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

Faculty and Staff

Front: Barbara Bedingfield, Amanda Tipton, Blanca Rossano, Kelly Ford, Mario Erazo, Jennifer Stubbs, Connie Manson, Monica Daniels, Anita Rodriguez, Carolyn Friedman, Angela Neff, Ashley Bodley, Maria Case, Ana Leiva

Back: Liesil Stein, Kendall Potts, Michelle Stolz, Heather Forsythe, Wendy Barnes, Susan Brown, Mei Tschang, Saida Fisher


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.


 Kendall Potts, Kindergarten Teacher (Periwinkle)

Mrs. Potts began her Suncoast Waldorf School journey in 2002 after leaving the public school in search of an educational system that truly matched her understandings of young child development. Mrs Potts has held various positions at Suncoast Waldorf including kindergarten assistant, kindergarten lead teacher, and Director of Early Childhood. Mrs. Potts even stepped into the grades in 2011 to lead a class from first through third grade. In addition to being the Periwinkle Lead Teacher, she is currently our Early Childhood Chair. Mrs. Potts graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Early Childhood Education
and has previously taught kindergarten, second and third grades in a public magnet school. She completed the Foundations Studies in Waldorf Education here at our school. Mrs. Potts is also a Certified Simplicity Parenting Facilitator. Her proudest accomplishment however, is being the mother of three lovely
young ladies: Drew (12), Ryann (17), and Delaney (19), all of whom attended Suncoast Waldorf School.


Michelle Stolz, Kindergarten Assistant (Periwinkle)

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 Periwinkle Garden kindergarten, the lead Summer Camp teacher for Grades age children, and as a proud parent of a fourth grader.


Carolyn Friedman, Kindergarten Assistant (Periwinkle)

Mrs. Friedman found her way into Waldorf Education when her children were young. She worked in the Acorn Hill kindergarten for five years and then went on to work at the Washington Waldorf School. In addition to teaching, she did many things including driving the school bus. In her nine years at SWS, she led parent child and nursery classes, and served as an assistant to Mrs. Potts in the Periwinkle Garden. This year Mrs. Friedman will enjoy a little more time at home spending time with her wonderful husband, Itzy, her four children, and her ten grandchildren. She will join us for soup day every Tuesday, and other special days in between.


Ashley Bodley, Nursery Teacher (Fiddleheads)

Ashley Bodley moved to Alaska from her childhood state of Virginia in 1993. While studying psychology at the university in Anchorage, Ms. Bodley discovered Waldorf education. Anthroposophy offered such depth into subjects for which she is so very passionate; education and human development.  In 1997 she pioneered the after school program at the Anchorage Waldorf School. Over the course of 20 years she has directed summer camps, led parent/child classes, assisted in kindergarten classrooms, owned and operated Waldorf Inspired in home programs, served families as private nanny, and taught nursery classes. Ashley’s career led her to California where she completed Early Childhood Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks in 2009 .  She enjoyed many years in Hawaii where her two beautiful children were born. She and her family moved back to Alaska, where her son was able to attend kindergarten and she eagerly participated as a parent  as well as faculty member  at the Anchorage Waldorf school. Ashley and her family are delighted to be a part of the Suncoast Waldorf School community.


Christa Mutschler, Kindergarten Assistant (Fiddleheads)

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 Fiddlehead classroom this year.  Christa began Waldorf teacher training for Early Childhood at the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy in British Columbia in 2017 and will complete her training in 2019. She enjoys the outdoors, art and spending time with her husband, David, and son.


Angela Neff, Kindergarten Teacher (Morning Glory)

Angela Neff teaches the Morning Glory Garden Class. Angela was born and raised in England. In 1992,  while traveling in the United States,  she met her husband Rob. Angela’s love and pursuit of Waldorf education began in 1999 when she enrolled her son, Liam, in the Honolulu Waldorf School, and  was  a volunteer in his nursery class. In 2004 she moved with her family to Nashville, Tennessee and spent 5 years assisting in the kindergarten at Linden Waldorf School in Nashville.  In 2009 Angela again moved with her family to Florida, where her children attended The Suncoast Waldorf School. Angela continued assisting in the Nursery and Kindergarten and in 2012 began teaching the Nursery class.  Angela has a BA in Early Childhood Education, and she received  her Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certification from Sunbridge Institute in New York. At present, Angela is completing a certificate in Therapeutic Training through “Nurturing  The Roots” course work in Denver, Colorado.

Angela loves working with children and their families, and she is dedicated to Waldorf Education and all that it encompasses. She treasures the beautiful community at Suncoast Waldorf School. She continues to seek out conferences and workshops relating to Waldorf Education. Along with being a mother of two grown children, in her free time, Angela’s enjoys reading, spending time with her family and friends,  and traveling.


