Specialty Teachers

Laurent Andre
Grade 8, High School Spanish
License of Natural Science, Biology, University Orsee, Paris Sud, MITCM, Acupuncture, ESL, San Francisco. Laurent is a French and Spanish native speaker. He studied Biology at Orsay University in France. In addition to his teaching, he is a certified reflexologist, and licensed acupuncturist. Laurent enjoys clowning workshops, Aikido, and the outdoors. He first came to the US to run the NYC marathon with his mother, followed by a visit that lasted more than the planned two weeks.

Sven Abow
Middle School, High School Guitar Teacher

​Kristen Arant
West African Drumming

Kristen started drumming some 15 years ago. She studied drumming in Ghana and has led adults and children in multiple ensembles and classes around the region. She founded the Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project and is the recipient of eight grants and award from the DC Arts Commission. She also has a BA degree in oboe performance.

Geoff Baker
Middle School English

BA in literature and history, University of the South, MA in education, Johnson State University, Waldorf Teacher Certificate, Nova Institute. An avid outdoorsman, Geoff has more than 20 years of varied experience teaching outdoor education and English in Arizona, North Carolina, Vermont, and Maryland.

Nevin Bender
Director of Music

BA, French, Piano Performance, Eastern Mennonite University; MM, Piano Performance, Catholic University of America; Waldorf Music Teacher Training, Sunbridge College; Werbeck Singing Certificate, Sebastopol, California. Originally from Vermont, Nevin has lived in the DC area for over 25 years. Among his previous professions, he has been a freelance pianist and accompanist, an organist at a Lutheran Church, and a singer in the Washington Opera chorus. Before becoming a music teacher, he spent many years in the eurythmy room as an accompanist. His interests include ballroom dancing, tennis, and skiing. Nevin has three children.

Merren Booth
Middle School Art, Yearbook Advisor

College of William and Mary, BA; Savannah College of Art and Design, MFA
Merren has taught visual arts for over twenty years to elementary and middle school students. She joined WWS as the MS Art Teacher in 2016. Merren is painter and illustrator and began working in fused glass in 2010. At home she is an avid reader and filmgoer and enjoys traveling near and far with her family.

Barbara Buchman
Lower School Handwork

BA in Humanities from Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio, MEd in Special Education University of Pittsburgh, Applied Arts Certificate Sunbridge College, Teacher Training Certificate, NOVA Institute Silver Spring, Maryland, Foundation Studies Certificate Center for Anthroposophy, Trustees Council, College of Teachers, AWSNA Delegate. Originally from Pittsburgh, Barbara has lived in the Washington, DC area for over 30 years. She first came to WWS looking for Waldorf education for her two sons (who graduated from WWS High School in 1998, 2001). Her employment as the front office receptionist began 5 years after becoming a parent at the school. Shortly after joining the staff she was asked to teach knitting and crochet in addition to her office duties to students in grades 1, 2 and 3. Upon the completion of her handwork training at Sunbridge College, Barbara became the full-time handwork teacher and has now taught at the school for more than 25 years. She has also taught adults for the NOVA Institute Teacher Training, and the Center for Anthroposophy, and has given a workshop at the AWSNA teachers conference. Her hobbies include knitting, reading fiction, and listening to folk music.

Jane Christenson
High School Drama Teacher

Robert Coleman
High School Guitar Teacher

Tove Elfstrom

Pedagogical studies, University of Gothenburg; Municipal recreation management, Karlskoga Ledarinstitute; USA: MEd., University of Georgia, Athens; Waldorf Teacher Training, Rudolf Steiner Institute; Waldorf Teacher Certification, State of Maryland teacher certification. Tove hails from Sweden where he received the equivalent of a BA in municipal recreation management. He continued his studies in the US after two summers of camp counseling in New Jersey with physically handicapped children and disadvantaged youth from Brooklyn, Bronx, and Newark. Tove received a MEd. from University of Georgia where he focused on wilderness management and the philosophy of work and leisure in a resource-restrained society. His Waldorf education certification is from the State of Maryland after studies at the Rudolf Steiner Institute. He teaches grades 4–11 in woodworking and offers a blacksmithing elective in the High School. Outside of WWS, he teaches at the Swedish School for Children on Saturdays in Falls Church, where he is also the principal. All three of his children attended and graduated from the WWS.

