Grades 1-8 Faculty

Our faculty lead by example, for each other and for our students.
Our faculty bring a wide variety of life experiences, academic successes, and perspectives that inform our explorations and strengthen the richness of our school culture. Some have participated in Maine Coast Waldorf School life as parents of MCWS students, others as parents of children from other Waldorf Schools.

  • Allysun West
    Allysun WestLower Grades Assistant
    Allysun West

    Allysun West

    Lower Grades Assistant

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2018
    BFA, Maine College of Art
    Ally West was born and raised in Maine and started knitting at age 8, but didn't hear about a Waldorf school until she was 18. Ally graduated from Maine College of Art in the spring of 2018 with a degree in Textiles and Fashion, and began working at Maine Coast as the handwork assistant in the winter of 2018. Since then, she has been the handwork assistant, handwork teacher and lower grades assistant. Since working at Maine Coast, Ally has developed a love of working with children and hopes to pursue further education in child development. In her spare time, Ally creates textile and garment designs, loves to swim, read and play dance dance revolution with her partner Alec.
  • Ananda Kaymen
    Ananda KaymenHandwork
    Ananda Kaymen

    Ananda Kaymen

    Handwork

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2014
    BA, Cultural Anthropology, Friends World Program, Long Island University; MA, Counseling Psychology, John F. Kennedy University Foundation Program, Maine College of Art Fibers/Clay, Haystack Mountain School of Arts and Crafts, Simplicity Parenting Group Leader Certification, Simplicity Parenting

    Ananda grew up on an organic farm in southern New Hampshire, where she attended both the Pine Hill and High Mowing Waldorf Schools. From a young age, Ananda felt a sense of responsibility to the world around her; to be of service to all beings. A brief devotion to the study of fine arts gave way to many years of travel, study and work in Latin America and New York City, where her focus was social justice and human rights. Ananda found her inclination for healing work when she moved to Northern California, becoming first a massage therapist and later a somatic psychotherapist. She moved to Maine in 2007, where she has been guiding individuals and groups in mindfulness and meditation practices. Woven throughout all of her life experiences has been the thread of creating beauty, crafting, and working with her hands.

  • Caitlin Pow
    Caitlin PowEighth Grade Teacher
    Caitlin Pow

    Caitlin Pow

    Eighth Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2014
    BA, Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst; BA, Spanish, University of Massachusetts Amherst; M.Ed & Waldorf Teaching Certificate, Antioch University New England

    Caitlin grew up in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. After completing her undergraduate degrees at UMass Amherst, where she studied anthropology and Spanish, she was lucky enough to be hired at a nearby Waldorf school as an assistant. Inspired by her work, she went on to complete a M.Ed and Waldorf teacher training through Antioch University in Keene, NH. When not with her students, Caitlin can be found gardening, knitting, sewing, and walking her dog.

  • Cerridwen McQueen
    Cerridwen McQueenFifth Grade Teacher
    Cerridwen McQueen

    Cerridwen McQueen

    Fifth Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2017
    BFA Goddard College, M.Ed., Antioch University New England

    Cerridwen was raised on a homestead in coastal Blue Hill, Maine where she attended a Waldorf school from Early Childhood through Grade 8. When Cerridwen was in third grade she remembers her class teacher asking the students what they might want to be when they grew up. Her answer was a teacher.

    Cerridwen spent many years traveling and working in education before returning to Maine to create a home and community. She finds peace by the ocean in any season, and lives in South Portland with her child, husband, dog, and chickens.

     

  • Clare Stansberry
    Clare StansberrySecond Grade Teacher
    Clare Stansberry

    Clare Stansberry

    Second Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2021
    BA, Bowdoin College; Waldorf Grades Teacher Certificate, Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto

    Clare has recently been teaching at the Sandpoint Waldorf School in Idaho where she took a class from first through fourth grade. Prior to that, she worked as an assistant at Maine Coast Waldorf School in our early childhood branch. She graduated with her Waldorf Grades Teacher Training from the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto. Clare earned her Bachelor degree from Bowdoin College.

