Faculty & Staff

Early Childhood

Jenny Calhoun

Chickadee’s Preschool

Jenny grew up in the Detroit suburbs and has since lived in San Francisco, Mount Shasta and the Verde Valley. Her life experiences include fine art education, event and film production. She holds a degree in Liberal Studies with focus areas in Philosophy, Film and Communication from the University of Michigan -Dearborn.  In 2019 she moved to Eugene to begin teacher training and has since completed her certificate in Early Childhood, has been working with young children regularly since 2020 as a nanny and a teacher. In 2022 she was the lead for the summer program at Sol’s Garden preschool in Eugene. Most recently, she assisted at the Eugene Waldorf preschool and was co-lead in the aftercare, primarily holding resting space for the littlest ones. Jenny creates a mood of peace and comfort through therapeutic touch, singing and lyre music. She holds space for young children to gently grow into their earthly life, and does her best to provide an environment that facilitates emotional connection and structured boundaries. Jenny is presently entering her second year in the Dancing Hands Frolicking Voices developmental movement program hosted by Lynn St Pierre. She continues self-education in Werbeck singing, the Mood of the Fifth, Anthroposophy, and is part of the local Christian Community. 

Anne Marie Cole

Willow Wind Kindergarten

Anne Marie grew up just outside of Boston as the oldest child of professional classical musicians. She played music and attended many ballets, operas, and concerts. After graduating from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1997 and having her daughter, she discovered Waldorf Education. She then attended the teacher training program in Eugene, Oregon, and began working in the kindergarten at CWS in 2004. Anne Marie now lives on a farm in Monroe with her family and an assortment of animals. She continues to lead a culturally rich life: singing, playing the piano, gardening, spinning wool, working with clay, cooking, and deepening her spiritual practice.

Gretel Ellenburg

Morning Glory Assistant

Gretel was born in the beautiful green valley of Corvallis, Oregon. She spent much of her childhood searching for faeries in the lush creeks and tall hedgerows. As a teen, she discovered a love of all fibers and  Handwork. Gretel began sewing dolls for family and friends and teaching herself how to knit and spin yarn. These wonderful heirloom skills led her to volunteer in the CWS Handwork program for two years, as well as working in the extended day program. Gretel took a break from volunteering and teaching at CWS for a couple years so she could travel with family across the country and explored other interests, such as working as an artisan bread baker.

Returning to CWS as a kindergarten assistant this school year has reignited Gretel‘s passion for Waldorf education. With much anticipation, she will begin her Waldorf teacher training in Eugene in the Fall of 2024!

Katie Martens

Willow Wind Assistant

Picture and bio coming soon!

Eileen Chanti

Oaks and Acorns Parent-Child Class

Eileen was raised by a civil rights attorney and a social worker just outside of Eugene. From an early age Eileen knew she wanted a career that would be of service to her community. She attended St John’s College, a small Liberal Arts “Great Books” college in both Santa Fe, NM and Annapolis, MD. After college Eileen chose to pursue a career in education by first attending Antioch University where she received her Waldorf Teaching Certificate and then the University of Chicago where she received a Masters in Teaching with a focus on urban education and teacher leadership. Eileen has taught in both Waldorf schools and public schools, bringing Waldorf pedagogy to children who would otherwise not have access. Eileen shares her days with her husband, four children, and giant goofy dog named Josephine. She loves camping, hiking, and spending as much time outside as possible.


Amy Carnahan

Early Childhood Extended Day Teacher

Amy Carnahan grew up a few miles outside of Tangent in the middle of grass seed field country. Growing up in this environment instilled in Amy a deep love and respect for nature on many levels. In addition to the wildlife surrounding her childhood home, Amy grew up with many animals from birds of prey to pigs. When reflecting upon her childhood, most of her memories involve being outdoors, whether it be playing in the ditches around the fields and catching bugs with her older brother, or camping and fishing trips with her dad. She graduated from Oregon State University in 2008 with her BA in Liberal Studies and Pre-Education option. In 2011, Amy received her Master’s in the Art of Teaching in the area of Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Pacific University. She spent 2 years working at the Children’s Farm Home before accepting her first teaching position, where she taught third grade for six years at a public charter school. Amy joined the Corvallis Waldorf community last year as the Early Childhood Extended Day provider. She is excited to continue to learn and grow within the Waldorf community and fulfill her new roll as one of the Morning Glory assistants. Amy lives in Corvallis with her husband, young son, two dogs, cat, and chickens. She enjoys singing, dancing, yoga, being outdoors, and animals of all kinds.

Karen Vertner

Early Childhood Support

Picture and bio coming soon!

