Faculty & Staff
- Administrative Staff
- Faculty Chairperson
- Early Childhood Faculty
- Lower School Faculty
- High School Faculty
- Special Subjects Faculty
Amy Flaum ~ Director of Admissions & Enrollment
Amy has worked at Hawthorne Valley for eight years, previously in the Development Office. She also is the girls’ volleyball coach. Amy is a Hawthorne Valley School alum, and earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Springfield College. In her off time she enjoys children’s literature, gardening, and playing volleyball.
Caroline Geisler ~ Director of College Guidance, Administrative Chair & Director of Development
Caroline has previous development and board experience at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. Caroline earned a Barnard College Honors degree in English and a minor in Art History. She attended the NonProfit Learning Center which was sponsored by the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, and was class of 2005. She also attended the Annual Leadership Workshop Columbia County, class of 2006. Caroline attends the annual NYSAIS conference, for school leadership and development. Her previous work experience includes publishing for the New York Times and Hearst Publication.
Laurie Schmolz ~ School Receptionist & Enrollment Associate
Laurie has worked in the school Main Office for five years. She is a life-long native of Columbia County who studied business administration at Columbia-Greene Community College. She previously worked for many years in local medical practices, most recently at MACONY Pediatrics in Great Barrington, and enjoys working with both children and parents. Laurie is a New York State licensed EMT and has taken many associated training courses. Laurie enjoys walking, plants, and volunteering at Olana state historic site as a tourguide. She also keeps busy moonlighting for Carlucci-Simons Catering and Julie Gale’s At The Kitchen Table.
Max Leiber ~ Administrative Assistant & Athletic Director
Max received his B.A. in Latin American Studies from Vassar College, and spent a semester studying at the Universidad Carlos III near Madrid, Spain, in 2006. Previous to this, he spent four months teaching at an elementary school in a small, rural town in Costa Rica, as part of the Global Routes program. Before coming to Hawthorne Valley, Max helped manage the Upstate Films Theaters.
John received his certificate in Waldorf Teacher Training in 2004. John has a significant educational background, receiving a B.S. in Geography from Fitchburg State College, Master’s Coursework in Geology from Washington State University, Master’s in Education for Science and Math Education from the University of Lowell, and completed PhD coursework in Science and Math through the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. John has also had a wealth of teaching experience; at Fitchburg State College, Washington State University, Portsmouth High School, Assabet Valley, High Mowing Waldorf School, and Great Barrington Waldorf School. He did summer renewal work at the Nature Institute in 2008. John owned and operated Scott Lens Science for fifteen years and Wood Joinery for eight. His interests include astronomy, reading, nature, building boats, and studying Anthroposophy.
Andree T. Ward ~ Parent-Child Teacher
Andree has been a Waldorf Early Childhood educator at HVS since 1982, teaching Kindergarten, Nursery, and Parent-Child classes. Her other professional responsibilities include mentoring and evaluating Waldorf Early Childhood teachers and evaluating developing member schools for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN).
Andree participates in the annual WECAN conferences in Spring Valley, NY, and has also attended several international conferences in Dornach, Switzerland. She has gained further professional development by attending conferences which focus on specific topics, such as puppetry and birth-to-three. She has attended Association of Waldorf Schools of North American (AWSNA) conferences as the delegate for HVS. She is a member of WECAN, the Anthroposophical Society, First Class, and Pedagogical Section. Andree is a core member of the Alkion Center since its inception and teaches in the two year Foundation Studies program and the annual Summer Intensive. She directs the courses in the Early Childhood Specialization of the Waldorf Teacher Training Program.
Cecelia Elinson ~ Peach Blossom Nursery Teacher
Cecelia began teaching at Hawthorne Valley in 1987. In the past, she has served as a Cobbler’s Assistant, a dairy farmhand, and as an organic garden assistant in Israel tendeding to orchards, beehives, and gardens. She studied Botany and Meteorology at Cabrillo Junior College, has received her Certification in Waldorf Education at Highland Hall and also studied the Classics at Wayne State University.
