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.
Marianne taught at Ashwood for fifteen years before a five-year journey that included multiple trips to China to mentor Waldorf early-childhood teachers. She pioneered Ashwood’s forest kindergarten program, which inspired our current nature kindergarten for all early-childhood students. Activities such as picking wild asparagus for soup, drilling holes to tap the old maple, climbing rocks on the far side of the stream, digging for crystals, gathering berries for snack and leaves or flowers for teas, felling rotten trees and sawing branches for firewood are just some of the rich experiences children gain with Marianne.
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.
Jen Corning, Early Childhood Assistant
Jen began her journey to Waldorf education when she was working as a farm apprentice on a biodynamic farm at the Tucson Waldorf School in Tucson, Arizona. Her interest led her to substitute at the school, as well. She completed the National Outdoor Leadership School training, which culminated in a fall semester in India. She has worked with young children in a variety of settings for 10 years, and is currently enrolled in the LifeWays program.
Grade One-Two: Robert Kaczor
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.
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’s other interests are hiking, canoeing, skiing, cycling, traveling, reading, gardening, and whitewater rafting.
Grade 5-6: Ronald Staschak
Ronald has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor of science degree in secondary English education. A dedicated teacher, Ron also enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, and kayaking, and has completed a number of long-distance bicycle tours.
Grade 7: 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 an M.A. and Ph.D in Dramatic Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She received Waldorf teacher 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.
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.
Strings Teacher: Hannah Miller
Hannah has been playing violin since the age of 4. As a child, she participated in the New England Conservatory Preparatory program, and as a teen she played in as many as five orchestras at a time, including community orchestras such as the Keene Chamber Orchestra in Keene, New Hampshire. She also spent many summers at the Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival. She is passionate about chamber music and involving communities in classical music. Hannah currently plays with Seacoast orchestra in Damariscotta, and teaches privately.
French Teacher: Sarah Trapani
Sarah was a class teacher at Ashwood from 1992-1995, when she taught what became our first graduating class. She studied French in high school, and continued at Bates College. She then went on to live and study in Montpelier, France, in order to advance her fluency. There she took classes (all in French) in grammar, conversation, history, and theatre.
Sarah has taught French and theatre at a boarding school in Western Massachusetts, and most recently, at the Appleton Village School. She lives in Rockport, along with her husband Carl and her two teenage children: Ben, who attended Ashwood up through the fourth grade, and Emma, who recently graduated in June 2013.
Donna completed an A.A. in Graphic Design at Mount 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.
Business Manager: Tamara Cody
Tamara Cody is a graduate of Bard College. Before coming to Ashwood she worked alongside her husband starting and managing two successful small businesses and homeschooling her three children. In addition to working at Ashwood, she and her husband run Port Clyde Kayaks. Tamara loves the ocean and spending time with her family. Her business skills and appreciation for Waldorf education are a perfect blend for Ashwood’s business office.
Director of Enrollment and Outreach: Judith Soleil
Judith was trained as a Waldorf class teacher at Emerson College in England, and worked as a kindergarten assistant and handwork assistant at a Waldorf school in New York before creating a Waldorf preschool in her home, which she offered for seven years. Before joining the faculty at Ashwood, she helped steward the Rudolf Steiner Library of the Anthroposophical Society in America for 15 years. Her other interests are singing, dancing, biking, and swimming.
Administrative Assistant: Sarah Ewing
Sarah has a B.A in English from Earlham College. After college she spent a few years working in intentional communities in Maine, Vermont and New Zealand before returning to settle in the midcoast. Before coming to Ashwood she worked at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, where she held positions from machine operator to marketing director. In her free time she loves to work with wood, do almost anything outside, eat, play music, and spend time with her family.