Faculty and Staff

Our Early Childhood Teachers

Susan Andrews

Cedar Rose Pre-Kindergarten and Rosebud Parent Child Classes

Susan Andrews is one of the founding teachers at Cedarwood Waldorf School. She was born and raised in Portland, Ore. The middle child of three sisters, she graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in elementary education and taught fifth and sixth grade in Redmond, Ore., for many years, as well as coached girls’ volleyball and basketball. She discovered Waldorf education while searching for a pre-kindergarten experience for her daughter and began her Waldorf teacher training shortly thereafter. She adores her work and specifically working with young children and their parents, and feels truly blessed to have served as a gateway into our school for young families—teaching in the early childhood classes and working with young children is filled with joy, inspiration and love! Her own children, Jess and Maria, are now grown, and Maria gave birth in 2015 to a new baby granddaughter, who is absolutely a twinkle in Ms. Susan’s heart! She loves to hike, bicycle, garden, practice yoga and explore in nature with her dog Rudy (the central character in many of Ms. Susan’s classroom stories)!

Erin Cartwright

Cherry Blossom Kindergarten

Erin Cartwright was born in San Rafael, Calif., and raised in the small town of Boulder Creek among the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her parents were part of the back to the land movement, and they moved a lot and lived in many towns across the U.S. before settling on a commune outside of Ashland, Ore., and eventually moving to Portland. Erin graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in psychology in 1989. Her mother knew she wanted to work with children and young adults and introduced her to Waldorf education and the writings of Rudolf Steiner. She completed her teacher training at the Rudolph Steiner College in Fair Oaks, Calif., while she apprenticed under Susan Andrews at Cedarwood in its early days. Erin has been deeply committed to the students and community at Cedarwood and began the Cherry Blossom kindergarten class in 2003. Erin enjoys traveling with her extended family and spending time in nature anywhere.

Alice Engelstad

Red Cedar Kindergarten

Alice Engelstad is the lead teacher in the Red Cedar kindergarten and was born and raised in Northeast Portland. She attended Portland State University from 1984 until 1988 with an emphasis in speech communication, as well as traveled extensively in Asia. She completed her early childhood training at the Micha-el Institute in Portland. She began at Cedarwood by helping to develop the early childhood after-school program, substituting in the kindergartens at Cedarwood, as well is in many Waldorf kindergarten programs in the Portland area, and then assisting in the pre-kindergarten. In 2009, she was a co-teacher in the kindergarten for one year before accepting the lead teacher position for the Red Cedar class. Alice enjoys renewing her teaching by attending conferences and workshops twice a year. She has held a summer program in her home for the past 11 years and also offers plant-dyeing workshops to the community. Alice spends her remaining time with her son, Sam, their dog, Oil, and a number of hens. She loves adventures, running, skiing, paddling, and treating her mind and body well. When not in motion, she enjoys a well-written article.

Stephanie Ferris


Gemela Foster

Lead Teacher, Woodland Garden Program

Gemela Foster was born and raised in Portland, Ore. Throughout her childhood, she always knew she would teach young children. She taught Montessori for a time, and then became a nanny while raising her own two children. Both children have attended Cedarwood from pre-K through eighth grade. In 2007, Gemela became the early childhood extended care teacher at Cedarwood. Soon after, she began and completed her Waldorf kindergarten certification at the Micha-el Institute in Portland. When she’s not at Cedarwood, Gemela loves to play in the woods and to capture the magical moments in nature with her camera. She also loves live music, dancing, and spending time with her wonderful children and her close and creative community.

