Faculty & Administration

Faculty

IMG_3880Wendy Drennan, 1/2nd Grade Teacher

Wendy grew up in Wisconsin where she was fortunate to attend a small, liberal arts based high school that was founded on the philosophies of Henry David Thoreau.  It was here that her love for, and high expectations of, education were cemented along with an introduction to Waldorf Education during a senior year research project.  She began her career working with children during college as the Director of an after school program, a tutor and a poetry workshop facilitator.  She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she studied Biology and Literature.

After college, Wendy worked in a genetics clinic and discovered, although she was working with the building blocks of human life, a career in the lab was void of human contact, and was not her life’s work. She changed gears to pursue teaching and took a position at a Waldorf school as a kindergarten assistant.  During this time she fell in love with Waldorf Education and found the study of Anthroposophy to be a perfect marriage of her earlier two interests, science and art.   She went on to complete her Waldorf teacher training at Antioch University where she became certified to teach grades 1-8.
Over the past ten years she has worked at Waldorf schools in Oregon, Wisconsin and Maine, where she has found a wonderful community at The Seacoast Waldorf School and plans to stay forever. She has two children, a 15 year old son and a 2 year old daughter and is married to our wonderful, fourth grade teacher, Mr. Drennan.  She enjoys reading, sewing, art and spending time in nature.

 

Debra Marcotte, Seacoast Waldorf School

Debra Marcotte, 3/4th Grade Teacher

Debra was first introduced to Waldorf Education many years ago, when she was a nanny for two children who attended the Tomte Gubben School (now the Monadnock Waldorf School) in Nelson, NH. She hoped that one day, when she had a family of her own, her children could attend a Waldorf School.

As it happened, she did not live in proximity to one, and so that was not a possibility. She lived on the seacoast, but Seacoast Waldorf School was not yet born, and her children were too old to attend when it came into being. However, when she decided to home school her youngest son, a Waldorf-based curriculum was the next best thing, and so her journey toward becoming a Waldorf teacher continued.

Through the years, Debra worked with children of all ages in many capacities – as a Sunday school teacher, church youth leader, camp director, acting teacher, literacy coach and para-educator.

She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Writing from Granite State College the same year her youngest son, whom she still homeschooled, graduated from high school. She entered the world of public education as a Title One Reading teacher, and after one year, knew she needed to work with children in a different way.

And so, she decided to apply to and was accepted into, the Waldorf Teacher Certification program at Antioch University of New England. Her training brought her to Tidewater as an intern. Now she is very happy to continue on her Waldorf journey with this year’s Second/Third Grade class.

Debra has two sons. She enjoys her family, the theater, especially musical theater, singing, sewing and crafting, camping, hiking and the outdoors, and her wonderful group of lifelong friends.

photo (2) Dennis Drennan, 5/6th Grade Teacher

Dennis attended Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana where he earned a BA in History and Art and Design. After graduation he moved to Deer Isle, Maine where he worked as a journalist for a small, local paper and often substituted in local public schools.  Soon after Dennis became an outdoor educator in the White Mountains and North Shore of Massachusetts and began working in special education.  It was through these experiences that brought him to Antioch University, in Keene, NH where he pursued a Masters Degree in Integrated Learning and Waldorf Education.  Since then, Dennis has been a Waldorf school teacher for 8 years.  Dennis has two children, Izariah and Alphea and a beautiful wife, Wendy who teaches first grade and a dog named Maggie.  His hobbies and interests include kayaking, art, education, thrift stores and junk shops, food, travel, post and beam construction and being surrounded by family and friends.

 

Tricia FreyTricia Frey, Beach Pea Nursery Lead Teacher, LightHouse Parent-Child Program Teacher

Tricia’s background is in the theater, the corporate world and baking and she left these endeavors to pursue her interest in working with children. Tricia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hofstra University in NY. She worked for 14 years as a production stage manager, company manager and actress throughout New England. She helped open Sweet Dreams Bakery in Stratham and worked there for several years. While in California for nine years, Tricia worked for Whole Foods Market in their marketing department. She has completed the LifeWays Training, was Seacoast Waldorf School’s extended day teacher for two years and now she is the Beach Pea Nursery teacher and LightHouse parent/child teacher. She has a special fondness for the very youngest children and hopes to work with babies and toddlers when Seacoast Waldorf is ready to design a program for that age group.

When not at SWS, Tricia works in the gardens at Strawbery Banke as a garden interpreter. She enjoys reading, swimming and working in her yard.  In January she will be starting her ninth year at Seacoast Waldorf School.

 IMG_3845Erica Taylor, Handwork Lead Teacher

Erica comes to SWS holding a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in English and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She was previously both a librarian and a birth doula, and continues to be active in the perinatal field. Erica is currently enrolled in a Foundation Studies group at the Upper Valley Waldorf School in preparation for a Master’s Degree in Waldorf Education.

Her experience with Handwork go back to her earliest childhood. Erica was raised in a family of knitters, quilters, seamstresses and musicians, and she has spent her life learning and loving these and other art forms.

