Meet our High School Teachers

High School Coordinator

Marcela Iglesias

M.A. in Multicultural Education and a Law Degree. Prior to joining SWS, Marcela served as the Campus President at DeVry University. She has also been Director of Academic Affairs at Heald College and an adjunct professor. Her career began as a bilingual classroom teacher and later extended her talents as an attorney, and a corporate executive. As a grandmother of a Waldorf student, Marcela has been part of the Waldorf community for ten years at Camellia Waldorf School and Sungold Discovery collaborative. 

Contact Marcela: miglesias@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2525.

Math, Science and Computer Science Departments

Bob Erdman

BA in Zoology, University of Washington; DVM Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University.  This is Bob’s thirteenth year teaching but his first teaching at SWS.  Besides teaching, his passions are gardening, cooking, hiking, and watching the Washington Huskies play college football (Go Dawgs!!).  Bob has been married to the “most beautiful woman in the world” (Deanna) for 17 years and has 3 lovely children and 1 adorable granddaughter.  He is excited to be a part of the Waldorf family and is looking forward to what this school year has to reveal.  Contact Bob: berdman@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3552

Christine Gruhn

BS in Botany, UC Davis; MS in Plant Pathology, University of Georgia; PhD in Biology (Mycology), Virginia Tech. Coursework at Rudolf Steiner College. Christine has taught two classes grades six through eight at the Davis Waldorf School. In addition, she has taught at the University of the Pacific and at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York where she designed and taught the college's first service learning course in the sciences and did research on soil fungi in organic farms. Besides teaching, her passions are identifying mushrooms, hiking and backpacking with her husband and two Waldorf-educated sons, raising chickens, organic gardening, vegetarian cooking and canning, and learning to play the fiddle. Christine is excited to be a sponsor for the Class of 2014 and adviser to the new SWS chapter of the National Forensics League, a speech and debate society. (Joined SWS 2000)
Contact Christine: cgruhn@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3559

Jacob Hosler

B.A. in Music History and Theory (Oberlin College) and M.A. in Music History (UC Berkeley). Since he was a child, Jacob has combined a passion for music with an interest in math and science. He started out his college career as a double major in physics and cello performance, only to later switch to music history as his primary focus. After earning his master’s degree in music history, Jacob did extensive coursework in upper-level mathematics and computer science at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has also taken classes in math pedagogy at Rudolf Steiner College. At SWS, Jacob assists in the lower school strings program, plays cello and bass with the high school orchestra, and teaches high school math. He also co-teaches the music history block in the high school with his wife, Dunja Popovic. Jacob’s interests include hiking, going to the opera, watching silent films, and origami.
CContact Jacob:  jhosler@sacwaldorf.org

John Millard

B.S. in Physics from UC Davis. John developed a passion for teaching as a martial arts instructor and a planetarium presenter in Santa Barbara, CA.  He is passionate about communicating the beauty of science and particularly interested in increasing the public understanding of science.  Additionally, he enjoys exercise, cooking, and hiking.
Contact John: sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3556

 

 

 

Doug Morkner-Brown

B.A. In Humanities, California State University, Chico. Diploma in Literary Studies, University of Wales, UK. Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate, Eugene OR. Doug began his teacher training in 1997 after several years teaching in both the public and homeschool communities. He carried a class from fourth grade through graduation at the Sierra Waldorf School and then took a class from first through graduation here at Sacramento Waldorf School. He has many interest including carpentry, cycling, painting, gardening, cooking, and most things practical and DIY. (Joined SWS in 2004)
Contact Doug:  dmorknerbrown@sacwaldorf.org
 

Margarita Slavina

Contact Margarita:  mslavina@sacwaldorf.org

Jonathan Winfield

BS (Hons), Math and Philosophy (London University). As a member of both Dulwich College Madrigal Group and choir for seven years, Jonathan performed regularly all over England in some of the finest concert halls in the country. Jonathan has studied piano since he was nine years old. After college, he became a professional pianist, working in many areas until musical theatre captured his attention in 1992; he has been Musical Director for over 40 musicals since then. In 1999, Jonathan began working with school choirs. He is a member of the Performing Rights Society of Great Britain and his compositions have been featured on BBC Radio and London's West End. He also holds a certification in counseling and was a volunteer counselor for a victim support organization in London. (Joined SWS 2004)
Contact Jonathan: jwinfield@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3580

Sandie Yerramilli

BS in Electrical Engineering (State University of New York, Stony Brook); Microprocessor Chip Design at Intel and Sun Microsystems. Sandie has taught Physics at SWS and is currently teaching Math and Computer Science. She studied at Rudolf Steiner College in the Waldorf High School Teacher Training Program. She enjoys painting and spending time with her two girls, both of whom attend SWS. (Joined SWS 2003)
Contact Sandie: syerramilli@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3575

