Faculty / Staff
Lead Teacher Class 1, Aaron Brame
Licensed Assistant Teacher, 2014
BA in African American Studies, Critical Race Studies and Media Studies, Hampshire College, 2012
Aaron Brame is a Gainesville native who, after graduating from PK Yonge DRS in 2006, spent a year in Southeast Asia, primarily Cambodia, working in a NGO school. It was in Cambodia that she first developed an interest in Educational Justice and the transformative power of affirmative and mindful education. She then moved to Amherst, MA, and attended Hampshire College, receiving a BA concentrating in Critical Race Studies and African American Studies in 2012. During her time at Hampshire, she also developed an interest in early childhood education both as an academic subject and as a profession. She worked at Hampshire College’s Early Learning Center, where she learned from the Reggio-Emilia approach. In 2013, she began working at The Cottage Garden, a Waldorf Pre-K, also in Amherst. Over the next few years she developed as a Waldorf educator and found a passion for Waldorf philosophy. She moved to Gainesville as a Licensed Assistant Teacher, in summer 2015 and began working with Class Two in fall 2015.
Lead Teacher Class 2, Katherine Fillie
Foundation Studies, 2014-2016
Waldorf Training, 2015
Master's Degree in English Education, University of Florida, 2004
Bachelor's Degree in English, University of Florida, 2002
Ms. Katie Fillie, was introduced to Waldorf Education in 2011 when she enrolled her oldest of two daughters at Morning Meadow Preschool. After years of teaching English in public schools, she has come to believe education, and the Waldorf model in particular, is the best opportunity we have as human beings to help create a more whole and balanced world.
In 2014-15, Ms. Fillie worked as a Heart Pine substitute teacher, and an assistant in Ms. Hagan’s 5th-grade class as preparation for becoming lead class teacher. Prior to working in Waldorf schools, Ms. Fillie specialized in secondary education in Florida schools for six years as an Intensive Reading and English Instructor at Vanguard High School in Ocala, Gainesville High School, and at Newsome High School in Lithia. Along with reading, and writing, music has always been one of Katie’s primary joys. Flute is her instrument of choice.
Lead Teacher, Class 3, Kaylyn Palella
Lead Teacher, Class 4, Zeyneb Akel
Training in Waldorf Education, 2015
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Portland State University, 2011
Bachelor of Arts, Portland State University, 2011
Associate Degree, University of Las Vegas Nevada, 2002
With a background and education in the fine arts, Ms. Akel is passionate about art and creativity. She believes that everyone has unique qualities that should be encouraged and supported. The Waldorf philosophy and methods put into practice in Heart Pine classrooms dovetailed with her interests, and she has dedicated herself toward a career in Waldorf teaching.
Her hobbies include cooking, gardening, reading, making photographs, hiking, and traveling to experience different cultures. She spent half of her childhood in Turkey, and is fluent in Turkish. She visits her family in Turkey every year and looks forward to visiting other countries as her schedule allows.
Lead Teacher Class 5, Roxanne Foster
Waldorf Teaching Certificate, Antioch University Northeast, 2014
Elementary Education Florida Teaching Certificate, 2009
MA in Counseling, University of Northern Colorado, 1992
Secondary Science Teaching Certificate, UNC at Greensboro, 1986
BA in Earth Studies, Appalachian State University, 1982
Ms. Foster has been committed to Waldorf education since her inspirational first encounter with it at the Charlottesville Waldorf School. She is particularly drawn to the experiential learning inherent in the Waldorf curriculum. She has been a teacher in both public and private schools in Alachua County, with experiences at Oak Hall and Metcalf Elementary. She began as an assistant at Heart Pine in 2011. Her commitment was deep, and she entered Waldorf teacher training that year, and has been working at Heart Pine ever since, now beginning her fifth year as a lead class teacher. She remains committed to the principle of experiential learning, and has incorporated it into her classroom though movement, art and music.
