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

Laura Ford

Laura Ford

Rosemary Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from San Diego State University. She completed the Waldorf Teacher Training program at Antioch New England.

You can usually find Laura playing baroque bassoon, out camping and hiking, and spending time with her family.

 Ms. Laura has been teaching at WSSD since 2003.

Mayra Sandelin

Mayra Sandelin

Rosemary Kindergarten Assistant

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.

Alyssa Avila

Alyssa Avila

Rosemary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Anna Masters

Anna Masters

Periwinkle Kindergarten 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.

Aminta Penman-Haiman

Aminta Penman-Haiman

Periwinkle Kindergarten Assistant

Ms. Aminta earned her teaching degree. She worked as a Waldorf Kindergarten assistant for over five years and has completed three years of Waldorf teacher training. She teaches Spanish to young children. 

Ms. Aminta was born and raised in Honduras. Her interests are many but include cooking, running, hiking, and spending time with her daughter and her family. 

Ms. Aminta has been with WSSD since 2007.

Sheila Salmeron

Sheila Salmeron

Sunflower Nursery 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 Nursery Assistant

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 22 years in mainstream, as well as private schools in Los Angeles and San Diego County.

Ms. Leticia has been with WSSD since 2006

Christy Klincewicz

Christy Klincewicz

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 in 2002.

Isabelle Adame

Isabelle Adame

Sweet Pea Nursery Assistant

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.

Elizabeth Heald

Elizabeth Heald

Lilac Kindergarten 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.

Katherine Giglio

Katherine Giglio

Morning Glory Parent Child Teacher

Ms. Katherine received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in health science from San Francisco State University. She has completed the Foundation Studies and Goethean Studies Programs at Rudolf Steiner College. She also attended Sophia’s Hearth: Birth to Three Years teacher training course. 

Ms. Katherine joined WSSD in 2006.

Lower School

Grade School 1-5 and Middle School 6-8

Elyse Stussi

Elyse Stussi

Grade 1 Teacher

Ms. Stussi has a Master of Arts degree in Education from George Washington University. She has her certification in Remedial Education from the Association for Healing Education in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She received her Waldorf teacher training both in Brazil and in Washington, DC, at the Nova Institute.

Ms. Stussi joined WSSD in 2008.

Maria Case

Maria Case

Grade 2 Teacher

Ms. Case has 14 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 3 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 4 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 new Grandson.

Ms. Holden joined WSSD in 1986

Deirdre Logue

Deirdre Logue

Grade 5 Teacher

Ms. Logue has over 20 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, graduated top of her class at SDSU with her Masters in Geology, 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.

Sherina Walker

Sherina Walker

Grade 6 Teacher

Ms. Walker has a Master of Arts degree in Reading and Language Arts along with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Multiple Subject, and a Reading Specialist Credential. She also completed the Waldorf Institute of Southern California program (WISC).

Ms. Walker joined WSSD in 2004.

Jessica Cohen

Jessica Cohen

Grade 7 Teacher

Ms. Cohen has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the State University of New York. She also has her  Waldorf Teacher Certification from Rudolf Steiner College.

She is a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. She enjoys performing stand up comedy. 

Ms. Cohen joined WSSD in 2014.

Mary Carmichael

Mary Carmichael

Grade 8 Teacher

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.

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 Gomez

Sara Gomez

Games Teacher

Ms. Gomes has a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from San Francisco State University. She is also in her final year studying Spacial Dynamics. 

Ms. Gomes joined WSSD in 2004.

Socorro Maldonado

Socorro Maldonado

Grade 1-3 Spanish Teacher, Grade 3 and Gardening Assistant

Señora Maldonado (she/her) was born and raised in Mexicali, Baja California a Mexican border-sister city with Calexico, California. 

She has a Bachelor in Architecture from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California and a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte. She is currently working on completing her certification as a Waldorf Teacher.

Additionally, she studied Early Childhood Education at Palomar College, San Marcos, CA. Among others, she has training in Mindful Schools and Yoga for children.

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

Sra. Maldonado joined WSSD in 2017. 

Ariana Warren

Ariana Warren

Winds Teacher

Dr. Warren holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from UC San Diego, as well as Masters and Bachelor of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Warren is also the Executive Director of the Parlor Orchestra.

Dr. Warren joined WSSD in 2013.

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown

Cello Teacher

Ms. Brown earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music.

Elizabeth Brown, a native of San Diego, has recently moved back to southern California after serving as the principal cellist of the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes in Sinaloa, Mexico, the United States, and Mexico.  

Ms. Brown joined WSSD in 2015.

Joaquin Chavez

Joaquin Chavez

Woodworking Teacher

Bio coming soon!

