High School Faculty
Math and Science
Amanda (she/her) grew up in Hawaii and was formed by the waves and sand. She fell in love with the Pacific Northwest while attending the University of Washington where she earned an M.A. in Chemical Engineering. Since 2008, Amanda has taught chemistry and math at Seattle Waldorf School. As Chair for the Math and Science Departments, she is a strong advocate for experiential, place-based trips in the science curriculum and hands-on, real-world projects in the math curriculum. In recent years, Amanda has taught classes in sexuality education, led rite-of-passage programs, coordinated teens in social activism, and taken youth on international travel adventures. For five years she served as the Program Director at Rite of Passage Journeys. After a decade of mountain climbing and rock climbing, Amanda has settled into backpacking, sailing, and simply sitting in the woods. She aims for 40 nights spent in the wilderness every year!
Movement and Science
Carl (he/him) grew up in the Manhattan Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Before joining Seattle Waldorf School, he was a grade school teacher at Whatcom Hills Waldorf School in Bellingham, Washington. Carl’s high school teaching career began in 2001 at Hazel Wolf High School, where he taught classes in science and movement. He earned his B.A. at Humboldt State University and was a two-sport collegiate athlete in soccer and volleyball. Carl did graduate work in coral reef ecology at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, where he became a SCUBA instructor, and in aquatic stream ecology at Western Washington University. At SWS Carl teaches classes in anatomy, geology, zoology, and P.E. He also leads key grade-level outdoor trips including the grade 12 Zoology trip to Friday Harbor Laboratories and the grade 10 Hydrology trip to the Elwha Dam removal site. In his free time, Carl loves exploring natural history and taking his grandchildren to Twin Ponds Park by Haller Lake.
Originally from Puyallup, Jessica (she/her) joined Seattle Waldorf School as a School Counselor in 2021. Jessica works primarily with the middle and high school students, while providing support as needed to the lower grades. She has brought a conflict management social-emotional learning curriculum to the lower grades, and a preventative program that aims to reduce dating violence to the middle school. At the high school, Jessica oversees the life skills curriculum by teaching students about mental health and providing resources. She also supports students 1:1 and is part of the Student Care Team. Jessica earned a B.S. in Psychology from WSU, and a MEd in School Counseling from Seattle Pacific University. Previously, Jessica worked at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation where she supported people with disabilities in finding work. During her free time, she enjoys spending time outside and going on adventures near and far with her 3 year-old.
Humanities and Educational Support
Born and raised in Alaska, Jessica (she/they) joined the faculty in 2022, teaching in the Humanities and Educational Support Departments. She received her BFA in Acting/Playwriting from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Currently, she is a student at Antioch University, where she will receive her Teaching Certificate and MFA in Creative Writing. Jessica has taught Drama and Literature at The Center School in Seattle, and at Eastside Preparatory School in Bellevue. Before joining SWS, she worked as a writer and educator for the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Jessica is devoted to Waldorf education as a parent of two young Waldorf students and enjoys baking banana walnut muffins, car-camping and listening to 80s-era New Wave music.
April De Nonno
Humanities and Educational Support
April (she/they) joined Seattle Waldorf School in 2019 and is currently Chair of High School Humanities, a position she has held since 2021. In addition to teaching English for grades 9 – 12, April is a member of the Educational Support team. As chair of Humanities, she has created key grade-level projects including the Outliers Biography Project (grade 10) and the Into the Wild Literary Trial Project (grade 11). Before arriving at SWS, April taught for nine years in the English Department at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences and for six years in the Humanities and Theater Departments at Cornish College of the Arts. She did her doctoral work and M.A. in English at the University of Washington, and she holds an B.A. in English from Hunter College – CUNY. Originally from New York City, April is an avid fan of big cities and a lifelong book nerd. Her favorite body of water is Lake Wenatchee and her dearest possession is a tattered copy of Ursula Le Guin’s science fiction classic, The Left Hand of Darkness.