Cecelia McClellan

Huckleberry Kindergarten

Cecelia McClellan is a native Oregonian. She grew up in a lovely little community where she could ride her bike hours on end, visit with friends, hunt for frogs and crawdads and swim in the neighborhood pool. Cecelia was surrounded by family as she grew up with her brother, sister, mom, dad and her grandma. Her family’s home growing up was always the home where everyone gathered. Her family was a “doing” family, always outside, always preparing, always laughing. Some of her favorite childhood memories are gathering firewood with her dad, cooking, gardening and sewing with her grandma, snuggling with her mama and trying on all her fancy clothes and playing with her siblings. Cecelia always knew she would be a teacher when she grew up. As soon as she began college she began that journey. Cecelia studied at Portland State University and shortly thereafter began teaching kindergarten at Humboldt Elementary School in Portland. After her first year of teaching, she had a conversation with a friend, (now her husband) about biodynamic gardening, Rudolf Steiner and the Eugene Waldorf School. This conversation would frame the next phase in her life and her teaching. Cecelia began her teacher training at the Eugene Waldorf School in 1999 and has been a student of Waldorf pedagogy ever since. Over the years, she has studied with several master teachers who have helped challenge her to become the teacher she is today. Professionally, Cecelia has worked as a kindergarten teacher for more than 12 years and has served as a school administrator, faculty chair, community builder, mentor and school liaison to several supporting communities within the Waldorf community. She has volunteered countless hours in addition to her professional life and the community that she serves. Cecelia also fulfilled a dream of starting a biodynamic farm with some colleagues, integrating it into a schoolwide curriculum, and then selling the produce at local farmers markets. At home, she is a wife, mama of two children, a friend, and an avid gardener. Cecelia is happiest at home with her family, surrounded by the natural hum of life, cooking something delightful for her family and laughing at the sweet things her children say while they play.

Anna Mojallali

Kindergarten Assistant

Our Elementary and Middle-School Teachers

Donna Blaser

Lead Teacher, Class of 2021

Donna Blaser was raised in the beautiful Willamette Valley and spent her childhood creating art, horseback riding, climbing trees and enjoying every possible opportunity to head out on adventures. She holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon in Spanish and Latin American studies as well as a bachelor’s in fine arts. She completed her Waldorf teacher training at the Micha-el Institute, and during those years of study while learning how to teach explosion-filled chemistry experiments, artistic botany lessons, and playful poetry writing games, she knew she’d found her calling! Donna began a teaching career at Cedarwood in 2001 and has taught every grade level at least once. She loves the arts-based Waldorf curriculum, and can often be found in the hallways smudged with paint, charcoal or glue from teaching a recent art project. She adores traveling; her most recent expedition was to backpack across the entire state of Oregon on the Pacific Crest Trail with her two daughters.

Mary Elverhoy

Lead Teacher, Class of 2019

Born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, with two brothers and two sisters, Mary walked through months of snow drifts to get to all of her schools, learned how to swim in many of the state’s more than10,000 lakes, survived the onslaught of mosquitoes at every family camping trip, and sang her way through high school and college. After completing her bachelor of music and B.A. in education at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, Mary moved to Tacoma, Wash., where she found her second home working as a program director at a YMCA summer camp on Puget Sound, teaching grade 2 and kindergarten in a public elementary school, completing her M.A. degree in education, and bringing up her two beautiful children, Taylor and Isaac, both of whom received a K-12 Waldorf education. It was while searching for an educational alternative for her then-3-year-old daughter that Mary discovered and fell in love with Waldorf education. Her family moved to Portland, Ore., so her children could continue their Waldorf education at the Portland and Cedarwood Waldorf schools. Mary worked in kindergartens at both schools while training at the Micha-el Institute. After carrying her own in-home program for three years, she was overjoyed to be asked to consider taking a grades class. In autumn 2011, Mary began teaching her current class. She loves singing, traveling, swimming, backpacking, hiking and pretty much anything that involves the outdoors. She is currently finishing up level 1 of spacial dynamics and learning calligraphy. On her bucket list: sailing the perimeter of Lake Superior, driving to Alaska, and backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexico border to Canada.

