Specialty Teachers, Subject Teachers, and Assistants
Melissa Archer: Music
Melissa is one of the first teachers alumni ask for when they visit the school because singing beloved songs with their classmates is one of their fondest memories of their elementary years. Over their eight years they develop quite a repertoire together! Melissa has been teaching music to Waldorf children in the Valley for over 25 year and was one of the bridge teachers from the old school. Melissa was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma, singing in choirs and playing piano. She and her family moved to Ashland in 1974 when she attended SOU in music studies. Already an established private piano teacher, she began her school teaching career at the Haleakala Waldorf School on Maui in 1991. She eventually returned to Ashland and joined the staff of the Waldorf School of the Rogue Valley. When that school closed, Melissa brought music to the children in the Waldorf pods. Melissa is married and has two grown children: Allegra, a graduate of Waldorf, and Anthony, living in England. She enjoys fine cooking and tending to her bonsai.
Cynthia Bower: Handwork & Class Assistant
Cynthia can do just about anything very efficiently and very well, so it is not surprising that we rely on her for many things and that she has always carried more than one job at the Siskiyou School. She has been a class assistant for years. Her most prominent role in the school is as our Handwork teacher. She teaches all the children in grades 1-8 two times a week and has been doing so for 15 years! Thanks to Ms. Bower, every Siskiyou School graduate can knit, crochet, cross-stitch, darn, or use a sewing machine! Cynthia doesn’t just knit in class: she has been known to knit at stoplights, gas stations, and at meetings. Cynthia has a BS in Forest Management Science from Colorado State University. Her passions include CrossFit, knitting (need we say more?), gardening, and walking. Cynthia lives with her husband, Timm. Her daughter, Raina, graduated from Ms. McKissick’s Class of 2008. Her son, Terran, graduated from Mrs. Murphy’s Class of 2004.
Michael McGlone: Woodworking & Gardening
Michael McGlone is in his 11th year at the school, having joined as a class teacher during the pod years. He discovered Waldorf education while working on a biodynamic farm in Pleasant Hill, Oregon. He completed his Waldorf teacher certification in Eugene and worked at the Waldorf schools in Eugene, Olympia, and Seattle before joining the Siskiyou School in 2005. After two years of class teaching, Michael shifted to serve as the woodworking and gardening teacher. He also teaches cooking as part of the Middle School electives. He is frequently heard to say: I have the best job in the world! Overhearing the chatter of his students as they whittle away in the woodshop or under the maple tree is to know they are having a good time too. As a favorite teacher of so many students, Michael was invited to give the speech at last year’s 8th grade graduation. Michael was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Temple University in 1996, with a B.A. in Geography and Urban Planning. For the next few years, Michael traveled around the world cooking and even running his own restaurant. Michael and his partner, Ghigs, have two daughters, Juniper and Grace.
Margie Glatte: Games
A fifth generation Oregonian born into a family of ten, Margie grew up on a farm in the Willamette Valley in a community graced with many relatives. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Oregon in German Language & Literature and a teaching certificate from Southern Oregon University. She was the German teacher at the Waldorf School of the Rogue Valley for ten years and also ran a kayaking company for kids with her husband, Hayden. When the old school closed, Margie went to work as a substitute in the Medford public school system. Struck by the needs she saw, she undertook training as a remedial specialist. She completed the Steiner College program as well as Seattle’s HANDLE Institute certification. In 2008 she joined our staff as our Games teacher—a job that calls on all her skills and loves: children, therapeutic movement, the outdoors. Each April under Margie’s leadership the Siskiyou School hosts the Medieval Games for the 6th grade classes of Southern Oregon. Margie also helps coordinate the Olympiad for the fifth grade classes of Southern Oregon. Ask any child what their favorite class is and you’ll hear: Games!
Jennifer (ZhangWei) Carroll: Mandarin
Jennifer has been teaching mandarin to Siskiyou School children for the last 11 years. It all began when the class teacher of one of her sons asked if she would teach some Mandarin to his class. Soon other teachers wanted the same for their students. Now Mandarin is firmly one of the two foreign languages studied by all Siskiyou school students. Jennifer was born and raised in northern China, close to Siberia. She received her B.A. in English at Shanghai Foreign Language University in 1992 and continued to reside there working as a translator until 1999. She met her husband, Robert, when he was studying in China. They have four children all of whom attended the Siskiyou School for some of their elementary school years. Jennifer enjoys camping, cooking, films, and quiet moments in her garden.
Aurilia McNamara: Eurythmy
Eurythmy is in Aurilia’s DNA. Her mother is a well-known eurythmist, and, as a Waldorf student at the Stuttgart Waldorf School in Germany, Aurilia did Eurythmy from 1st through 12th grade. She went on to obtain her Eurythmy degree at the Eurythmy School in Hamburg, Germany. After moving to Boulder, CO. in 1995, she taught and performed Eurythmy in different schools and programs. It was there that she met her husband, Darran. In 2000, they moved to Ashland and now have three sons.
