Faculty and Staff of Live Oak Waldorf School

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Early Childhood Village Faculty

Jerre Whittlesey, one of our Sweet Pea Parent-Child Teacher, was born and raised in southern California and completed her Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College. She came to Live Oak over two decades ago to assist/apprentice with Janet Kellman in the Early Childhood programs. After teaching kindergarten for three years, she met her husband, Ed, and soon gave birth to two sons, Frederick and Roger. She also has a daughter, Summer Waggoner; all of her children are graduates of Live Oak.  Between the years as a faculty member at Live Oak, Jerre had a playgroup in her home for four years.  

Christina Rosmarin, Parent-Child and Outdoor Homeschool Kindergarten Teacher

Stephanie Skinner, Preschool Teacher 

Trisha Lambert, Preschool Teacher 

Rebecca Kennedy-Smith, one of our Early Childhood Day Care Providers, was born and raised in Elk Grove, California. She graduated from Elk Grove High School, then went on to study at Sacramento City College and Sacramento State College pursuing a major in Early Childhood Education. She worked for two years at KinderCare as a toddler teacher and five years at Applied Behavior Consultants, a school for children with autism. Rebecca had her first child just short of graduating from Sacramento State and decided to devote her time to mothering. Rebecca and her husband moved to Auburn several years ago and now have three children. Her older two children attend Live Oak; Tristan is in first grade and Ethan is in preschool. Her youngest, Mia, is two. Rebecca and her husband found Live Oak through family, and knew right away that this was the school they wanted their children to attend. After being home for seven years with her children, Rebecca saw an opportunity to use her skills and education to work with children in the aftercare program at Live Oak. She feels very blessed to be able to do a job she loves at her children's school. Rebecca enjoys learning more about Waldorf education; in addition to reading books on the subject, she has taken several weekend classes at the Rudolf Steiner College. She looks forward to the journey that lies ahead for her and her children at Live Oak Waldorf School.

CandiceCandice Searlesour Lavender Kindergarten teacher, was born in South Africa.  After receiving her undergraduate degree in English and Theatre, she received a Fulbright Scholarship to Stony Brook University in New York to complete her MFA in Theatre Arts. There she met and married Jason. Jason received a Fulbright Scholarship to South Africa and so they returned to Candice's home country and lived there for three years. Candice taught Speech and Drama to Kindergarten through ninth grade at a private school and also taught and directed in the local University Theatre Department. Upon returning to the USA in 2005, Candice found Waldorf Education while working in the public school system. She enrolled and completed her Waldorf Certification and MEd at Antioch New England University, and took a first grade class at the Tidewater Waldorf School in Eliot, Maine. After second grade, Candice decided to become a stay at home Mama to her new baby, Dylan Eddy.  She was blessed with her daughter, Hope Anamae in June 2009. Candice and her family moved to California in February 2010 and found her way to Live Oak Waldorf School. She loves to paint, write music, walk in the woods and spend every moment she can with her family.

Noelle Thompson, Rosemary Kindergarten, was born in Marin County.  She attended college at Humboldt State where she received a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in Psychology in 1993. Following Humboldt State, Noelle attended UC Davis where she received a Bilingual Credential in 1996. From there, Noelle went straight into the private school sector; working with “alternative” schools where honoring the whole child and nurturing life long learners is vital to education.  As Noelle continued investigating education and child development, she found Rudolf Steiner College where she attended workshops and weekend courses. Along with her interest in early childhood development, Noelle loves nature and traveling. Noelle has two children at Live Oak; Boden, who is in the second grade and Colby, who is in kindergarten. Noelle and her family currently live in Penryn.

The Grades Teachers

Lynne Poirier, our Fifth Grade Teacher, took the Class of 2011 as class teacher in the fall of 2007. Lynne was born in Queens, New York. Her father’s career in the aerospace industry brought her family to Southern California and she spent most of her school years there. She began her college education with the ambition of becoming a teacher. Yielding to her father’s pressure to take up a more lucrative career, Lynne began searching for the right path. This took her on a course that went from business, to biology, to biomedical illustration, and finally to fine art. In 1988, the year her oldest son, Derek, was born, she discovered Waldorf education. At that time, while living in San Diego, she began to attend workshops and lectures at the San Diego Waldorf School. She also went back to college to take some courses in early childhood development. She began a playgroup in her home during which time her second son, Kyle, was born. When Derek began first grade, she was hired as the kindergarten assistant at SDWS. In 1996, Lynne and her family moved to the Sierra foothills so she could attend Rudolf Steiner College and work as the aftercare director at Live Oak Waldorf School. Finally realizing her goal of teaching, she began her began her first eight year cyle with the class of 2006 in the fall of 1997.She has been with her current class since 2007.

