FIRST GRADE: Heidi Martin
Heidi first encountered Waldorf education as an exchange student in Germany at the age of 16 and was inspired by the richness of the curriculum. After studying English and Fine Arts at UC Berkeley, she moved to Southern Oregon where she took her first job lead-teaching in a one-room school house in Williams at the age of 25. After teaching and tutoring various ages of children in Southern Oregon for five years, Heidi relocated to Eugene, Oregon to begin her Waldorf Teacher Training, which she completed in 2003.
She accepted a kindergarten teaching position in Corvallis, Oregon which she held for two years. In the Spring of 2005, Heidi moved back to Ashland to open a private Waldorf-inspired kindergarten. In 2009, Heidi finished her undergraduate studies at Southern Oregon University with a B.A. in English and Writing. Subsequently, she offered more years of Waldorf preschool from her homes in both Ashland and Talent, in addition to mentoring other Waldorf Early Childhood Teachers.
In May of 2012, she was hired at the Siskiyou School to teach 1st grade. After three wonderful years at the school, she chose to return to early childhood teaching out of her home, in order to better satisfy the needs of her family. After two years of preschool teaching, Heidi returns to the Siskiyou School in the Fall of 2017 as first grade teacher, with much excitement and enthusiasm for the journey ahead!
Heidi’s emphasis as a teacher is in nurturing the foundations of learning through rich sensory experiences, integrative movement and storytelling. She has attended numerous supplemental teacher trainings and workshops over the last 14 years and has gained a wealth of knowledge in the realm of therapeutic work, nutritional support for children and the art of Waldorf teaching, both grades and early childhood. She has been teaching steadily in Oregon for nearly 20 years.
At present, Heidi lives in Talent, Oregon with her husband Gregory and her sons Ayani and Oliver, a 4th grader at the school. On weekends, she loves to garden, hike the woods, fish in Oregon’s pristine, wild rivers and take trips to the Oregon coast. In addition to spending time with her children, she treasures opportunities to study nutrition and Zen Buddhism, as well as play bluegrass music with friends.
SECOND GRADE: Catherine Dixon
Catherine graduated her first 8th grade class in June 2016 and is now in her sixth year at the school continuing with the Dragonfly class into 2nd Grade. Catherine grew up in Washington, D.C. and attended the Washington Waldorf School for several years. She received her BA from the University of Vermont and spent her junior year in Athens, Greece. Her first teaching job was in an inner city school in Baltimore where for two years she pioneered a pilot program teaching health, cooking, and cultural studies to 8th graders. Then she moved to New Hampshire and enrolled in Antioch University’s 12-month Masters in Elementary Education and Waldorf Teacher Training Program. Her passions include canoeing, soccer, tennis, skiing, singing, swimming, cooking, farming, and camping in the wilderness of Quebec and Labrador.
THIRD GRADE: Jen Franczak
Jen has been a longstanding member of our greater Waldorf community as a parent and early childhood teacher. She came to the position of 1st grade teacher with 10 years experience both as an early childhood teacher and a grades teacher. From 2011 until June 2015 she ran The Open Door pre-school, one of our Waldorf–based early childhood programs here in Ashland. Prior to creating her own pre-school, Jen taught at Willow Wind Community Learning Center and at Children’s World Montessori. As her interest in Waldorf pedagogy grew, she decided to enroll in the Waldorf teacher-training program at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA. She completed her coursework in June 2015. Jen also has a Masters in Teaching from SOU. Her two daughters are in 2nd and 5th grades. Jen loves to cook nutritious meals for friends and family and run long distances!
FOURTH GRADE: Ghigs Razi
Ghigs Razi is one of the school’s founding class teachers, now in her 14th year with the Siskiyou School. She joined during the “pod years” and served on the Board of the Siskiyou Initiative that brought the new school into being. She took her first class from fourth to eighth and then another from fifth to eighth. Upon graduating her second class and serving as First Grade Class Assistant for a year, she decided to pick up a third class at the very beginning, in first grade. Ghigs is now in her third year with her new class. She enjoys reconnecting with middle schoolers when teaching her weekly 8th grade current events and helping with 8th grade projects. She graduated from Colorado College and did her Waldorf training at the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento. She grew up in Washington, DC, and Maine and attended Waldorf school for most of her elementary years. She and her partner, Michael, have two girls: Juniper, a first grader at the school, and Grace, age 4.
FIFTH GRADE: Moriah Peterson
Moriah Peterson grew up in Minnesota surrounded by forests, lakes, and rivers. She is thrilled to be the new 5th grade teacher at the Siskiyou School. She found her love for teaching in college when she helped develop a program to educate middle school girls about organic farming and food. After studying English and Women’s Studies at the University of Minnesota, Moriah began assisting at the City of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis. She quickly knew that Waldorf education was special and attended teacher training at Antioch University. Upon completing a Graduate Certificate in Waldorf Education, she was a class teacher for three years at the Urban Prairie Waldorf School in Chicago. Moriah was drawn to Ashland for its community, culture, and nature. Some of her passions include gardening, football, hiking with her dog, and playing music with her partner, Phil.
SIXTH GRADE: Gregory Beech
Gregory has been working in Waldorf education for the past thirteen years and is very happy to be at the Siskiyou School. He began as an elementary teacher serving for eight years at City of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis, and recently taught humanities and history for three years at Tara Performing Arts High School in Boulder, Colorado. He appreciates the Yeats quote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” believing that inspiring students to seek and learn through experience opens their world to all great gifts. Originally from Minnesota, Gregory graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris with a degree in English and theatre arts, later earning an MFA from Rutgers University. He received Waldorf teacher training from Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education Program in Chicago and continues to study and deepen his teaching. He is a musician, theatre artist, painter, and sculptor. Gregory has two grown children, a son, Graham, and a daughter, Breana, both living in Minnesota. Gregory lives in Ashland with his wife, Adderly, and baby boy Julian.
SEVENTH GRADE: Javier Alvarez
Javier Alvarez began his teaching career at the San Francisco Waldorf High School in 1999. Inspired by the quality of work, clarity of thoughts, and loving nature of those high school students, he found his calling as a Waldorf teacher. Javier completed his teacher training in 2005 and graduated his first class from Summerfield Waldorf School in 2007. Javier was born in Mexico City, grew up in the Philadelphia area, and graduated from the University of North Carolina. After a few years in Taos, New Mexico, he is thrilled to be living in Ashland and sharing his passion for Waldorf education with the Siskiyou School community. Javier enjoys exploring the outdoors in search of pristine swimming holes, breathtaking vistas, and fresh powder. Javier is blessed with two magical daughters, Luna, a Siskiyou School graduate and sophomore at AHS, and Mercy, and 6th grader at the school.
EIGHTH GRADE: Kelly Shelstad
Kelly’s bio is coming soon!