Faculty & Staff

Seedlings & Cherry Blossom Preschool Teacher Chandra JohnsonChandra Johnson
Nestlings & Nursery Preschool Co-Teacher

Chandra grew up in Gig Harbor, where she spent her childhood years discovering the outdoors and secrets of nature. She discovered Waldorf education years ago while working at a naturopathic clinic and instantly knew she had found her path. This was the beginning of a beautiful journey that has brought her to where she is today. Her warmth, love, and inspiration from Waldorf education has introduced her to the possibilities of how we can embrace, grow, and enlighten each child. A loving compassion strengthens each child’s love for nature, others, and learning. She looks forward to new beginnings in us all each day.

Education: Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate from Sound Circle Teacher Training, Tacoma Community College Associates in Science and Arts

Professional Experience: Kindergarten/Preschool assistant and cook at Waldorf Fremont Community School, lead teacher at Summer Freedom Waldorf Preschool, Preschool assistant for Chickadees Waldorf Preschool. Tacoma Waldorf School Farm Camp lead teacher. Receptionist/assistant at naturopathic clinic.

Orchid Migñon Jones
Nestlings & Nursery Preschool Co-Teacher

Orchid will serve as co-teacher with Miss Chandra and also as a co-lead for our parent-tot classes. Orchid is relocating from Portland and is thrilled to be a part of our growing school. She has a rich history with Waldorf education and is looking forward to embracing Tacoma as her new home.

 

Paula Brown
Preschool Teacher

With the addition of a second preschool class this year, we are welcoming back another one of our favorites to lead the way. Please welcome Paula Brown, she will be the lead teacher for the older class of preschoolers.

 

Starlight Kindergarten AssistantBre Hernandez
Kindergarten Assistant

A Tacoma native, Bre joins us for a second year, moving from kindergarten assistant to preschool assistant, as well as continuing to assist in extended care.

 

Starlight Kindergarten Teacher CL HeidelCL Heidel
Kindergarten Teacher

CL was born in Tokyo as Carol Lee. Her love of the natural world and it’s inhabitants,  especially children and horses came from her growing up outdoors on the rugged coast of Japan. Her first career,  teaching horses and their riders came out of her childhood love of riding and equestrian arts. She moved to the states after living many years in the British isles. It was in California where she first heard about and became interested in Waldorf education. Her now grown sons are Waldorf graduates, where she can see the many gifts they received from this beautiful education. Her deep interest in early childhood education and anthroposophy have not wavered but grown stronger over the many years she has taught kindergarten. We are blessed to have her.
 

 

Jennifer Lewis
Kindergarten Assistant

Jennifer is a graduate of Central, and is a certified Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach. “I am honored to be a part of the Waldorf community at TWS which educates the whole child. I look forward to building community with the parents, children and teachers.”

 

Starforest Kindergarten Teacher Sara SmithSara Smith
Kindergarten Teacher

Sara’s education includes a teaching certificate from the Eugene Teacher Training and BS from Evergreen State College. Her professional experiences include over 15 years as a  Kindergarten, Preschool, and Parent-Child Teacher. She is a card-carrying Journeyman Boilermaker,she can steer a sea-going vessel, and, in a pinch, she can officiate weddings and other auspicious events!

Sara’s relationship to Waldorf Education began on the first day of school in her daughter’s preschool class at the Tacoma Waldorf School. It was clear from that first moment. She had found the proper school for her daughter and her own true vocation. Several years later she entered into teacher training in Eugene, Oregon, where she experienced the most amazing education. Sara had a Bachelor of Science from an innovative institution; however, she had never experienced education that taught to her whole person. Her days were filled with art and music, stories and movement. She literally could not stop smiling for her entire training. She was challenged to the very core of her being, and held lovingly in her strengths and weaknesses. She began the real journey of becoming a human being.

In the kindergarten, Sara is touched again and again by the journey each child begins toward this endeavor. Our Kindergarten children are compassionately inspired to become themselves. The very best of themselves.

