EARLY CHILDHOOD FACULTY

Parent-Child Classes

Morning Garden Teacher
Nikki Shoneman

Nikki was introduced to Waldorf Education in 2003 when she was handed the book “Beyond the Rainbow Bridge” to read.  This opened the door to seeking more about Waldorf Education and Rudolf Steiner.  When her first child was ready for a nursery program in 2009 in Santa Cruz, CA, Waldorf School was the most natural fit and she watched her child thrive.

Nikki has a BA. In Fine Arts from UCSC with a focus in painting and drawing and was honored as a California Art Scholar. She is the founder and past director as well as art facilitator for MOVE (Making Our Voices Empowered), a non-profit art organization providing alternative education to at-risk youth in the Bay Area.  Also teaching natural science and history to 4-6th graders, backpacking in the wilderness with high school and college students teaching environmental studies.  She helped open Dobra West and created the food menu that she continues to update.  Nikki has a diverse education in Midwifery, Herbalism, Bodywork and most recently graduating from Lifeways an Early childhood education program based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner.

Now living in North Carolina with her husband and three children they enjoy hiking, swimming, cooking, gardening and making art together. Nikki continues to make art and teach art at a local therapeutic boarding school for high school teens and is excited to be teaching at Azalea Mountain as the Morning/Afternoon Garden Teacher.

Nursery

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Zoe Rothfuss
Lead Nursery 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.  She expects to complete training in Nurturing the Roots, a three-year advanced therapeutic course for Early Childhood Educators, in Summer of 2019.  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 Nursery 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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Amrita Prem
Assistant Nursery 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.

Deborah Dornemann 
Nursery Lead Teachers

Ms. Debbie is a loving and enthusiastic Waldorf Teacher.  She is devoted to creating a sense of wonder and awe through storytelling, movement, singing, speech, and art: “every moment is an opportunity to find the beauty and goodness that exists within each of us and the world around us.” She started working in a Waldorf kindergarten in 1994 after she received training at the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento.  Ms. Debbie also had her own Waldorf preschool in the woods in Wisconsin called “Whispers of Wonder.” She has her Masters degree in Waldorf education and her Waldorf teaching certification for both early childhood and grades teaching. She has many years of teaching experience in the elementary grades but is delighted to be with the little ones again!

Deborah and her husband, Rainer, share five beautiful children and two grandchildren. Deborah enjoys homemaking, puppetry, crafts, being in nature, and travel.

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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.  In addition, she taught at Dandelion Hill mixed-age (developing WECAN) kindergarten and during the Rainbow Community School’s summer program for early childhood. She also has enjoyed teaching adults to sing with young children through LifeWays and through Rudolf Steiner College’s Community Learning Center in Anchorage, AK. With her dear husband, Butch, and their delightful daughters, Perry and Maisie, Maria enjoys homesteading in Barnardsville. Some of her favorite things are traveling, tandem biking, swimming, contra-dancing, and singing.

Sareen Rasband 
Nursery Assistant

Sareen Rasband began studying Waldorf Early Childhood Education in 2011 through Lifeways North America in Milwaukee. During that time she was a nanny for a 2nd-grade student, who attended the Four Winds Waldorf School outside of Chicago, IL. At Four Winds, she attended parent-child classes with her oldest child (age 1 at the time), substituted in the Kindergarten, and volunteered for festivals and events. Sareen later offered a Waldorf-inspired parent-child group out of her home, a lovely farm in Oswego, IL. She moved to Asheville to pursue her career in Waldorf education and began a small program which has grown and thrived at Earthhaven Ecovillage. From 2016-2018 Sareen was a proud parent at Azalea Mountain School, as well as a member of the fundraising committee. Her daughters, Crystara and Livia, will both be attending Asheville Waldorf School in the fall. In her spare time, Sareen enjoys attending community dances, gardening, swimming in the sun with her daughters and eating delicious fruit!

Kindergarten

Waldorf kindergarten teacher, Ines Kinchen

Ines Kinchen 
Lead Kindergarten Teacher

Bio coming soon

Denise Kampouris  
Kindergarten 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.

