Holly Hangauer, 1st grade teacher
Holly Hangauer was raised in Overland Park, Kansas. She moved to Lawrence in 2004 and graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in Women’s Studies in May 2007. In the fall of 2012, Holly traveled to Matapalo, Costa Rica with her family to lead a home school group of children through lessons in the Waldorf method. Afterward, she taught the grades program at City of Fountains School, which is a Waldorf-inspired home school cooperative. Holly is currently pursuing her Waldorf teacher training and has completed two of three summer sessions at the Midwest Regional Waldorf Teacher Preparation Course. Holly joined Prairie Moon Waldorf School to take the first grade class in the 2013-2014 school year.
Bret Schacht, 2nd-3rd grade teacher
Bret Schacht was born and raised in Nebraska. He earned his masters degree in Education and Waldorf certification by attending Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, NH. After a practicum at Christchurch Steiner School in New Zealand, Mr. Schacht taught second grade at White Mountain Waldorf School in North Conway, NH before returning to the midwest to teach at Prairie Moon Waldorf School in 2006. Mr. Schacht has taken one class from 1st-2nd grade through 5th-6th grade, at Prairie Moon and is now on his second loop through the grades with his current class.
Molly Mackinnon, 4th-5th grade teacher
Raised in Boulder, Colorado, Ms. Mackinnon is a student of languages and literatures along with teaching pedagogy. She recently received her MEd from the University of Kansas in TESOL, which accompanies her MA in Polish literature and language and BA in anthropology. She has been teaching French at the University of Kansas while finishing her degree and pursued a year of Arabic language and culture during this time as well. In 2011, Ms. Mackinnon began her formal training in Waldorf education with Prairie Moon’s own Waldorf teacher preparation course.
While licensed to teach French, English and English Language Arts in public schools, she is heavily drawn toward the Waldorf philosophy of education. It most closely mirrors her upbringing in the 1970′s near Boulder as well as her and her husband, Jason’s, own philosophies on child rearing.
Ms. Mackinnon lives in a bucolic rural setting south of Lawrence where she practices biodynamic farming, cheese making and raises free range bees, chickens, ducks and children (not always in that order).
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS
Kimberli Eddins, Lead Teacher, Sunflower Garden Mixed-age Kindergarten
Kimberli Eddins is a native of Kansas City, Missouri and graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in 1983. She has been an educator through out her adult life, teaching art in a volunteer capacity to youth in several organizations and as an art therapy assistant in a geriatric facility. In 1993, Ms Kimberli made a slight transition in her teaching to became an early childhood teacher. She has taught in a variety of early childhood settings both public and private education.
Ms Eddins came to Prairie Moon Waldorf School in 2009 as a substitute and then worked as a Summer Camp lead teacher. She accepted a mixed-age kindergarten lead teacher position for the 2009-2010 school year and began the Waldorf early childhood teacher training summer of 2010. As of summer 2012, Ms Kimberli is a graduate member and a certified Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher from Sunbridge Institute in Spring Valley, NY.
She writes: I love what I do so much! The kindergarten daily rhythm feels like home: strong loving adults, purposeful tasks, songs and stories, as well as, creative arts. All this is balanced with good nutrition, rest, and lots of play! We are a family! I feel so blessed to have this school community and to serve as a “Kinder”-gardener.
Ms. Teresa Vu, BA, Sunflower Garden Assistant Teacher
Teresa Vu was hired and started in the fall of 2011. She was born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in Colwich, Kansas. Ms. Vu graduated from Wichita State University in May 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude. Teresa
began working in the early childhood field in August of 2010. Her experience has been with infants and toddlers in a lead position. She began the Early Childhood Unified Master’s program in the fall of 2012 at the University of Kansas. She is advocating for those who are trying to build their families through adoption. Teresa is a firm believer in the norm of reciprocity. Do good for others, and good will come to you.
Ms. Gwyn Schmidtberger, Afternoon Teacher for Early Childhood Program
Born and raised on the western plains of KS, Ms. Gwyn Schmidtberger has worked with children continuously for over 20 years in both the USA and Germany and completed the certification for the Lifeways Childcare and Human Development Training in March 2010. A native of Hays, Ms. Gwyn led a home-based daycare, Cottownwood Star, for two years from 2009-11 while her daughter was preschool-aged until her family grew with a new little boy. 2013 brought a huge shift for Ms. Gwyn and her family with the acceptance of the Prairie Moon After Care Teacher position, a move to Lawrence, KS, and yet another little one on the way this year. She holds English and Art History degrees from FHSU and KU. In her life before mother, Ms. Gwyn lived in a variety of places including Dusseldorf, Germany, where she created a private summer language camp and taught English in a number of kindergartens for over 4 yrs. In New York City, she led an empowerment and leadership program for an after-school elementary school. She also toured with a musical group, Up With People, worked as a nanny in San Francisco and Germany, and walked a portion (200 miles) of the Camino, a medieval pilgrim walk in Spain.
Ms. Gwyn aspires to support and expand the philosophy of Waldorf and Rudolf Steiner that Prairie Moon is pioneering here on the plains that stems from an old tradition-–combining education and exploration with love as well as a strong commitment to our future, starting where it should begin, with children.