Mei Tschang, Kindergarten Assistant (Morning Glory Garden)

Mei Tschang is delighted to assist Mrs. Neff in nurturing our Morning Glory Garden 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


Anita Rodriguez-McCaffrey, Kindergarten Teacher (Sunflower Garden)

Ms. Anita is originally from Ecuador in South America.  After completing her B.S. in Agriculture she moved to California to study Sustainable Agriculture.  She worked as an Environmental Educator and Administrator in the San Francisco Bay Area from 2002 to 2010.  Along the way, she met several people who introduced her to Waldorf education long before her son Mateo was born.  She completed the Waldorf Teacher Education Foundation Studies Program at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California in 2004.  The birth of her son in 2009 inspired her to continue a career as a Waldorf Teacher.  She then completed the Waldorf Teacher Certificate Program with Sophia Institute Online Courses.  In 2015, she came to Suncoast Waldorf School, completed her internship, and assisted Ms. Connie Manson for a year in her kindergarten class.  This is Ms. Anita’s third year leading the Sunflower Kindergarten class and so far this year is shaping up to be another great year! She is also contributing as a Board member and hopes to continue to share her talents everywhere is needed in the school. Her husband Pat and her son Mateo are happy to be part of the Suncoast Waldorf community. In her spare time Anita enjoys yoga, bike riding, walks by the ocean and swimming in the summer.


Heather Forsythe, Kindergarten Assistant (Sunflower)

Before moving to Florida at the age of 12, Heather was raised in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up she spent her summers on a Mennonite farm where she learned many of the values that have since led her to a natural play-based approach to learning. Currently she is working towards her B.A. in Educational Studies: birth – 4 yrs old at St. Petersburg College and will graduate in the spring of 2019. During a short return to Pennsylvania 6 years ago, she began her teaching career in Bucks County at an early intervention school where she worked with both learning and physical disabilities. After moving back to Florida, she taught at a small Reggio Emilia inspired school until finding Suncoast Waldorf School 3 years ago. She has, for the past two years, assisted in the nursery here at SWS and will now have the pleasure of assisting in the Sunflower Garden classroom with Miss Anita. The Summer Camp Program here at SWS has been another wonderful experience as she led our Early Childhood Classroom for three years. Heather has had the pleasure to not only work with talented teachers, but to watch her son grow under their wings. Her son has been enrolled at Suncoast for three years and, although it’s hard to believe, he is now entering the second grade! Heather enjoys being outdoors, biking, going for nature walks, kayaking, road trips, or just skipping rocks on the water. Simplicity and quiet moments are the treasures Heather seeks most in life.


Liesil Stein, First Grade Teacher

Liesil Stein graduated from Duquesne University in 2009 with degrees in Finance and Information Systems Management. After working in the finance world for two years, she finally found her calling to become a Waldorf Teacher. After finishing her Waldorf Graduate Diploma at Taruna College in New Zealand in 2012, she continued her training with a four month apprenticeship at the Kimberton Waldorf School in Pennsylvania. She loves being outdoors, playing and learning and having fun with family and friends.

 


Wendy Barnes, Second Grade Teacher

Wendy is a life-long traveler who was born in Germany and raised  all around the world during the 70’s and 80’s.  She graduated from Temple University in 1998 with her B.Ed. and attained her second Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from University of Alaska Anchorage in 2014.  This year marks Wendy’s 15th year in education.  She has taught Kindergarten through sixth grade.  She is also mother to four amazing children Hattie who is 10, Reece who is 11, Meredith is 13, and Chloe is 18, and is blessed with an amazing life partner named David.
Over the years Wendy has studied the works of Rudolf Steiner and believes his understanding of child development is transforming and enlightening.  A well-rounded student should be able to connect with the world physically, cognitively, and spiritually in order to coexist successfully in our ever-changing environment.  She looks forward to expanding her knowledge of the Waldorf methods of teaching and increasing her understanding of how children grow.
Wendy’s top priority as a new teacher is to develop positive relationships with each and every parent, student, and teacher in order to establish a beautiful relationship and and in integral member of this vibrant community.


Susan Brown, Third 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.


Maria Case, Fourth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Case loves Florida and the warmth of the weather and the community of SWS. Having received her B.A. in the Liberal Arts at Lawrence University, she traveled the world as a flight attendant before learning of Waldorf Education. She was fortunate to have studied and trained in Waldorf Education at Emerson College in East Sussex, England, home of the real Winnie-the-Pooh! She met her brilliant husband in California, and visits family in Tennessee regularly. She comes from a family of teachers and professors, and loves using her Dramatic Arts
education putting on Class Plays with the students.

 


Liudmila Self-  Fifth 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.)


