Ms Lauren Wheeler
Hummingbird’s Nest Preschool; Lead Teacher
Lauren is the lead preschool teacher at Wishing Well School. Raised on the Central Coast, Lauren holds a deep love for the ocean and all things outdoors. After finding a meaningful connection to Wishing Well School for her own children, she became inspired by the daily inner workings of Waldorf Education.
With the spirit and experience of an artist and musician, she is excited to share her love for beauty, song, and nature with all. She currently holds a teaching certificate for Early Childhood Education and is passionate about learning and developing as a teacher through Waldorf pedagogy. She believes in nurturing the child’s whole spirit and is excited and honored to be apart of the children’s growth and learning here at Wishing Well.
Ms. Kimberly Raine
Rose Kindergarten; Lead Teacher
Kimberly brings a wealth of experience from teaching both kindergarten and the grades and also mentoring colleagues at the Waldorf School of Orange County, Westside Waldorf School, Maple Village Waldorf School, Seeds of Joy, and lastly Monarch Hills at City Farm SLO.
Kimberly is currently in the Biodynamic Farmer Training living on 10 acres near Lake Nacimiento in Bradley, CA along with her goats, chickens, sheep and new lambs.
Ms. Stephanie Ferris
Buttercup Kindergarten ; Lead Teacher
Stephanie is a trained Waldorf Early Childhood Educator with over 10 years of experience in various Waldorf programs. Most recently, she was teaching at the Cedarwood Waldorf School in Portland Oregon as the lead Buttercup pre-kindergarten teacher where she taught for 7 years. In addition, she has completed a three-year Nurturing the Roots therapeutic training, earning a certificate in therapeutic educational support. Before being called to Waldorf education, she took up the art of midwifery and brought many beautiful babies into the world as a doula. She was very active in the birth world, advocating for families, teaching childbirth classes, helping to establish breastfeeding, and settling families into the postpartum nest.
Stephanie is the mother of two boys, Christian and Colbey, and homeschooled them with the support of the Waldorf homeschooling community in Bellingham, WA. Now they are grown and are enjoying their adult independence in the Pacific Northwest. Almost three years ago, her big boy became a father, with the blessing of welcoming baby girl Serenity Juniper into the family. When Stephanie is not enjoying the warmth, love, and magic of the early childhood classroom, she is laughing, hiking, and visiting with her family, spending time with the plant and animal kingdom, and homemaking. She loves to move her body and spend time with the people she loves.
Ms. Julia Valentine
Grade One Teacher
She began her journey with Waldorf education 24 years ago when looking for a play-based program for her preschool aged son. After enrolling her two oldest boys in their local Waldorf school, she found herself thrust into the classroom and into her calling as a teacher. She spent three years as the lead teacher in Kindergarten and Parent-Tot in Seattle, then moved to Sebastopol where she worked with her mentor and master teacher at Sebastopol Charter School as classroom assistant. After several years back in the classroom, Julia pivoted and moved to the school garden where she was the lead teacher, program manager, and curriculum developer for two school wide gardening and native habitat programs in Sonoma County.
For the last five years, she has been working with homeschool families in San Luis Obispo County, leading outdoor play-based education, as well as leading groups on adventures into the ‘wild’. Julia believes in the wisdom each child innately holds, and their primary connection to Mother Earth. She enjoys the collaborative nature of place based learning, and strives to connect students to the world around them through work and play.
Ms. Annette Parry
Interim Grade Two Teacher
Ms Parry brings together a richness of experience, a depth of training and knowledge, and a commitment to fulfillment of the individual child in a manner that is infused with humor, joy, and play. With 25 years of teaching experience in Waldorf programs, she carries an enthusiasm for nurturing and inspiring the spirit of each individual child, and an affinity for learning through the whole self, particularly through physical expression. Ms Parry grew up in a beautiful suburb of Manchester England, where she played “footy” with neighborhood friends, wearing her “wellies & kini,” and caught frogs in the creek near her home. Her childhood was blessed with the freedom of many uninterrupted years of glorious play, when she developed and honed her love of “play.” Following her time in Her Majesty’s Women’s Royal Navy, she gained a degree in Sports Development, teaching and mentoring teachers how to feel comfortable delivering and instructing children in sports.