Blake Bruce
Kindergarten Assistant

Blake comes to us as a graduate of Evergreen State College. “Four years of performance arts and self-motivated curriculum has prepared me to find inspiration in the most real of places, within children’s very own imaginations. Who not to challenge our thinking but those whose minds have not yet been molded by what is, but by what could be? These are the very Ideals within Waldorf Education that has led me to want to grow, create, and educate myself.”

Sandra RouletteSandra Roulette
Grade 1 Teacher

Sandra has been teaching for 30 years in a variety of settings and ages. As a university student she took an active interest in Waldorf education and began her early childhood training already a mother of two. She created a state licensed preschool in her Seattle home in the eighties using Waldorf methods. After several years in early childhood she began to teach elementary school, and most recently she has taught a homeschool middle school group.

Sandra grew up in the northwest as the oldest of four children. Early interests included playing in the brambles, leading neighborhood parades, and exploring the nearby streams, sloughs, and wildlife. These unfettered hours of childhood matured into valuable strengths and wisdom over the years that she still relies upon. She has recently become a grandmother; a delight and joy that quickly expanded beyond her expectations. Her grown children both live in Seattle, where they grew up.

She holds a BA in Education from Antioch University Seattle, a Waldorf Early Childhood certificate from Rudolf Steiner College, and completed grades training with Sound Circle Teacher Training.

Anand MaliakalAnand Maliakal
Grade 2/3 Teacher

Anand is a first generation Indian American from a mixed cultural heritage.  His childhood and early adulthood was spent in Massachusetts in the suburbs of Boston.  He attended public schools in Lexington, MA where he excelled in art and English classes.  He had strong connections with nature as well spending many days exploring the various wooded areas near his hometown.  One of his favorite places to spend time was at Walden Pond in Concord, MA.

After High School he attended the University of Vermont in Burlington.  It was there he was able to balance my love of the outdoors with a solid liberal arts education.  He majored in English and took several education courses to compliment his studies.  After graduating with a B.A. in English he moved back to Massachusetts and began working in various settings with children.

In 1993 he entered the Waldorf Teacher Training program at Antioch New England Graduate School. He enrolled in the Integrated Day program as well and spent the next two years working and commuting to New Hampshire on the weekends to complete his Masters of Education.

In addition to his love of outdoor recreation, he also enjoys painting and working with pastels in his spare time.  He also is an avid singer and has participated in numerous local choirs in Olympia. He has always considered himself equal part artist and teacher as he works with children to develop their own unique gifts and capacities.

Giavanna Reyna
Grade 4/5 Teacher

Gia graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in Sociology. She has completed her Foundation Year of Waldorf teacher training and is midway through a Masters program with emphasis in Waldorf education. She acquired Forest Kindergarten Certification and proceeded to teach in nature immersion programs at Cedarsong Nature School, fostering social and emotional intelligence in young people and promoting their critical thinking through emergent curriculum.

Her perspective on the teacher’s role is reflected in Rudolf Steiner’s words: “The true teachers and educators are not those who have learned pedagogy as the science of dealing with children, but those in whom pedagogy has awakened through understanding the human being.”

Some of her favorite things include redwood forests, hiking to waterfalls, picnics, reading poetry, the Puget Sound, unexpected snowfall, hot yoga, and buttered popcorn with a good movie. All of the above, preferably, in the company of children and loved ones.

Aftercare & Summer Camp Director Amanda HaydonAmanda Haydon
Extended Care Director

Growing up in Gig Harbor, Amanda spent the majority of her childhood outdoors playing with the neighborhood children. She and her friends could be found exploring the woods behind their homes or playing in their yards. One of her childhood friends includes Ms. Chandra, the Preschool Teacher. She has known her since she was 1 year old!

After being introduced to Waldorf Education Ms. Chandra, Amanda fell in love with the philosophy as well as the warm and nurturing environment that Waldorf Education provides to both the students and staff.

