Class 1 through 8
Andrew Fukada Class 1 Teacher
Andrew was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His grandmother was a school teacher and loved taking him to school when he was a little boy. That was when he first thought about becoming a school teacher. After living, working, and traveling on the east and west coasts of the USA, Andrew settled in Hawai'i to study for his BA in Child Psychology and his Master's in Social Work in Children and Families at University of Hawai'I at Manoa. There he met his lovely wife Yuka, and they both wanted Waldorf Education for their children. After living and working in Japan as an English teacher at private and public schools and working as a social worker for at-risk youth in Hawai'i and Washington states, Andrew moved to Eugene, Oregon to attend Waldorf Teacher Training program. He moved to Nelson to become a first grade teacher at Nelson Waldorf School in year 2012, and happily lives in Nelson together with Yuka and their three children. He is grateful to live and work among the warm and dedicated community here. Andrew sees it a pleasure to stand before his class and guide his students on their life journey.
Heather Willard Class 2 Teacher
Heather was born in Ontario and received a Bachelor's degree in Geography at Kingston, Ontario. It was here that she met her husband to be and they both completed Education Degrees and then taught internationally in Mexico, Brazil, Edmonton and Vancouver before moving to the north. They have worked in remote communities in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon. It was during this time that Heather began her studies of Waldorf Education and she is currently enrolled in the West Coast Waldorf Teacher Training program. We welcome Heather to our school with her diverse educational experience and deep passion for Waldorf Education.
Christopher Lunde Class 3 Teacher
Christopher Lunde grew up in a small town in Ohio. After graduating from Southern Oregon University with a B.S. in History, he set off on a great adventure. In the spring of 2002, Chris began his through-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a 2167-mile path that stretches from Georgia to Maine. After five months of hiking he began his Waldorf Teacher training and met his wife Rachel in Eugene, Oregon. Chris took a class from grade one through grade five at the Whatcom Hills Waldorf School in Bellingham, Washington. He now lives in Nelson with his wife, Rachel, and two children, Jasper (3) and Opal (1).
Marcelo Porto Goncalves Class 4 Teacher
Marcelo was born in Brazil and raised in a farming community near Brazil's capital, Brasilia. In 1992 he moved to Canada together with his mother and two brothers, and his two other siblings have since then also immigrated. In 2004 Marcelo completed a B.Sc. in Applied Physics in Toronto and began a search for his vocation. With jobs ranging from art teacher and tutor all the way to sprinkler and cable technician, Marcelo finally came upon the Waldorf educational system. There he found a home where he could explore and share his passions for child education, art, music, science, and the outdoors concurrently. He obtained a Waldorf Teaching Certificate in 2009 from the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto and that same year took on the first grade teacher position at the Nelson Waldorf School. Marcelo will continue his journey through the grades with his class this year. He lives in Nelson with his wife Myra and sons Camilo and Mateus.
Tanya Thayer Class 5 Teacher
Tanya moved to Nelson with her two children, Bethany and Sierra, and husband, Iain, from Eugene, Oregon in 2007. Tanya has worked for over 20 years in some capacity with children and in education. "My first job as a 'teacher' was when I was 17. I spent one summer as a volunteer counselor at Camp Easter Seals in Vashaugn, Washington. I knew after spending a half-hour teaching a woman in her twenties with Down Syndrome how to tie a knot that I wanted to be a teacher. I just felt a tremendous sense of fulfillment in helping others learn." Tanya's education includes a B.A. in Elementary Education (1993), a Masters Degree in Curriculum (2000), and Waldorf Teaching Training (2007). Her teaching practicum was at NWS. Tanya's teaching experience is wide-ranging. She has been an elementary teacher in a rural farming community, an Inner-city Native American alternative school, and a village in a remote island in the Pacific, and she has also been a preschool director, substitute teacher, camp counselor, parent volunteer aide in her daughters' schools, and, of course, a mother of two in her home. It was Tanya's experience as a mother that led her to search for the best form of education that she could find for her children and for her growth as a teacher. "I learned about Waldorf education through a parent of a Waldorf student. I was curious and so did some research, then attended a 'Windows on Waldorf' tour of the school and decided that this was what I had been looking for in education." The rest is history.