  • Ezra Smith
    Ezra SmithWoodworking, Physics
    Ezra Smith

    Ezra Smith

    Woodworking, Physics

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2016
    BA, Physics, Earlham College; MAT, Math and Physics, Earlham College

    Ezra grew up at the Himalayan Institute, a yoga ashram in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the company of people dedicated to spiritual striving. This inspired him to focus his life on learning and improvement. He relishes designing authentic learning experiences for his students. Ezra is from a Quaker background and welcomes challenging questions. He loves most things, specifically math, science, woodworking, and wildcrafting.

  • Gwen Wahlquist
    Gwen WahlquistFirst Grade Teacher
    Gwen Wahlquist

    Gwen Wahlquist

    First Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2021
    BS, Evergreen State College; Waldorf Early Childhood Cert, Pleiades Initiative; MEd with Waldorf Grades Cert, Antioch University New England; Foundation Year, Emerson College UK

    Gwen brings to Maine Coast Waldorf School experience teaching in both Waldorf early childhood and grades programs, most recently at the Wasatch Waldorf charter school in Utah. She completed her early childhood training from the Pleiades Initiative and both her Masters degree and Waldorf Grades certification from Antioch College New England.

  • Heidi Davidson-Drexel
    Heidi Davidson-DrexelSixth Grade Teacher
    Heidi Davidson-Drexel

    Heidi Davidson-Drexel

    Sixth Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2013
    B.A. Painting and Drawing, Warren Wilson College; MEd & Waldorf Teaching Certificate, Sunbridge College; Educational Support Teacher Certification, Association for a Healing Education

    Heidi has been teaching in Waldorf Schools since 2003. She has worked as a class teacher, math teacher and in the educational support program. When she's not teaching, Heidi writes fiction and spends time with her own children.

  • Jane Palizay
    Jane PalizayAcademic Support Teacher for Literacy
    Jane Palizay

    Jane Palizay

    Academic Support Teacher for Literacy

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2015
    BA, Sociology, Gordon College; Graduate courses in reading, University of Southern Maine; Wilson Language System Introductory Training, Visualizing and Verbalizing Training Workshop

    After graduating from college, Jane earned a teaching certification for grades K-8 and enjoyed 10 years of classroom teaching in both private and public schools. She became a stay-at-home mom after the arrival of twin sons. During that time, Jane authored a phonics and spelling workbook and started a private tutoring business. Because many of her students struggled with reading, she pursued specialized training which allowed her to target specific reading skill deficits. Over the past 17 years, Jane has worked with nearly 100 students assessing reading difficulties and providing individualized instruction. She also has experience working as a Literacy Strategist, designing and providing instruction for students and teachers while employed by the South Portland School Department. Jane and her family live in Brunswick.

  • Jeff Comeau
    Jeff ComeauMiddle School Assistant, After School Program Teacher
    Jeff Comeau

    Jeff Comeau

    Middle School Assistant, After School Program Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2018

    Jeff has spent most of his career in the field of Civil Engineering. During this time he served as a technology instructor. His natural teaching ability led him into education as a full time substitute teacher at MSAD51. His curiosity, dependability, friendliness and passion earned him being a most requested substitute. His approach is to be organic, kind and non-reactive. He provides direction and re-direction as needed with respect and empathy being of utmost importance. Jeff builds relationships with students and helps them to enjoy learning and be mindful of how their thoughts affect their world. He and his wife play musical instruments and sing in their home studio, capture photography, paint, and nature watch on their deck. Jeff is the chef in his household cooking local, organic and sustainable ingredients.

  • Jennifer McLeod-Marenghi
    Jennifer McLeod-MarenghiInterim Coordinator of Music Education
    Jennifer McLeod-Marenghi

    Jennifer McLeod-Marenghi

    Interim Coordinator of Music Education

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2014
    BA, Musical Theatre, University of Southern Maine

    Jennifer served as an assistant in the nursery for four years.  She first came to MCWS after working with mixed ages at the Peaks Island Children's Workshop, both as a teacher and as a lifeguard. Jennifer has a background in educational entertainment, working with local organizations such as PORTopera and Portland Symphony Orchestra with their educational outreach.