Ms Parry then found herself in the United States, running her own soccer business. It was then that her Waldorf teaching journey began, having been recommended for a position at the Waldorf School of Orange County (WSOC). Ms Parry taught Games & Movement at WSOC for 10 years. During this time at WSOC, she spent many years in the Waldorf educational system, getting her certifications in Foundation Studies, Spacial Dynamics, and other teacher modules.
The following 15 years, Ms Parry taught at various Waldorf Schools and Waldorf Home Schools in many capacities, such as Lower Grades teaching, long term substituting, mentoring, evaluating, and as a Games/Movement Teacher. Additionally, Ms Parry has been a tutor and staff member for WISC (a Waldorf teacher training institute), as well as for Los Angeles area Charter Schools and the Waldorf Intensive Summer Trainings. She continues to mentor new Waldorf teachers. Throughout the years, she has had many opportunities to serve as a long term substitute and fulfill the needs of various classroom environments.
Ms Parry’s hobbies are playing, reading, and spending time with friends and family. Currently, her utmost favorite pastime is now being on her 10 acres with her beloved farm animals.
Mr. Matt Dusek
Grade Three Teacher
Matt began his work in Waldorf education after graduating from Prescott College in 2003. His first steps down this path were taken at the Siskiyou School in Ashland, Oregon. He began his career as a games teacher and class assistant and was delighted by the encouragement of many experienced teachers. He went on to receive his Waldorf Teaching Certificate, completing the Masters program in Waldorf education through Antioch University of Keene, New Hampshire, in 2008, and has taught as a class teacher ever since.
It has been his life’s work to help children into themselves by breathing life into the archetypes that are woven throughout the stories and imagery of this curriculum. Matt has come to joyfully surrender to, and patiently trust, the soulfulness and integrity of Waldorf education.
Mr. Anders Johnson
Grades Four & Five Teacher
This last year, he took a hiatus from teaching and completed his Masters of Education in Sustainability Education. Following his graduation, he embarked on a three month adventure through Ecuador, during which he practiced Spanish, worked on small farms, trekked, surfed, and enjoyed meeting new people. He is thrilled and grateful to return to the community and good work at Wishing Well. This year he will be teaching the third/fourth grade class.
Mr. Joshua Wheeler
Grades Six & Seven Teacher
Having grown up in Morro Bay, Joshua calls his home, on land, the Central Coast of California. Although, he is a local at sea. He has spent his years up and down the coasts of Oregon and California, exploring the vast gifts that the sea has to offer. While living aboard as a child and going to school by dinghy on Catalina Island, he gained a love and passion for nature and for the natural rhythms around him. This nurtured his openness and curiosity about life and all things living in our world.
Mr. Wheeler is in the process of completing his Waldorf Teacher Certification through Sound Circle Center for Arts and Anthroposophy in Seattle. He is thrilled to be joining Wishing Well as the teacher for the 6th / 7th grade class. Mr. Wheeler’s two children attend Wishing Well School. After seeing them grow in fullness and prosperity, it has sparked within him a wildfire for Waldorf Education.
Ms. Kolea Quincey
Grade Eight Teacher, Faculty Chair
Kolea is a California native, born and raised in Venice beach. She has explored the state extensively and spent 2 years as a teenager on the Central Coast, living in Morro Bay and attending Cuesta College. She loved the area and is happy to have returned to teach Wishing Well’s 8th grade and to offer support to the faculty as the Faculty Chair.
Kolea discovered Waldorf Education in the early 70’s and has devoted her life to class teaching in various schools. Additionally, she has had the opportunity to serve as a Board member, Faculty Chair, School Mentor, founder, Choir Director, and Music Program director in both the private and public sector. She recently graduated an 8th grade class that she had taught since First grade. She enjoyed the 8th grade curriculum and the age group immensely and is excited to teach it again!
Kolea has three grown children who attended Waldorf Schools. Her daughter, Rose, lives in Australia and Kolea loves to visit. In addition to her love of travel, she is a musician who enjoys playing music with others on her ukulele, mandolin, and piano.
