|Faculty and Staff|
|Faculty and Staff|
Before arriving at Sunfield, Jake Meyer worked with children and children’s programs for thirty-two years in southern New Mexico. He has filled the roles of teacher, basketball coach, counselor, mentor, and has spent twenty-three years as executive director of a youth serving program called Children in Need of Services (CHINS). Jake loves developing new programs needed by children and families, and sustaining and improving those that already exist. With a supportive community and the help of dedicated staff and volunteers, CHINS grew from infancy to its current status of five distinct programs serving hundreds of children and families with a staff of over eighty and a budget of two and one-half million dollars.
Family is extremely important to Jake. He and his wife, Carol, have three adult children who live in Port Townsend and Denver, and a grandson, Ashton, who attends Sunfield Waldorf School. Jake embraces the commitment and energy among Sunfield’s students, faculty, staff, and volunteers, and feels honored to work in this beautiful setting, supporting Sunfield’s vision of serving children and the community with a Waldorf school and a vibrant farm.
Farm Manager/Farmer Educator
Nicole Witham is our new farmer, starting March 4. Look for her biographical information soon.
Shelley French began her career as an accounting consultant, serving the financial and office management needs of business owners in the Seattle area. She owned and operated her own company, SRF Resources, for seventeen years.
In 2003 her passion for nature, along with her business expertise and advanced organizational skills, led to the co-founding of Nature Vision, Inc., a nonprofit environmental education organization in Redmond, WA. Shelley served as CFO for five years and remains on the board of directors.
An experienced naturalist and environmental educator, she has presented on over twenty environmental topics, ranging from forest ecology to environmental stewardship, to multi-generational audiences.
A certified restoration ecologist, credentialed from the University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network, Shelley participated in a year-long team project to design and implement a riparian restoration project at the East Basin of Union Bay adjacent to the Center for Urban Horticulture while attending the UW.
Shelley holds an AA in Business and Accounting from Bellevue Community College, and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Science, Technology and the Environment from the University of Washington, Bothell, 2002.
In her free time Shelley enjoys gardening, knitting, and walking the trails at Fort Worden near her home. She is in the process of obtaining her private pilot certificate, with hopes of her first solo flight next summer.
Michele Meyering grew up on the Olympic Peninsula before moving to Seattle where she finished her schooling. In Seattle, she started her career, beginning as a file clerk and eventually working as an executive assistant for a large nonprofit education association. Most recently, Michele was employed as the office manager of a locally-owned timber frame company. She joins Sunfield bringing a wealth of administrative knowledge and experience along with an appreciation for hard work and determination. She is the mother of two small boys and loves to experience the world through their eyes. What Michele enjoys most about Sunfield is the potential for all to grow, and to create and share their journeys through community.
Eighth/Ninth-grade teacher; founding member
Helen Curry began her teaching career over thirty years ago in a fishing village in South Africa. Since then she has been involved in a wide spectrum of teaching experiences – from sail-training on schooners to teaching English as a second language in Venezuela. She is a certified Early Childhood Educator, holds a post-graduate degree from the University of Cape Town, and received her Drama Teacher’s diploma from Trinity College, London. She has been a Waldorf teacher for the past seventeen years, running Tomten Farm Kindergarten and the Children’s Circle, her home-based Waldorf-inspired programs, and graduating two groups of students from part-time academic grade-school programs.
Helen and her husband, Bill, have two daughters: Zorina, who recently graduated from Amherst College, and Rosaletta, who is a student at Ithaca College. Both girls grew up on the family’s small farm—riding horses, milking goats, tending to farm chores, and attending Helen’s home-based programs during their grade school years. When she is not mucking out the barn, Helen enjoys singing, music, and dance; she studied eurythmy for many years, which, she feels, embraces and elevates all the arts she loves. Helen finds balance and renewal by hiking in the mountains in the summer, cross-country skiing in the winter, and walking on the beach in the evening.
Beth Ann O’Dell
Sixth/Seventh-grade teacher; Board member
Beth Ann O’Dell was born and raised in Seattle. She is a trained Waldorf teacher and attended college at Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota. She has been working with children and families in Waldorf schools, public schools, Indian schools, and the Head Start program for more than twenty years. She is the mother of four children, three of whom are now grown, and the grandmother of one. Beth Ann has lived on the tiny island of Palau in Micronesia and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her travels have helped her develop a deep respect and honoring of people from very diverse cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds. She has a passion for youth, fiber arts, animals, and living on the land in close contact with nature.