 

 

World Languages

Raquel Garcia

B.A. in Spanish and French (University of California, Davis); M.A. in Spanish (UCD); she will soon receive her PhD in Latin American Literature and Culture (UCD, Fall 2014). Her many years in academia have granted her opportunities to study and research abroad twice in Mexico City. As a second generation Mexican, she has a strong bi-cultural background and has taught Spanish language and culture for several years at the university and community college level in California. Raquel looks forward to teaching Spanish to adolescents at SWS! During her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family—all of whom are local to the Sacramento area. Raquel also loves to read, swim, dance and attend live musical, cultural and comedic performances. (Joined SWS 2014)
Contact Raquel: rgarcia@sacwaldorf.org

Susannah Martin

BA, MA, PhD in German Language and Literature with a Designated Emphasis in Second Language Acquisition (University of California, Davis). Susannah completed the Waldorf High School Teacher Training (Rudolf Steiner College 2007). (Joined SWS 2004)
Contact Susannah: smartin@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3577

 

 

 

Matt Russell

BA and MA in Literature from UC Santa Cruz, PhD in Spanish and certificate in Second Language Acquisition from UC Davis. He studied for three years at the University of Granada and the University of Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle. Before coming to SWS, Matt taught Spanish language at all levels, Spanish film and culture, beginning French, detective fiction, Holocaust and international film, and vegan cooking.  Matt's son Oliver has also joined SWS in the Red Rose kindergarden.  (Joined SWS 2013)
Contact Matt:  mrussell@sacwaldorf.org

 

Humanities Department

Elizabeth "Beth" Ghiorso

BA in History and American Literature (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo); California Teaching Credential in Social Studies and English Literature (Point Loma Nazarene College); California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Beth was a student at SWS until her family moved away after seventh grade. She taught in public elementary and middle schools for eight years before returning to SWS as a class teacher. She graduated her eighth grade class, (Class of 2008) in June 2004. (Joined SWS 1999)
Contact Beth: bghiorso@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2523

 

Isaak Heitzeberg

BA in History (Saint Mary's College of California); MA in European History (California State University, San Francisco); Spatial Dynamics Certificate (Spatial Dynamics Institute); course work at Rudolf Steiner College. Instructor at Skyline College. Isaak taught academic subjects at two schools in Seoul, South Korea; he taught movement and language arts at Somerset School; Isaak has also been a karate instructor. He attended SWS through eighth grade. He enjoys skiing, theater, reading, and traveling. (Joined SWS 2000)
Contact Isaak: iheitzeberg@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3567

 

Melissa Hiatt

Contact Melissa:  mhiatt@sacwaldorf.org

 

 

 

 

Sherry Hirssig

BS in English Education, Art Education, and coaching (University of Wisconsin); State of Wisconsin Teaching Credentials in Art (K - 12), English (7 - 12), and Coaching; Waldorf Teacher Education Diploma, High School (Rudolf Steiner College). Sherry taught English and Art for four years in Hudson, Wisconsin before moving to Tokyo, Japan for three years to teach High School Literature and Art at The American School in Japan. She coached basketball for 19 years, 12 at SWS. She has sponsored the Classes of 1995, 2000, 2002 and 2006. (Joined SWS 1992)
Contact Sherry: shirssig@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3553

 

James Meier

BA (Harvard) in English and American Literature; JD (McGeorge School of Law). Attended teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College, and has been a class teacher at Camellia Waldorf School (10 years) and Sacramento Waldorf School (2 years). This year he is teaching Civics and is active in Mock Trial. James grew up in Southern California with seven brothers and sisters. He always loved school and was active in sports, drama and music throughout his high school and college years. He and his wife have two sons who are alumni of Waldorf schools. (Joined SWS 2003)
Contact James: jmeier@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3566

 

Dunja Popovic

B.A. in History and Literature (Harvard University); M.A. and Ph.D. in Russian Literature (Princeton University); Waldorf Teaching Certificate (Rudolf Steiner College). Before becoming a Waldorf teacher, Dunja worked as an academic researcher and had experience teaching language and literature at the college level. She also served as a leader for freshman-orientation backpacking trips. Dunja's interests include foreign languages, travel, knitting, and pondering things. She is married and has two daughters (and a cat). (Joined SWS in 2012.)
Contact Dunja: dpopovic@sacwaldorf.org

 

Andrew Sullivan

BA in English and Anthropology (University of Notre Dame); MA in English (California State University, Sacramento); course work at Rudolf Steiner College; SWS Class of '86. He has taught courses in the Humanities and coached boys' soccer at SWS. Besides teaching, he counts poetry, epistemology, interventionist art, and making tortilla soup as major interests. In 2004, Poet's Corner Press published his first chapbook poems, Islands of Earshot. In 2006, he founded the Waste And Vice Elimination Squad, a rapid response garbage mitigation collective or community service club at SWS. (Joined SWS 1996)
Contact Andrew: asullivan@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3561

