San Francisco Waldorf High School’s distinguished faculty is characterized by the interest and individual attention given to each student. Most San Francisco Waldorf High School faculty members hold advanced degrees in their subject areas, and many hold PhDs. Performing and fine arts teachers as well as craftspeople come from the professional arts community of the city and bring extensive work and performance experience. The faculty has an average of 8 years of experience in the Waldorf curriculum.
High School Mathematics and Chemistry
Ms. Alba received her BS in electrical engineering and computer science from the Institut de Chimie Physique et Informatique in Lyon, France. After obtaining her degree, she became a teacher while starting her family. Ms. Alba passed the CAPES, a minimum examination requirement for professional teachers in France, and the AGREGATION, probably the most rigorous examination requirement to teach at the university level. She then taught physics and chemistry at Lyon high school for ten years.
Beth Allingham obtained her Waldorf High School Teacher training through the Kula Makua program in Honolulu and Rudolf Steiner College. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Plant Science and an M.S. in Plant Pathology. She taught chemistry and biology at the Honolulu Waldorf School, where she was a founding faculty member of the high school, for 17 years, and Microbiology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, for three years. She was the college counselor for ten years and taught a variety of other subjects including hula, Hawaiian crafts and English grammar. Her experience in counseling students with learning differences arose from the perceived needs of the students before her as well as observing how a dyslexic and bright son approached his learning and work in the world. She is fascinated by nutritional issues, both personal and linked to learning differences, is a Certified Healing Foods Specialist through Immunitrition.com and has published a nutrition blog. She loves to cook, sew, read, practice QiGong and hula, observe nature and garden.
Student Mentor, Pottery
Ms. Apana attended San Francisco State University where she received her BA in humanities in 1969, and her MA in education and lifetime California teaching credential in 1971. In 1997 Karen received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Integral Studies, from the School of Transformative Learning with an emphasis in Consciousness, Education and Transformation. She teaches biography and parent workshops. Ms. Apana is a founding parent of San Francisco Waldorf School from which her son, Ravi graduated with the first class in 1988. Ms. Apana is also a practicing artist and specializes in hand-building vessels and sculptures and intuitive painting.
Biology, Geology and Math, 9th Grade Sponsor
Mr. Burket received his Ph.D. in soil science from Oregon State University, his MS in biology from the University of Oregon and his BA in geology from the University of Vermont. After graduating from college, Mr. Burket took over the ownership of his family’s farm in Pennsylvania, converting it to an organic grain and livestock operation. During this time he also earned his teaching certificate in biology and general science and taught science for two years in a public high school. He completed his Foundation Year at the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training Program and taught math and science blocks in the eighth grade at the Eugene Waldorf School. Mr. Burket completed the High School Teaching Program through Rudolf Steiner College in 2000.
David spent his formative years in NYC soaking up the city's vast multicultural offerings. After being bitten by the jazz bug in elementary school he learned to play the saxophone. It quickly became the focus of his non-academic endeavors. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations, taught school in the Bronx and moved out to San Francisco just in time for the Loma Prieta earthquake. Living in the Bay Area inspired him to pursue music as a full time obsession. He founded the world renowned avant jazz group Broun Fellinis (16 years running) and is an active free lance musician involved in many musical pursuits that range from straight ahead jazz to hiphop to afrobeat to experimental electronic music. His music has taken him to Europe, Japan and Canada as well as around the US.
High School Humanities
Ms. Caldarera, holding a BA in Englishfrom the University of Rochester and a MA in drama from the University of Toronto, iscurrently in a doctoral program in educational leadership at U.C. Davis. In 1985 Ms. Caldarera apprenticed at San Francisco Waldorf School spending a block of time with each grade class before teaching Kindergarten for four years. She graduated her first class, which she took from the fifth grade, in June 1993, then led a second class from first through fifth grades. Having chaired the high school planning committee, she joined the high school faculty in 1997, and served as High School Chair for five years. From there she moved to the Head of Administration position, which she held for four years. Ms. Caldarera is the mother of four children. The two eldest graduated from SFWS in 1990 and 1994, while son Michael-Tobias was in the first SFWHS graduating class, and son Andreas is in the twelfth grade.
