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Spring 2014


News and Views from the Washington Waldorf School

A Year to Remember Jennifer Page, Faculty Chair


ith the school year drawing to a close, I have had the pleasure of observing our graduates as they prepare to begin new chapters in their lives. At this time of year we are drawn both to the future and the past. We look at our accomplishments with satisfaction and fond memories, and toward the future with expectations. Throughout my first year as Faculty Chair, I’ve been particularly impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication of our school community. Whether it was the Fall Festival, the Fall Bazaar, the Carol Sing, the Gala, or Grandparents’ Day, the commitment of our parent volunteers made the difference. Our cherished school traditions help us build a warm, inclusive community that supports and enriches the learning environment of our students. Similarly, the tireless efforts of our teachers to present dynamic, creative lessons in the classroom, engender continuous enthusiasm

and achievement from our students. One only need look at the muddy boots outside first grade, the table of homemade animal habitats outside fourth grade, the calligraphy-lettered quotes on the sixth grade bulletin board, or the self-portraits in the high school hall to appreciate the unique, creative work of our students. This issue of the Messenger highlights the many accomplishments and interesting lives of our alumni. Beginning with our graduation speaker this year, alumna Megin Charner-Laird (WWS 1993, Harvard EdD 2010), now an Assistant Professor of Education at Salem State University, you will meet other alumni who, like Megin, are


Capital Campaign.................2 Senior Profiles......................4 Class Notes..........................6

shaping and making the world better. Moreover, numerous Waldorf alumni, including six of our own, have returned to WWS as parents. Their memories of their own Waldorf education enrich our community and give us a unique perspective from which to view and appreciate our school. We also want to highlight progress in the Build Our Vision capital campaign. Through the campaign we have an outstanding opportunity to secure our home for the long term, while improving our facilities, creating a greener educational environment, and laying the groundwork for our future gym. I hope you’ll join the Build Our Vision capital campaign and help us secure the presence of Waldorf education in our nation’s capital. It has been a rewarding, exciting year, and I’ve been honored to serve this fine institution as Faculty Chair. I look forward to 2014-15, our 45th Anniversary Year!

Our New Yurt and Playground!


his spring WWS capped off a two-year effort with the completion of a new Children’s Garden playground and construction of a new yurt (aka, the “garden house”). At WWS, we want our students—especially the younger children—to go outside and play. But the Children’s Garden playground, while spacious enough, has never quite met our vision for what a Waldorf playground should be. At the same time, growing enrollment in the Children’s Garden has created a demand for new space for additional programming. At our 2012 spring gala we asked our guests to donate funds for a yurt to be built on the playground, in order to provide new classroom and meeting space. Then, at the 2013 gala we asked for additional donations to renovate the Children’s Garden playground and install new basketball hoops on the Lower School playground. Altogether we raised about $25,000 for the yurt and $78,000 for the playground. As we navigated various county planning and permitting requirements, while also balancing our desires with our means, building the yurt and renovating the playground turned out to be quite challenging projects. But now they are finished, and what a transformation! We extend our deep appreciation to all the donors who made enormous improvement in our facilities possible. Please come by for a visit!

A view of our new yurt (the “garden house”) and play structures



Capital Campaign Reaches $3.4 Million Milestone


he last year has been historic for WWS, as we launched an ambitious capital campaign intended to secure our home at Sangamore Road for the next 30 years. Thanks to the generosity of many early donors (see box) and the hard work of the campaign committee, we’ve now raised $3.4 million toward our goal of $4.4 million. Much work remains to be done, however, and we will be reaching out to as many people as possible in the extended WWS community over the next year. Together we can indeed “Build Our Vision.”

system; upgrade utilities; replace all windows; and build a new front entrance. We established the $4.4 million Build Our Vision capital campaign to fund these required improvements. The public launch of the campaign last November at the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park was perhaps the largest gathering of the extended Waldorf community ever. It was a wonderful celebration of Waldorf education, our talented students, and our shared inspiration for the future of the School. Since then, the Capital Campaign Committee has been hard at work meeting with current families, alumni families, grandparents, and others. To date, 82 donors have given or pledged $3.4 million, which represents about 77% of our goal.

Capital Campaign Volunteers We extend special thanks to the Capital Campaign Committee Co-chairs, the WWS Development Committee, and the Campaign Gift Officers.

Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Ann Luskey Chrissie and Lex Sant Dan Wacker Carla Wheeler Development Committee Eric Holdsworth Noreen Major Suzanne Nash Jennifer Page Linda Reinisch Chrissie and Lex Sant Dan Wacker Carla Wheeler

The challenge now is to raise the remaining funds by June 2015. We will need “every oar in the water” to do so. WWS has thrived over the past 45 years because of the wisdom, generosity, and commitment of those who came before us. Many of those individuals have children or grandchildren who attend our School today. Now it’s up to our generation of parents, alumni, and others who want to see WWS continue to thrive into the future.

