Early Childhood Aide & After School Care)
Petra was born and raised in Germany, lived and worked in Sri Lanka, and came to the United States in 1997. While on a snowboarding vacation in Switzerland, Petra met her husband, Jarda Ruzicka, a retired professor and chemist. She received her Waldorf teacher training in Germany with a focus on Special Education, then moved to Seattle, where she and her family lived for 10 years. Her two children attended the Seattle Waldorf School, while Petra worked in a German language school. The family grew tired of the cold, and moved to Hawaii in search of warmer weather. In 2006 she sought out the Honolulu Waldorf School for her children, who transitioned smoothly into first and eighth grade. Petra worked as an aide in the HWS Kindergarten, while teaching German language in the middle grades and the high school. Petra continues to offer her abundant energy as a Kindergarten aide and as an avid parent volunteer with HWS's Annual Fund campaign. Her hobbies include hiking, jogging, snowboarding, and yoga, for which she will begin teacher training this school year.
Early Childhood Teacher, Koa Class
Holli Bettis just joined our EC team in 2015. Before living here she taught Kindergarten at Bright Water School in Seattle, Wa, taught at Whatcom Hills Waldorf school in the Kindergarten, Preschool, and Aftercare programs in Bellingham, Wa, and ran her own Waldorf home preschool for 3-5 year olds called Dandelion Kindercottage. She studied at West Coast Institute for Anthroposophical Studies in Vancouver, BC where she completed her Waldorf teacher training program. She completed a BA in Early Childhood Education at Ashford University. Before becoming a Waldorf teacher Holli worked as a nurse for seven years in Washington state as well as a Midwives assistant, postpartum doula and labor doula. She deeply enjoys working with young children and nurturing their senses through songs, stories, and circles. Waldorf education has been the golden thread of her life for the past 14 years. She is a single mom to three lovely daughters. She has been visiting the Hawaiian islands for years and is very happy to have landed here. In her spare time she enjoys running, hiking, yoga, knitting, doll making, cooking, swimming, snorkeling, and learning to surf with her daughters.
Fifth Grade Class Teacher
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Donna moved to Honolulu in 1980, attended Brigham Young University and graduated from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa with a BA in Political Science. She found the Honolulu Waldorf School while searching for a good education for her two children. She was so taken by the Waldorf philosophy that she pursued a Waldorf teaching certificate and other teaching degrees. She holds certificates as a Paralegal, a Hawai'i State DOE Substitute Teacher, a Kula Makua Teacher Training Graduate, and as a Kindergarten and Class Teacher. Outside the classroom, Donna enjoys swimming, gardening, and hiking.
Freitas, Edward Kepa
Kepa was born and raised on the east side of Oahu and is a graduate of Saint Louis School. He joined the Honolulu Waldorf ‘ohana after concluding a twenty-plus year career with the City and County of Honolulu, Department of Parks and Recreation, where he managed the overall maintenance and recreational operations for several high-profile locations such as Kapi‘olani Regional Park. The transition from the City and County position to managing the physical and logistical needs of both campuses was a natural and easy one for him to make. From Monday through Friday you'll typically find him on the Niu campus, maintaining the hedges, gardens, trees, and lawn, addressing plumbing issues, or beautifying the grounds. Kepa views both campuses' physical needs with an eye for increasing efficiency. In his spare time Kepa enjoys any ocean activity and spending time with his family: his wife, Lindsey, an HWS 8th Grade graduate, daughter Kiley (Grade 6), and son Kainalu (Grade 3). Kepa's current short-term goal is to learn how to throw the javelin so he can win the challenge brought forth by the Physical Education classes in which the loser pulls weeds!
Spanish Language Teacher, Grades 1-8
Born in El Salvador, Silvia Jaimes moved to Los Angeles with her family as a little girl. She found what she was looking for in Waldorf Education–an education that nurtured children's bodies, hearts, and spirits. Silvia developed and instructed the Spanish language program at Santa Cruz Waldorf School for nine years before heeding the call in 2008 to come to Hawai‘i to grow HWS's fledgling Spanish program. Silvia loves sharing her culture and language with the children in grades 1-12. She also enjoys dancing salsa and has found a place in the local culture by learning to dance hula and all that goes with it.
