CfA's Online Newsletter

Center & Periphery

Autumn 2023

In This Edition...

Alumni Spotlight –– Forging Connections, Wielding Gavels

Winter 2024

By Diana Tesni

Caleb Buckley

As we wrap up our interview, Caleb Buckley, Executive Director of Golden Valley Charter Schools and alumnus of CfA’s high school teacher training program, remarks how he enjoys working as an auctioneer.

As in: Art auctions? Estate auctions? Cattle auctions?

“I really enjoy being the auctioneer at development events at other schools,” Caleb explains. “I like visiting other schools, meeting people, seeing what different communities are doing, and of course, helping them create opportunities for the future.”

Caleb’s eagerness to engage with others, make connections, and create future opportunities for groups of people resonates through his biographical journey. As a leading member of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, Caleb has been instrumental in stimulating the growth of the Waldorf charter school movement, both in his native California––he attended the Marin Waldorf School for several years as a child––and throughout the country. Currently, he directs an organization that operates two schools in the Sacramento area serving over 650 students. But his first steps towards a career in Waldorf education were taken when Caleb responded to a community’s question about its future.

In the mid-1990s, Caleb worked at the Austin Waldorf School, first as a substitute German teacher and then as a “teacher with many hats.” When the school decided to open a high school, Caleb stepped forward to support this project. To prepare for this task, Caleb joined the very first cohort of students in CfA’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP) in the summer of 1996. He subsequently earned a doctorate in education from the University of California Davis.

“This was a time,” Caleb recalls, “when a ‘second wave’ of Waldorf high schools was opening around the country––Austin, Ann Arbor, San Francisco––and we were actively working to develop a curriculum not only for our times but for our places. I was thinking about ‘What does Waldorf high school look like for Texas?’”

Caleb taught history and civics, among other subjects, at the Austin Waldorf High School for 10 years. During that time, the school’s organizational structure evolved, and the school leadership decided to hire a full-time administrator. As part of the team responsible for creating the position, Caleb researched what other schools were doing and found that a charter school near his hometown in California was also hiring an administrator––and that he actually was a very qualified candidate! Caleb has now worked in school administration in several different Waldorf school settings; he currently heads a consortium of two Waldorf public schools based in the Sacramento area.

Asked what he feels are the key issues facing Waldorf education today, Caleb responds, “One of the questions for the future is, ‘How can we develop the next generation of school leaders?’ Currently, I am focusing on the development of new schools, new charter schools, because through charter schools we can reach so many children and families who otherwise would not have access to Waldorf education. We will need people to run these schools.”

Last month, at the annual conference of Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, Caleb shared a workshop on the collaboration of schools and teacher training institutes with Torin Finser, who over the years has led two rounds of CfA’s introductory “Building Bridges” teacher training program onsite at Caleb’s consortium of schools. Together, they outlined CfA’s Waldorf Leadership Development course for school administrators and leaders, a program the Abbot Hill Alumni leadership group is eager to support into the future.

As both school administrator and auctioneer, Caleb is working to create connections and forge relationships that will lead to future opportunities. “It’s great to see what everyone is doing––what is working, what isn’t working, how can we use this information to keep improving in a creative way,” he says.

In the end, he says, the guiding question for Waldorf schools will be: “How can we support and celebrate each other?”

In This Edition...

Spring/Summer 2022

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