1857 Curlew Road, Palm Harbor FL 34683 727-786-8311

Faculty and Staff

 

Connie Manson, Merrily We Meet – Parent Child Program and Grades Music Teacher

Connie Manson teaches our Parent-Child classes and also teaches music to the first through fifth grades. Ms. Manson has taught Waldorf kindergarten, nursery, and parent-child programs for over 21 years. Most recently, Connie has served as parent child/nursery teacher and Grades music teacher for Waldorf Sarasota.  Ms. Manson holds a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a MSEd in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College. She is a masterful puppeteer and presents magical puppetry outreach programming in the greater community and parent/teacher puppetry workshops across the nation. In the summers, she teaches Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood at Sunbridge Institute.


Lisa Bedingfield, Morning Glory Kindergarten Teacher
Having been part of the Suncoast Community for many years, Lisa is excited to be joining the faculty once again.
Lisa grew up in Germany where she attended Waldorf School from 6th grade on. It was a different and fulfilling experience for her and she truly enjoyed the way arts and academics came together in this academic approach. After finishing 12th grade she studied Waldorf education at the Rudolf Steiner Institute in Kassel for two years. As part of her training she completed a one year internship at Suncoast Waldorf School as a Kindergarten Assistant in the school year of 2004/05. It was during that time that she decided to attend the Waldorf Teacher Seminar in Stuttgart. In 2006 she began her studies, during which her two children Lotta and Liam were born. The teacher studies included the arts, self development, reflection, and studying anthroposophy. Many of the philosophies had, and continue to have a big impact on her life.
In 2012 she moved to Florida and has been part of the Suncoast School Community ever since, both as a parent, and as a German subjects teacher for several years. She is excited to rejoin the early childhood faculty and wishes all a wonderful new school year filled with laughter and growth

Christa Mutschler, Primrose Kindergarten Teacher

Christa was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Florida. She went to school for graphic design, taught yoga for ten years and studied permaculture design. She learned of Waldorf Education many years ago and was thrilled to find Suncoast Waldorf School  where her son began kindergarten in 2014. Christa has substituted in all early childhood classrooms for four years, assisted in summer camps and with parent handwork. She has a passion for working with young children and is overjoyed to assist in the kindergarten classroom this year.  Christa completed her Waldorf teacher training for Early Childhood at the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy in British Columbia in the spring of 2019. She enjoys the outdoors, art and spending time with her husband, David, and son.


Mei Tschang, Kindergarten Assistant

Mei Tschang is delighted to assist in nurturing our Kindergarten Children.  Mei was born and raised in Rochester, New York as a 1st generation Chinese-American.  After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in 1989, she lived in Boston, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, California before settling here in sunny Florida in 1997.  She then decided to leave her career in the Food Industry to pursue her lifelong passion for health and wellness.  She began practicing and teaching yoga, focusing mostly on physical fitness.  In 2004 she met a dear friend who introduced her to Waldorf Education based upon the philosophy of Anthroposophy which honors human wisdom, freedom and love.  She began to shift her yoga teaching to focus on healing tools such as simple breathing meditation to reveal inner peace and resilience, truly enriching daily life.  Mei loves breathing and singing with the children, inviting their inner voices to shine.  Her continual journey as a yoga mindfulness teacher inspires her to appreciate the presence of each child, honoring his or her special beauty, imagination and infinite gifts.  She has 2 sons born in 1994 and 1997 and a daughter in our 2nd grade.  She sees how vital family guidance and community connection are in child development and is grateful for our wonderful Suncoast Waldorf School community.   Ms. Mei considers it a great honor to educate head, hands and heart, and to encourage everyone’s spirit to dance.  She loves dancing, singing, violin, meditation and studying anthroposophy and neuroscience.  She enjoys learning new things slowly but surely, and most of all with a smile.  She knows that our children will make a difference in our world, and her greatest intention is to:  “Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.”  -Rudolf Steiner, founder Waldorf Education


Michelle Stolz, Huckleberry Kindergarten Teacher and Summer Camp Co-ordinator

Michelle’s journey at Suncoast Waldorf began in 2013, as a parent of a new kindergartener. After planting her roots within the community by volunteering, working in the office, and substituting in the kindergartens,
she established the School’s first aftercare program in 2015. Shortly after, in 2016, she helped coordinate the expansion of the Summer Camp Program to include a rich, creative curriculum for both Early Childhood
and Grades. She pursues classes and other activities specializing in Waldorf arts, curative education, and is creatively inspired by nature. Michelle had the opportunity to assist in the Sunflower Garden Kindergarten in 2016 and 2017. This year, Michelle continues her journey within the Suncoast Waldorf community as a full time assistant in the Kindergarten, the lead Summer Camp teacher for Grades age children, and as a proud parent of a fifth grader.


