Meet our Faculty & Staff

Swallowtail's faculty and staff are inspired, talented, and devoted educators with a firm belief in the sanctity of childhood. They are tireless advocates for an education that honors the natural world, the arts, and the strengthening of spirit that is possible through a curriculum working with the developmental stages of youth. Every adult called to work at Swallowtail has a unique story of their own; be they musician, athlete, artist, or healer— all bring the wisdom of their lives into the classroom. Swallowtail's strength resides with the people who shape her community.

Early Childhood Teachers

SACHA ETZEL
BUTTERFLY KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
EARLY CHILDHOOD CHAIR

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Mrs. Sacha was introduced to Waldorf Education in 1989 by her sister. Her early years in Waldorf education were at her home in Canby, where she ran a Waldorf-inspired, Oregon Licensed Daycare serving infants-to-12-year-olds. She went on to get her 2-year Waldorf Teacher Certificate in Eugene. Over the last two decades, Sacha has taught Waldorf Kindergarten, Parent-Child classes, practicum students, mentored teachers, directed summer camps, taught Grades 1-8 Sunday school and raised 4 of her own amazing children. In addition to her deep roots in Waldorf Education, Sacha is also a professionally trained florist. She is married to the love of her life; together they enjoy traveling, sunrises and sunsets, gardening, cooking, baking, and being on their farm. 

Sacha holds a Bachelor's in Organizational Management and a Master's in Executive Leadership.

EDDIE ARELLANO
BUTTERFLY KINDERGARTEN ASSISTANT

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Mr. Eddie grew up in a migrant family, spending harvest seasons in the San Joaquin Valley of California and the fall/winter seasons in Zacatecas, Mexico. Being raised in communal farmlands of rural Mexico and the vast agricultural valley of California, Eddie found a love and respect for Mother Earth, learning indigenous traditions on one side of the border and learning the importance of dignity for farm workers on the other. His experience in youth development began with working for the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County as a Program Assistant. He worked his way up to become Unit Director of his own site. Recently he has worked in the nutrition education field but his interest in storytelling, art, music, and culture led him towards becoming a teacher. Eddie is currently enrolled in a 2-year Waldorf Teacher Certification program and is eager to learn and share his knowledge with our Swallowtail community.

TRACI JO PARTIN
DRAGONFLY KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

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Teacher Traci came to Waldorf education in 2008 when she joined as an assistant to Ms. Evy’s Red Rose Kindergarten at the Waldorf School of Louisville, KY shortly after her mother’s passing. Not only did she find a lifelong friend and mentor, but during that time she became so inspired by the healing and transformative nature of the work that she moved to the west coast to complete the early childhood training at the Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene program.  Following her training she led an all outdoor forest kindergarten class for a number of years through Mother Earth School in Portland, Oregon. There she learned to work deeply with the rhythm of the seasons in the Pacific Northwest.  With her children she discovered the slow wonders of growth from leaf to trillium flower, the hatching of baby owls, the profound depth of winter (and mud)! and countless other teachers of the land…

Prior to becoming a teacher, Traci completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida. She has spent many years as a gardener both professionally and as her happiest hobby. Her ongoing relationship with the Oregon Biodynamic Group first brought her to Swallowtail, where she is thrilled to be joining the school farm together with the students!

NICHOLE KLOSS
DRAGONFLY KINDERGARTEN ASSISTANT

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Nichole moved to our area from Wisconsin in 2018. With a degree in Early Childhood from the University of Milwaukee, and her teaching license in both Oregon and Wisconsin, Nichole is joining us as the Dragonfly Assistant with an eye toward Waldorf Teacher Training. Nichole’s interests and skills that she is bringing to the classroom include origami, music, cooking, banking, and gardening.

 

 

KENDYL VAN DYCK
CATERPILLAR PRESCHOOL TEACHER

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Ms. Kendyl is the daughter of a man whose feet are always in the ocean and of a woman whose hands are always in the soil; the daughter of tenders. Born and raised in Southern California, she has always had two passions: plants and children. From 2014-2018 she worked as a Pre School Teacher’s Assistant at The Evergreen State College Campus Children’s Center where she graduated with a BA in Environmental Humanities, with an emphasis in Ethnobotany. It was here that a deep curiosity for Waldorf education and “unschooling” germinated within her. During her time in Olympia she led a class of 14 children from babyhood to the threshold of Kindergarten, and was the coordinator of the community gardens in town. Once graduated, Ms. Kendyl felt called to enroll in a 2-year Waldorf teacher training certification program with Educere, and move to PDX to work with the community of Swallowtail. She feels overwhelmingly blessed and thrilled to usher the next generation of children through this phase of their lives, with the warmth and tools they need to unfurl gracefully into the world.

