Our Faculty

Grades Teachers
 

Cheryl Bommarito-Klein, Grade 1 - Ms. Cheryl has held lead Kindergarten positions at the Singing Winds Waldorf School and at Avalon, Chicago. Prior to her studies at the Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education Program, Ms. Klein worked as a main class teacher of 26 Kindergarteners in the Chicago Public School System following the completion of her K-8 Teaching Certification at the Dominican University. Ms. Klein is a graduate in Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara (Magna Cum Laude). Ms. Cheryl has been a member of our early childhood faculty since the fall of 2008.

Jessica Breakey, Grade 2 - Ms. Jessica Breakey holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education and a BA in Social Science from the University of Cape Town. She completed her Certificate in Steiner/Waldorf Education in 1990 and began her teaching career at the Constantia Waldorf School, Cape Town, South Africa. In the Fall of 2001, the Greenwich Steiner School in London offered her the position of class teacher and Faculty Chairperson; she held both positions for six years. Ms. Breakey came to WWS in September 2008 and took on our then First Grade with the commitment to guide these children through Grade 8. Ms. Breakey's 8th grade class graduated in June 2016! We are delighted to have her back to teach another class.

Lynne Newton, Grade 3 - Mrs. Newton holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governors University, a Clear California Teaching Credential and her Waldorf Teacher Certification from Summerfield Waldorf School. In addition, Lynne has completed the Remedial Course at Rudolf Steiner College and has experience in administering individual Extra-Lesson Assessments and has been coordinating a Care Team and educational support program at the Mendocino Waldorf School.
Mrs. Newton has been a grades 1-8 class teacher for 20 years at the Waldorf School of Mendocino and brings with her over 30 years of Waldorf experience in many capacities including outreach, Faculty mentor, Waldorf teacher training, Faculty chair, College chair, and Board president. Mrs. Newton joined WWS in 2015.

Belinda James, Grade 4 - Ms. Belinda served at WWS as a teacher in the EC from 1997-2004 and has served at the Bristol Steiner School, England, as Class Teacher from 2004-2013. She returned to WWS in 2014. Ms. Belinda earned her Waldorf Teaching Certification from Rudolf Steiner College (Early Childhood Education) and at Emerson Teacher Training, Forest Row, Sussex, England (Class Teacher). Ms. Belinda is credited with not only having the ability to connect to her students through her strong understanding of the pedagogy and understanding of child development but for her ability to listen to and honor her students on a deep and heartfelt level.

Nelly Ivano, Grade 5 - Ms. Nelly holds an MA in elementary school education and a BA in Journalism from the Sofia University, Bulgaria. Continuing her studies abroad in Boston, Massachusetts, Ms. Nelly received a Masters of Arts in Movement/Dance Therapy from the Lesley University in Boston and is certified in Homeopathy from the London College of Classical Homeopathy. During her 22 years of teaching movement, mime and dance in colleges and theatres, Ms. Nelly also worked with Marcel Marceau and taught at Comedia del’Arte. Ms. Nelly also completed her anthroposophical studies at WISC. She has been at the Westside Waldorf School since January 2001.

Paul Helfrich, Ph.D., Grade 6 - Mr. Helfrich joins us as an educator with over thirty years of experience at K-8 schools and university. Mr. Helfrich brings to The Westside Waldorf School a Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in music composition and a background in developmental psychology. He also spent close to ten years teaching informal science education at The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, PA.

Alessandra Lisa Profumo, Grade 7 - Ms. Profumo is in her third cycle of shepherding children from Grade 1 through Grade 8. She completed two cycles at Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge. Her long teaching career includes Nursery and Kindergarten lead positions in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, at Wildwood Elementary, Guest Teacher/Lecturer at WISC, Workshop Facilitation with AWSNA, N.A.E.Y.C., the Jewish Education Federation, among others. Ms. Profumo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education, a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology and the Waldorf Education Certificate from WISC/WISM.

Heather Eisenhardt, Grade 8 - Ms. Eisenhardt earned her MA in Geography at the Eastern Michigan University, where she also applied her knowledge by teaching undergraduates in World Regional Geography and Earth Sciences from 2000 – 2006. Following her transition to California, Ms. Heather has been teaching her academic specialties (Natural Environments, Urban Geography, Introduction to Human Landscapes) at Santa Monica College and has also served as High School faculty member at the Highland Hall Waldorf School as a teacher of Economics.