  • Jill Fox
    Jill FoxThird Grade Teacher
    Jill Fox

    Jill Fox

    Third Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 1994
    BA, History, Carleton College; MEd, Antioch University New England; Spacial Dynamics® Institute - Level I

    Jill grew up in a family that loved traveling and hiking. A year spent in Switzerland, just before college, brought fluency in French and her first experiences working on organic farms. Her work as a naturalist exploring the redwood forests with children led her to Waldorf education. Long stretches in the wilderness—canoe trips in Labrador and the Boundary Waters, backpacking trips in the Wind Rivers and Cascades—as well as travel in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central America continue to give her perspective and inspire her love of teaching. When she is home, she spends as much time as she can outdoors.

  • Jill Hymers
    Jill HymersLower School Counselor
    Jill Hymers

    Jill Hymers

    Lower School Counselor

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2020
  • John Saccone
    John SacconeBuilding Steward
    John Saccone

    John Saccone

    Building Steward

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 1991
    Spacial Dynamics® Institute - Level I Trainer, Spacial Dynamics® Institute - Movement Therapist, Spacial Dynamics® Institute - Level III Trainer, Certified Bothmer Gymnast

    John toured in Tony Montanaro's Celebration Theater Ensemble. He is a resident guest artist with the Portland Ballet Company and has performed for over 20 years as Drosselmeyer in the Nutcracker. He is a past host of the Portland Symphony Kinderkoncerts. He taught for many years at the Rudolf Steiner Institute, and presently is an instructor at the Spacial Dynamics® Institute. He is a founding boardmember of Seeds of Independence, where he continues to facilitate in their Jumpstart program for first-time youth offenders. He performs a duet show with his wife.

  • Katy Stetson
    Katy StetsonAccompanist
    Katy Stetson

    Katy Stetson

    Accompanist

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2006
    BA, Music, Amherst College

    Katy has been accompanying choirs in the greater Portland area for more than 20 years. She regularly works with several schools in the area, as well as many private choirs, ranging in age from elementary school through high school and beyond. Katy also teaches piano to students of all ages.

  • Kendall Grady
    Kendall GradyLS and HS Violin Teacher
    Kendall Grady

    Kendall Grady

    LS and HS Violin Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2021
    BA, University of North Carolina; MM University of Miami Frost School of Music

    Violinist Kendall Grady hails from the sea-side town of Swansboro on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast with strong Lithuanian roots. Kendall enjoys combining art mediums centered around nature or literature, which has resulted in the creation of the Violin, Voice, and Piano trio La Passeggiatta. Kendall has commissioned works involving acoustic installation with string quartet that brings awareness to mental health challenges, and has experience in producing performances, such as the ballet opening for the 2019 International Women’s Forum World Conference.

  • Laura EmersonLower School Assistant

    Laura Emerson

    Lower School Assistant

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2020
  • Lauren Kerr
    Lauren KerrFourth Grade Teacher
    Lauren Kerr

    Lauren Kerr

    Fourth Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2020

    Lauren Kerr was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she was a student for six years at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. She studied elementary education at University, and in her early professional life worked in the public schools of Ann Arbor and Chicago. She attended the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California, and then took a class from first to eighth grade at the Bright Water Waldorf School in Seattle. After graduating her class, Lauren traveled internationally for a year, and then moved to Madrid, Spain, where she taught English at the Escuela Waldorf de Aravaca. 

    In addition to traveling, Lauren loves to hike, bike, and relax with a nice cup of tea and a good book. She has enjoyed exploring Maine and discovering the natural wonders of this beautiful state.