Olivia Farrell

Lead Teacher, Class of 2023

Olivia and her brothers were born on a farm in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range. They moved to Portland to attend The Portland Waldorf School in its infancy. She grew up enjoying the outdoors, writing, dancing, and playing music. She loved performing on stage and competing as a championship Scottish Highland Dancer and Irish Step Dancer, and represented the Northwest region in national and international events. She and her brothers also enjoyed honoring their family tradition amidst a vibrant community in a local bagpipe band, and Olivia has been in the wedding photos of many clients as their bagpiper. While bringing joy through music and joining in wedding feasts was pretty fantastic, teaching at Cedarwood is Olivia’s favorite job. Her first teaching job grew out of her love of sharing dance, and after many years as a dance and after school instructor, at both private and public organizations, she attended the Micha-El Institute for an Early Childhood Intensive training, and was inspired to become a Waldorf teacher. Olivia studied English and Foreign Languages for her BA, and has her MA in Education from Portland State University, with an Oregon public teaching certification for K-8, she is currently completing a second MA in Waldorf Education at Rudolf Steiner College. Olivia brings eleven years of prior teaching experience, and a strong dedication to her students. Ms. Farrell enjoys hiking and games with her family, and excels at rhymes and tongue twisters. She loves to write and is a an avid reader of books (especially the old-fashioned ones made from paper).

Margaret Fichtner

Lead Teacher, Class of 2018

Margaret was born in Rochester NY. She graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon boarding school in 1985. Margaret completed, with honors, a BA with a double major from Tufts University in American Studies and German in 1989. She spent a year studying at Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen, Germany from 1987-1988. Margaret traveled around the world in 1990 with Up With People and settled in CA in 1991. She held a variety of teaching and management positions in education before she participated in the full-time Teacher Education Grades Program at Rudolf Steiner College from 2009-2011, She is a devoted mother of four boys and wife of 25 years. Margaret is an accomplished singer and fiber artist. She enjoys hand crafts, reading and spending time with her family.

Meredith Floyd-Preston

Lead Teacher, Class of 2017

The salty, sea-sprayed bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean outside Los Angeles were the setting of Meredith Floyd-Preston’s childhood home. She came of age in an idyllic household where she, her younger sister and single-parent mother shared responsibilities and finished each other’s sentences. Meredith was the oldest child among family and friends, and it was long predicted she would one day become a teacher. Despite her occasional desire to rebel against an unchosen path, it wasn’t long before she, too, realized she had a knack for teaching. Meredith discovered Waldorf education when she graduated from UC Santa Cruz and looked for a school for her 2-year-old son, Calvin. After attending the Michaelmas festival at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School, Meredith jumped in with both feet, signing Calvin up for preschool and enrolling herself in the San Francisco Waldorf teacher training directed by Dorit Winter. Eventually, two more children, Alice and Leo, would join the Floyd-Preston family. Now in her 10th year of class teaching, Meredith credits those years with some of the richest experiences of her life. While teaching, she backpacked through the wilderness of Northern Idaho, hoisted sails on a historic schooner, discovered how seeds sprout, invented the compass and became Joan of Arc, accompanied by a robust classroom full of students. She’s grateful to have found such an enlivening, invigorating way to spend her days!

Peter Hayes

Lead Teacher, Class of 2022

Peter was born into a large family in rural Wisconsin, where he remembers having spent many long and happy days in adventurous play with his nine brothers and sisters (he is a triplet with an identical twin), mostly outdoors in all weather and seasons. His family traveled and camped often, and so Peter grew up with a keen interest in nature. As a young man he worked with the Youth Conservation Corps, and while in college he spent two long seasons as a backcountry ranger in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Eastern Oregon. Peter received his bachelor of science degree from Evergreen State College, and then traveled to Sussex, England, to study biodynamic agriculture and eurythmy at Emerson College and the London School of Eurythmy. Over the next three years, he completed the Emerson School of Agriculture course, and two years of a four-year eurythmy degree program. Peter next moved to Germany, where his three children were born, and where he lived and worked for eight years as a landscape gardener while raising his young family. He eventually decided to pursue his calling as a Waldorf teacher, and he soon enrolled in Waldorf teacher training in Stuttgart, Germany. Upon completion of this course of study, he moved his young family to Washington State, where he began his teaching career at the Whidbey Island Waldorf School. Peter taught and guided a class from first through eighth grade there, and then he moved to Portland to take up his work at Cedarwood School in 2006. In his work at Cedarwood, he has guided a second class through its eight-year journey and has completed training in the spacial dynamics movement. He is currently guiding a large and dynamic group of wonderful students through their second-grade year. An avid outdoors enthusiast, Peter also enjoys activities involving music and dance, and gatherings with family and friends when opportunities arise.

