Middle School Faculty

Ashley Mullen Umlauf

Ashley Mullen Umlauf

Grade 6 Teacher

aumlauf@seattlewaldorf.org

Born and raised on a homestead in Alaska, Ashley (she/her) grew up playing in the woods and commercial fishing with her family. She traveled abroad and lived in Vermont for two years on a farm before attending the University of Washington and earning a B.A. in English (writing emphasis) and then a Master’s in Teaching in Grades 6-12. Ashley taught public high school for several years in Bellevue before becoming a mother to her three children. While searching for an alternative form of education for her young children, she stumbled upon Waldorf education at Whidbey Island Waldorf School. Ashley taught there for 8 years, in EC and in the grade school, graduating a class from grade 8. She joined Seattle Waldorf School in 2018 as the Grade 1 teacher. Ashley enjoys creating class plays with her students, watching students grow and develop over the years, teaching a wide variety of ages, and creating strong connections with families. Ashley’s three children also attended SWS.

Grace Bowen

Grace Bowen

Grade 7 Teacher

gbowen@seattlewaldorf.org

Grace holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the Evergreen State College, as well as a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Sound Circle Center and the Waldorf Institute of Southern California. She has been teaching at Seattle Waldorf School since 2015 in a variety of roles, including assistant, substitute, educational support staff, specialty teacher, and class teacher. Outside of school, Grace enjoys early morning walks, board games, composing music, and puzzles. A hot cup of tea on a rainy afternoon is one of her favorite things.

Denise O’Toole

Denise O’Toole

Grade 8 Teacher

dotoole@seattlewaldorf.org

Denise fell in love with teaching in high school when she was a teacher’s aide at the Round Valley Indian Reservation in California. She received a Bachelor’s degree from University of Alaska, Anchorage. After teaching in Hawai’i, Seattle, and on Orcas Island, Waldorf called and she answered! She has contributed greatly as an education support teacher and a grade school teacher at SWS. She brings a wide range of experiences from public and private schools with her, a strength as a mathematician, and an ability to integrate subjects and grade levels. She loves gardening, cooking, writing and spending time with family.

Bonnie Stack

Bonnie Stack

Education Support Teacher

bstack@seattlewaldorf.org

Bonnie was born in the Rocky Mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned her BA in Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture from The Evergreen State College, where she came to know about Rudolf Steiner. She completed her Waldorf Teacher training at Antioch University New England and received a M.Ed from the University of the People. Bonnie believes in Waldorf education because it includes a hands-on and experiential approach towards education. As a lifelong learner, Bonnie continues her studies in Holistic Biography work, an Anthroposophical approach to human development and life. During her free time, she spends time in nature, meditation, studying Ayurveda, Vedic studies, and enjoying life. 

Daisy Tsang

Daisy Tsang

Mandarin Teacher

dtsang@seattlewaldorf.org

Bio coming soon.

Megan Owens

Megan Owens

Games Teacher, Faculty Co-Chair

mowens@seattlewaldorf.org

Bio coming soon.

Charlotte Rasmussen

Charlotte Rasmussen

Environmental Sustainability and Gardening Program

crasmussen@seattlewaldorf.org

Born on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia to Danish immigrant parents, Charlotte grew up in the farmland surrounding Vancouver. She holds a BS in Biochemistry from the University of British Comumbia, an MS in Biochemistry from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Oregon State University. Charlotte worked as a scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey for more than 15 years, researching the conservation genetics of salmon and salmon diseases. She has also served as a Research Evangelist and the Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative activity at the University of Washington Bothell. A life-long learner, Charlotte came to SWS to encourage a hands-on interdisciplinary approach to learning about the natural world as the environmental sustainability and gardening educator. Dr. R., as she is know to SWS students and community, is passionate about creating learning environments that build connections across disciplines and promote local and global environmental stewardship.

Ayase Saxman

Ayase Saxman

Piano Accompanist

asaxman@seattlewaldorf.org

Ayase was born in Osaka, Japan. At 18 years old, she moved to the United States, studied the piano, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Michigan State University. It has been a great joy working as a music therapist and assisting children of all abilities and talents. She joined Seattle Waldorf school in 2021 as a eurhythmy piano accompanist, and recently became a teaching assistant in the Early Childhood program.   She is always open to learning from the children and the ever-evolving field of music. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, listening to music, baking, and learning french. 

Syd Shannon

Syd Shannon

Director of Extended Day and Extracurriculars

sshannon@seattlewaldorf.org

Syd Shannon (they/them) has been working with a team of amazing teaching artists to plan SWS Clubs, Break Camps and After School Care since starting at SWS in 2021. They spent most of their life in and around San Francisco where they attended college and began working as an after school programs coordinator and preschool teacher. Syd earned a BA in Child and Adolescent Development and a MA in Sociology of Education. After many years living in San Francisco’s Mission district they made their way to New York City to study organizational theory and manage a rock climbing and low ropes course at a Summer Camp for Transgender Youth. With Washingtonian parents and a penchant for outdoor adventure, it was only a matter of time before they made their way to explore the greenery of the PNW. Syd has a passion for positive youth development models of education, experiential learning and social emotional learning. They believe it is our job as adults to foster confidence, competence, connection, character and caring in children and youth.

Yemaya Diethelm

Yemaya Diethelm

Handwork Teacher

ydiethelm@seattlewaldorf.org

Ms. Diethelm is an artist and educator who has been working in Waldorf education for the last 15 years. She started her schooling at the Denver Waldorf School, which she attended through third grade. She received her Waldorf Teacher Training in Honolulu and has worked as a high school art teacher at Panyotai Waldorf School in Thailand and as a handwork teacher at Kona Pacific Charter/Waldorf School on the Big Island of Hawaii. Growing up in Seattle and attending the University of Washington, Ms. Diethelm was drawn to visual culture and art, receiving a Comparative History of Ideas degree emphasizing Native American Studies. Along with teaching, she is currently working on a Master of Fine Arts. She has taught students from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds worldwide and has a passion for inspiring youth through the arts.

Robin Jacobs

Robin Jacobs

Middle School Woodworking Teacher

Mike Perez

Mike Perez

Strings Teacher

mperez@seattlewaldorf.org

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.