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.
Leadership Council Rep/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.
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.
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.
PG Rep/Faculty: Math
Ms. Vance has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound. She received two Waldorf teaching certificates, the high school certificate from the Center for Anthroposophy and one from Antioch University, New England.
She spent four years living and teaching in Cairo, Egypt.
Ms. Vance joined the WSSD faculty in 2018.
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 graduated from 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.
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).
Faculty: Science and Physics
*Updated bio coming soon.*
Erika Robb Larkins
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.
Carlos is a proven operations and management leader with over 15 years of results-oriented success. As the head of operations for 1798, LLC, he is responsible for business operations, strategic partnerships, business development, project management office (PMO), employee recruitment, and vendor and independent consultant utilization, as well as management of the training and creative analytics teams.
Throughout his career, he has developed vision and expertise across multiple markets, including diagnostics, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals, with a demonstrated ability to identify market opportunities, achieve market segmentation, conduct targeted marketing, predict sales cycles, obtain competitive intelligence, and create go-to-market models and strategies.
Carlos completed a master’s degree in health economics from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree in finance from Alliant University. He received his B.S. in business from Iowa State University.
Carlos has a child in our Early Childhood program.
Whittney Beard is an ICF-credentialed Master Certified Coach and lawyer, who has focused her coaching practice exclusively on lawyers since 2008. She supports leadership teams within law firms and companies to create better strategic focus, communication, team-work, accountability and more enjoyment out of work. She codesigned and leads the ICF-accredited Volta Coach Training program, which aims to establish and expand the culture of coaching within law firms by providing coach training to law firm staff and lawyers alike. Her area of practice in law was corporate finance and securities law.
Whittney earned her BA from UCSD, and her law degree from UCLA School of Law.
She is a single mom by choice (SMC) to Rowan, who is currently in Grade 2. They live in Bay Park with her their pandemic dog, Summer the Doodle.
April House is an accomplished executive who pushes through the status quo to build high-performing organizations to achieve strategy and revenue objectives by design.
She currently serves as the President of HR Benefits, Inc. and has a track record of building critical strategic, financial, and operating programs that led to sustainable market presence with long-term growth potential in a thriving consulting practice and in her prior roles as the Chief Administrative Officer at San Diego Workforce Partnership and as the VP of Population Health and Performance Excellence at San Ysidro Health. April has also supported the advancement of population health and clinical quality objectives for Health Net, United Healthcare, and Sharp HealthCare. She is a licensed nurse and U.S. Navy Veteran.
April earned her Bachelor’s degree in Health Education from Trident University, and her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from the University of Southern California.
April and her husband Preston have one daughter, a WSSD High School sophomore, and they have been members of our community since Pre-K.