Faculty and Staff

Bringing Our Education to Life

WSSD uses a proven technique based on insight into brain and physical development, kinesthetic learning, and emotional intelligence. Responds to the inquisitive and inquiring needs of the child at each stage of development. Prepares children for the ever-changing world. Committed to academic excellence in order to foster the capabilities of thinking, feeling and willing. Our teachers are specifically trained individually through rhythm, repetition, and reverence, is able to create a wholesome environment that nurtures the physical, emotional, social and spiritual development of each child.

Early

Childhood

Lower

School

High

School

Administrative

Team

early childhood

Parent-Tot, Nursery, and Kindergarten

Christine Keresztes-Nagy

Christine Keresztes-Nagy

Sweet Pea Nursery Teacher

Ms. Christy received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Waldorf Kindergarten teaching certificate from Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education program in Chicago. 

Ms. Christy has been teaching at WSSD since 2002.

Mayra Sandelin

Mayra Sandelin

Rosemary Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Mayra graduated from the Waldorf Teaching Program in San Diego in 2011. She earned her teaching degree and worked for five years as an elementary school teacher in Nicaragua. 

Ms. Mayra joined the WSSD Early Childhood team in 2003.

Aminta Penman

Aminta Penman

Periwinkle Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Aminta has been an Early Childhood Teacher for over 26 years. She joined WSSD in 2004 and has served as Parent-Child Teacher, Teacher Assistant and Co-Teacher. She is currently the lead Teacher for Periwinkle Kindergarten. Ms. Aminta holds a degree in Education and has completed her Waldorf Teacher Training.

A native Spanish speaker, she incorporates Spanish into her classroom experience. Ms. Aminta seeks to make changes in the world by connecting with children and supporting them in their discovery of their own unique destiny.

Ms. Aminta enjoys cooking, hiking, nature and spending time with her family.

Sheila Salmeron

Sheila Salmeron

Sunflower Teacher

Ms. Sheila has a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Psychology and a Master of Arts. She is enrolled in the Waldorf teacher training program while working with us as a kindergarten assistant.

Ms. Sheila was born by the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Spain and loves traveling.

Ms. Sheila joined WSSD in 2015.

Leticia Ortega

Leticia Ortega

Sunflower Support Teacher

Ms. Leticia received her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood from Cal State Los Angeles and is a graduate of the Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC).

Ms. Leticia has been an early childhood educator for over 23 years in mainstream, as well as private schools in Los Angeles and San Diego County.

Ms. Leticia has been with WSSD since 2006

Elizabeth Heald

Elizabeth Heald

EC Chair & Morning Glory Teacher

Ms. Elizabeth completed her Waldorf teacher training through the Waldorf Institute of Southern California. She graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with majors in Environmental Studies and Spanish as well as a Master of Arts degree in Education.

Ms. Elizabeth grew up in a family of teachers among the avocado trees of Fallbrook, CA.

Ms. Elizabeth joined the WSSD Early Childhood team in 2013.

Isabelle Adame

Isabelle Adame

Lead Aftercare Teacher & Morning Glory Teacher

Ms. Isabelle has an Associates Degree from Santa Barbara City College.

She is in her truest state when helping to gently guide, inspire, and bring to life a passion for the wonders within her fellow beings.  

Ms. Isabelle joined WSSD in 2017.

Denise McCulloch

Denise McCulloch

Morning Glory Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Jen Rice

Jen Rice

Sweet Pea Support Teacher

Coming Soon

Julia Antti

Julia Antti

Periwinkle Kindergarten Support Teacher

Ms. Julia has an Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies and is currently taking classes in Early Childhood Education. She has been working with children for the past seven years in a variety of settings; assisting in preschools, providing support at churches, nannying for families, and last year helped out at the shelter for Unaccompanied Migrant Children at the San Diego Convention Center.

When she is not working, she can be found hiking, traveling, or playing music. 

Susana Reynoso Pelitteri

Susana Reynoso Pelitteri

Rosemary Kindergarten Support Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Stephanie Quintero

Stephanie Quintero

Kindergarten Support Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Katerina Novello

Katerina Novello

EC support teacher

Bio coming soon.

Aleksandra Townsend

Aleksandra Townsend

EC support teacher

Bio coming soon.

