Vanya Popov Music Teacher
Vanya - aka Michael John ("Johnny") was born and raised in nearby Grand Forks, and brings a depth of experience in and passionate enthusiasm to his area of expertise. A trained pianist since childhood, Vanya has studied music extensively throughout his life, and has sung in, formed and directed several choirs. He completed the Contemporary Music & Technology 2-year Diploma program at Selkirk College in Nelson in 1999, majoring in Keyboard Performance, and in 2005 earned a Bachelor of Music Degree majoring in Composition and Theory from the University of Victoria. A member of the prestigious UVic Chamber Singers for 6 years, Vanya simultaneously formed and directed the Victoria Doukhobor Choir with the sincere intention of keeping the singing tradition of his ancestors and community alive and flourishing. Later, in 2008, he formed and directed the All Canadian Doukhobor Choir, and most recently, in 2012, an all-male chorus called "BRATSTVO" (Brotherhood). Vanya also presently directs the NWS-based Silverking Mountain Choir. In 2010, Vanya fulfilled a lifelong dream by traveling to New Zealand. In Wellington he met a musical Waldorf family, the O'Connors, and formed the acoustic folk/pop band "LAVA". In 2011, they toured NZ, North America and Europe. Among their many gigs were over a dozen performances at Waldorf Schools including the Nelson Waldorf School. Thus began Vanya's association with NWS and the greater Waldorf community - worldwide!
Bree Switzer Music Teacher
Bree is currently on a leave of absence for one year.
Bree is an alumnus of the Nelson Waldorf School, having graduated from the first eighth grade class in 1991. Bree's music training is based on six years of private flute lessons, ten years of singing in a range of different choirs, and a two-year vocal and composition training program at Selkirk College from 2000 to 2002. Bree completed the Waldorf Teacher Training program at Emerson College in Forest Row, England from 2002 to 2004, where she also studied conducting with Danish composer Gregers Brinch and sang in his compositions choir. From 2004 to 2006 Bree taught Music and English at the Nordstrand Steiner School in Oslo, Norway. Her other teaching experience includes one year teaching English in Japan, teaching classes one, three and five handwork here at the Nelson Waldorf School, and assistant teaching in the Rose Garden Preschool, also at the Nelson Waldorf School, in 1999/2000. She has also led several choirs, including the presently active Waldorf Community Choir, a choir made up of teachers, parents, alumni, and friends of the Nelson Waldorf School.
Diana Finley (Danny) Social Inclusion Coordinator
B.A (psychology), Kingston, Ontario. B.Ed (elementary/junior high) University of Ottawa, Ottawa. Ontario. M.A (Counselling) Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington. Danny was born and raised in Montreal Quebec. Danny's search for a good education for her children led her to the Nelson Waldorf School 22 years ago. Her involvement at the school began as a parent and volunteering for many years. (Her favorite task was cleaning the magical kingdoms of the Kindergarten rooms!) This led to employment including academic tutor, faculty administrator, and she is now is in her 6th year as our Social Inclusion Coordinator. She also works part-time as a Social Worker at the hospital. She feels great gratitude for working at the school in the sphere of Social Inclusion learning together with the children, teachers, and parents in their experience of interpersonal conflict; viewing conflict as a welcomed and necessary part of being fully human. Other interests are yoga, singing, and gardening, and sharing time with family and friends in this beautiful part of the world.
Geraldine Finch Handwork/Skills
Bio to be added.
Joanne Bieler Handwork/Skills
Bio to be added.
Karin Weidemann Eurythmy Teacher
Karin was raised on a farm near Hannover, Germany. She graduated from the University of Augsburg with a Masters Degree in Sports, Movement Education (M.E.), and Social Science. While teaching these subjects to Grades 5-12, she was exposed to Anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy during a visit to Canada. A few weeks later she was enrolled in the Waldorf Teacher training course at Emerson College, England. There she discovered her love for Eurythmy. After completion of her Waldorf teacher training, she hoped to take the Eurythmy training but destiny proved otherwise. The following six years in England were filled with teaching Kindergarten and M.E. at the Michael Hall, Forest Row and Brighton Steiner schools and a 5-year in-service training in Bothmer Gymnastics, as well as the birth of her son. She moved back to Germany, where she taught Grade One and M.E. at the Freie Waldorf School, Hannover. After the birth of her twin daughters and a two-year stay in the United States, she returned to the family farm in Germany, where she worked as a therapist with children and horses. In 2001, Karin was finally able to do the Eurythmy training at the School for the Art of Eurythmy in Hannover. She then taught Eurythmy at the Freie Waldorf School in Sorsum, and was part of the Eurythmy stage group in Hannover until she joined the Nelson Waldorf School in December 2007. "My family and I are grateful to be here and to have found a place to belong."
Lisa Bramson Special Needs Coordinator
Lisa is a Nelson Waldorf School fixture: her two children attended the school; she has been a member of numerous committees and was a class parent throughout; she was a NWS Board member and Board chair; she has been involved with the Learning Enhancement program for 12 years. Prior to this, Lisa worked as a speech therapist for the public school system. SteinerÕs 12 Senses are a beloved topic that gets woven into LisaÕs work. Other interests include yoga, guitar, skiing, and gardening!
Rayya Liebich French Teacher
After completing a Bilingual International Baccalaureate in Geneva, Switzerland, Rayya returned to Canada and pursued her Bachelor in Arts at McGill University (English Lit. Major). After a year of environmental activism, and a year of traveling and volunteering in Nepal and India, Rayya returned to school to complete her post degree Bachelor in Education through the University of Victoria. Her belief in change and in a better educational model led her to her destiny as a Waldorf teacher in Nelson, B.C. Bringing her passion for languages, and countless tales from her travels. Rayya teaches French to classes 1-8. Apart from teaching, Rayya finds inspiration and joy in creative writing, photography, and the great outdoors.
Vanessa Kuran Movement Education 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.