Faculty and Staff
Early Childhood through High School
Grade 1: Julia Bartles Emahiser
Julia Bartles Emahiser was born in New York City (Rudolf Steiner School) and raised in Stuttgart, Germany where she graduated from Freie Waldorfschule Uhlandshoehe. Julia received her formal musical training at Indiana University (BA) and Ohio University-Akron (MA), and Waldorf Training at Antioch University, New England. She worked as a performer and educator for over two decades, and began teaching in Waldorf education in 2010 (Linden Waldorf School, Nashville, Tennessee). Julia’s son and daughter are in the WSOC classes of 2019 and 2021, respectively.
Grade 2: Yvette Fabian
Yvette first learned of Waldorf education after having her own children. In 2007 she became a founding member of a Waldorf inspired school, Maple Village School, in Long Beach, CA. Yvette holds a BA in Speech Communications from Chapman University and completed her Waldorf Teacher training at WSOC in 2013. Yvette has worked as an assistant in both early childhood and grades. She is currently the teacher for the class of 2026. Her two children also attend WSOC, one in the class 2022 and one in the class 2025.
Grade 3: Lorri Valenzuela-Mier
Lorri holds a BA in Research Psychology and pursued this area of study in a Master program at California State University of Long Beach. Lorri also has two sons attending Waldorf in the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2018. She is a graduate of our own teacher training program here at WSOC and is the teacher for the Class of 2025.
Grade 4: Christiane Unutzer Bohr
Christiane Unutzer Bohr was born and reared in Germany, closely connected to nature and the four seasons. She holds a B.A. in arts and crafts from Iowa State University and an M.F.A. in textiles from California State University, Long Beach. She taught in the arts department at Cal State Long Beach and elementary schools in the Long Beach Unified School District. "Miss Christiane," as she is known to the children, has three children that are Waldorf graduates. Christiane has been teaching since 1996, first as the handwork teacher and then becoming a class teacher in 2003. She is currently the class teacher for WSOC's Class of 2024.
Grade 5: Brooke Trudeau
Brooke Trudeau first learned about Waldorf education in 1997 and became involved with an Arizona Waldorf charter school in 2002 after having her own children. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Arizona State University and moved to Northridge, California in 2006 to pursue her Waldorf teacher training. Brooke completed both her Waldorf Teaching Certificate with the Waldorf Institute of Southern California, and her California teaching credential with California State University, Northridge in May 2011. Her two daughters attend WSOC, one in the Class of 2019 and one in the Class of 2021.
Grade 6: Andrea Hubert
Andrea was born in Austria and raised in Germany where she earned a master’s degree in business management before moving to the United States in 1992. The search for a rich and meaningful education for her two – now teenage - sons brought her to the Waldorf School of Orange County where she has been an active parent for over 10 years. Andrea has worked in the early childhood department and handwork program, served as a board member, completed the anthroposophical foundation studies in 2005/2006 and re-enrolled in the teacher training program in 2009 in order to become a teacher.
Grade 7: Chris Bennett
Chris Bennett has had a varied career in Waldorf Education since 1972, as a class teacher, foreign language teacher, and high school teacher in Austria, England, Hawaii and Canada. Chris' work in teacher training began in London, continued in Russia, Greece, Australia, India and Taiwan. Until recently Chris had been teaching high school in the Honolulu Waldorf school and leading Kula Makua, the Honolulu Waldorf Teacher Training Program.
Grade 8: Beka Castro
Ms Beka was born in Anchorage, Alaska, where as a child she volunteered at a Waldorf-inspired preschool. As a young adult, she taught music and theater in the public school system in California, and worked briefly in the entertainment production industry. Beka completed her Waldorf teacher training in 2007 through Waldorf Institute of Southern California. She joined the staff of WSOC in 2005, teaching pre-kindergarten for three years before becoming a class teacher.
Faculty Coordinator: Lisa Masterson
Lisa will be taking on the new role of Faculty Coordinator, which is the administrative arm of the faculty. Lisa will help to ensure the implementation of the Waldorf curriculum through oversight of faculty orientation, development and coordination of schedules; establishment and maintenance of policies and procedures and providing a bridge between the college of teachers/faculty and administration. Lisa comes to us with a wealth of experience. Her first work in Waldorf, from 1987 - 1990, was as the founding member and pre-school teacher for our very own Waldorf School of Orange County! Since then she has taught 8 years in early childhood, taken a grades class from 1 - 8 at the Portland Waldorf School, and has spent the last 4 years as the French language and Earth Science teacher at the Vancouver Waldorf High School while simultaneously acting as the Director of the Grades Teacher Education Program at the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. The depth of knowledge she brings to our school will be a great asset.
