Early Childhood Teachers
Kim graduated from Webster University in 1982 with a B.A. in Literature and Language. Kim has an extensive and varied background in Early Childhood education including being an assistant as well as a lead teacher. In 2007, she moved to Upstate NY with her husband and two children where she discovered Waldorf education and Lifeways. While there, she joined a Lifeways childcare home where she had many responsibilities including cooking vegetarian meals for the children and staff, planning special events as well as caring for the children. Kim lives in Affton with her husband and three dogs. She enjoys camping, gardening, and traveling. She also enjoys cooking and is a food blogger. Kim likes to do crafts such as loom knitting, needle felting, and other handwork.
Michiyo has a BA in Socio Linguistics (a.k.a. English) from Kobe College. She moved from Japan to St. Louis in 2000 and joined WSSL as Shining Rivers in 2004. She has assisted and led each of the Early Childhood programs, including Parent-Child Classes, Pre-K, and Kindergarten. Michiyo has completed Lifeways Early Childhood training as well as Foundation Studies. She has enjoyed watching her children, Brian and Minori (both alumni), grow at WSSL.
Erin Winkles – Parent Child Teacher/EC Assistant
Erin feels she has found her home in the WSSL community which she joined in 2012. Erin graduated from Lindenwood University in 2001 with a degree in Human Services Agency Management and Environmental Science. She comes to us with a passion for grassroots organizing. Besides spending quiet (& not so quiet) time with her 3 boys, she enjoys volunteering as a Doula and hiking and kayaking as often as possible. Erin attended Rudolph Steiner College in 2015 focusing on children ages birth to 3 years old.
Jacki Holland- EC Assistant
Jacki is a St. Louis native who has just recently found her way back to the city after 15 years. Having spent over a decade in the fashion world, she jumped into the world of education and spent the last year as an early childhood assistant at Linden Waldorf in Nashville, TN. Besides rediscovering her hometown, she enjoys creating jewelry and sculptures, camping with her family, and climbing trees with her 6-year-old daughter. Jacki is extremely excited to join The Waldorf School of St. Louis and has plans to pursue her Waldorf early childhood certification this coming year. Jacki’s daughter, Indigo, will be attending WSSL as a first grade student.
Jessica has a Bachelor of Music from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. After graduation, Jessica worked for the Illinois public school system as a music instructor for grades 3-8. She has been a piano instructor at a private studio since 2007, and discovered Waldorf through her work there. She is currently in her second year of Waldorf teacher certification training at Arcturus in Chicago. In 2015, she assisted in the Early Childhood program and Grade 1/2 at WSSL. Her interests include spending time with family and friends, playing music, serving the community, and enjoying the great outdoors through gardening, camping, and canoeing! She is looking forward to joining the WSSL community.
Kelly has worked with grade 3-8 as a Nature Exploration Program Assistant during the previous school year at WSSL. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with an emphasis in Natural Resources from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Kelly brings a diverse work background. For a number of years before joining WSSL, she worked as a Park Guide in several different National Parks guiding tours and educational programs for various ages and she enjoys spending time outside, cooking, knitting, sewing, and working on her family’s growing homestead. Kelly has served at WSSL as a substitute teacher and assisted in the Early Childhood program at various times during the last school year. Kelly will be taking a Grade 1/2 teacher training intensive this summer in preparation to serve as the Grade 1/2 assistant teacher in the coming school year.
Michelle Davies-Smith – Grade 3/4 Teacher
Michelle has been involved with Shining Rivers / WSSL, beginning as a Kindergarten parent in 2002. She has assisted in Early Childhood, Grades 1 and 2, and the Extended Care program. She has an Associate’s degree in wildlife biology from Vermilion community college in Ely, Minnesota. In 2014, she earned a B.A. from Fontbonne University with an emphasis in Elementary Education and a minor in English. She earned a certificate from the Waldorf Teacher Education program at Antioch University in New England and is working towards a Master’s degree in Waldorf Education. Michelle currently lives in Maplewood with her husband and three children, Tyler (a WSSL alum), Morgan (WSSL Alum), and Hunter (WSSL Grade 5). She enjoys spending time in nature with her family, celebrating festivals, reading ancient stories and myths and continuing her work in Anthroposophy.
Daniela joined the WSSL faculty in August 2011, but has been a Shining Rivers parent since 2008 (Andre, Grade 8). Daniela’s passion for teaching and Waldorf education led her to begin the Masters Program in Waldorf Education at Rudolf Steiner College. She has completed the Waldorf Teacher Certification program with focus on Grades 1 through 8 at Rudolf Steiner College in California and has completed the Foundation Studies program with the Shining Rivers cluster in St Louis. Daniela has also served as a Holistic Lifestyle Teacher and holds a PhD in Traditional Naturopathy and a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing.
Kelly graduated in 1996 from Loras College with a BA in Early Childhood Education. Since graduating, Kelly has lived in California, Alaska, and Illinois while working in many fields of Early Childhood. She is a graduate of the Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education and Waldorf Teacher Training Program in Chicago, and ran a Waldorf-inspired early childhood program in Rockford, Illinois for five years. Kelly now lives in Arnold with her husband, Michael, son, Rowan (WSSL Alum), and dog, Cal. For fun, Kelly enjoys camping, canoeing, baking and gardening.
