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

Jennifer Shipley

Lead Kindergarten & Early Childhood Chair

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 Uganda Africa. Jennifer is a fully trained Waldorf teacher, she received her teacher training certification from Rudolf Steiner College (2016). Jennifer received a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from University of Nevada Reno (2012), and a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from University Nevada Reno (2012). Jennifer finds pleasure in connecting with others, being in nature, and being involved with the Reno and Waldorf community.

Elena Eckland

Lead Kindergarten

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.

Emily Schaffer

Lead Pre-Kindergarten

Emily was born and raised on the east coast of Florida, spent summers in Idaho and Oregon and is the youngest in her family. She grew up knowing she had a great love of children and planned a future to care for, teach and mother children. Emily enjoys traveling, camping, swimming, being in and of nature, history, historic places, hiking, photography, reading, playing with and caring for children as well as teaching! She recently began gardening and has planted two garden beds at her neighborhood community garden. Emily has two children who attend Nevada Sage Waldorf School.

Tonya Gorman

Assistant Kindergarten

Courtney Pace

Assistant Kindergarten

Waldorf education has been a part of Courtney’s life for over 12 years. Courtney was first inspired when completing her practicum at the Child and Family Research center at UNR and then re-inspired while nannying for a family in Portland, Oregon whose children belonged to a Waldorf community. Now she is raising her children with the Waldorf philosophy as her backbone and guide. Courtney has a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a masters degree in School Counseling. She has also taken several courses at the Rudolf Steiner College. While living in Portland, OR, she attended massage school, which she still practices today. She loves the outdoors, yoga and being with her family, and watching her children blossom. They are truly her teachers. She is so very grateful to be apart of this community and she feels enthusiastic about continuing to learn and grow with our school.

Grades Faculty

Amy Kopald

1st 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

2nd/3rd 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

4th/5th 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


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.

Myriam Leon


Catherine Matovich


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

Helma Mueller


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.”

Gunter Rosewood

Movement & Games

Gunter grew up in Bavaria, Germany and participated in various sports from early childhood onward, specializing in gymnastics. He graduated from college as a Horticultural Engineer in Weihenstephan, Munich.

After moving to California where he pursued his interest in horticulture and also taught gymnastics at a Montessori school near Sacramento. His family moved to Reno in 2014, were his wife started teaching at the Nevada Sage Waldorf School. Their youngest child also attends this school.

Gunter joined the faculty in 2016. It is always fascinating for him to see how quickly the children enjoy themselves with movement and how they become overall more confident by learning how to use their body more harmoniously.