Grades 1-8

Chris Highfield

Third Grade

Chris has been a Class Teacher at the Corvallis Waldorf School since 2007. He received a BA degree in history/secondary education from Westminster College in Pennsylvania, a MS from the University of Oregon in geography, and is currently receiving mentoring from the Waldorf teacher training program in Eugene, OR. He spent ten years in various teaching positions in the public school system in different regions of the country before coming to CWS. Drawn to the strength of curriculum and emphasis upon art found at Waldorf schools, Chris truly appreciates the opportunity to learn and develop along with his students. On his time away from school, Chris enjoys various outdoor activities, running, gardening, playing music and spending time with his family.


Lawrence Mathews

Seventh Grade

Lawrence joined the Corvallis Waldorf School in 2021. He has a BS in Chemistry from Stanford, a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington, and worked as a biomedical researcher and professor at the University of Michigan before starting a Waldorf teaching career. He completed his Waldorf teacher training in Detroit and taught at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor for 14 years, taking two classes through 8th grade. Following the completion of the second class, he moved to Boulder where he taught high school science and math for eight years at Shining Mountain Waldorf School before coming to Oregon. He enjoys playing music, practicing the art of photography, and exploring the natural world with his wife, Robin.

Melanie Sorenson

Math Specialist

Melanie grew up in Troutdale, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia Gorge. She moved to Corvallis to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Oceanography with a minor in music. She discovered a passion for teaching and went on to earn her Master of Science in Education degree from Oregon State University as well. Melanie taught middle school science for several years, and even owned a local beekeeping company for a time, before returning to the classroom in 2018 to specialize in helping students build their math skills at CWS. Melanie plays her flute and piccolo in several musical ensembles throughout the valley and is an avid gardener who loves to travel, hike, and play board games.

Kristi Hager

Extended Day Teacher

Kristi is a founding parent of the Corvallis Waldorf
School. She and her family have lived in Corvallis
since 1991. She has worked at the school in various
positions throughout the years. She worked as the
handwork teacher for many years, worked in
Administration, Board Member, Substitute Teacher
and Extended Day Provider to name a few.
She is an artist and studied Art in college in Santa
Barbara. Her art was rekindled when her two
children enrolled in the Waldorf School. She loves
to create art, play golf, visit the ocean, and spending
time with her family. Her two children are graduates
of CWS and both have Masters Degrees.

Jamie Sajovic

Fourth Grade

I am excited to be joining the Corvallis Waldorf School community!  I have worked in education for over 25 years. I studied at Kenyon College, in Ohio and the Christian Theological Seminary, in Indiana before making my way to the Pacific Northwest. My varied experiences with homeschooling, Waldorf preschool, the public school system, and teaching everything from swimming and canoeing to gardening and construction, to knitting, spinning and weaving, have led me to the firm belief in the importance of nurturing and educating the whole child. I look forward to bringing my love of teaching, being in nature, sharing the wonders of fiber arts and stories of living on a farm to the classroom.

Aza Hoff

Eight Grade

Aza grew up riding rodeo horses and camping on rangeland Eastern Washington. She lived abroad for a time, teaching English to German children. She has also been, in other phases of life, a soldier, peace activist, shoemaker, homesteader, at-home parent, and homeschool teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American literature and Farsi language and is currently pursuing both Waldorf teacher training and a master’s in education degree. She enjoys handtool furniture building, pick-up truck camping with her children, and eating raspberries.


John Nelson

Sixth Grade

John received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Community Health from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He then completed the Waldorf Teacher Education program in Eugene, Oregon. In 2010, John and his family happily moved to Corvallis to join the faculty at the Waldorf School as a Class Teacher. John graduated his first class in June of 2018 after leading them through the grades curriculum. He is looking forward to the new journey with his current class of first graders. When he is not at the school teaching his class, he enjoys bird watching, coaching basketball and eating popcorn. Go Beavs!

Anna Persson

First Grade

Anna was born in Oregon where she has spent most of her life. Her fondest memories are of time spent at her grandparent’s house, playing in the nature found up the McKenzie River.  After graduating from high school, she moved to Sweden where she studied traditional Swedish ceramics and the language. Upon her return to Oregon, she continued her studies in sculptural ceramics, Swedish Massage, and general studies at a local college. She began teaching in 2011 and worked for three years in neurodiverse classrooms. During this time, she discovered Waldorf education and knew instantly that it would be part of her life path. After completing the Waldorf Teacher Training, she began the journey as a Waldorf teacher. Anna spends most of her free time in nature, gardening, and with her loved ones. She adores her students and is passionate about bringing a holistic education to them. She is thrilled to be a part of the Corvallis Waldorf School again!