Performing Arts Department

James Nakayama

Contact James:  jnakayama@sacwaldorf.org

Nathan Sutter

BMus in Composition (Oberlin Conservatory of Music); Certified Suzuki Violin Teacher. Nathan graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy with a major in violin performance and composition. At Oberlin he received the Herbert Elwell Memorial Prize in Composition and was a featured artist at the 2003 Midwest Composers Symposium. Nathan currently teaches at the Sacramento Waldorf School, Cedar Springs Waldorf School, and Rudolf Steiner College. (Joined SWS 2007)
Contact Nathan: nsutter@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3545

 

 

Jonathan Winfield

BS (Hons), Math and Philosophy (London University). As a member of both Dulwich College Madrigal Group and choir for seven years, Jonathan performed regularly all over England in some of the finest concert halls in the country. Jonathan has studied piano since he was nine years old. After college, he became a professional pianist, working in many areas until musical theatre captured his attention in 1992; he has been Musical Director for over 40 musicals since then. In 1999, Jonathan began working with school choirs. He is a member of the Performing Rights Society of Great Britain and his compositions have been featured on BBC Radio and London's West End. He also holds a certification in counseling and was a volunteer counselor for a victim support organization in London. (Joined SWS 2004)
Contact Jonathan: jwinfield@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3580

Sarah Winfield

BA Drama and Speech, Minor in Art (Georgia State University, magna cum laude); post graduate course in Acting, graduated with Honors from the Drama Studio London. She is studying at Rudolf Steiner College in the Waldorf High School Teacher Training Program. Member of the resident acting company, Atlanta's Academy Theatre for five years. She also taught acting, characterization and improvisation and ran the summer children's acting workshop. In London she did work on the Stage (West End), TV (BBC) and voice-over; as well as Passe-Partout, a theatre-in-education company, in both an acting and administrative capacity. Sarah enjoys gardening, singing, Celtic music and creating stories for children. Member: National Honor Society, Actors' Equity and British Actors' Equity. She has two daughters attending SWS. (Joined SWS 2003)
Contact Sarah: swinfield@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3574

Visual Arts Department

Johnny Finn-Romero

BA in Art Studio from Sacramento State University with a focus on three-dimensional art using ceramics, wood, and metal; Teacher Training Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College; Student Art Exhibit Certificate; Exceptional Achievement Certificate; Torrance Craftsmen Guild Scholarship recipient. Johnny shows locally and elsewhere in California, most recently with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. Some of his work is on permanent display at American River College, Financial Aid Office. He came to SWS with 20 years of experience in studio creation and design. He has successfully taught elementary age to adult students in a multitude of settings. Johnny teaches the fifth through twelfth grades at SWS. (Joined SWS 1999)

Contact Johnny: jfinn-romero@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3565

Sherry Hirssig

BS in English Education, Art Education, and coaching (University of Wisconsin); State of Wisconsin Teaching Credentials in Art (K - 12), English (7 - 12), and Coaching; Waldorf Teacher Education Diploma, High School (Rudolf Steiner College). Sherry taught English and Art for four years in Hudson, Wisconsin before moving to Tokyo, Japan for three years to teach High School Literature and Art at The American School in Japan. She coached basketball for 19 years, 12 at SWS. She has sponsored the Classes of 1995, 2000, 2002, and 2006. (Joined SWS 1992)
Contact Sherry: shirssig@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3553

Doug Morkner-Brown

B.A. In Humanities, California State University, Chico. Diploma in Literary Studies, University of Wales, UK. Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate, Eugene OR. Doug began his teacher training in 1997 after several years teaching in both the public and homeschool communities. He carried a class from fourth grade through graduation at the Sierra Waldorf School and then took a class from first through graduation here at Sacramento Waldorf School. He has many interest including carpentry, cycling, painting, gardening, cooking, and most things practical and DIY. (Joined SWS in 2004)
Contact Doug: dmorknerbrown@sacwaldorf.org

 

Katie Passie

Contact Katie: kpassie@sacwaldorf.org

 

 

 

 

 

John Petering

DWE (Diploma of Waldorf Education) Waldorf Institute of Mercy College (1978). MS Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cincinnati (1974). BS in Unified Science, Wayne State University (1971). John has taught in Waldorf high schools for over 20 years -previously as a Natural Sciences specialist at Shining Mountain Waldorf High School in Boulder CO (1991-2001), and the Detroit Waldorf High School, Detroit MI (1976-1985). In between helping start two Waldorf high schools, John worked in biotechnology and medical clinical research. John has been active developing the phenomena-based aspects of Waldorf science teaching and helped produce several books on Waldorf science. He is a guest faculty member of Rudolf Steiner College. His outside interests include: environmental exploration, particularly stream ecology and water quality, and flow-form (rhythmic water flow) studies. (Joined SWS 2001)
Contact John: jpetering@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3569