Natalie Norman

Lead Teacher, Class of 2020

Growing up in America’s heartland, Natalie explored the forests and fields throughout Wisconsin. She appropriately collected the childhood nickname of “Nature Natalie” as she developed a deep connection to the natural world, and took that connection into her first internship as a naturalist at a wildlife sanctuary and botanical garden in her hometown of Green Bay. Natalie received her B.A. in humanistic studies, with a minor in environmental education from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She then continued to follow her passion for working with nature and children into her future careers as an educator at an outdoor school in Northern Wisconsin, and then as a naturalist for Portland Parks and Recreation when she moved west to Portland, Ore., in 2000. She continued to work for the city’s parks bureau for seven years, while also taking up positions at the Oregon Zoo and as a science teacher at Capitol Hill Elementary School in Southwest Portland. Eleven years ago, as her destiny had it, Natalie’s city offices moved into the Carnegie building on the northeast end of Lair Hill Park. She then began to observe the amazing festivals and events happening at Cedarwood School and felt drawn to what she saw. That’s when the magic happened! She found out about Waldorf education, signed up for the teacher training program at the Micha-el Institute, and began assisting Miss Sacha in early childhood within the year. After an additional year of assisting Mr. Le Bas’ first-grade class, Natalie took up teaching the fifth grade and guided them through to their eighth-grade promotion in 2012. Natalie is currently thriving with her fourth-grade class, as well as beginning her third year as college chair for the school. She is also in the process of completing the fifth year of spacial dynamics level 1 training. Natalie can be found hiking, biking, dancing, and cooking on the weekends with her partner, Sandra. She also loves to snuggle with her kitties with a cup of tea and a good book on rainy days. Her aspirations are to learn German, to be able to juggle on a tightrope, and to live the rest of her life in utter appreciation for all the beauty that abounds on this glorious planet!

Meg Weber

Lead Teacher, Class of 2024

Meg grew up in a family dedicated to education, social change and singing. Ever since she was a young girl, she lined her stuffed animals up and practiced her lessons. In her heart she has always been a teacher. During her college years, she was able to live and travel throughout England, Europe and Egypt. Meg began her teaching profession after earning a Bachelor's degree in Theater and English from Occidental College in 1981. She earned the equivalent of an Early Childhood Education teaching degree and taught for many years in preschools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Meg's two nephews attended Waldorf schools from Kindergarten through High School. Watching them take a strong interest in the world drew her to Waldorf education. Her brother is also a Waldorf teacher. Meg received her Waldorf teaching credential from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in 2002. Her daughter, Lily attended Waldorf schools from third grade through high school. In addition to having a passion for teaching, Meg enjoys being in nature, singing, dancing and advocating for social change. She has been a Waldorf class teacher for fifteen years. Meg is very excited to have joined the faculty at Cedarwood and to be living closer to her daughter.

Our Subject Teachers

Diana Bright

Music Teacher

Diana has studied strings, voice and movement since she was a child, beginning with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland and studying at the Music Conservatory in San Francisco. Back in Portland, she sang with Pink Martini; danced, sang and taught with tribal dance group Gypsy Caravan; and danced flamenco with Spanish gypsies until becoming a vocal apprentice of Linda Brice and studying with Christiaan Boele of the Werbeck Institute. Diana is now in her fifth year of spacial dynamics with Kim Le Bas, and a lifetime student of anthroposophy. Diana’s mentor once described her as “weaving the golden braid” because of her lifetime of striving to incorporate various modalities into a musical and spiritual life.