SHANNON HALLBERG
PRESCHOOL ASSISTANT

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Bio coming soon...

 

 

Grades Teachers

At Swallowtail Waldorf School & Farm, the Grades teachers traditionally stay with their students for their entire journey from Grade 1 through Grade 8.

RICH AGUILO
GRADE 1

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Mr. Rich Grew up on Long Island, New York, where his enthusiasm for nature and the outdoors started to blossom. He became an ocean lifeguard for the state of New York at Jones Beach during high school and discovered his passion for surfing. After studying elementary education in college, he decided to move across the continental United States to the mountains in Santa Cruz, California to work on an organic, off the grid, farm. He lived on this farm for six months, caring for animals and working the land. After this experience, his connection with food and where it comes from came into full bloom, that he set off to become a Holistic Chef. He worked for Whole Foods, a French restaurant, and cooked for his CSL community in San Diego for many years before Waldorf education found him. He began his 3 year journey of Waldorf teacher training at Waldorf Institute of Southern California. During his time at WISC he had gotten married, had a son, been a Games teacher, and, most recently, taught first grade at a Waldorf charter school. Rich graduated in May 2018 and now lives in Forest Grove with his family.

DAVID ZIMMERMAN
GRADE 2

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Mr. Z, as he's known to his students, was born and raised in the redwood forests, oak woodlands, and sprawling suburbs of Northern California. Early on, he established a deep connection with nature, spending much of his time camping and exploring with his family. His interest in botany, women and gender studies, cooking, and farming led him to a variety of professional experiences where he finally discovered his calling toward education. His interest in education is broad and varied and he has experience in public, Montessori, and Waldorf education and is eager to bring this breadth of experience into his work at Swallowtail. David holds a Bachelor's degree in Geography from San Francisco State University.

ERIN GILL
GRADE 3

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Ms. Erin was born and raised in the breathtaking Willamette Valley spending most of her time on the back of a horse or tending to the various animals on her family’s small farm. She graduated from Glencoe High School in Hillsboro and completed Culinary School in Portland. After a foray in the culinary world, Erin received her Bachelor of Arts in Social and Behavioral Studies followed by her Masters in Teaching, both from George Fox University. Erin then spent 5 years as a public school teacher. While teaching in public schools, Erin was experiencing Waldorf education as an auntie. When it came time to choose a kindergarten for her second child, Swallowtail became the clear choice. Erin feels extremely fortunate to have her son follow the same path as her nieces. As a public school teacher, Erin felt a deep desire to bring learning to her students in a more meaningful and relevant way. This yearning led her to pursue her Waldorf teacher training. She is now excited to begin her Waldorf teaching journey at Swallowtail.

CIERRA MARZULLO
GRADE 4

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Ms. Cierra is on her second journey through Waldorf Education. Her first journey was as a child, on the Island of Hawaii, where she grew up in the jungle. The sun powered her house, and the rain provided water. One of her childhood chores was to cut down the banana trees with a machete when the bananas began to ripen. She attended Malamalama Waldorf School, where she discovered a thirst for knowledge. Her class teacher was from Hungary, and she taught Cierra the value of hard work. Cierra has an undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon and completed her Waldorf teacher training at the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento. Her extra curricular activities included tree climbing and circus arts.

INGRID ZAHL-THOMAS
GRADE 5

Ms. Ingrid was one of the first teachers at Swallowtail when it formed in 1995. At the time, she was looking for a school for her own young children. Recognizing the power of the three-fold approach to child development (head, heart, hands), Ingrid felt a strong calling towards Waldorf education and began her teacher training. She worked in the classroom while completing her Waldorf pedagogy studies.

Ingrid is witnessing the lasting impacts of an enriching curriculum that builds in alignment with child development, as her former students enter college striving for a life of purpose that contributes to, and enhances, the society of which they are part. Ingrid is presently joining her second class on their journey through the grades. She is also an accomplished painter whose works have appeared in galleries throughout Oregon. Ingrid holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oregon and received her Waldorf teacher training from Swallowtail's founder, Lauren Sheehan, and from summer intensives for the past 20 years.

