Lower School

The class teacher is the primary teacher for children in grades 1-8. He/She teaches the main lesson and typically stays with a class for all eight years of lower school.

Clare Andre
Class Teacher

Clare was born in New Zealand, but has spent most of her life traveling. She feels most at home where her family is, and is therefore now contendly at home in Bethesda. She has worked as a personal trainer, dance teacher, swim teacher and coach in countries as diverse as Australia, Oman, England, and France. Clare began teaching games and movement in the WWS lower and middle schools, then worked as the substitute teacher before taking first grade in 2013. Clare's favorite pastimes are running and dancing with her husband, reading great books with her children, and spending time at home or out and about and camping with her expanded family of six.

John Brauer
Class Teacher
BA, University of Maryland; Year In-Service Training in Spatial Dynamics, Certificate, Waldorf Institute of Mercy College. Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College of Detroit from 1973-75. Graduate of the first Spatial Dynamics In-Service Training Program. John has guided several classes through the lower school, taught history blocks in the high school and served as a movement teacher, athletic director, and coach.

Michele Coleman
Class Teacher

Laura Cox,
Class Teacher
BA and MAT program, Johns Hopkins University; Waldorf teacher Training, NOVA Institute. Laura comes to Waldorf education after first teaching grades 3, 4 and 5 in Prince George's County, Maryland, public schools and a long hiatus from teaching after becoming a mom. Prior to taking this class, Laura directed a youth education program for a Unity Church. While completing teacher training, Laura worked with several homeschool cooperatives, tutored middle school students and taught Middle School English Skills. Her two daughters have attended WWS since Children's Garden. During the school year, the Cox family lives aboard a 52' motor boat at the Gangplank Marina on the Potomac River. In the summer, they return to their house in Galesville, Maryland, about 15 miles south of Annapolis.

Sean Edwin
Aftercare, Grade 1 Assistant

Mercedes Estevez
Grade 1 Aftercare

Rebecca Hipps
Class Teacher

Brian Lake
Class Teacher
Interdisciplinary Studies, Western College of Miami University; B.A. Peace Studies and Intercultural Studies, Manchester College; Waldorf Teacher Training, Rudolf Steiner College; Certificate in Waldorf Administration and Community Development, Sunbridge College.

Brian has been at the Washington Waldorf School since 1990 and has served multiple roles in the school. Before taking on the current fifth grade class he taught Middle School English for 8 years. Prior to this, he graduated two eighth grades (classes of 2002 and 2011), and served as the school’s first Administrator from 1999 to 2003. Brian enjoys art and music making, reading, and whitewater rafting. He has two daughters, Eryn and Alanna, who attended Washington Waldorf. A lifelong soccer enthusiast and Quaker, he began his teaching career in 1978 at Olney Friends School in Ohio which is his home state.

Annette Leland
Grade 2 Assistant
BS in Economics, Occidental College; MBA Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Southern California; Waldorf Teacher Training, Nova Institute. Annette bring a varied background to WWS, including stints as an econometric forecaster for Central Telephone of California, and a product manager at Rediken Hair Care. At WWS she co-chaired the Parent Organization Steering Committee, interned as a reading support teacher, and taught painting, as well as being the assistant in several classes. She also taught knitting at the Waldorf school in Trento, Italy. Annette's three children all attended WWS.

Gretchen Maxwell
Grade 3 Assistant

Dawn Tanner
Class Teacher
BS in Elementary Education, Towson University; MEd Antioch University New England 2010; Teaching Certificate in Waldorf Education, Antioch University New England 1996. Prior to joining us she taught at the Waldorf School of Baltimore for eight years. Dawn completed coursework with the Coming of Age project with Tamara Slayton, and developed and led workshops for adolescent girls and their mothers in the Baltimore area. In addition to her class teacher duties at WWS, she has served as the lower school department chair, as an AWSNA delegate, on the college of teachers, and is currently the Student for Social Action advisor. She completed the AWSNA Mentor’s Colloquium in 2009, and completed several of the Collaborative Counseling Training sessions with Kim John Payne. Her interest in social health issues prompted her to write her master’s thesis on the topic, and she has been the chair of the Social Health committee since its inception. While not at work, she enjoys traveling, cycling, gardening, singing, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with family and friends.

Suzanne Tapia
Class Teacher

BA in Spanish/French, St. John Fisher College; MA Spanish Literature and Linguistics, University of Rochester; Waldorf Teacher Training, Nova Institute. Before moving to the DC area, Suzanne traveled throughout Europe and studied in Spain, France, and Mexico. She taught Spanish and French at the middle school and community college levels. Suzanne's love of Waldorf education began at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School and from the parent-child classes into the grades. The Tapia family spent 3 years in Brazil at the Escola Turmalina where Suzanne worked with teachers, parents, and students, gaining new perspectives and a deeper knowledge of Waldorf education across continents. Upon returning, the spent one year as the Lower School substitute before becoming the 6th grade teacher. She enjoys fostering dogs, gardening, handwork, camping, and singing.

See Also

Specialty Teachers