Shannon Casey

Middle-School Assistant

Shannon’s love for math and science arises from her deep appreciation and curiosity for the natural world. She credits her sixth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Welsh, with providing the spark that ignited her imagination and tenacity for devouring scientific observation and experimentation, and her love for sharing these with her own students. After obtaining her B.S. in genetics from Washington State University, spending a year in Ecuador doing sustainable development work, and studying permaculture, she settled on the Big Island of Hawaii. There she co-founded an educational permaculture homestead, teaching interns gardening, alternative construction, water systems, GMO activism, photovoltaics and dynamic systems design, as well as raised her two children and assisted in the development of Na Ohana Anuenue, a cooperative Waldorf school. Over the course of her five years teaching at the school, she taught Spanish, gardening, handwork, and grades 5, 6 and 7. She has completed Waldorf high school teacher training in chemistry and biology at Rudolf Steiner College and has taught guest blocks for Portland Waldorf School and Highland Hall. A Seattle native, Shannon is pleased to have returned to the seasons and temperate forests of the Northwest and is excited to continue inspiring the students and families of Cedarwood.

Gia Davis

Handwork & Practical Arts Teacher

Gia was born and raised in Atlanta, with a background in dance and theater; she graduated from the High School for Performing Arts in Houston. She moved to Atlanta in 1989 and joined a professional theater group—Academy Theater—but to earn a living she worked in mortgage financing both selling and underwriting home loans. She loved people (more than processing their money) and travel, so she returned to school and enrolled in Columbia Film Institute in Chicago, where she worked as a junior editor in a post-production house-editing TV commercials and working as a flight attendant on weekends. After marrying and having two children, she eventually discovered Waldorf education from a dollmaker who lived two doors down from her house. He taught her how to make Waldorf dolls before her daughter was of school age! She began her life in a Waldorf school as an early childhood assistant at the Chicago Waldorf School in 2001. Her family moved in 2008 to Portland, where she completed her Waldorf grades teaching certificate at the Micha-el Institute. She designed the current Cedarwood practical arts program and has been on the faculty since 2009. In her spare time, Gia is a devout student of anthroposophy involved in various studies, conversations and readings of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures and books. She’s also an avid competitive pool player: In August 2015, she was on one of seven teams from the Northwest to compete in a national 8-ball competition.

Oana Havris

Eurythmy Teacher

Michelle Jarvis

Spanish Teacher

Michelle was born and raised in Portland, Ore. After living and working as a professional ballerina in Mexico and Europe for eight years, she returned home to start a family. Michelle brought her love for and expertise in the Spanish language to Cedarwood Waldorf School in 1998 and has been an integral part of the development of the school ever since. Besides teaching Spanish, she has played a role in many aspects of the school over the years, including after-school care, office management, enrollment, personnel management, faculty leadership, board development and teacher development. Both of her daughters are graduates of Cedarwood and Portland Waldorf High School. Michelle is a graduate of the Rudolf Steiner College foreign language teacher training and currently hosts an annual conference for developing world language teachers. She is an avid reader, knitter and dancer.

Emma Maruska

Middle School Support Teacher

Heather Pearl

Movement Teacher

Heather grew up playing in the woods, fields and waters of Connecticut. Basketball, soccer and track were her first sports loves, followed by ultimate Frisbee and biking in her 20s. Heather moved to San Francisco to attend SFSU, and it was there she fulfilled a secret desire to study drama, which luckily led to her meeting clowns and circus performers. At a rehearsal one day where people were doing push-ups, running around and creating work to make people laugh, Pearl found her calling. In the city by the Bay, she performed solo, as well as with Clown Conspiracy, the SF Women’s Circus, Make*A*Circus and Clown Mobile. In 1996-97, Pearl attended and completed the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake, Calif. In 1998, she moved to Portland and joined Do Jump! Extremely Physical Theater, with which she performed for four years and taught for seven. After leaving DoJump!, she co-founded the Nomadic Theatre Company with Michael O’Neill. In 2001, Pearl received a call to help out at an after-school circus class at Portland Waldorf School. Heather began substituting on a regular basis, and her interest in spacial dynamics grew. In 2004, she began her five-year, level 1 spacial dynamics training. In 2005, she was hired as the first movement education teacher at Cedarwood. She developed the movement program with Kim Le Bas and all the students over the past 10 years, which has been a tremendous joy.