Fernanda Almeida, Huckleberry Kindergarten Assistant

Fernanda is grateful to join Suncoast Waldorf School and continue her journey of growing as a teacher. Her background in education includes eight years of teaching and experience in Waldorf and traditional schools, child development centers and being a private child care provider. She holds a bachelor’s degree and is qualified to teach school, English as a second language, CPR and more. She believes that nurturing imagination, art, values and self-development are important parts of education especially for children at an early age.  She is an immigrant from Brazil and appreciates being part of a team of tolerance, love and respect for animals, nature and all human beings. She values cultural richness and is a yogi with much kindness in her heart.


Anita Rodriguez-McCaffrey, First Grade Teacher

Ms. Rodriguez has been a Kindergarten teacher at Suncoast Waldorf School for four years.  Many of the children attending First Grade this year have been fortunate to have Ms. Anita as their teacher in Kindergarten.
Ms. Rodriguez completed the Waldorf Teacher Education Foundation Studies Program at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California in 2004. She continued her Waldorf Grades Teacher Training with Sophia Institute Online Courses and completed this in 2015 with a six-week internship at Suncoast Waldorf School in 4th grade.
Ms. Rodriguez also taught First Grade previously at the Sunrise School of Miami, a Waldorf inspired school.  This summer Ms. Rodriguez spent three weeks at Sunbridge Institute in New York pursuing her Waldorf World Language teacher training. Her husband Pat and their son Mateo are happy to be part of the Suncoast Waldorf community. In her spare time Anita enjoys time with her family as well as yoga, bike riding and walks by the ocean.  Anita anticipates a wonderful school year and looks forward to taking the first grade class.

Lolly Rogers, Second and Third Grade Teacher
Lolly received a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Geology from Florida State University. After completing her archaeology field school, she worked as an assistant registrar in a museum.
Years later, after moving to Oregon, she enrolled her children in the Eugene Waldorf School, and eventually entered the Teacher Training Program there. She has taught in Oregon, Washington, and Florida, and took shorter term positions in Alaska and the Caribbean. She did not intend to become a gypsy teacher, but the high need for Waldorf teachers in the world made it possible.
Lolly grew up in Florida and spent much of her time playing outdoors. Her parents moved in art and music circles, thus providing many creative people for Lolly and her siblings to be around. She developed a love for art early on, and as a young teenager traded pottery and batik lessons for babysitting. Lolly was also a bookworm and thrived on academics, as well as art.

Susan Brown, Fourth Grade Teacher

Susan is a Waldorf Alum, having attended the Chicago Waldorf School from Kindergarten through Grade 7. She holds a BA in Philosophy & English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and a Waldorf Teacher Certification from Rudolf Steiner College in CA. Susan worked as a Waldorf Grades teacher for 10 years and as a Waldorf Parent/Child & Early Childhood Teacher for 5 years. Susan loves cooking, drawing, painting, figure skating, identifying seashells and discussing dense philosophical and Anthroposophical texts.

 


Liudmila Self-  Fifth and Sixth Grade Teacher

Ms. Self joined Suncoast Waldorf School in 2013 from the Alabama Waldorf School in Birmingham, Alabama, where for three years she taught grades one, four, seven and eight. At Suncoast Waldorf Ms. Self taught grades one, four, five and it is currently teaching the fifth grade.

Ms. Self has taught math and physics blocks at the Emerson Waldorf High School ( grades nine and ten) and middle school –grade 8.

Ms. Self is from Bucharest, Romania where she studied and received her bachelor’s degree in Russian and English Literature. Following a career in television, she moved to London, United Kingdom, where she received her master’s degree in Audio Visual from London Guildhall University.

She also received her post-graduate teaching certificate from the Institute of Education, University of London before teaching film and media at City of Westminster College. She received Waldorf teacher training at Sunbridge Institute in New York and at the Steiner College in Sacramento.