Trustees Council Chair Allison Fultz at Capital Campaign Kickoff in November The genesis of the campaign lies in our lease agreement with Montgomery County, which we signed in 2012. The lease gives us very favorable terms, but to stay in our building for the full 30-year term of the lease, the School is required to make certain improvements to the building. More specifically, within the next five years we must: install a new insulated roof, a new high efficiency HVAC system, a new fire suppression

WWS is deeply grateful to those who have already made a gift to the campaign, as well as to the campaign committee and volunteers. During the coming months we will be moving into the next phase of the campaign during which we will be seeking a broader engagement with our community. We warmly invite and encourage you to participate. The Capital Campaign page on our website, (click on Capital Campaign at bottom of home page) provides more information about how you can participate in this transformational period

Capital Campaign Gift Officers Anne Champlin Felicia Desrosiers Mona Eldadah Adria and Dan Foster Debra Marshall Lelia True

in WWS history. Please also feel free to contact Capital Campaign Director, Caitlin MacKenzie by phone at 301-229-6107 x127, or by email at

The WWS Messenger is produced by the Office of Development. We welcome your updates, comments, corrections, and suggestions. Please stay in touch. Director of Advancement & Communications: Steve Smith, Director of Annual Giving & Events: Maria Monteverde-Jackson, Capital Campaign Director: Caitlin MacKenzie, Phone: 301-229-6107 Design: Mike Zang


Facebook: Washington Waldorf School – WWS

Twitter: @DCWaldorf

wa S h i n gt o n wa l d o r f. o r g

Donors to the Build Our Vision Capital Campaign (as of June 6, 2014) Anonymous (9) Natalie and John Adams Ali Alwahti and Marilyn Noguera Alison Babil Robert Barnwell Michael and Susan Barr Ali Bayne and Carlos Perez-Verdia Jack Benson and Cecilia Berg-Benson Noel Bicknell and Caitlin MacKenzie Philipp and Doerthe Braun Jim and Chrissy Bryla Eddie Chang Charlotte’s Web Foundation Fred and Michele Coleman Nelson and Carolyn Crouch Michael and Dorine DiConti Jim Epstein and his children, Justine Epstein and Jules Feeney Jeanne Feeney and Family Matthew and Alexandra Finucane Files Flory Family Foster Kendall Family Joel and Susan Fuller Allison Fultz and Stephen Langer Gloria Leon Daniel and Margaret Grove JoseLo Gutierrez and Felicia Desrosiers Roy Hakes and Debra Marshall Raquel Hakes Kent Hills Eric and Susan Holdsworth Steven Horowitz Jon Jackson and Maria Monteverde-Jackson Patricia King Jackson Peter and Cecelia Karpoff

Elaine Kirby Velma LaPoint and Robert White Annette and Jonathan Leland Eileen Levitan Mary Ann MacKenzie Bonnie McClelland Cynthia McClelland Anthony Modica and Pamela Trochesset Dileep and Natasha Nair Dustin and Lanh Nguyen Mark and Julie Oxley Jon Padgham and Bonnie Auslander Jennifer and Greg Page Adrienne Paiewonsky and Paul Girdzis Ioana Razi, recognizing Catherine Razi Heddy and Trip Reid Linda Caro Reinisch Stanford and Carol Reinisch Foundation Robert Roche and Nancy Hirshbein Robin Rose and Judy Penski Inta Rutins Russel and Gemma Sage

Lex and Chrissie Sant Vicki and Roger Sant Marta Schley and Paul Squire Dale and Blanca Schusterman David Scher David Scribner and Valerie Green and Surfside Restaurant Greg Simon and Margo Reid Steve Smith and JLee Newell Norihiro and Mari Suzaki Lelia True Mara Viksnins Dan and Yon Wacker Susan Walsh Carla Wheeler and Jeff Naimon Whitmire Family Charitable Foundation

High School Chamber Singers at November Kickoff

7th Grade at Capital Campaign Kickoff

Artist’s Rendition of Our New Entrance Canopy


oa d , B e t h e S da , m d 2 0 8 1 6

Spring 2014



Senior Profiles, Class of 2014 Catharina Burbridge is taking a gap year during which she will work as an au pair for a family in Austria, then travel. She’s already fairly fluent in German after taking a leave of absence to travel and attend school in Austria. Catharina came to WWS in middle school. What’s special about Waldorf, she says, is that it feels like a big family, and students are encouraged to question things, and not see the world in black or white terms. The emphasis on art has also been a high point for her, and she expects to study fine arts in the future.

Catharina Burbridge

Claire Coleman will be attending Emerson College in Boston, the nation’s only four-year college devoted exclusively to communications and performing arts. Her passion is film, and all her classes will involve film studies and film making in some capacity. Being in Boston is, of course, also part of the attraction. Claire’s already had some experience in filmmaking, through her senior project documentary about a horse rescue organization, and more recently, the senior trip to San Francisco. A Waldorf lifer, Claire says that what stands out about Waldorf for her are art classes and how WWS teachers encouraged her imagination. Lina Flefel will be attending Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island this fall to study culinary arts. Johnson and Wales is one of only two four-year colleges offering a major in culinary arts. Longer term, though she says she’s known since age six, she wants to have her own restaurant. Another Waldorf lifer, Lina says she’s grateful for her Waldorf education and glad she stayed. At this year’s Athletic Awards Banquet, Lina’s many contributions to the WWS athletic program were recognized when she was named Lady Knight of the Year. Kaila Hill is looking forward to staring Colorado College this fall where she is interested in studying languages and architecture. She was attracted to Colorado for its location and block system, which somewhat resembles the main lesson system at Waldorf. In the meantime she will be making jewelry at Glen Echo Park this summer. Looking back on her Waldorf experience, Kaila says that what stands out are the small class sizes, the nurturing quality of the school community, and the close relationships with her classmates. She takes with her the 2014 Alanna Marie Lake Award, which recognizes the high school student who contributed the most to building community during the last year.

