Lower School Faculty
Saskia Pothof, Class One
Saskia was born and raised in the Netherlands in a Waldorf family. After she completed her Masters Degree in Child Psychology, she worked for eight years in long-term foster care. An encounter with a dolphin in Spain sparked her interest in research on communication with wild dolphins, and in the following years she swam in many oceans with different species of dolphins. In 1993 Saskia moved to the United States to live with her husband and, when her daughter was pre-school age, was glad to discover the flourishing Waldorf community in this area. Saskia completed the Waldorf teacher training at the Center for Educational Renewal in the spring of 2002, and became our first grade teacher at Summerfield in the fall of that year. Saskia served as a class teacher at Summerfield for sixteen years, and after graduating her second class in June 2018, she shared her love for art, singing, and teaching as a specialty teacher in the grades in Lower School, and in Teacher Training. Her daughter, Dawn, who was a student at Summerfield from Kindergarten through 12th grade, graduated from the high school in 2012.
From 2019-2022, Saskia worked and learned along with the farm classroom, a group of students of mixed ages who thrive in an environment where they can be outside year round, working with their will and their hands on our beautiful Biodynamic® farm. Meaningful physical work, inspired by the daily and seasonal rhythms on the farm forms the foundation for building skill and confidence in their academic and artistic work. The farm class became a community where everyone could meet each other’s differences in learning and lifestyle with interest; the farm class often sat down around the big table under the oak tree for a meal of vegetables that were planted, tended, harvest and prepared by the children.
For the 2023/24 school year, Saskia returns to the Lower School as the Class Teacher for Grade 1.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 304
Andrea Vander Pluym, Class Two
Andrea Vander Pluym received her Waldorf teacher certification at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in English literature and a concentration in creative writing. Andrea is the founding board president of Berkeley Rose Waldorf School, where she served in its administration and held several teaching positions, including class teacher for grades 1-4. Her teaching experience prior to that includes teaching fine arts/crafts, special needs education, and afternoon programs in several Los Angeles institutions (early childhood through sixth grade).
She is also a seasoned writer and editor, with over 20 years of experience. Andrea is the author of three published books for young adults, including Respect, which was recognized in a White House ceremony and brought to President Obama’s oldest daughter’s school.
Andrea lives in Bodega with her teenage son, Bastien Brace. In her spare time, she supports a budding Biodynamic® farm on the property, and adventuring close and far from home.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 305
Don Basmajian, Class Three
Don has been a Waldorf teacher since 1977. He received his Waldorf teacher training at Adelphi University, an M.A. in Education and has completed the five-year Spatial Dynamics training. He has led five classes from grades one through eight at Summerfield, and one class from grades five through eight. He also teaches Spatial Dynamics in the Lower School, P.E. in the High School, organizes the fifth grade Greek Olympiad at Summerfield and, with his wife Sieglinde, directs Circus Waldissima. He is also the founder and director of the Waldorf Teacher Training course at Summerfield. Don has four children—his oldest daughter graduated from Summerfield’s first twelfth grade class, while his son graduated from Summerfield in 2014.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 301
Sieglinde Basmajian, Class Four
Sieglinde has been a Teacher at Summerfield since 2009.
Phone: (707) 575-7194
Tricia Walker, Class Five
Tricia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, a Supplemental Art Credential and a K-12th Teaching Credential in CA & WA, and a Waldorf Teaching Credential from The Center For Educational Renewal as well. After teaching kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 6th grade in the public elementary schools, she realized she wanted to teach children in a more holistic way. She searched out Waldorf Education, went through a four year training, and began teaching in Waldorf schools in 1999. She took her first class at the Seattle Waldorf School. Later she taught at The Waldorf School of Mendocino County and in 2007 took a class at Summerfield. She graduated a class of 33 students in 2015 and is now in her second eight year cycle and her present class will graduate this June.
Tricia has two sons who graduated from Summerfield. Sam will finish his degree this year in Computer Science at University of Victoria on Vancouver Island and Isaac is a Pharmaceutical Technician at CVS Pharmacy on 4th Street in Santa Rosa.
When her children were very young she opened a Waldorf-inspired preschool in her home and enjoyed introducing parents to Waldorf education. She still enjoys educating others about Waldorf education and teaches in The Center for Educational Renewal teaching program held at Summerfield.
Tricia works with practicum students every year so she can pass on her love of teaching and children. Her other passions are playing piano, guitar and ukulele. She enjoys watercolor painting and her final project for the Waldorf credential program was on the study of color based on Goethe’s and Steiner’s color theory.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 307
David French, Class Six
David was originally hired as Summerfield’s Lower School Coordinator, but felt strongly called to the children and parents of this class, and switched gears to take them through to their eighth grade graduation.
