Photo credit: Drew Shonka
Kindergarten and Early Childhood Faculty
Education: Early Childhood Associate Degree, Rudolf Steiner College: A.D. Nursing, Kansas City, KS Community College. Attended several conferences at Waldorf teacher-education institutes with anthroposophical physicians and Waldorf early childhood educators.
Professional Experience: Over 30 years working with the young child, PRWS Early Childhood Educator and Parent/Child Educator; owner/administrator/early childhood caregiver of Wisconsin-licensed children’s daycare center; Waldorf Early childhood educator- Kansas Waldorf school initiatives; prenatal childbirth and breastfeeding educator; Registered Nurse–Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin; psychiatry, oncology, midwifery and eldercare.
The shining joy of young children at play in the Waldorf kindergarten is testament to their gratitude for life in this wondrous universe. My understanding of our spiritual heritage gives me strength to cultivate and practice in myself the reverence and gratitude which supports the child’s belief that our world is good. I wholeheartedly share with parents the responsibility of guiding children into our school, community and world.
Marinella Pro – Kindergarten Teacher
Education: BS-Business Administration University of Torino, Italy, Associate of Arts – Child Care and Development, WWTC-La Crosse, WI. Foundation Studies Courses in Anthroposophy and the Arts, Viroqua: Sophia Institute Summer Intensive, The First Seven Years, La Crosse, WI; Juniper Tree School of Story and Puppetry Art, Faire Oaks, CA; Simplicity Parent Group Leader Certification, Madison, WI.
Professional Experience: Kindergarten Lead Teacher, Three Rivers Waldorf School, La Crosse, WI; Preschool Lead Teacher, Mary Mother of the Church, La Crosse; Substitute Kindergarten Lead Teacher Montessori Children’s House and Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School, Viroqua, WI.
Martha Buche – Parent-Child Program Coordinator
Education: Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, Keene, NH – The Child in the First Three Years Week one -Early Childhood Teacher Credential Course; Bachelor of Arts, Studio Art, Art Education and Art History minors, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI, Masters of Education, Early Childhood, Boston University, (Overseas) Wiesbaden, Germany
Professional Experience: Parent-Child Program Teacher, Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School Viroqua, WI; Homeschool Educator-7th Grade LIVE Education Waldorf Curriculum; Enrollment Coordinator, Three Rivers Waldorf School Parent Infant and Parent-Child teacher and Administration Assistant, Three Rivers Waldorf School. The First Seven Years – weeklong workshops; Sophia Institute, Language Arts for Early Childhood – 2-day intensive Three Rivers Waldorf School, The Twelve Senses- The Work in the Early Childhood: the Four Lower Senses Early Childhood Conference, Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School, Viroqua; Cradle to College-Stages of Parent Development, How Our Children’s Development Impacts Our Own Three Rivers Waldorf School.
Adjunct Kindergarten Faculty & Assistants
Lori Dehlin, Violet Kindergarten Assistant
Mandy Palen, Violet Kindergarten Assistant
Magdalena Bermudez, Cherry Blossom Assistant
Education: Bachelors of Arts from Hampshire College with a concentration on Education, Mythology, and New Media; Graduate of the Lexington Waldorf School in Massachusetts.
Professional Experience: Lead Teacher at Brooklyn Forest School in Brooklyn, NY; Assistant Teacher at the Early Learning Center, a Reggio-Emilio inspired early childhood center in Amherst, MA; Lead Instructor at Waldorf Summer Program at the Lexington Waldorf School; Instructor at Amherst Cinema’s See Hear Feel Film, a media literacy program for third graders; currently on staff at Thoreau College, an initiative to start a Waldorf-inspired micro-college in Viroqua.
Ronald Schirmer – Class One Teacher
Education: B.A. Religious Studies, emphasis in Buddhism & Consciousness studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. Classic Animation, Santa Barbara City College, S.B. CA. Printmaking, Harold Washington College, Chicago IL. Waldorf Teacher Certificate, Arcturus Teacher Training, Chicago IL.
Professional Experience: Early Childhood Assistant, Chicago Waldorf School. Substitute Teacher, Chicago Public Schools.
Our heritage as human beings is vast and rich: our stories, traditions, skills, arts and crafts. It has been a concern of mine that in modern times, with the rapid acceleration of our technology and consequent changing of our culture, we are forgetting and distancing ourselves from this heritage that we have earned over thousands of years. Along with that, the brief and precious era of childhood is being compromised amidst this rush to keep up and stay ahead. In Waldorf education, I have found a sanctuary for this time of childhood and this heritage of humankind. By allowing time to learn handwork, to paint, sing and play music; to hear stories everyday and have multiple opportunities to move and play alongside academic learning; we are providing these children an experience that is comprehensive of what we as humans have gathered together in order to bring ourselves to where we are today. I am grateful to have this opportunity to work with this curriculum and grow with my students.