Claire Coleman

Lina Flefel

Ashley Kulesza will be attending Bates College in Maine in the fall, where she wants to pursue premed studies, with a side of geology (thanks to Mrs. Elfstrom’s inspiration). She will also be playing on the Bates girls basketball team, continuing the passion for basketball she found at WWS. Ashley leaves WWS with a stellar athletic record. She holds the record for the most career points for any girl in WWS basketball history, and last February was recognized as the PVAC Girls Basketball Player of the Year. A Waldorf student since first grade, Ashley mentions her caring teachers, especially Mr. Brauer, Ms. LeBlanc and Mrs. Elfstrom, as highlights of her Waldorf education.

Kaila Hill

Ashley Kulesza

Spring 2014


Naomi Langer will be attending Oberlin College in Ohio this fall where she wants to study creative writing, education, and astronomy. She is also drawn to Oberlin’s famous conservatory, where she plans to continue her study of violin. Not least, she also wants to develop her interest in photography, the subject of her senior project. Naomi offers a unique perspective because she came to the WWS high school relatively late, in 11th grade. Even though she came into a well-established class, she found that she fit in easily. Waldorf, she says, encouraged each student to be her own person and pursue her own interests. She also found relationships between students and teachers to be more personal, noting that one can’t be anonymous at Waldorf. Phoebe Modica will be attending Prescott College in Arizona this fall. Prescott was established at the impetus of the Ford Foundation in 1966 when it brought together some of the nation’s leading educators, and charged them with creating an ideal learning environment. Phoebe is interested in studying zoology (her senior project focused on the history of dog domestication) and environmental conservation, and was attracted to Prescott’s block system and emphasis on environmental studies and social justice. WWS, says Phoebe, gave her a truly well-rounded education and a rare ability to know how to think. She adds that what students take for granted at Waldorf would be considered amazing a most other schools. Phoebe’s parents are now moving to New Orleans, after many years in the Washington Waldorf community.

John Christian Noer

John Christian Noer is moving to the Cayman Island this fall to work as a scuba diving instructor. He took up diving over the last couple of years and has well over 100 dives to his credit. He describes diving as a euphoric experience unlike any other. A Waldorf lifer John Christian says WWS taught him flexibility and how to get along with all kinds of people (especially being the only guy this school year in a class full of strong girls!). Longer term, John Christian looks to develop his passion for cars, perhaps by getting trained as a mechanic. His senior project on car “tuning” has already demonstrated his skill in customization. Moreover, he has a strong entrepreneurial streak, and imagines having his own custom shop or other car-related business. Isabel Twanmo will be attending Bennington College in Vermont, where she plans to study neuroscience, music, and visual art. She was especially drawn to Bennington because it encourages students to create their own majors and take responsibility for their course of study. Not to mention, she likes the cold! She also plans on dancing a lot. Looking back, Isabel found that WWS helped her become an open, independent thinker, while offering close relationships with teachers and classmates. She credits a project on the nervous system in one of Mrs. Elfstrom’s blocks with stimulating her interest in neuroscience. Vera Pallasvesa came to the class for the year as a visiting student from Finland. Although she came to the class relatively late, she found the students welcoming, and she readily fit in. She appreciated the small size of WWS in comparison to her school in Finland, as well as the emphasis on the arts at Waldorf. Vera found WWS through friends. She really did want to attend WWS badly, as her school in Finland won’t recognize her work here, and she will have two more years before graduation there. At least she gets to “graduate” from WWS, after which she is looking forward to travelling to New York and San Francisco.

Naomi Langer

Phoebe Modica

Isabel Twanmo

Vera Pallasvesa



Class Notes


hank you to all alumni who shared their news for the class notes. Although WWS considers anyone who ever attend the School to be alumni, most of the individuals below graduated from the WWS high school. Some left after 8th grade, as indicated by the year “xxxx-8.” We invite all alumni to stay in touch with us. We’re proud of you and want to share your stories. Megin Charner-Laird (1993) is an assistant professor in the School of Education at Salem State University in Massachusetts. She received her EdD from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2010. Her research focuses on teachers’ experience of policy implementation. WWS Megin Charner was honored to have Laird at WWS Megin as our 2014 Graduation, 2014 commencement speaker in May. Joanna Harma (1995), PhD, is an authority on education in South Asia and Africa, having worked in the UK, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Malawi. She is now based in Paris and working with UNESCO. Meesha Chang (1996) is Global Galleries Director for Erarta, an international network of contemporary art galleries, with branches in Zurich, London, Hong Kong, and New York. She is currently based in New York, after previously being in Zurich. Megan Shelley (1996) and her husband, Chris Dugan, welcomed their second daughter, Whitley Lynn Dugan last July. Megan has been working for The Pew Charitable Trusts, located in Washington DC, since 2011. She worked directly for the CEO, managing the operations of the executive office for two years. Upon her return from medical leave she moved into a new position and is working as Pew’s Grants Officer. She is keeping busy working and caring for her five-year old and ten-month old girls. Jennie Cain (1997) is currently living with her husband Hirak in Germany, near Stuttgart, working on her dissertation (she is doing her PhD in German at the University of Michigan), and taking care of her nearly two-year old daughter Mira. Zephyr Mays (1997) is a Lieutenant in the US Coast Guard, serving as a helicopter pilot on Cape Cod. Zephyr’s tour on the Cape has