He has a strong background in Waldorf Education as a class teacher, in addition to various committee work, mentoring and teaching in teacher trainings. Having taught third grade twice, it’s no surprise that David most recently taught teachers in the third grade curriculum training at Sunbridge College in New York in summer 2020.
Lisa Hale, Class Seven
Lisa has been a Class Teacher at Summerfield since 2022.
Kibby MacKinnon, Class Eight
Kibby has been a Class Teacher at Summerfield since 2011. She grew up in Gainesville, Florida with a mother who was an artist, and father who was a neuroscientist. She had the good fortune to attend two years of high school in London, England. She graduated from New College of Florida with a BA in Humanities and moved out to Seattle to pursue her love of theater. There she worked in many aspects of the performing arts world including non-profit development, marketing and administration, and was Executive Director of Seattle Fringe Theatre Festival for many years.
Kibby attended the Victoria College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne where she earned a Graduate Diploma in New Performance Making. In Seattle she lived in cohousing and other intentional communities, and through her search for the right school for her children, found Waldorf Education in 2006. She started a home preschool and then worked as a Games Teacher at Madrona School on Bainbridge Island, WA, for three years.
In 2011, Kibby received her Waldorf Grades Teacher Certificate from Sound Circle Center, Seattle and moved to Santa Rosa to join the Summerfield community. Kibby has served on Summerfield’s Board, the Lower School Core Group, the Governance Council, and is currently a member of the College. Her son, Theo, graduated from Summerfield High School in 2022, and her son Will is currently a student in the high sachool.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 348
Shari Paladino, Teacher-in-Training
Shari Paladino is an artist, designer and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has exhibited work at the Berkeley Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Richmond Art Center. She attended University of California, Berkeley, earning her bachelor’s degree in Art Education and Disability Studies, as well as a master’s degree in Art Practice. Shari developed the curriculum for UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice in conjunction with the Jacobs Center for Design and Innovation, and taught visual culture, sculpture and time based art at UC Berkeley and California College of the Arts. Shari also worked in special education and learning support in multiple roles both in public and private settings, using art as a scaffolding to teach all spectrum of learners and meet the child whole child.
Raised in a blended multi-racial family, along with having overlooked learning differences, as a child, Shari had all the feels that come with being a bit different. Shari is keenly aware that she became a creative practitioner and teacher both in spite of and because of her differences.
Shari is excited to continue to expand her education as a teacher, artist and creator, through Waldorf Teacher Training.
Skeydrit Bähr, LS/HS Eurythmy & PE
Skeydrit has been a Teacher at Summerfield since 2009.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 146
Sieglinde Basmajian, ECE/LS Eurythmy & Circus
Sieglinde has been a Teacher at Summerfield since 2009.
Angie Brown, LS/HS Practical Arts
Angie is a practicing professional ceramic artist. She earned a BFA from California College of the Arts. At Summerfield she will be teaching pottery on the wheel and coil pots in the high school. She will teach seventh grade clay sculpture, and, together with Ken Smith, teach the clay bust self-portraits with the senior class. Angie will collaborate with Isabel Wundsum to bring acrylic painting to the eleventh grade. Stop by and say hello to Angie in the pottery!
Peaches Davenport, Accompanist
Peaches was raised in San Francisco where she studied with Thora Bratt-Buchannon, a world-class pianist. Peaches enjoys a variety of musical expressions such as teaching, serving in two local churches, as well as piano accompaniment at Summerfield. Peaches has been working at Summerfield since 1983.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 336
Caleb Forschen, Music Teacher
Caleb has been an Instrumental Class Teacher at Summerfield since 2022.
Barb Kobabe, LS/HS Practical Arts & LS Handwork
Barb joined the Summerfield Community as a parent in 2003. She began volunteering on the farm with the farm guild the following year. In 2006, she began assisting in lower school handwork classes, and over the years has assisted, volunteered and taught in lower school and high school handwork classes. Barb completed her Waldorf Teacher Training with the Center for Educational Renewal in 2012. Barb loves sharing her life long passion of all things handwork with the students.
