EARLY CHILDHOOD FACULTY

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Zoe Rothfuss
Lead Kindergarten Teacher

Zoe’s introduction to Waldorf Education began at the age of three and has always been an integral part of her family culture.  Since earning a B.Ed in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005, she has served young children and their families in a variety of settings. Zoe holds a diploma in Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education from Sunbridge Institute. From her home base in Madison County, Zoe enjoys spending time with her family working in the garden, hiking, dancing, baking, and is blessed to wake up to a birds’ dawn serenade every morning.

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Alice Redrick
Assistant Nursery Teacher

Alice was introduced to Waldorf Education in 1999, in the beautiful Napa Valley of northern California where she had the opportunity to work with a lovely teacher in her home-based kindergarten for two years. She moved to Alaska with her husband where she lived for eleven years and gave birth to four children. Once her eldest child became school aged their family became more involved with the Waldorf School in Anchorage. Alice assisted with the Parent-Tot, Aftercare and Kindergarten programs. She served as the Assistant Kindergarten Teacher for two years at Azalea Mountain. Alice feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work along side a variety of Waldorf Early Childhood teachers and holds them all close to her heart. Three of her four children currently attend Azalea Mountain School. Her family enjoys exploring the outdoors through hiking, biking and camping.

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Elizabeth Hromada
Lead Kindergarten Teacher

Elizabeth was first introduced to the work of Rudolf Steiner in 2004 while working as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Brevard, NC. She felt a calling as she read about cooperative communities dedicated to service of the whole human being: mind, heart, and body. Elizabeth earned her B.S. at UNC-Asheville in Environmental Studies, and found the joy of sharing the wonders of nature with young children during an internship at the WNC Nature Center. In 2005 she relocated from WNC to Sedona, AZ, where she met her husband, Justin. Their daughter, Niya, was born at home in 2007, and Elizabeth soon discovered the riches of Waldorf education while she cared for infants and toddlers in her home.  From 2012 and until the end of the 2015/16 school year, Elizabeth has worked as assistant, co-teacher, and lead teacher at Red Earth Waldorf Kindergarten/Preschool (REWK) under the mentorship of REWK’s founder and early childhood teacher of 30+ years. Also, since 2012, Elizabeth has served as a founding board member for Running River School, a non-profit independent grades program rooted in Waldorf pedagogy. She will complete her Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Training in July 2016 at Rudolf Steiner College. Elizabeth is filled with gratitude to return to Asheville and join the Azalea Mountain School community in the 2016/17 school year. It is a joy for her to share the wonders of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and daughter, and to delight in some favorite pastimes: seeking rare wildflowers, hunting for waterfalls, singing with the rivers, and marveling at fireflies.

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Alyssa Garland
Lead Nursery Teacher

Alyssa grew up immersed in Waldorf Education as a student at the Monterey Bay Charter School in California.  She later worked as an Aftercare School Teacher at the Monterey Bay Charter School and a Preschool Teacher at the Jewish Community Center of Asheville.  This past year Alyssa was the pioneer teacher of the Aftercare program here at AMS.  During that time she was given many opportunities to sub in both the Kindergarten and Nursery, where her passion for Early Childhood grew.  She is thrilled to be working as the Assistant Kindergarten Teacher alongside such an amazing faculty.  Alyssa holds a BA in Cultural Education and Humanities and a Minor in Performing Arts from the Prescott College in Arizona.  Alyssa loves singing, playing music, gardening, hiking, and dancing.

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Maria Allen
Lead Nursery Teacher

Maria met Waldorf education in 2006 at Winterberry Charter School in Alaska, working as Music Teacher.  When a class teacher had a baby, Maria “temporarily” took the class and wound up carrying them through 3 grades/years!  During this time, she became convinced that early childhood is the  most essential part of education.  She went on to study Waldorf early childhood education at Taruna College in New Zealand and with LifeWays/Asheville.  Maria also holds a degree in Music Education from Converse College (Spartanburg, SC).  She has previously taught at Azalea Mountain in the Nursery, Morning Garden (Parent/Child class), and as Music Teacher (grades 1-4).  In addition, she taught at Dandelion Hill mixed-age kindergarten and during the Rainbow Mountain School’s summer program for early childhood. She also enjoys teaching adults to sing with young children through LifeWays and (previously) through Rudolf Steiner College’s Community Learning Center in Anchorage, AK. With her dear husband, Butch, and their delightful daughter, Perry Katherine, Maria enjoys homesteading in Barnardsville.  Her hobbies include gardening, traveling, tandem biking with her family, swimming, contra-dancing and singing.