Bobby Smith

Grades Extended Care

Mr. Bobby is an outdoorsy guy. He is an Oregon master naturalist and has been certified as an interpretive guide with the National Association for Interpretation. His experience as an environmental educator includes work with the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, Trackers PDX, Portland Parks and Recreation , Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District, and Clark Public Utilities. He holds a B.A. in environmental literature and is currently enrolled in the foundation studies program at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, Calif. Now in his eighth year at Cedarwood, Mr. Smith brings his experience of the outdoors to the school’s Woodland Adventures camp program as well as supporting the third-grade farming and outdoor curriculum. When not at Cedarwood, he can be found hiking with his partner and fourth-grader. His secret passion is collecting soul records. He has recently begun mentoring youth in the ways of the old-school DJ.

Chiaki Uchiyama

Japanese Teacher

Chiaki Uchiyama was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, a suburb of Tokyo. She has two daughters, Akari and Mayu, who both went through Waldorf education from kindergarten through high school. During her ninth-year change, she met a teacher who could find hidden gifts and potentials of her students. In retrospect, it was a destiny calling for Chiaki to become a teacher. Chiaki’s journey into anthroposophy began in 1996, when her infant son died and she sought to understand the meaning of his brief life. For the past 16 years, she has taught Japanese language at Cedarwood Waldorf School. She has been organizing annual Waldorf language teacher conferences for Japanese teachers and teaching anthroposophically imbued pedagogical workshops. She served at Cedarwood Waldorf School as college chair from 2006 through 2013, and is currently serving as program chair, overseeing pre-kindergarten through grade 8 programs. She is a member of the School of Spiritual Science and the Pedagogical Section; has studied eurythmy; is currently training in spacial dynamics; and, with her partner, Charles Forster, works as an astrosopher.

Jacob Wooton

Middle-School Math Teacher

Jacob was born in Seattle and might never leave the Pacific Northwest. He obtained his master of arts in teaching from Lewis & Clark College in 2009, and before that his bachelor of arts from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where he studied art and making comics. Mr. Wooton taught art for five years at the Mariah Art School in Olympia before moving to Portland in 2005 for love. At Cedarwood, he serves as a math and science teacher for grades 6-8. In his time at Cedarwood, he has completed more than four solid weeks of training in connected math as well as Waldorf foundation studies at Sound Circle and the Micha-el Institute. He also completed six weeks of training in spacial dynamics. He has been teaching at Cedarwood as the middle-school math and science teacher since 2010.

Our Staff

Allison Fredette

Grades Admissions Director

Allison was born and raised in Portland, Ore., and has a deep love for the Northwest. She was raised in a household where both of her parents were teachers and great advocates of quality education. These values led her to Cedarwood Waldorf School in 2002, when her oldest child was in the second grade. It was like coming home. In the past 13 years, Allison and her husband, Greg, have brought two more children to Cedarwood and are grateful for the community they have found there. Allison is thrilled to share her passion for quality education and her love of Cedarwood with this incredible community of volunteers. Allison received a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and holds a master of arts in teaching from Marylhurst University. She has volunteered full-time for Cedarwood for the past three years, chairing both Winter Faire and the annual auction, co-chairing the parent council, serving on the development committee and helping out in any way she can.