Specialty Subject Teachers
Gisela Baner – German Teacher
Gisela has been teaching German specialty classes at The Waldorf School of St. Louis since 2008. Educated in Germany, her degree is in the German, French, and English languages. Gisela worked in France, Germany and Switzerland before settling in Missouri in 1998. She attended Foreign Language Waldorf training at the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire. Gisela and her husband have two college-age children and live in Wildwood.
Kathy Garrison – Music Teacher / Block Teacher
Kathy began violin instruction at The Waldorf School of St. Louis in the fall of 2011. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Truman University. Kathy also trained with Susan Kempter, a well-known Suzuki pedagogue and published author at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and received lifetime Suzuki certification. She has been providing private and group instruction since 2005. Kathy is passionate about the experience of joy and accomplishment children can experience through music. She is excited to be part of the development of the WSSL orchestra.
Laura comes to us with a strong background in Anthroposophy, she holds groups of various levels in her home. She teaches private swimming lessons in the St Louis area and brings a wealth of experience as a Physical Education instructor, coach and trainer. She has worked in many school settings in the U.S., Argentina, and Chile, as well as providing private instruction. She has experience as a former swim coach, who also won state in Texas. Laura has completed her certification in both Bothmer Gymnastics and Spacial Dynamics.
Melissa Sapp recently relocated to St. Louis from New Orleans where she worked as a shadow and Grades assistant at Raphael Academy, a Camphill-inspired private school initiative. She has studied French literature and British theatre at La Sorbonne in Paris, France, has worked as a high school counselor at a summer camp in Antalya, Turkey, has worked as a bilingual nanny and tutor while abroad, chaired multiple sustainability committees. In 2014, Melissa received a BA in English and French from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. While attending college, she played trumpet in the marching band and recently played for Ensemble 504 Chamber Orchestra in New Orleans. Melissa hails from Baltimore, Maryland.
Rachael Ackermann- Handwork Teacher/ Block Teacher/ Garden Leader
Rachael has a Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from St. Louis University, and has been practicing as an occupational therapist for the past 16 years in multiple settings including pediatrics, school settings and orthopedics. Rachael enjoys spending free time with her family, camping, hiking, biking, sewing, knitting/crocheting and gardening! She attended an intensive Waldorf education course at the Waldorf school of San Diego this summer, and will be able to share new and exciting information with our school. Rachael will also continue in her role as Garden Leader and Educator and occasional substitute teacher.
Lisa Meisinger- Eurythmy Teacher
Lisa is a traveling eurythmist who teaches blocks at Waldorf schools in the New York/New England area through most of the school year. During that time, she lives in upstate New York, but in November, December, April and May, she is back in Kansas, the place she truly calls home. The focus during those months is on being with family and working to develop a butterfly, bird and bee sanctuary on the land that served as an American Saddlebred horse farm and stable when she was growing up. The leap from riding figures with horses to expressing the forms and gestures of sound was one she discovered in 1989 by enrolling at Rudolf Steiner College to study anthroposophy and Waldorf education. The familiar connection to eurythmy was immediate and literally took Lisa around the world for her first artistic training (Spring Valley, NY), then pedagogical eurythmy training (Forest Row, England), teaching (Canada, Australia, and across the US), performing (add New Zealand and western Europe), and something of a pilgrimage to Greece to seek out the ancient sites and echoes of thought where there was some sense of sound and movement being one and the same. One of her very first teaching jobs was bringing eurythmy to a WSSL summer camp around 20 years ago. She always travels with her two beloved dogs, Henry and Lucy, who help to make anyplace feel like home.
Kelly Childs- Nature Exploration Assistant
Kelly Childs is a previous Board President for WSSL as well as for the St. Louis chapter of Slow Food USA, a not for profit she managed for six years. Kelly received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in English Literature and a Master’s degree from the University of Colorado in Comparative Religion. She has completed the Foundation Studies program with the Center for Anthroposophy and is currently pursuing her passion for storytelling by leading workshops for adults. Kelly is looking forward to connecting her love of storytelling with children and nature by assisting with our Friday Nature Exploration classes.
Kerry Neal-Administrative Coordinator
Kerry Neal joined WSSL in 2006. She has attended training at Waldorf without Walls, Rudolph Steiner College, and has completed the Foundation Studies program. She enjoys making paper crafts, knitting, kayaking, yoga, and children’s literature. She lives with her husband, Loren, and son, Mac, in Crestwood.
Dalbir Sahdev – Business Manager
Dalbir brings to the school more than 35 years of business and financial administrative experience from various industries. His career includes significant contributions to senior-level management positions in banking, management consulting, technology and manufacturing corporations. Dalbir brings a depth of experience including the areas of project management, industry best practices and bench marks, business process improvements, enterprise resource planning, systems development and implementation, change management, strategic planning and organizational development.
Michelle is a 2001 graduate of the University of Missouri- Columbia with a BA in History and Political Science, she also holds a MAT from Webster University. She has taught primarily social studies and science at various traditional and alternative programs for over ten years. Michelle has two children who attend WSSL, Ansley in Grade 5 and Winslow in EC.