Iris Sullivan

BA in Waldorf Education (Rudolf Steiner College). MA in Art Therapy (St Mary's College of the Woods). Iris practiced painting therapy in Holland for four years. She did more than a year of veil painting at Rudolf Steiner College. Iris is a professional artist and art therapist. (Joined SWS 2007)
Contact Iris: isullivan@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3541

 

 

Movement Department

Marion Downey

Marion attended Pharmacy School in Germany. After coming to the United States, she completed Foundation Year and Goethean Studies Programs (Rudolf Steiner College); in addition, she holds a Eurythmy Diploma (Goetheanum, Dornach) and Therapeutic Eurythmy Diploma (Goetheanum, Dornach). During her training, she established the Kindergarten summer camp at the San Francisco Waldorf School and supervised it for seven years. She then started teaching Eurythmy at Cedar Springs Waldorf School and Live Oak Waldorf School before coming to SWS. Marion is teaching eight through twelfth grades. (Joined SWS 2001)
Contact Marion: mdowney@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2535 ext. 3570

Peter Schoen

BA University of Massachusetts; Sculpture Training Emerson College in England; Spatial Dynamics Certificate. Peter taught Art, Practical Arts, Earth Science, and Architecture and coached volleyball for 12 years at the Hawthorne Valley School in upstate New York. He taught Movement and Physical Education as well as some Middle School Science blocks for 10 years at the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene,NH. Last year he taught Woodwork and Clay Modeling at the Camellia Waldorf School. He has worked with 1st through 12th graders during the past 26 years. He enjoys working with children of all ages. Peter loves to back country ski, mountain bike, play tennis, work with his hands, be outdoors and have fun. He spent several years wilderness packing, skiing and climbing in the Rocky Mountains while in his 20s.

Dean Stark

BA in Physical Education (Union Institute & University); AA in General Education (American River College); Certificate in Spatial Dynamics; Certified Personal Trainer; Certified Massage Therapist. Dean has received numerous Coach of the Year awards in baseball and basketball. He is the author of Coaching Team Sports in a Waldorf School and A Waldorf Approach to Coaching Team Sports. He also produced a video, High School Basketball: The Seven Defensive Principles of Building a Championship Team. Dean has won 507 basketball games as a SWS coach; this is more than any other Boys' Varsity Coach in the history of the C.I.F. Sac-Joaquin Section. (Joined SWS 1984)

Contact Dean: dstark@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2527.

Gardening

Katie Passie

Contact Katie:  kpassie@sacwaldorf.org
 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Payne

BS in Business Marketing (Central Connecticut State University). Stephen has ten years of experience in organic farming and five years of experience as a market garden business owner. He came to SWS in 2001 as our farmer and assistant gardening teacher. (Joined SWS 2001)
Contact Steve: spayne@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 342-7416

 

 

 

Student Services

Kelly McNeely-Nutting

Contact Kelly: knutting@sacwaldorf.org

Megan Sullivan, Health Teacher; Educational Support Coordinator

Waldorf Teacher Training (Chrysalis Steiner School, Australia); Coursework at Rudolf Steiner College. Megan began her Waldorf teaching career in 1994 at Casuarina Steiner School, Australia.  She has taught grades K-12 both as a Class Teacher and a specialist in Australia and the US. She has administration experience in a start-up Waldorf High School and has extensive experience as a guest teacher, presenter, and lecturer in the field of Sex Education and Social Emotional Learning.  Megan is married and has two daughters. She loves to read, take walks, garden, and visit Australia. (Joined SWS 2006)
Contact Megan: msullivan@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2536

Janis Walters, HS Counselor

B.A. in Psychology; M.A. in Counseling; Pupil Personnel Services Credential; Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist; Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor; with a College Counseling Certificate. Janis was a K-8 school counselor for eight years, an adjunct college instructor for ten years, and enjoyed staying home with her daughter for six years before joining Sacramento Waldorf. (SWS since 2010)

Contact Janis:  jwalters@sacwaldorf.org or (916) 860-2519

 

 

Guest Faculty

Saxon Sigerson

AIA, B. Architecture (University of Southern California). Saxon is a registered architect operating a one-person firm in Fair Oaks. Sigerson Architects has a wide ranging mix of commercial and residential projects in the greater Sacramento area. After two-and-a-half years in college, he left to work in construction as a carpenter and ultimately became a superintendent. Returning to college at the University of Southern California in 1983, Saxon pursued a degree in architecture. He had an opportunity to study with Syracuse University in Florence, Italy. He writes a monthly published column exploring his passion for architecture and often works as a mentor to students in the community. He is absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to be part of the Waldorf Faculty teaching Architecture.