Jonie Hurtt

Early Childhood Admissions Director

Born in the Midwest in 1957 the second of six children, Jonie Hurtt grew up spending summers and holidays on her grandparents’ wheat farm in Kansas. It was during these early years of her life that she found solace in nature as she spent endless days exploring barns, pigpens and chicken coops, or whiling away the hours lying in golden fields of wheat daydreaming and reading dusty books found in secret forgotten crannies. When she was in seventh grade, her family moved to the suburbs of Chicago, where she discovered another side of life as that generation was launched into the 1970s. After graduating high school in Illinois, Jonie moved to California, where she attended college and eventually met her husband, Marven. They were married in 1981 and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1987. Jonie’s daughter Marisa was born in 1994 while they were living in rural Washougal, Wash., where she grew up playing in the garden, barn and chicken coop or spending lazy summer days floating the river. When Marisa was 1, their family discovered Waldorf education after enrolling in a parent child class with Susan Andrews. Soon after Cedarwood was conceived, Marisa joined the pre-kindergarten class while Jonie began volunteering in the community as parents embraced fully the early pioneering years of the school. In 2000, Jonie joined Cedarwood’s front office staff, which eventually grew into her current position as director of admissions. Marisa graduated from Cedarwood’s second eighth-grade class in 2009 and is now in college studying abroad. Jonie continues to hold on to the values instilled through her childhood years of playing in haystacks, and is grateful to find similar values echoed at Cedarwood, where she is grateful each day upon entering this amazing school filled with beautiful children and teachers.

Tiffany Jackson

Logistics & School Support Coordinator

Tiffany was born in South Florida to a Montessori teacher mother and printmaker-artist father. She has always loved being around children, watching the wonders of learning unfold. She attended a performing arts high school and specialized in theater and art. The opportunity for working in hospitality management arose after she worked as an event planner for private parties during her teens. At 17, she was given a job managing a nightclub in South Beach, Miami. After that, she worked at several award-winning restaurants and nightclubs in New Orleans, New York, Colorado and Santa Fe, N.M. She continues to pursue her love for event planning to this day and early adaptation of multitasking and management skills are a must for her work here at Cedarwood. She is very proud of being a part of the Cedarwood community for 12 years now and watching her family grow in every way possible. She has been called “Mama Tiffany” for years, caring for each child that enters Cedarwood. However, her children Lilia, Taea and Griffin are her greatest joys and continue to have a very loving but slightly different-looking family with Burk. She looks forward to each day at Cedarwood and is grateful for the warmth of the community.

Jen Martin

Volunteer Coordinator

Jen was raised in the Columbia Gorge by hard working, deeply caring parents. She spent most of her childhood in nature, with her younger brother, creating magical worlds out of fallen trees and natural streams. Jen left the northwest in 1996 to attend California State University, and studied instructional and communication design. She started her career in business consulting in San Francisco, travelled, and fell in love with her husband Joel in New York City. After getting married they moved to Toronto, and Jen choose to continue her studies in holistic nutrition. After a few years in the northern tundra Jen needed to get back to the west coast. They returned to San Francisco where Jen started a nutrition consulting practice, and had her sons Jude and Toby. When her oldest started at a small preschool in Marin, Jen’s heart opened to Waldorf Education. Soon thereafter she longed to get back to her roots, and moved her family to Portland. She and her brother Tommy started a small hobby farm and both her boys started at Cedarwood. The parent involvement that Cedarwood supports helped Jen find her village. Now as the Community Coordinator she hopes to inspire others, connect and make Cedarwood their home too.

Jean McGowan

Development & Communications Director

Jean was destined to find Waldorf education for her children. Born in Waterville, Maine, she is the youngest of five children. Her parents (born during the Great Depression) were very civic-minded in her childhood and constantly took up the causes and needs of her small hometown. And even though she found school, as an institution, very challenging, she has a B.A. in English literature from the University of Maine at Farmington. She worked in the U.S. Senate in her early 20s and attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, in 2004. For several years, Jean wrote an award-winning political column for a daily Maine newspaper. She relocated in the mid-’90s to Pacific Grove, Calif., where her daughter Fiona was born in 2000. In the fall of 2001 Jean and her family moved to Portland, Ore. She learned about Waldorf education when her neighbor asked Fiona to join her Waldorf-inspired pre-school. Fiona joined the first-grade class at Cedarwood in 2007 and Jean’s son Weston followed suit in 2009. In 2010, Jean happily accepted a position as development coordinator at Cedarwood, and is now the development and communications director. Raising money for good causes has played an important role in her life—she made her first fundraising phone call at age 9 when her brother ran for the state legislature, and has raised money for many political causes, candidates, and women’s and children’s issues. She loves her work at Cedarwood and considers it a privilege to help support the faculty and mission of our school. She lives in Hillsdale with her partner, Gerry, her two children, four stepchildren, two cats and a dog. She is attempting to become a surfer.

