my personal views of success and my creative process. I am deeply grateful for these gifts.” www.builtbyswift.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATjnNlJC3qk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrHW1VRdeRM

Darma Khalsa (Class of 2008) was awarded a Fulbright Grant for teaching English in South Korea for the year. Darma majored in International Relations at Lewis and Clark College. Congratulations!

Nick Neumann (Class of 2008) recently produced a documentary on water supply in Tanzania titled “Katuma: River of Contradiction”. vimeo.com/nickneumann/katuma.

Tome’-Jo Trujillo (Class of 1988) lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has two “lovely, magical children” and has recently been involved in hospice work in Santa Fe. He has many fond memories of SFWS, especially climbing to the top of the tree.

Bianca Larson (GS Class of 1999) and David Saarman (Class of 2004) were married this year.

November/December 2013
After two years at CloudOn in Palo Alto, where she worked as a product manager, Alyssa Woodman (SFWHS Class of 2006) started a new position at Tesla as a project manager for a team of engineers. She has also returned to her love of equestrian vaulting, coaching a trot team at Mount Eden Vaulting Club in Saratoga.

Merlin Woodman (SFWHS Class of 2008) is working for Parallels in Renton, WA, as a market research analyst. He lives in Seattle and continues his passion for sailing - which was awakened in the first week of ninth grade (by Michael Kuschner) when he joined the SFWHS sailing team. He now crews on a yacht whenever he can.

Katherine Feller (SFWS Class of 2006) is currently performing at the Dickens fair this holiday season. She is also in rehearsal for Die Fledermaus with the Lamplighters, which will open in January. She has been keeping busy with various work, rehearsals, and performances.

Sofia Alicastro (SFWS Class of  2010) was highlighted by Lewis and Clark College for her internship at the Cannes International Film Festival. http://college.lclark.edu/live/news/23835

Allason Leitz (SFWS Class of 2010), in her Senior year at Seattle University, learned Swahili over the past summer and will spend next Summer continuing her work with Yole! Africa. She plans to work for a year or two and then look at graduate school. She said, “I almost know exactly what I want to do for Grad School, but I am just making sure.” 

October 2013
Michael Beleson (Class of 2012) is the student manager of the University of Washington basketball team and a member of the Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He is an engineering major and was accepted into the Mechanical  Engineering program this summer. He is excited because “I’ve always been good at physics and math so I thought it would be a good program for me.”

Austin Fusco (Class of 2012) is on the club baseball team  at Seattle University where he is studying Business and Econ. He spent the summer working at Beerworks in Mill Valley, starting out as a dishwasher and moving to prep cook.  “I’ve learned a lot about cooking and what it takes to run a restaurant and business in general.” After he is out of school, Austin wants to start a tech investment company.

Mayela Gutknecht (GS Class of 1994) graduated from University of California, San Francisco in June 2013 with a Masters in Nursing in Advanced Public Health. She works as Public Health Nurse in Sonoma County and is actively involved in organizing Adelante!, a community health event taking place in January in the Mission.

Victoria Lowell (Class of 2009) will graduate from Wentworth Institute of Technology (in Boston, MA) with a Masters in Architecture in April 2014. She is currently working on her Thesis and recently discovered that her advisor was a Waldorf teacher in Lexington, MA, and his daughter goes to the Waldorf school there. “It is always fun to see how Waldorf is connected, and how we could instantly start talking everything Waldorf!”

September 2013
Benjamin Finser (Class of 2009) graduated magna cum laude from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Economics last May along with two other SFWHS alum (Katrina Thollaug and Nick Neumann).  He is moving to Chicago in July to work as an analyst at an international small-cap equities investment fund.

Sarah Leslie (Class of 2006) has recently completed a set of handcrafted cookbooks.  She writes: “In college I took a class called “The Book: Theory and Practice.” I was attracted to the class because the professor, Barry Moser, or Bubba as we called him, had taught my uncle in prep school decades earlier, and perhaps more importantly, his class offered the opportunity to study the craft and art of books. I created a cookbook that I wrote, illustrated, handset, printed, and bound. A main lesson book of sorts, one might say. My love for books and writing has persisted. I’ll be going to CalArts in the Fall as a candidate for a MFA in creative writing.” Sarah is selling copies of her cookbook for $150. You can reach her at alexandra.leslie@gmail.com

We were excited to see an interview with alumnus Brett Thurber (Class of 2005) in the June 2013 edition of Sunset Magazine - http://www.sunset.com/magazine/.  The interview highlights his Bernal Heights electric bike shop The New Wheel - http://www.newwheel.net/.

America Whitten (Class of 2009) graduated last spring summa cum laude from UCSC with a BA in Psychology.