Eurythmy: Elisabeth Beck
Elisabeth Beck teaches eurythmy. She was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. "Miss Elisabeth," as she is called by the children, attended the Waldorf School in Stuttgart and received her MA in business management and motor vehicle science from Stuttgart University. After working in business for two years, Elisabeth attended the Waldorf Teacher Training in Mannheim and completed the Eurythmy Education program at the Eurythmeum Dornach in Switzerland. She taught eurythmy for 12 years in Germany and joined the faculty at WSOC in the fall of 2000. Elisabeth is currently on Sabbatical for the 2015/2016 school year we look forward to her return.
Spanish: Sandra Blanco
Sandra Blanco teaches Spanish to grade 7 and 8 in the middle school. Senora Blanco is from Mexico City and earned her B.A. in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and human resources from CETYS University, Mexicali, B.C. After graduating from college, Sandra guided young entrepreneurs on their path to developing their own companies. Before joining the faculty at WSOC, she taught at Saddleback Valley Unified School District in the Spanish Immersion and English as a Second Language Programs for twelve years as a teacher's assistant. Since 2002, Sandra has taught Spanish in grades 1-8 at WSOC. She is currently enrolled the in Waldorf high school teaching education program at Rudolf Steiner College of Fair Oaks, Sacramento, specializing in Spanish. Sandra's two daughters graduated from WSOC and are pursuing degrees in pre-med and civil engineering.
Therapeutic Eurythmy: Truus Geraets
Truus Geraets teaches Special Eurythmy to individual children. She was born in Holland and was one of the founders of a Waldorf School in a black township in South Africa. Her background is in Special Education (Anthroposophical Seminar in Germany) as well as Eurythmy and Therapeutic Eurythmy for which she was trained at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. She has taught Eurythmy and Therapeutic Eurythmy in many Waldorf Schools throughout the United States.
Woodworking: Michael Knauss
Michael Knauss teaches woodwork. He was born in Fuessen, Germany, and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. He became acquainted with Waldorf education through working with handicapped children in the Camphill School in Hermanus. Michael completed his Waldorf teacher training at the Lehrerseminar in Stuttgart, Germany. He has taught in England, the US and Germany. Before joining the WSOC faculty in 1995, Michael completed an eight-year cycle as class teacher at the Freie Waldorfschule Engelberg in Stuttgart, Germany, and in 2002 graduated his class at WSOC.
Japanese: Masami Inoue
Masami Inoue, called Masami sensei (teacher) by the students, teaches Japanese in grades 1 through 8. She was born and raised in Kobe, Japan. After she earned her BA from Kobe City University of Foreign Studies with her middle and high school teaching certificates, she became a full time high school English and class teacher in Amagasaki City in Western Japan, where she worked for five years. In 1991, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to do her graduate study in the U.S. She earned her MA degree in foreign language teaching with a miner in intercultural communication from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. She has taught Japanese and English as a second/foreign language both in the US and in Japan since then. In her soul search as a teacher as well as a mother of two children, she encountered Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy. After her family's relocation to San Diego from Connecticut in 2003, she started her Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC), and completed the program with certificate in the summer of 2007. She has been teaching at WSOC since 2006.
Strings: Debora Wondercheck
Debora Wondercheck (MS) currently serves as Director of Music at the Waldorf School of Orange County (unanimously superior rated orchestra of So. Cal. Band & Orchestra Association) and is also the Executive Director of the Arts & Learning Conservatory. She is the founding conductor of the Bellagio Strings Youth Orchestra of Dana Point and is recognized as an accomplished Master teacher of string pedagogy, having taught and trained instructors at Vanguard University, Irvine Unified School District, and Newport Mesa Unified District. Debora is a recent winner of the Outstanding Arts Organization Award from Arts Orange County for the creation of effective arts and education programs to youth. Earlier in 2014, Debora was presented the Distinguished Woman of Substance Award of Orange County. In 2012, Debora received the Links Incorporated Woman of Service Award, for Exemplary Community Service to youth for her After School Music Programs to youth in Orange County and San Bernadino County. Debora has also received the Teacher of Excellence Award from the Newport Mesa Unified District. Debora embraces the Orange County community with participation on various arts commissions like the Cultural Arts Committee for the city of Costa Mesa, the Arts Alliance of California, and the Orange County Music and Arts Administrator Association. Debora always counts it a complete privilege to serve children, their families, and our Waldorf community with inspiring teaching techniques that develop confidence and creativity …for life.