Ms. Blythe Geirg-Berg
Hummingbird’s Nest Preschool; Assistant Teacher;
Over the past 7 years, Blythe has spent time in family homes, at preschools, in dance studios, and in virtual classrooms with thousands of young learners from all around the world. She has worked as a nanny, an ESL teacher, an Early Intervention Specialist with 0-3 year olds, and a Dance Teacher. Most recently in 2020, she designed and taught her own unique dance curriculum via an online learning platform, teaching over 1200 students. Blythe is certified in the INTELLIDANCE play-based early childhood dance method. She is thrilled to be in-person with learners at Wishing Well and is committed to supporting each child on their unique developmental trajectory.
Ms. Alyssa Burke
Rose Kindergarten; Assistant Teacher
Alyssa moved to San Luis Obispo to complete her undergraduate degree at Cal Poly, studying Psychology and Child Development. She is a practitioner of yoga, and was so grateful to get the opportunity to complete her senior project on the healing and therapeutic benefits of this ancient and sacred practice. She is passionate about learning alternative approaches to healing and learning. She is so excited to begin her time at Wishing Well, and to become part of this wonderful community.
Ms. Kit Sanderson
Buttercup Kindergarten; Assistant Teacher
Ms. Mariah-Kate Alviso-Saenz
Early Childhood Aftercare Teacher
When she isn’t working with children, she owns and operates a small art business, goes for runs, drinks lots of coffee, and spends time outdoors with good friends.
Ms. Tricia Durham
A native of California, Tricia fell in love with the Central Coast as a young woman. She attended both Cuesta College and Cal Poly. Living in Idaho, Washington, New Jersey, and Colorado has gifted her with opportunity to meet many wonderful people in beautiful places. With husband Rob and daughter Fiona, Tricia has made her way back home. With many years as a Waldorf parent, from Wishing Well’s first years through grade 6 at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, Co, she is committed to the rhythm and wonder of Waldorf education.
You can also find Tricia in the kitchen and on the trails. Her many hobbies include canning, cooking and fermenting and hiking her sweet dog Henry and watching her 16 year old daughter, Fiona play basketball.
After several years of showing her country as a tour conductor, mostly to Europeans, she decided to travel and live in beautiful New Hampshire to experience life in the four seasons. She lived there for six years, moving eventually to California’s Central Coast where she earned a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literature from California Polytechnic State University. Her upbringing in Andean Cosmology, led her to pursue a training in Anthroposophical Therapeutic Speech Formation and Movement in Spain and Switzerland. As a passionate language teacher and world traveler, she regularly meets with Waldorf and Anthroposophical groups and communities all around Latin America and Europe. Karina loves to share with her students her multicultural background and traveling adventures through storytelling and the rhythms of the world, expressing herself with her Native American flutes and the Paraguayan harp. She is continuously inspired by children, leading her teaching approach with gratitude, altruism and love.
Ms. Kyra Smith
Handwork & Grades Aftercare Coordinator
Mr. Steven Farmer
Games, Grades Aftercare, and Facilities
Wanting to reconnect with nature, he then delved into the canyonlands and forests of the Colorado plateau, where he landed a crew lead position at American Conservation Experience. There he guided and led young adults on wild missions to restore balance and build access to some of the Southwest’s premier National Parks and forests. After which, he went along to Green String Institute and taught students to cultivate food and nourish their local community. This brought to him an ever willingness to share what joys lay at our feet by tending to the land, making work fun, and overcoming adversities. Now at Wishing Well School, teaching Games and supervising Aftercare, he brings a caring playfulness to each day and encourages today’s youth to be brave and follow their dreams.
Ms. Lillian Dennis
Math Specialist (6th – 8th Grades)
Ms. Lynne Oliverius
Orchestra (4th – 8th Grades)
With a BA from Western Illinois University and a Masters from University of Illinois, as well as studies with Dr. Suzuki in Germany, Lynne was brought full circle in founding and directing 3 music schools in Illinois with enrollments of 300 students and a staff of 8. She also piloted Kindermusik Village focusing on music for families and babies. After 30 years of teaching in Illinois, Lynne sought a different path and ventured out west with only what her car and heart could hold to see what wonders life held.
