New High School Chair Pamela Hollings

Pamela grew up in Sydney, Australia, the youngest of four children and the only member of the family born in Australia. She attended a private girls’ school (most private schools in Australia remain single sex to this day) called Presbyterian Ladies College where “the girls” were reminded daily of the essential attributes of “young ladies”. There she experienced many examples of wonderful teaching and the benefits of daily singing in a broad, largely compulsory curriculum that included learning to knit in Class 1, art and a play every year in Classes 1 through 7. This foundational educational experience ignited a love of learning that has never dimmed.

After school, Pamela pursued training as an actor and pursued a huge variety of “day jobs”. From installing the chart-ofaccounts for a small business, to telephone sales, to supporting herself for a few years by designing and making knitwear, Pamela did it all while always maintaining a long and varied reading list from mythology, dramatic art and philosophy. Obviously, she started her Waldorf training early. 

In the theater world, she worked with a number of theater coops and collectives, honing her skills as a group decision-maker, not to mention, publicist, set builder, stage manager, tour bus driver, booking agent and everything in between! Eventually, she focused on theater direction and attended Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), where she had the rare privilege of spending three weeks observing and interacting with Peter Brook’s company while they performed the Mahabarata at the Adelaide Arts Festival.

After NIDA, Pamela directed “off Broadway” and commercial productions as well as running a small theater company in Melbourne. She also worked with young writers at Interplay, an international young playwrights’ festival. The excitement of watching a 15 year old from the Philippines see his work performed by professionals at the Sydney Opera House was a highlight from these years.

Pamela met her husband through one of her “side gigs” operating computers in a merchant bank (don’t ask!). A few years after her eldest child was born she felt that she could no longer continue working in the theater. Not only were the hours incompatible, but the energy needed for collaborating with the actors and other artists rightly needed to be given to her child. 

Pamela had been exposed to Waldorf Education through a childhood friend and knew that it would be the education for her children. After moving to the Bay Area in 1996, she began to pursue anthroposophy and Waldorf education through playgroups, eurythmy groups and reading. Soon she found herself administering a startup, parent-run Waldorf school in Berkeley, and hosting a Waldorf Kindergarten in her house, becoming more and more certain that Waldorf was her path too. After joining a Waldorf Teacher Training program she became a class teacher at the East Bay Waldorf School where she also chaired the school’s Governance and Personnel committees. 

She returned to Sydney in 2007 to see her father through his final illness and worked at Sydney’s Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School, Australia's largest and oldest Waldorf school, as their Enrollment Registrar. There she led the Enrollment and Marketing programs which helped the school’s enrollment increase from a low of about 60% to over 90% full at the beginning of the 2011 school year. 

Now she finds herself part of the leadership team at San Francisco Waldorf School and can’t believe her luck! She looks forward to getting to know the community in the coming months and hopes that she can be of useful service to the school.