Ellie Capers Jenkins received her B.A. degree from Antioch University, Yellow Springs, Ohio and her Masters in Education from Antioch-Keene, New Hampshire. Ellie completed the Waldorf Teacher Training in 2005 from the Rudolf Steiner College program here at our school. For 31 years she has worked in experiential outdoor programs throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Mathematics and Physics
Dr. Carini received his BA in physics at the University of Rome in 1988. He then moved to the United States to continue his research in theoretical physics at Stanford University, California, where he later received his Ph.D. in physics. His interest in Waldorf education started when his wife, Lalla, entered the Waldorf Teacher Training program in San Francisco. Later, he lived in Massachusetts where he worked for two years at Amherst College with Professor Arthur Zajonc on problems of crystal growth and pattern formation. Dr. Carini completed his Waldorf Teacher Training in the San Francisco Teacher Training Program.
Sra. Forrer attended University Complutense of Madrid, Sciences of Education, from 1976 to 1979. Sra. Forrer also attended Madrid University School of Applied Arts and graduated in 1982. Before coming to SFWS, she taught in Madrid, then moved to San Anselmo and taught Adult Education at Mount Tam High School and Spanish at Marin Country Day School. In March of 1998, she completed a Teachers' Equivalency Training through Rudolf Steiner College. During the spring of 2000, Sra. Forrer, in cooperation with other Spanish teachers, published a book entitled Cenderos for Spanish language teachers in the Waldorf Schools.
Paul Gierlach has an undergraduate and graduate degree from St. Vincent's College and York University, respectively, and completed his Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College in Detroit. He has taught in Waldorf elementary and high schools for over 25 years and in teacher training programs throughout the U.S. He was the founding and lead teacher of the Honolulu Waldorf High school for six years. For the last ten years - since receiving his remedial training - he has worked in the classroom and as a remedial tutor with students from grades 4 through 12.
Aimee Golant is a sixth generation Metalsmith. She began studying jewelry fabrication and Silversmithing at California State University, San Francisco in 1992. Upon her graduation in 1996 she began her career as an independent metal artist making Judaica and Jewelry. She traveled to juried shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore selling her unique metal art nationally. Aimee won the esteemed NICHE Award for her Bars and Windows Menorah and she received the Golden Hammer Award for her outstanding community service through the San Francisco Bay Area Metal Arts Guild. Her teaching experience includes pioneering the Metal Art program at the San Francisco Waldorf High School, teaching adults and inner city youth beginning Silversmithing and jewelry fabrication as vocational skills at the Crucible in Oakland, as well as teaching beginning and intermediate jewelry making at Scintillant Studio in San Francisco.
Music Program Coordinator, Orchestra Director
Since his emergence on the west coast in the late 1970’s, Evander Music founder Phillip Greenlief has achieved international critical acclaim for his recordings and performances with musicians and composers in the post-jazz continuum as well as new music innovators and virtuosic improvisers. The multi-instrumentalist holds a BA in Music Education and a MA in 20th Century Literature from the University of Southern California and is a former instructor at Stanford University. In addition to a busy performing and recording schedule, he currently teaches saxophone and improvisation at Oakland School for the Arts, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and is Music Program Coordinator at San Francisco Waldorf High School.
High School Spanish
Ms. Gressel recently moved to the Bay Area to commence her third year of teaching at the high school level. She studied abroad in Seville, Spain at La Universidad de Sevilla and graduated from Cornell College in 2006 with a B.A. in Spanish and Secondary Education. She will begin Waldorf training this summer at the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire.
Helland Hansen, Maria
A native of Norway, Maria worked there with biodynamic agriculture for several years, before leaving to study eurythmy in Sweden from 1981 to 1985. She worked two years at Vidarkliniken, an anthroposophical hospital in Sweden, as eurythmist and assistant nurse. She worked for four years as eurythmy teacher at Lorenskog Waldorf School in Norway. In 1992, Maria completed her curative eurythmy training in Dornach, Switzerland.