Monika Eichler, LMSW, MEd, Teacher of Parent-Child Class, Sweet Pea Gardens, Early Childhood Enrollment
Monika received her bachelors in psychology and moved into a doctoral clinical program at Western Michigan University. Thereafter, her heart longed for a more holistic approach to the helping profession and found herself at home in social work. After receiving her Master’s Degree at KU she began to work for the School of Social Welfare at KU, where she currently conducts research on mental health settings. In the meantime, Monika discovered Waldorf education in the late 90′s and when talk of a school in Lawrence began, she quickly joined forces with others to make a Waldorf school in Kansas a reality. Since 2001, Monika has been either on the board or a faculty member of Prairie Moon. In fact, she was so curious about Waldorf education that she decided it was time for her to receive her early childhood teacher degree in Waldorf education from Sunbridge College. This allowed her to teach the Sunflower classroom for one year, after which time she had her second child. Since 2004, Monika has been leading playgroups, and the parent-child class, now called Sweet Peas Garden.
Ms. Melisa Hall (coming soon)
SPECIALITY TEACHERS: GRADES
Amy Frost, Music Teacher 1st-6th Teacher
Amy Frost was born and raised in Kansas. She graduated with a degree in Music Education from the University of Kansas and pursued her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction at City University, Seattle, Washington. She currently holds a teachers license with the state of Kansas. Ms. Frost has taught Preschool – 12th grade in band, choir, and general music since 1991 in both public and private schools. She also volunteers her time as a crisis counselor at Headquarters Crisis Counseling Center in Lawrence. She said, “Teaching children music is my passion. Counseling others in crisis through Headquarters is my small way to help the community.” Her love of children, music, and life-long learning make teaching at Prairie Moon a joy. Ms. Frost also teaches private beginning piano and flute lessons.
Matthew Burke, Woodworking Teacher 4th-6th grade
Matthew Burke teaches wood working to the fifth and sixth grades at Prairie Moon. He received his BA from Colby College, in Maine, and received his MFA in Sculpture from Queens College, CUNY. He grew-up in northeastern Connecticut and spent over a decade in New York City making art and exhibiting in many venues. He is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Kansas where he teaches sculpture.
His studio, Matt Burke Sculpture, produces large scale outdoor sculpture, objects, and drawings. The outdoor work engages traditional and uninitiated art audiences in tandem with the artist to create works that engage with the earth’s visible and magnetic energy flows. Together in spirit and form, the makers and their sculpture strive to have a positive, guiding impact on the environment.
His sculpture, drawing and artist books are in several major museums and collections including; the Museum of Modern Art Library; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; and the Cleveland Institute of Art Library, among others.
Raven Harper, Handwork Teacher, 1st-6th grade
David Eichler, Extra Lesson, 1st-5th grade
The Extra Lesson was developed in the 1960’s when a British Waldorf teacher, Audrey McAllen, was asked to develop a series of exercises intended to work with children who experienced challenges in important aspects of sensory-motor development (including body awareness or body geography, spatial orientation – both two and three dimensional, sidedness/dominance, fine and gross motor coordination, and visual/auditory processing) or academic development.
Audrey McAllen’s work was inspired by indications given by the founder of the Waldorf educational movement, Rudolf Steiner, in faculty meetings at the original Waldorf School and in lectures on pedagogical and other themes. McAllen’s exercises are described in her book The Extra Lesson, originally published in 1973 and now in its 6th edition. There are training programs for Extra Lesson teachers across the globe, including the United States, Canada, Australia, India, Brazil, and Europe. David is in the second year of a three-year training program and will be bring Extra Lesson to Prairie Moon Waldorf School as a weekly subject class beginning in the Fall semester, in the lower grades.
The Extra Lesson class includes guiding the students through various exercises and activities, some done sitting at a desk, some standing and moving in the room, and some on a mat or on the floor. The exercises and activities involve bean bags, balls of varying sizes, copper rods, beads, wool, balance boards, and other equipment. There are small and large movement activities, as well as form drawing and specific painting exercises. Some of the exercises involve speaking and moving at the same time to enhance auditory capacities, while other exercises are more physical or visual in nature.
Melissa Watson, Administrator
Melissa Watson has served as administrator and ex-officio Board Member since 2009. Prior to that she served on the Board as Board Secretary and Chair of the Facilities and Environment Committee starting in 2008. In 2011 Melissa graduated from Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California, where she received her certificate in Waldorf school administration. She also holds an MFA degree from Queen’s College, City University of New York, and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri.
“I want this education not only for my child, but for the greater community of Lawrence, as well,” says Melissa. “I believe that Waldorf education is the answer to what our world requires of us as it’s stewards, and what we want from our world as its residents. Waldorf students enter the world as free human beings capable of self-direction and with a sense of purpose in their lives.”
Sue Nutterfield, Bookeeper
Sue joined Prairie Moon in spring of 2007. Even though Sue’s education is in accounting, she has always been involved in the education of children through volunteering, substituting, being a paraprofessional, and now as bookkeeper. She enjoys the learning environment and being involved in the process of educating our young.