Cale Brandley, our SixthCale Grade Teacher, was born and raised in Berkeley, California.  On his ninth birthday, he received a saxophone as a gift, which helped to kindle a life-long enthusiasm for music.  As a young saxophonist, Cale had performed at festivals in Japan, Switzerland, Holland, and South Africa—all before his 21st birthday.  Cale received a liberal arts degree from New York University in Manhattan, where he augmented his study of music with courses in mythology and cosmology.  During this time he studied independently the craft of instrument making, and worked for a brief time as a woodworker’s assistant.  After working two years for a farmer in northern New Jersey, Cale returned home to Berkeley, and while working in that city’s sustainable food movement he heard the calling to pursue teaching as a life’s work.  Before coming up the hill to Live Oak to meet his class, he had worked in the East Bay as a music teacher, a kindergarten assistant, and as a garden instructor. 


Rev Bowen, our Eighth Grade Teacher, was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After earning his B.A. in English, he found work as a substitute teacher in and around Richmond, working in every grade and in every type of class. He then realized that he should become a teacher, but abhorred the idea of teaching within the same kind of compulsory schooling system that he had experienced. During his search for another way to educate, he picked up a hitchhiker who told him about Rudolf Steiner. Soon after, a grocery cashier told him about Waldorf education.  Rev earned his Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Rudolf Steiner College in 2000. He earned his M.A. in Human Development from St. Mary’s University in St. Paul, MN in 2004.
Rev took the class of 2008 from first through eighth grades and is now journeying through another eight year cycle at Live Oak. He loves to hear and make music, paddle in canoes or kayaks, swim in lakes and rivers, backpack, hike and camp, read and write, and play games of all kinds. His son, Seren, is in sixth grade and his daughter, Rosa, is a student in his third grade class.


Jane Mulder, our Seventh Grade Co-Teacher, grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan, in northern Illinois. Her family moved to the suburbs of New York City for her high school years, and then she crossed the continent to California for college. After graduating from Stanford University in 1971, Jane moved to the lovely Sierra Foothills. In addition to learning all the skills necessary to manage a small homestead, she also worked in home design and building, and wrote and edited in the field of organic agriculture. Jane taught at Hidden Valley Home School for ten years, and has enjoyed being a part of the Live Oak Waldorf School community where she has taught since 1992; her current class is her third class. She and her husband, Otis Wollan, have three daughters, all graduates of Live Oak Waldorf School. Malia, an honors graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a Master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley, is an AP reporter in San Francisco.  Holly, also an honors graduate of UCSC, is a multitalented artist in the Bay Area.  Byranna is studying for her Master’s in social work at San Francisco State.

Sunnee Rebbetts, First Grade Teacher
Sarah Dunbar, Second Grade Teacher
Debra Jacobs, Third Grade Teacher
Jazmin Ventura, Fourth Grade Teacher
David Gilman, Seventh Grade Co-Teacher

Subject Teachers


Nan Shaw, our Guitar Teacher, is a native of Southern California and grew up in the Ojai Valley. In this “nest,” private schools and spiritually oriented organizations abound amidst orange orchards surrounded by spectacular mountains. The beauty of nature was a major influence in her childhood, as were a theosophical family and many wonderful teachers in the several idealistic schools she attended where parents often worked to help pay tuition. Family activities included music, art, writing, reading, sewing, Spanish, gardening, and endless talking about theosophy, history, religion, esoteric subjects, and cats. Early music studies included violin, piano, and clarinet, but in the teen years, it was a love of the guitar which took root for life.  At age 18, Nan began studying with the world renowned guitarist and composer Vicento Gomez, with whom she continued for many years. Driven by multiple interests, however, she attended Chorinard Art Institute (which became California Institute of the Arts) beginning in Fine Arts and graduating with an M.A. in Design. Next came marriage to Norton and a child who led the way north and eventually to Live Oak Waldorf School. There more children were born, grew up in the Live Oak “nest” and took flight. Nan stayed on in the music room to become a Live Oak grandmother.


Doug Thorley, our Orchestra and Band Teacher, grew up in Massachusetts. He began musical studies in the fourth grade, later attending the University of Massachusetts in Lowell as a voice major. After leaving school, he spent five years dairy farming in upstate New York before moving to California and completing his music studies on the trombone at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He performs throughout northern California in all styles of music ranging from Mantovani to Mozart to Monk and has toured Asia twice. For the past fifteen years he has been teaching classroom and private music in both public and private schools in the Bay Area. Doug is living happily in Colfax with his wife, Beth Miller, and her daughters, Lauren and Erica. 

Language Arts

Barbara Wauters,  Upper Grades Spanish 

Continuing Care Staff

Patsy Hollingsworth, Continuing Care Director