Penelope Johnson  
Kindergarten Lead Teachers

After completing a degree in Fine Arts in the late nineties, Penny moved to Japan for a bit of an adventure, and to teach English as a Foreign Language. Attracted to the long history of the country, she found herself drawn to the ultra-modernity nestled amongst ancient culture. The plan was to go for a year; twelve years later, she returned to Australia and completed her teaching degree. She then taught Japanese, art, kindergarten, and literacy/numeracy for ESL students and those with special needs, before finding herself drawn to Waldorf education, mainly out of a desire for her daughter’s well-being. For the past three and a half years, Penny has been studying Waldorf Education, and Teaching Kindergarten and the 1st/2nd grade in a Waldorf School in Darwin, Australia. Penny is passionate about play, and very concerned about the world in which we are living, one in which our children’s time is becoming more and more structured, with less and less time for just playing. She truly believes that Waldorf education is the way forward. Penny has visited Asheville a number of times over the past couple of years and fell in love with the artsy, friendly nature of the place. Her daughter will be in Mrs. Erb’s Third-grade class. Both Penny and her daughter are eagerly looking forward to this new adventure, to meeting everyone and becoming part of our community.

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.

Lauren Kennedy 
Kindergarten Lead Teachers

Lauren has cared for children of many ages in various settings and roles since she became a big sister (and began her first job in high school). After receiving a B.S. in Psychology, she heard of Waldorf education through a friend who had assisted at Cedarwood Waldorf School in Portland, OR, and knew of her passion for education. Soon thereafter, Lauren nannied for a Kindergarten Teacher’s children at that school; this led her to grow increasingly interested in the approach.  She remembers having a profound feeling of being home when she first experienced a Waldorf early childhood classroom.  Eventually, she assisted in two different Kindergartens at Cedarwood, and then became involved with Kindle Hill Waldorf School community, when she lived in Australia. After moving to Asheville a couple years ago to be closer to family, she joined Azalea Mountain School as a substitute, and assisted in the Afternoon Garden parent-child class. Recently, Lauren has also facilitated expressive arts classes for homeschooling groups and women’s workshops, and has been a house parent to teens at a transitional home. Lauren is enlivened when dancing, creating art in many mediums, observing creatures, improvising collaborative stories, and honoring her inner mermaid by spending entire days at the beach swimming and listening to the ocean’s song.

Veris Alba   
Kindergarten Assistant

Veris considers themselves an artist who is especially interested in improving the human condition through alternative education, beautiful environments, and mindfulness. Veris has degrees from Simmons College and Lesley University and has been working in the therapeutic industry for the last while (Second Star Sanctuary, Trails Carolina and Timbersong Academy). Veris loves handwork – sewing, planting, sculpture – making of all sorts. In their free time, you can find them playing chess with their partner, learning aerials, dancing, reading, or hanging out with Taluli (their sweet starchild who is four and in Ines‘s class). Veris so looks forward to getting to know each of your children as the full and complete human they are, and to fostering a beautiful energetic space for their growth and development

Rest Nest (Extended Day Kindergarten)

 Morgan

Nechama 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.

Devi  
Rest Nest Teacher

Devi discovered Waldorf education in 2013 while living in an intentional community. As their son, Eamon has reached Kindergarten age, Devi felt strongly that Asheville Waldorf would be the most supportive environment for him. Upon studying the roots of Waldorf education, Devi was pleased to discover that due to the honoring of spirit, cosmic awareness and rhythmic structure, the heart of Rudolf Steiner’s teachings are in harmony with their life path and that which they felt was imperative to conserve within Eamon. Devi views the opportunity of holding grounded, clear, enlivening sanctuary space for each of your children as the most activating gift they can offer the world at this time. Believing that these children are the echoes of the future beckons Devi to embrace the stillness of each moment while caring for the brilliant beings in this school.

Devi has offered Somatic Healing and Energy Alignment through their business Inner Awakening since 2014 – utilizing Polarity Therapy, Thai Massage and Guided Meditation. They are involved in a local food business, Goddess Ghee. Their eclectic work history ranging from Horse Trainer to Nanny, to Tae Kwon Do Instructor has brought many diverse opportunities for learning and growth over the years. Devi is excited to be a part of Asheville Waldorf, to continue learning from the environment and people in the school and feels passionate about opening their heart and life to strengthen the web of support woven by this community.

Devi lives in Asheville with their six-year-old son, Eamon. Finding balance and inspiration by observing patterns in nature, admiring the intricate relational systems of the woods, sharing life with their partner Nigel, soaking in mountain creeks and waterfalls, writing music, singing, studying ancient cultures and quantum physics, connecting with friends regarding matters of the heart and sharing delicious nourishing meals.

Misty  
Rest Nest Teacher

bio coming soon