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Faculty and Staff

Our faculty have either completed Waldorf teacher training or are currently pursuing Waldorf teacher training—and all participate in continuing education opportunities, self study and mentoring. Dedicated, supportive and knowledgeable, they partner with families to provide children a unique and rich education.

Parent-Child

pat.webPat Hughes is our parent-child program teacher. Pat’s class is a relaxed learning environment for young children and their caregivers. Pat has a B.A. in Communication Studies and a teaching certificate. Pat attended Foundation Year at Sound Circle Center and LifeWays training at Rudolf Steiner College.

 

 

 

 

Nursery

ryan.webRyan Rayniak is our Huckleberry nursery lead teacher. Ryan is a dedicated advocate of the realization of Waldorf education in Spokane. He assisted in the development of our Parent Circle from its inception and has also served on our Board of Directors before he was called to teach. Ryan has a B.A. in Communication Studies from Portland State University and is currently pursuing his Waldorf early childhood teaching certificate.

 

 

 

 

Eve Costello is our 3-Day Huckleberry Nursery Assistant. She is a Northwest native, a graduate of Boise State University with a BA in English (British Literature emphasis), an editor and author, and an avid bird watcher. Her loves in life include sauntering with nature, yoga, appreciating and sharing nutritious food, and creating works of art through poetry and weaving. Reading adventurous and playful literature to people of all ages is one of her Very favorite past times. 

Kelly Strine is our 2-day Huckleberry Nursery Assistant. She spent most of the last decade in administration and fundraising for a local Children’s hospital. She is a performing member of Spokane Taiko and has spent the last year as a music teacher in both private and public school settings. Becoming a mother helped guide her towards Waldorf living and eventually led her family to Windsong, where she is eagerly deepening her understanding of Waldorf education. Kelly enjoys teaching her children to be capable beings who delight in the simple things in life and who have a deep love and understanding towards nature and humankind. Her greatest joys in life are her children, but she also delights in drumming, working with her hands, wearing aprons, singing too loud in the car, spending time outdoors, stargazing, primitive antiques, caring for her animals and finding natural “treasures” to add to her random things collection.  

Full-time Mixed-age Kindergarten

kumi.webKumi Akiyama is our full time mixed age nursery-kindergarten teacher.  She completed her Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education at Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto, Canada in 2009.  She has a B. A. from Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts, Kyoto, Japan with middle school and high school teaching certificates.  She has seven years experience as Waldorf Educator, one year at a Waldorf preschool initiative in New York and two years at an established Waldorf school in Massachusetts, and has lead our Star Kindergarten program for four years. Kumi was born and raised in a beautiful place in Japan having both mountains and ocean nearby.  She learned cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, drawing, and painting from her mother, and swimming and growing vegetables and fruits in her garden from her father.   She plays the piano and is an accomplished artist and puppet maker.  She brings a warm and kind spirit to our school.

Melissa Johnson is our afternoon teacher in the Star Kindergarten. Melissa holds a BA in Anthropology and minor in Art History from Washington State University, and an MA in Training Design for Experiential Learning  from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. Passionate about cultivating a  lifelong love of learning and wonder in children, Melissa’s path as an educator includes teaching environmental education to elementary and home school students in Washington and Colorado, English as a Second Language in Oaxaca, Mexico and the western United States, and more recently teaching nutrition with 2nd Harvest Food Bank both in their demonstration kitchen, as well as in Spokane area schools.  Inspired by the natural landscape of her native Spokane, she at her best exploring nature, sketching, sharing nourishing food with her community, and caring for her herd of Nubian goats

Part-time Kindergarten

lauren.webLauren Bergstedt-Kohler is the lead teacher for Sunbeam Kindergarten. Lauren earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Puget Sound and has been a practicing physical therapist since 2005 working with both children and adults in a variety of settings, including Spokane Public Schools. Her experience with young children and deep understanding of their movement needs bring an important perspective to our early childhood program. Lauren completed an advanced therapeutic course for Waldorf early childhood educators offered by the Denver Center for Anthroposophic Therapies and has a Waldorf Early Childhood teaching certificate from Sound Circle Center. Lauren is a founding teacher of Windsong School and worked previously as a lead teacher in our parent child program.