Katie Demers ~ Peach Blossom Nursery Assistant & Grade One Playgroup Teacher
Janene Ping ~ Morning Star Kindergarten Teacher & Kindergarten Chair
Janene studied Humanities at San Francisco State University. Her Waldorf training includes a degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College, attendance of yearly seminars at Rudolf Steiner Institute & attendance of yearly Waldorf Early Childhood Conferences at the Association of North America. She has taught Puppetry Arts at Antioch Center for Anthroposophy & Early Childhood and Puppetry Arts at Rudolf Steiner Institute. She is the Artistic Director at Magical Puppet Tree, attends summer seminars at Antioch’s Center for Anthroposophy Renewal Program & attended the Canadian Conference for Early Childhood Teachers. Her interests include travel in Europe and the Northwest, gardening, herbal studies, craft curriculum study, researching world cultural myths, exploring world mystery centers, fairytales and folktales & Anthroposophy.
Dorothea Davis ~ Morning Star Kindergarten Assistant
Candace Bachrach ~ Rose Kindergarten Teacher
Candace is the Rose Kindergarten teacher and has been the lower school’s Handwork teacher. She completed the Waldorf Teacher training program and received a B.A. in Education for English from Hollin’s College in Roanoke, Virginia. She has also studied Philosophy at St.John’s College in Annapolis and pursued graduate studies in Education at New York University, Manhattan College and Russell Sage College. Candace has taught Early Childhood Pedagogy and Handwork at the Alkion Center. She has also taught the Barnard School and was the head of the lower school there as well. She taught grades one-five in Florida at the Bertram School. Candace was Personnel Chair at Hawthorne Valley School for ten years, a Faculty Chair for two and a Council Chair for a year. She produces Kindernews, a monthly newsletter for kindergarten families. For enjoyment, Candace writes, reads and does handwork.
Walli Zay ~ Rose Kindergarten Teacher, Kindergarten Playgroup Teacher , Aftercare Teacher & Summer Camp Coordinator
Walli has been with Hawthorne Valley School for more than a decade, teaching German and Kindergarten. Before that, she was a Kindergarten teacher in Munich and Freiburg. Walli completed the Foundation Year at the Alkion Center and also attended the Rudolf Steiner Institute for Language Instruction. She received a certificate for Social Studies and Family Care, a certificate for Home/Family Helper, and was trained at Fachschule fur Sozialpadogogik (South Germany) for Educator and Kindergarten teacher. Walli is interested in Anthroposophical Medicine, was trained in Switzerland for Rhythmical Massage Therapy, and cares for the sick in their homes.
Andrew is the Grade One Class Teacher and teaches lower school German as well. He holds two B.A. degrees, both from the University of Vermont, one for European Studies and one for German Language. Andrew received his Waldorf Teacher Training certificate from Eugene Waldorf in Oregon. He is a member of the Anthroposophical Society and has attended workshops for both 7th and 8th grade Waldorf Preparation. Prior to Hawthorne Valley School, he taught at the Corvalis Waldorf School in Oregon and the Rudolf Steiner School in Massachusetts. Andrew’s interests and hobbies include tennis, squash, meditation, camping, music, and carpentry.
Karin is a 2013 graduate of the Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center’s Teacher Training Program. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters of International Affairs from the University of Washington, and Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from Columbia University. Her teaching experience ranges from kindergarten to the university level, including teaching English at the Seattle Refugee Resettlement Program and at the Tele Gymnazium and Tele Grammar School in the Czech Republic. Prior to coming to Hawthorne Valley School, Karin taught at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz.
Mike graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Geography before completing the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training in Oregon. Mike taught grades one through eight at Whatcom Hills Waldorf School in Bellingham, Washington. He has attended summer intensives at Rudolf Steiner College, The Michael Institute, and Sunbridge College. Mike worked in Peru as a teacher and mentor for the Semillas de Vida school. His hobbies include woodworking and playing old time music.
