Faculty and Staff

Early Childhood | Lower Grades (1-4) | Middle Grades (5-8) | Subject Teachers | Administrative

Photo credit: Drew Shonka


Kindergarten and Early Childhood Faculty

Shannon Landis – Kindergarten Teachershannon

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 Teachermarinellacom

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 Coordinatormartha

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 – Cherry Blossom Kindergarten Assistant

Cathy Linskins – Violet Kindergarten Assistant

Lara Roberts – Cherry Blossom Kindergarten Assistant


Lower Grades 1-4  Faculty

Ronald Schirmer – Class One and Two Teacherron

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 Three 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.


Mark John – Class Three Long-term Substitute







Carrie Treviranus – Class Four 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.


Middle Grades Faculty

Class Five Teacher

Long-term Substitutes:

Maureen Karlstad
Mark John
Drew Shonka
Betty Link

Aaron Schmidt – Class Six Teacheraaron

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 Seven Teacheramy

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

Professional Experience: 

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 Eight 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.


Subject Teachers

Geri Shonka – HandworkGeriShonkasmall

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 Educationleri

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.

Stephanie Pedretti – Music Teacher
Education: B.M. in Flute Performance, DePauw University, M.M. in Flute Performance, Michigan State University, Graduate Diploma in Flute Pedagogy, Talent Research Education Institute (Matsumoto, Japan), recorder teacher training at the Memphis Suzuki Institute, studied Waldorf music curriculum and Werbeck singing at the AWME conference.  
Professional Experience:  Over 20 years of experience teaching private flute lessons, group classes and ensembles at several schools in the midwest including the Music Institute of Chicago, the DePaul University Community Music Division, and the University of Michigan-Flint. Taught Waldorf-inspired parent-child music and movement classes at the Suzuki-Orff School for Young Musicians in Chicago, IL and pre-school music classes in the Chicago Public Schools. Assistant English Teacher at three high schools in Japan as part of the JET Program. Flute performances in the U.S., Canada, Austria, Italy and Japan. 

Kate Bergan – Spanish Teacher,  Classes 1-8kate

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.



Melissa Madura – Music Teacher







Courtney Maatouk – Aftercare Program Directorcourtney-afercare-2

Education:   BS in Early Childhood Education from UW-La Crosse

Professional Experience: Co-lead and Substitute Teacher at Gentle Lambs Childcare Center in Onalaska





Administrative Staff

Jordan Brudos – Enrollment & Outreach 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.




Sofya Hundt – Business Manager

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) and Trever Dach (kitchen helper)