Since 1993, Greg (he/him) has worked as a soloist, ensemble/band member, a session musician, composer/orchestrator. He has over 20 years of experience as a theatrical musician (onstage and playing in the pit) as well as leadership roles such as associate music direction and music mentor for actors. Greg has performed and taught guitar privately for 25 years with a broad stylistic knowledge. As a music educator Greg’s primary aim is to inspire students to see themselves as artists first. Encouraging this manner of self-identification allows students to bring artistic expression into all aspects of music.
Dean of Students for DEI and Belonging
Brandon (he/him) came to Seattle Waldorf School in 2022 and is currently the Dean of Students for DEI and Belonging. He works primarily with grades 6 – 12 around behavior, school culture, and belonging. Brandon also teaches a Practical Communications elective and a class on hip-hop dance and its history. Born and raised in Seattle, Brandon received his degree in Communication at the University of Washington. Before coming to SWS, he worked at Rainier Scholars, a non-profit organization based in South Seattle dedicated to helping underrepresented students of color gain access to advanced levels of education. He is dedicated to improving the quality of life and experiences for the young people within his communities. Outside of school, he enjoys bouldering, spending time learning choreography with friends, and thrifting for clothes and furniture!
Bio coming soon.
A Waldorf high school graduate herself, Iris (she/her) joined Seattle Waldorf School in 2005 as grade 8 co-teacher. She transitioned to teaching middle school math and humanities courses, eventually finding her true calling in educational support. As head of the Educational Support program, Iris provides wraparound support services for students in grades 9-12. Iris came to Seattle from Bosnia and Herzegovina, via a longish young adulthood stint on the East Coast. In 1999, she graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Art History and obtained her teaching certificate and completed her MEd at Mercy College. She is a lifelong learner, observer, and student of Anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy. She has been an assistant to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador to the United Nations and spent five priceless years teaching in the public education systems in New York City (Chinatown and the Bronx) and Philadelphia. Iris loves watching the hard work of her students metamorphose into confident and capable human beings, knowing that growth is the work of a village—students, faculty, and staff. In addition to teaching at the high school, Iris is a part of the larger web of SWS as her two small children are students at the grade school. Someday when she has the time, Iris plans to paint with watercolors, guided by Jean Haines’s tutorials.
HIgh School Chair and World Languages: Spanish
Clara (she/her) took on the role of High School Chair in 2022 and is passionate about supporting the Seattle Waldorf High School in reaching its ultimate potential. An SWS alum, Clara joined SWS in 2012 as the High School Spanish Teacher. Clara has developed a comprehensive high school Spanish curriculum for grades 9-12, helped launch the Community Service program, and piloted a Student Exchange program. She also has served as World Language Department Chair, and Faculty Co-Chair. Clara holds a B.A. in Spanish and Hispanic Studies and Education from Earlham College and studied Comparative Education and Social Change through the School for International Training in Chile and Argentina, with a focus on intercultural education. She has earned a Waldorf High School Teaching Certificate from the Center of Anthroposophy and a TESOL Certificate through Seattle University. Twice, Clara has been a presenter at the Waldorf Spanish Teachers Association annual conference. In all aspects of her work she is committed to centering the students’ experience, evolving the understanding of an innovative Waldorf education, and contributing to a healthy and just community and world. Outside of school, Clara is involved in volunteering for non-profit work on social issues, particularly in support of Ukrainian refugees and activists and in advocacy for survivors of sexual abuse. Clara loves to cook, do yoga, and go on walks with her dog, Lusha.