Ruth Mandelbaum-Pope was raised in Seattle, Washington, where she spent as much time as possible gardening, hiking, and camping with her family. She received her bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College and her Washington State teaching certificate from Pacific Oaks College. The teaching program at Pacific Oaks emphasized development and practicum from early childhood through eighth grade. After teaching in Washington for three years, Ruth moved to Alaska and acquired an Alaska teaching certification. In Alaska, she taught special education in an Eskimo village while running the village’s pre-school program; she lived north of the Arctic Circle for five years.
Ruth has worked as a homeschool consultant and homeschooled her two children – kindergarten through first and fifth grades. Prior to arriving at Sunfield, Ruth taught first through third grades at the Aurora Waldorf School in Anchorage for three years; she is currently working towards a Waldorf Teaching Certification through Rudolf Steiner College in California. Ruth loves to play outside, tell stories, and dance. She and her husband, Mark, have a son, Raven, who attends Port Townsend High School, and a daughter, Ciel, who is a student at Sunfield Waldorf School.
Mary Anne Hinton
Born on the east coast and raised in the greater New York City metropolitan area, Mary Anne Hinton enjoyed the many cultural benefits of living close to New York City. She attended Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, where directing and playwriting were her greatest interests. After graduating with a B.A. in Theatre Arts, she pursued further development in these areas in Manhattan, where she lived and studied.
Love of nature and children called her to follow a different path, and she went to Sunbridge College for Waldorf teacher training, earning a Waldorf teaching certificate. Mary Anne's first work as a class teacher was in Santa Barbara, California, where she took a class from first through sixth grade. Migrating north, she later taught for seven years as a class teacher at Three Cedars Waldorf School in Bellevue, Washington.
Mary Anne's active interests include camping, white water rafting, and sailing. She also enjoys cooking, reading, and needle felting.
First-Grade teacher; Founding member
Isolde Perry was born and raised in Seattle and earned a BA in Anthropology from the University of Washington. She received Waldorf Teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College and also trained in Extra Lesson which is used to help educationally challenged children. She has taught in two Waldorf schools besides Sunfield: Whidbey Island Waldorf School and Malamalama on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Taking some time off from teaching, Isolde went to North Carolina and fulfilled a long held dream of singing on stage. She joined a trio of women, the Silvertones, and was the lead singer in a gospel group. During this “sabbatical,” she also spent a year in South Africa.
Returning to the Pacific Northwest she joined with Helen Curry and Michael Hamilton to begin the Waldorf school initiative that is now Sunfield. While Sunfield was in its infancy, Isolde taught art and craft classes to many children of Port Townsend and began working with a home school group which graduated from 8th grade in 2010. Since then, she has continued teaching in a publicly funded homeschool group and has been tutoring students and mentoring teachers at Sunfield. She has also been teaching specialty classes at Sunfield in handwork, form drawing, and painting.
Isolde loves to sing and dance and is learning to play the piano. She also is busy adding to her skills as an Extra Lesson teacher. She is excited to again be teaching Grade One and enthusiastically looking forward to applying Waldorf principles in the farm setting of Sunfield.
First-grade afternoon teacher
Molly McGregor grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. With three siblings, a father in education, and a mother running a home-based childcare program, Molly was always surrounded by children. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from Santa Clara University, Molly spent time hiking the hills of Carmel Valley, studying Western Bluebirds. Realizing that she greatly missed spending time with children, Molly moved to Arcata, California to acquire a teaching certificate from Humboldt State University. Molly then spent three years in the rural hills of Humboldt County, teaching a small group of children from kindergarten through second grade at the Salmon Creek Community School. Having an interest in Waldorf education, the parents of these children made it possible for Molly to attend summer workshops at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California. From this first exposure to Waldorf education, Molly knew that this educational philosophy fit her well.
After her son, Eli, was born in 2005, Molly took a break from teaching in order to stay at home with him. In 2007, Molly moved to the Port Townsend area with her family and began her involvement with Sunfield. She was a kindergarten assistant for two years and then a lead kindergarten teacher for a year. Molly took the 2011-2012 year off after her daughter Sequoia was born. Molly enjoys hiking, picking berries, wandering on beaches and hanging out with her family on their property in Quilcene.