GS Class of 1988 25th Reunion

June 2013
Adriana Dakin (GS Class of 1988): I’m an online strategist with Fission Strategy, working with nonprofits and agencies to ignite their causes, and a board member of Young Women Social Entrepreneurs. I can work from anywhere there is wifi AND babysitting. I was recently in Boston for my 10-year Harvard Kennedy School reunion. My children Gwendolyn and Henry are 4.5 years and 9 months old. Gwen will start kindergarten at a Waldorf charter school in Ukiah in the fall!

Jason Cook (GS Class of 1988): I am married to Krista Cook and we have two small children, Penelope age 2 and Carson age 4. We own Lighthouse Realty and are always super busy managing employees, real estate sales, property management, but....the most important part of my day is playing with my kids, surfing/kite surfing and enjoying life on the Westside of Santa Cruz. 

Anna Sopko (GS Class of 1988): I have worked for SFUSD for the past 10 years.  I am currently a reading specialist at Tenderloin Community School.  I love my work!  I completed an MFA in writing a few years ago which was also a lot of fun.  My daughter Mila is four years old and delightful.  We live in San Francisco and recently adopted a cat.

Ravi Pursley (GS Class of 1988): I am finishing my first year as Director of Finance and Operations at the Berkwood Hedge School in Berkeley, CA, a progressive, constructivist K-5 elementary school with strong environmental and social justice roots. I’m married to the amazing Sandy Chan of Studio Paz architects and we have 2 lovely/wild little kids, Kaimana, who is in Kindergarten, and Makoa, age 3, who is in pre-school. We love to bike around Oakland’s Lake Merritt, check out music and art at the monthly Art Murmur, and to grow peas, kale, and flowers in our local community garden plot. 

January 2013
Allason Leitz (SFWS 2010) is working for the Seattle International Film Festival(SIFF) in the Education Programs department with some really exciting monthly special events as well as with the African Pictures Program. She is still volunteering as the Assistant to the Directors at the Film Festival in the DR Congo. She went back this past summer and is planning to return this summer again!

Jane Koopman (SFWS 2006) is currently living in Maine where she ski patrols and works for a non profit that supports and helps start high school outdoor clubs around the state. In her spare time she does a lot of whitewater kayaking.

Rachel Pierce (SFWHS 2010) will be participating in Columbia College’s Semester in LA this spring. SiLA is a five-week immersion program that allows students to experience Hollywood first hand with industry professional. Rachel is in a Television Drama Writing track and is particularly interested in learning about this part of the entertainment industry and is looking forward to opportunity to network with Waldorf alumni who are already in LA.

October/November 2012
Sarah Maccabee (SFWGS ’07) is attending Oberlin College and studying English, creative writing, and history.  Last summer she worked at a documentary film company and Live Power Farm.

Anuradha Lingappa (SFWHS ’11) is a sophomore at Whitman College where she is studying biology, living in the writing house, and is communications director for the campus affiliate of GlobeMed.

Congratulations to Aaron Casey (SFWHS ’12)! University of Oregon’s Product Design Program used his portfolio as one of four examples on their website pd.uoregon.edu/apply/ (Aaron’s is #4).

Andre Amarotico (SFWHS ’12) will be performing in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, November 29 - December 1, in Palo Alto. It is being produced by the Asian American Theatre Project (a Stanford student group). Info and tickets at http://aatp.stanford.edu/news.html.

Summer/September 2012
Jacob Aginsky (SFWGS ’88) is an independent contractor musician who just relocated to Nevada City, CA from Vancouver, Canada. He is sending his daughter Jaia to Waldorf school because “the narrative and story-telling approach to learning closely aligns with the best results I've seen as a parent… Minimizing the exposure to pop/ad culture is irrefutably creating space for and nurturing her own inner voice and creativity. The entire community, staff, teachers, even the pedagogy, are focused and cognizant of the importance of the child's education as a holistic aspect of their maturing into complete individuals.”

Sibilla Carini (SFWS HS '08, GS '04) is starting her senior year at SF State in Film and Theatre (Costume Design). She is also working as costume design assistant, prop rental supervisor, and production assistant in the Bay Area. Most recently she assisted a local costume designer at Shakespeare Santa Cruz and directed a short dance film in August 2012.

Lauren Cook (SFWS HS '02, GS '98) is at UCSF Nursing School.

Dorian Cool (SFWGS '99) just graduated from USF with a JD in international law.  For the past two years he has been working with the UN and other organizations prosecuting the crimes of the Khmer Rouge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (a UN-assisted tribunal).