Art and Humanities
Annie (she/her) has been a part of the Seattle Waldorf School community since 2014, bringing her love of live performance and her enthusiasm for creating “something out of nothing” to students of all ages. A Waldorf student herself (Waldorf School of Orange County), Annie studied Theater and Psychology at Wesleyan University, where she received Honors for her performance of and research on Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days. Annie also is a graduate of Washington State’s TATLab (Teaching Artist Training Lab). Her work as an actor and director has been seen on stages in San Francisco and Seattle, with companies including The Cutting Ball Theater, Ragged Wing Ensemble, FoolsFURY, and Akropolis Performance Lab. At SWS she has directed plays and musicals at the high school and middle school, including several original works by students. Annie coaches and competes in powerlifting and is an avid gamer, chef, and knitter—although these days her free time is somewhat monopolized by her 2 year-old son, Evan.
Mike Perez joins our faculty as the String Orchestra Teacher. Mike grew up in Central Florida and discovered a love for music in his late high school years. He went on to study music at Daytona State College and eventually pursued his Bachelor’s and Master’s in music with an emphasis in jazz studies on the double bass from the University of North Florida. Mike began his performance career over a decade ago, playing with many different artists all over the country. He has been a part of the Monterey Bay Jazz Festival, as well as a guest performer at the Jazz Educators Network “JEN” convention. Mike found his way into education in 2017 teaching band and elementary music at Liberty Pines Academy in St. John’s, Florida. He moved with his wife to Texas in 2019 and began working with the Tobin Center for performing arts “Generation NEXT” education program, where he worked with inner-city schools and developed music programs. Mike enjoys movies, cars, cooking, biking, hiking, and exploring the outdoors.
Nancy (she/her) is a longtime member of the Seattle Waldorf School community, first as a parent from 2002-2016, and, beginning in 2014, as an Art teacher. She received her B.A. in Art/Theater from DePaul University in Chicago, and she earned both her Waldorf Teacher Certificate and a MEd from Antioch University. Nancy began her teaching in early childhood, then became a class teacher, working primarily at the Whidbey Island Waldorf School. Nancy has directed many plays through the grades and high school. She has been on stages with the Whidbey Island Community Theater and Outcast companies. She also has taught in several teacher training programs in Seattle and China. Nancy continues to study with master artists both in the visual and performing arts. If she is not acting or painting, she is swimming in lakes and enjoying a good book.
Math and Science
Morgan (he/him) joined Seattle Waldorf School in 2021. He teaches all levels of math from Algebra 1 to Calculus. Before moving to Seattle, Morgan worked for 3 years in Columbus, Ohio, as a math teacher at East High School. Morgan has an MEd from Ohio State University, a M.A. in Applied Mathematics from North Carolina State, and a B.A. in Physics from Pomona College. Prior to teaching, Morgan held a variety of jobs: he built math models of weather and diseases, wrote algorithms for crowdsourced raking, worked in data management and IT for the federal government, and spent time as a baker. When he isn’t teaching, Morgan is raising two teenagers with his wife in the Wallingford neighborhood. Morgan also is a Buddhist teacher, giving meditation instruction and leading weekend retreats at a Buddhist center in Seattle. Morgan has a passion for travel and he is trying to visit as many countries as he is years old, a task that grows more challenging every year. He is a passionate cyclist, although he hasn’t fully made his peace with all the hills and rain here in Seattle.
Having joined Seattle Waldorf School in 2022, Leann Rozema (she/her) is excited to invigorate the singing culture at the high school and bring a wide array of literature to the Vocal Ensemble. Leann has taught in Central Kitsap and Monroe, but spent the majority of her teaching career in the Shoreline School District. Highlights of her years there include traveling with her choirs—singing in the ruins of an ancient castle in Ireland, at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and participating with the National Youth Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Leann enjoys her days with the Waldorf Vocal Ensemble, seeing how quickly the group is developing their musical skills and growing in confidence. When not doing agility training with Sam the dog, Leann loves a good creative project. She is currently working on a quilt with her 93 year old mother-in-law. Leann enjoys time with her family, including 3-month-old Emil, her grandson.