Monica Van Loon
Monica Van Loon, or Señora Monica, was born in Mexico City, Mexico, where she received her bachelor’s degree in human resources. At the age of twenty-three, she moved to Cancun, Quintana Roo, where her family continues to reside. Monica is married to Brian, and she is the mother of two boys, who attend Sunfield Waldorf School. Monica loves living in Port Ludlow, Washington, where her family can enjoy the outdoors: biking, hiking, swimming, and jumping in puddles.
Senora Monica has been teaching Spanish since 2005. She began by tutoring neighborhood children, joining the Sunfield faculty in 2006. From 2006-2008, she also taught at Foreign Language For Youth (FLY), a before- and after-school program which teaches Spanish in the public schools in Kitsap County; and from 2009-2011, She taught Spanish, Mexican Arts and Crafts, and Mexican Cooking classes at Olympic Peninsula Home Connection (OPHC), a home-school enrichment program. She is currently working toward a Masters in Education Arts at Seattle Pacific University.
Monica teaches because she loves the contact with the students and she wants to transmit her passion for her culture to others. Children’s joy is a great gift, and, as a teacher, she feels very fortunate to be able to guide their experiences and to be a part of their lives.
Children not only learn to speak Spanish in her classes, but they also have the opportunity to experience another culture through her movements, beliefs and experiences. She believes the world needs citizens who are honest and moral, who care about their health, who love nature, who not only respect differences, but also tolerate and celebrate them. She believes that we should approach the education of our children in a holistic way, including music, the arts, food, and fun.
Cynthia Parsons was born in Michigan, into a family engaged in a military career. She traveled from Michigan to many postings around the U.S. until her family settled again in Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor in Humanities through Michigan State University.
Cynthia married and traveled with her husband from Michigan to Washington state. While living in Vancouver, Washington, she attended University of Portland to earn a teaching credential, and was hired as a public school music teacher. In her work in Chief Umtuch School she began to realize the need for the holistic, and the power of the beautiful in teaching. Cynthia sought out the nearest Waldorf school and was bowled over when she attended their open house. The student work was so impressive, the atmosphere so comfortable, art was all around. She felt she had found what she was seeking.
Cynthia joined that same Waldorf school and worked as a kindergarten assistant for one year, after which she attended Steiner College in the teacher training program. On completion, she was hired at Whatcom Hills Waldorf School in Bellingham and taught first and second grade. In that position, teaching became all she knew it could be. Following that experience, Cynthia became a public school music teacher for many years, a position from which she retired recently.
Cynthia is deeply impressed at how much happier Waldorf students are compared to public school students. She is eager to leave retirement behind to come home to Waldorf education.
Swallow’s Nest Kindergarten teacher
One of three children, Monica Boucher spent her childhood in the Seattle area. She first became interested in Waldorf education while attending Western Washington University and Fairhaven College. After graduating from the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training program in 2000, she taught in several early childhood programs in the Seattle area, including Three Cedars School, Bright Water School, and Seattle Waldorf School. In 2002, prior to teaching at Bright Water School, Monica had lived for a brief time in Port Townsend, working as a kindergarten assistant at Wild Roses Kindergarten. In 2008, winds of change came and brought her full circle: With her husband, Ghee, and their two young children, Monica moved back to Port Townsend. It brings her great joy to be part of the Sunfield community.
Swallow’s Nest Kindergarten assistant
A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Jocelyn Hanbey has backpacked extensively in mountain wilderness, searched out the small wonders of tide pools, and sailed on the waters of Puget Sound. Jocelyn especially loves the ancient forests of the Olympic Peninsula, her home since 1993.
Jocelyn majored in environmental education at Western Washington University, and later earned a master’s degree in elementary education through City University. After completing her student teaching requirements in the Chimacum and Port Townsend school districts, Jocelyn taught physical education at Swan School in Port Townsend. She also taught in both preschool and after-school programs. Jocelyn strives to role model a strong work ethic, the value of team work, being an authentic human being, and staying in good health. In the spring of 2010, Jocelyn began working as Sunfield’s kindergarten assistant. Waldorf education has always intrigued her, and she sees her work at Sunfield as a learning adventure on her path to connect children to the Earth.