High School Visual Arts Teacher
Van James has a BFA in Drawing and Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, and is a graduate of Emerson College in England (Art Dip.), and the Goetheanum School of Painting in Switzerland (Art Dip.). He teaches painting, drawing, the History of Art, and the History of Architecture at Honolulu Waldorf High School. He is a former board member of the Hawaii Alliance for Art Education and an international advocate for the arts in education teaching regularly as a guest instructor in training programs in the US, New Zealand, Australia and Asia. He is the chair of the Anthroposophical Society in Hawai'i, editor of Pacifica Journal, and author of several books on art and culture, including the award-winning Ancient Sites of O'ahu. His paintings and drawings are in numerous private collections, and his graphic designs can be found on book covers and brochures worldwide.
Movement Teacher, Grades 1-8
Kevin joined HWS in 2018 from the East Bay Waldorf school in California where he was the Movement Teacher for the last 11 years. He was born and raised in the San Francisco bay area and graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. While in San Diego he played lots of volleyball and started making jewelry as a hobby which developed into a business selling his creations at craft shows up and down the west coast. He has taught Jewelry classes to high school students and adults and has coached volleyball to boys and girls from middle school to high school. In 2007 Kevin found Waldorf education and is trained in Spacial Dynamics and Bothmer Gymnastics, he has a special love of String Games and Circus Arts. Kevin is looking forward to a new change of pace and scenery and exploring all that Island life has to offer.
Humanities, Math, and Science Teacher
Judy discovered Waldorf Education in 1999, when her daughter entered Kindergarten at the Malamalama Waldorf school on the Big Island of Hawaii. She brings together an organizational background in program management from the corporate world, the empathy of a parent whose child struggles with learning challenges, the experience of working one-on-one with challenged students as a private tutor, and the understanding of the Waldorf curriculum as a Honolulu Waldorf science teacher. She loves to dance hula, lose herself in a book, and figure out different ways to explain math problems. Judy holds a B.A. in Geology from the University of Hawaii, Hilo.
Early Childhood Teacher, Kamani Class
Jennifer started her career as a Waldorf early childhood educator in 2004, while living in the Los Angeles area with her young family. A few years prior, she was studying Early Childhood Education in College where a professor introduced her to Waldorf Education. She then began her Waldorf teacher training at the Center for Anthroposophy in New Hampshire, continued on at the Waldorf institute of Southern California, and completed her Early Childhood training here in Honolulu with the Kula Makua Waldorf Teacher Training program in 2007. She also holds a BA degree in Child Development with a focus in Early Childhood Education. In her earlier years, Jennifer worked as an assistant, aide, aftercare teacher, and substitute teacher. In 2008 she became the lead teacher of the Kamani kindergarten class, here at the Honolulu Waldorf School. She has two children of her own, both of whom started at Waldorf when they were just 2 years old. Along with her love and passion for working with young children, Jennifer also enjoys yoga, surfing, playing music, traveling, and other creative endeavors.
Second Grade Class Teacher
Grades Department Chair
Nicole was born and raised in Florida where she spent most of her free time with ocean activities. Having lived in Missouri for the past 13 years, she is excited to return to the water. Nicole double majored in Biology and English as an undergrad at Furman University in South Carolina, and then went on to serve three years as an AmeriCorps member. Her last placement took her to Portland, Oregon where she worked at the Environmental Middle School and it was here that she got married and secured her desire to be a teacher. After moving to Missouri and having two daughters, Nicole found a Waldorf preschool that stole her heart. While in Missouri, Nicole earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching degree and Missouri State Teaching License for Middle School Science and helped to found City Garden School, a small private school based in Waldorf education. She has taught a combined 1st and 2nd grade classroom for the past 7 years, teaching both of her daughters and then handing them to another teacher in 3rd grade. She has been to multiple Waldorf conferences and trainings and is always excited to deepen her understanding of this beautiful education method. Nicole loves camping with her family, hiking, handwork, learning to play the guitar, and any activity in the ocean!
Middle School Class Teacher
Sarah Maika is a lifelong Waldorf participant and the daughter of a handwork teacher. She attended the Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Vermont from preschool through 12th grade. After graduating from Smith College with a degree in American Studies and Art, Sarah took on a combined fifth/sixth grade at the Wellspring Waldorf school in Vermont, and in 2016 she graduated an 8th grade after two wonderful years together at the Orchard Valley Waldorf School, also in Vermont. Sarah also has experience teaching chorus, art, and handwork across the grades. She recently received her Waldorf certificate from Antioch University and is currently working on her masters thesis. After a lifetime in Vermont, Sarah married a Hawaiian native and the two moved to Honolulu. She spends her free time quilting, singing, painting, hiking with her husband, and hanging out with her big Hawaiian family.