Kurt Faerber
Lower School Eurythmy Teacher

Cornelia Florescu
Grade 6-8 Flute Teacher

Christian Gardiner
Movement Education, Games

After attending Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School from kindergarten through 12th grade, Christian Gardiner attended St. Bonaventure University where he played men’s volleyball and division 1 baseball. Before teaching at the Washington Waldorf School, Christian completed a biodynamic farming apprenticeship and worked as an organic farmer and a stone mason. While continuing his own athletic pursuits, Christian coached basketball, baseball and volleyball at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in New York, and later coached both middle school and varsity baseball for the Orcas Island Public School District in Washington State. Christian considers his study of movement to be life-long and continues his education by attending on-going educational workshops with institutions such as the Spatial Dynamics Institute and the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Corinna Gittel
Middle School, High School Eurythmy Teacher

Eurythmy Diploma, Stuttgart, Germany; Graduate Course with Novalis Eurythmy. Corinna was born and grew up in Augsburg, Germany, where she attended and graduated from the Freie Waldorfschule Augsburg. After graduating from the Eurythmeum Stuttgart in 1996, she joined the post-graduate course in pedagogical and artistic eurythmy at WWS, led by Christina Beck. What was intended to be a one-year stay in the US has turned into 19 years and counting. By the time she was in the 8th grade, Corinna knew that she was going to be a eurythmist, much to the puzzlement of all her classmates. Movement and dance of all forms are Corinna's passions.

Tammy Gompper

Tammy Gompper
Library Assistant

BA in Studio Art, University of Virginia; MA in Art History, Ohio University; MLS Texas Woman's University. Tammy has previous experience as an Archivist at Dumbarton Oaks; an Aquisitions Assistant at the DAR Geneology Library; and as an Art History Teacher at Trinity High School. She also served on the Board of the Potomac Crescent Waldorf School where her daughter attended.

Judith Graff
Educational Support Teacher

University Tuebingen, Germany PhD Biochemistry
Nova Institute Teacher Training, Waldorf Elementary Certificate, Educational Support Program by the Association for Healing Education, Waldorf Extra Lesson Certificate
Judith grew up in Germany. Her background prior to joining the WWS faculty is in Science. Judith's transition to the Waldorf School started with assisting in the children's garden afternoon program at Acorn Hill, the nursery and kindergarten her children attended. Upon joining WWS she taught in the high school, in the afternoon program of the children's garden, was an assistant in first and fourth grade and worked as a math tutor. She currently is the Educational Support Teacher for grades one through eight, teaches jump rope and movement in grades one and two and serves on several faculty committees. Judith and her husband Jeff have two children; her youngest is currently in 11th grade. Judith enjoys all kinds of handcraft, especially knitting. Hiking is her favorite outdoor activity.

Debi Kolendar

Debbi Kolender
Lower School Reading Tutor

BA, Special Education and Elementary Education, MA Special Education; EdS, Special Education, George Washington University. Training in Phonographix, Wilson Reading, and Read Naturally.

Marcel Maican
Lower School and High School Jazz Band 2002

MM, Doctorate, Trombone and Conducting, Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory, Bucharest

Christina Mollard (Yung-chin Hsieh)
Eurythmy Accompanist, 2014

BA in Piano Performance, Soochow University, Taiwan. Christina has been an accompanist in Montgomery County Schools for several years and served as choir director/organist at Fairhaven United Methodist Church. Her son attends the WWS Children's Garden.

Holly Platt
Math Teacher, 7th and 8th Grade

Gabriele Schilz

Gabriele Schilz
Grades 7-12 German Teacher, High School

BA, History & German, University of Konstanz, Germany; MA, Social & Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California. When she specialized in teaching German as a foreign language during her undergraduate studies, she envisioned herself traveling around the world teaching German. Originally from Köln, Gabriele has lived in the Southwest of Germany, Boulder, Colorado, and San Francisco, California, before moving to DC. She has taught people of all ages, from preschool to adults, in subjects including German, calligraphy, and childbirth preparation, and throughout, has loved working with adolescents the most. Some of her favorite ways of engaging are: making things with paper or fibers, discussing anything, playing group games. And a few of her favorite things: books, goats, documentary films, home births, puppet shows, languages and alphabets, and the circus.

Debbie Spitulnik
Speech and Drama Teacher, Lower School Substitute

Suzanne Tapia
Spanish Teacher, Grades 1-7

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.

Susan Walsh

Susan Walsh
Librarian, Therapeutic Eurythmist

BA, German, Franklin and Marshall College; MLS, Library Science, Drexel University; Foundation Year, Sunbridge College; Artistic Eurythmy Training, Eurythmy Spring Valley; Pedagogical Eurythmy Training, Antioch New England Graduate School; Therapeutic Eurythmy Training, Peredur Centre for the Arts, East Grinstead, England. Member, Eurythmy Association of North America; Member, Association for Therapeutic Eurythmy in North America (ATHENA).

Originally from New Jersey, Susan grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and, after many years away, returned in 2006 to the D.C. area. As librarian, she worked at the Art Institute of Chicago Library, the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City, Sunbridge College Library, and several New York State public libraries. Her most unusual jobs during college were in a potato chip factory and at the Oktoberfest in Munich! Her interests include bookbinding, swimming, walking, and travel. Susan speaks German and has studied French, Latin, and Turkish.