Zephyr Mays, far right, before his first flight command involved flying operations from New York City to the Canadian border, including search and rescue missions, medical evacuations, logistics, and Aids to Navigation missions. Before becoming a helicopter pilot, he graduated from Aviation Survival Technician (aka Rescue Swimmer) school in 2002, and Officer Candidate School in 2008. Other postings prior to Cape Cod include Portsmouth, Virginia; Sitka, Alaska; Borinquen, Puerto Rico; and Pensacola, Florida. Zephyr thoroughly enjoys his time off alert duty, enjoying the best Cape Cod has to offer with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Lillian, who attends the Waldorf School of Cape Cod. Jennifer Spitulnik Hughes (1997) has been awarded a dissertation fellowship from the English Department at the University of Missouri that supports the completion of her dissertation, “No People Like Show People: Networks, Native Ethnographies, and Social Media Performances in Jennifer Spitulnik Hughes the Broadway with daughter Risa Community.” In other news, her daughter Risa is now 18 months old and never stops moving or chatting.  Brian Gregory (1998) completed his PhD in media studies at Columbia University in 2013 and is now teaching in the communication arts program at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Yumi Kendall (1998) is finishing her tenth year as Assistant Principal Cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra and “having a blast.” She teaches privately, coaching cello sectionals at the Curtis Institute, and serves as a mentor for its new Community Artist Yumi Kendall

Program. Last year she received the C. Hartman Kuhn Award, which honors “the member of The Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standard and the reputation of The Philadelphia Orchestra.” In making the award, the Chairman of the Orchestra’s board of directors noted that Yumi “has brought an exuberant spirit to her work with staff, Board Members, fellow musicians, and volunteers. Time and again, she has stepped up to engage with our patrons and donors at concerts and events throughout the community...” Elsewhere, Yumi can be seen in a viral video showing members of the Orchestra playing in a plane while stuck on the tarmac in Beijing, (Yumi is in the center front playing the cello.) Jessica Blond Seeperad (1998) serves as the Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program Lead at NASA HQ. In this position she helps ensure the Agency’s ability to continue operating during any type of disruption, as well as supporting the overall Continuity of Government. She lives in DC with her husband, Darren, their dog, Kloufie and often a “foster” dog. In her previous job she traveled extensively as a consultant and met her husband while working on a project at an ammonia production plant in Trinidad and Tobago. Jessica and Darren were married at a ceremony in 2011 on the island of Trinidad, which was attended by several WWS alumni. Jessica holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and a BS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and is the former President of the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP), National Capitol Region chapter. Tony Williams (1998) has gotten engaged to his longtime girlfriend Erika Nuber. Tony is Director of Government Affairs at Comcast Communications in Philadelphia. Erika is an Emergency Medicine Resident at Rutgers University Hospital in Newark, NJ. Caroline Wright (1999) is a pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s National Medical Center. She did her residency in anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and received her MD degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. Glenda Goodman (1999) is a musicologist and an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the History Department at the University of Southern California. She received her PhD in Glenda Goodman

Spring 2014

historical musicology at Harvard University in May 2012. Her research brings her to Philadelphia regularly, where she gets to see her fellow classmates Yumi Kendall and Elizabeth Hegland Ultimo. Josh Courage (2000) is living in San Mateo, California, where he operates Courage Performance, an awardwinning strength and conditioning gym, with another branch in the DC area. He is “having a blast.” He is getting Josh Courage with married this September to fiancé, Lindsey his fiancé Lindsey. Josh’s website is Sophie Toolanen (2000) is getting married in June then spending two months in Sweden this summer to re-connect with family and also in conjunction with her fiancé getting an internship in Stockholm.

Guests at Alumni Basketball Game Reception, December 2013: (l-r) Nikita Pion Klockner (at rear); Brian Gregory; Sophie Toolanen; Caitlyn Shelley; Chris Hopkins Caitlyn Shelley (2000) oversees HR and recruiting for the International Executive Service Corps, a US non profit that sends consultants and volunteer experts to developing countries whose private enterprises, emerging industries, financial institutions, and governments need managerial and technical expertise. Before coming to IESC she worked as a contract employee to USAID, focusing on HR and procurement management. Caitlyn is a 2005 graduate of Eckerd College and served three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. Bryan Atkins (2001) married the “girl of his dreams,” Caitlin Atkins, in May, and co-founded a custom furniture company focusing primarily on live edge and reclaimed wood one of a kind pieces. His website is


Iris Levin (2001) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Grinnell College in Iowa. This summer she will be moving to Boulder, Colorado, to begin working on postdoctoral research through a Iris Levin National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on social networks and parasite transmission in barn swallows. Her website is Brian Spitulnik (2001) is a theater critic at the, while continuing to perform in the cast of the Broadway show Chicago. His review of the show Bullets Over Broadway, based on Woody Allen’s movie of the same name, is available at . Miriam Elfstrom (2002) is currently pursuing her PhD in public health at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She coauthored Efficacy of HPV-based screening for prevention of invasive cervical cancer: followup of four European randomised controlled trials, which was published in the November 3 edition of The Lancet. After WWS, Miriam graduated from Oberlin College in 2006, then worked as a recruiter for Teach for America for three years. She continued on to Emory University where she received her master’s degree in public health in 2011. Sherrill Price Nash (2002) is a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force. She joined the Air Force after her graduation from WWS, later graduating summa cum laude from the University of Maryland College of Nursing. She continued onto Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB in Alabama, and graduated last fall as a Second Lieutenant. She now works as a Registered Nurse in labor and delivery, postpartum, and antepartum care at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Joseph, and their daughter, Sherrill Price Nash, center Serenity.

