Waldorf Leadership Development Faculty
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Karen Atkinson, M.Ed.
Long-time Waldorf teacher, former Leadership Council Member for AWSNA, Program Director of Renewal Courses, and Coordinator of Administrative Leadership Program and Mentoring Services at the Center for Anthroposophy, as well as Lower School Faculty Chair at Gathering Waters School. Providing pedagogical leadership support for teachers, faculty chairs, pedagogical administrators, professional development coordinators, and school mentors.
David Barham, M.Ed.
Director of CfA’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP) as of 2022, David has worked in four North American Waldorf schools, including one in Mexico, both as class and high school teacher. Before joining CfA, he taught humanities at the Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport, ME, for more than a decade. In the fall of 2021, he was appointed to AWSNA’s Leadership Council as Leader for the Northeast/Quebec region.
A graduate with a master’s degree in Waldorf education from Antioch University New England, David recently completed a CfA certificate program in Waldorf Leadership Development. His undergraduate degree at Tufts University was in English and Religion.
An ardent folk singer and guitar player, David came to anthroposophy first as a biodynamic farmer, then as a worker at a Camphill village before signing on as a class teacher.
Caleb Buckley, Ed.D.
Executive Director of Golden Valley Charter Schools in Northern California. Doctor of Education degree from UC Davis and Waldorf Teaching Certificate in HS History from the Center for Anthroposophy.
Carla Beebe Comey, M.Ed.
Antioch University faculty. Served as a Waldorf teacher, pedagogical eurythmist, mentor, and pedagogical administrator for twenty-six years prior to joining the Waldorf Teacher Education Program at Antioch.
Valerie brings a keen understanding of the responsibilities of trustees and the very important role effective boards can play in the success of an organization.
As an independent consultant she works with many Waldorf school boards to bring about a more effective leadership circle. She led a monthly webinar series for AWSNA on a wide range of board topics including the board’s response to COVID. She has spoken at various conferences on strategic planning, good governance and collaboration in Waldorf schools.
Valerie served as a trustee and Chair of the Board for the Chicago Waldorf School (2011- 2017). She currently serves as a trustee and Chair of the Board for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
She has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a BA in International Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She and her husband have 3 children, and when not in Chicago, she spends as much time as possible in Vermont biking, hiking and skiing in the Green Mountains.
Development Director of the Maine Coast Waldorf School, has extensive experience with capital campaigns, fundraising, annual giving and event planning, and a deep appreciation for the power of philanthropy.
Karine Munk Finser, M.Ed.
Director of Kairos Institute at the Center for Anthroposophy. Director of Transdisciplinary Studies of Healing Education, Antioch University New England. Art therapist and painter.
Born on the Baltic island of Bornholm, Denmark, Karine Munk Finser later lived in Belgium, France, Switzerland, and England before finding her home in the United States. She is an art therapist with a diploma from the Medical Section, Goetheanum. Karine was the founding director of CfA’s Renewal Courses for 21 years while serving as a faculty member at Antioch University New England. In 2014, she launched Antioch’s Transdisciplinary Studies in Healing Education program (TSHE), and in 2022 inaugurated CfA’s Kairos Institute.
Board Director of Amalgamated Bank, founder of RSF Social Finance, an organization focused on developing and implementing innovative social finance, serving humanity for a just and equitable future. Founding member of New Resource Bank. An active member of several boards, Mark is also an independent investment trustee for several families around the U.S. and abroad.
Torin Finser, Ph.D.
Director of Building Bridges and Waldorf Leadership Development programs, founding trustee of CfA, Director of Waldorf Programs at Antioch University New England, post doctoral certification in Management Development, Harvard, author of 14 books, including Organizational Integrity and Leadership Development.
Cathie Foote, M.A., M.S.W.
Long-time (now retired) school administrator and board executive at the Calgary Waldorf School; active in administrative mentoring for many years; now in third 3-year term as AWSNA Leader for the Texas-Mexico-Canadian-Southwest-Rockies Region; previous long-term professional career as social worker and researcher in pediatric hospitals, grief counseling, and family mediation, as well as university teaching in social work and grief counseling.