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Amrita Prem
Assistant Kindergarten Teacher

Amrita Prem learned of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy in 2006 when she met her soul parents, David and Carol, while performing her songs on WNCW. They taught her about Bio-dynamic farming practices and the different realms of spirit, nature, art and music. In 2008, Amrita Prem traveled to Israel on tour and learned of Waldorf education on a moshav where she was playing a house show. A Waldorf school opened while she was there, and Amrita Prem volunteered to be present for the first week. She fell in love with the beauty and reverence of this type of schooling.
After becoming a mother in 2012, Amrita Prem decided it was time to seek a space for her son to learn to be social in a nurturing space. A fellow teacher, sent by the cosmos, came to live with her and introduced Amrita Prem to Azalea Mountain School, where she eventually sent her son. She started out as a substitute and later became a Kindergarten assistant. This will be Amrita Prem’s second year at Azalea Mountain; she is so happy to be part of such a loving and supportive community.

Amrita Prem also enjoys playing music and guitar, being a banjo sing-songster (under the name Utah Green), and is a strong practitioner and teacher of Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. She also loves to be in the woods with her son, Pharaoh, and her pup, Uki.

Rachel Bernstein
Lead Nursery Teacher

Rachel was immersed in Waldorf education at an early age when she attended the Washington Waldorf School from second grade through eighth grade. Rachel has a BS in Early Childhood Education from Miami University in Ohio and received her teacher training at Taruna College in New Zealand. Rachel has lived and taught in Thailand for over 10 years. While in Thailand, she taught at an International School, with students, parents and colleagues from diverse countries and cultures; bringing with her a holistic approach to their lives and learning. She has worked as an assistant teacher in the Parent-Child class at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Alexandria Va. Rachel feels blessed to be joining the Azalea Mountain Waldorf School faculty at this time and to be contributing to such beautiful and nurturing work. When she is not at school, Rachel enjoys baking and going on “adventures” with her two young sons. Other interests include practicing Qi Gong, photography and enjoying time with family and friends.

Kimberley Maier 
Assistant Kindergarten Teacher

This is Kim’s second year as an Early Childhood Assistant Teacher at Azalea Mountain School. Her interest in Waldorf Education began several years ago upon meeting former Waldorf students who embodied noteworthy qualities and spoke highly of their childhood education. After volunteering at the Waldorf School of Baltimore, her journey brought her to Asheville where she quickly became involved with Azalea Mountain School. Her enthusiasm and drive for self-growth and exploration has led her through a plethora of classes and workshops including breath work, soulful communication, reiki, heart opening, and voice discovery. Since she was a young girl, Kim loved to climb trees, explore the forest, and swim in rivers. Her ever deepening love and respect for Earth is the reason why she studied and received her Bachelors in Environmental Science. In the years to come, she wants to get her Waldorf Teacher Training, and continue delving into other interests including doula work and alternative healing modalities.

Sophia Morgan 
Rest Nest Lead Teacher

Born into a family committed to Waldorf Education, Sophia has been immersed in Waldorf modes of parenting and teaching from her earliest years. She first attended the Waldorf School of Lexington in parent-child classes and has stayed connected to this holistic philosophy ever since. She became an assistant in parent-child programs at the very same school, and in a Waldorf-inspired forest playgroup before moving to Asheville to support her longtime sweetheart, Lavender, in studying massage therapy. In Asheville. Sophia co-led an aftercare program and taught biodynamic- and permaculture-inspired gardening to elementary school students before moving on to teach two and three-year old children in the Asheville Jewish Community Center’s preschool. Starting in 2017 she became the Lead Afternoon Teacher at Azalea Mountain School. She is filled with joy when creating a space for kindergarteners to discover calm and relaxation in community through the Rest Nest extended day program, and when building strong relationships and community across ages through the kindergarten and grades’ combined nature-centered aftercare program. Outside of her role as teacher, Sophia is active in Jewish life in Asheville; she enjoys biodynamic gardening, fiber arts, DIY music, and both hiking and swimming with Lavender in our beautiful mountains and valleys.

Denise Kampouris  
Rest Nest Assistant

I am the mother and grandmother of an Azalea Mountain teacher and student, and because of this, I have been blessed to be a part of this beautiful community. I have been an assistant teacher with special needs children at the Cerebral Palsy center in Atlanta. I also assisted and led the children’s program at an ashram in upstate New York. I later homeschooled my 2 sons, and after a while assisted in our homeschool group. After doing some substitute teaching at Azalea Mountain School, I felt a strong desire to be here more. I’m so grateful that my dream came true and that I am part of the afternoon programs.

Morning Garden Teacher
Morning Garden Lead Teacher

Bio coming soon

4-day Nursery Teacher
Assistant Nursery Teacher