Lower School

Grade School 1-5 and Middle School 6-8

Shea St. John

Shea St. John

Grade 1 Teacher

Shea Saint John Is a Certified Waldorf Teacher who is passionate, experienced, and dedicated. She began her training in Upstate New York while she was raising bees and biodynamic vegetables, and completed her K-8 training at The Waldorf Institute of Southern California.

Shea also has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, cum laude, which scaffolds a multi-facetted understanding of children’s developmental stages from birth to Grade Three. Her foundation in the Curative Education coursework adds to her toolbox to guide all children successfully and empathetically. Additionally, she is currently half way finished with her Master’s of Education (M.Ed) at Antioch University in the TSHE (Transdisciplinary Healing Arts) Waldorf Education program.

Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her five children (ages 7 to 27) camping, hiking and being outdoors. Her three youngest children will be students at WSSD. Shea also enjoys many practical arts, skiing, and traveling.

Socorro Maldonado

Socorro Maldonado

Grade 2 Teacher

Ms. Maldonado (she/her) was born and raised in Mexicali, Baja California a Mexican border-sister city with Calexico, California.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California and a Masters in Arts in Regional Planning from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte. She is currently working on completing her certification as a Waldorf Elementary Teacher from Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, NY. Additionally, she studied Early Childhood Education at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA. and has trained in Mindful Schools and Yoga for children.

Ms. Maldonado has been Co-Chair of the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee at WSSD since 2019 and is an active advocate for broader representation of historically excluded populations in Waldorf Education and society.

Ms. Maldonado is a seeker who practices Buddhism and enjoys every opportunity to learn something new.

Ms. Maldonado joined WSSD in 2017.

 

Anna Masters

Anna Masters

Grade 3 Teacher

Ms. Anna completed her Waldorf three-year training and has a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, Elementary Education, and Teaching from National University.

She loves storytelling, singing, and puppetry. 

Ms. Anna joined Sanderling Waldorf School in 2015, and WSSD in 2018.

Elyse Stussi

Elyse Stussi

Grade 4 Teacher

Ms. Stussi has 19 years of experience as a Waldorf teacher and over 22 years of teaching. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Education from George Washington University with a specialization in teaching English Language Learners. She has her certification in Educational Support from the Association for Healing Education. She received her Waldorf teacher training both in Brazil and in Washington, DC, at the Nova Institute.

Prior to becoming a class teacher in 2009, Ms. Stussi worked as an Educational Support teacher at WSSD conducting Extra Lesson classes. Ms. Stussi worked as an English Teacher and Educational Support teacher in a small community Waldorf School in Brazil, her paternal country of Origin.

Ms. Stussi’s relationship to Waldorf education reaches back to her grade school years as a student at the Washington Waldorf School. She returned to the Waldorf community as a mother when her son, who is now an adult and Woodwork assistant at WSSD, began his first school experience in Parent-Tot classes at Acorn Hill Waldorf School.

Ms. Stussi joined WSSD in 2008.

 
 
 
Maria Case

Maria Case

Grade 5 Teacher

Mrs. Case is in her twenty-first year of teaching, her twentieth in Waldorf education. She completed her Waldorf Teacher Training at the fabled Emerson College in the United Kingdom, and she has continued with many courses at Rudolf Steiner College over the years, including combined class teaching and Kindergarten courses. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater at Lawrence University, studied abroad in England, and traveled the world as a student, pilgrim, and a flight attendant before taking on this vocation. She has written plays for grades one through 4, as well as many biographical saint and hero stories. Fun facts: She was the State Champion Storyteller of Tennessee in her high school senior year, and she once walked across an eight-foot bed of hot coals.
 
Mrs. Case joined WSSD in 2019.

Ms. Case has 15 years of experience as a Waldorf teacher. She completed her Waldorf Teacher Training through Emerson and the Rudolf Steiner College and her teaching practicum at Stourbridge Waldorf School and Monterey Bay Charter. Ms. Case has worked with several specialists and Master Waldorf Teachers, further expanding her capabilities. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lawrence University.

Fun Fact: While in high school, Ms. Case was a medal-holding State Storytelling Champion.

Ms. Case joined WSSD in 2019.

Veronica Connaughton

Veronica Connaughton

Grade 6 Teacher

Ms. Connaughton has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of San Diego, California, and a California Teaching Credential and Master of Arts Degree in Special Education from National University. She also graduated from the Waldorf Teacher Training program.