When she can she likes to spend her weekends outside whether it is snowboarding, working in the yard or even fly fishing. Amanda has been doing catch and release fly fishing for the past 4 years and has really come to enjoy the beauty of the places in which she fishes as well as the peacefulness of being on the water. Amanda also LOVES to travel. Any opportunity she has to take a trip, near or far, she does. Twice she has traveled to Europe with nothing more than a round trip plane ticket – everything in between was a day by day adventure!

Education:
Central Washington University, Bachelors of Arts – Psychology
Central Washington University, Bachelor of Arts – Sociology

Karen Hume
Handwork Teacher

A parent of two of our former students who now attend SOTA, Karen is a wonderful soul with a rich history with our school.

 

 

Japanese Instructor Nori KimuraNori Kimura
Japanese Language Teacher

Nori was born and raised in historical downtown Tokyo. He grew up in a house with three generations with Samurai lineage, in a wonderful tight-knit neighborhood. His family and neighbors provided him exposure to many cultural activities and the importance of community involvement. In middle school, with his peers, he taught many kids activities to elementary school children.
By his mother’s influence, in his teenage years he develop a curiosity about U.S. culture and its natural scenery.  When he was 21, he attended college on the east coast of the United States.  After his graduation, he came to Seattle.

Nori worked in the field of Interior Architecture for a decade, then decided to pursue his long time passion of illustration. He is now a local Tacoma artist who also makes greeting cards with his original illustrations. With a wonderful wife, he is a father of two kids, a son and a daughter.

Since 2009 he has been teaching Japanese to all ages, ranging from elementary school kids to adult. He also promotes community involvement in Tacoma by volunteering at the kids’ school, co-leading monthly work parties at a local park, and teaching beginning karate at the YMCA.

Steve StefanowiczSteve Stefanowicz
Ukulele Teacher

Playing guitar since the age of four, local musician Steve Stefanowicz teaches ukulele to our Grade 4/5 class, and is a favorite of the students.

Staff Members

Melissa Turner, Chanin Escovedo, Chantal Hulet

Chanin Escovedo
Dean of Administration

With a 30-year career in accounting and financial management, Chanin was introduced to Waldorf education a few years ago by a friend. When she applied for her current position at TWS she commented, “I feel deeply that, simply put, you are getting it right.” A mother of three herself, she is passionate about Waldorf education, what Tacoma Waldorf School can bring to our community, and her role in achieving our goals. She is a staunch and vocal advocate for the school in the greater community, and a face for parents and TWS community members to connect to.

 

Melissa Turner
Office Manager

Melissa grew up in the Pacific Northwest spending half her childhood in rural Gig Harbor and the other half in rural Puyallup.  She has always spent much of her time outdoors.  After the birth of her only child, she found Parent Toddler classes with Ms. Maureen, who introduced her and her family to Waldorf Education.  She loved the philosophy and warmth and knew TWS was the perfect fit for their family.   After her daughter was entering into Kindergarten, Ms. Melissa started working in the school office.  She thoroughly enjoys watching the children blossom and grow, helping the families navigate and working with amazing faculty.

Education
Hawaii Pacific University & Chaminade University Hawaii, Associates of Science; University of Washington-Tacoma, BA, Marketing/Management

Professional Experience
US Navy ~ Cryptologist, 4.5 years; Frank Russell Company ~ Technical Analyst, Consulting Department, 5 years; Tacoma Waldorf School ~ Office Manager, March 2006 until present.

 

Chantal Hulet
Admissions Coordinator

Chantal was born and raised here in the South Puget Sound, with the water and woods being an important part of her life; they remain so this day.  Since graduating from Pacific Lutheran University, she started a business as a massage therapist and loves to travel, garden, and be out on the water and in the woods with her family.  Tacoma Waldorf came into her life after she and her husband found it a good fit for our first child.  Chantal enjoys her work as Admissions Coordinator, introducing children and their families to our school to see if it is a good choice for them as well.