Kelly Weimer ~ Grade Four Class Teacher
Kelly holds a B.A. degree from Evergreen State College with a major in Art History and Curatorial Studies. She received her Waldorf Teacher training from Rudolf Steiner College in California and Emerson College in England. Kelly has also completed course work at the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, the Steiner Waldorf Dyslexia Association, and Johansen Sound Therapy. Prior to Hawthorne Valley School, she worked as a first, second, and fifth grade assistant at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City.
Kevin Kilb ~ Grade Five Class Teacher, Lower School Chair
Kevin has been the class teacher for Grades One through Eight in the past, and worked in Germany as an English teacher. Kevin attended a full time training with Eugene Schwartz and Norman Davidson at Sunbridge College and received his Waldorf Teaching Certificate in 2000. He earned a B.A. from Boston College with a Management major and Accounting minor. He’s currently enrolled at SUNY Columbia-Greene Community College for further studies. Kevin’s professional experience includes working at Camphill Triform and teaching painting in Germany. He has gained professional development through the Center for Anthroposophy, two short sessions about crafts-based education and middle school arts. Kevin has lived abroad in Germany and traveled to Paris, Alsace, Norway, and Dornach. He is interested in local anthroposophical initiatives, enjoys reading about sensory integration (Waldorf/mainstream) and extra lesson work, as well as making costumes.
Valri received a B.A. degree from Smith College with a major in English and a minor in secondary education. She is certified to teach Middle and High School English and Social Studies in public schools. Valri earned an M.Ed for Interdisciplinary Studies from Cambridge College. In 2009, she received her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Alkion Center for Adult Education. Valri has taught English, History, Math, Science, and Drama in grades 7-12 in Massachusetts and Florida. She has also been an adjunct English Professor at Berkshire Community College. In her free time, she enjoys local theatre, reading, and spending time with her family.
Steve Simonak ~ Grade Seven Class Teacher
Steve holds a B.F.A. in Painting from Pratt Institute, received his Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Alkion Center, and has Antioch teacher training in Foundation Studies. He has had much experience working in different capacities at Hawthorne Valley School. He has taught middle school Math, Arts, and has coached both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams. Steve has been the Council of Teachers Chairperson, a guest teacher at the Alkion Center, and established the Hawthorne Valley Surveying Practicum. Besides that, he has been the advisor for the Radio Club and Literary Magazine. Professional development experience includes a Grade Seven intensive workshop at the Sunbridge Institute and attending Forging a Path; a conference for teachers/therapists/physicians. Before Hawthorne Valley, Steve was a teacher in New York City. His hobbies include gardening, mapmaking and surveying, the history of New York State, medieval Christian painting, and birdwatching.
Michael Pewtherer ~ Grade Eight Class Teacher
Mike studied Adventure Education at Prescott College, Biology at SUNY Columbia-Greene and received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Minor in Wilderness Education from SUNY Empire State. He has received Waldorf teacher training at Alkion Center. He taught the Naturalist Program at Hartsbrook. His is a director at Woodland Ways, a Wilderness First Responder and author. His interests include SCUBA and free diving, hunting & tracking.
Stuart Summer ~ EARTH Program Teacher
Stuart has a B.A. in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic. He has a Waldorf teacher’s training certificate from the Alkion Center. He has twenty years of experience teaching in the lower school at Hawthorne Valley. Prior to this he taught the Waldorf Curriculum at Eurythmy Spring Valley and Second Grade curriculum at the Sunbridge Institute. He has a certificate in Advanced Waldorf Seminar from Sound Circle, attends the AWSNA annual conferences, is involved with the responsive classroom level one, was in a study group on Rudolf Steiner’s Education For Special Needs and most recently was in a research group on land-based education. His interests include speech courses, canoeing, hiking, professional reading and travel to Germany.