Experiential Education Director
Lara (she/her) has been the Experiential Education Director at Seattle Waldorf School since 2022. She runs the outdoor trips and the community service program at the high school and supports grade school teachers in their outdoor adventures. A backpacker since age nine, Lara has spent the past five years running around in the woods with kids professionally. One highlight from a recent trip was finding a giant kelp crab with the seniors on San Juan Island! Lara is a Wilderness First Responder, trained in outdoor Risk Management, and Mental Health First Aid. She holds a B.A. from Whitman College, a MEd from the University of Washington, and a certificate in Environmental Education from Islandwood. Originally from the Bay Area, her other passions include baking bread, running, and spending quality time with her polydactyl cat, Bub.
Gordy (he/him) Onayemi Ryan has laid down the groove for the Olatunji Drums of Passion for decades, as well as for Gabrielle Roth, the Coleman Barks Rumi concerts, Zhikr Rituals,movie scores (including films by Spike Lee and Eddie Murphy), and many other great musical artists—Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia, Airto, Mickey Hart, Planet Drum, Nile Rodgers, Roger Fisher, Bruce Langhorne, and more during his long concert and recording career. Gordy has led Rhythm Master Classes world wide, including at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, Omega in N.Y, The Drummers Collective in N.Y.C., and Hollyhock in B.C. (where he built the Olatunji Hall on Cortes Island that hosts the annual Olatunji Rhythm and Dance Sessions). He currently lives on Vashon Island where he plays in several bands, leads weekly Rhythm Sessions, and sings in the Vashon Chorale. The ‘Generation Pass Down’ is a prime focus for Gordy; He loves playing music with the students at SWHS, inspiring them to open the creative realm in their lives.
College Counseling, Humanities and Educational Support
Erich’s (he/him) passion for college counseling stems from his belief that all students deserve opportunity and options. His fifteen-year experience counseling and teaching in independent high schools has fostered an understanding of how diverse backgrounds, talents, and interests all have a place in selective colleges and the workforce. Erich holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Creative Writing from Beloit College, and an MFA in Poetry from Boise State University. He is a voting member of NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors) and PNACAC (Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling). A published writer and editor, Erich runs the small poetry press COAST | noCOAST. He was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and is an avid mountain biker and cyclocross rider. He is also a supertaster—with a penchant for northern Mexican cuisine.
Office Manager and Yearbook Design
Jonah (he/him) joined Seattle Waldorf School in 2021 as the office manager for the High School. Before COVID, he volunteered internationally to see as much of the world as he possibly could. His love for exploring the world stems from growing up in Hawaii and attending a Waldorf school, a combination that has fostered an adventurous spirit. Jonah received a BA in Philosophy from Seattle University. Apart from working at SWS he spends time on the weekends at Mary’s Place, an organization in Seattle providing shelter and services for women, children, and families. His other interests are in technology and web design, video games, sports, books, and food.
World Languages: Mandarin
Yi (she/her) joined the Seattle Waldorf School in 2017 and currently teaches Mandarin Chinese. She holds a Senior Chinese language teacher license authorized by China and is an IPA (International Professional Association) certified Senior Chinese Language Teacher. Before becoming a Waldorf teacher, Yi served as a Mandarin Coordinator for EtonHouse International School and taught at an advanced level within the PYP (Primary Years Program) and MYP (Middle Years Program) of the IB (International Baccalaureate) for two years. Additionally, Yi taught Mandarin in public schools in Suzhou, China, for 19 years and also served as Deputy Principal and Director of Teaching and Learning for ten years. Yi is a graduate of Suzhou University and completed the STARTALK Teacher Program at the UW Language Learning Center. In 2021, Yi participated in the Stanford University Continuing Studies Program on “The Socially Just World Language Classroom.” She believes that language learning should be engaging and relevant to help students create meaningful understandings about the world they live in. Yi’s Mandarin students have received numerous awards, including prizes and publications from the Washington Association for American and Chinese Education and the American Academy of International Culture and Education. In her free time, Yi enjoys cooking, dancing, and music.