Erica lives in Kittery, Maine with her husband and three young children, the oldest of whom is a very enthusiastic Sea Star this year. Erica enjoys crafting, music, gardening, and spending time in nature.

 

Ruthie SpieroSeñora Ruthie Spiero, Spanish Language Teacher

 

Ruthie was born in The Netherlands but moved to the Spanish Balearic island of Formentera, off the coast of Valencia, was she was 5 years old. Between the ages of 5 and 8 she moved back and forth between Formentera and Amsterdam, where she attended a Waldorf school and then received the rest of her education in England, at Summerhill School and St. Christopher’s, both boarding schools. Having always been fascinated by language and literature she made them the focus of her A-levels. Her family did live in England for several years but finally settled permanently in Spain when she was 14. In her early twenties she was reunited with her father and half-brothers in Israel and made many trips to that country to visit them. Her Spanish husband Oscar and she moved to the States at the end of 1998 and apart from a short stint on Cape Cod, have lived in New Hampshire ever since. They try to visit their families in Spain as often as they can, especially since their daughter Raquel was born. They live in Portsmouth where she has been teaching the 7th Grade at Temple Israel for the last five years. Ruthie heard about the opportunity to teach at the Seacoast Waldorf School from a friend who is also a parent at the school. She was very excited at the opportunity to teach a language she adores in an environment she loves. Her hobbies are doing agility and other activities with her Border Collie Pip and reading.

photo (12)Ronja Geilen-Elliston, Periwinkle Mixed Age Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Ronja has worked many years in Waldorf childcare; as an assistant at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School in MA, the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH and Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School before coming here.  She has attended Waldorf school for twelve years, has BA from Lesley University and most recent a graduate of Sophia’s Hearth Family Center’s Development Course. She enjoys handwork and long walks in the woods. Newly married, she lives with her husband and her dog Lily in Durham, NH.

 

 

 

 

Rachel KelleyFrau Rachel Kelley, German Language Teacher

Rachel grew up in York, Maine and is a graduate of York High School. After graduation she spent a year traveling and studying in Germany where she earned her TestDaf German Certificate. This spring she spent two months in Europe working on her TEFL  Certificate (Teaching English as a Second Language) and completing her teaching practice in Greece. Rachel is currently pursuing a dual major in Linguistics and International Studies at the University of New Hampshire.

Rachel is an avid supporter of the Waldorf teaching method and is excited to be able to practice it. Her passion for the German language began when she participated in a student exchange program during her sophomore year in high school. Rachel is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion of language learning and the beauty of German culture with the students this upcoming year.

 

 

 

Martha A. CoombsMartha A. Coombs, M.A., Sea Star Mixed Age Kindergarten Lead Teacher, Spacial Dynamics(TM), Movement Education Teacher

Martha has been with Seacoast Waldorf School since 2002. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and a Master of Education in Early Childhood, Special Needs from the University of New Hampshire. She is a 2011 graduate of the Level I, Spacial Dynamics Institute In-Service Training Program (IS9). Spacial Dynamics Institute, Inc. is located in Mechanicville, NY and operates training programs world wide.

Martha’s career includes work with children and adults of all ages in a variety of educational and athletic settings. She has over 30 years of coaching and teaching experience. She also coordinates the Summer Program for Seacoast Waldorf School which offers children’s programming during June and July each summer.

Martha lives in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire with her husband Jeff and two daughters, Drucilla and Isobel.

photo (13)Ashley Heffron, Sandpiper Nursery Lead Co-Teacher

We are also happy to announce our new co-teachers for the Sandpiper Nursery.  Miss Ashley, the assistant in Sea Stars for the past two years, and Signora Francesca, the assistant in Sandpipers have agreed to join forces in a new concept of co-teaching. Ashley has been with Seacoast Waldorf School since 2004 and holds a Bachelors Degree in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amhearst.  Before coming to SWS, Ashley was Head Teacher at the Charles River Creative Arts Program for children ages eight to fifteen for nine years where she taught ceramics, drawing, painting, watercolors and bookmaking. Ashley has many years experience as an early childhood classroom assistant, is a professional artist and a farmer. She lives in Kittery Point with her husband and two sons.

 

 

 

 

photo (10)Francesca Brescianini, Sandpiper Nursery Lead Co-Teacher

Francesca is very happy to start her third year in the Sandpiper nursery. Originally from Modena, a town in northern Italy, she moved to New Hampshire at the end of August 2010 to be with her husband Martin, a professor of English at UNH. In her “previous” life in Italy, Francesca has been a teacher for 16 years, starting first with young ones, 2 to 6, in private and public schools. In 2004 she moved to public elementary schools (age 6 to 10) as a specialist teacher and her work was mainly to teach English to Italian children. Francesca learnt first about Waldorf education many years ago, but it was with the birth of her son James in 2005 that she started appreciating and wanting to know more about it. She wasn’t able to take James to the Waldorf mixed age kindergarten in her hometown for very practical reasons, but this dream came true at Seacoast Waldorf this year, where James is a very happy third grader. In her spare time , Francesca is mostly seen with knitting needles on her lap. Her yarn stash is impressively growing, so she must keep knitting! She also likes walking in the woods  , reading  picture books and poetry books for children and speaking Italian mostly by herself , just for the sound of it….

