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.

Leadership Council

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.

Pedagogical Group

 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. 

Clare Knauss

Clare Knauss

PG Director

Sara Gomes

Sara Gomes

PG Chair

Nathan Wilcox

Nathan Wilcox

Facilitator

Victoria Cannaughton

Victoria Cannaughton

Member

Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis

Member

Lynne Ross

Lynne Ross

Member

Anna Masters

Anna Masters

Member

Laura Ford

Laura Ford

Member

Mary Carmichael

Mary Carmichael

Member

Jessica Cohen

Jessica Cohen

Member

Bonnie Holden

Bonnie Holden

Member

Elyse Stussi

Elyse Stussi

Member

Chelaine Kokos

Chelaine Kokos

Member

Amelia Vance

Amelia Vance

Member

Johanna Laurelin

Johanna Laurelin

Member

Amanda Womble

Amanda Womble

Member

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.

Suzan Bramzon

Interim Secretary/EID Rep

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

Trustee/ TA Liaison

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.

Leigh Elkolli

Trustee

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 Davis

Administrator/Trustee

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.

Clare Knauss

Pedagogical Director/Trustee

Clare has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Waldorf Education from Free University, Stuttgart, Germany. Along with a Diploma in Waldorf Special Education, Eurythmy Diploma, Curative Eurythmy Diploma, she holds a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from Prescott College.
She’s taught in many different Waldorf Schools all over the world, including our neighbor; Sanderling Waldorf School as a Master Teacher and Mentor. Additionally, Clare has worked as a school counselor and therapist.

Daniel Gardenswartz

Trustee

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.

Joseph Felix

President

Joseph is a developer and operator of express car wash facilities in the greater San Diego area. Prior to entering the car wash industry he held dealmaking and management positions in the real estate departments of some of the most successful U.S. retailers and was responsible for the execution and rollout of regional and national new store acquisition & development. Joseph took his retail experience and became a Development Director/Partner with an Orange County real estate development company. Over a three year period, Joseph and his team successfully developed/redeveloped 900,000 square feet of retail shopping centers in California and Arizona with a combined value that exceeds $150,000,000. Joseph attended San Diego State University and lives in La Mesa with his wife Karol and two children, both of who attend the Waldorf School of San Diego. In addition to spending time with family and friends, Joseph enjoys outdoor activities including running, hiking, skiing, and riding his vintage Vespa.

Nancy Bjork

Trustee

Nancy Bjork is a hospitality sales and marketing career professional currently working for the San Diego Tourism Authority. She has spent the past decade partnering with both large attractions and small businesses in the San Diego hospitality sector to improve their visibility and increase market share. She started her career in northern New Mexico where she worked with coalitions of visitor bureaus and public-private marketing partnerships to increase visitation and spur economic growth through tourism. Nancy is a full-time single mom whose three daughters have attended WSSD since early childhood. Her twins are now seniors at the high school and her youngest daughter is a junior. She is a passionate advocate for Waldorf education and the like-minded community it fosters. She spends her free time hanging out with her teen daughters and their (too many to be named!) pets as well as freelancing as a social media marketing and online sales coach. 

Heather Corliss

Treasurer/Finance Committee Rep

Heather L. Corliss is a Professor of Public Health at San Diego State University. She received her BA in Botany and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After college, Dr. Corliss worked in HIV research and women’s health in the San Francisco Bay Area before obtaining her Masters in Community Health Sciences and her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from UCLA. She grew up in rural Minnesota on a farm where her family cared for other people’s horses. In her free time, Dr. Corliss enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, eating and cooking vegetarian/vegan food, and spending time with her wife, son (4th grade at WSSD), and their furry family members – Mahalo (cat), Bonnie (dog) and Disco Chick (bunny). 

Sudha Dorairaj

Faculty: Science and Physics

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.

Deirdre Logue

Faculty: 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.

Amelia Vance

PG Rep/Faculty: Math

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.

Erika Robb Larkins

Trustee

Erika Robb Larkins is a proud graduate of Summerfield Waldorf School (Class of 1995). She is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at San Diego State University, where she also directs the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies. She earned her B.A. in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University, has M.A. in Latin American Studies from University of Chicago, and holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin. Her academic work is focused on social and environmental justice in Latin America, with a focus on Brazil.

Dr. Larkins enjoys travelling, camping, gardening, and reading novels in the hammock.  

Her son and daughter attend WSSD.