Meaghan McKenna ~ Lower School Support Teacher
Susan Ambrose ~ High School Administrator, English Language Teacher, High School Spanish Teacher & Coordinator of Foreign Exchange
Susan is the school’s English as a Second Language teacher and is currently developing the program to support the needs of its international students. Susan has had much experience in teaching English language to adults in the U.S. at a private English language school and in the English Language Institute at SUNY Westchester Community College. She has also had multiple experiences abroad and most recently taught English B at an International Baccalaureate high school. Susan has also been the head of the English Preparation Program at EF International Academy, Academic Coordinator at EF International Language Schools in Tarrytown, N.Y. and served as Materials Coordinator at the same school. She earned her undergraduate degree in Spanish Language and Culture from SUNY Purchase and moved on to her graduate studies for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at Manhattanville College, she is pursuing a PhD for Teaching and Curriculum. Susan has many extracurricular interests, including cooking, films, literature and traveling.
David Anderson ~ 10th & 12th Grade Play Director
Mr. Anderson was an English Teacher at Weimar Waldorf School in Germany and has taught various courses in England and Ireland. He spent three years acting, writing, and teaching at Shakespeare Alive! in Massachussetts. In addition to directing plays at Hawthorne Valley, Mr. Anderson is a director, actor, and workshop leader at Walking the Dog Theater. His other significant interests include poetry, performing, and hiking.
Simon Frishkoff ~ Science & Music Teacher & Assistant Athletic Director
Simon is the high school’s Biology teacher, teaches some music classes in the lower school, assists the middle school Orchestra as well as the high school Orchestra, and is the Assistant Athletic Director. He completed the Waldorf Teacher Training course with a Science track at the Center for Anthroposophy in 2009. His prior education includes a B.A. in Theatre from Oberlin College and a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. Simon has taught the sciences (primarily Biology) and math, physical education, and music at Hawthorne Valley School-in both the lower and high schools. Previously he taught at the Lake Champlain School and Burlington College. He was a naturopathic physician in Vermont for seven years. Simon’s interests include natural medicine, music, writing and performing.
Naomi Klavun ~ English & Art Teacher (On leave Fall 2014)
Naomi Klavun is a high school English and Art teacher, the Grade Nine advisor, is on the Exhibits committee, and runs the extracurricular activity the Literary Journal. She has been teaching at Hawthorne Valley School since 1982. Naomi attended Assenza Art School for Anthroposophic painting training through the grades, received a B.F.A. from Brandeis University, and a M.A. in English Literature from Simmons College. She is a member of several art associations, such as the Housatonic Valley Art League and the 14th Colony Arts Association. She’s taken numerous painting courses in pastels, oils, still life, and abstract to better inform her students. She has also attended the Bard Teachers and Writers seminars in connection to her English teaching. Naomi has her own website that displays works she has created in painting and photography.
Abe Madey ~ Math & Metalworking Teacher
Abe has a B.S. in Meteorology and Oceanography from SUNY Maritime and did Masters work in Atmospheric Sciences from SUNY Albany. He taught Meteorology at SUNY Albany and Sailing and Navigation at Sea the Education Association. He has studied at the Alkion Center and attended Bring Science to life- a professional development program at the Nature Institute. His interests include watercolor painting, computer layout and graphic design, baking and electronics.
Eric G. Müller ~ High School English & Drama Teacher
Eric was born in Durban, South Africa, and double majored in literature and history at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He attended Emerson College in Sussex, England, where he completed the Foundation Year, with emphasis on drama and creative writing. He studied Waldorf pedagogy at the Waldorf Institute in Witten-Annen, Germany, where he specialized in music education. Together with his family he moved to Oregon, where he became a class teacher at the Eugene Waldorf School, carrying a class through the eight year cycle. During this time he also taught German and music (orchestra, chorus, and individual classes). He was a co-founder of the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training Program.
Currently he teaches English and Drama in the Hawthorne Valley High School. The blocks he teaches include Eschenbach’s Parzival, Goethe’s Faust, Homer’s The Odyssey, History through Music, and Comedy and Tragedy. He is a founding member of the Alkion Center and the director of the education department. Over the years he has served as both faculty and college (council) chair, and sat on numerous committees, such as the Teacher Development Committee, which holds a special interest for him. He has written two novels as well as a collection of poetry. To learn more about Eric’s work, please visit his website.
