Faculty And Staff
Daisy Barnard teaches high school humanities and directs the high school choir, in addition to being class sponsor for the Class of 2015. She was born and raised in Colorado, then earned a B.A. in Religious Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. She received her Waldorf certification from Emerson College U.K. in 1999. She has a California State Teaching Credential from Antioch University and an M.A. in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Ms. Barnard has been a class teacher at Monterey Bay Charter School and Ocean Charter School, both Waldorf-inspired public initiatives. Ms. Barnard's interests include music, theater, reading, writing, and yoga. She lives in Huntington Beach with her husband, Morgan, and children, Lark and Buck.
Elisabeth Beck teaches eurythmy in the grades and the high school. She was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. "Miss Elisabeth," as she is called by the students, attended the Waldorf School in Stuttgart and received her M.A. in business management and motor vehicle science from Stuttgart University. After working in business for two years, Elisabeth completed her Waldorf teacher training in Mannheim and the eurythmy education program at the Eurythmeum Dornach in Switzerland. She was the eurythmist at the Michael Bauer Schule in Stuttgart for seven years, as well as the high school class sponsor there for four years. She also taught eurythmy for five years at the Waldorf School in Heilbronn. Elisabeth has been teaching since 1990 and joined the faculty at WSOC in the fall of 2000.
Eden Boric teaches biology and Earth science in the high school, in addition to acting as co-sponsor of the Class of 2016. She was born in Chicago, raised in Orange County, and received her B.A. in anthropology (focus in biological anthropology) from CSULB. She has been a part of the WSOC community as a parent since 2000, and began working for the school in 2007, helping to open the new high school as High School Coordinator. This year marks her transition to teaching in the high school, which she looks forward to with enthusiasm. She lives in Costa Mesa with her husband, Brad, and daughters, Maisie and Ivy.
Hugh Brennan teaches high school humanities, physical education and team sports. He was born and raised in California and graduated from Edison High School. He completed both his B.A. in History and California State Teaching Credential at California State University Long Beach. He has been involved with the Waldorf School of Orange County since 2003. He has worked as an aftercare assistant, guest teacher, and is the high school basketball coach. Hugh works as a lifeguard II in the summer and enjoys working out, surfing, playing basketball, music, meditation, and learning new things. He is excited to be part of such a great school and community. He is Co-Sponsor of the Class of 2015.
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.
Francesco De Benedetto
Francesco De Benedetto teaches high school Fine Arts and 6, 7 and 8th grade drawing, painting and sculpture. After growing up in Italy, surrounded by the beauty of its landscape and historically rich culture, he moved to California and completed a Bachelor's in Fine Arts at Laguna College of Art and Design. In subsequent years working as a full time artist, he was commissioned to create portraits for art collectors, included in many juried shows and exhibits, and received a grant from the George and Helene Segal Foundation. While teaching art classes in 2008, he encountered Waldorf’s pedagogy and found it so fascinating that he moved to Sacramento to pursue his certificate in Waldorf education at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks. There he completed a one-year internship and practicum at the Sacramento Waldorf High School. He then taught for two years at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in New York. Besides reading books by Steiner and painting, he enjoys kayaking, and being out in nature with his wife and family.
Kurt Faerber teaches eurythmy in the lower grades and high school . 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.
Ingrid Feck teaches math, chemistry and computer technology. She grew up in a small town in the German Alps, where anthroposophy and Steiner education were an integral part of the community. After receiving a B.S. in computer science and biochemistry from Iowa State University, she moved to California. She completed her master's in mathematics at California State University, Long Beach. During her years at the university, she worked with children in a tutoring service and as a substitute teacher. Ingrid taught math education for elementary school teachers at Cal State Long Beach for several semesters. She came to WSOC in 1992 through her four children, and worked here as a substitute and specialty teacher for several years before becoming a class teacher. Ingrid has been teaching since 1996 at WSOC. She is the Sponsor of the Class of 2013.
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.
Emmi Kohout teaches high school and 8th grade Spanish. She was raised in Southern California and learned Spanish in a language immersion program beginning in kindergarten. She completed a Bachelor\\\'s in Spanish Literature and Culture, a Master\\\'s in Spanish Literature, and a Teaching Credential at the University of California, Irvine. During her undergraduate studies, she lived in Madrid for one year and attended the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She has been teaching at universities and high schools since 2009 and joined the Waldorf School of Orange County faculty in 2012. Aside from interacting with students and sharing the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, Emmi enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, and traveling.
