Organization & Leadership
Who We are
At the Waldorf School of San Diego, we believe that the process of how we work together is as important as what we learn in the life of a school community. Because our organization is not hierarchical, governance primarily depends on healthy interpersonal and intergroup relationships. We strive to promote healthy relationships, so it is essential to understand collectively, our mission, vision, values, and goals as a school community.
We intentionally embrace shared, collaborative governance not only because it is effective, but also because it helps people and communities to grow. We invite every member of our school community to join the conversation by reflecting on this document and offering any ideas, comments, or other responses that you wish to provide. Please be open to engaging in one of the avenues of volunteering (parent association, committees, subcommittees, and the like) that we have mapped out together.
The Leadership Council is comprised of the Administrator, Rachel Davis, a Board representative, Suzan Bramzon, and a Pedagogical representative, Clare Knauss, and concerns itself with the day-to-day decision making needs of the school that require timely input from all spheres. The three governing entities assume distinct governance responsibilities and strive for consensus on major policy decisions. This system of shared governance supports the development of a strong and healthy community from which students learn and grow. The Leadership Council is also responsible for monitoring progress of the Strategic Plan work delegated to the various spheres of the school. Overall, the Leadership Council will work to continually improve school-wide governance.
The Pedagogical Group (PG) is a group of faculty and staff, which serves as the governing body of the school’s pedagogy. It concerns itself with pedagogical research and study as well as assuming responsibility for the pedagogical well-being of the school. They meet on a regular basis to ensure they are providing guidance to the faculty as a whole.
Meet the Board
Within the collaborative leadership model, the Board of Trustees is responsible for the legal and financial health of the school. This means that the Board is striving to be a visionary, forward-thinking leadership body, tasked with the ongoing work of creating a Strategic Plan, cultivating a culture of openness in our community, and deepening their collective understanding of Waldorf schools and pedagogy and of Board best practices.
Suzy Bramzon was born in Mexico City. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her law degree from the University of Southern California Law School. After practicing real estate law for ten years, Suzy now runs a family owned real estate development business.
Suzy’s son and daughter attend Early Childhood at WSSD.
Kate Vance has been a member of our Waldorf School community for the past 25 years. This is her third term as a Board member, having previously served a total of 14 years as, at different times, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Board member at large. She received her B.A. in business administration. She was our Business Administrator for 4 years and was instrumental to the capital campaign that culminated in our ability to purchase our original school site on Altadena.
She created our costume collection over 23 years that supports each of our grades in their individual plays as well as the variety of school productions that are a part of the fabric of our community. She has taught various classes in handwork throughout the grades and has currently taught a practical arts class in 10th grade in costume design and construction for the past 11 years.
Her greatest contribution to our school, however, is her daughter Amelia Vance. Amelia attended our school from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade (she graduated before we had a high school). She joined our high school faculty in 2017 as a math teacher.
Ms. Elkolli is the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of REVA Medical, Inc, a leader in bioresorbable polymer technologies for vascular applications. She has over 20 years of public accounting and finance experience, including 17 years in the life sciences industry in both publicly traded and privately held companies. She began her career as an auditor at Ernst & Young. Ms. Elkolli received an A.S. in Accounting from Champlain College and a B.B.A. in Accounting from Western Connecticut State University. She is a certified public accountant with the State of California.
Leigh’s son attends WSSD.
Rachel brought her daughter to WSSD in 2012 after departing from their Waldorf Community in Tucson, AZ. When WSSD was in search of a new Administrator in 2016, Rachel very effectively stepped in on an interim basis. After months of working with WSSD’s Administrative Team, she made the decision to retire from 20 years with GEICO insurance where she served as a Manager and Director in various departments, to join WSSD.
She brings with her a long history of successful business management and strong team building skills. Rachel holds a BA from the University of Arizona, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and a certified Neuro Linguistic Practitioner.
Jessica hails from the heart of the mid-west with a background in Women studies and Business from Denver Metro State.
From the day Jessica’s daughter began her journey with Walforn she has been a dedicated volunteer at WSSD. She started out as co-chair for the Winter faire and was also an employee of the school. . Jessica has a passion for the Waldorf movement and committed to community growth and It only seemed natural for her next step to join the circle of trustees.
Mr. Gardenswartz received his undergraduate degree in International Affairs from George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs, where he graduated with distinction and was admitted into the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. He then earned his Juris Doctorate degree, with Highest Distinction, from Emory University School of Law. After externing with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights in Atlanta, Daniel moved to San Diego, where he has practiced law since 1993. Mr. Gardenswartz has been a partner at Solomon Ward since 2001, served as its Managing Partner from 2015 to 2019, and currently serves as the firm’s Litigation Department Chair. Beyond his professional interests, Mr. Gardenswartz and his wife, Allison, have three children. In addition to spending time with his family, Mr. Gardenswartz is an avid athlete and enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and endurance trail races.
Mr. Gardenswartz has previously served as a Board Member in a variety of non-profit organizations, including the American Business Trial Lawyers Association, the Welsh Inn of Court, Hillel of San Diego, and the Anti-Defamation League (in which he also served a Board Chair). He also enjoys assisting as a coach for the San Diego Waldorf High School’s Mock Trial team.