Martina Angela Müller ~ Arts Teacher
Always searching for the spiritual in art, Martinais a visual artist practicing in a number of different fields. Apart from numerous exhibits of her work in galleries and various area venues, she has been internationally published as a children’s book illustrator, and taught painting, drawing and sculpture at adult education centers and at the middle and high school level. The main body of her work is abstract painting, fueled by the ongoing question into the nature and expression of color. Born and raised in Germany she studied art at Emerson College in England, at Ruhruniversität Bochum and at the Institute for Waldorf Pedagogy in Witten Annen, Germany. In her mid-twenties she moved to Eugene Oregon, where she was artist in residence at the Lane County Council of the Arts, and cofounder of the Waldorf Teacher Education Program where she was head of the art department for several years. In upstate New York she was cofounder of Gallery 345, an experimental Arts Collective in Hudson, NY whose mission it was to engage the viewers in dialogue and activites. She is currently working as a freelance artist and teaches at the Alkion Center for Adult Education, of which she is a cofounder, and at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. She and her husband Eric Müller have three grown sons and live in Ghent, NY, where she maintains her art studio.
Lawre Stone ~ High School Chair, Arts & Humanities Teacher
Lawre has been at Hawthorne Valley School since 2005. She currently teaches Art, History, and English. She organizes and facilitates the weekly High School Forum, runs the Social Action Group and Amnesty International activities, and assists the high school Chorus. Prior to Hawthorne Valley School she worked in the N.Y.C. Public School system, was the Education Director at the Noguchi Garden in Queens, N.Y., was the Annanberg Foundation Artist in Residence, and taught both Art and History at the Long Island City High School. In 2006 she received her certificate for Waldorf Teacher Training from the Alkion Center. Her other educational background includes a B.F.A. in Painting from the R.I. School of Design, a M.F.A. from Bard College in Painting, and she completed a New York State teaching license course at Hoftsra University. Lawre has pursued professional development by taking advanced bookbinding classes at the Center for Book Arts in N.Y.C. and has also taught a Bookbinding course to adults at the Alkion Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. Lawre is on the Henriette Reiss Award Committee which is an art grant for a Hawthorne Valley Senior or graduate, is an advisor at Art/Omi International Workshop in Ghent, N.Y., is a member of the Columbia County Council for the Arts, and continues to exhibit her own artwork in a variety of exhibitions. Practicing fine arts and painting is an important interest for Lawre, her work has been exhibited extensively in N.Y.C. in both galleries and museums. Her artwork has appeared in major art journals such as The New Art Examiner, Art in America, Teme Celeste, and The New York Times.
Britty Buonocore ~ Middle & High School English Teacher
Britty received her B.A. in English and Education and her M.A. in Teaching from Colgate University. She has taught English and writing in several schools and programs including The Writer’s Workshop, Hamilton Central School, and The Creative Writing Initiative. Britty was also a member of The Colgate Resolutions A Cappella Group and served as their president for an academic year. As an English teacher, she loves exploring the social implications of literature and helping students understand their ideas through writing.
Michael Carter ~ School Therapist
Jong-Won completed the Eurythmy Training Program at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA, receiving a eurythmy diploma recognized by the Goetheanum. In addition to that, she completed TETNA (the Therapeutic Eurythmy Training in North America) in Copake, NY. She also completed the Foundation Year Program at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA. She received her M.A. in Education and her B.A. from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea. She is a member of the Anthroposophical Society in America, the Eurythmy Association of North America, and the Association for Therapeutic Eurythmy in North America. Her hobbies and interests include reading, handwork, cooking and baking.
Candace Christiansen ~ High School & Lower School Science
Maria Jimena Concha ~ Lower School Spanish Teacher
Jimena has extensive experience teaching Spanish in all grades. She taught at several private schools, including Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in the early 2000s and Housatonic Valley Waldorf School. She also worked as a private tutor for both Spanish and English language learners. Jimena received a B.A in Modern Languages from the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, and has participated in education and language workshops at universities in Germany, Canada, and the United States.