ANNETTE JOHNSON
GRADE 6 CO-TEACHER

Ms. Annette is originally from New Zealand. She has taught for 20 years, from Grades 1-12 in both public and private schools. Annette discovered Waldorf education through her own children’s educational experience and felt inspired to study the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and become a Waldorf teacher. Her experience as a Waldorf teacher has inspired her love of art and painting and the desire to experiment with different artistic techniques.

Annette holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Geography from Massey University in New Zealand, which is also where she received her Waldorf teacher training diploma.

 

NANCY THOMPSON
GRADE 6 CO-TEACHER

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Ms. Nancy joined Swallowtail in 2017 as a co-teacher with Ms. Annette for the class of 2021. Nancy taught at Portland Waldorf School for eleven years before joining Swallowtail. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Washington & Jefferson University and received her Grades Teacher Training at Micha-El Institute in Portland. She brings an enthusiasm for theatre to the classroom.

 

 

KELLY MARQUIS
GRADE 7

Ms. Kelly is an avid world traveler who discovered Waldorf education while living in Ecuador (after already having lived in Spain, Costa Rica and Honduras). She was working on a permaculture installation and conservation reserve project when she met Waldorf graduates and was impressed with the way they flowed through the world with creativity and grace. Inspired, Kelly received her Waldorf training at the Micha-el Institute in Portland. Kelly is passionate about working the Farm campus into her curriculum whenever possible.

Kelly holds a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Sociology from Grinnell College in Iowa, and received her teacher training from the Micha-El Institute of Portland.

 

NANCY PEIRCE
GRADE 8

Ms. Nancy began teaching in a very rural school district as she was raising her children on an isolated homestead in California. She discovered Waldorf education and moved to Portland in 1992 to become a class teacher at the Portland Waldorf School. Her children loved being in a city and in a house with electricity for the first time, while she fell in love with being a Waldorf class teacher. After graduating her third-eighth grade class from Portland Waldorf School in 2014, she was delighted to take on a middle school class here at Swallowtail.

Nancy holds a Bachelor's of Science in Microbiology and a Master's in Business Administration from Michigan State University. She received her public school teaching certification from Chico State University in California and her Waldorf Teacher Training from Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento.

Specialty Teachers

MARCELA STEADHAM
SPANISH

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Marcela Steadham grew up in Santiago, Chile and in France. She spent a great deal of her childhood skiing the mountains of South America and windsurfing in the ocean.

Marcela was first introduced to Waldorf Education in 1992, when her children attended a school in Bellingham, WA. At that time, she became extremely interested in and began a deep study of Waldorf philosophy. Marcela began teaching language at her children's school and has taught ever since. Her background is in architecture and design, holding a Master's Degree in Architecture from the University of California, but she feels teaching is her true calling and passion.

SANDY BALDRIGE
ADVANCED MATH

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Ms. Sandy’s first encounter with Waldorf education was while searching for a preschool for her oldest child. She loved the simplicity and rhythm of the Waldorf Early Childhood classrooms and the homey feeling that put the children at ease. Her love of the curriculum and the gentle unfolding of learning it supports, led her to seek out teaching opportunities. During the past 20 years, she has taught middle school math, eighth grade main lesson blocks, handwork, and parent-child classes. Sandy also substitutes in grades K-8. All three of her children attended Swallowtail.

Ms. Sandy is on sabbatical for the 2018-19 school year.

SADIE LIFTON
HANDWORK

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Ms. Sadie is a local Waldorf graduate. She attended Portland Waldorf School from age 3 through high school and went on to study Fine Arts & Native American Studies at The Evergreen State College in Washington. Sadie received her Handwork training at the Fiber Crafts Studio at Threfold Educational Center in Spring Valley, New York.

 

 

LINDSAY TOVEY
HANDWORK ASSISTANT

Bio coming soon...

RITA KAWECKI
EURYTHMY

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Miss Rita Kawecki is the Eurythmist at Swallowtail School, teaching preschool and kindergarten through eighth grade. She has a variety of experience in agriculture and practical arts,and fell in love with Eurythmy as a medium to work with the divine element in life, through art. She graduated from the American Eurythmy School in 2016, joined a traveling performing troupe, and began teaching pedagogical Eurythmy in Salt Lake City, Utah, before moving to Portland.