First Grade Teacher
Angelique grew up in Ohio. After receiving her bachelor’s in Marketing from Miami University, she shut her eyes and pointed to a map and thus moved to Atlanta. By her mid 20’s, with 8 years of direct sales experience under her belt, she knew that corporate America was not where she would positively impact the world like she wanted. She joined the Peace Corps and Worked as a Community Economic Development volunteer in Paraguay. There she executed successful projects in education, non-profit marketing, and youth leadership, and then worked as the Volunteer Coordinator. It was here that she developed a passion for education, seeing that it was the foundation for the well-being of a society. Loving community development work, she spent 7 years working with non-profits throughout Latin America to coordinate educational projects in Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. She worked extensively to train teachers in experiential education techniques and develop sustainable teaching curricula. She returned to Atlanta in 2016 to get her MEd in Waldorf Education from Antioch University of New England. She is also the president of the board for the Superkids Foundation, a non-profit working in her former Peace Corps site in Paraguay that teaches life skills, literacy and leadership to elementary school children.
Mehle Tsadok, Alicia
Middle Schol Class Teacher
Mined from the Iron Range in northern Minnesota and raised with “SISU”, Alicia grew up with a heavy guiding hand of nature’s rules in her seasonal adventures. She participated in many extracurricular programs that informed her desire for learning and led her into an early entry to begin her degree. Alicia began in the field of Philosophy and Theatre, with a focus on Aesthetic Philosophy and enjoyed working through progressing discourse in her fields of study. She participated in many plays and built a budding love for Performance Art.
As her identity unfolded, she began an Individually Designed Interdepartmental Program with GLBT Studies, Theatre, and Women’s Studies. Her major was focused in Performance and Social Change and utilized the performing arts, specifically the techniques from Theatre of the Oppressed, in conjunction with gender and sexual identity to provoke social change and growth.
She has facilitated workshops in schools with students and faculty to foster social healing and diversity training in her areas of expertise. After being introduced to Waldorf schools, she continued her path of study in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Education with a certification in Waldorf Education. She continues her consultation in social health and diversity education training with agencies and groups as she participates in the growing and unfolding of her class in her teaching career.
Grades After Care Teacher & Early Childhood Aide
Machiko is a parent of an HWS Waldorf Alumnus, and discovered the Honolulu Waldorf School while seeking the best education for her son. In pursuit of her own educational development, Machiko earned a B.S. in Early Childhood Education, studied with the Kula Makua Waldorf teacher training program, and has worked as an Early Childhood assistant. As the Grades After Care teacher, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and talents with HWS students. Machiko also enjoys downloading new ideas.
Early Childhood Assistant - Milo Class
Su was born in South Korea and grew up in New York where she studied Art and Education. She was first introduced to the Waldorf Education when she moved to Austria in her early adulthood where she taught English and Art and studied German and Korean. Rudolf Steiner's educational philosophy made a deep impression on her and she has continued to pursue furthering her knowledge and understanding of the Waldorf approach to education. In the spring of 2019, Su moved to Hawaii and she has great hopes of building a lasting future here.
Japanese Language Teacher, Grades 1-6
Ikuko Nishimoto was born in Kochi, Japan, and moved to England to further her studies in English and Art History. After working for two years at a Japanese news agency in London, Ikuko vacationed in Japan and met a University of Hawai'i student who would become her husband. They moved to Honolulu together and had a son. After two years as a Kahala Elementary School teacher , she became the Japanese language teacher at Honolulu Waldorf, where she has been sharing her talent and knowledge for over 27 years. A proud parent of a Waldorf graduate, her appreciation of the Waldorf pedagogy grew as she attended courses at Kula Makua and Rudolf Steiner College. Ikuko's goal is for her students to learn basic Japanese phrases to gain confidence in interacting with Japanese people in Hawai'i and Japan. An avid tennis player and cyclist, she recently spent ten days pedaling around France on a solo tour of the countryside.
Otaka Bryce, Yuka
Third Grade Class Teacher
Yuka was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After finishing her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis in Human Development and Education, she continued on a path to find an education that aligned with all the components of her core beliefs and values. Her accrued experience in various teaching positions in Japan, Montessori schools, and group homes for emotionally challenged adolescents led her to Waldorf education. After earning her Waldorf Teaching Certificate, she continues to work on her Masters of Art from Rudolf Steiner College. She is excited to be part of such a warm HWS community and to be close to her mother, who resides in Waikiki.
