Meet Our Faculty

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.

Early Childhood Faculty

Elena Eckland

Lead Kindergarten | Desert Rose

Elena grew up in Bishop California, exploring the backcountry 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.


Sarah Martin

Lead Kindergarten | Pinyon Pine

Sarah grew up in Reno and attended California Institute of the Arts in Southern California where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts. A few years beyond graduation she found herself living in New Orleans and teaching in fine arts programs for grade school children. Just before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Sarah discovered the Waldorf School of New Orleans. She joined the school as a teacher after the storm as the school reassembled itself after such displacement and chaos. In 2006, Sarah began her Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College in California and took a grades class at the New Orleans school. Additionally, she spent 2 years in upstate New York where she taught at the Hawthorne Valley (Waldorf) School and finished her teacher training at the Alkion Center for Anthroposophy. Back in New Orleans, Sarah continued to work at the Waldorf school there as a grades school teacher. Sarah has experience teaching at Waldorf schools fromNursery – 8th grade – serving on various committees, working as a lead teacher, a subject teacher, a mentor, an assistant, and as a Board member and a member of the Anthroposophical Study Group.

Sarah and her spouse and young son moved back to Reno in the fall of 2016. They are thrilled to be in the same town as both their families and to be back out West and in the mountains. Sarah’s hobbies and interests include painting, drawing, crafting, sewing, cooking, baking, and exploring the Great Outdoor


Rhiannon Wolfe

Assistant Kindergarten


Maria Franco Herrera

Assistant Kindergarten


Tonya Gorman

Lead Pre-Kindergarten


Holly Fawcett

Assistant Pre-Kindergarten


Whitney Brown

Aftercare Assistant

Whitney grew up in Southern California, frequenting the nearby ocean, mountains, and deserts as often as possible. Early on, Whitney developed a passion for working with children. She appreciated their wonder for the world around them and has dedicated her life to nurturing that wonder by working with children and their families.  She graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Spanish Literature before earning a Master’s Degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy.

At the Waldorf School of San Diego, Whitney worked as an assistant Handwork Teacher, Aftercare Teacher, and Second Grade Teacher while furthering her knowledge of the world of Waldorf through the Waldorf Institute of Southern California. After several years she moved into the counseling field, working as a program manager and Licensed Therapist with at-risk youth. She and her husband recently moved from San Diego to Reno to begin the adventure of their married life together and are happy to again be a part of the wonderful Waldorf community.


Grades Faculty

Amy Kopald

1st/2nd Grade & Pedagogical Chair

Ms. Kopald comes to us from the Santa Cruz Waldorf School in California where she taught kindergarten for 14 years and took a class from first through fifth grade. Witnessing the development of the Nevada Sage Waldorf School piqued her interest when she came to 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. Ms. Kopald 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 teach puppetry, doll making and storytelling to at the Centre for Creative Education in Cape Town, South Africa and in Kenya. Ms. Kopald is a mother of three, a grandmother and a wife. She will return to Santa Cruz, where her husband, Steve will await her, after service to our school.


Paola Jackson

3rd/4th Grade

Ms. Jackson 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, Ms. Jackson traveled with her family to Huaraz, Peru where 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.


Amy Barber

5th/6th Grade & Grade School Chair

The deep meaning and purpose of Waldorf education drew Ms. Barber 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, Ms. Barber 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.  Ms. Barber 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 and is working towards her Waldorf Certification.


Specialty Teachers

Erica Burkett

Handwork

Ms. Burkett 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 attends teacher training courses at Rudolf Steiner College. She enjoys cooking, sewing, reading, camping, and hiking in her free time.


Catherine Matovich

Strings

Ms. Matovich is a classical violist and a country roots fiddler. She plays with the Reno Philharmonic, the Reno Chamber Orchestra and the California Symphony. She is also the fiddler and band leader for the popular Bay Area Cajun-Zydeco dance band, CZ & the Bon Vivants, violist with Red Tango and fiddler and vocalist with the Sierra Sweethearts.Ms. Matovich toured the world with Neil Diamond and has played in back up bands for many of today’s current pop artists. She has taught string workshops in Berkeley, Irvine, Albuquerque, New Delhi and currently runs a violin/viola/fiddle studio in Reno. She loves teaching and watching her students develop their own way to speak through music. Catherine holds a BA in English from Oberlin College and a MA in Old English Literature from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.


Soma Miller

Biodynamic Gardening

Ms. Miller has always been drawn to nature. As the daughter of a healer, her home life was woven with herbal remedies, ritual and chanting. Childhood soccer games found her eyes on the clover flowers and dandelions at her feet, rather than ‘on the ball’. Her creative expression led her to graduate from FIDM in L.A. with a degree in fashion design. While she greatly enjoyed aspects of working in the garment industry, the pace of city life was not for her. In 2004 she returned to Reno to walk the sacred path of motherhood. The path soon led to Waldorf education and the teachings of Biodynamics which weave together her passions for plant teachers, ritual, and acknowledging the elemental beings. When she is not tending her home and two children she can be found coaxing color from native plants onto silk, cotton, and wool. She is honored to learn alongside her young students at Nevada Sage Waldorf School as we work to make our plot of land beautiful and abundant.


Helma Mueller

German

Ms. 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. Ms. Mueller has expressed, “to teach children in her native mother language brings her joy and inspiration.”

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