Lower School Facultyadmin2020-03-16T11:44:08-08:00
Lower School Faculty
Tim Allen, Class Eight
Tim enjoyed twelve years of Waldorf education here at Summerfield as a child. He graduated from Summerfield High School in 1997 and went on to study music in college. He studied at UC Santa Cruz and Prescott College, and also did a year-long apprenticeship with a master violin builder in Germany. After apprenticing in Germany, Tim returned to Sonoma County to take the Waldorf teacher training course at the Center for Educational Renewal, graduating in 2006. In June of 2012, Tim graduated his first eighth grade students, after taking them since first grade, and is now on his second cycle at Summerfield.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 302
Don Basmajian, Class Seven
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 four 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
Amanda Butterworth, Class Two
Amanda comes to us from Running River Waldorf School in Sedona, Arizona. She has many years of teaching experience, and has taught elementary, high school and university classes, including performing and teaching Shakespeare. Ms. Butterworth was raised in Canada with a deep reverence and appreciation for music, art, and humanity. Amanda was blessed to have a nurturing family who gave her an enthusiasm for nature, life and learning, including a grandmother who was a graduate of one of the first Waldorf Schools in Europe. Her interests and talents include the arts, handwork, music, theatre, homeopathy, the healing arts, meditation and writing. Her undergraduate studies led her to major in Music (Vocal) and Liberal Arts at Douglas College in British Colombia. Following this, Amanda spent two years in New Orleans before beginning a ten year tour of China, South Korea and Burma. Ms. Butterworth is currently completing the Waldorf Grades Training at the West Coast Institute and is excited to be able to bring her diverse teaching experience combined with her love of the Waldorf education to the children of today. She has two daughters, Fabienne, a fourth grader, and Oceane, a second grader, and they are excited and grateful to be joining the Summerfield community.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 306
Kibby MacKinnon, Class Four
Kibby grew up in Gainesville, Florida and 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. She met her husband Adam at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. They soon moved to Australia with their new-born son Theo so Kibby could attend the Victoria College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne where she earned a Graduate Diploma in New Performance Making. After that, they moved back to Seattle and lived in cohousing and other intentional communities, and through their search for the right school for their children, found Waldorf Education in 2006. Kibby received her Waldorf Grades Teacher Training at Sound Circle Center, Seattle, during which time she was a Games Teacher at Madrona School on Bainbridge Island, WA, for three years. Kibby and Adam and their two sons, Theo and Willsy, are very happy to be part of the Summerfield community.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 348
Saskia Pothof, Farm Classroom
Saskia was born and raised in the Netherlands. 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 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 now shares her love for art, singing, and teaching as a specialty teacher in the grades in Lower School, and in Teacher Training. Her daughter, Dawn, graduated from Summerfield High School in 2012.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 304
Jennifer Sparks, Class One
Jennifer is pleased to begin her work at the Summerfield Waldorf School this year. Jennifer brings over 20 years as an educator to this first grade class. She grew up surrounded by nature and farm life, raising sheep and vegetables in Santa Cruz, California. Jennifer completed her BA in Geography and Environmental studies at U.C. Santa Barbara, and found a passion for teaching as a naturalist for the city of Santa Barbara at their summer Nature Camp. Jennifer completed her Waldorf Teacher Training at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California, in both Early Childhood and Grades Teaching. She taught in Santa Cruz, South Lake Tahoe, San Diego and has spent the last 11 years teaching at the Waldorf School of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. In Louisville, Jennifer taught kindergarten and grades one through five. She also served as athletic director, coached girls basketball and taught movement. She completed her five-year Certification in Spacial Dynamics July of 2019. Jennifer is a lifelong athlete, performer, and artist, and enjoys sharing crafts, gardening, games, and cooking with children. She loves also spending time with her family: Noah (19) and Holly (15) and her husband Shane. In her free time, you will find Jennifer with her daughter riding horses, playing basketball with her son, or walking in the woods with her husband and her dog Leo.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 311
Laura Sternik, Class Two
Laura was born in Colorado, but spent much of her childhood growing up in hotels in Austria and Lebanon. At eighteen she moved to London to study Art and stayed there for seven years exploring many different artistic and esoteric subjects through the many alternative schools popping up in the seventies. It was only when her three children reached school age that she decided that none of the public schools in her area (Marin) were satisfactory, and she came across the Waldorf school. It was love at first sight, and soon she was involved in helping at the school. Serendipitously, during a move up to Seattle, she was asked to teach German at their Waldorf school, and a whole new path unfolded for her. She started her Steiner teacher training there and then completed it back in England. Laura was a class teacher at the Brighton Steiner School and Michael Hall Steiner School for 12 years before returning to the States to be closer to her family. Every year of teaching brings a renewed joy and wonder at how marvelously well the curriculum in our schools meets the children’s needs. She is also constantly amazed by how much there is still to learn and how happy that makes her.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 308
Andrea Vander Pluym, Class Six
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 one through four. 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
Patricia Walker, Class Five
Tricia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, a Supplemental Art Credential and a K – 12th Grade Teaching Credential in both California and Washington. She holds a Waldorf Teaching Credential from The Center For Educational Renewal as well. After teaching kindergarten, first, second and sixth grade in the public elementary schools, she realized she wanted to teach children in a new 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. Tricia has two sons who graduated from Summerfield and are pursuing their college degrees in Computer Science and Nursing. 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 taught in The Center for Educational Renewal teaching program. 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. She ran a half marathon in spring of 2011 and hopes to do that again some day.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 307
Skeydrit Bähr, LS/HS Eurythmy & PE
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 151
Sieglinde Basmajian, ECE/LS Eurythmy & Circus
Peaches Davenport, LS/HS 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.
