Faculty & Staff
OUR FACULTY STRIVES to work and study together artfully, out of the indications of Rudolf Steiner. We share beliefs that guide us in our work: a willingness to grow and develop, both individually and as a school; to work mindfully; to teach creatively and with love; and to nurture a supportive and active community.
Beth has been at Ashwood since 2010. She began her Waldorf training in 1989 in the classic style with an apprenticeship to a master Waldorf Kindergarten teacher on the Big Island of Hawaii. In 1994 she opened her own in-home Waldorf pre-school. She completed a Puppetry Intensive with Joan Almon and Suzanne Down at the Rudolf Steiner Institute; study of Therapeutic Indications in the Waldorf Kindergarten at Sunbridge College; and Foundation Studies at the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, NH. She spent a year as a Kindergarten teacher and Handwork teacher at the Terra Rosa Waldorf School in Sedona, Arizona, then 5 years at the Tidewater Waldorf School in Eliot, ME as lead Kindergarten teacher, Faculty Chair, Early Childhood Chair, Board Member and Leadership Council member.
Beth is the mother of five happy, grown and independent children (three of whom were Waldorf students). She is an avid reader and a devoted life-long learner.
Ursula Leonore, Kindergarten Assistant
Ursula was born in Germany. As a young adult, she moved to America where she earned a B.A. from Concordia University in Montreal, and then high school teaching and TSL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificates from McGill University, Montreal. Ursula completed her Waldorf teacher training at L’Ecole Steiner de Montreal and was a co-founder of a Waldorf school in eastern Quebec, Les Enfant de la Terre. Ursula has been a Waldorf teacher for over 20 years, teaching at the school she co-founded; The Green Mountain Waldorf School in Wolcott, VT, and the Meadowbrook Waldorf School in Rhode Island. She joined Ashwood’s faculty in 2009 where she was a Grade School class teacher for three years.
In addition to teaching, Ursula enjoys music, books, horses, hiking and biking.
Jeremy earned a B.A. in Psychology with a Spanish minor, and considered becoming a teacher. After a friend with children at a Waldorf School mentioned that his values might fit well with Waldorf education, Jeremy applied to Antioch New England Graduate School in the Waldorf education program. After an internship and substitute teaching at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School, Jeremy came to Ashwood in 2006. He graduated his class of eighth grade students in 2011.
Jeremy other interests are hiking, canoeing, skiing, cycling, traveling, reading, gardening and whitewater rafting.
Robert studied at Green Mountain Valley School and Mohawk Valley Community College. During his undergraduate work in elementary education, he realized he wanted to teach in a different environment with a different philosophy. While he was describing his ideas about education to a friend, she told him he was describing Waldorf education. He looked into it and his excitement was renewed! Robert went on to Antioch New England where he received his Waldorf teaching certificate. His internship was at Pine Hill Waldorf School. Robert joined the Ashwood faculty in 2005.
His other interests are alpine skiing, hiking, camping, paddling, fishing, biking and tennis.
Grade 5: Lesley Finlayson
Lesley was introduced to Waldorf Education when her sister attended a Waldorf high school. She also came across the book “Knowledge of Higher Worlds” on her parents’ bookshelf and was hooked. Lesley received a B.A. from Middlebury College and a M.A. and Ph.D in Dramatic Arts from the University of California in Santa Barbara. She received Waldorf Teaching training at Antioch University of New England.
Lesley joined the Ashwood faculty in 2009. Her other interests are mask-making, gardening, singing, reading, hiking, theatre, yoga and animals.
Jayashree was born and raised in India. She earned a M.A. in Ancient Indian History, M.Ed. in Education, and M.A. in Kannada (a language) at Karnataka University before moving to the United States. Jayashree taught at the Meadow Brook Waldorf School and the Waldorf School of Orange County before coming to Ashwood in 2008. Remedial work is an area of special focus in her ongoing development as a teacher. Jayashree also enjoys painting, cooking and home decoration.
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Jennifer Armstrong has been a fiddle teacher for 40 years. Her two grown daughters attended the Chicago Waldorf School. Jennifer holds a Suzuki Book 1A teaching certificate and a Dalcroze Eurythmics teaching certificate. In addition to being a music teacher, Jennifer performers locally in many venues. Her publications include several music and storytelling CDs and two children’s picture books. She has a small farm with milk goats, a horse, laying hens, turkeys and one fat cat.
French and Chorus Teacher: Alex McGregor
Alex was born in Barcelona, Spain, and grew up in Colombia and Massachusetts. Alex’s first exposure to Waldorf education was in high school and college through friends who had attended Waldorf schools.He was impressed with their capacity for independent thought, self-reliance, and artistic expression.
Alex earned a B.A. from Bard College. Later, his wife Jes began working in the Early Childhood programs at Ashwood. Alex joined the Ashwood faculty in 2011. His interests are languages, gardening, music, cycling, guitar playing, and songwriting. He can often be seen bringing his guitar along to French class.
Donna completed an A.A. in Graphic Design at Ida College in Newton, MA. A friend introduced her to Waldorf education, and they both enrolled in Foundation Studies. Donna has been Ashwood’s Handwork teacher since 2004. She received Applied Arts certification from Sunbridge Institute/Fiber Arts Studio, Threefold Educational Center in Spring Valley, NY. She wishes that all children had the opportunity to experience education the Waldorf way, and feels it is truly a privilege to be here and watch the children learn.
Donna’s enjoys art, painting, gardening, reading, any and all crafts, and the outdoors.
Forrester learned about Waldorf education when his son attended Ashwood in 1989. Years later a teacher asked him to lead a woodworking workshop to build toboggans with her class, and he’s been here ever since!
Forrester studied English and the Classics at the University of Maine and the University of Miami. He also likes skiing, boatbuilding and reading.
School Director: Jody Spanglet
When her daughter Lisa was eight years old, the family moved to Charlottesville VA. As Jody began courses at UVA in sociology and philosophy of education, Lisa was enrolled in the local public school. Unhappy with Lisa’s experience, they explored other schools and discovered the Waldorf school. After a few phone calls and a visit, Lisa was enrolled. A month later Jody became the after-care teacher, and began attending a study group and considering her future profession.
Jody has received a B.A in Sociology, SUNY Binghamton; M.S.Ed., Social Foundations of Education, University of Virginia; 20 years of coursework in Waldorf Education and anthroposophical study at AWSNA accredited institutions. She has been the School Director since 2005, and previously was a Waldorf class teacher for grades 1–8, then for 5–8. Jody’s other interests are her grandchild, cooking, hiking, swimming, biking, gardening, baking, and travel.
Director of Public Relations & Marketing: Laura Purdom
Laura has a B.A. in Theological Studies with a minor in music from Hanover College and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Before taking an Ashwood class from grade one through grade six, Laura worked as a freelance writer and graphic designer. For many years an inveterate traveler, she is the author of four travel guidebooks, including Secret Boston and Traveler’s Companion to Southern England. Laura now prefers to stay at home by the woodstove with her four cats.
Administrative Assistant: Elizabeth Larrow
Elizabeth is a native Mainer. She has an Associates degree from the University of Maine Farmington. She enjoys reading, travel, theatre and opera.