Waldorf Institute of Southern California 

WISC Student Biographies, Los Angeles Campus Following are biographical sketches and resumés of WISC Los Angeles students who are working toward graduation this year.

This page may be especially helpful to Waldorf schools looking for qualified potential teachers to hire in the near future.
For inquiries, e-mail: office@waldorfteaching.org

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Clay Allen Clay Allen: I was introduced to Steiner/Waldorf education when I was hired as a classroom assistant for 1st and 2nd Grades at Pasadena Waldorf School in 2008. I knew nothing about Waldorf other than that it was progressive and alternative. Two weeks in, I wondered if everyone was crazy. Two months in, I realized that the seeds that had been planted were beginning to germinate. By the end of the term, I knew there was no other choice for my soon-to-be children.

I was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago and graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1999. I spent the early 2000s as writer, filmmaker, musician and teacher in Los Angeles, and then assumed stay-at-home duties when the first of our three children was born. As our children moved though the parent-child program at PWS, I became more deeply interested in anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy. When we decided to move to Colorado, I began the process of preparing to take a class through the grades and with great joy began training at WISC.

I live with my family at the foot of Mt. Sopris in Carbondale, Colorado, where I enjoy recreation and reverence in the outdoors, roller skating, playing instruments, throwing discs, yoga and dance.

yourfriendclay@gmaill.com   |   773-405-7164

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Kelli Craig Kelli Craig: I was born in a small farm community in Southern California, and grew up in Los Angeles. It was on my grandmas almond orchard in the summers that I learned handwork and gardening, took care of animals, and spent whole days wandering through the trees, listening to the sounds of nature and quiet. It is these memories that helped guide me to Waldorf education when my daughter was born.

I received a BA from CSUN, and majored in liberal studies and art. I have my early childhood units. I love drawing, storytelling, and experimenting with natural dye.

craigkelli@gmail.com   |   818-689-9502

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Zion Crosby My name is Zion Alexander Judah Wolfsong Crosby. I was born in Mission Viejo but soon moved to Humboldt and eventually Maui. The rich experiences I had as a child ignited an urge to explore the natural world and learn about diverse ways of living. I attended the Haleakalā Waldorf School from Kindergarten through third grade and then moved to California where I attended a Montessori school briefly and public school. The antipathy I felt towards the public school system strengthened my testimony for alternative forms of education such as Waldorf that worked on the whole human being.

While studying at Irvine Valley College, I started working as a playground supervisor for a public elementary school in Irvine. There my desire to work with early childhood was nurtured. I moved to Los Angeles and transferred to Pierce College where I am now in the process of transferring to Cal State Northridge with an AA-T. I briefly worked as a “teacher” for an after-school care program called Creative Kids in which I was given freedom to curate and lead my own activities with children ages 4-11.

I have been working at Urban Homeschoolers for over a year now where I work alongside Phillip Guest and other former Waldorf teachers as an assistant and substitute when necessary. I love working with early childhood and also have a strong passion for teaching history. I practice many forms of meditation and have a weekly hobby of hosting Dungeons and Dragons games for teens.

zioncrosby@gmail.com   |   949-836-5574

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Bobbie Gonzales Hello, my name is Bobbie Gonzales. I am the mother to four beautiful and intelligent young girls. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.

When the time came for my oldest to start school I confidently placed her in the care of two amazing women at the Pasadena Waldorf School. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The year my daughter started first grade, I started assisting in the second grade. That was fourteen years ago and since then I have assisted in 7 first grades, 3 second grades, as well as a few third grades and 2 fourth grades. I taught English to first through eighth grade at Colegio Yeccan Waldorf in Guanjuato, Mexico. I am currently assisting in the first and fifth grade classrooms at the Pasadena Waldorf School.

Teaching is what I love to do. Being in the company of children of all ages brings me genuine joy. For many years I ran from my natural calling, for seven years I worked as the sole biller for Los Angeles’ largest family planning clinic. As all things will sooner or later take their course three years ago I found myself enrolling at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC). Come graduation day I will be a Waldorf teacher with a certificate to prove it!

dancebilly@hotmail.com   |   562-556-0332

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Maria Raders Maria Raders: Teaching young children has been my passion for over 25 years. The road leading to the education of Rudolf Steiner has broadened my experience as a teacher and enhanced my spiritual growth. Anthroposophy has awakened my spirit of collaboration, discipline and focus and on each day bringing that dedication to my children at school.

I studied at Loyola/Marymount and received my early childhood degree through Santa Monica College and UCLA extension. I spent my early years teaching (23yrs) at a very dear school in Los Angeles. I proceeded to Westside Waldorf where I was an assistant for two years in their preschool. I look forward to completing my third year at WISC and feel very blessed to be now belonging to the Waldorf family.

riaraders@yahoo.com   |   323-719-1574

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John Edmund Parker John Edmund Parker: I began as an artist. When I was 11 years old I painted a portrait of my grandfather Rosato Marcoaldi when he died and it was presented to my Grandmother Angelina... I could hear her screams from our room where my five brothers slept with me. And to this day, the power of the painted image has stayed with me. I was drawn to the Waldorf teaching methods by their emphasis on learning through visual experiences, lessons taught through painting and modeling of which I have done quite a bit myself. I also enjoy connecting with children through singing and storytelling. As a scholar on a mystical journey through Rosicrucian and Masonic practice, I appreciate the vision of Rudolf Steiner that is the foundation of Waldorf Education.

jeparcher@gmail.com   |   323-493-0620

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Ririko Oshiro Ririko Oshiro: I grew up in a small sub-tropical island in the south-eastern part of Japan called Okinawa, which is about only 70 miles long and 7 miles wide. Although I loved the nature and friendly people there, I decided to leave the island to see the larger world when I was 19 years old. I chose the United States as my destination because of my interest in living in a more ethnically diverse place.