Robert Dilansa: Middle School Language Arts
Robert came to the Rogue Valley in 2000 to study teaching at SOU and quickly fell in love with Southern Oregon’s mountains, rivers, and lakes. He grew up on equal portions of Southern Indiana rural life and Northern California wine country. After graduating with his B.A. in English from Sonoma State University in 1991, he started his teaching career in the Czech Republic, served as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher trainer in the Philippines, and taught English in China. Returning to the States, he completed his M.A. in Teaching at SOU in 2002 and taught English Language Arts in public middle and high schools for twelve years before seeking a change of direction. During recent years, he has pursued his passion for landscaping and taken on the role of the woodworking teacher at Madrone Trail Public Charter School. His growing love of Waldorf education has brought him back to English Language Arts instruction. Robert and his wife Jodie have two children, Kiva in 4th grade at the school, and Rhys, a kindergartner at Creekside Cottage in Talent. Sharing his children’s experiences in these educational settings has strongly influenced Robert’s definition of effective teaching and learning. Coming from a family of avid swimmers and being the son of a swim team coach, Robert spent much of his youth in the pool and continues to swim regularly today. He also enjoys running, as well as just about any activity that puts him outdoors in nature.
Dustin Monda: Middle School Math & Class Three Assistant
Dustin joined the Siskiyou School in 2004 as a Class Assistant. While he continues to serve in this capacity, he now also wears several other hats. He teaches middle school math classes, he runs the afterschool Chess Club, he tutors and mentors students, and he offers creative writing among other electives in our Middle School Friday program. Dustin graduated with a B.S. in psychology from Southern Oregon University in 2002. He worked as a counselor for the Lithia Springs Boys’ program before joining the Siskiyou School. Dustin brings playfulness and enthusiasm to the classroom as well as an ability to attune to the individual needs of students. He enjoys music, reading, writing, hiking, gardening, basketball, and traveling. Dustin’s daughter, Olivia, is a fifth grader at the school.
Jenny James: Middle School Math
Jenny is excited to get back to teaching after a 3-year hiatus when she had her son Noah and cared for him during his kidney transplant. Now that Noah’s health has improved, Jenny knows she is blessed to be a Math Specialist at The Siskiyou School within such a caring and academically balanced community. After 8 years as the Director of Youth Ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, OR, Jenny earned her Masters in Teaching from Willamette University in 2005. She is endorsed in secondary education with an emphasis in Middle School Multiple Subjects and Health. As travel is one of her passions, Jenny took a position as a high school Health and Religion teacher at Seoul Foreign School in South Korea where she was also the Head Tennis Coach for the Varsity Girls Team and the Head of the Social Studies department. Between 2006-2013, she lived and worked in Korea, and traveled abroad with groups of students on Discovery Week trips and tennis competitions to China, Japan, Cambodia, The Philippines, and other destinations. Jenny grew up in Jacksonville and lives there today with her family. In her free time, she loves doing anything outside with Noah- playing tennis, flying kites, gardening or just watching him enjoy the dogs, tap dancing to Gene Kelly movies, or making Play-Doh ice cream cones. She is looking forward to a good year teaching students about the fun and purpose of Math, so they will have a lifelong love for the subject.
Nina Gallwey: Ohana
Nina is one of the school’s founding class teachers and has served the school in many capacities over the last 13 years. Her Nautilus Class was one of the key bridge classes from the school’s “pod years”, and she and the parents of her class were prime movers in the creation of the new school. Nina has also been the school’s longstanding remedial specialist. Her teaching career began in the late 80’s as a special ed teacher; after she discovered Waldorf education in Hawaii in the 90s and took a class at Maui’s Haleakala school, she went on to do the Waldorf special ed training and other remedial trainings as well. Supporting children with remedial needs and also their parents in how best to support them is her greatest teaching passion. Currently, Nina spends a good part of her day teaching “Ohana classes” to second, third, and fourth graders who need support in language arts. She also conducts remedial assessments for the school and has previously taught Latin to our middle schoolers. Lastly, Nina is a well-known speaker and teacher of teachers. She mentors new teachers, hosts parent education workshops, and serves as our liaison with area preschools and kindergartens. Nina’s son, Brendon, graduated from the school in 2009.
