Davis Waldorf School
Our School

Meet Our Teachers

Jessica Efstratis, Lavender Preschool Teacher
Jessica was born in the foothills of northern California and grew up in the Sacramento area next to the American River.  She came across Waldorf education in 2006 while looking for a preschool for her own daughter. It was love at first sight and she decided to pursue her Waldorf Early Childhood Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College.  She worked at Camellia Waldorf school as their parent child teacher as well as owning and operating a home preschool program, The Rainbow Bridge.  She now has three children and is happy to be both a teacher and proud parent in the Davis Waldorf community.
B.A. Integral Studies, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California; Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Jenny Gannon, Golden Poppy Preschool
Jenny Gannon grew up in Sacramento in the '70s and '80s. Her father was a painter/sculptor and her mother and aunties were quilters. Jenny received her BFA from Eastern Washington University and returned home to Sacramento to pursue an MFA from Sacramento State University and to start her family.

When her boys were young, Jenny discovered Waldorf education, which was helpful to her as a parent, improved her family life and inspired her to become a Waldorf teacher.  After graduating from Rudolf Steiner College's Early Childhood program, she taught kindergarten at Camellia Waldorf School in Sacramento for eight years. Jenny has also taught preschool at BeeLoved Farm School in Shingle Springs, CA where she co-founded the Folkschool, a mixed-age kindergarten that focuses on farm-chores and folk-crafts.

Her stepdaughter attends Sacramento Waldorf School and her sons attended Camellia Waldorf School and Sacramento Waldorf High School and have graduated. Jenny is still engaged in the arts and continues to be inspired by Waldorf education as a parent and as a community member. She is delighted to be part of our Early Childhood Faculty and looks forward to many happy hours with your children.

Mary Caridi-Gorga, Morning Glory Kindergarten
Mary Caridi-Gorga has 15 years of experience working in early childhood education in Waldorf and Waldorf-inspired settings. She earned a BS in Child Development from Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois, where she is originally from. In 2003, Mary received her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks.  In 2013 she completed the “Nurturing the Roots” professional deepening course in Therapeutic Approach to Waldorf Early Childhood Education in Denver. She has a grown son who attended DWS from kindergarten through 8th grade. Mary loves dancing, making music and singing with friends, hiking in nature and curling up with a good book
B.S. Child Development, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Jennifer Slater, Climbing Rose Kindergarten Teacher
While pursuing a degree in Social Science, Jennifer Slater found Waldorf Education through a classmate, our very own Mary Nichols, and originally worked alongside her in the preschool. The stars aligned in 2013 and Jennifer took her first kindergarten class at DWS shortly after receiving her Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma. She enjoys crafting, traveling, hiking and camping with her husband, Chris. She is a storyteller and shares many a story of her dog, Roo, and cat, Franny, much to the pleasure of the Climbing Rose kindergarten children.  
 A.A. Social Science, Sacramento City College; B.A.Child Development, Sacramento State University; Waldorf Early Childhood Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Karen Holt, 1st Grade, DWS Class 2025
Karen Holt has been a classroom teacher for 19 years; 15 years at the Davis Waldorf School, and four years at Sacramento Waldorf School, focusing on the lower grades and teaching first through fifth grades. She has one high-school aged daughter. Karen enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and hiking.
B.A. in Elementary Education, Augsburg College, MN; MA in Human Development, Saint Mary’s University, MN; Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California; Remedial Education Training, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California.

Kathy Dean, 2nd Grade, DWS Class of 2024
Kathy started off her professional career working for over ten years in administrative positions. After working at the Camellia Waldorf School as the registrar and receptionist, she realized that she had found an environment she loved being a part of. She decided to seek a greater challenge and develop a new career path as a Waldorf School Grade Teacher. She held her first in classroom position as the First Grade Class Assistant at the San Francisco Waldorf School. She enjoys spending time in nature hiking and paddle boarding.
B.A. Sociology, California State University, San Diego, CA; Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California

Coleen Borrego, 3rd Grade, DWS Class of 2023
Coleen Borrego majored in English and minored in Education at the University of California, Davis, and then continued on at UC Davis to earn her teaching credential.  She taught English at Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville for nine years.  While seeking a preschool for their eldest daughter, she and her husband came upon Waldorf education and Coleen felt as though heaven opened and the angels sang -- she had found the home of her heart.  After the birth of her second daughter, Coleen earned her Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate at Rudolf Steiner College.  In due time, both daughters enrolled at Davis Waldorf School and Coleen was ready to take up her first class.  She has taught at DWS since 2006, and loves every minute of her time with the children!
B.A. English, UC Davis, Davis, CA; California State Teaching Credential, UC Davis, Davis, CA, Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California

Karen Roos, 4th Grade, Class of 2022
After graduating from college, Ms. Roos joined the Peace Corps and lived in Niger, West Africa. Upon her return to the United States, she began a successful 12-year technology marketing career in the Silicon Valley. As her sons began their schooling, Ms. Roos discovered Waldorf education, and knew that her dreams of teaching creatively and holistically would be fulfilled.
Ms. Roos’ teaching career began in 2006.  She has taught at both Camellia Waldorf School in Sacramento and at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School. While living in Santa Cruz, she initiated the Poppy Mountain Waldorf Home School Program, serving as a teacher and enrichment director for elementary and middle school grades.Ms. Roos strives to build connected community through warm enthusiasm and respect for each individual, and is dedicated to fostering a deep love of learning and living. Her talents and passions include storytelling, history, geometric and form drawing, creative writing, handwriting, and natural sciences.
B.S. Business Administration, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA; Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Education Diploma, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California