 

renee.webRenee Rahn is the Honeybee nursery lead teacher.  Her education includes four years of study at the University of Oregon, majoring in education and piano performance, and a degree in education from Eastern Washington University. She has worked with young children in a variety of capacities and has taught preschool since 1987.  Renee also teaches handwork classes for children in many venues, and has studied puppetry for the young child with the Juniper Tree School of Puppetry, child development at Rudolf Steiner College, and completed her Waldorf early childhood teacher education through Sound Circle Center.

 

 

rachel.webRachel Lee Cruz is the Teacher in Training in our Sunbeam Kindergarten. She currently is enrolled in the early education program at Sound Circle Center for Arts and Anthroposophy. She has been a massage therapist for over seventeen years and has been able to transfer much of the acquired knowledge from massage work to teaching, such as the caring gently manner of empathy, having good boundaries, the way the human body works and what entails good mental and physical health. Rachel is the Co-owner, along with her husband of le Potager Market Garden and regularly sells their culinary goods at the local farmers market. She enjoys gardening and sharing the healthful abundance with others. She has a son who is currently enrolled in fourth grade at Windsong and two older stepdaughters. As a hobby she enjoys writing and is presently striving to complete her first Novel.

 

aubri.webAubri Metter is our Sunbeam Kindergarten assistant. Aubri has been working with young children for many years in a variety of settings and has experience assisting in 2 other Waldorf preschools. She is originally from Bellingham, WA and spent 20 years living simply in the jungle of Hawaii. She recently moved to Spokane. Aubri is a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher. She loves preparing healthy vegetarian food and spending time outdoors with her 2 children

 

 

 

 

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Sarah Mortenson-Gauss  is our Honeybee Kindergarten assistant. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Luther College and a Master of Education degree and teaching certificate in Special Education from Gonzaga University. She worked for over a decade consulting and teaching young children in a variety of settings. Sarah’s experiences as a child living in the woods without electricity and as an adult working and living abroad in Norway and the United Kingdom have helped to shape her outlook on childhood and education. She is an advocate for children’s play in nature and for the preservation of childhood.  Eager to deepen her understanding of Waldorf Education, Sarah has attended Summer Intensives at Sound Circle Center for Arts and Anthroposophy, and she was honored to take part in the founding cohort of the Grades Study Group here at Windsong.

 

Grades

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Marta Matsumoto is our first grade teacher. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado and spent a post-baccalaureate year serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer, visiting rural Oklahoma schools teaching with the American Red Cross. She worked many years as a children’s educator at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman, Oklahoma. Marta’s love of handwork began as a young child; learning to sew, knit, weave, and spin wool at her mother’s knee. She enjoys combining her love of science with her love of the natural world by collecting all sorts of natural materials with which to dye wool and silk. Marta strongly agrees with Steiner’s tenet that the experience of touching wool, wood, cotton, and other natural materials that we use in handwork not only adds a richness to our sensory lives, but also to our ability to think and work with logic and creativity.

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Michelle Lingo is our second grade teacher. Michelle has worked with children from age two through high school in many different environments and capacities, but her passion for working with children came to fruition with her experience as a camp counselor and staff member at summer camp on Lake Coeur d’Alene.  She has spent many summers nurturing the personal and spiritual growth of children along with the joy and love of the environment and mother earth. She has been expertly described as “bringing a rare mix of kindness and ferocity in what she does, while making sure that the children are at the heart of any decision.”  Michelle has attended both North Idaho Community College and Spokane Falls Community College, with an emphasis on Early Childhood Studies as well as Elementary Education. She is finishing her studies and has begun her journey into Waldorf teacher training. Michelle has also participated in the cohort founding Windsong’s grades preparation study program. Born and raised in Spokane and the Pacific Northwest, she is a lover of the outdoors, adventure, and organic gardening. She enjoys hiking with her two dogs and spending time in the woods camping or on the lake canoeing.

eve.webEve Bowers is our fourth grade teacher.  Eve brings a decade’s worth of involvement with Waldorf education to her work at Windsong with experience in both the early childhood and grades settings. She is a graduate of Portland State University with a degree in Biology. Eve received her Waldorf teacher certification through Sound Circle Center in 2014.  Eve is a founding teacher of Windsong School.

