Shining RIvers Waldorf School

A Developing Waldorf School

Faculty and Staff

Gisela Baner
German – Gisela has been teaching German specialty classes at Shining Rivers since 2008. Educated in Germany, her degree is in the German, French, and English languages. Gisela worked in France, Germany and Switzerland before settling in Missouri in 1998. She attended Foreign Language Waldorf training at the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire.

Kristin Carroll
Early Childhood Assistant – With over fifteen years of experience in Early Childhood and Special Education programs, Kristin joined SRWS in 2009. She has completed Fundamentals of the Waldorf Kindergarten at Rudolph Steiner College in Sacramento, California, and Foundation Studies with the St. Louis cluster. Kristin enjoys gardening, knitting, art, biking, and yoga.

Makena Gray
Enrollment Coordinator – Makena graduated from Principia College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She has undergone Waldorf training at both Rudolf Steiner College in California and Kula Makua Institute in Hawai’i. Before joining SRWS in 2010, Makena spent three years at the Honolulu Waldorf School working in administration and supervising the after-school program.

Kathy Garrison
Violin / Orchestra – Kathy began violin instruction at Shining Rivers in the fall of 2011. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Truman University. Kathy also trained with Susan Kempter, a well-known Suzuki pedagogue and published author at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and received lifetime Suzuki certification. She has been providing private and group instruction since 2005. Kathy is passionate about the experience of joy and accomplishment children can experience through music. She is excited to be part of the development of the Shining Rivers’ orchestra.

Marcia Jaffe
Grade 2 Teacher – Marcia received her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Tufts University. She earned a Master’s degree from Tulane University in lower elementary education and then went on to teach in New Orleans. Marcia was a very involved parent and board member of the Waldorf School of New Orleans before moving to St. Louis. She has attended training at Sunbridge College in New York. Marcia loves singing, reading, and taking walks with her family.

Steve Jent
Grade 7 Teacher – Steve is a 1981 graduate of Chicago State University (BS). He has been involved with Shining Rivers since 1996 and started teaching woodworking in 2000. He has had training in special education, has completed Waldorf teacher training at Bellarmine University in Kentucky, and Foundation Studies through the Center for Anthroposophy. Steve’s been a mainframe computer programmer, semi-professional folk artist, and amateur musical instrument builder.

Michiyo Kishi
Early Childhood Teacher / Faculty Chair – Michiyo has a BA in Socio Linguistics (a.k.a. English) from Kobe College. She moved from Japan to St. Louis in 2000 and joined Shining Rivers in 2004. She has assisted and led each of the Early Childhood programs, including Parent-Child Classes, Morning Garden, and Kindergarten. Currently working as a Lifeways mentor, Michiyo has completed Lifeways Early Childhood training as well as Foundation Studies.

Kerry Neal
Administrative Coordinator and Grades Assistant – Kerry Neal joined Shining Rivers Waldorf School in 2006. Kerry has attended training at Waldorf without Walls, Rudolph Steiner College, and has completed Foundation Studies. She enjoys making paper crafts, knitting, kayaking, yoga, and children’s literature.

Brandy O’Brien
Grade 4 Teacher – Brandy graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She has experience in many different classrooms, from Pre-Kindergarten to Fourth Grade. Brandy has attended training at Sunbridge College and participated in Foundation Studies with the St. Louis cluster. Waldorf education meets her personal desire to provide a classroom experience that is vibrant, full-bodied and alive.

Carol Partlow Fyock
Grade 5 Teacher – Before moving to St. Louis, Carol taught Grades Three through Six in New Jersey. She received her Master’s degree in Education from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Through her experience in public school classrooms, she worked to incorporate a child-centered approach into a test-driven educational environment. Carol is thrilled to discover the Waldorf approach and enjoyed intensive training at Sunbridge College. Her interests include family, friends, painting, gardening for wildlife, personal and spiritual growth, and community service.

Claudia Pico
Spanish – Claudia Pico graduated from Concordia University Chicago in 2002 from the secondary education department with a major in communication, emphasizing speech and theater, and a minor in Spanish. She has attended the Foreign Language Waldorf Training program in New Hampshire.

Kelly Riney Feary
Early Childhood Teacher – Kelly graduated in 1996 from Loras College with a BA in Early Childhood Education. Since graduating, Kelly has lived in California, Alaska, and Illinois while working in many fields of Early Childhood. She is a graduate of the Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education and Waldorf Teacher Training Program in Chicago, and ran a Waldorf-inspired early childhood program in Rockford, Illinois for five years. For fun, Kelly enjoys camping, canoeing, baking and gardening.

Daniela Sales
Grade 1 Teacher – Daniela joined the SRWS faculty in August 2011, but has been an SRWS parent since 2008 (Andre, Grade 4). Daniela’s passion for teaching and Waldorf education led her to begin the Masters Grades Waldorf Certification program at Rudolf Steiner College in California last summer (expecting to complete it in 2014), and to complete the full two-year Foundation Studies program with the Shining Rivers cluster. Daniela has served as a Holistic Lifestyle Teacher and holds a PhD in Traditional Naturopathy and a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing.

Mia Ulmer
Movement – Her passion for inspiring education and community connection brought Mia and her family to Shining Rivers Waldorf School in 2008. Mia has a Master’s in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University and vast experience in outdoor education, team building, and youth leadership programs. She has completed the Foundation Studies program and was a participant of the SRWS Biography group. Additionally, Mia has attended Bal-A-Vis-X training and is excited to bring this activity to Shining Rivers. Mia is also the owner of Birchtree Studio, providing individual, family and event photography, including Shining Rivers’ school portraits.

Stacia Valley
Extended Care Coordinator – With their family’s relocation to St. Louis in the spring of 2011, Stacia found the Shining Rivers community. She was happy to continue the connection she found to Waldorf education in Colorado when she joined the SRWS faculty. Stacia and her husband, Dan, have energized the Extended Care program with their chickens, cob mixing, and baking – oh my! Stacia grew up in her family’s independent book store and operated her own paper and coffee shop for many years. She gets excited about books, stationery and art supplies!

Ann Weidemann
School Director – Ann came to Shining Rivers in September of 2007 with experience in business and nonprofit management. She received a Masters of Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Since arriving at Shining Rivers, Ann has been a regular participant in Book clubs and Craft groups, as well as the Biography and Foundation Studies.

Laura Wiley
Early Childhood Assistant – Laura graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Ecology Evolution & Natural Resources. She encountered Waldorf education in New Jersey at the Princeton Waldorf School where she spent time in the Early Childhood program and attended lectures. Laura is also a seasonal instructor at the St. Louis Zoo.

Erin Winkles
Early Childhood Assistant – After relocating from Steelville, Missouri, Erin joined the Shining Rivers community. Erin graduated from Lindenwood University in 2001 with a degree in Human Services Agency Management and Environmental Science. Erin is a Doula and has a background in community building.