     

  • Lynn Thurrell
    Lynn ThurrellMiddle School Support Teacher
    Lynn Thurrell

    Lynn Thurrell

    Middle School Support Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 1991
    BS, Education, English, Keuka College; MEd & Waldorf Teaching Certificate, Antioch University New England

    When plucked suddenly from her complacent New England habitat in early adolescence and immersed in the warp and weft of life in South Africa, Lynn's eyes and interests were opened to a very different world perspective. Though primed for the adventure by her father's stories from annual sojourns to the Far East, experience proved the more immediate educator. After graduating from high school in Hong Kong, she once again became a mostly settled, slightly restless New Englander. It was on meeting Waldorf Education that she found a reflection of her early experiences in the exploration of the world's cultures as they unfold in the elementary curriculum. Besides her continuing fascination with indigenous peoples everywhere, she brings her love of the arts, a pleasure in the world of nature, and an enthusiasm for creating with her hands into her classroom.

  • Margaret Samuelson
    Margaret SamuelsonSeventh Grade Teacher
    Margaret Samuelson

    Margaret Samuelson

    Seventh Grade Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2013
    BA, Classics, Bowdoin College; MEd, Antioch University New England

    Margaret found her way to Maine by way of Cincinnati, Ohio, to attend Bowdoin College. While there, she studied Latin and Greek, and met a great guy, upon graduation married him, and has been in New England ever since. She is still not so sure about the cold, cold winters, but she does love the Maine summers, and the gorgeous landscape of the Maine coastline. When she and her family spent a year abroad in Australia, she found her way to Waldorf education there as well, and it was in Melbourne, Australia that she began her studies to become a Waldorf teacher. She finished her M.Ed with a specialty in Waldorf Teaching when she returned to the United States. Margaret began with her current class in first grade in the Fall of 2013.

  • Marta Rackmales
    Marta RackmalesMiddle School Math Teacher, Math Support, Grades 1-8 Faculty Co-Chair
    Marta Rackmales

    Marta Rackmales

    Middle School Math Teacher, Math Support, Grades 1-8 Faculty Co-Chair

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2009
    BA, Religion, Hamilton College; MEd, Elementary Education, Sunbridge College

    Marta grew up on Cape Cod where her family ran a fish market; she shared the work of filleting and preparing seafoods from an early age. It was on a hilltop in Avignon (following a semester in Stockholm) that she learned of Waldorf education from her travel-mate. She began teaching in Washington, D.C., where she met her husband and enjoyed 10 years of city life. They ventured up to Maine where Marta taught in the Bath Public Schools. Marta and Tom grew their family by adoption; experiencing their children's birth cultures of Kazakhstan and Ethiopia and raising these two wonderful children has broadened their world infinitely. Marta continues to love the ocean, her family, and her two sweet cats.

  • Mary Martin
    Mary MartinSubstitute Teacher
    Mary Martin

    Mary Martin

    Substitute Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2013
    BA, Business, Columbia College; Teachers Certificate, Antioch University New England

    I spent my childhood in a small town in the Southern Tier area of Upstate New York. After completing my Associates Degree in Business at S.U.N.Y. at Alfred I lived and worked in Syracuse, NY for the next 15 years. For the majority of those years I worked for Guardian Life Insurance Company and also completed my Bachelor's Degree by taking evening courses. I eventually obtained the revered position of Service and Sales which included selling employee benefits and servicing existing accounts throughout Upstate New York.

    With the good fortune of meeting my potential husband who lived in Freeport, through mutual relatives in Syracuse, I moved to Maine when we married and have not looked back. Once my daughters were entrenched at MCWS I took over the position of managing the school store on a volunteer basis which increased my desire to understand Waldorf education. This led me to the Waldorf Foundations Study Course, After completing this course and with a fabulous opportunity to achieve a Waldorf Teachers Certificate at Antioch, by taking weekend classes,I obtained the Waldorf Teacher's Certificate after 2 years of study and internships. I jumped right into teaching main lesson classes and substituting at MCWS and began as the Events coordinator in 2013. This position draws on the many skills I've developed through chairing various non-profit initiatives as well as my understanding of the MCWS community.

    Other than being extremely involved with my daughter's class activities, volunteering in the community and at school events, and working as an insurance consultant at my husband's company, I was a competitive runner. I have since taken up cross country skiing and enjoy the outdoors.