 

 

 

 

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Brian Blessing is our fifth and sixth grade teacher. Brian has eight years of experience in education as a teacher, college advisor, and tutor.  He received a graduate degree in education and teacher certification in English Language Arts at Providence College in Rhode Island. Brian completed his undergraduate work at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where he earned dual degrees in English Literature and Human Resource Management. Mr. Blessing has completed the Foundation Year of Waldorf teacher training with Sound Circle Center in Seattle, WA. Previous to his career in education, Brian worked on the decks of fishing vessels from the rocky shores of New England to the remote waters of Alaska. Brian has enjoyed a life-long love affair with books and foreign cultures, and is conversationally fluent in Spanish. Little known fact – Mr. Blessing once drove an old beat up Jeep from Rhode Island to Buenos Aires, Argentina!

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Akiko Melton is our Japanese specialty teacher. Akiko was born and raised in scenic town near Nagasaki City, Japan.  Her parents believed strongly in the need for civic and cultural involvement and this has become her passion as well.  In the years after earning her undergraduate degree from Tachibana University in Kyoto, she was instructed at all educational levels.  While raising her children in Spokane, she has been employed by local universities to help foster cultural and professional exchange programs.  Her interest in bringing together people from diverse backgrounds extends to all aspects of her life and work.  We are delighted to welcome her back to Windsong School.

 

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Florencia Saenz is our Spanish teacher. Flor was born and raised in Peru and lived there until 2014 when she and her husband moved to the States to be closer to their children and grandchild. She comes to us with much teaching experience having taught English to children in Peru. As a native Spanish speaker, Flor wants to share the principles of proper Spanish while imparting the beautiful nuances of her language.

 

 

 

Mary Beth Cullitan is our strings teacher.  She has taught strings students age 3-80 in both group and individual settings for over 40 years in the Northwest, Northern California, and the Midwest.  A graduate of Fort Wright College, Spokane, and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, she received Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Music degrees. In addition, she earned K-8 teacher certification from Gonzaga University. A former member of the Spokane Symphony, she also co-founded and performed in Quartetto Espressivo, a Spokane-based string quartet.  Helping students develop into competent, confident, joyful musicians brings her deep satisfaction.

 

Administration

breann.webBreann Treffry is our school Administrator. Breann shares our passion for education and our drive to see Windsong thrive. She was born and raised in Spokane and has three children. Breann has a degree in Interior Design, and comes to us with much experience in administration as she has held administrative positions in a variety of industries. Her last several years have been dedicated to her children’s education, both in homeschooling and providing enrichment and support to their classrooms. Breann’s professionalism, attention to detail, steadfast good humor, and stamina for work are blessings to our school.

 

 

ashley2.webAshley Strine is our Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator.  She is a lifelong Spokanite who lives with her husband and three children. Ashley grew up valuing volunteerism and has worked for non-profits and community based organizations most of her life. Her education includes study at Whitworth/WSU majoring in Biology and Nursing and is a member of Windsong’s founding Grades’ Study cohort. She embarked on her personal study of Waldorf education and pedagogy eight years ago. She delights in sharing her knowledge, skills, and passion for Waldorf education here at Windsong.

 

 

Chantelle Fitting is our AM Administrative Assistant. She was born and raised in Spokane Valley and loves all the nature and outdoors adventures the area has to offer. Chantelle has a degree in Psychology, with a minor in Arabic Language. One of her greatest experiences was living in Jordan during a study abroad. Chantelle has experience teaching and coaching children of varying ages, and is excited to bring her knowledge and experience to Windsong School.