Lower School Profiles

Grade 1

Polina Isakharova - Grade 1 Class Teacher

Profile coming soon!

Grade 2

Karima Stacey - Grade 2 Class Teacher

Karima is a Waldorf graduate and daughter of a Waldorf teacher. She studied Human Rights and Conflict Studies at the University of Ottawa, which afforded her the opportunity to work on various projects centred on education in India, Ghana, and Tanzania. She then completed her Bachelor of Education with a specialization in Global Perspectives for Educators.

Karima began her teaching career in Brighton, England before moving to Abu Dhabi to teach in a Canadian international school. She is excited to be back in Canada and in a Waldorf school once again!

Xie Jing - Grade 2 Class Assistant

Xie Jing grew up in China and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. She taught in the first Waldorf school in China for several years. After moving to Canada, she attended Carelton University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours, later moving to Toronto where she graduated from the teacher training program at the Rudolf Steiner Centre. She has been working at TWS since 2018, and her two children currently attend the school.

Grade 3

Michelle Frank - Grade 3 Class Teacher

Michelle has worked full-time at the Toronto Waldorf School since 2000 as well as being a member of the Therapeutic Circle since 1998. She pioneered counselling work in Waldorf schools. Michelle has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brock University in St.Catharines, Ontario, and Theraplay Therapist Certification from the Theraplay Institute in Chicago. Her son currently attends TWS and her daughters have both graduated from the school.

Grade 4

Warren Cohen - Grade 4 Class Teacher; Board Member

Warren has been the Codirector and Director of Waldorf Teacher Education of the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto. Warren has a background in both Physics and in Sculpture. His dedication to scientific inquiry and his love of creating art come together harmoniously in service of the development of others. Warren founded the Summer Festival of Arts and Education, which for the past seven summers has welcomed people from around the world to Toronto to be inspired by Waldorf pedagogy and the arts. His publications include Raising the Soul; practical exercises for personal development, Baking Bread with Children and Dragon Baked Bread.

Grade 5

Paula Rosa - Grade 5 Class Teacher

A graduate of University of Toronto, Paula completed her BA in History and Linguistics in 1984. She later added a Bachelor of Education in primary/ junior education from the University of Toronto, OISE in 1996.
Paula began her Waldorf teaching career at Waldorf Academy in 1996 as an assistant kindergarten teacher, eventually becoming a class teacher in January of 2001, and has since shepherded 4 classes through various grades. She graduated her first grade eight class in 2008, many of those students had been with her since kindergarten!
For many years Paula took an active coaching role in the middle school volleyball and basketball sports program and taught games and physical education lessons across the grades.
A life long learner, Paula has attended many Waldorf professional development courses and has attended the World Teachers Conference in Dornach  2 times. She is also a Waldorf teacher mentor and has been an AWSNA delegate.
Her two children are Waldorf graduates. In her spare time, Paula enojoys reading, canoeing, spending times with her family and travel.
 

Grade 6

Miki Higashine - Grade 6 Class Teacher

Miki grew up in Japan and began her career teaching English. She later moved to Canada where she discovered Waldorf education, later moving to Califiornia where she attended the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento. Miki graduated from teacher training in 2002 and has taught Grades 1-8 at the Camelia and Live Oak Waldorf Schools in Northern California.

She enjoys reading, swimming and walking in nature.

Grade 7

Julie Folino - Grade 7 Class Teacher

Before becoming a class teacher at TWS, Julie worked here for three years in various capacities. She had previously volunteered extensively with special needs children in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board while staying at home to raise her two sons. Julie is also a certified Waldorf teacher, having completed her training at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto. Prior to this Julie had a successful career in Hotel Sales and Marketing. Her children currently attend TWS.

Grade 8

Mary-Lu Spinney - Grade 8 Class Teacher

After studying biology at the University of Western Ontario, Mary-lu moved to Toronto to complete a three year intensive training program in contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. She then worked as a choreographer, director and performer for over ten years. In 2002 she completed her yoga teaching certification in Ashtanga yoga. In 2010 she completed her Foundations in Anthroposophy and in 2011 her Waldorf Teacher Training certification at the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto. Mary-lu enjoys the circus arts, growing her own food, and yoga. Her son currently attends TWS.

Educational Support

Margaret Bleek - Educational Support, Lower School

Margaret has a B.A. from Smith College in Massachusetts, and an M.A. from Princeton University. She is a graduate of the Waldorf Teacher Education program at Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, and of the applied arts program at Sunbridge Institute, NY. She has a remedial certificate from the Association for a Healing Education. Her two children are graduates of Toronto Waldorf School.

Erika Starzynski - Educational Support Teacher – Lower School, High School

Erika has a Masters of Education from Antioch University, NE where she also completed her Waldorf teacher-training in 2006. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Soka University of America in Orange County, CA.

She did her student teaching at the Chicago Waldorf School and taught her first class at the Honolulu Waldorf School. She returned home to Toronto after being in the U.S. for almost 10 years where she was a class teacher at Waldorf Academy in downtown Toronto. After having her second son, she moved into mentoring new teachers and working Professional Development and Curriculum development. Erika is currently participating in the Healing Education and Remedial HEART program.