Professional Development Coordinator
Originally from cold and dry northern California, where she attended Stanford University, Bonnie came to Hawai‘i in 1967 as a newlywed and completed her B.A. in Anthropology at UH. She joined Honolulu Waldorf School in 1972, working in the kindergarten for five years before becoming a subject teacher and then a class teacher, training on the job. She served as Administrative Director for 3.5 years. She has completed three 8-grade teaching cycles. During a brief hiatus from teaching, she was assistant editor of the Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology, published in 1984. She has three grown children (all HWS alums) and three grandchildren, two currently enrolled at HWS. She loves to read, hike, and travel with her husband, also an HWS teacher.
Professional Development Coordinator
Marcy comes originally from Ohio. Her first teaching experiences were with the Peace Corps in the jungles of Liberia and in the islands of Palau. After a decade overseas, she relocated with her two small children to Stockton, California, where she taught in Catholic schools. Looking for a simpler way of life, she moved with her family to Flagstaff, Arizona, to enjoy the four seasons in an alpine climate.
In 1995, she helped to start Pine Forest School, a Waldorf-inspired Charter, where she worked for 19 years in various capacities, including teaching grades 3-8, graduating two eighth grades, teaching kindergarten, sitting on the Board of Directors, chairing the College of Teachers, and serving as Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
She is overjoyed to join the staff at HWS and to fulfill her dream to return to the peace and rhythm of island life, in Hawaii ‒ her favorite place on earth. She enjoys yoga, painting, pastels, needle felting, and sewing, and has recently finished writing and illustrating her first children's book, Lady Spring.
Noel has worked as a part-time IT person at the Honolulu Waldorf School since January 2015. Despite repairing computers and doing some of that interweb stuff for a living, Noel is not a geek. Like many of our Waldorf students, Noel did not grow up with computers until after high school (they probably weren't invented yet, although he did develop a passion for problem-solving and figuring out when things all went wrong after he got married.
Noel has done "computer" work for several DOE and private schools, HMSA and the Sheraton hotels. He currently runs his own technology consulting company that does on-site repairs, networking,training, etc. for both small business and residential customers. Although his customers are primarily Mac users, he also has done Windows.
Early Childhood Assistant, Koa Class
Tim comes to Honolulu Waldorf School with a diverse background in communication, business, and education. During his career in education, he has served as head of school, an elementary and middle school teacher, a university instructor, and as a consultant for charter and independent schools. Tim holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of New England, an MA in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan and an MA and BS in Communication from Towson University. He holds a certified in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. Tim was awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship to Columbia University for Head of Schools for 2020.
In addition to education, Tim was the CEO of a marketing company that focused on equestrian products, events, television production, and real estate development. He also served as an Army officer on active duty and in the reserves. Tim loves horses, running, football, hiking, traveling, hanging out with his family, and playing with his dachshund, Pepe. He is married to his artist and teacher wife Myrna, and the proud dad of three grown children, Craig, Ben, and former HWS student, Emily.
Strings Teacher, Grades 3-8
Violinist Darel Stark has performed in over a dozen countries on three continents, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Also a violist, conductor and composer, he is one of Hawai‘i's most active solo and chamber music performers. He is concertmaster of the Bach Chamber Orchestra, teaches private violin and viola lessons, and coaches chamber music at Iolani School. With the Honolulu Symphony for sixteen years, he is associate principal violin of the new Hawai‘i Symphony. He can be heard on CBS Masterworks, Musica Baudino, Beauport Classical and SONY Classical. Born in New York City, he graduated from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and studied violin with Nicole DiCecco, Lazar Gosman and Berl Senofsky. At age eighteen he joined the Tchaikovsky Chamber Orchestra as its youngest member. His many accolades include prizes at international competitions in Italy and Switzerland.
Early Childhood Teacher, Kukui Class Teacher
Sadie grew up playing in the wild woods and exploring the beautiful beaches of Northern California. She had the good fortune to run headlong into Waldorf education when she was very small, and attended the Marin Waldorf School from kindergarten to eighth grade. She remembers a lot of stories, hard work, fantastic and elaborate plays, and the school garden best, and feels that it is a great gift to have experienced Waldorf education from a child’s perspective and then later to have been drawn to study the reasons and philosophies that inform this wonderful education.