Jen Stubbs, Educational Support Teacher

Jen has an honors BA from New College of FL and is a certified Waldorf teacher with special training in Curative Education. She has been working as an educator since 2004, working specifically out of the Waldorf pedagogy since 2013. Jen completed her Waldorf training at Taruna College in Hastings, New Zealand where she focused on Curative Education, movement, and the Extra Lesson. She received specialized training in autism spectrum disorder, behavioral management, communication systems, and special needs first aid from the Hohepa Village in Napier, New Zealand where she worked as a Curative Waldorf teacher for children with severe disabilities. Jen has experience with children of all ages, working in various preschools, kindergartens and private schools in Florida, China, and New Zealand. She has been with Suncoast Waldorf School since July 2015, refining and holding the Educational Support Program and chairing the SWS Care Group Committee. She lives on her family homestead in Spring Hill, FL and enjoys exploring the surrounding springs and rivers. Jen is presently undergoing an apprenticeship in structural integrative bodywork with a focus on cranial therapies for children and special populations.


Daniela Colic-  German

(Bio coming soon!)


Jess Lopez, Spanish and Games Teacher
Jess López, better know as Maestra López, is a native Spanish speaker. Born in Puerto Rico, raised between Orlando, FL and Bayamón, PR, Jess is connected to both cultures. Jess completed her bachelor’s in Psychology at St. John’s University in New York City. Her passion for education was sparked in 2009 where she mentored high schoolers (2009-2017) who participated in Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.  During the last decade she has worked with different non-profit organizations and grassroots projects in  Puerto Rico educating on the political-economic situation the archipelago faces. Her main focus was food sustainability and working with small to medium scale farms.
Her work with farmers led her to Biodynamic farming techniques and the work of Rudolf Steiner. Her passion for teaching and the anthroposophical values held in a Waldorf education led her to begin her Waldorf teacher training at Centro Antroposofíco de Cuernavaca in México.
Jess is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and runs an entrepreneur endeavor, selling botanical medicine through Boticaria Lunar.

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.


Sue Butter, Early Childhood Aftercare Teacher

Sue Butter  recently relocated to the Tampa Bay area from Grand Marais, Minnesota and she is loving it!  Graduating from the University of West River Falls, she taught Kindergarten and grade one for 5 years and then taught a stand alone kindergarten for another 5 years at a wonderful school before moving to Florida.

Sue is Mom to Ben, Josh and Andy and wife to Charlie.  She loves to go on adventures, read, sew, draw and embroider for fun.  She is looking forward to lots of years full of sunshine


Kate Capra, Grades Aftercare Teacher

(Bio coming soon!)


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.


Amanda Tipton, Administrator

Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Amanda Tipton graduated summa cum laude from Ferrum College with degrees in Studio Art and Philosophy, and soon started a family.  When her children were young, she started an in-home care co-op for 2-3 year olds, and worked to create a home like environment with practical life activities before being introduced to Waldorf education.  After a move to Charlottesville, VA, she discovered the Charlottesville Waldorf School and immediately knew that this educational approach was what she had been searching for since student teaching in college. Since then, Amanda has served as the School Coordinator of the Charlottesville Waldorf School, founded a Waldorf Kindergarten in Ibarra, Ecuador as the founding teacher and administrator, and coordinated teacher training in Ecuador.  She has served as the administrator of the Suncoast Waldorf School since 2015.


Kelly Ford, Administrative Assistant and Early Childhood Director

013Kelly embraced the Suncoast Waldorf community when her children joined the kindergarten and playgroup in 2006. Soon after, she began helping in the office, the school store, the kindergarten, and with handwork. Over the years, Kelly has held many roles including Festival Co-chair, Parent Handwork Coordinator, Parent Council Representative, and has served on the Board of Trustees. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, and Recreation from the University of West Florida, as well as an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a native Floridian and enjoys travel, camping, and the outdoors.


Ana Leiva, Admissions Director

Ana Leiva, Admissions Director, was born in Managua, Nicaragua and moved to the United States at age 8.  She holds a Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Special Education from Lehman College in New York. Ana also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. She completed  the certification program for Bilingual Extension from Lehman College in New York.

Ana’s work experience includes student teaching in second grade and fourth grade at Public School 23 in Bronx, NY in the summer of 2003-2004.  She worked as a substitute teacher and a First Grade Teacher at Public School 64 in the Bronx for a year, covering all subject areas in Kindergarten-5th grade.
Ana has worked as a head Teacher  in various Education settings in the private and public sector. Ana worked as head teacher in the pre-K program.  From 2008 to 2012 Ana was a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and a Bilingual Evaluator for children Birth – 5 years of age.

Before joining the Suncoast Waldorf School, Ana launched her photography business focusing on Portraits ranging from young and old.  Moving from the Green Meadow Waldorf School community in New York Ana continued her volunteer work as the parent handwork coordinator.She assisted in our summer camp program with the 3 to 5 age group.  Ana has worked as Admissions Director at SWS for two years and is a member of the Care Group.

Ana and her husband, Alvaro, are active in the school community.  Their daughter, Imogen, is in Sunflower Garden and their youngest daughter, Aria, has participated in the Parent/Child group and will enroll in the Nursery next year.


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.