A seasoned professional in school administration, Denese Giordano has been in the workforce for over four decades. Her experience stems from a hands-on working knowledge of business operations within a variety of small organizations. After graduating from Kenyon College, Denese's early experience was in the for-profit arena, where she focused on operations, facilities and volunteer management for over ten years. The following 35+ years have been spent working with mission-based organizations in the non-profit independent school realm, where she has honed her skills in program development, budget strategies, and long-term planning. Denese balances her knowledge and experience from both worlds to establish structure, support entrepreneurial efforts, and nurture creative solutions. She specializes in establishing healthy systems in finance, human resources, administrative operations, outreach and development efforts. In semi-retirement, Denese is currently consulting with a number of schools across the nation, in both the independent and charter worlds, and participates in many volunteer efforts in support of Waldorf Education.
Luke Goodwin, Ed.D.
The Lead Administrator at the Gathering Waters Chartered Public School in Keene, NH. He has been involved with Waldorf education for over 40 years. After graduating with a Masters of Education from Antioch University, New England, he served as a class teacher at the Ashwood Waldorf School in Rockport, Maine and the Cape Ann Waldorf School in Beverly, MA. After class teaching for 10 years he moved into Administration and has had the privilege to serve as the Administrative Director at the Chicago Waldorf School for the last 13 years. In addition to his school leadership work, Luke has served as a school mentor for the Waldorf Schools of the Great Lakes & Ontario region and taught administration and governance courses at the Waldorf Teachers Institute in Chicago. Luke lives with his wife Kate and three daughters, Josie, Willa and Lulu. In his free time, he enjoys coaching a Varsity baseball team and listening to his beloved Red Sox on WEEI.
Long-time Waldorf school administrator, founding member of the Administrators Network for the Association of Waldorf Schools (ANA), Waldorf school advisor, consultant, and facilitator.
Kim John Payne, M.Ed.
Independent and public school consultant, author, researcher, private and public school counselor for individuals and families. Founder of Simplicity Parenting.
Leonore Russell, M.A.
Founding Director of Crossroads Farm, a project of Nassau Land Trust, Director of the Winkler Center for Adult Learning, a consultant for Antioch University New England and for schools and businesses using eurythmy as a vehicle for self-awareness and transformation of both personal and organizational life. She brings a wealth of experience as a long-time faculty member and administrator for the Waldorf School of Garden City, NY.
Chiaki Uchiyama, M.Ed.
Born and raised in Yokohama, Japan. She taught Japanese language at Cedarwood Waldorf School for over 20 years. She has conducted annual Waldorf teacher conferences for Japanese teachers and anthroposophical as well as Waldorf pedagogical workshops over the past 11 years. She has served in various leadership roles at Cedarwood Waldorf School, prior to her current position as Pedagogical Director at the Portland Waldorf School. She graduated from Otsuma Women’s University in Tokyo, and earned a MEd. degree in Waldorf Education, Transdisciplinary Focus on Healing Education at Antioch University, NH. Although she misses the fun of teaching Japanese language to the children, she finds joyous satisfaction and fulfillment in supporting students, teachers, administration, parents and the whole school community.
Devona Stalnaker-Shofner, Ed. D.
An Associate Professor at Antioch University New England, and Associate Chair of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Department. She received her Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision from Argosy University-Atlanta. Her dissertation research focused on wellness in graduate students as they transition to counselors-in-training and during clinical practicum. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Georgia, as well as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Dr. Stalnaker-Shofner has been in professional practice as a counselor for twenty years, and her experience includes providing individual, group, and marriage and family counseling to clients presenting with treatment concerns such as depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and self-mutilation/injury, as well as substance use, addiction, and recovery.
Linda Williams, Ph.D.
A class teacher for over 25 years, is currently in the 8th grade with her students at the Detroit Waldorf School. Dr. Williams received her Waldorf training at the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College and her doctorate in literacy education in 2006 from Michigan State University. Besides teaching at Detroit Waldorf, Dr. Williams also taught for 3 years at the Urban Waldorf School in Milwaukee, the first public Waldorf school in the United States. After serving for 8 years as an Associate Professor of Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education at Eastern Michigan University, Dr. Williams returned to the classroom at Detroit Waldorf, where she serves on the College, DEI and Pedagogical committees.