Jocelyn’s experiences caring for children stretch back to her own childhood, being the oldest of five children. Beyond teaching in schools, her work with children has included teaching natural history, wilderness skills, swimming, and gardening. She has made a commitment to guide children in developing a deep love for nature, so that someday they may be inspired to do the work needed to save the Earth’s wild spaces. Jocelyn loves being on the farm and sharing with children her own love of nature (and her love of the farm animals!).
Jocelyn’s two children, William and Serena, have spent much of their lives outdoors, and both attend Sunfield Waldorf School. Her husband, Gary, is a teacher, an environmental educator, and a farm volunteer. In her spare time, Jocelyn is writing a book of children’s stories about the natural world.
Sunflower Kindergarten teacher
Koshalla Flockoi grew up on Orcas Island, in the Pacific Northwest, in an artistically supportive community. As a little girl Koshalla had the great fortune to attend a Waldorf school, and this experience created lasting impressions. She remembers how the light filtered through the cedar boughs and the way the shadows danced and fluttered on the table. She remembers the feeling of the rectangular crayons, solid and thick, helping her find the counting gnomes still hidden on sheets of rough white paper. She even remembers the taste of the hard beeswax and how terribly long it seemed to take in her small hands to soften. At Dolphin Bay Waldorf School, Koshalla learned to love gardening, baking, knitting, reading and writing, and established a deep relationship with music.
After graduating from high school, Koshalla chose to live and work on an organic farm, sharing chores, cooking, and the care of twins – all the aspects of community living. Working part time, Koshalla managed to save enough money to travel the world. Upon returning, Seattle became her new home and for the next few years, she studied acting, vocal jazz, music theory, and conducting, and fell in love with life as an artist.
Koshalla is a certified Waldorf educator and finished her training at the Sound Circle Center in Seattle. She learned all aspects of working in a Waldorf kindergarten during her three years at The Fremont Community School in Seattle. In those years, Koshalla worked as a teacher’s assistant, co-taught, led class on her own, managed administrative work, and ran the summer programs. Koshalla and her husband, Hans, surf the cold Northwest water and share a garden and chickens.
In Koshalla’s heart, to be a Waldorf teacher is to summon up all of the gifts and passions the Creator has so lovingly shared with her and integrate them in a whole and balanced way. She knows how it feels to be a child surrounded by the warm, serene strength of the Waldorf community and wholeheartedly is grateful for the opportunity to help create that environment at Sunfield Waldorf School.
Sunflower Kindergarten assistant
photo coming soon
Karli Elliott was born in Seattle and raised in Everett, Washington, with a younger sister. She very much appreciates her amazing and supportive parents, and is inspired by their lasting marriage (since 1976).
She moved to Seattle after graduating from Everett High School in 1994, and attended Shoreline Community College, where she received her AA in 1998. She then transferred to Edmonds Community College where she earned a Certificate of Horticulture in 2000.
Karli married Eric Elliott in 2000 and the couple moved back to Everett raise a family.
Karli worked at Swanson's Nursery and at a private garden for a total of 10 years. She became very interested in Biodynamic farming and gardening and knew that she wanted to learn more. After practicing biodynamics in her own garden, and needing to make a big lifestyle change, the family decided to move to Port Townsend. Sunfield seemed like a natural choice. In September 2009, Karli and Eric’s two children started at Sunfield. It has been such a blessing to be a part of the Sunfield family, relates Karli.
Karli has spent quite a bit of time working on the farm or substituting in the Kindergarten classrooms, and is happy to have moved into the assistant position.
In her spare time Karli enjoys camping and hiking and spending time with her family. Canning and fermenting and food preservation have become some of her favorite pastimes.
Buttercup Parent-Toddler Class Teacher
Tammy Betzko has a Masters of Education in Waldorf Early Childhood, and has worked as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher and farm educator. Previous to stepping into her Waldorf training, Tammy was a child and family therapist, and a public school teacher to elementary-aged children. She moved from Pennsylvania to Port Townsend in 2007 to work at Sunfield.
Tammy is choosing to devote her life and livelihood to protecting the magic of childhood, that a child's full-bodied reverence and wonder may never fade away.
She is Mama to her young son, Ukiah, and to a farm-full of animals!