Claire Clugston (2003) graduated from Brandeis University in May 2013 with an MA in sustainable international development. After finishing her masters she received a Leland Fellowship though the Congressional Hunger Center and was placed with the nongovernmental organization ACDI/VOCA. This year, she is working in Paraguay to promote women’s participation in agricultural cooperatives. She also gives trainings on gender issues to farmer groups ranging from a large fair trade sugar cooperative to a small association of women banana producers. In September, she will move to DC to continue her work in ACDI/ VOCA’s headquarters. She is looking forward to being back in the DC area after being gone for more than ten years. JD Dolan (2003) continues to serve on active duty in the Army. He is an Assistant Professor of Military Science in the Army ROTC Department at St. John’s University in New York and an MBA candidate at Columbia Business School. He and two former Army Officers are partners in a consulting firm, LDR Investments LLP, that specializes in helping small business owners learn and apply the principles of effective operational leadership. Jeff Johns (2003) travels the world, blogging about his experiences at www.latitudethirtyfour. com. In addition to running Latitude 34 full time he continues to work with top travel brands on brand recognition/digital marketing as well as various other photography/documentary freelance projects world wide. He plans to be based in Thailand for the coming months and possibly relocating to Europe or Dubai before the end of the year. Jeff reports that during a recent five-month trip that took him to 27 countries he was able to visit Waldorf alumni in London, Paris, Austria, Amsterdam, and Tel Aviv. Laura Johnson (2003) was married on June 1 to Shane Macaulay and is moving to Perth, Australia (Shane is Australian). Dan Shelley (2003) is Director of Sales in Shenzhen, China, for the Belgian beer company Duvel. He speaks fluent Mandarin and recently earned his MBA in China. Emma Heirman (2003) has spent the last year living in Überlingen, Germany, completing an internship as part of her training towards becoming a Christian Community priest. The WWS world is a small one, she says, and she met WWS alumni, April Lanham, in Überlingen randomly one day after church. 



Class Notes continued After completing law school at Catholic University, Leif Klockner (2004) passed the Maryland Bar and was sworn in last December. He is now working as a contract paralegal in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights division at the Department of Justice, fighting discrimination against people with disabilities and ensuring compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Tom Mansour (2004) joined the Coast Guard in May 2008, after graduating from Eckerd College, and then began Officer Candidate School in New London, Connecticut, in January 2009. After being commissioned as an Ensign he served on the cutter Steadfast for two years on a variety of missions that took him all the way from the Arctic to Central America. He was promoted to Executive Officer and assigned to the cutter Key Biscayne, based in Key West, Florida. On the Key Biscayne, Tom was second in command of a crew of 18, engaged mostly in alien interdiction. Last summer, Tom was reassigned to Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, where he now serves on the Executive Staff of a three star Admiral. Robert Sorkin (2005) is Coordinator in the Office of the CEO at Gaumont International Television. Gaumont is a leading independent production studio, and has developed numerous high quality shows, including Hannibal (NBC) Hemlock Grove (Netflix), and the upcoming show Narcos (Netflix). He lives in Los Angeles with fellow WWS alumni Max Silver. Julia Dann (2006) is living in New York City and working as Studio Manager for Mapos, an architecture and design firm in the Lower East Side. Lucy Engelman (2006) is living in Los Angeles working as an actress and a writer. She and her writing partner were among 70 candidates chosen out of 3,000 to be finalists in the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. Although ultimately they did not make it into the final 15, they gained the attention of the institute and investors and are currently developing their first feature. This fall she will also be producing and acting in a small independent female-centered psychological thriller. Eryn Lake (2006) got married in June 2013 and is now a kindergarten teacher at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Arlington, Virginia. She and her husband live in Arlington. Jay Louvis (2006) is Director of Advancement Services at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Athletic Awards Winners at Spring 2014 Banquet: (l-r) Kaila Hill, Alanna Marie Lake Award; Cameron Bechmann, Knight of the Year; Lina Flefel, Lady Knight of the Year

in Potomac. He is also working with Kai Niedermair and others on a KickStarter project to send musicians on tour in Africa to play for Congolese refugee camps and raise awareness about the hardships there. In another project he is working with fellow WWS alumni, Adam Mutschler, Mariano Arrien-Gomez, and Nathan Silver, to create custom designed and US-made tee-shirts for the World Cup in June.

microscopy. This year he will be starting a joint PhD program between Oxford and the NIH in Bethesda, and is looking forward to spending time in the DC area once more. When he’s not in the lab, he has been filling up his passport across Europe, still plays his viola occasionally, and can now pretend to understand English cultural hallmarks like the game of cricket and the appeal of warm beer.

