Faculty and Staff

Early Childhood Teachers

Kim Bernard – Early Childhood Assistant 

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 Kishi – Early Childhood Teacher (Dandelion Room)/ College Member

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

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.



Grades Teachers

Jessica Raterman – Block Teacher/ EC Assistant

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.


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 Sales – Grade 5 Teacher / Grade Level Chair / College Member

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 Riney Feary – Grade 6/7/8 Teacher / Faculty Chair/ College Member

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

SRWS_faculty_Gisela Baner

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 – Strings 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 Iturralde – Movement Teacher

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 – French Teacher / Block Teacher

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.


Kelly Marren – Nature Exploration Teacher 

Kelly received a B.S. from University of Missouri, Columbia, and has an extensive experience as a park guide.  She developed educational programs, lead tours, and provided services for the park visitors at Mt. Hood National Forest, Dinosaur National Monument, Mammoth Cave National Park, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, etc.  She works as the office manager at a local tree care service company which her partner owns.  Kelly is a parent at WSSL and her daughter Ione is in the Early Childhood program.


Kerry NealSRWS_faculty_Kerry

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 Keeter-Administrative Coordinator

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.