Colleen O’Malley, LS/HS 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.
Farming and Gardening
Dan Kranstover, ECE/LS/HS Farming & Practical Arts
‘Farmer Dan’ received a B.A. in English and Russian Literature and an M.A. in Theology. He completed his biodynamic farm apprenticeship with Walter Rudert on Tablehurst Farm at Emerson College in England, followed by a year’s work at Four Winds Organic Farm in Goshen, CT, and with John Paul Cortens on Roxbury Biodynamic CSA Farm in New York. He also began a gardening program at the Ashwood Waldorf School in West Rockport, ME. In 2002, Dan completed the Waldorf Teacher Training course through the Center for Educational Renewal at Summerfield, and has been a teacher at Summerfield for the past 20 years.
Elizabeth Bourland, Farming Assistant
Kate MacKillop, Farming Assistant
Veronica Seidemann, LS/HS Spanish Teacher
Veronica was born in New York City but raised in Chile. Veronica received her Waldorf Teacher certification from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2016. She is currently doing the Curative Education training. She has a BFA in Fashion Design and a Teaching Certification from the Haifa Academy of Design and Education, Israel, 1991. She also studied for two years toward a major in Art history at the Universidad de Chile. Veronica’s teaching experience includes teaching Art History, Illustration and mentoring students in their final projects in Israel. She taught Spanish, gardening and games at Berkeley Rose School. She has two daughters and she is happy to be part of the Summerfield community.
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.
Alexander Volonts, LS Strings
Alex is a native of Stonybrook, NY, where he studied Suzuki violin from an early age. He attended the Juilliard School’s pre-college program for musical studies throughout high school and later attended the San Francisco Conservatory, graduating with a Bachelors in Music, specializing in viola performance. He has been a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony since 2007, as well as the Monterey Symphony since 2010. He currently teaches violin and viola privately as well as in group class settings in the Santa Rosa area. When he’s not teaching or performing, Alex enjoys playing chess, studying foreign languages, tending to his garden and of course, practicing his violin and viola, as well as listening to lots of music.
Isabel Wundsam, LS/HS Music, Art,& German Instructor
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.
Judiyaba, LS Cello
Judiyaba has a long history of performance; as a tenured member of the SF Opera Orchestra and then a regular substitute with both the Opera and SF Symphony, including six European tours. She has also played in numerous chamber music groups and performed solo recitals and concertos with local orchestras, including both the Carter and the Lutoslavski Concertos with Berkeley Symphony. In addition she has always maintained a private teaching studio and taught at Sonoma State University from 2000 to 2015. She is enjoying working with the fourth and fifth grade cellists at Summerfield Waldorf.
Sierra Bannister, LS Practical Arts
Sierra is a Summerfield alumna and was a student of the very first graduating eighth grade class in 1983. Sierra feels fortunate to have always found an avenue to express her love of color, line and form through a variety of employment and freelance work; color consulting, lazuring and wall murals as well as window display, calligraphy signage and illustration. Sierra has taught in the High School art department at SWSF since 1997 and since 2009 has also been teaching LS Practical Arts in clay, woodwork, stone carving, pastel and set design. Sierra is a graduate of the Center for Educational Renewal and has three children: two recent graduates and a high schooler.
Angie Brown, LS/HS Practical Arts
Barbara Kobabe, LS Practical Arts & Handwork Assistant
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.
Ronnie Sands, Middle School Practical Arts, HS Farming & Gardening
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. She teaches High School gardening, herbal studies, cooking, basket weaving and permaculture.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 149
Lisa York Wilde, LS/HS Handwork & Practical Arts
Lisa has an extensive interest in textile art, a continuing theme in her life. She has worked as a rug weaver, pattern designer, sweat shop laborer and the operator of her own small business as a manufacturer of a line of garden and kitchen textiles. Her interest in anthroposophy and Waldorf education began over 30 years ago. She received her Waldorf training in Michigan, then taught in kindergarten for two years. She has been teaching handwork since 1997. Her son is a graduate of Summerfield.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 354
Leila Allen, LS/HS Drama & Speech
Leila attended Summerfield from kindergarten through twelfth grade. In 1999 she graduated from the Stuttgart School of Speech and Drama in Stuttgart, Germany, with a degree in Speech Formation and Theater Education. She also holds a certificate in Anthroposophic Therapeutic Speech from the Dora Gutbrod School of Speech Formation from which she graduated in 2002. She taught drama in the High School from 1999-2005 and has continued teaching part-time ever since. She has worked as a speech and drama consultant in Waldorf schools in California from 1999-2010 until she became a parent. She and her husband, Tim (the seventh grade class teacher), have Jamie in second grade and Lexi in White Rose.
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 323
Glyn Craydon, Middle School Science
Glyn was a founding high school teacher at Summerfield and is returning this year as our middle and high school science teacher. He has a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Surrey, England, and a Certificate in Science Education from Chelsea College in London. After teaching in inner London, Glyn completed his Waldorf training at Emerson College. He has taught Physical Science, Mathematics and Biology at Summerfield Waldorf High School and elsewhere since 1987. He and his wife Deborah, who is a flower essence practitioner, have two sons, Michael and Pasha, who both graduated from Summerfield.
David French, LS Coordinator/Specialty Teacher
Phone: (707) 575-7194 Ext: 131
Ben Mew, LS/HS Math & Science
Ben graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in Biology and Environmental Studies in 2009. He has since lived and worked on small farms and in farm-based education settings, studying community, sustainability, agriculture, nature, and the art of teaching. After two seasons (2012-13) of working as a farm apprentice at Summerfield, Ben is very excited to be a part of the Summerfield community again!