  • Michael Fenderson
    Michael FendersonFrench Teacher, EC - Grade 8
    Michael Fenderson

    Michael Fenderson

    French Teacher, EC - Grade 8

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 1998
    BA, International Affairs/Political Science and French, University of Maine; MA, French Literature, University of Massachusetts

    A love of travel and adventures abroad, beginning with a high school exchange to Brazil led Michael to study and then teach both French and Spanish. He has enjoyed living and teaching in France and leading student trips to Central America and Quebec; experiences which have inspired a strong passion for world cultures that he brings to his students in stories, songs, and games. His favorite pastimes include spending time with family and friends, working outdoors building and landscaping, playing guitar, and singing songs late into the night.

  • Molly Price-Urich
    Molly Price-UrichEducational Support
    Molly Price-Urich

    Molly Price-Urich

    Educational Support

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2019
    BA, Business Administration, Flagler College

    Molly’s experience working in business operations and investment banking was the catalyst that led her to education, a career that has brought meaning and passion to her life. As someone who struggled with ADHD as a child, she gravitated towards working with children with learning differences. Working at a school serving gifted and twice exceptional learners in Austin, Texas, she gained extensive experience helping her students understand their learning style, cope with their challenges, embrace their unique strengths, and find success. Molly is grateful that she can bring this passion to her work at Maine Coast and continue to help children on their path to self actualization.

    Currently enrolled in a master’s program in Educational Psychology, Molly spends a lot of her free time learning about how she can best serve her students and loves to see how her studies infuse her work with fresh knowledge, solutions, and expertise from the field. When she is not at school or studying she enjoys cooking elaborate meals, doing anything outdoors, and spending time with her family.

  • Nicole Oware
    Nicole OwareEC Assistant and Grades ASP teacher
    Nicole Oware

    Nicole Oware

    EC Assistant and Grades ASP teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2021
    BA, University of Maine

    Nicole joins MCWS because she has a passion working with small children and wanted to make that a larger part of her life. She is interested in providing an environment where the children feel welcomed and cared for.

     

  • Oliver Kinzer
    Oliver KinzerGerman Teacher, EC - Grade 8
    Oliver Kinzer

    Oliver Kinzer

    German Teacher, EC - Grade 8

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2005
    BA, German Philology, German as a foreign language, Philosophy University of Cologne, University of Salzburg, University of Vienna

    Oliver is a native of Germany who came to Maine in 2001. Since 1990, Oliver has been working with children and teenagers in various settings in Europe and the US. Through his many years of experience in arts, language, nature studies, athletics, social work, culinary arts, crafts, and music—as well as being a father—Oliver feels at home in creating exciting, inspiring, and versatile activities for children of all ages. Oliver has been the German teacher for Kindergarten through 8th grade at Maine Coast since 2005. His many tasks at the school have included teaching high school German, woodworking, cooking and coaching middle school cross-country.

  • Ross Emerson
    Ross EmersonMovement Teacher G2-5
    Ross Emerson

    Ross Emerson

    Movement Teacher G2-5

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2021

     A parent of two MCWS students, Ross brings his training in spatial dynamics and a gymnastics certification to the Movement program.

     

  • Suzie Peirson
    Suzie PeirsonHandwork Teacher
    Suzie Peirson

    Suzie Peirson

    Handwork Teacher

    Joined Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2004
    BA, Elementary Education, Ohio Wesleyan University; Waldorf Teacher Training, Antioch University New England

    Suzie is a native New Englander who knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a teacher.  During her first career, Suzie had a wide range of experience in the hospitality industry. She discovered a way to nurture her love of the outdoors by shifting from the sales department of the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, to a management position supporting the back country huts for the Appalachian Mountain Club in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Marriage and motherhood brought Suzie to Maine, where her family grew to four children and many pets. Suzie readily admits her current career direction was inspired by the experiences of her four children, all educated at Maine Coast Waldorf School, from the early childhood program onward. Her own Waldorf faculty experience includes time as a volunteer, full time handwork instructor and classroom teacher.  Suzie loves to knit, swim and spend time with her family.