Alexander Marchand - Mr. Marchand began his teaching career in Theater Arts in 1992 in Houston, TX, then transferred his career to California, teaching writing and critical thinking to high school students (LAUSD) and college students at the California Institute of the Arts. As Head of the Theatre Arts Department and Humanities at the Academy of Liberal Studies in Los Angeles, he directed theatre production programs for grades 9-12. Mr. Marchand earned an MFA in Critical Studies & Writing from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia after completing a BA in Asian Studies at Connecticut College in 1989. Mr. Marchand completed his Waldorf Teaching Certificate at WISC, and joined the Westside Waldorf faculty in 2008.

 

SPECIAL SUBJECT TEACHERS 

Mariko Okoshi, Japanese - Ms. Mariko graduated from Miyagi Gakuin Women's Junior College in Japan with a Diploma in Childhood Education. Following a ten year teaching period in Kindergartens, both in Japan and the United States, she taught Japanese to children and adults at Westwood Academy, Los Angeles, for two years. Ms. Mariko completed her Waldorf teacher training at WISC in 2006 and joined WWS in September 2003.


Odalmis Molina, Spanish - Señora Odalmis Molina joins us as a graduate of the Superior Pedagogical Institute in Camaguey, Cuba, with a specialization in Spanish Literature and Language. As a credentialed and experienced Spanish Teacher, she brings with her over fifteen years of classroom experience.


Maria Ripoll, Handwork - Ms. Maria was born in Argentina, and graduated in Buenos Aires with an equivalent of a BA in Fashion Design, after which she moved to Singapore where she graduated also as a Graphic Designer and worked there for a period of eight years. She spent one year in Europe during a transitional move with her family, prior settling in Los Angeles, CA. In 2004, after a year of having her daughter in the nursery at WWS, she was offered the Handwork Teacher position, for which she trained during three summers with her mentor Elizabeth Seward. She has attended the San Diego Summer training for Therapeutic Teaching, Biodynamic Gardening and Teaching through the Crafts conferences at the Rudolf Steiner College.


KT Reilly, Woodwork - Ms. K.T. spent a lot of time in her grandfather’s woodshop as a child. The sawdust must have gotten into her bones. She grew up in Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica. She got a B.S. in accounting from Loyola Marymount University in 1986. After working for years in accounting, she knew it was time for a new direction and took an apprenticeship with a furniture maker and got to weld for the first time. That lit a fire to becoming a metal fabricator/welder for many years, making furniture and art installations. That led to teaching welding to adults, which led to teaching kids woodworking on the woodworking bus. In 2006 she received her Masters in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, and the day after graduating she started with WWS.

 


Music - Mrs. McCandlas is coming to us after 15 years of teaching at various Waldorf Schools in the US and Europe. She holds a Masters Degree in Education from Antioch University New England and a Bachelors Degree in Music Therapy from the University of Minnesota. Her experience includes directing a choir program for 3 years, developing a choral curriculum for Grades 5-10, and specializing as a private piano and voice instructor.


Jessica King, Strings (violin & cello) - Ms. Jessica began her study of the violin as a child and she has both placed-in and won several awards throughout her career. She was awarded a full scholarship to attend Florida State University, where she received her Bachelor of Music. Jessica then studied at the Boston Conservatory for the Graduate Performance Diploma. In addition, Jessica is Suzuki-certified in “Every Child Can!” and Suzuki Violin, Volumes 1 - 3. She has received teacher training with Liz Arbus and Carrie Reuning-Hummel and continues to work on her certification.


Jessica has been on faculty at Cornerstone Music Conservatory and the Hermosa School of Music and Dance and has coached extensively in the area. Currently, she is the conductor of the Westside Waldorf Middle School orchestra and teaches Strings to Grades 3 - 8 at Westside Waldorf School. She also currently performs with the Culver City Symphony, Marina del Rey Symphony, and the Peninsula Symphony.


Takako Kamura, Grades 1-8 Educational Support Teacher - Ms Kamura holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Tokyo Gakugei University, Tokyo, Japan as well as having completed the three year Camphill Curative Education Program in Aberdeen, Scotland, and the Remedial Education Course at Rudolf Steiner College. For the past thirteen years, Ms. Kamura has served as the Educational Support Teacher at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School where she gained considerable experience in working with both classes and individual students.


Rich Smith, Accompanist - Mr. Rich Smith has been accompanying the Eurythmy classes at WWS since 1999. He is an improvisational pianist, vocalist, composer, and music producer who loves taking his listeners on a journey away from the woes of everyday life. Be it a peaceful ballad or wild adventure, his music stretches imaginations and rejuvenates the soul. He performs regularly in and around Los Angeles as a soloist and with groups. His music has been featured in film, television, radio, theater, and events for such clients as the Producers Guild of America, Premiere Radio Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and GLP Films.