Wind Ensemble: Edwin Lovo
Edwin Lovo teaches Performing Arts Wind Ensemble in the high school and middle school. Edwin Lovo is a music teacher who brings his love of brass instruments to WSOC students. He was born and raised in Orange County. He started playing the trumpet at age 14 and played in honor bands throughout high school. He is in the process of obtaining his degree in music performance and education from Cal State Fullerton, where he won the Rodger Vaugn award, a yearly award given to the best musician. He played in the top wind ensemble, brass ensemble, jazz band, and orchestra while in college. Edwin has performed in the La Mirada Community Orchestra and played trumpet in the Tournament of Roses parade for the past seven years. He has been featured on KTLA morning news on trumpet, and even unveiled the "Welcome to Orange County" sign off of the 5 Freeway with a trumpet fanfare for the OC Register. He began teaching at WSOC in 2013 and has taught privately for seven years. This year he is looking forward to bringing “a new musical flavor” to Waldorf with the introduction of a wind ensemble. His aim is to create a strong music program that will enable students to both enjoy themselves and develop lifelong musical skills.
Games Teacher: Brad Holm
Art: Joy Hill
“Miss Joy,” as she is called by the students, teaches the after school art program. She also works with children using art therapeutically and is part of Care Group. Joy taught art for 15 years in the Middle School and now teaches black and white drawing for the Foundation Studies. At eleven years old, she knew she wanted to be an artist. At sixteen she led a Saturday art group at the local California School for the Deaf and knew she would also share her love of art as a teacher. Joy completed her undergraduate degree at UCLA, her MA in art education at New York University, and her MFA at Cal State Long Beach. She taught art in a public high school on the east coast and later became registered as an art therapist (ATR). While living abroad for many years, she taught art K-12 in the Frankfurt International School. Before the birth of her daughter, she discovered Waldorf Education and began attending workshops and studying Rudolf Steiner. After she returned to the States in 1988, her daughter joined the first Kindergarten of the fledgling Waldorf School of Orange County. All the while Joy has woven together her own painting and teaching, and continues to deepen her understanding of Rudolf Steiner’s work.
Day Care Supervisor: Tiesha Hutchins
Tiesha Hutchins was born and raised in Southern California. After working for the Buena Park School District as the Resource Teacher in charge of the Computer Lab and Supervisor for the first After School Enrichment Program, she joined the WSOC staff as the Supervisor of Big Aftercare in 2007. In June 2014, she completed the Waldorf Teacher Training Program. Tiesha has 3 sons, with her youngest son attending WSOC in the Class of 2021.
Eurythmy Accompanist: Daniel Pitts
Daniel Pitts accompanies for eurythmy classes in the high school and lower grades. Daniel was born in Santa Clara and has lived in sunny Southern California most of his life. Altogether, he has played piano for 19 years. He holds a B.M. in Keyboard Performance from Cal State University Fullerton (CSUF), and is working towards a Masters of Music in Piano Performance, also at CSUF. Daniel joined the staff of WSOC in 2009. He also teaches piano lessons, has tutored in math, and sang for a few years with a professional holiday caroling company. He loves art, computers, humor, great works of fiction, running, and the Pacific Northwest.
Eurythmy Accompanist: Mai Ngo
Handwork: Angelika Meier
Angelika Meier, known to the children as Miss Angie, is in charge of our handwork program this year. Born in Manhattan, she was introduced to the art of handwork in 4th grade at a public school in Switzerland. She completed her undergraduate schooling in the United States, then returned to Switzerland to complete a degree in culinary servicing. After meeting her husband, she returned to the United States with him and started a family. She first volunteered in WSOC's playgroup, then in kindergarten and began assisting the handwork teacher in 1997. She recently completed the foundation year of Waldorf teacher training.