Jun Kong, LS Educational Support Coordinator
Jun joined the high school faculty in fall 2018 to teach Math and Chemistry along with electives in Cell Biography and Chinese Calligraphy. Jun (pronounced “June”) taught biology and chemistry for 15 years in Chinese high schools before completing a Waldorf High School Teacher Training in Chengdu, China. Since then she has completed Early Childhood and Educational Support programs at Rudolf Steiner College. She taught for two years at Highland Hall Waldorf School in L.A. before coming to Summerfield. Jun is presently engaged in a two- year program in Goethean Science with the Nature Institute in New York. Jun has one son, Haotian, at Summerfield.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 128
Rose MacDonald, Circus Coordinator, LS/HS Movement/Handwork & HS Safe Space Leader
Rose graduated from Summerfield in 2014.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 160
Colleen O’Malley, Accompanist
Colleen was born and raised in the heartland (northern Illinois), and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign getting a degree in music education, having studied organ, piano, and voice. She came to Sonoma County in the late ’70s and has played for many local groups and almost every eurythmist in the Bay Area. Her current musical positions are: organist, bell choir director, director of a small ensemble, pianist for BACWTT (the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training), and piano instructor. Through playing for eurythmy, she has discovered the ability to improvise and even found out that she likes to compose short pieces for the classes! Waldorf education has been a real blessing in her life.
Ronni Sands, LS Practical Arts
Ronni has been a farming and gardening teacher at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm since 1993. She studied for two years at the Waldorf Institute of Detroit and completed a two-summer apprenticeship in Biodynamic® gardening with Alan York and Hilmar Moore. She also received a B.A. in Theatre Arts. She has worked with handicapped adults on a dairy farm, helped run a five-acre organic market garden and worked part-time as a landscaper. She taught kindergarten in the Portland Waldorf School for five years.
Isabel Vallejo, LS/HS Spanish
Isabel was born and raised in a small village in Valladolid, Spain. She received her Masters degree in Law at the University of Valladolid, then worked with the Spanish Tax Agency for more than ten years in Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo and Athens. She moved to the USA twelve years ago following her husband, with whom she has two children. She taught Spanish as a substitute at Sonoma Academy before joining the Summerfield faculty.
Olivia Wells, Foreign Language Teacher, PE/Games & International/Exchange Program Coordinator
Olivia completed her Bachelors in Psychology and German at San Jose State University. She was first introduced to Waldorf education when she was a college exchange student at Tübingen University in Germany. Olivia was so inspired by the second-grade class and Class Teacher that she observed, that she later returned to Germany and studied at the Freie Hochschule Stuttgart, Seminar für Waldorfpädagogik in Germany (the site of the very first Waldorf school) in the subjects of Class Teacher, German and English as a foreign language, and Sports/Bothmer Gymnastics.
She worked at two Waldorf schools in Germany – Engelberg and Frankfurt for three years as an English teacher in grades 2 through 12. Due to her impressive work with improvisational theater and foreign language teaching, she was also asked to teach improvisation and drama in foreign language teaching workshops to teachers in training at the Freie Hochschule in Stuttgart.
After seven years in Germany, she came back to the USA and worked as an ESL Teacher for six years at Dominican University in San Rafael in an intensive ESL program for teenagers and adults from all over the world entering university programs.
At Summerfield since 2016, Olivia has taught German, Language Arts/ESL, HS English and Debate, Games/PE in Grades 1 to 12, and was a Class Teacher for Grade 4. When she’s not in the classroom, Olivia loves to garden, hike, and has competed nationally in Germany and the US as an ultimate frisbee player.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 138
Isabel Wundsam, LS/HS Music, Practical Arts & German
Isabel has been teaching for 42 years—having taught piano privately and in a music school in Germany. She studied piano with Udo Falkner and Chamber music at the Conservatory of Music in NRW, Germany. She has a degree in Visual Communication. In 1990 Isabel moved to the US. Since then she has taught music, art and German, and has worked at Summerfield since 1998 and studied under several master teachers to become a better Waldorf teacher. “Some of my most important teachers are the students whom I teach and learn with.” Since 2005, Isabel has been studying the recorder flute with performer Frances Blaker in the East Bay and performs around the Bay Area and in Southern California.
Gabriel Markel, LS Farming Teacher
Gabriel grew up in Southern California attending the San Diego Waldorf School through the fifth grade before his family relocated to Portland, Oregon. From sixth grade onwards he then attended and graduated from the Portland Waldorf School.
After high school Gabriel moved back east to upstate New York to do volunteer work for one year with people with special needs with the organization inspired from and born out of Anthroposophy known as Camphill. It was there that he really realized and acknowledged his love for farming and gardening and ended up staying for almost five more years working in the gardens and farms of Camphill along with studying social therapy. After almost a year of traveling and working on different farms in the United States and Europe Gabriel applied to the farm here at Summerfield. Alongside farming, he is very passionate about sports and hope to be involved with the Summerfield basketball program. He is also looking forward to continuing his work in Anthroposophy, Biodynamic® agriculture, social therapy and education at Summerfield.