Ms. Connaughton joined WSSD in 2008.

Bonnie Holden

Bonnie Holden

Grade 7 Teacher

Ms. Holden has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences and has her Waldorf Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College. 

Ms. Holden enjoys spending time with her Grandson.

Ms. Holden joined WSSD in 1986!  

Deirdre Logue

Deirdre Logue

Grade 8 Teacher

Ms. Logue has over 22 years of experience and began her journey at Harriet Tubman Village Charter School in San Diego.

Ms. Logue earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Notre Dame and received her teaching credentials at Chapman University. Ms. Logue also holds a California multiple subject credential. 

Ms. Logue enjoys hiking, reading, artistic endeavors, gardening, travel, and laughter.

Ms. Logue joined WSSD in 2019.

Lower School

Subject Teachers

Amanda Womble

Amanda Womble

Gardening Teacher

Madame Womble received her Diplôme d’Etudes Françaises from l’ Université Paul Cézanne – Aix Marseille III. She is a certified Waldorf World Language teacher. She also completed Biodynamic Gardening Training at Rudolf Steiner College.

She holds three certifications in Aromatherapy, is a certified Master Herbalist, a certified Doula, and is certified in applied nutrition.

Her passions are alternative health care, environmental wellness, social justice, and women’s health. She enjoys traveling and meeting people from lands far and near. She is a volunteer birth assistant for women in need of support who have limited or no financial means.

Madame Womble joined WSSD in 2004.

Johanna Laurelin

Johanna Laurelin

Eurythmy and Orchestra Teacher

Ms. Laurelin is co-director of The Waldorf Institute of Southern California and attended University in Hamburg.

She is a widely acclaimed eurythmist who performs with stage groups in Europe and the U.S. 

Ms. Laurelin joined WSSD in 2005.

Lynne Ross

Lynne Ross

Middle School Math Teacher

Ms. Ross has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Chapman University, Early Childhood Director credentials, and also has a Waldorf Teacher Certificate from the Rudolf Steiner College.  

Ms. Ross enjoys walking/ hiking, dancing, kayaking, knitting, traveling with friends and siblings, and Taco Tuesday.

Ms. Ross joined WSSD in 1984.

Sara Gomes

Sara Gomes

Games Teacher

Ms. Gomes has a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from San Francisco State University. She also has her certification in Spacial Dynamics from the Spacial Dynamics Institute. 

Ms. Gomes joined WSSD in 2004.

Mary Carmichael

Mary Carmichael

Education Support

Ms. Carmichael has a Bachelor of Arts in Community Health Education from California State University, Chico. She attended the New England Waldorf Teacher Training Institute and completed her studies at Rudolf Steiner College. Mary has also completed the Remedial Education Program through The Association for Healing Education.

She has a strong commitment to her study of and works in anthroposophical medicine.

Ms. Carmichael joined WSSD in 1996.

Bianca Rennick

Bianca Rennick

Handwork Teacher

Ms. Rennick has a bachelor’s degree in Art and her teaching certification from the Waldorf Practical Arts program. Over the past several years, she has taught handwork in the classroom, and more recently, she has worked with homeschool families and done private instruction.
As a lover of all things fiber, some of her favorite hobbies include knitting and working with plant dyes. She also loves dancing and spending time with her family.

Ms. Rennick joined WSSD in 2021

Carlos Vázquez Martín

Carlos Vázquez Martín

Grade 6-12 Spanish Teacher

Mr. Vázquez has a Master of Arts in Innovation and Research in Education from the National Distance Education University (UNED) and a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Foreign Language Teaching from Complutense University of Madrid. He also has his Waldorf Teacher Certification from the Waldorf Training Center in Spain.

Mr. Vázquez loves reading, scuba diving, and traveling around the world whenever he can.

Joaquin Chavez

Joaquin Chavez

Woodworking Teacher

Joaquin’s first love for woodworking came from the depths of his grandfather’s basement workshop where elder and younger would collaborate on projects born of Joaquin’s imagination and tempered by Grandpa’s expertise.

Joaquin attended WSSD from early childhood through grade 6. He then attended the Sacramento Waldorf School where he graduated from high school. He returned to San Diego and attended Grossmont College and worked in WSSD’s aftercare and summer camp programs. After several years assisting in the woodworking program, he became the lead teacher.