Larry Glatt ~ Orchestra, Chorus & Music Teacher
Larry has taught a number of courses at Hawthorne Valley School. Currently he is the Orchestra, Chorus and Music teacher for the lower and high school. He has instructed Music, Chorus, Orchestra, Games and more. He has played an integral role in the music portion of the school; directing the music for the school’s plays, organizing after school music teaching, organizing music for the high school coffee houses, Jazz band, and creating Acapella groups as needed. He received his undergraduate degree in Music Performance from Queens College, a M.A. for Performance from the same school, an M.A. in Music Theory from Florida State University, and a PhD in Music Performance from Florida State University. Before Hawthorne Valley School, Larry taught at both the Halton School and the Alan Howard School. He spent ten years as Music and Choir Director at Shaa-ai Beth-el Synagogue where he was also a teacher. Larry has been the Guitar and Music Appreciation Instructor at Illinois State University and has been conducting workshops at Westminster Choir College. He composed “Life: The Musical, not the Cereal” and enjoys performing classical guitar, singing, composing, cooking, and canoeing.
Corinna Komenda ~ German & Handwork Teacher
Corinna is a high school German teacher and lower school Handwork teacher. She has considerable experience working with lower and middle school students; at Hawthorne Valley she’s taught Handwork to Grades Seven and Eight, and German to Grades One, Two, and Seven. Corinna has also worked at other Waldorf schools, in Great Barrington as a German teacher and in Belgium teaching English. She completed the Waldorf Teacher Training at the Alkion Center and did Social Therapy Training at Camphill Village in Copake. She is a Waldorf high school graduate, from the Rudpolph Steiner Schule Hamburg-Wandsbek in 1982. Corinna is the Board of Camphill Association of North America’s treasurer. Recently, she completed a renewal course at the Center of Anthroposophy for Teaching Foreign Languages in Grades One to Six. Corinna enjoys the arts such as singing, playing violin, viola, recorder and lyre. She also enjoys knitting, needlework, weaving, spinning, crocheting, leatherwork, gardening, and baking. She is interested in ecology and readings about forestry. Corinna looks forward to yearly travel to Germany and Austria.
Brett LaFave ~ Middle & High School Math Teacher
Originally from Vorheesville, NY, Brett attended Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University in Phoenix, where he also met his wife, Mary. They relocated back to the Albany area and are excited to be joining the Hawthorne Valley School community this fall, where Brett will undoubtedly inspire students with his passion for problem solving.
Caroline O’Neill ~ Handwork Teacher
Caroline has taught all lower school grade levels, and also serves as manager for the school store Turose Craft & Gift Shop. She received her certification for Handwork at Sunbridge College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Urban and Environmental Planning from Worcester PolyTech. She has both attended and taught at Handwork conferences. Caroline’s hobbies include hiking, canoeing, traveling, craftwork and natural dyeing.
Marianne Rannenberg ~ Reading Specialist
Marianne brings over 25 years of teaching experience in a variety of settings to her work at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. With a strong background in humanistic, student-centered education (Ecole d’Humanité, Switzerland) and early music and music education (Schola Cantorum, Musik Akademie, Basel, Switzerland), as well as a degree in developmental reading (MS, University at Albany; NY State certification K-12), she brings a creative, individualized approach to her work. Her long-standing involvement with Waldorf education since 1980, together with her strong interest in learning differences help her to integrate a holistic vision of each child with instruction that is carefully tailored to address specific needs. Ms. Rannenberg currently teaches both in her home in Harlemville and at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School.
Leopoldo Sanchez ~ Lower School & High School Movement Teacher, Lower School Spanish Teacher
Leo has over twenty years of experience in teaching movement and physical education. He received a B.A. in public accounting from University Autonomous of Morelos State in Mexico and a diploma in Physical Education from Naruto University of Education. Leo also is certified in spacial dynamics from the Spacial Dynamics Institute Inc. Leo is fluent in Spanish, English, and Japanese, and has served as an instructor for the Greek Pentathlon at the All in Peace Festival in 2004 and 2006.
Stacy Schwarz ~ High School Eurythmy Teacher
Liz Yorck ~ Grade Four Assistant & Special Education Resource Teacher