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.
Nicholas Systad teaches Pre-Calculus and Algebra II. He was born in Harbor City, Calif. And has 2 brothers, Nekoa (age 18), Massai (age 9 in Mr. Bennett’s class), and 1 sister Luisa (age 7 who lives in Sweden). Nicholas is a member/speaker for the Fullerton College Mathematics Colloquium for unsolved math problems, as well as a peer tutor for Math/Computer Science. Before joining the WSOC HS faculty he worked in the after school program for 2 years. His interests include risk assessment and abstract algebra. Nicholas is currently working on his degree in Computer Engineering.
Robin Theiss is the lead humanities teacher at the Waldorf School of Orange County High School, and class sponsor for grade 10. She was born and raised in Southern California. She received her BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of California, Riverside. After graduation, she was chosen as a student intern at Pendle Hill, a Quaker community in Pennsylvania. Here she studied Quaker life, the philosophy and active practice of non-violence and passive resistance, communication skills, and practical arts such as weaving, pottery, baking, and sewing. After her time at Pendle Hill, she was selected as a scholarship recipient to Claremont Graduate School to study in the Master of Arts program in the School of Theology. Before entering the PhD program, she was presented with an opportunity to buy a local coffee house, Natalé Coffee. Wanting a break from academia, she purchased the coffee house and owned and operated it for 12 years, expanding to another location in Costa Mesa. Natalé Coffee became a community center, offering poetry evenings, political lectures, educational forums, and book discussions. She and her husband married during this time and had 2 children. Her children reaching school age coincided with her desire to return to academics; she found Waldorf education for both her children and herself. She enrolled in the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2001 and completed both the grades and high school training in 2004. Upon graduation, she was hired as the founding teacher at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School. She worked in that pioneering endeavor for 5 years, until she joined the Waldorf School of Orange County in 2009. She enjoys working with adolescents to help unveil their given capacities through rigorous study, deep contemplation, and a love of life in its myriad possibilities. She is the Sponsor of the Class of 2014.
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.
Mr. Wong directs the high school string orchestra. He teaches violin and viola privately and also conducts the Southern California Youth Philharmonic Camerata, a youth orchestra for middle school students in southern California. His violin and viola students have won seats in regional and district honors orchestras and have been selected to perform in the top orchestras in their schools. As a violinist Mr. Wong has performed with many local symphonies and currently performs with the Orange County Symphony and the Montage Civic Orchestra. Mr. Wong received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance from California State University, Long Beach. He currently lives in Long Beach with his wife, Janet.
Mary Pat Anderson
Mary Pat Anderson is the part time College Counselor at Waldorf (she also gives parent information sessions on scheduled evenings). She was born in New York City while her father was at Columbia Medical School, but her family returned to California during WWII. They moved to Pasadena after the war. Mary Pat earned her B.A. in Zoology from Pomona College and her M.S. in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire. While at UNH, she met her husband to be (Ed) and married him in Pasadena in 1960. She worked at Squibb Pharmaceutical while Ed went to Rutgers Graduate School, and then for the Biochemistry Department at the University of Illinois while Ed completed his M.S. in Chemistry. They moved to California and Mary Pat worked for the Agronomy and Life Science Departments at UC Riverside. They settled in Yorba Linda and had three children. She obtained her Life California Teaching Credential in Biological and Physical Sciences from Cal State Fullerton and in 1975 became a teacher at Cornelia Connelly School in Anaheim. Mary Pat taught Biology, AP Biology and Oceanography (she worked at Scripps Institute of Oceanography between college and grad school!). She also coached tennis and was the Director of Activities for awhile. In 1998, she retired from teaching and became Connelly’s College Counselor, earning a College Counseling Certificate from UCLA. Mary Pat lost her husband in 2002 after almost 42 years of marriage. She retired from Connelly in June 2010 after 35 years there. Waldorf found her and she has come to love the school on her part time basis. She lives in Tustin Ranch, and her children and grandchildren are all close (Corona, Long Beach and Aliso Viejo). Her favorite activity is reading and certain TV shows which she TIVO’s.