Adam Mutschler (2006) got married last September and is living in Chicago, where he has been working at a start up called Belly Card.

Julia Johns (2007) has finished her first year of graduate school at Boston University where she is pursuing her master’s degree in speech language pathology. Last semester, as part of her multi-disciplinary clinical work, she worked with stroke patients and preschool children on a weekly basis. This fall she will be working in with babies and toddlers (0-3) for an early intervention internship and then in other public school and hospital settings. She loves Boston despite the freezing winters!

Abigail Wacker (2006) returned to the US in August 2013 after spending a year working for Manzil Welfare Society, a New Delhi, India, based youth empowerment and learning center. Upon her return to the States, Abby began an AmeriCorps year of service at Collier School, a school for students with emotional and behavioral issues in New Jersey. She greatly enjoys her work at Collier, which includes teaching high school English, assisting with administrative tasks, and helping out with the music and drama programs. Still, she looks forward to the fall, when she will move to Philadelphia to begin pursuing her master’s degree in international educational development at the University of Pennsylvania. Rachel Chamberlin (2007) is pursuing her PhD in medical anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Justin Demmerle (2007-8) Since attending the University of Chicago (BA ‘11), Justin has been working in molecular biology labs in Chicago and Oxford, from which he has published original research in several academic journals. He moved to the UK in 2013 to work at Oxford University studying the threedimensional organization of genomes with light

After graduating from Wake Forest University in 2011, Ava Petrash (2007) worked as a tutor at Match Charter High School in Boston and participated in their teacher residency program. She then returned to DC where she taught ninth grade English at KIPP DC College Preparatory High School in Anacostia. Last summer, she took a leap of faith and moved to San Francisco to be closer to friends. In December, she earned her master’s degree and currently, she loves teaching ninth grade English at Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City, just a few minutes south of San Francisco. She enjoys California’s spectacular weather but reports that she misses the hustle and bustle of the East Coast. After graduating from the University of Maryland as a jazz guitar performance major, Michael Kramer (2007) joined the Navy in 2012 as a Musician Third Class. While serving

Spring 2014

with the Navy Band Northwest, he auditioned and was accepted into the US Army Blues Band, “Pershing’s Own,” the premier jazz ensemble of the US Army. In order Michael Kramer with to transfer from the Navy to the Army, daughter Maya however, Michael had to complete Army boot camp, which he did in early June. He will now be stationed at Fort Meyer, and promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant, Special Band Musician. Max Silver (2007) is a filmmaker working from Los Angeles and London for director Malcolm Venville. They have shot campaigns in Chile, Switzerland, France, England, Morocco, Italy, and Germany for companies such as Nike, Google, Microsoft, Capital One, and many more. He reports the highlight so far was sharing beers with Samuel L. Jackson during Oktoberfest in Münich. He is looking forward to his next challenge, which will be to apply his skills and experience to directing a short film co-written with his brother Nathan, which explores themes of education, freedom, and imagination through a darkly comedic setting. More information about Max’s work is available on his website, Hetta Towler (2007) is teaching preschool at a Friend’s (non-Quaker) in Boulder, Colorado, while completing her master’s degree in educational psychology at the University of Colorado, Denver. Rose Trembour (2007-8) will be entering her third year of law school at the University of Colorado Law School this fall. Over the summer she is working in the Denver District Attorney’s Office, and hopes to continue working there after graduation. She is enjoying the Colorado outdoors and having her family nearby.

(l-r) Daniela Anderson, Sasha Adams, Kendyll Gage Ripa at “Here Now” in NYC Daniela Anderson (2008) will be attending the University of Utah School of Medicine this fall.


During the last year she has been conducting research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. She has also written a book for children and is seeking a publisher. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, biking, and being with friends in the lovely wilds of Utah. Kendyll Gage Ripa (2008) is living in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, where she works at an organic farm called Slip Away Farm, raising produce for a farm stand, farmers markets, and a CSA, as well as chickens for eggs, and pork. In her spare time she is pursuing her clothing designs, and also doing some simple print making and graphic design work. Last October she helped organize a crowd-funded pop up artist’s shop project in New York called “Here Now.” Her website, http://kendyllgage-ripa., features her clothing (modeled by WWS classmate Mollie Fox) and other artwork. Camille Leon (2008) has been teaching at the Panyotai Waldorf School in Bangkok, Thailand, for the last seven months and will continue teaching there until next fall. This past September she was able to raise over $2,000, and distribute food stables to Bodh Gaya, a small village that she fell in love while studying abroad in India. She is enjoying travel throughout Asia, learning different languages and cultures, and working with small children. Anne Lieberman (2008) has been living in London for the past seven years. In 2012 she completed her degree in economics, politics, and public policy from Goldsmiths, University of London. She now works in the UK Parliament helping parliamentarians better engage with business. Anne was elected to serve on the executive committee for Democrats Abroad UK in 2011 and continues to help overseas Americans vote from abroad. She is also an active member of the Junior League of London.  Jason Taliaferro (2008) moved to Wyoming after graduating from WWS, originally to study horse management, but later earning a certification in welding. He took a job as an auto mechanic, got married in 2011, and moved to Hartville, Wyoming, (pop. 62) where he joined the local volunteer fire department. He then joined an apprenticeship program with the Brotherhood of Boilermakers Union Local 101. As a boilermaker he has travelled all over Wyoming and Colorado, repairing and constructing oil refineries and power plants. In June 2013 he and his wife welcomed their first child, Justin William. This month they are moving into their own home in Hartville.