Masha (Maria) Sokolov (SFWS HS '08, GS '04) was married Sunday, July 22nd in Poway, CA to Jason Jones. The two of them are moving to Irvine, CA where they will both be pursuing their graduate studies.

Alexandra Sullivan (SFWHS '07) has been working at Wyndham Exchange and Rentals (of Wyndham Worldwide) as an Analyst on the Decision Sciences team (Dept of Analytics)since mid-December 2011. “I love my job and my team and my company.” Last summer (2011), Alexandra and her boyfriend adopted a mini-pitbull who is our baby (see picture). She’s super sweet, but a little crazy. They have also recently closed on a house in Normal, IL!

Becca Tarnas (SFWS HS '06, GS '02) is currently working on her master’s degree at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program, with plans to continue to the PhD level in the same program.

Sara Taylor (SFWGS '99) graduated from the UCLA School of Law in May. She recieved the Lawrence E. Irell Prize for having the highest academic average in class after her first two years of school and was further recognized for having published legal scholarship in the UCLA Law Review.

Kyle Walenga (SFWS HS '09, GS '05) recently wrote, “I am entering my senior year at Knox College in Illinois, where I’m double majoring in Environmental Studies and Spanish, as well as playing baseball.  Also just attended Matt Cain’s Perfecto!”

April/May 2012
Aaron Brown (SFWGS '03) has been hired at Anonymous Content, a production and management company in Los Angeles. (www.anonymouscontent.com) It is a great first step for a career in the entertainment industry as the company is rapidly expanding. He recently completed an internship at Anonymous Content and is excited about the chance to work there. He is happy to network with other alumni who are also interested in the entertainment industry. Aaron graduated from Pomona College in 2011 with a degree in Media Studies and Englis 

February/March 2012
Lubov Makarov nee Belikow (SFWS HS ‘08, GS ‘04) was married September 25, 2011 in San Francisco to Adrian Makarov. Some alumni and faculty attended the wedding. She and her new husband live in Queensland, Australia in a suburb called Daisy Hill about ten minutes away from Brisbane.

Chris Hanfling (SFWGS ‘99) is completing his law degree at UCLA.  He has been accepted at NYU and Georgetown for an LLM degree, a specialized advanced legal degree in tax law.  He interned in Washington, DC this past fall with the UCDC program where he worked at the Treasury in the office of the International Tax Council.

And don’t miss Dan Hoyle (SFWGS ‘94)in his one man show “The Real Americans” currently playing at The Marsh theater in San Francisco.  This, Dan’s fourth solo show, was created after “fleeing the liberal, hipster bubble of San Francisco” and “traveling through small-town America in search of tough country wisdom and a way to bridge America’s urban/rural divide.” “The Real Americans” follows Dan’s award-winning “Tings Dey Happen” which was based on his experiences as a Fulbright Scholar living in the  Niger Delta of Nigeria. Through March 18th onl 

January 2012
Alyssa Woodman (SFWHS ‘06) graduated magna cum laude last summer from Drexel University, Philadelphia, with a degree in Design and Merchandising. She now works for CloudOn in Palo Alto. She recently revisited her art portfolio from high school and was impressed with everything she had learned. She notes that her presentations and displays at Drexel were always some of the best because of the precision and attention to detail that she learned from Ms. Townsend, our HS arts Program Coordinator and Instructor.

Merlin Woodman (SFWHS ‘08) also works in cloud computing. He graduated cum laude from Seattle University in December 2011, with a degree in Economics and Philosophy. During the summer of 2011, he had an internship at Parallels in Renton, WA, which turned into part-time and then full-time employment as a Market Analyst. Along the way, he participated in a program sponsored by the Seattle University president helping students in the immediate neighborhood, an underserved area of Seattle. The students provided assistance with reading, language skills, and general academics.

December 2011
Jeston Cole Lewis (SFWGS/HS ‘08) recently sent us an update: “I am currently in my last year of undergraduate studies at SUNY Stony Brook working on organizing several album projects, two for the Stony Brook High C’s, the acappella group I am currently in, as well as some recordings for myself. I am also working as a producer and technical helper for Sled Dog Studios, a full service production company based out of Rochester, NY and am working on putting together a speaker series revolving around the wide world of contemporary acappella music.”

Laurel O’Gormley (née O’Keefe-Crow) (SFWGS ‘94) is living in La Conner, Washington with her husband, three year old daughter Osha, and another child expected this winter. The nearest Waldorf school is too far to commute, so Laurel is creating her own Waldorf community! About two and a half years ago she started a Waldorf-inspired parent cooperative and homeschool support network called The Greenwood Tree Cooperative (greenwoodtreecooperative.blogspot.com) and has found some amazing parents who are dedicated to their children’s natural development, grounded by a holistically-minded education.