Sarah Monroe

Fifth Grade

Sarah first moved to Corvallis in 1988 at the age of 11. After graduating from Corvallis High School, she attended Portland State University & Universitat Stuttgart, graduating in 2000 with a degree in German. She then attended a graduate teacher education program at Oregon State. Sarah found her way to the Corvallis Waldorf School in 2003. In her time at the school, she has worn many hats: German Teacher, Willow Wind Kindergarten Assistant, Extended Day Program Director and Grades Teacher. Sarah received her Waldorf Teaching Certification in June of 2011 from the Waldorf Teacher Training in Eugene, Oregon and taught through the Waldorf Grades Curriculum 1-8, with her first class graduating from CWS in 2019. She is currently journeying with a new group of travelers that began first grade in the Fall of 2019. Sarah enjoys being anywhere out in nature, traveling, being at the ocean, seeking out live music, and spending time with her family. She lives in Corvallis with her husband and cats.

Integrated Subject Teachers

Erin Zaremba


Erin grew up in a family of musicians on the central coast of California. She began violin lessons at age 7 and has practiced, performed, and taught on the instrument continuously throughout her life. She served as the concertmaster of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony and as the youngest member of the San Luis Obispo Symphony. Making music with her dad (guitar/mandolin) and sister (cello) cultivated her appreciation for many genres outside the classical world and she spent several years performing and recording with an acoustic rock band in San Francisco. Erin holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of San Francisco, where she focused her work on the creative arts in elementary classrooms and spent time as a volunteer teacher in Belize. After graduating, she received a fellowship from USF to teach at the Tibetan Transit School in Dharamsala, India. Before moving to the Northwest in 2012, Erin worked as a first grade teacher in San Francisco. When not teaching or playing music, she loves to be outside with her family.

Sadie Lifton


Sadie’s Waldorf journey began with the nurturing community of the Portland Waldorf School. Attending kindergarten through high school, the school laid the foundation for her natural curiosity, and inspired her love for creative expression. 

In 2021, Sadie joined the Corvallis Waldorf School after a decade of teaching in Portland area Waldorf schools. As a Handwork Teacher for over 12 years, Sadie has found immense joy in shaping the environments where students explore creatively with their hands. 

After completing Waldorf Handwork Teacher Training at the Fiber Craft Studio in Spring Valley, New York, Sadie infused her teaching with a passion for natural plant dyeing, adding vibrant hues to the curriculum and providing a unique experience for students. Her commitment to the exploration of color is often inspired and mirrored in the colors of the Pacific Northwest. The allure of Corvallis captivates Sadie with its sunset colors and a slower lifestyle, offering expansive panoramas and more land to roam.

Beyond the classroom, Sadie’s love for exploring the outdoors is a testament to the influence of a Pacific Northwest upbringing. Whether hiking through lush trails or trick training with her spirited Border Collie, Sadie finds inspiration in the colors, patterns and chaos of nature.

Sadie is stirred by the aroma of a well-cooked meal, or a beautifully arranged bouquet. She is committed to fostering creativity and remains dedicated to bringing forth a reverence for beauty and the deep sense of calm and wellbeing the practice of craft can bring. 

Seán Brennan


Seán grew up in a large family in Montana and moved to Oregon in 2012. He has had a lifelong love of moving, and has sought out opportunities to move and teach movement to others in the many places he has lived. With a background as an educator, Seán spent time teaching elementary school in New England and Montana, then transitioned to being an at-home parent. Sprinkled among the years of teaching, Seán became a dance fitness instructor, and brought a Montana-made dance fitness program to San Francisco and Portland. With his kids now in school, he felt called to come back to his teaching roots. Seán is excited to bring his classroom experience, love of movement, and growing knowledge of developmental movement and brain/body connection into his work as games/movement teacher at CWS. Outside of school, Seán enjoys spending time with his husband and two children, caring for their garden and farm stand, hiking, reading, and moving and playing in many different ways.

Marta Capriles

Agriculture & Woodworking

Marta grew up in Northern Virginia and was homeschooled until college. The only child of activist parents, she got a hands-on education in local government, community organizing, and event production. Marta always felt an affinity for plants and became interested in organic agriculture as a career as a teenager. She attended Warren Wilson College in the mountains of Western North Carolina and received her degree in Sustainable Agriculture. Marta has worked on and apprenticed at farms in Virginia, North Carolina, California, Italy, France, and Thailand. After traveling, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she worked as a school gardener, received her elementary teaching certificate, and taught Kindergarten and 1st grade for a decade. Drawn to Waldorf education by wanting her own children to have a childhood full of wonder, community, and nature, Marta was thrilled to become the Agriculture Teacher at Corvallis Waldorf School in 2017. She lives in Corvallis with her parents and two young daughters.