After traveling and living abroad after High School, Sadie returned to Waldorf Education, and began her teaching career. While studying to earn her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College, Sadie also taught at The Mulberry Classroom, which works to support children in a therapeutic way through the perspective of Anthroposophy. This experience has had a profound impact on her work throughout her career, and challenged her to hold every child with deep respect for his or her own path of development.
Sadie has traveled the world, including such far and interesting places as Switzerland and India, her love of exploring the world and being in new places lead her to experience teaching in many diverse settings, in small start-up classrooms as well as in established schools.
Sadie is so excited to be joining the Honolulu Waldorf School Faculty this year. When she is not in her classroom you will find her out exploring the island, home with a good book, surfing, practicing yoga, or any activity that brings her into nature.
Early Childhood Teacher, Milo Class Teacher
Cindy was born and raised in Honolulu and has childhood memories of sunshine, sand, salt water, waves, and volleyball games. She graduated from Punahou School, where she played varsity tennis. After studying fine art and art education at various mainland colleges (were she earned a BFA in Fine Arts and a BS in Art Education) she returned to Honolulu. She and her husband Florian Sydow later became founding members of Kahumana Farm and Community in Waianae. For seventeen years they lived and worked there to develop community life, raise three children, work with handicapped adults and farm. The first year that teacher training was offered at HWS was 1989 and Cindy and her three children moved into Honolulu to begin her teacher training and their Waldorf schooling. After assisting in the Kindergarten for a year, she was offered a Kindergarten class of her own. She has been teaching in the EC since and has attended many workshops and conferences on Kindergarten work, music, arts and Anthroposophy. She continues to enjoy swimming and learning to play various musical instruments.
Astrid is not only a parent of a wonderful Honolulu Waldorf School alumnus; she is an Eighth grade graduate! Her family has supported and been involved with HWS for many years. After working with her husband in the family business, Astrid now assists faculty and staff in the lower school with all their administrative needs. She has a strong belief in Waldorf education, having experienced it first-hand, and is uniquely suited to welcome both students and parents to the school.
Wong, Kathryn Mahealani
Na Mea Hawai'i Teacher (Kumu Wong)
Born and raised in Hawai‘i, Kathy Wong is constantly amazed to find herself working at the Honolulu Waldorf School even after her two children have graduated. Starting as a parent volunteer in the library, Kathy has worked at the front desk, AP, AR, Technology, Facilities, and as an 'ukulele teacher. Kathy teaches Hawai‘ian Studies to HWS Grades and High School students, and coordinates our annual May Day program. She is also a kumu hula with Nā Hanona o ka Hālau Hula Pā Ola Kapu.
Early Childhood Assistant, Kukui Class
Ulrike was born and raised in a remote corner of upper Austria. She grew up in her family’s hotel business. She completed a culinary and catering training, traveled for a year, returned to Austria and completed the eurythmy training in Vienna with further studies in Dornach, Switzerland and England. She met her husband and moved back to Vienna to raise their first son. The family moved to Hawai‘i in 1992 where their second son was born, and joined Kahumana Community in Waianae. Ulrike spent 17 years there working in many capacities and home-schooling her children. She completed the curative eurythmy training in England and began working as a curative eurythmist. Since 2007, she has brought her varied experience to her work as assistant in the early childhood and after school programs at HWS.
Lynn Aaberg has been a class teacher at Honolulu Waldorf School since 2001. She has degrees in botany and biology from University of California, Riverside, and UCLA. She completed her Waldorf Foundation Year training at the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training Program in Oregon, and received her Waldorf teacher certification from Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, New York. Lynn has also received training in educational therapy and is a certified Orton-Gillingham dyslexia tutor. Lynn’s passion is in helping student find their passion and enthusiasm for the world. Her special interest is in developing the fusion of art and science.
Frances was born and raised, then married and raised three children in Mo-town, Michigan. Ill-armed with a degree in art education, she taught in public schools for a number of years then vowed never to set foot in a classroom again. But when her husband stumbled across the Detroit Waldorf School, France broke her vow. After Gerald completed his training, Frances took her Waldorf training part time as she chauffeured her children to and from Waldorf and was active in the school PTO. She slipped back into the classroom after working first in the school kitchen, then in the accounting office, and in specialty subjects. Ultimately she had the joyful experience of being a class teacher. In 1987 she followed her husband to Honolulu and continued to class teach. After almost 40 years with Waldorf, she continues to learn more about this remarkable education.
Parent Hui Chair, HWS Parent