Our faculty brings a rich background of experience and talent to Nevada Sage Waldorf School. They nurture each child’s capacities for learning while bringing the Waldorf curriculum alive with creativity and deep caring. Every day our faculty members work from their hearts to inspire the minds, hearts, and spirits of each child they serve.
We welcome you to read about our faculty, realizing the best way to get to know us is to connect in person. Schedule a visit to learn more about our school and about Waldorf education.
Nevada Sage Waldorf School Faculty
2015-16 School Year
Amy Barber | 3rd/4th Grade
The deep meaning and purpose of Waldorf education is what drew Ms. Amy to Nevada Sage Waldorf School. Before joining our faculty in 2011, Amy’s academic studies spanned twelve years, which included graduate work, postdoctoral research, and teaching. She received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology & Botany & Plant Pathology from Michigan State University (1997), and a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada (2005). As a child, Amy found her love of nature exploring the fields and natural areas around her home in Michigan; as an adult she has a deep fondness for the natural beauty of the Great Basin. She enjoys hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her dogs, knitting, and handwork. Amy has been an Assistant and Lead Kindergarten teacher at Nevada Sage Waldorf School, and was instrumental in starting our grade school. She regularly attends courses and workshops at Rudolf Steiner College, including The Art of Teaching Second Grade, and has begun her Waldorf Certification.
Erica Burkett | Handwork
Ms. Erica has a Botany degree, and has taught Science to middle school and high school students as well as college students in the US and in China as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She has also taught sewing and quilting for many years. As a parent, with a child attending Nevada Sage Waldorf School, she has been drawn to Waldorf Education and started her Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College this summer. She enjoys cooking, sewing, reading, camping, and hiking in her free time.
Elena Eckland | Assistant Kindergarten
Elena grew up in Bishop California, exploring the back-country of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as the rock-climbing and desert adventures the valley had to offer. She earned her degree in Biology from Gonzaga University (2011), and shortly after found an agricultural lifestyle on a 22-acre homestead in Oregon. There she found her passion for conservation coupled with her developing interest in farming and teaching. Elena has followed a path of outdoors education to work with a variety of organizations promoting hands-on exploration and learning. She loves working with children and is inspired by their curiosity and insight.
Patricia Fenkell | Lead Pre-Kindergarten
Paola Jackson | 1st/2nd Grade
Paola attended and graduated from the Waldorf school of Cali, Colombia where she is originally from. Before coming to the United States, she studied arts the Conservatory for Arts (Cali, Colombia). Paola has come full circle from Waldorf alumna to Waldorf teacher for she is an ardent believer of Waldorf pedagogy. Since 2011, she has attended the Center for Anthroposophy (Cuernavaca, Mexico) where she is pursuing her grades teacher certification. In 2013, Paola traveled with her family to Huaraz, Peru were she taught at a Waldorf initiative (Semillas De Vida). Her favorite activities include: hiking, cooking, dancing, singing, painting, gardening and being a mother of two daughters ages 6 and 9.
Amy Kopald | Lead Pre-Kindergarten / Early Childhood Chair / Pedagogical Chair
Amy comes to us from the Santa Cruz Waldorf School in California where she taught kindergarten for 14 years and took a class from first to fifth grade. Witnessing the development of the Nevada Sage Waldorf School piqued her interest two years ago when she came on an accreditation visit. Upon meeting a warm, welcoming and dedicated community, Amy felt drawn to offer assistance with pedagogical mentorship as well as to bring her love for teaching young children. Amy’s talents include silk marionette puppetry, singing and movement games!
She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Connecticut and completed a teaching degree in Waldorf education in 1994. Amy fulfilled many roles at Santa Cruz Waldorf School including AWSNA delegate, Faculty Chair, Board of Trustee, Chair of Mentoring and Evaluation, Festivals and Fairs coordinator and served on numerous committees.
Her sabbatical travels in 2006, led her to teaching puppetry, doll making and storytelling to at the Centre for Creative Education in Cape Town, South Africa and in Kenya. Amy is a mother of three, a grandmother and a wife. She will return to Santa Cruz, where her husband, Steve will await her, after one year of service to our school.
Olga Malloy | Lead Kindergarten & Grades Music
Olga grew up in Ukraine, living in the center of a large industrial city. In the summer she loved strolling along the streets and parks of the city and playing with her younger sister. In winter, she loved ice skating and playing in the snow until dark. At all times she enjoyed taking music lessons. After high school, she studied and taught physics. She lived 9 years in Israel during which time she welcomed her first two sons. In 2000, she moved to the foothills of California where she experienced the healing qualities of nature, studied philosophy, arts, world literature and flower arranging. During this time, Olga had her youngest son and became interested in human and child development. She also discovered the works of Rudolf Steiner. Deeply inspired by his view on education, she opened her home to and began a program for children ages 4 to 10 years old, enrolled in teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College and completed it in 2015. She loves puppetry and storytelling and still greatly enjoys music, singing and flowers.
Helma Mueller | German & Movement
Helma Mueller earned an MA degree from the University of Heidelberg/Germany in Education and Anthropology. She is inspired by cultural diversity, healing arts and child development. She has taught creative dance to children in multiple schools in the Netherlands. Her interest in dance and the healing arts brought her to California where she obtained a certificate in Movement-based Expressive Arts Education and Therapy from Tamalpa Institute. Helma has expressed, “to teach children in her native mother language brings her joy and inspiration.”
Jennifer Shipley | Lead Kindergarten
Jennifer is committed to living her life with wonder, reverence, and appreciation; this has led her to a passion and dedication to work as an early childhood educator. She has over 15 years experience working with children: leading kindergarten outdoor summer programs, teaching preschool as a lead teacher, volunteering with orphanages in Brazil, leading field trips at a children’s museum, and training primary school teachers for 18 months in East Africa. Jennifer has two bachelor’s degrees from University Nevada Reno, one in Human Development and Family Studies, and the other in Early Childhood Education. She is currently enrolled in the teacher training program at Rudolf Steiner College and is also pursuing her master’s degree in Waldorf Education. Jennifer finds pleasure in connecting with others, being in nature, and being involved with the Reno and Waldorf community.
Megan Yentzen | Grades Assistant & Grades Aftercare
Megan was born and raised in Lumberton, Texas. In 2011, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. When she moved to Nevada, she spent a year substituting and tutoring until she was offered a job in 3rd grade. She always knew she wanted to teach, but felt that public education was so different from when she was a child. She found Waldorf when she responded to the job posting. She knew very little, but soon realized that Steiner’s philosophy on human development and education really resonated deep within her. She attended a two week workshop at Rudolf Steiner College over the summer where she found even more in common with Waldorf. In her spare time, she loves to read books, write stories, and has even found a love for knitting! She hopes to continue her education in Waldorf and one day become a classroom Lead Teacher.