Emilia Sumelius-Buescher

Emilia Sumelius-Buescher

Wardrobe Supervisor

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.

Bram Goldstein

Bram Goldstein

Strings Teacher

Mr. Goldstein is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Hausmann Quartet. He studied at McGill University and later as a graduate student at the Longy School of Music. 

Mr. Goldstein enjoys spending time with his family as well as playing tennis and baking bread. 

Mr. Goldstein joined WSSD in 2013.

Sean Stussi

Sean Stussi

Aftercare

Bio coming soon!

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.

Armida Gomez

Armida Gomez

Spanish Teacher

Profe Gómez has a Master of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor’s Degree with an emphasis in Latin American Studies from San Diego State University.

Profe has a special interest in Latin American literature, political theory, music, and cinematography. She enjoys running and hiking with her son. 

Profe Gomez joined WSSD in 2015.

Anaid Stere-Lugo

Anaid Stere-Lugo

Spanish Teacher

Profe Stere Lugo has a Master of Arts in Spanish Linguistics and Literature and a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Spanish from San Diego State University. She completed several Ph.D. graduate courses at the University of Arizona.

Profe has had the opportunity to work as a Spanish Minor Academic Advisor.

Profe enjoys learning, traveling, and spending time with her family, friends, and her two dogs.

Profe Stere Lugo joined WSSD in 2018.

Sudha Dorairaj

Sudha Dorairaj

Science and Physics Teacher

Dr. Dorairaj has a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Carnegie Mellon University as well as a Masters of Science from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Delhi.

While she is not teaching, Dr. Dorairaj loves to hike the canyons, cook, garden, and spend time with her family.

Dr. Dorairaj joined WSSD in 2016.

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.

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

Liza Clifton

Liza Clifton

Math 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.

Chelaine Kokos

Chelaine Kokos

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 is currently in his 4th year of Spacial Dynamics. He will graduate in the summer of 2019. 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.

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.

Ariana Warren

Ariana Warren

Winds Teacher

Dr. Warren holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from UC San Diego, as well as Masters and Bachelors of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Warren is also the Executive Director of the Parlor Orchestra.

Dr. Warren joined WSSD in 2013.

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.

Sheila Garczynski

Sheila Garczynski

Communications and Grades Reception

Ms. Garczynski has a Bachelor of Science in Design & Merchandising from Drexel University.  

She loves to cook, read, travel and spend time with her family.

Ms Garczynski joined WSSD in 2017.

Virginia Arnold

Virginia Arnold

High School Faculty Support

Mrs. Arnold was born and raised in San Diego.

She enjoys baking, reading and gardening with her pups, Violet & Rosie Rita.

Mrs. Arnold joined WSSD in 2018.

Ian Cuevas

Ian Cuevas

Grades Faculty Support and Reception

Mr. Cuevas has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California Santa Cruz. 

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

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

Julie Joinson

Julie Joinson

Admissions Director

Julie was born and raised in Liverpool, England, and moved to Southern California in 1982.

Her passions include holistic healthcare and interior design. 

Ms. Joinson joined WSSD in 2003.

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.

Kim Galvin

Kim Galvin

Business Office Manager

Ms. Galvin’s professional path began in the hospitality industry which led her to an executive position in the travel industry, to establishing her own company.  

She loves cooking and traveling, enjoys performing arts, and continues her study in American Sign Language.

Ms. Galvin joined WSSD in 2012.

Liza Ferraro

Liza Ferraro

Development Events Coordinator

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.

Jehanne Spriggs

Jehanne Spriggs

International Students Program and Tuition Assistance Coordinator

Ms. Spriggs has a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Economics from Vrije Universiteit-Brussels, Belgium with a minor in Asian Studies from Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley. She is trilingual in English, French and Spanish.

In her spare time, Ms Spriggs enjoys playing with her family, traveling, eating, and experiencing life.

Ms. Spriggs joined WSSD in 2014.

Merav Segall

Merav Segall

School Counselor

Bio Coming soon!

Deborah Tweit

Deborah Tweit

Snake and Lily Store Manager and 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.

Candy McGrady

Candy McGrady

Store Clerk

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.

Candie Harper

Candie Harper

Shuttle Driver

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.

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.

Connie Pelletier

Connie Pelletier

Facilities Technician

Ms. Pelletier was born and raised in northern Maine. She brings her expert customer service skills along with her attention to detail to WSSD. Connie continues to build her painting and home repair business.

In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at a community center here in San Diego.

Ms. Pelletier joined WSSD in 2009.

Charlie LeMaire

Charlie LeMaire

Chef

Bio coming soon!

Benito Torres

Benito Torres

Sous Chef

Bio coming soon!