Patricia Sarcos-Alvarez (2008) is a rising senior at the University of Maryland majoring in psychology. She will be applying to dental school next year. Sandy Wacker (2008) is a communications associate at Reingold, a public relations and marketing firm in Alexandria. She manages the national outreach efforts of Make the Connection, a veteran mental health awareness campaign. In her free time, Sandy participates in local races and is scheduled to run her first marathon in January. Lincoln (Dylan) Lin (2009) is pursuing a master’s degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and is now living on the SAIS campus in Nanjing, China. Lincoln graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2013. Naomi Schware (2009-8) finished her service in the Israeli Defense Forces after making Aliyah, and is now continuing her studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Nathan Sewall (2009) is living in Houston, Texas, and taking classes at Houston Community College. Tom Sherrod (2009) is a recording engineer and musician excited to be working with the growing music scene in DC and Baltimore areas, and as far away as Philadelphia. He recently finished an album with his brother Opie Sherrod, which they will be releasing in vinyl as well as digital. Next up Tom is looking to lease some warehouse space to start up a new community recording studio and production house. You can hear a sample of Tom and Opie’s music at Zach Smith (2009) ) graduated from Haverford College in 2013 with a BS in biology. This June he completed his MS in physiology and biochemistry from Georgetown University. This fall he will enter medical school at the Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. Colin Taliaferro (2009) received his BS degree in Livestock Production Management, while training with a veterinarian for two years in Vermont. A year and a half ago he met his “soulmate” and is moving to Missouri to be with him. They are planning a 2015 wedding. Colin is now working with cattle and planning to pursue his master’s degree in agriculture education. 



Class Notes continued Ryan Taliaferro (2009) graduated from Sterling College December in 2012 and is now working on a cattle ranch in Montana, running about 1200 head on 30,000 acres. He does everything from cattle work to cropping to equipment repair and maintenance. This June he is getting married in New Hampshire. He is “loving life” with his “dream job and woman of my dreams.” Bridget Wilkins (2009) graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in May with a degree in sociology. At St. Mary’s Bridget played on the womens basketball team. At WWS had the second highest total number of career points on the girl’s high school basketball team. She plans to attend a nursing assistant program with the Red Cross then apply to nursing school. Cary Zon (2009) is studying graphic design at Montgomery College after which she plans to transfer to the University of Maryland. Lily Barnwell (2010) finished her fourth year of college last spring and is now halfway through a combined BS/MS occupational therapy program at Towson University. Last semester she did fieldwork in the orthopedic unit, ICU, and other units at St. Joseph Medical Center, where she saw patients who had undergone a wide range of procedures, from total knee replacements, to spinal surgery, to open heart surgery, an “amazing experience.” She is also working part time at The North Face store in Towson. Eliza Dezenhall (2010) raises prizewinning alpacas, while continuing her studies at McDaniel College, where she is majoring in history. Her alpaca website is Emily Hall (2010) graduated last May from Washington College with a BA in human development, a minor in cultural anthropology, and certification to teach elementary education. At Washington College Emily served as a tour guide for potential students, a tutor at the writing center, a peer mentor Emily Hall in Tanzania for international students, a member of the WACappela singing group, and president of the Pi Lambda Theta education honor society. She also made two extended trips to Tanzania as a Douglas Cater Society Junior Fellow. At graduation Emily received the Education Department’s award for the student with the most promise to make a meaningful contribution,

and the Clark-Porter Medal for the senior whose character and personality most clearly enhanced campus life. During her last semester Emily won a Fulbright fellowship to teach English in Nepal. She will be leaving for Nepal this summer. Isobel Modica (2010) graduated in May summa cum laude May from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in fiber arts. She is now working at Under Armour, in men’s apparel print design. Her website is Theo Zizka (2010) graduated last May from University of Michigan with a BFA in art and design. Last year he studied abroad in Copenhagen and designed and built a chair there, Theo Zizka now featured on the website  Theo spent his senior year working on his thesis project, which is described on his website www.theozizka. com/. Since graduation he has moved back to DC where he continues to design and build furniture. He will be moving back to Michigan this fall and getting married in September. Robert Coleman (2011) will be a senior this fall at the University of Maryland, majoring in jazz guitar performance. When not at school he has been playing gigs and giving private guitar lessons in the area and hopes to increase the number of private students he teaches. Earlier this spring, Robert and his trio also played at the WWS spring gala. This summer he is working in the College Park area Robert Coleman, 2011 and taking summer school classes. Selections from his junior recital are available on YouTube at: Raquel Hakes (2011) is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, studying Fire Protection Engineering. At Maryland, she has been involved in two research projects over the last couple of years: one studying wildfire spread and another looking at green roof applications. She has also travelled to New Zealand, where she studied environmental sustainability practices in the country, and more recently to Liberia, in Western Africa, where she helped build a medical clinic on the grounds of a school and church outside