 

EVELYN TOLL
MUSIC

Bio coming soon...

Administration & Staff

CHER LEVENDOSKY
ADMINISTRATOR

Ms. Cher came to Swallowtail School as the Administrator in 2013, after a rich and varied career in Waldorf Education.

Cher is a native Californian who attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, splitting her studies between Early Childhood Education and Philosophy, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies. As Cher was working toward a public school teaching certificate, she discovered Waldorf Education at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm. Once her own children began attending Summerfield, she simultaneously pursued her Waldorf training at Rudolf Steiner College and assistant taught kindergarten. When her training was complete, she spent 12 years as Lead Kindergarten teacher at Summerfield. Cher served as administrator for more than six years, strengthened by the Waldorf School Administration and Community Development Course at Sunbridge College.

Cher then moved on to consult at Nelson Waldorf School in Nelson, BC, and returned to teaching Kindergarten at the nearby Sandpoint, Idaho Waldorf School. When her grown children relocated to Portland, Cher and her husband Ric moved to the area where Cher worked as High School Chair at Portland Waldorf School.

BRENDA MCCOY
ENROLLMENT COORDINATOR

Brenda started at Swallowtail in 2010 as a very active parent volunteer. She joined the administrative team in 2013 as the Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator. During her time at Swallowtail, Brenda has overseen tremendous growth - from approximately 70 students to 170 as of 2016.

Brenda holds a Bachelor's of Science in Biology from Portland State University and a Master's of Science in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University. Brenda enjoys travel, baking, dancing, gardening, crafts, hiking, meditation, and playing board games.

 

MICHALINA MARKOWITZ
FINANCE MANAGER

Michalina joined Swallowtail as a parent in January of 2014 and started as the Finance Manager in December of that year. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Operations Management and a Master's Certificate in Accounting. Michalina has a wide range of experience in Finance, Accounting, and Auditing.

 

 

 

EMILY SAXTON
DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Emily was born a third-generation Oregonian who grew up in Bellingham, Washington. Her childhood included a lot of family explorations to the coast and the islands by foot, ferry, and bike. She launched her first major fundraising campaign in seventh grade to transfer to a small private school. When she reached her goal (and persuaded her parents to make a generous ongoing contribution), it was a drastic and wonderful change from her previous educational institution.

Emily has a BA in History and an MA in Public Administration. Her enthusiasm for writing, community engagement, and school choice led her to positions in school fundraising. Before joining Swallowtail in 2016, she worked in fundraising at charter schools in Portland. In addition to working, she enjoys bike riding, reading, camping and exploration, gardening, and going on family adventures with her daughter and her wife.

ANNA RUBY
MARKETING & EVENTS, OFFICE MANAGER

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Anna joined the Swallowtail administrative team in January 2015. Before staying home with her two daughters, Anna worked for 10 years as a journalist for television and print. She discovered Waldorf education through her oldest daughter's Waldorf-inspired preschool in Beaverton, OR.

 

 

 

MARTIE FINE
OFFICE ASSISTANT

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Martie recently moved to the Portland area from Reno, Nevada with her husband and her dog. She has worked in Waldorf education and studied Anthroposophy for the past 18 years. She started the school now known as Nevada Sage Waldorf School in her home in 2000 and spent eight years as Administrator, Director, and Lead Teacher. In 2008, she accepted a position with University of Nevada’s Early Head Start and worked for ten years as a home visitor, building relationships with families who lived in poverty and who experienced any number of life challenges. She has two grown daughters, one here in Portland at PSU and the other still in Reno, finishing her degree at UNR. Martie and her husband and dog love to hike and explore the Portland area and look forward to getting to know their new home. She is very excited to be a part of the Swallowtail Community and is just happy to be here!

NOAH MARQUIS
FARM STEWARD

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Noah (or "Farmer Noah", as the children know him) is Swallowtail's Farm Steward. He manages all aspects of the Farm property including animals, gardens, and the buildings.

 

 

 

PETE PETERSON
FACILITIES MANAGER

Extended Care

Swallowtail Extended Care staff care for the children in the mornings and after school. They lead children in games, songs, snacks, free play and outdoor play.

KIM THORVALDSON
EXTENDED CARE LEAD

CAITLIN VIREDAY
EXTENDED CARE ASSISTANT

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Bio coming soon...

 

 

 

ALYSSA VANDERVELDEN
RESTING STARS LEAD

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Bio coming soon...