Debora Oese-Lloyd Class 6 Teacher
Debora Oese-Lloyd set out on her life's path as a teacher during her high school years. It was her work as a volunteer teacher in an inner-city school that sparked her interest in education. After teaching in the Northwest Territories and completing a Master's Degree in Art Education she discovered Waldorf Education and "....this has made all the difference." Debora completed her Waldorf teacher training at the Antioch Graduate School in New Hampshire and has taught in Waldorf schools in Calgary, Vancouver, Santa Fe, and previously in Nelson. She has recently returned to Nelson and is the Math specialist for Classes 7 and 8.
Natasha Kraus Class 7 Teacher
Natasha graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and German. She then completed her Waldorf Teacher Training at the Toronto Waldorf School, where she subsequently taught a class from first through eighth grade. After a number of years of travel, teaching, taking courses in wilderness survival, and a 12-month apprenticeship in biodynamic gardening, Natasha arrived in Nelson in October of 1998 to take a class from fourth through eighth grade. For a number of years Natasha taught Math, English, and Physics in the upper grades and Handwork to Classes 1 through 8. In September, 2009 she became the class teacher for her present class when they were entering class 4. Natasha was born in Parry Sound Ontario, on the shores of Georgian Bay. One of five children, her rural childhood was complete with all manner of pets, including a beloved Shetland pony. Natasha and her partner, Frank, live in Nelson with their daughters, Mia and Emma.
Dorita Van Vugt Class 8 Co-Teacher
Dorita was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and immigrated to Canada as a young child. She grew up in French Quebec where she graduated from McGill University with a B.A. in Education. In 1987, she moved to B.C. with her husband and children and they eventually settled in Nelson, where the two youngest of their seven children attended the Nelson Waldorf School. In those first years, Dorita worked in various capacities at the school, from board member to handwork teacher and interim administrator. In 2000, Dorita completed her M.Ed. in Waldorf Education at Antioch, New England, and that same year, she took a Grade 1 Class. They spent six exciting years together, years of stories, plays, math problems, science projects and class trips. After Grade 6, Dorita took a four-year leave from teaching and developed a small business, which she maintains during the summer months. Dorita returns to teaching this year with renewed enthusiasm and experience. She is delighted to be sharing the role of Class 8 Teacher with Vanessa Kuran.
Vanessa Kuran Class 8 Co-Teacher
Vanessa, our Class 8 Co-Teacher and Movement Education Teacher for the upper grades, grew up in beautiful British Columbia near an awe-inspiring granite monolith called "The Chief" in Squamish. She is the daughter of a Dutch mother and a Croatian father, and the youngest of five siblings. Vanessa always wanted to be a teacher and began that journey teaching PE, Outdoor Education, and Environmental Education programs in her 20's. Her discovery of Waldorf Education occurred while she was on a week-long hiking trip in the Cathedral mountains near Keremeos, BC. Here, she and a friend were camped next to the grade 9 class from the North Vancouver Waldorf School. Whilst brushing their teach at the lake, Vanessa and two boys from Class 9 made each other's acquaintance. After chatting with the boys for the better part of an hour she said "take me to your leader." She then met her first real Waldorf teacher, David Hesketh, talked anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy, and the rest is history. Vanessa went on to do her Waldorf High School teacher training in New Hampshire, which she completed in 2004. Vanessa is returning to us after two years of maternity leave, and brings with her a wealth of Waldorf education and experience from her many previous years of teaching at our School. In her spare time Vanessa takes a strong interest in the out-of-doors, exploring with her partner Cheryl and their 2 dogs, Chester and Willow. When not out-of-doors, Vanessa gives in to her renovation cravings, thus leaving their house in a perpetual state of "project." And this mirrors her personal journey in every way: One Big Perpetual Project.