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 California State University, Long Beach. 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. She lives in Costa Mesa with her husband, Brad, and daughters, Maisie and Ivy.
Jenell Carlson was born and raised in Southern California. She received a B.A. in literature at San Diego State University, 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. He is the co-sponsor fro the Class of 2016. 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.
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 (known as "Srta. Kohout") teaches 9th-12th grade Spanish. She was raised in a Czech family 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 WSOC in 2012. She loves to engage students in active Spanish conversation and expose them to the beauty and realities of the countries of the Spanish-speaking world.
Sean Larabee recently began teaching Geometry at the WSOC in 2013. He was raised in Glastonbury, Connecticut and earned his B.A. in Economics from Georgetown University. After college, Sean spent two years in Doha, Qatar where he worked in student affairs for Georgetown\'s satellite campus. In 2013, Sean earned his M.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. In addition to teaching at the Waldorf School, Sean provides private tutoring throughout Orange County. Sean\'s hobbies include cooking east asian and indian cuisine, playing basketball, and planning international trips for himself and his family. He lives in Irvine with his partner, Simone, and their network of fellow graduate students.
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 California State University, Fullerton, and is working towards a M.M. in Piano Performance, also at California State University, Fullerton. 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.
Naqib Shifa teaches humanities and history in the high school. He was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from UCLA in 2009 in Geography/Environmental Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern and North African Studies. During his tenure at UCLA he served as the President of the Muslim Student Association and was the Editor-In-Chief of Al-Talib (The Student) Newsmagazine at UCLA. He also was a board member of the Academic for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies at UCLA. Since graduating he has worked professionally in the environmental industry, both in health sciences and consulting. He’s also continued his education in Islamic Studies and History through taking several courses with Al-Maghrib Institute and the Islamic Institute of Orange County. He has been invited to deliver lectures by many schools and organizations on the topics of Religion, History, Modernity, Faith, Scripture, Prayer, and Creed and has also delivered sermons. He joined the Waldorf faculty in 2013 and loves seeking and imparting a love of knowledge.
Robin Theiss is the lead humanities teacher at the Waldorf School of Orange County High School, and class sponsor for the Class of 2014. She was born and raised in Southern California. She received her B.A. 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 Ph.D. 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 is the Class of 2024 class teacher and teaches practical arts classes in the high school. She was born and reared in Germany, growing up closely connected to nature and the four seasons. "Miss Christiane," as she is known to the children, has been on the faculty at WSOC since the fall of 1994. She taught at the University level and in the Public School environment before coming to WSOC. The unique opportunity to work with young children and their families alongside a team of specialty teachers is both inspiring and very rewarding for her. She has enjoyed seeing the school grow from its early years into a dynamic place for children aged 3 through 18. Christiane and her husband have a daughter who currently is a senior at WSOC and two sons who attended WSOC and are meanwhile working in their professional fields.
Debora Wondercheck, Director of Music at the WSOC, also serves as the Executive Director of Arts & Learning Conservatory and was an Adjunct Professor of Music at Vanguard University. She is the founding conductor of the Bellagio Strings Youth Orchestra of OC. Mrs. Wondercheck was a teacher in the Irvine Unified School District, where she was a master teacher of string pedagogy. She has a B.A. in Music Education and a M.S in Education Administration from California State University, Fullerton. While teaching in the Newport-Mesa School District, she was a recipient of the Teachers of Excellence Award. She is a recent recipient of the Links Incorporated Women of Service Award for exemplary community service to youth. She serves on the Cultural Arts Community for Costa Mesa, and is a member of both the Arts Alliance of California and the Orange County Music and Arts Administrator Association. She counts is a complete privilege and joy to bring music to the students of WSOC.