Magda Rose Paz: Class One Assistant & Subject Teacher
Magda is our only faculty member born and raised in Ashland! She is one of three teachers in the school who attended Waldorf as a child (the Light Valley Waldorf School from 1st to 8th) and then decided to go into Waldorf teaching. She is one of two teachers trained not only as a class teacher but also as a Waldorf remedial teacher. She has a special interest for math and science and recently developed the A.C.O.R.N program for us – Active Curiosity Observation Reverence for Nature – a science curriculum for our 1st through 3rd graders. Over the last 11 years, Magda has put her gifts in service of the school in various capacities. Currently she teaches Art (Form Drawing and/or Painting) in 2nd, 3rd and 4th, is the Class Assistant in First Grade, and assists in 6th Grade music. She is also our chalkboard artist in residence. The black boards in front of the school and on the front hall table are often graced with her drawings. Her sons are in grades 6th and 4th . Magda graduated from Lewis and Clark with a BS in Psychology.
Eve Smyth: Drama
Eve Smyth was born and raised in Seattle, then spent several years in San Francisco, before finding her West Coast equilibrium in Southern Oregon. After graduating with a degree in theater from San Francisco State University, Eve performed and toured with her own theater company throughout the Northwest. Eve taught and performed with BATS Improv and was the Director of their Young Audiences program, where she facilitated improvisation workshops and performances in schools throughout the Bay Area. As an emerging playwright, Eve received critical acclaim in Seattle and San Francisco for her solo show “What Big Teeth You Have! or Little Red Bites Back”. She has written and directed several productions for Ashland Children’s Theatre that she co-founded with Kate Sullivan at Oregon Stage Works in 2004. Eve currently teaches acting and improvisation at Ashland Children’s Theatre and is a member of the comedy improv troupe The Hamazons. Eve feels that many of the basic improv tenets, like saying “Yes, and…” can be basic life tenets as well. She is constantly mystified and grateful for the combined magic of theatre and children. Eve lives with her daughter, Aidan, who is a student at Ashland High School.
Sarah Guneratne: Class Two Assistant
While working as a Waldorf Kindergarten Assistant Teacher, Sarah felt a deep fulfillment to spend time with children as well as a profound connection to the beautiful and thoughtful Waldorf approach to schooling. Sarah then started teaching Yoga at the Siskiyou School during the 2016-2017 school year and is very excited to integrate more into the community as a Class Assistant. Sarah holds her Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture as well as a BA from Colorado State University and enjoys sharing and stoking her passion for vibrant health and mindfulness. She currently teaches Yoga classes in the local area to elders, young children, and everyone in between! Sarah lives in Talent with her beloved partner Garrett and 5-year-old daughter Rhea.
Jenna Zappata: Spanish
Jenna is new to Waldorf and to the community of Ashland. She has been teaching Montessori Spanish for five years in Boise, Idaho. While obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and minor in Latin American History, she studied abroad in Costa Rica and Chile, which provided her the opportunity to become immersed in different Latin cultures and dialects. She found her passion for teaching, especially Spanish, during an internship she established with a Spanish immersion preschool in college. Having discovered she had a great talent, she created an after-school language program for preschool through junior high students. Life changes have allowed Jenna to bring her passion and talents to Ashland and the Siskiyou School. Jenna is an advocate for second language learning, planting the seed for world travel and promoting a multicultural awareness in her students.
Jamie Fahey-Blea: ACORN
Jamie Fahey-Blea is a mother, seed saver, herbalist, basket weaver and artist. Her mediums are inspired by the abundant resources of the natural world. In her early years, after studying Botany at Northern Arizona University, she was introduced to the practice of Biodynamic Farming, which has evolved into her working foundation. Jamie has honed her skills and knowledge while acquiring vast experience in farm, ranch and garden design, development and maintenance, ranging from market garden and CSA management to Permaculture design implementation. Rudolph Steiner’s branches of knowledge eventually introduced Jamie to Waldorf education. Steeped in the teachings of ancient cultures, myths, folk and fairytales, fiber arts, and farming, she enthusiastically shares her diverse depth of knowledge with children in great hopes of strengthening and inspiring their relationship with Life.
Ann Meissner: Support Teacher & Tutor
Ann joined the Siskiyou School as a support teacher and tutor in 2016 after retiring from 40 plus years teaching in San Francisco. She holds a master’s degree in special education and has taught most grades and subjects from preschool through 8th grade, along with a variety of administrative positions. She and her husband are loving the community, creativity and natural setting of Ashland. In addition to spending time with her young grandson, she enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking and hanging out with friends.
Tom Shelstad: Outdoor Leadership & Community Building
Tom Shelstad is the person our middle school teachers call when they want to organize wilderness trips for their classes, run challenge courses, or get help with team building for their students. For the past eight years, Tom has been running our fall orientation trips – weeklong camping and backpacking expeditions to the Marble Mountains, Lassen National Park, the Wild and Scenic – you name it! Tom has safely and successfully led hundreds of people on backcountry and mountaineering trips over the last 17 years. He grew up in Minnesota. He met his wife, Kelly, when he moved to Ashland in 2000. Together they run Inner Guide Expeditions and The Guide Council, which support youth through transformational wilderness trips, mentoring, and circle work.