Joaquin is presently completing his Waldorf woodwork teacher credential through the WISC program.

Sean Stussi

Sean Stussi

Woodworking Teacher/ Aftercare Lead

Mr. Sean began his Waldorf journey as a student at Acorn Hill Waldorf in Maryland, then to the Washington Waldorf School for kindergarten. His elementary school years were spent at the Cecilia Meireles Waldorf School, in Brazil. In 2008, Mr.Sean joined WSSD to complete middle school.

For his High school and college years, Mr. Sean studied automotive repair and modifications acquiring many certificates along the way, such as transmission and engine rebuilding, forced induction systems, suspension and alignment, electronics, breaks, and many more. 

Mr. Sean joined the WSSD staff in 2018 to help in aftercare and assist the Woodworking classes.

Emilia Sumelius-Buescher

Emilia Sumelius-Buescher

Costume Design/ High School Practical Arts

Ms. Sumelius-Buescher was born in Finland. She attended Waldorf schools there as well as the U.S. She studied physical theater, ensemble creation, and mask-making at the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theater.

She has taught children seasonal crafts, physical theater, and mask-making,

Ms. Sumelius-Buescher joined WSSD in 2018.

Lyudmila Rockett

Lyudmila Rockett

Music Teacher

Ms. Rockett received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, her Master of Arts degree in Choir Management and has extensive training in Orff and Kodaly methods.

She was born and raised in the Southern region of Russia. She loves to learn and enrich her knowledge in music pedagogy and is an active member of the San Diego American Orff Schulwerk Association. 

Ms. Rockett joined WSSD in 2008.

high school

Grades 9-12

Nathan Wilcox

Nathan Wilcox

High School Chair Humanities Teacher Play Director

Mr. Wilcox has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and Jesus College in Cambridge, England. He completed his Waldorf High School teacher training in literature at Rudolf Steiner College. He is a founding teacher of our high school.

Mr. Wilcox joined WSSD in 2006.

Sudha Dorairaj

Sudha Dorairaj

Chemistry and Physics Teacher

*Updated Bio Coming Soon.*

Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson

Math Teacher

Jeremiah Johnson has a Master of Arts in Math Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics.

Jeremiah is an Iowa native who has had previous experience in teaching, coaching, farming, and carpentry. He has grown to love San Diego with his wife and three daughters. Jeremiah has interests in gardening, sports, and reading and has ambitions to ride in a hot air balloon someday.

Jeremiah joined WSSD in 2018

Amelia Vance

Amelia Vance

Math Teacher

Ms. Vance has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound. She is currently studying to receive her Waldorf High School Teacher Training from the Center for Anthroposophy and her Masters in Education from Antioch University, New England.

She spent four years living and teaching in Cairo, Egypt.

Ms. Vance joined the WSSD faculty in 2018.

Maria Drogari

Maria Drogari

Math Teacher

Ms. Drogari has a Master of Science in Education from the University of Bristol, UK, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Patras, Greece. Her experience is drawn from studying and working in the education systems of Greece, UK, and Czech Republic. Her passion is helping students develop their abilities and accomplish their goals.
When she is not teaching she loves hiking and playing tennis.

Chelaine Kokos

Chelaine Kokos

High School Co-Chair Eurythmy and Life Skills Teacher

Ms. Kokos has a Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Education, Outdoor Recreation and Land Management, with an emphasis in Youth Programming from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She received her Eurythmy diploma from Sound Circle Eurythmy. She also completed her Waldorf Teacher Training with WISC, San Diego.     

She has performed in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. Ms. Kokos enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors.

Ms. Kokos joined WSSD in 2016.

Anthony Thomas

Anthony Thomas

Athletics

Coach Thomas has his certification in Spacial Dynamics from the Spacial Dynamics Institute. He was born and raised in City Heights, and athletics have always been a part of his life.

When he’s not being the Waldorf High School Athletic teacher, he enjoys reading Walter Mosley and listening to Louis Armstrong. 

Coach Thomas joined WSSD in 2012.

Kate Vance

Kate Vance

Costume Design

Ms. Vance received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Cal Western.

She has a passion for costumes and teaches a class in the tenth grade in costume design and construction. The class performing wears the costumes they have made in their annual play.

She also raises dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind. 

Ms. Vance joined WSSD in 1994.