 

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS

Inés Van Gelderen, Violet Nursery (McComb) - Ms. Ines completed her Waldorf training at WISC in Early Childhood and Foreign Languages. She taught Spanish (Grade 1-10) for ten years at Highland Hall. She has mentored Spanish teachers at HH, Pasadena and WWS and taught courses in Early Childhood. She has been a Nursery teacher at WWS for nine years.


Kristen Green, Daisy Nursery (McComb) - Ms. Green completed her Waldorf Teacher Training the Rudolf Steiner College in San Francisco. Ms. Kristen holds a B.A. in Apparel Design from the Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI. She was a Kindergarten teacher at the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten in Colorado and has been at WWS since 2002 in the capacity of Kindergarten and Nursery teacher.


Heike Adamsberger-Kosta, Rose Kindergarten (McComb) - Having had the good fortune to spend a large part of her childhood with her Austrian grandparents, Ms. Heike has always been attracted to professions that involve nurturing and healing (in Heike's own words). Ms. Heike received a Bachelor of Science from the Klinikum der J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, Germany.  Her love for children led her to teach in 1996. Following her educational pursuit in California, Ms. Heike received a Certificate in Early Childhood Education from UCLA and completed her Waldorf Teacher Training at WISC. 

 

Claudia Pfiffner, Lavender Kindergarten (McComb) - Ms. Claudia comes to us with sixteen years' kindergarten and early childhood teaching experience, including five years at Waldorf schools in Taos and Tucson and more than two years' in a lead capacity.  Ms. Claudia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Masters of Arts in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Rudolf Steiner College. 

 

Anjum Mir, Parent Infant/Toddler (McComb) - Many years ago, Ms. Anjum began her own schooling with one forgotten year in a Waldorf kindergarten in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She went on to get a degree in Literary Journalism and Anthropology from Boston University and a degree in Education from the University of Texas at Austin. A published writer, she has worked as an associate editor of a small national magazine, freelanced for a number of publications, and authored a non-fiction book. Prior to her work as an early childhood teacher, she has taught both high school and middle school in public and private schools. Now a mother of four, she was led back to Waldorf Education through a desire to find beauty for her first child.


Gergana Minkova, Petunia Nursery (WECC) - Ms. Gergana joined the early childhood faculty at the Westside Waldorf School in 2003. She brought with her an M.A. in Elementary and Preschool Education from the Sofia University in Bulgaria, with special emphasis in Audiology and Speech Therapy, in addition to a two-year study of the Tao Buddhist Tradition at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia, Bulgaria. Following her transition to America, Ms. Gergana completed a three-year training in Waldorf Community Counseling at the Antioch University in New England. Ms. Gergana holds a certification of Early Childhood Teacher Education from the Waldorf Institute of Southern California. In addition, she completed a three-year professional deepening course in the Therapeutic Approach to Waldorf Early Childhood Education at Denver Anthroposophic Studies Program: "Nurturing the Roots".

 

Jill Scissors, Sunflower Nursery (WECC) - Jill Scissors attended UC Santa Barbara and holds an Early Childhood and Grades Waldorf Teaching Certificate. She has enjoyed working in the early childhood at Westside Waldorf School for 5 years and has worked with children with special needs 7 years prior. Jill also teaches Doll Making and Early Childhood Crafts Workshops for adult students and teachers through WISC Los Angeles. Her joy for teaching both children and adults in the Waldorf community was inspired by her most important role, as a mother of three children. She has two teenage children, both having been educated through Waldorf, and a son currently in the grades at Waldorf.

 

Sage Goodman, Bluebell Kindergarten (WECC) - Ms. Sage has been working in the Early Childhood Department of the Westside Waldorf School beginning in 2008 as the Early Childhood lead aftercare teacher at the McComb campus. She then moved on to Early Childhood assistant in the Nursery and Kindergartens following her year in the aftercare. She holds a BA from the Long Island University and a Master's Degree from UCLA. Additionally, she has completed her Waldorf Early Childhood training through Rudolf Steiner College and WISC and her Lifeways training in San Diego. 

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSISTANT TEACHERS

Kristen Giannantonio
Ana Muñoz
Bettina Prang


Isabel Jordan

 

AFTERCARE AT MCCOMB CAMPUS

Bettina Prang, Early Childhood 

 

 

AFTERCARE AT WECC  CAMPUS

Ana Muñoz, Early Childhood