Monrovia. This summer she will be in Chicago, working for a company that assesses and manages fire risks for businesses. Tsagaanaa Picon (2011) is a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she is studying geography. She transferred to UMBC after finishing her associate’s degree at Montgomery College. Julia Roche (2011) is a rising senior a Beloit College in Wisconsin. She spent last semester studying abroad in Tanzania, both at the University of Dar es Salaam, and in the field, camping for six weeks and conducting archaeological research. Aubrey Tingler, (2011), is a rising senior at Emory University, majoring in environmental studies and English. Last spring she was an intern in the Office of Sustainability Initiatives. She was also chosen as a participant in Emory University’s Art and Social Engagement Project. This fall she will study abroad at Queen Mary University in London. Elizabeth Wells (2011) is a rising senior at the Rochester Institute of Technology majoring in graphic design. This summer she will be interning with Big Spaceship, a design, communications, and social media firm in Brooklyn (where she was one of two selected out of more than one hundred applicants). Although most of her work is in digital media, Elizabeth is also interested in calligraphy and font design. She is president of the Hand Lettering Club at RIT and created a new typeface called Kooi, which was featured at the Society of Typographic Aficionados annual conference. Her website is Chapman Zon (2011) is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, in Winston Salem, majoring in film. He has had a hand in producing or directing several films, and is anticipating a move to Los Angeles following graduation. Alex Duncan, (2012-10) is a rising a junior at the University of Richmond, double majoring in PPEL (philosophy, politics, economics, and law) and rhetoric and communications. He is vice president of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and employed as a tour guide for the campus, a personal trainer in the university gym, and a speech consultant in the University Speech Center. This summer he is doing rhetorical theory research, which includes travels to Budapest and possibly Prague.

Spring 2014

Paige Duncan (2012) is a rising junior at the Savannah College of Art and Design this fall, majoring in interior design with minors in business and event planning. She spent the spring quarter in Hong Kong, where she has had a very full experience taking advantage of all the city offers. She also had the opportunity to visit Chaing Mai, Thailand, for a week. This summer she will working at an internship and with two catering companies. Shelby Duncan (2012) is a rising junior at Dickinson College, majoring in psychology. She will spend the fall of her junior year studying abroad in Toulouse, France. The following spring she will participate in Dickinson’s Washington DC program. Earlier this year, after completing her sexual assault victim’s advocacy training, she worked as a hotline caller and hospital responder for the YWCA in Carlisle. She also plays violin in the college-community orchestra. This summer Shelby is interning at Long & Foster, while working on her real estate license for Maryland and DC.



his year marks the 20th and 10th anniversaries of the classes of 1994 and 2004, respectively. We wanted to give special recognition to these anniversary WWS class years, while inviting all alumni and their families to stay connected (or reconnect). You can use the enclosed reply envelope to send us your updated contact information and news, or just to say “hello.” We’d love to hear from you.

Class of 1994, 20th anniversary

Julian Feeley (2012) is a rising junior at Claremont McKenna College. This summer he is interning in Cape Town, South Africa, for a business called Prodigy Finance which provides business school loans for international students. From there he will travel to Kunming, China, for a program on “Regional Development in China and Southeast Asia.” As part of the program he will also have the opportunity to visit Tibet, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Last summer he started a business to produce and publish his music. Sam Girdzis (2012) is a rising junior at the College of William & Mary, double majoring in physics and mathematics. He is a staff photographer for the DoG Street Journal (a student-run publication) and works as a tutor for intro-level math and physics courses. This summer he is doing physics research for ten weeks at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, through their Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program. The research will focus on the components used in the electron source for their accelerator. Zoe Kulik (2012) is a rising junior as a geology major at Macalester College. She will continue her ongoing research on sauropod dinosaur bone remodeling and growth rates with paleobiology professor Kristi Curry Rogers during a paid internship at Macalester over the summer. In addition to doing lab work and writing a paper with Dr. Curry Rogers, Zoe will travel with other summer interns to Glacier National Park and several sites in Montana to collect fossils.

Class of 2004, 10th anniversary Bao-Tich Nyguen (2012) is now attending George Mason University, after spending a gap year at the Plum Village Monastery, in France, a Buddhist practice center for lay people, founded in 1982 by the Vietnamese Zen-Master Thich Nhat Hanh. At Plum Village Bao-Tich helped organize and support all aspect of retreats for visitors to the Monetary. He also travelled with Tich Nhat Hanh’s 2012 Europe Tour (France, Germany, Italy) and 2013 Asia Tour (Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong). Both at the Monastery and on-tour, he especially enjoyed improving his Vietnamese language skills, which allowed him

to work as a Vietnamese and English translator. Charlotte Smith (2012) will be a rising junior at Oberlin College, majoring in history. While at Oberlin she has studied abroad in Italy and Mexico, and expects to spend a semester in Seville, Spain next spring. She tutors at the Boys and Girls Club of Oberlin and is co-president of the Oberlin young educators.

Non Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Hagerstown, MD Permit 58 4800 Sangamore Road Bethesda, MD 20816

ashington Waldorf School | Logo PMS 200, PMS 158 | 09.08.08 C A T A L O N E D E S I G N C O . L L C , Š 2008

Class of 2014

front row: Isabel Twanmo, Catharina Burbridge; back row: John Christian Noer, Vera Pallasvesa, Lina Flefel, Ashley Kulesza, Kaila Hill, Claire Coleman, Naomi Langer, Phoebe Modica

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WWS Messenger Spring 2014  

News and Views From the Washington Waldorf School. This issue features updates on the Build Our Vision capital campaign, profiles of gradua...

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