Lena Hector

Lena Hector

Biology Teacher

Ms. Hector has a Master and Bachelor of Education in Biology and Physical Education from the
University of Kaiserlautern, Germany. She obtained a German teaching credential and has worked in Germany and Peru as a High School Science Teacher.

Her goal at WSSD is to instill a passion for science by designing purposeful and meaningful lessons that promote creative thinking and problem solving that relate to the students’ everyday lives.

In San Diego, she fell in love with the outdoor activities California has to offer and enjoys pursuing many of her passions such as hiking, climbing, skiing, surfing and chasing sunsets.

Ms. Hector joined WSSD in 2022.

Andrea Crozier

Andrea Crozier

Art Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Liza Clifton

Liza Clifton

Learning Support

Ms. Clifton has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. She has also received her Reading Certificate from San Diego State University.

Her passion is helping a student succeed and be as effective as possible in the classroom to reach their highest potential. 

Ms. Clifton joined WSSD in 2014.

Bryan Whelan

Bryan Whelan

Jazz Band Teacher

Mr. Whelan studied jazz and classical music theory at San Diego State University and is also a professional guitarist.

He has performed in a variety of professional groups and recently spent two months performing in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Mr. Whelan joined WSSD in 2008.

all school

Administrative Team

Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis

Administrator

Ms. Davis has a Bachelor of Arts in European History from the University of Arizona, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and a certified Neuro Linguistic Practitioner. She retired from 20 years of leadership at GEICO Insurance to join WSSD.  She brings a long history of successful business management and strong team building skills.

In her off time she can be found with her nose in a legal fiction book or an inspiring business book. She also enjoys spending time outdoors with her daughter and working their farm, plunging into the pacific or cycling.

Ms. Davis joined WSSD in 2016.

Liza Ferraro

Liza Ferraro

Tuition Adjustment and Admissions

Ms. Ferraro’s background is in clothing design, manufacturing, retail, accounting, office management, customer service and motivational speaking.

She enjoys getting to know each and every member of the WSSD community and loves working with the community on common goals.

Ms. Ferraro joined WSSD in 2013.

Lori Williamson

Lori Williamson

Registrar

Ms. Williamson has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from U.C. Santa Cruz, followed by two years of doctoral graduate study at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

She enjoys cooking and spending time with her family.

Ms Williamson joined WSSD 2004.

Heather Taft

Heather Taft

High School Faculty Support

Coming Soon!

Ian Cuevas

Ian Cuevas

Grades Faculty Support

Mr. Cuevas was born in San Diego, but grew up in Japan, Guam and the Philippines.  He has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology – with an emphasis on Art & Creativity – from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

He has worked with children and in administration in Special Education for 16 years.

During his free time, Ian enjoys spending time with family and catching up on international soccer. He also dabbles in graphic design and is an avid photographer.

Mr. Cuevas joined WSSD in 2019.

Candie Harper

Candie Harper

Shuttle Driver/ Reception

Ms. Harper was born and raised in Nebraska. She moved to San Diego and had a vibrant career as a Retail Manager- and has a strong background in customer service 

Ms Harper enjoys spending time with and just being in the moment with her grandson. She is very active with her church and youth ministry. In her spare time she can be found hanging with her youth group of 11th and 12th grade girls.

Ms. Harper joined WSSD in 2013.

CJ McGrady

CJ McGrady

Store Clerk/ Reception

Ms. McGrady attended the University of Oklahoma and has a background in Dental Technology. 

She relocated to San Diego from New Jersey in 2014 and enjoys collecting rocks and minerals, as well as volunteering at Las Colinas Detention & Reentry Facility in Santee.

She joined the WSSD community in 2015.

Deborah Tweit

Deborah Tweit

Grant Writer

Ms. Tweit has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland in Special and Elementary Education, a Master’s from San Diego State University in Special Education and has completed additional graduate work at The Claremont Graduate University in the area of Multicultural Education.

Ms. Tweit joined WSSD in 2008.

Pete Barber

Pete Barber

Facilities Manager

Mr. Barber was born in the Los Angeles area however is grateful to call San Diego his home since he was 11 years old.

He currently lives in the Ramona area that offers the sense of nature and wide-open spaces that we love.

Mr. Barber’s favorite past times are traveling, outdoor life, and spending quality time with my family

Mr. Barber joined WSSD in 2017.