Davina Hemmer – Class Two Teacher
Education: Master of Arts from Freie Hochschule, Eurythemeum Stuttgart, Germany. Lifelong experience of Waldorf education and anthroposophical lifestyle through parents, school and study of Waldorf education. Personal studies of education, social and organizational skills.
Professional Experience: Eurythmy Teacher at Hiberniaschule in Herne Germany. Member of Thoreau College core team.
Carrie Treviranus – Class Three Teacher
Education: Bachelor of Music, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. (1998-2001), Waldorf Teacher Certification (to be completed in 2016), Great Lakes Waldorf Institute, Milwaukee, WI. (2008-present), Art of Teaching grade 4, grade 5, grade 6, grade 7, and grade 8 Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, CA (2010-2014).
Professional Experience: Class Teacher, PRWS (Class of 2015); Kindergarten Assistant, Pre-kindergarten assistant, Tamarack Waldorf School, Milwaukee, WI; Singer and actor (Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Soulstice Theatre); Worked in bicycle retail for 15 years in sales, buying, and corporate office.
Cinna Derocher – Class Four Teacher
Education: Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, CA; Grades Teacher diploma and Essentials of a Waldorf Kindergarten, Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Educational Program, Chicago, IL; Foundation Year, Mesa Community College, AZ English studies.
Professional Experience: Kindergarten Assistant and Aftercare Teacher at Four Winds Waldorf School, Warrenville, IL; Private Tutor, Kindergarten Teacher, International Montessori Academy; Classroom Assistant, Lakeside Montessori School; Grades 2 Practicum at San Francisco Waldorf School; Grade 5 Practicum at Sacramento Waldorf School.
Aaron Schmidt – Class Five Teacher
Education: B.A. in Liberal Studies, Concentration in Elementary Education & Earth Science, Cal State Northridge, CA; Class Teacher Certificate, Waldorf Institute of Southern California.
Professional Experience: Grades 1-8 Class Teacher, Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School in Viroqua; 7th and 8th grade Class Teacher, Substitute Teacher/Coordinator, Sports Coach at Highland Hall Waldorf School, Northridge, CA; Combat Engineer, US Army.
Amy Morse – Class Six Teacher
Education: B.S. Secondary English; WI Licensure 300, minor in Creative Writing UW-La Crosse; 35 credits towards MA in Language and Literature from Winona State University, Winona, MN
Class Teacher, Grades 2-6 Three Rivers Waldorf School, La Crosse, WI; Long-term Substitute Grade Seven, La Crescent Middle School; Student Teacher Grades 9-12, Logan High School, La Crosse,WI.
Christina Hotchkiss – Class Seven Teacher
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre: Technical/Scenic Design and a Master’s in Education-Professional Development, both from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Professional Waldorf-specific training: Foundation Study at the Sophia Institute in Viroqua, WI; Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA for grade specific intensives; Waldorf teacher training certification, Great Lakes Waldorf Institute, Milwaukee, WI; numerous conferences offered in the Midwest.
Professional Experience: In 2004 Christina began teaching full time at Three Rivers as the First Grade Teacher. She graduated her first class in May of 2012. She has found that starting again with first graders is exciting and rewarding. She is looking forward to the journey through the grades with this wonderful group of children.
Christina was first introduced to Waldorf education while studying at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She began by substitute teaching in the Kindergartens, Grades, and Afterschool Care program at Three Rivers Waldorf School in La Crosse, WI.
Betty Link – Class Eight Teacher
Education: B.S. from UW-Madison in Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology, minor in French; Masters from UW-Milwaukee in Communication Disorders; Certificate of Studies at the Sorbonne, Paris and Universite de Reims, France; Waldorf Teacher Training certificate from UW-Milwaukee, 1992.
Professional Experience: Twelve years experience as a speech therapist; Waldorf teacher, Prairie Hill Waldorf School, Pewaukee, WI, graduating two classes from grades one through eight (Class of 2001 and 2010); Attended many grade level intensives at various Waldorf Training Institutes, early AWSNA mentor training meetings and did mentoring and evaluation for our school; Representative to AWSNA for several years; Faculty chair, member on various committees and presenter on various topics at parent and teacher Waldorf conferences.
The term ”head, heart and hands” may seem like a cliche, but I am a great believer in the power of three-fold lessons that develop the thinking, feeling and willing capacities in the children. More so now than ever, our young people need to experience and celebrate all the goodness and beauty in the world, which will help them develop a foundational sense of self so they can then care for each other. I strive daily to nurture and sustain in myself a sense of awe, wonder and reverence for life’s gifts so I can model joy and passion for the young child.
