As is true with so many class teachers, I first became involved with Waldorf Education as a parent over 30 years ago. My daughter, Sharyn, attended the Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, Colorado and the Sacramento Waldorf High School in California.
I majored in Social Studies Education and English at the University of Texas, Austin and received my B.A. in Waldorf Education from Rudolf Steiner College (RSC) in 1993. During my three years of training at RSC, I took Goethean Studies and received my Waldorf certification for both grades and high school (Humanities).
I was very fortunate to have found my Waldorf home in the foothills East of Sacramento at Cedar Springs Waldorf School (CSWS). It was there in 1993 that I joined an amazingly gifted group of colleagues including Patti and Tim Connolly, Isabelle Tabacot, Ari Magruder-Cone, and Lauren Hickman. Together we created a faculty environment based on sharing our work, respect for the gifts of each one, decision making using a consensus model, and a love and appreciation of the other. During this time, I was truly blessed by both my colleagues and the students who graced my classroom.
Being a class teacher was certainly one of the richest experiences of my life. I learned so much from my students; they helped me grow and expand my horizons beyond anything I could have imagined. Even though I am still to this day introduced at weddings and baby showers as, “This is Mrs. Langley, my teacher.” I smile and say to myself, “No, you were mine.”
Besides taking a class 1st-8th grade and another 3rd -8th grade at CSWS, I have taught adult education courses at RSC and in the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. Some of these courses include: Study of Man, Classroom Management, Practicum Preparation, Parent Work, Nine-Year Change workshops, working with consensus, and numerous courses on the 1st- 8th grade curriculum. My newest offerings are literacy workshops based on my new book, The Roadmap to Literacy.
During the past two decades, I have also supported the Waldorf movement through school leadership workshops, faculty mentoring and evaluation, and as a member of the Anthroposophical Society and the Pedagogical Section.
My passion for supporting teachers, as they strive to bring quality and creativity into their profession, led me to collaborate on two major initiatives: I co-authored The Roadmap to Literacy: A Guide to Teaching Language Arts in Waldorf Schools Grades 1 through 3 with Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl and co-created www.waldorfinspirations.com with Patti Connolly.
In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with Jerry, my husband of over 45 years, spending time with my daughter (Sacramento Waldorf HS 1995 graduate), playing with my two grandsons, reading, swimming, photography, and exploring the natural world.
Similar to Janet, I became involved with Waldorf education when searching for the best education for my daughter, Emi. Since there was no Waldorf school in our area of the California foothills, I chose to homeschool her. A few years later my husband and I joined a small group of parents, which founded the Cedar Springs Waldorf School in 1989. I became the school's third class teacher in 1992 after pursuing my certificate in Waldorf Teacher Education at Rudolf Steiner College. I thought that this study coupled with my Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and a Liberal Studies B.A. from California State University, San Francisco would have me plenty prepared to teach. But wow, how humbling it was to become a Waldorf teacher who wants to bring creative, soulful lessons to her students every day!
Luckily I worked with incredible teachers who loved to support, collaborate and share with each other. Janet became a part of this “dream team” in 1993 as the next class teacher at the school. And since then the two of us have been immensely enriched and blessed by our collaborations.
Over the last 25 years, I have been a class teacher (taking one class through grades 1-8 and another through grades 1-3), kindergarten teacher (3 years), specialty teacher, pedagogical administrator, evaluator, mentor and adult educator at independent Waldorf schools. In the public education arena, I have worked with Journey School, one of the oldest public charter schools guided by the core principles of Waldorf education, as a teacher, mentor, evaluator and education director on and off from 2005-2016. I taught in the Public School Institute at Rudolf Steiner College for a number of years and have led 2-week summer curriculum workshops at both the Kona Pacific Public Charter School and Journey School.
Adult education is a great love of mine, and I have enjoyed developing and leading summer intensives at Rudolf Steiner College, the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, and Journey School with Janet and other esteemed Waldorf colleagues in recent years.
On an international level I have consulted with a UK-Aid education project in Nigeria, developing and leading training modules or professional development workshops for teachers and teacher trainers. Just last year I was the school mentor at the Creative Education Foundation of Zanzibar, a Waldorf initiative for disadvantaged children. I love learning more and more about creative, heart-centered teaching and helping others so that their journey of learning and teaching can be exciting and life-giving to them.
After graduating from Rudolf Steiner College in 1992 with Patti and Janet, I accepted the role of the 3rd grade class teacher of the lead class at Cedar Springs Waldorf School, which Patti and I helped found with about ten other families and Nancy Poer. I taught those dynamic students through to the completion of 8th grade.
Upon graduating that lead class at Cedar Springs in 1998, I moved into leadership roles as an administrator at the Rudolf Steiner College, High School Dean at the Sacramento Waldorf School, Administrative Director at three Waldorf schools, and, most recently, Co-Education Director at the Journey School with Patti. I have loved being able to continue teaching children during these years of administrative work – co-teaching a middle school class for the better part of two years through to graduation, guest teaching math track class teaching at a few Waldorf schools, and model teaching with new teachers in Zanzibar, Tanzania for a semester! I have consulted for schools and mentored teachers, as well as taught adult classes and lectured on a variety of topics. I can clearly say that I have been blessed to have this life of diverse opportunity in the Waldorf movement.
I love this education and how it benefits students, their families and the world. I could not be happier with the way it has served our own children, Waldorf graduates through 12th grade. Our daughter is now a global health pediatrician and our son is a software developer working with non-profits. I have had the good fortune of knowing so many Waldorf graduates who now serve the world in diverse and compassionate ways. My relationships with them only affirm my belief in the education, and continue to motivate me to become a better teacher, administrator and person.