Specialty

Stan Cyprys - Orchestra Teacher, Lower School & High School

Stan earned his Bachelor of Music at McGill University where he also studied conducting, piano performance and recording. While living in Montreal, he enjoyed a career as an accompanist, educator, conductor and performer. Since moving to Ontario in 1997, Stan has focused on maintaining his private piano studio and working as a classical music recording engineer.

Susan Digby - Grade 11 Advisor; Handwork & Pottery Teacher, Lower School & High School

Susan has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph, a Bachelor of Education from York University, and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. She has taught part-time at the Toronto Waldorf School since 1991 and full-time since 2004.

Susan has four sons, all of whom are TWS graduates.

Ariel Massett - Grade 10 Advisor; Art Teacher, Lower School & High School

Profile to come

Lynn Featherstone - Music & Choir Teacher, Lower School & High School

Lynn was raised in Cambridge, Ontario, where she started piano lessons at age 6, beginning a life-long pursuit in musicianship – as a choral singer, soloist and conductor. At the University of Toronto she completed both her Bachelor of Music in Music Education in Voice Studies and her Masters in Music Education. Lynn is an alto with the Elmer Iseler Singers, a 20-voice fully professional choral ensemble that performs across North America, and for over a decade Lynn has been an alto soloist at Fairlawn Avenue United Church. Lynn was formerly Associate Conductor for the Bach Children’s Chorus, under conductor Linda Beaupré, as well as a music teacher at Crescent School in North Toronto.

Agathe Polach - French Teacher

Agathe has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. She has been teaching at the Toronto Waldorf School since 1992, and coordinates the “semaines françaises” — biannual week-long conferences for Waldorf French teachers. Her son is a TWS graduate.

Alexander Scalzi - Grade 11 Advisor; Teacher (English & Literature, ESL) – Middle School & High School

Alexander is a graduate of TWS (Class of 09) and has an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Michaels College in the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa, and is a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Alexander has also been working as an English and Humanities tutor at Seneca College for several years, as well as at TWS.

Jonathan Snow - Eurythmy, Movement; Lower School & High School

Jonathan is an alumnus of Toronto Waldorf School. He pursued eurythmy internationally, completing both artistic and pedagogical training in Stuttgart, Germany, obtaining the eurythmy teacher Bachelor of Arts in The Hague, Netherlands and participating in workshops in the USA. He is a certified Bothmer® gymnast, Spacial Dynamics® Level II therapist and Level III instructor. He has been a guest instructor in schools and adult training centres around the world. He continually explores various movement arts, from dancing to martial arts.

He also has a multidisciplinary Bachelor’s degree at the Université de Moncton, specializing in Philosophy, Arts and Social Sciences.

Andrew Starzynski - Grade 10 Advisor; Math Teacher, Middle School & High School

Andrew was born to two Waldorf teachers and raised in Chicago, Illinois. After majoring in Mathematics and Philosophy and minoring in Computer Science for his undergraduate degree at Beloit College, Andrew went on to work in IT in Austin, Texas. He later completed a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from the University of Houston and then went back to Chicago to teach high school mathematics. Three years later he was married and living in Honolulu, Hawaii this time teaching both middle and high school math and computer science.

In 2013, Andrew moved to Toronto where he taught middle school math at Waldorf Academy in downtown Toronto. Andrew, his partner Erika and their children joined TWS in 2017.

Laura Stevenson - School Counsellor – Lower School, High School

Laura has come to Waldorf with over 30+ years working as a Child and Family Therapist. She was trained for over 10 years with Sick Kids Hospital, with a specialty in Attachment. (Modified Interaction Guidance). Laura was an active member on the York Region High Conflict Forum for over 15 years and was the Chair for the past year. Laura brings over 8 years experience of being submerged in supporting families going through separation and divorce and as a result knows the inner workings well of Child Welfare and the family Court system.

Laura has years of experience providing group services, public speaking, mentorship, theraplay and is thrilled to grow and learn at Waldorf.

Angelika Warner - Eurythmy Teacher

Angelika attended Queen’s University, then went to Sunbridge College where she earned a eurythmy diploma. She completed Waldorf Teacher Education and taught at the Green Meadow Waldorf School. She was a member of the Eurythmy Spring Valley performance group and went on to be a member of the Goetheanum performance ensemble in Switzerland. She studied therapeutic eurythmy in Stuttgart, Germany. She then started her own private therapeutic eurythmy practice in Toronto and helped establish the Hesperus Fellowship Community. Angelika has been a teacher and therapist at the Toronto Waldorf School since the early 1990s. Her two children graduated from TWS.

Marc Funkenhauser - Middle School Music Teacher

Marc earned his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Windsor, and his Master of Music Performance from the University of Toronto.  In addition to being a passionate music educator, Marc is an active freelance performer who works with an eclectic variety of artists, orchestras, and musical groups throughout Toronto and Ontario.  In his free time, Marc loves to cook, and play volleyball.

Robyn Stevan - High School Drama/English Teacher and Grade 3 Handwork Teacher

Robyn received a B.Ed., Honours from York University in the Equity and Diversity Program and a B.A. from the University of Toronto in English and Art History. Before becoming a teacher, Robyn was a professional actor for almost 20 years in theatre, film and television. She is a founding member of Soulpepper Theatre Company. Before coming to Waldorf, Robyn worked in the public system, and was a founding teacher of Equinox Holistic Alternative school, a TDSB school in the east end of Toronto.