Spanish: Rocio Levito
Rocío is originally from the Southern State of Chiapas in Mexico where she attended elementary school. "I have very good memories of my childhood with my maternal grandparents." Later, her family moved to Mexico City where she lived for 12 yrs. There, she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing specializing in Public Relations. When she finished her University studies, she began working with the University of Mexico in Administration. In 1984 she attended the Alliance Française in Paris while studying French as a Second Language. When she returned again to Mexico, she worked in Administration at the National Commission of Human Rights. In 1996 Rocío spent several years studying representational oil painting with the masters of the Philadelphia school. She also studied in the Penna. Academy of Fine Arts and in Mexico at the Museum of Dolores Olmedo. She worked for 4 years as Director of Exhibitions at the Manayunk Art Center in Philadelphia. With her own painting, she participated in many exhibitions including a group show at the Delaware Museum of Art and a solo show, by invitation, at the Atlantic City Art Center. Rocío was a substitute teacher of Spanish at the Penn Charter School in Philadelphia from 1-6. In 2004, Rocío returned to Mexico and the beautiful mountain town of San Miguel de Allende where she discovered Waldorf Education; '' When I arrived at the Waldorf campus and saw the children happily playing in the midst of a natural environment, I knew that this was the school for my child.” In 2006, Rocío attended to the first of five summers for her certification as a Waldorf teacher for elementary grades at Anthroposophical Center in Mexico. Rocío was first a Waldorf mother and later Admissions Coordinator and Administrator of the school and finally a main class teacher in San Miguel. Rocío enjoys outdoor activities, handwork, cooking and dancing.
Play Group Director: Jenell Carlson
Jenell Carlson was born and raised in Southern California. She received a B.A. in Literature at San Diego State, and her Waldorf teacher training certificate through the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. She has also completed the Spatial Dynamics program for movement instructors and the Consciousness Studies program at Rudolf Steiner College. Jenell has been teaching since 1999: as a kindergarten teacher, a movement instructor, a high school humanities teacher, teacher of the eighth grade and currently the Play Group Director.
Pre-Kindergarten: Catherine Averett
Catherine Averett teaches pre-kindergarten. She grew up in Southern California earning a BFA from California State University, Long Beach in Visual Communication Design. While in college she taught English as a Second Language for three years to children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade. After graduation she worked as a Creative Director for a New York-based publishing company for twelve years. In 1994, through her father and family she learned about Waldorf education and the work of Rudolf Steiner. Her own two children brought her to WSOC in 2002. She has undertaken training in Biodynamic gardening and graduated from the Waldorf Teacher Training program at Antioch University, New England. She joined the WSOC faculty in 2007.
Pre-Kindergarten: Barbara Cubanski
Barbara Cubanski teaches pre-kindergarten. She grew up in Chicago, Illinois, where she taught young children in a variety of settings. The birth of her son rekindled her love and interest in working with young children and she began assisting in the kindergarten at WSOC in 2000. She completed her teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College and joined the WSOC faculty in 2003.
Kindergarten: Holly Richards
Holly Richards teaches kindergarten. She was born and raised in Pasadena, California. Holly completed her certification of Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, earned her Bachelor degree in Human Development with a focus on Early Childhood from California State University at Fullerton, is certified as a Master Teacher and Director by the state of California, and holds a Core Certificate in Early Childhood Education from UCLA. She is currently pursuing a Master degree in Human Development with a focus on Leadership in Education from Pacific Oaks College. Holly’s son attended the WSOC through eighth grade prior to the addition of the high school. Holly has been teaching since 1995 and loves working with the young children and her colleagues here at WSOC.
Kindergarten: Terri Webster
Terri Webster teaches kindergarten. She was born and raised in Costa Mesa, California, where she attended Orange Coast College. In addition to completing a 2-Year Anthroposophical Studies Program, she completed her Early Childhood Teacher Training, and 3-Year Remedial Teacher Training, both at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Terri joined the WSOC faculty in 2000 as a kindergarten assistant and has been teaching her own class since 2004. She also ran a summer kindergarten program for five years. "Ms Terri" especially enjoys handwork and taking her class on long walks. Her hobbies include cooking, traveling, and being in nature. She has a son and a daughter, both that attended WSOC.
Early Childhood Aftercare Supervisor: Michaela Heller