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August 31, 2014

Dear KWS Community,

We hope that all of you have had a restful and enjoyable summer. Another school year is about to begin and the faculty and staff have been busy preparing lessons, classrooms, facilities, and grounds in anticipation of the first day. While preparing for a new year, it is satisfying to reflect on the education at Kimberton Waldorf School and in particular to learn about our graduates who are examples of the lifelong benefits of Waldorf Education. Just recently we became aware that Hugo Rodriguez Jr. ‘84 has been named U.S. Consul General of Mexico City. Hugo has worked for the State Department for many years, and we congratulate him on his new post. According to an article published recently in the Pottstown Mercury, “Rodriguez attributes much of his success to the years he spent at the Kimberton Waldorf School, and the importance of developing harmonious relationships it fostered amongst its students.” In the article, Hugo notes “I think growing up in a small community and going to Kimberton really helped to make me sensitive to people. The school was a small school where you really got to know everybody and I think that the business I ended up in is very much about relationships with people. Even though we talk about the U.S. and Mexico as these large, federal systems, the success of that relationship is really founded on the success of the interpersonal relationships. Kimberton Waldorf School really laid the groundwork for me in that regard. It’s really about caring for the people around you and the importance of that empathy for those who are traveling with you on the same journey, and the value that everybody brings to what they do. I absolutely think the foundation I got at Kimberton was important to being good at what I do now.” We are very proud of Hugo, wish him all the best, and send our congratulations to the Rodriguez family.

We have a few things to share with you in preparation for the year. We continue to make exciting changes in our pedagogical program. This year we will be adding stone and clay sculpture, batik, and a coppersmithing elective in the high school. We are continuing with our photography elective that was successful last year. We are revising our high school math program. In some classes we will have three tracks of classes to better meet our students at all academic levels. We are making some changes in our music program by adding chamber choir and chamber orchestra, sectionals in orchestras, and more music offerings in electives. Some of the changes from last year that we are continuing this year are a physics elective in eleventh grade, ninth grade environmental studies, and a tenth grade experiential block in navigation. We are continuing with economics, and Effie Scott ’03 will be teaching a course in human geography (Effie has a degree in geography from the University of Chicago).

We have hired new faculty and staff members in math, the sciences, English, and the arts in our high school and middle school; as well as a new first grade class teacher, new teachers in our Early Childhood program, and a new Director of Development. We are very pleased to add these new members to our faculty and staff team. If you missed their introductions in earlier issues of this newsletter, we have included them below:

Mimi Koelle will be our new Director of Development. Mimi has over 15 years of experience in development work including annual fund campaigns, marketing and promotions, event management, and volunteer coordination. She worked for many years as the Director of Development for the Crossroads School. Volunteer work and fundraising has long been a part of Mimi’s life. She has been a volunteer coordinator since her teen years for the Wilmington Flower Market, which raises funds to improve the lives of children in Delaware. Mimi has grown children and lives in the Malvern area.

Tonya Rice will be teaching math in the high school. She taught math for many years at Perkiomen Valley High School, and most recently taught algebra, geometry, and calculus and served as the High School Math Department Chair. Prior to that, Tonya was the Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator for grades K-12. Before coming to Pennsylvania, Tonya taught for 10 years at Brooklyn Technical High School. She is certified to teach mathematics in both Pennsylvania and New York. Her two children, Roby (rising 6th) and Martin (rising 3rd), have attended KWS since starting school. She and her family live in Collegeville.

Dan Smith will be our new chemistry and math teacher. Dan has 17 years of teaching experience. He previously taught at Columbia Prep School in New York City. He also was an adjunct lecturer in chemistry at Hunter College. Dan is a guitar player and has coached soccer and softball. He is married and has two children who will be in our Rosebud Garden and Kindergarten programs. Dan brings with him a lifelong love of science and teaching, and a newfound interest in Waldorf Education.

Tracy Robertson will be teaching English in ninth and eleventh grades. Tracy has degrees in English from Duke University and the University of North Carolina. She has over 15 years of experience teaching English and drama in a number of schools. Tracy’s has two children who attend KWS, in grades sixth and eighth.

Sean Cook is our new Woodworking/Blacksmithing/Coppersmithing/and Stone Carving teacher. Sean previously taught at the Meeting School in New Hampshire, a Quaker school where he taught woodworking and sculpture. Sean is an experienced craftsman and artist with experience in woodworking, clay and stone sculpture, blacksmithing, and copper work. Sean and his wife currently live in Orwigsburg.

Gwyn Linsalata is our new Red Rose Kindergarten lead teacher. Gwyn is from the Philadelphia area. She is a trained Waldorf Early Education teacher and has experience as both an assistant and lead teacher in Waldorf Kindergartens. Gwyn is also an accomplished puppeteer. She has two older children who attended the Waldorf School of Philadelphia.

Ona O’Hara will be our new lead teacher for the Rosebud Garden program. Ona is a trained Waldorf Early Childhood teacher and comes to us from the River Valley Waldorf School where she was the lead teacher for their Morning Glory program for two years, and prior to that was the lead teacher for their afternoon program. Ona’s two children will join grades two and four.

Eleanor Seidman is our new first grade class teacher. Eleanor is a very experienced teacher with 25 years in the classroom, and she is deeply rooted in Waldorf Education. Eleanor is originally from the Philadelphia area and helped to start the Waldorf School in Philadelphia.

Andrea Fox will be teaching Handwork in grades seventh through tenth. Andrea has 15 years of experience teaching a variety of art in the Upper Merion and Butler Area School Districts. She also has a background in theater arts. Andrea has a child in fourth grade at KWS.

Christopher Scappaticci will be teaching clay sculpture, bookbinding, and a photography elective in the high school. Christopher has degrees in fine arts and in architecture. He has been teaching for 14 years in the Allentown area. This summer Christopher began his Waldorf teacher training. Christopher and his family live in the Kutztown area.

Tara Boroson will be an assistant in the White Rose afternoon Kindergarten. Tara is also a parent in our school. She has had a wide range of experience and is excited to be a part of our Early Childhood staff.

Molly Brett, who was the assistant last year in our Red Rose Kindergarten, is expecting her second child and will be working reduced hours. She will be working a few days a week in our Rosebud Farmhouse program. Eileen O’Meacham will move from the Rosebud program to become the morning assistant and afternoon teacher in the Red Rose Kindergarten.

Please join us in welcoming these new teachers and staff members!

Enjoy the last few days of summer!

Kevin Hughes
Dean of School