Roxanne grew up near Cleveland, Ohio and moved to North Carolina in high school. She first learned about Rudolf Steiner in the context of his work in agriculture and bio-dynamic farming in her undergraduate Earth Studies program. After reading Steiner’s book “Agriculture,” she helped transform a piece of the North Carolina mountains into a biodynamic farm using hand tools, and a mule plow.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Roxanne spent several years working with developmentally challenged adults in Boulder, Colorado, and worked with children and adults at the end-of-life in Hospice care in Lexington, KY, and in Gainesville. Roxanne has traveled extensively nationally and internationally and loves to read, paint, bike, and garden. She has two children, Jack and Bridget.
Middle School Lead Teacher, Wanda Kay Hagen
Waldorf Continuing Education, Sunbridge Institute, NY; ME; VT; MA; OR, 2000-present
Waldorf Foundation Studies, Suncoast Waldorf School, 2009
Elementary Education Florida State Teaching Certification, 1999
Bachelor of Art (summa cum laude), St. Leo University 1999
Associates Degree with honors from Santa Fe 1978
Wanda began her teaching career at the former Waldorf School of Gainesville in 1991, where she taught first grade and then a combined first/second grade. When that school closed, Wanda was asked by several families to become a home school teacher using the Waldorf curriculum. At Tall Pines Home School, she taught several sets of siblings over the years, kindergarten through 10th grade.
Wanda then spent some time teaching in both public schools and private schools, including Expressions Learning Academy and Trilogy as a middle-school language arts teacher, as well as a teacher of enrichment classes, including perspective drawing, gardening, watercolor, recorder, and puppetry for middle and high school.
For nearly two decades, the Florida Museum of Natural History has hired Ms. Hagan as a summer camp teacher in a wide range of topics such as, kitchen chemistry, migration, swamp life, squids, reptiles, and insects. She was again asked to be the homeschool teacher for a small group of families and soon that class quickly grew to 18 students and in 2011 became Heart Pine, a Waldorf-inspired private school.
Wanda, from Colorado, grew up on her family’s farm on the short grass prairie. There she spent as much time as possible outside, developing a great love for the natural world. After graduating from high school, her travels took her to Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida, where she met her soul mate, James Santangelo. They settled in the Melrose area and their son, Sequoia, was born in 1984.
Wanda enjoys travels with her husband, gardening and just being out in the natural world. She has a particular affinity for protecting wildlife, which is well-known and beloved by the children in her class.
Middle School Lead Teacher, Kevin Kless
Foundation Studies, 2014-2016
Continuing Teacher Education in Math and the Physical Sciences, Emerson Waldorf School N.C. 2015- Present
Florida State Middle School Teacher Certificate, 2014
National Academies of Science Fellow, summer 2007
MS, Physics, University of Florida, 2001
BS, Physics/Math, University of Florida, 1998
Mr. Kless, from Lancaster, PA, attended Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He has extensive experience teaching, including K-12 at Loga Springs Academy, Alachua County School District, and PK Yonge Developmental Research School. He has a strong passion for education and novel teaching tools, in particular Generative Learning and Waldorf Education.
Kevin has a strong background in scientific research and theory. He was commissioned as a Science Officer in the USAF from 2001-2006, where he studied, researched, and developed space and airborne sensors. The highlight of his service was the deployment and launching of a Defensive Surveillance Aerostat System credited for saving thousands of lives. Kevin studied and taught astronomy at Florida Atlantic University, and was accepted as a fellow at the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C.. He is a founder of Plowshare Eye, a nonprofit consortium that seeks to use airborne sensors for monitoring agricultural health and longevity.
Kevin has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. In addition, during his service in the U.S. Air Force, he traveled to Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar. He volunteers at the Veterans Affairs hospital. Kevin has played guitar for 20 years. He also enjoys writing adventure story lines for an Indie publishing group.
Spanish Teacher, Carlos Gafas
Music Teacher, Jacob Lawson
The multi-talented Mr. Lawson teaches strings to students in Class 3 through Class 7. As a music producer, composer and violinist, Lawson has worked in most aspects of the music business: produced CDs for international recording artists, composed music, played jazz, rock and classical violin in live venues and on recordings, and has taught violinists of all skill levels.
Administrator/Admissions Coordinator - Tamara Bish
Assistant Administrator - Nicole Goff
Administrator/Admissions Coordinator - Tamara Bish