Landing on the Central Coast purely by chance, having no idea what life would become, she has created a home full of joy, happiness, and many students. She performs with her group, Encore Strings, and in area orchestras. Her daughter lives in LA, a harpist, works in sound for film and TV. Lynne loves her new blissful home in paradise and enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, and sharing this life with her new canine rescue pal Spark. She is very happy to be joining and sharing with the families and staff at Wishing Well School; Lynne looks forward to nurturing our young musicians’ string fingers and hearts.
Mr. Ben Gerstein
Choir & Music Appreciation
Moving back to California in early 2020, Ben has continued to teach as well as further study and explore the confluences of nature, art, meditation, and culture through his musical and artistic practices and collaborations. Now living in Baywood Park, Los Osos, Ben is thrilled to connect more deeply with the community through the Waldorf educational environment at Wishing Well School, bringing his love and inspiration for teaching music to children of all ages.
Ms. Laura Cobb
Education & Resource Specialist
After leaving Yosemite, Laura delved into the world of Waldorf Education and spent three years working at a Waldorf charter school in Sacramento while earning her Waldorf Teaching Certificate at Rudolf Steiner College. She moved to the Central Coast in 2017 and was thrilled to find that there was a Waldorf school in Los Osos. Laura was honored to work as the class teacher for the First & Second Grade class at Wishing Well. In 2018, she and her husband welcomed their daughter Alice (aka Bunny) and Laura decided to take several years away from teaching to stay be home. Bunny is now a student at Wishing Well in the early childhood program and Laura is thrilled to be a part of the Wishing Well community again!!
Ms. Makena Barkhuff
Makena has worked with children as a Nanny for the past 4 years and holds teaching and learning with children dear to her heart. She is very excited to be a part of the Wishing Well school and to learn more about Waldorf education methods.
Ms. Liza O’Sullivan
Outreach & Technical Coordinator
Marketing & Outreach Coordinator
In 2018, Liza “retired” and spent three years traveling/camping with her husband, two young children and their dog, exploring California and Southern Oregon in search of beauty, community, and a new place to call home. While traveling Liza began studying Leadership Education and Waldorf Homeschool curriculum, web design, and initiated a new small family business. In the Fall of 2020, their family stumbled upon Morro Bay, fell in love and became residents in January of 2021.
Enthusiastic and passionate about Waldorf education, she is thrilled to join the office team and the school in their mission to grow and to become an AWSNA-accredited organization. In her free time she can usually be found surfing, on the beach running, playing soccer, looking for gems, doing handstands or sitting by the fire with her Ukulele, a cup of tea, and a good book.
Dr. Hilary Soldati
Hilary and her husband are thankful for having been able to educate their three children in beautiful and varied Waldorf communities, from Lexington, MA, to the Bay Area to the Central Coast. Hilary has been actively engaged in each school community, whether as a Class Parent, a volunteer coordinator, office personnel, or as a Board member. Enthusiastic and passionate about the gifts that Waldorf education has to offer the child, the family, and the greater community, Hilary is thrilled and honored to be part of helping Wishing Well School continue to grow and thrive.
Ms. Kim Wishon
Kim Wishon was born and raised in Marin County, California. After receiving a B.A in Spanish with a minor in Special Education from The University of Oregon, she knew she wanted to teach but was discouraged with the public school system. She found Waldorf education, fell in love and has made it her life’s work. She completed her Waldorf teacher training in San Francisco through Rudolf Steiner College and then dove into Waldorf teaching. She has taught every grade and every subject (except Eurythmy, which she loves) over her twenty plus years of experience.
After a flood uprooted her family, they made their way to the Central Coast. She started the school in her home in 2008 with 6 children (two of which were her twins). After becoming a non-profit 501c3 and building the school by hand and with heart, it sprouted wings. With steady nurturing and the efforts of many beautiful people along the way, it has grown to what it is today, a preschool – 8th grade, full school program following Waldorf principles. Kim has worn all the hats of founding a school. She loves working with the teachers, students and families to bring the best educational experience to all. On the side, you can find her coaching Morro Bay High girls soccer, hiking, cycling, loving being with her teenagers, and taking walks along the bay with her little dog Mikey Biggs. She is thrilled to have brought Waldorf education to the Central Coast and hopes to help Wishing Well to continue to grow and shine in the years ahead.