Education: Novalis Institute 2002 Biography Course, University of Wisconsin – Stout 1986-1989, Degree Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fachhochschule Hildesheim, Germany 1988-1989 Graphic Design International Exchange
Professional Experience: Geri Thompson Shonka Design 1993 – Present, Carleton College 1993-2004, Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis, 1980-1993, University of Minnesota 1989-1990, University of Wisconsin-Stout, 1986-1988, American Institute of Graphic Artist (AIGA) Board Member 1994-1996 Co-chair, Design Explorers Committee, Assisting in the development of a national art program for disadvantaged children, Co-chair Design Camp Conference
Lerie Alstad Van Ells – Physical Education
Education: Ten-year study in Spatial Dynamics for Physical Education in Waldorf Schools with Jaimen McMillan.
Professional Experience: Physical Education Teacher at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School since 1982. Physical Education teacher at Youth Initiative High School for 15 years. PRWS Teachers Aid in 1981. Adult Educator in Spatial Dynamics.
I am ultimately drawn to Waldorf teaching because I believe in keeping alive the spirit that lives in childhood. To observe children in freedom of thought, movement and deed, gives the example of what is so precious to keep alive as the child moves into adulthood. My goal in teaching has been to create for every child an inner joy in movement and physical education.
I love to bicycle, swim, rollerblade, hike, cross-country ski, snow shoe, ice skate, carve icons on wood and garden.
Kate Bergan – Spanish Teacher, Classes 1-8
Education: B.A. in Spanish, History, History of Culture, University of WI-Madison; Certificate of Environmental Studies, UW-Madison; semester abroad at Spanish American Institute of International Education, Seville, Spain; training courses in “World Languages for Grades 1, 2 & 3and “World Languages for Grades 4, 5, & 6,” June 2012 & 2013 at the Center for Anthroposophy, Wilton, NH. 2016 TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading & Storytelling) 2 Day Workshop, Madison, WI.
Professional Experience: Substitute Spanish teacher, Youth Initiative High School, Viroqua, WI; Spanish teacher, Padua Franciscan High School, Cleveland, OH; junior high and high school English and Spanish teacher, Atlanta, MO school district; ESL/SSL teacher in grades 1-8, InterAmerican School, Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.
Joshua Ecklund – Eurythmy Teacher and Faculty Chair
Education: Graduate of the American Eurythmy School, California, 2 years eurythmy training at West Midlands Eurythmy School, Stourbridge, UK and Graduate of Youth Initiative High School, Viroqua.
Professional Experience: Eurythmy Teacher for kindergarten through eighth grade and co-teacher for Gardening at Highland Hall Waldorf School, Teacher of eurythmy for kindergarten through eighth grade at Three Rivers Waldorf School.
Courtney Maatouk, Aftercare Program Director
Professional Experience: Co-lead and Substitute Teacher at Gentle Lambs Childcare Center in Onalaska
Jordan Brudos – Admissions & Enrollment Coordinator
Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing UW-Madison, BS-Biology UW-Platteville, Registered Nurse and CPR certified.
Professional Experience: Business Owner: Cutie Patootie in LaCrosse, WI; RN at Bland Clinic, Westby; Family Birthplace, LaCrosse, WI; Family Care Suites, Madison,WI.
Education: Sofya has graduated from the American University in Bulgaria with a degree in English.
Professional Experience: Her work in Finance began with managing the books for the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua, and later the administrator and bookkeeper of the Driftless United Futbol youth soccer club. In addition to working at PRWS, she is working with a variety of local clients in bookkeeping capacity. Sofya and her husband Jacob live on a farm just outside of Viroqua with their four children. In addition to finance, Sofya enjoys quilting, knitting, weightlifting, swimming, cooking and baking.
Robin Kottke – Development Director
Education: Bachelor of Science—Women’s Studies & Education, Michigan State University; Women’s Studies Intensive — University of London, United Kingdom; ADN —Nursing, Truman College of Nursing, Chicago, IL; Doula Training–DONA International
Professional Experience: Registered Nurse–Mayo Clinic Family Birthplace, LaCrosse, WI; Director of Programs, ATHENA International, Chicago, IL; Community Outreach Organizer–NARAL Michigan; Volunteer Doula, Chicago
Nan Marshall, Secretary
Marc LeMaire, Custodian
Kitchen Crew: L to R, Sol Jansen (kitchen helper), Julie Turino (Cook) qnd Trever Dach (kitchen helper)