In the Summer of 2013, Francesca was at Sunbridge, NY to take the course“Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood Education: An Immersion in the World of the Waldorf Nursery/Kindergarten” and in Summer 2014 she started the Lifeways Early Childhood Certification training in Rockport, Maine, which will end in the Summer of 2015.

 

photo (9)Gina Garafalo-Plachowicz, Lighthouse Teacher

Gina began working with young children as she studied Early Childhood and Special Education at Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire.  After receiving her Bachelor’s degree she spent several years teaching and caring for children in childcare settings. Before coming to Seacoast Waldorf School Gina taught preschool and worked with families at The LEAP School (Language Enrichment Arts Program) in Lexington, MA for fourteen years.  Last year she was the teaching  assistant in the Seastar Kindergarten and the Extended Day teacher at Seacoast Waldorf School.   Gina now lives in North Berwick with her husband. She enjoys being outdoors, working in the yard, hiking, gardening, cooking and reading.

 

photo (11)Kate Hopkins, LightHouse Teacher and Beach Pea Nursery Assistant Teacher

Kate grew up in York, spending her summers as a camp counselor and enjoying the beach. She attended the University of New Hampshire where she earned a Bachelors degree in Family Studies with a young child specialization, followed by a Masters degree in Elementary Education. Prior to coming to Seacoast Waldorf school, Kate taught kindergarten at a public school and preschool in a head start program. Kate joined the Seacoast Waldorf School in 2014 as the Beach Pea nursery assistant. She is thrilled to be teaching lighthouse as well as continuing with the Beach Peas. Kate lives in Eliot with her husband Shawn, daughter Claire, and their cat, Annie. She spends most of her free time knitting, gardening, and enjoying the beautiful seacoast!

 

 

 

Violin and Strings Lead Teacher

 

photo (24)Alexandra Krauth, Choral Director

Alex is the choral director in the elementary programs at Seacoast Waldorf School and Brixham Montessori Friends School. Alex received a BA in Music for Elementary Teachers from Keene State College and is a member of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors’ Association. She has taught music to students of all ages in a variety of settings, including autism programs, adult education classes, and the tutoring program at Keene State. She also offers private lessons in piano, voice, ukulele, music theory, and aural skills from her home studio. Alex has also performed with various local choruses and ensembles, such as Voices from the Heart, Amare Cantare, and the Southern New Hampshire Ukulele Group. In addition to her love of all things music-related, Alex enjoys surfing, kayaking, reading, writing, and studying world languages and cultures. Alex lives in Eliot, Maine with her family.

 

Administration

 

Deirdre McEachern, Personal Coach and Career CoachDeirdre McEachern, M.Phil., School Director

Before becoming Director of the Seacoast Waldorf School, Deirdre served as President of Board of Trustees for the Seacoast Waldorf Association, as well as on the Development and Outreach committees for Seacoast Waldorf School.  Deirdre is also an award-winning, Master-Certified Career and Life Coach, Author of “You Only Live Once: Create the Life You Want” and frequent speaker on Waldorf Education.

Deirdre received her master’s degree in mediation and conflict resolution from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. And has served as adjunct professor of sociology at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Deirdre has also been certified by The Highlands Group to administer The Highland’s Natural Ability Battery, an innate skills assessment. Deirdre has given presentations, led trainings and delivered workshops for people in the U.S., Europe, Australia, the Philippines and India.

In her free time, Deirdre enjoys creating fun adventures with her two young children, her husband and their golden retriever.

 

 

Karen Wiese

Karen Wiese, Operations Manager

Karen owned and operated a popular restaurant for years in Portsmouth prior to working at Seacoast Waldorf School. She has worked in our aftercare program, was Administrative Assistant for a number of years and Office Manager. She is one of the founding families; her son, Sam attended Tidewater Waldorf School from Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Karen is an avid reader, walker, house fixer-upper and loves to travel when she gets the chance.

 

 

 

 

Alison Petersen, Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator

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Alison began her Waldorf journey when her oldest daughter began in Kindergarten, 13 years ago. Since then she has been a volunteer, advocate, and believer in Waldorf Education ever since. Now her youngest is a proud 5th grader at the school.  Her background in administration and event planning along with her passion for Waldorf Education became the perfect fit for Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator for the Seacoast Waldorf School.  She enjoys meeting and working with current and potential families and creating the right fit for them in the school.

 

 

 

 

 

photo (5)Melanie Leland, Business Manager 

Melanie lives in Dover, NH with her husband and three children.  She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Business Administration and Finance.  Melanie has been the Business Manager at Seacoast Waldorf School since 2009.  Melanie enjoys gardening, reading and living near the ocean.

 

 

 

 

Jacqui Boyko, Grant Writer

photo (25)Jackie lives in Wells, Maine with her partner and two young sons. She has been a Grant Writer for Seacoast Waldorf School since January of 2015. Jacqui enjoys raising chickens, cooking, studying and enjoying family time.