School Office

Diane Bishop Martin

Director of Business Operations

Diane grew up in the Willamette Valley and enjoys all this area has to offer – coasts, mountains, forests, rivers and lakes. She spent some formative years in Germany, Sweden and Denmark but has always considered Oregon home. She joined the staff at CWS in August of 2011 after spending many years as an active parent volunteer at the school. Diane studied nursing, has a BS in Clinical Nutrition and an MPH in Health Care Policy & Management. She has always been drawn to work with families and children. She has three daughters and three grandchildren and lives in the country with her husband and a menagerie of horses, chickens, dogs and cats. In her leisure time she gardens & travels and always loves to come back home to Oregon.

Maggie Seldera-Bahnson

Enrollment Director

Maggie was born in Brooklyn, NY but spent her childhood playing in the lakes and maple forests of southeastern Wisconsin. After graduating from Reed College with a degree in Psychology, Maggie taught 2nd/3rd grade in a private school, earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College and then taught 1st grade in the Gresham Barlow School District. In 2007, Maggie and her family moved to Santa Barbara, where she worked for the University of California Education Abroad Program and served as the Campaign Coordinator for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program. Maggie and her family moved to Corvallis in 2012 and found their home in the peaceful setting of Soap Creek Valley. When she is not at school, you will find Maggie teaching classes at the barre3 Corvallis studio, biking, hiking or walking with her two doodles and trying to spend as much time as possible with her husband and two teenage daughters, both CWS graduates.

Jeffrey Parker

Pedagogical Administrator

Jeff grew up in the forests and creeks of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He later moved to Tucson, Arizona where he completed high school and received an BA in English Literature from the University of Arizona. In 2003, he moved to Eugene, Oregon to attend Waldorf Teacher Training Eugene. After finishing the
two-year program, Jeff took a job at Corvallis Waldorf School where he would teach for the next 18 years. He guided a 7 th grade class through their final two years, and then took two groups of children through their 8-year journeys. Along the way, Jeff worked frequently in various administrative and leadership capacities. After his third group of students graduated, he took a year off from the school and worked with his wife to help run her dance school. Jeff has now rejoined the school as the Pedagogical Administrator. He loves working with students, teachers, and parents to help our school function with as much creativity, engagement, consistency, and kindness as possible. Jeff lives in Corvallis with his wife and two cats. He has two step-children who attended Corvallis Waldorf School. In his spare time, Jeff plays guitar in a local rock band and plays as much golf as he possibly can.

Jeff Cygan

Facilities Coordinator
Jeff is originally from the East coast, just outside of New York City. He grew up on the beach and spent every available moment outside exploring the natural world. Fishing, swimming, waterskiing, ice hockey, soccer, football, and friends. After graduating from the University of Delaware with a degree in Psychology, with minors in Biology and Philosophy, Jeff moved to Corvallis in 1996, following a lengthy cross country road trip in search of a new home. Jeff has had a wide range of work experiences and business ventures (farming, viticulture, oenology, restaurants/hotels, facilities and maintenance).
He enjoys all the natural beauty that Oregon has to offer, and spends as much time as possible outside. He has a small urban homestead in South Corvallis, with no lawn, but hundreds of species of plants, vines, bushes, berries, fruit, shrubs, trees, cats and chickens.

Karim Hafizov

School Administrator

Karim was born and raised in Azerbaijan, a small country situated between Europe and Asia. He spent his childhood in a small village nestled in the Caucasus mountains. His childhood was colored by very distinct seasons and changes in activities that followed the seasons. Summers were filled with farm work, playing soccer, fishing, and swimming. Winters brought snowball fights and game nights after long dark days. The community harmoniously adjusted to these changes, and the village felt like one. College years were a massive transition for Karim, as he moved from a small farm village to an ever-awake and vibrant city, Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. After college, Karim served a compulsory year in the Azerbaijani military. He then pursued a career in banking until he moved to the USA in 2014. He found his passion in education at a Montessori school in Washington, DC. While serving as the Assistant Director of the school, Karim explored various education methods and practices and completed a Master’s degree in Education Administration at George Washington University. He sees value-based, multifaceted alternative education as advantageous over traditional education methods. The value of community in education was always essential for Karim, who dedicated time and effort to community building. In Corvallis Waldorf School, Karim discovered a community of lifelong learners with shared values and dedication to Waldorf education. He believes the Waldorf pedagogy touches all aspects of human development and focuses on the fundamental functions of education. Karim enjoys family time with his wife and two children, playing soccer on weekends, and visiting places in Corvallis and the beautiful surrounding areas.