Ms. Self  taught film production at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She speaks Russian and Romanian as a native speaker as well as fluent English. She is a documentary filmmaker and has interests in environmental concerns, marine wildlife, and ice skating (as a child, she trained for the Romanian National Figure Skating team.)


Peter Chin – Educational Support Teacher

Peter’s Waldorf teaching experience spans more than 30 years. He lived in Florida as a university student majoring in English Literature and Secondary Education. He also held Florida teaching credentials for elementary and secondary education and is also a graduate of the AHE Waldorf Educational Support Training program.  Following his graduation from the Waldorf Teacher Certification Training Program in 1975, he served as a class teacher in Denver and Santa Barbara for twenty years.

After carrying several classes through their Waldorf grade school years, he served as the director of educational support services at the Santa Barbara Waldorf School. In 2005, he relocated to Florida with his wife, Connie and resumed his career as a full time class teacher at the Sarasota Waldorf Initiative and Suncoast Waldorf School. In 2015, he retired from full-time class teaching and currently maintains a part time practice at Suncoast Waldorf School as pedagogical advisor and educational support teacher.

In his spare time, Peter enjoys helping produce puppet shows with his wife, Connie Manson and participating in the sport of competitive sabre fencing.  (He will be teaching fencing to the 6th grade students this year).

 


Daniela Colic –  German Teacher

(Bio coming soon!)


Andrea Marti, Eurythmy and Handwork Teacher

Andrea Marti is in her 3rd year of teaching Eurythmy to students K-5 at SWS and has also taken on the work of handwork teacher in the grades.  She will begin her 3-year teacher training in applied arts this summer at Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, New York.

She received her 4-year Eurythmy diploma from Eurythmy Spring Valley and Early Childhood training from Rudolf Steiner College.

Andrea  is inspired in her work with children and their community to bring health and joy through the practice of ensouled movement.


Jim Shallenberger, Violin Teacher

Violinist Jim Shallenberger was born, and spent most of his professional career, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated with honors from UC Berkeley, received his Masters degree from University of Washington (Seattle), and after studies in England, returned to the San Francisco area. There he played professionally ( SF Symphony, Opera and Ballet Orchestras, Kronos String Quartet, studio and film recordings , etc. ) for thirty years. He recently moved to Florida to be near his son and granddaughter, and is delighted to be now teaching violin at the Suncoast Waldorf School.


Barbara Bedingfield, Founding Director

Barbara Bedingfield is Founding Director of Suncoast Waldorf School and currently serves as the Board President. She worked with the initiative for 7 years before the opening of the school in 1998 and served as the first kindergarten teacher. She took the first grade ready children from grade one to grade four after which she returned to the kindergarten for several years. Through the years she has worked in enrollment and development and has stepped in to teach the grades when needed.  Barbara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Florida and a Master’s in Early Childhood from Antioch University New England where she took her Waldorf training.


Melissa Click, Office Coordinator

Melissa is new to SWS and she brings with her years of office management experience as she has worked in a variety of law firms throughout her career as a paralegal.  She was born in Germany and raised in South Florida but loves being part of the Pinellas County area due to the gorgeous beaches and fun outdoor activities it brings.  In her spare time, she loves biking, yoga, gardening, traveling and spending time with friends and family. When she visited the 2018 Holiday Faire, she fell in love with the school grounds, the Waldorf curriculum as well as the gentle demeanor of each teacher. She has two children attending SWS, Madison (2nd grade) and Alex (Early Childhood), two cats and one dog. Melissa and her family are very involved with school activities and they are excited to be part of such a welcoming and nurturing environment.


Patrick McCaffrey, Facilities Manager

Pat was born and raised in New Hampshire, attended college in Massachusetts, traveled around the US for several years after college, and finally settled in Oregon. There, he gained experience and skills working in the timber industry, the building trades, the health-care field, and was a volunteer firefighter and EMT.

In 2000 Pat moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California to work as Facilities Director of Hidden Villa Farm and Wilderness Preserve in Los Altos Hills. There he met our dear Ms. Anita.

Eventually, a move to Ecuador in 2010 with their son, Mateo, provided many interesting adventures for them. As Mateo approached school age they started looking for a Waldorf education for him, having learned much about Waldorf while living in California. A move back to the US in 2015 resulted in the discovery of the Suncoast Waldorf school.