Math, Physical Education
Mr. Jackson completed his Waldorf Teacher Training at Emerson College in 1983. He taught for 15 years at the Summerfield Waldorf School in Santa Rosa before coming to the San Francisco Waldorf School in 2001. He was a class teacher for 11 years, and now teaches math, physical education and coaches after-school sports. Mr. Jackson has a son in eleventh grade.
Humanities and Arts
After attending the American College in Paris, Ms. Kuschner earned her teaching degree in French and English from the School of Education at the University of Kansas. In 1986 Ms.Kuschner founded her own graphic design firm in Minneapolis, where she and her staff of graphic designers, foreign language translators and cultural consultants have worked for over twenty years creating global marketing materials for multi-national corporations and their overseas subsidiaries. Ms. Kuschner earned her MA in Art and Society from Hamline University, with a specialty in 20th century Russian and Eastern European Art History.
Zeke Lopez grew up in Pittsburg, California in the East Bay. There he represented his high school playing Varsity Soccer and Varsity Basketball. After high school, Mr. Lopez attended Bethany University in Scotts Valley, California where he also competed on the Varsity Men’s Basketball team and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science. After teaching Fifth Grade for two years, Mr. Lopez’s began teaching at Contra Costa Christian High School in Walnut Creek where he also served as Athletic Director and Varsity Boys Basketball coach. After working at Contra Costa Christian High School for 6 years he served as Athletic Director, Varsity Boys Basketball coach and Physical Education teacher at Lighthouse Community Charter High School in Oakland, California where he helped develop and found the Bay Area’s first Charter School Athletic League. Mr. Lopez has recently completed his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Phoenix and he looks forward to establishing a great athletic program here at Waldorf High School.
McGill, Mary Anne
Ms. McGill has a BA in History and Classical Studies from Rhode Island College and a master's degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. For the past eleven years, she has managed the World Affairs Council of Northern California's Library; planned and produced a weekly "Meet the Author" program series for NPR.
Dr. Renegar received her Ph.D. in mathematics from Tulane University, in New Orleans. Two years later she moved to Scotland where she completed the Waldorf Teacher Training program at the Rudolf Steiner School of Edinburgh. She has taught mathematics at a number of colleges and universities, and has taught in Waldorf high schools for the past six years.
Ms. Thiersch attended the Kräherwald Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany, and completed her eurythmy training at the Eurythmeum Stuttgart with Else Klink. She performed with the acclaimed Eurythmeum Stage Group, and also taught in the Eurythmeum and at the Dr. Hauschka Pharmaceutical Co. Since coming to America, Ms. Thiersch has taught eurythmy from kindergarten through grade twelve, specializing in the high school. She directs the San Francisco Youth Eurythmy Troupe, which gives annual performances in San Francisco, and has toured extensively in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
Arts Program Coordinator, Weaving, Basketry, Bookmaking
Ms. Townsend received her BA in psychology from California State University, Humboldt in 1975 with a California Child Care Credential. In 1978 she studied Weaving at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, in Maine, followed by completion of a Textile Arts Program at Fiberworks Center for the Textile Arts in Berkeley. After moving back to the Bay Area she worked twelve years as a commercial toy designer. Ms. Townsend began teaching in our high school when it opened, and now teaches Weaving, Basketry, and Bookbinding.
High School Humanities, Choir
Mr. Weber grew up in the Bay Area. He studied politics, music and law, receiving his BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and JD from the University of Wisconsin. After several years in the practice of law, Mr. Weber trained as a Waldorf teacher at Emerson College in England. He has taken three classes through the eighth grade, and has taught history, music and literature in two Waldorf high schools.
High School Humanities, Drama
Mr Wong has been a teacher since 1993. Having worked in the British state sector and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language he began his Waldorf career at the Hereford Waldorf School in England in 2000. He and his family moved to the Bay Area in 2005 where he taught part-time at the East Bay Waldorf School. He received his BA.in English from Middlebury College in 1987 and his M.Phil. in English and P.G.C.E. (teacher's credential) from Oxford in 1993. All four of his children are SFWS students.