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

Sacha.jpg

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.

EMILY ARMSTRONG
BUTTERFLY KINDERGARTEN ASSISTAN

TRACI JO PARTIN
DRAGONFLY KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

IMG_0274.JPG

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!

EDDIE ARELLANO
DRAGONFLY KINDERGARTEN ASSISTANT

IMG_9051.jpg

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.

KRISTEN ARRASTIA
CATERPILLAR PRESCHOOL TEACHER

SHANNON HALLBERG
CATERPILLAR PRESCHOOL ASSISTANT

IMG_9044.jpg

Shannon Hallberg brings to the children a deep love of movement and play supported by years of exploration and study in developmental movement patterns through the practice of Body-Mind Centering and Bartenieff Fundamentals. 

She has been engaged in movement research and embodied practices for the last 30 years. Her love of movement begins with the study of contemporary dance growing to include somatic movement education and massage therapy. Shannon holds a BFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is Certified as a Laban Movement Analyst through the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and is an Oregon licensed Massage Therapist. Shannon is in her third year of training as a Somatic Movement Educator with the School of Body-Mind Centering.

Mostly, she loves nurturing young students in their work of learning about themselves and the world - striving to create the most loving and supportive space for the development of whole and authentic beings. 

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.

DANIEL MOLLOY
GRADE 1

RICH AGUILO
GRADE 2

IMG_9037.jpg

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.

ANAND MALIAKAL
GRADE 3

ERIN GILL
GRADE 4

IMG_9039.jpg

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 5

Cierra.jpg

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.

ANNETTE JOHNSON
GRADE 7 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 PEIRCE
GRADE 7 CO-TEACHER

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.

KELLY MARQUIS
GRADE 8

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.

Specialty Teachers

MARCELA STEADHAM
SPANISH

00165.jpg

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.

SADIE LIFTON
HANDWORK

Sadie.jpg

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.



JOYCE LIJUACO
MUSIC

JORDAN KRISTON
GAMES

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.

JESSICA FOSTER
ENROLLMENT & OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Jessica was born and raised in the farmland south of Hillsboro. Along with her brothers, she spent her childhood outdoors, free to discover the world by exploring the woods and fields as far as her horse could carry her. She completed a Bachelor’s of Arts at Kenyon College, in both Psychology and Spanish Cultural Studies. After graduating, she lived with her husband in Mexico to increase her fluency in Spanish and learn more about the culture and traditions of the area. Her passion for serving children and families, as well as striving for a more equitable and inclusive world, led her to work as a Head Start preschool teacher, a home visitor for new families, and a housing manager at Washington County. When her own children entered school, initially at a local cooperative preschool and then at Swallowtail, she felt a growing clarity of purpose, a desire to support the families in our communities through an education that truly allows children to realize their full potential.  

ANNA RUBY
MARKETING & EVENTS, OFFICE MANAGER

00162.jpg

Originally from Northwest Montana, Anna spent much of her childhood outdoors in all seasons: ice skating on frozen ponds in the winter and playing in the freshwater lakes in the summer (and attending lots of her brothers’ baseball games).

Anna holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from The University of Montana. She worked as a television, print, and online journalist and freelance writer for 10 years before staying home with her daughters. She found Waldorf education through an outdoor preschool & kindergarten program in Beaverton.

Anna joined the Swallowtail administrative team in January 2015 as Office Manager. Her background in producing, writing, and video editing led to a natural transition into a role in Marketing, Communications, and Event Planning.

MARIANN HAGLAND
OFFICE ASSISTANT

Bio coming soon…

EMILY SAXTON
GRANTS ADMINISTRATOR

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.

NOAH MARQUIS
FARM STEWARD

00158.jpg

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.

Holding anthroposophical and agrarian based philosophies as a core value. He is currently working to restore the land Swallowtail is blessed to hold to a place where humans, nature, and croplands thrive. While engaging as many people as he can in that effort, mostly kids. Noah was first introduced to Biodynamics in 1999 while working on a Polytechnic farm in Chirstchurch, N.Z. His loves include, but are not limited to, the Marquis three, the smell of fresh morning air, and flowing water.

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.

IMG_9053.jpg

ALYSSA VANDERVELDEN
EXTENDED CARE LEAD

IMG_9041.jpg

CAITLIN VIREDAY
EXTENDED CARE ASSISTANT