When I was doing Ethnic Studies at a graduate school in my mid-20s, I started thinking about freedom as my personal inner thought. I studied about the different communities of people whose lives and privileges are majorly limited by various outer factors such as economic and social status. I started wondering how we can be really free despite the situations and experiences that we had to face in this modern capitalist society because of our different backgrounds including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientations, class etc. None of the theories I read helped me to find an answer to the question.

Shortly after my first child was born, I discovered anthroposophy and Waldorf education. Then my journey for the inner work began, and I saw the path to the teaching gradually appearing in front me. As soon as I started my teacher’s training at WISC, I was given an opportunity to teach Japanese language at the Waldorf School of Orange County where for two years I found myself most energized being with the students, and I learned the joy of working as a team with the faculty and administrative staff. This year I started teaching handwork at Maple Village Waldorf School where my own children had been attending. I am so grateful that I can continue to teach and service the students. Through teaching at a Waldorf school and studying anthroposophy, I believe that I will be able to find an answer to my question.

lilieoshi@gmail.com   |   310-866-8318

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Maria Vega Maria Vega: I was born in Acapulco, Mexico. My family migrated to US when I was three years old, I loved the way my preschool was taught we had a play based preschool and it was lovely. When I began kindergarten in the US I missed my old school so much and wanted to go back. All my life I had asked myself what I needed to do to go back to my previous school setting. I never found the answer as a child, but I loved the outdoors and kept myself busy outside most of the time, playing jump rope and hop scotch. I worked 5 years in a creative curriculum school which I liked, but it was still not what I was looking for. My Waldorf journey began in 2014 at Pasadena Waldorf School, where I worked in preschool for 3 and a half years. There I met wonderful people and fell in love with Waldorf education. Then I became a one on one aid to a child with special needs in the first grade. This had a major impact in my Waldorf journey as I saw first-hand the impact it had on children - and on myself! I said to myself if this education did this for me as an adult, I can only imagine all the possibilities that it has for children.

I am also the mother of two young children Darey and Daleyza. My son Darey has been my motivation when it comes to school. I have learned so much from him and he amazes me every day. When I started WISC in 2016 I started to realize that everything I was looking for as a child has been placed in front of me and I was going to make every effort to teach people about Waldorf education. I would love to one day be part of a Waldorf school that is accessible to all.

yocsandy@icloud.com   |   323-594-0704

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Connie Vera Connie Vera: I am a Waldorf alumna (Highland Hall Waldorf School '02) who grew up in Southern California. I attended California State University, Northridge, graduating magna cum laude with a BA in Journalism and Public Relations and a Minor in Sociology.

For more than 14 years, I worked with various PR agencies and non-profit organizations in conjunction with high-profile clients within the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. After the birth of my first child, I became the Administrator for the Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC), which opened a door that inspired me to work more deeply in the educational field. During my time at WISC, I had two more children and ultimately followed my passion for education. I began working toward my Waldorf teacher certification and subsequently attended the University of Southern California (USC) where I received my MA in Teaching, summa cum laude.

In 2015, my family and I happily moved to Oregon and immediately fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. I am a lifelong learner who never misses a moment to learn more about people and life, giving credit to the blessing of having a Waldorf education. Currently, I am the High School Admissions and Alumni Relations Coordinator at Portland Waldorf School where my children also attend. I enjoy working with fiber arts, knitting, cooking, jogging, snowboarding and barre; but nothing tops spending quality time with my three lovely children and my best friend, Carlos, who happens to be my husband.

connie.y.vera@gmail.com   |   818-808-9947

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Terry Whitney Terry Whitney: I was born and raised in sunny Southern California. I have a B.A. in English with a minor in art from CSUN. I have a California State Clear Teaching Credential. I also have a CLAD credential.

I have worked at summer camps teaching arts and crafts since I was 13 years old. I worked for Disney for four years in various capacities. Then I was hired by Fortune Fashions and I created sportswear for Disney Parks, catalogs, and stores both in the United States and globally.

I began teaching in private schools, and I currently work for LAUSD teaching kindergarten. I am the kindergarten, TK and ETK grade level chair. I am also on my school's festival committee. I have worked for LAUSD for 19 years.

In my spare time I volunteer for the North Valley YMCA. I am a division manager for the YMCA's annual fund raising campaign. I help make food baskets to donate to people in need for Thanksgiving, I help organize the family activities, I was chief of the Papoose program (YMCA's family nation) for 3 years, I volunteer for a camp during the summer in Mammoth, which hosts campers with kidney disease, and help out the Y in any other capacity needed.

I have a wonderful family. I have a terrific daughter who currently attends Highland Hall Waldorf School. We enjoy camping, traveling, going to the beach, and crafting together.

terry.whitney@earthlink.net   |   818-919-4186

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Sushila Wood Sushila Wood: A writer and mother of three young children, I grew up in Australia and relocated to California over twelve years ago. I am currently completing my final year of training as a teacher of Waldorf Education.

I hold a Bachelor of Multimedia from Southern Cross University, majoring in marketing. My prior experience is primarily with non-profit organizations, focusing on marketing & brand development, production management for multi-camera live events and writing and producing educational materials.

I was always a good student as a child, and enjoyed my school experience. Looking back as an adult with several friends who had Waldorf educations, I decided I really wanted to understand Waldorf for myself and for my children. I am also keen to enrich adult learning with aspects of Waldorf education.

I believe that the biggest gifts we can give the next generation are multifaceted communication skills, a love of nature, love of learning and an understanding of our true nature as human beings, seekers of joy and peace.

For several years now I have focused on writing and teaching my children at home. I am currently cowriting a book with a medical doctor about dying well.

sushilala@gmail.com   |   805-401-2854

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