Faculty and Staff
Early Childhood through High School
Grade 1 : Lorri Valenzuela-Mier
Lorri Valenzuela-Mier is the first grade teacher for the Class of 2025. 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 grades 5th and 8th. She will be among the first graduates of our own teacher training program here at WSOC.
Grade 2: Christiane Unutzer Bohr
Christiane Unutzer Bohr teaches first grade, as well as bookbinding and basketry in the high school. She 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, is married and has one child at WSOC and two sons in college who 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: Ms Beka
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.
Grade 7: Kimberly Telfer-Radzat
Kimberly Telfer-Radzat has been with WSOC since 2000. Formerly the extra lesson and remedial support teacher, she took on the role of class teacher in 2007. Kimberly graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor's degree, earned her California teacher credential through the University of California, Irvine, has special training in the Slingerland method of working with children who have learning differences, and completed the Extra Lesson training at Rudolf Steiner College. Her interest in the unique challenges of each individual child has also led her to attend the Child Study course with Christof Weichert. She has one daughter that graduated from WSOC in our Class of 2012 and one daughter currently attending WSOC in the Class of 2016.
Grade 8: Miriam Whiteley
Miriam was born in Argentina and grew up in San Diego, California. Several years working as an entrepreneur in the world of franchising came between her start at the University of Chicago and the completion of college at California State University, Long Beach, where she earned a BS in finance. The first of her three children brought the family to WSOC. In July 2003, she completed the high school teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College. Miriam was the administrator at WSOC for two years, subsequently taught 7th and 8th grade and then began at grade one with her current class. A desire to deepen WSOC's approach to meeting the diverse needs of our students led Miriam to join with two colleagues to do intensive work with Christof Weichert in child study over the last two years. She has been teaching at WSOC since 2002.
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.
Eurythmy: Kurt Faerber
Kurt Faerber teaches eurythmy through the grades. Born and raised in Southwest Germany, he completed his civil service at the Institute for Children and Youth. He studied art therapy/pedagogy at the School for the Arts in Northern Germany and completed his class teacher and eurythmy training at the Institute for Waldorf Education in Witten. Kurt toured with eurythmy ensembles throughout Germany, Egypt and Italy for one year. He taught eurythmy to all grades at the Rudolf Steiner School near Zurich in Switzerland for 15 years and was a high school sponsor for several classes. Before joining the faculty of WSOC, he spent five years developing the eurythmy program at the Honolulu Waldorf School for Kindergarten through grade 12.
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 is the orchestra director and instructor of string techniques. Debora taught string courses for several years as a Master teacher for the Irvine Unified School District. She also served on the district's Arts Assessment committee designing standards for strings that have been piloted and instated throughout California. Debora obtained a BA in music education with an emphasis in cello performance from Vanguard University in 1994, and in 2000 received a master of science in education administration from California State University Fullerton. Noted as an experienced elementary string specialist with a background in conducting youth orchestras and serving as an adjunct professor of music in string pedagogy, Debora believes that all children have the ability to grow and excel in music. In addition to her education career, she is a freelance cellist, teaches privately and performs chamber music for special occasions. "Mrs. Wondercheck," as she is known by the children, has been conducting.
Art: Joy Hill
Eurythmy Accompanist: Daniel Pitts
Daniel Pitts accompanies for eurythmy classes in the high school and lower grades. This year, he also began teaching an Algebra 1 class in the 9th grade. 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.
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.
Drama: Kathy Paladino
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.
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.
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.
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: 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