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.
Grade One-Two: Michelle Buczacz
Michelle completed her Waldorf teacher training at Antioch University, New England in 2011. A native Mainer, she received her bachelor’s degree in theater at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.
Grade Three-Four: 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 Five-Six Assistant and Chorus: Laura Purdom
Laura Purdom came to Ashwood in 2006 after careers in writing and graphic design. At Ashwood, Laura builds upon her lifelong love of theater, song, language and life’s big questions: she has been a class teacher, director of outreach, and a specialty teacher. She particularly delights in teaching and performing traditional music from around the world and in guiding student theatrical productions.
Laura has traveled in South Asia, North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East and published four travel guidebooks. She lived in Paris while pursuing theatrical studies and performed with improv comedy troupes in Boston and beyond. She has a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. In her spare time, Laura enjoys thinking about what she might do if she had any spare time.
Grade Seven-Eight: Elizabeth Doshi
Elizabeth joins our faculty with experience teaching in Waldorf schools from New England to Singapore. She earned a master’s degree in Waldorf education at Antioch University. Elizabeth says: “The story of my Waldorf teaching journey covers many states and continents! Each school bestowed upon me the many gifts that only loving parents, children, and colleagues can give. The community of a Waldorf school can be very supportive and protective, and it can also be a wonderful challenge. I have experienced these things and much more. Traveling around the states and living overseas has allowed me to experience an immense diversity of people and work environments. I am grateful for these opportunities and believe they have made me a richer person and teacher.”
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.
Movement and Early-Childhood Aftercare Teacher: Rose Swan
Rose joins our faculty with a background in environmental education for children. She was the service learning coordinator and a teacher at Tanglewood 4-H Camp, and the special projects coordinator for Trekkers. Rose is participating in a five-year Spacial Dynamics training, a program of study that provides a strong foundation for approaching the Waldorf movement curriculum.
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.
Woodworking Teacher: Taz Squire
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 received a B.A in Sociology, SUNY Binghamton; M.S.Ed., Social Foundations of Education, University of Virginia; and pursued 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: Betty Wyman
Betty has an M.Sc. in Agricultural and Environmental Engineering degree, and a B.Sc. in Accounting and Finance with a CPA designation. Her children attended summer camp at Ashwood Waldorf School and the whole family fell in love with the school. She has been an Ashwood parent since 2009. After her role in the Parent-Community Council as both co-chair and chair, she happily joined the business office as business and operations manager. She was born in Hungary, and has traveled extensively around Europe. For 17 years, she has lived contently in Rockport, where the mountains meet the sea. If she is not busy taking care of her 2 children, running a fitness class, or working on her website, you can find her in the flower garden, hiking on the trails, paddle boarding, or kayaking on the lakes with her two sons.
Enrollment and Outreach Director: 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.
Development Director: Annie Mahle
As part of the Ashwood community for over 15 years, Annie has a deep and abiding appreciation for the gift of a Waldorf education. Her two daughters started at Ashwood in early childhood and went all the way through to 8th grade. While they continue their education in other realms, they still miss Ashwood.
Annie graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. degree in Psychology. When she is not gathering community around Ashwood’s development efforts, she can be found in either her kitchen at home creating recipes or on the Schooner J. & E. Riggin, her families’ Maine windjammer.