Cindy Toy, 5th Grade, Class of 2021
Ms. Toy’s background is richly diverse and includes a B.A. in English Literature with teaching as an emphasis from UC Davis. In addition, she has her degree in nursing, is an RN, and worked at Sutter Davis Hospital in the Medical/Surgical department and at Sutter Davis Women's Health.  
She attended the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento and has completed the Waldorf teacher training program. Ms. Toy has taught at the Davis Waldorf School for nine years, teaching one class from grades one through eight and also serving as our upper grades mentor.
Cindy is married and the mother of 3 boys - 29, 27, and 18 years old.  She notes that being a mother has been her greatest educational experience. Her family owns and operates an organic farm in the Little Applegate Valley near Ashland, Oregon. Every moment not spent teaching or traveling to basketball games with her son, Max, is spent gardening. During the summer, Ms. Toy holds environmental camps at the farm for children.  Her additional interests include music, textile crafts, creative writing, cooking, Ultimate Frisbee, backpacking, Shakespeare, and especially Golden Retreivers.

Caitlin Amajor, 6th Grade, Class of 2020
Ms. Amajor has been teaching in the upper grades for the past five years and each year has found a passion in working with adolescents; their curiousity, discernment and love of learning is engaging and continually exciting to experience as a teacher.
She attributes her passion for the arts, history, and learning about different cultures to her lifelong association with the Waldorf Education. Ms. Amajor attended Sierra Waldorf school, kindergarten through 8th grade, in the small town of Jamestown, CA, located in Gold Rush country. She feels blessed to call her former Waldorf teachers her mentors.  
She has a B.A. in history with a concentration in European history; she lived in the UK to complete her studies. She attended the Rudolf Steiner College where she received the Waldorf Elementary School Teacher Diploma.

Steve Brannon, 7th Grade, Class of 2019
Steve Brannon began his teaching career in 2005. He has taught at White Mountain Waldorf School in Albany, New Hampshire; the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City, and at the Waldorf Homeschool Initiative in Ghent, New York. He has also worked in IT administration, web and graphic design, and non-profit fundraising. 
B.A., Goddard College, Plainfield, VT; advanced studies in visual arts, anthroposophy and teaching from Rudolf Steiner Institute, New York, and West Coast Institute, Vancouver B.C.

Kiersen Clerkin, 8th Grade, Class of 2018
Kiersen Clerkin began teaching at the Davis Waldorf School in 2014.  She is a graduate of Davis Waldorf School and Sacramento Waldorf High School. Kiersen holds Bachelor’s Degrees from the University College Dublin, Ireland in Sociology and Information Studies.  She began Waldorf teacher training when she moved back to the states. Kiersen is passionate about travel and adventure and loves sharing the joy of learning with the young people she teaches.
B.A. Sociology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; B.A. Information Studies, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, Waldorf Teacher Training, Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, CA

Ute Isabel Luebeck, Lower Grades Mentor
Ute was born and raised in a small German village to what was then close to the border of East Germany, close to what was then the border of East Germany. She describes her first three years of school much like Rudolph Steiner described his! She later finished her education in Braunschweig, Germany with a degree in business.
Ute was fully trained in Waldorf education at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, from which she graduated in 1999. She has taught ever since, mostly in the younger grades including  2½ years teaching at the Nairobi Waldorf School in Kenya, Africa a time of immeasurable experience she wouldn’t miss for anything.
Ute is a member of the First Class of Spiritual Science and had the privilege of participating in the Consciousness Studies program with Dennis Klocek at the Rudolph Steiner College. She considers Rudolf Steiner work as a lifelong spiritual path. Since 2014, Ute has used her extensive experience to mentor the young teachers at the Davis Waldorf School and elsewhere.

Simone Demarzi, Parent-Child Class Facilitator
Simone Demarzi has a BS in Education, a Waldorf Teaching Diploma, has completed three levels of RIE training, is a PITC (Programs for Infant Toddler Care) trainer, and holds a Child Development Site Supervisor Permit from the California State Department of Credentialing. She has taught at five different Waldorf Schools in their Early Childhood Programs over 40 years. She ran the LifeWays Child Care Program at Rudolf Steiner College, and had an Infant Care Program in her home for five years. Simone developed Parent Child programs at Live Oak Waldorf School and Sacramento Waldorf. She has three grown children all of whom went Preschool – 12 grade in a Waldorf School.

Abbie Hoffman – Early Childhood Director and June Bug Aftercare Coordinator
Abbie joined our school in 2013, as a Kindergarten Assistant, and is currently our Early Childhood Director and June Bug Aftercare Coordinator. She was introduced to Waldorf education when her parents moved from Southern California so she and her younger sister could attend the Sacramento Waldorf School. Her fondest memories are of playing ambush along the American River, and riding her horse along those same trails. Her son attended Camellia Waldorf, as well as a Waldorf Inspired Cooperative Preschool she started with seven other young families. She has worked in many facets of education, including elementary school teaching, high school exchange student programs, administration, equestrian and outdoor programs, and early childhood. She finds inspiration in the beauty of nature, and deeply enjoys sharing this with the children.

Karen Hansen, Sunflower Aftercare Program Coordinator
Karen brings her deep love of children to DWS as the Aftercare Program Coordinator for grades children. Karen is a mother of 3 (adults now), and has worked with children most of her life. She has worked as a Doula and Childbirth Educator assisting pregnant couples and families. She has worked in preschool settings, and as a Waldorf teacher’s assistant in a private school setting. She home-schooled her children, with her daughter attending private and public school as well. She used a Waldorf inspired curriculum with her children. She owned and operated a tourist retreat and bison ranch in Canada for 14 years, where she hosted private and group workshops and retreats, and offered educational programs and events for children.

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