Elizabeth Nugent

Head of School

Elizabeth has more than 30 years of organizational development experience and 20 years in adult education. She enjoyed a successful 15-year career in health care management before she began a second career in education. After meeting Ms. Susan at a May Day Faire, she abandoned her Montessori teacher training to seek Waldorf teacher training. Ultimately, Ms. Elizabeth received her certification for Waldorf early childhood teaching with an additional certification in Waldorf therapeutic education for children from birth to 9 years of age. Ms. Elizabeth is a founding member of Cedarwood Waldorf School’s College of Teachers, is the Oregon sub-leader for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, and is also a certified human resource manager. She joined Cedarwood 11 years ago as lead kindergarten teacher, and nine years ago she was elected as the school’s first school chair. This position was designed by the three pillars of the school to ensure a certified Waldorf teacher would be the point person for the school and the one position reporting to the board of trustees. Ms. Elizabeth enjoys all things outdoors. She is particularly fond of boating, kayaking, sailing and restoring wooden boats. She is an avid needle felt artist and early childhood puppeteer. Ms. Elizabeth is currently working on a book for parents and children.

Tracy Rimel

Finance Director

A native Oregonian, Tracy has worked in nonprofit finance and accounting since 2005. She has a degree in economics from the University of Idaho and previously served as the business manager for a local charter school and spent several years consulting. She serves as treasurer on two independent nonprofit boards, BRAVO and Street Books. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband, two children, golden retriever and friends. Like many good Portlanders her preferred mode of transportation is the bicycle.

Donnea Sims


Donnea is a native Oregonian with degrees from Lewis & Clark College, Southern Oregon University and the University of Denver. While raising her family in Ashland, she worked as assistant director of Children’s Community Montessori School, served on and chaired the Ashland Board of Education, and was the co-owner and business manager of an ecologically oriented construction company. Her concern for children orphaned during the Vietnam War led her to sponsor a Vietnamese family in Ashland, and to add to her family through adoption. She became a parent at Cedarwood School while she was raising one of her grandchildren. An extensive background in business and accounting qualified her for employment as the Cedarwood bookkeeper beginning in 2008. She is passionate about art, books and the outdoors and was taught by her pioneer grandparents that one has a moral responsibility to grow edibles.

Jeremy Smith

Facilities Manager

In 2006, Cedarwood gained its first and only in-house custodian when it added Jeremy to the staff. Transplanted from his native Iowa, where he illustrated graphic novels for years, he settled in Portland with his partner and set to work getting the school in ship shape. He was not raised in the Waldorf way, having never heard of such a thing until he arrived here. Fortunately, full knowledge of anthroposophy and eurythmy is not necessary to sweep floors and paint walls, so Jeremy started his Cedarwood journey, steadily maintaining and improving the school’s beautiful, historic building while slowly cementing his bond with the faculty, staff and parent community, earning a B.A. in graphic design along the way. He is fond of comparing his experience with that of Lewis and Clark as they wintered with the Mandan Indians on their way west, saying, “Coming from Beyond, I am not one of Them, but I have learned their language and customs. We hunt together.” And play together, work together, learn together. Jeremy is home here. Jeremy knows every square inch of the building, most of its history, and where everything is stored. If you need him, you may find him in anywhere in the building, but usually in the business office on the lower level, down among the kindergartners. History of all stripes, camping not too far away from civilization, observing the odd in the everyday, visiting small quirky museums, engaging in artful wordplay and drawing elaborate diagrams and restroom signage are among his interests.