Teacher Staff Bios

Lisa Stafford, Kindergarten Teacher Lisa Stafford Lisa Stafford

Lisa Stratford was born the middle child of 3, flanked by brothers and raised outside of Denver, Colorado. Some of her favorite earliest memories include golden aspens, towering snowy peaks, fields of blue columbines and cozy nights huddled close to a crackling woodstove. The semi-rural community she grew up in provided opportunities for raising pigs and turkeys, planting and caring for a huge garden, and winter ice-skating and summer tubing on the nearby irrigation ponds and ditches.

In 1992, a dear friend convinced her to take the summer off to head north to Alaska in the hopes of making their fortunes working in a salmon cannery. Two weeks in Alaska were enough to convince Lisa to head back to Denver, pack all her belongings (including an avocado plant and a frisky ferret named Thor) into a Volkswagen van and transplant to Alaska for good.

Lisa began her formal journey in teaching in 1993 and many of her early teaching experiences found her in forests and along the beaches, with children in tow, exploring, discovering and marveling at the mysteries they found along the way. From the Alaska State Parks Junior Ranger program, to Lead Naturalist at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies to environmental intern at the Campbell Creek Science Center, Lisa found great joy in sharing discoveries of the natural world with children of all ages, from preschoolers to retirees.

Following the granting of her BA in Biological Sciences, emphasis in Botany and the births of their two daughters, Lisa and husband Peter moved to Northern Idaho. The family spent 8 gloriously sun filled years there and only in 2010 finally moved back to Alaska. While in Idaho Lisa had the opportunity to earn her K-8 Elementary Teaching Certificate, to further her botanical knowledge and work experience, and to enjoy the magic white sand beaches of Idaho Rivers.

Lisa is grateful for the opportunity to deepen her understanding of the Waldorf approach to teaching and since 2012, has been honored to be the Kindergarten teacher in at Winterberry Charter School. Her journey toward deepening her understanding of Waldorf Early Childhood Education is in its infancy; all she sees and learns is new and exciting and she has recently embarked on a formal course of study in this realm with the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy.

Lisa’s days are full of the golden sunshine of children’s smiling faces, they teach her how to be present in the moment and how to view the world through eyes filled with joy.

Jeremy Crawford, Grade Two Teacher

Jeremy Crawford was born and raised in Anchorage, and attended pubic school (K-12) here. His parents were both teachers, his mother at the elementary level, and his father high school. Mr. Crawford attended the elder Mr. Crawford’s Philosophy class in high school, and learned a good lesson in ethics: having forgotten to complete the final essay of the course, he received a B grade, despite having a definite “in” with the teacher. Steeped in education, Mr. Crawford swore it off forever as a profession (especially Middle School), and left for college in Gunnison, Colorado (BA, Biology). There, influenced by sunny winters and the beauty of cross-country ski racing, he found that he loved his freedom, and found himself a good education in a rather bad school, skied his heart out, and found true love.

He and his wife, Devon, honeymooned on the Alaska Highway then settled into paradise (it really was, for them!): Fairbanks, AK, where Mr. Crawford studied creative writing at UAF (MFA, Creative Writing). He and his wife also learned a thing or two about the cold and the dark (for one thing, you get to see lots of Northern Lights!)

Despite his earlier decision to never go into teaching, it turns out that teaching really is in Mr. Crawford’s blood. Waldorf education in particular was always somewhere in his heart, even though he did not know it. When he was studying to be a teacher, he was always drawn to the ideas that Waldorf education rests upon—he just didn’t realize that there was really a place for him as a teacher! Still, he knew one thing: you can’t teach unless you have students, and you can’t do good in the world unless you try, so he went ahead and got his teaching certificate, hoping to change some of the things that he had learned about in his studies. Slowly, Mr. Crawford and Waldorf education snuck up on one another, until one spring afternoon in 2005, as he was teaching his second graders at Roger’s Park Elementary School, just down the road from here, in walked… Ms. Mall! She was the principal of a brand new school (so new, in fact, that it did not really even exist yet), and she was there to meet him, and see how he taught. And the rest, as they say, is history. Mr. Crawford has taught at Winterberry since the 2005-06 school year, and he is currently teaching the most fantastic group of sixth graders that could ever be dreamed up. He is looking forward to two more fantastic years with this class, and then plans to take up a first grade and go through the amazing journey one more time.

Mr. Crawford and his wife, Devon, have a son, North, who is a student at Winterberry.

Emily Becker, Grade Three Teacher

Kristen Seiff, Grade Four TeacherKristen Seiff 250 x 250

The words “lifelong learner” describe Ms. Seiff perfectly. She grew up in Colorado and Idaho and spent Her childhood exploring the outdoors, learning about the natural world. To balance Her outdoor interests, she took ballet and jazz and still enjoy dancing. She learned to quilt, knit, garden and rebuild the motor of her first Volkswagen. She went on to live in many parts of the United States and has visited 28 countries. For two years she taught fifth grade in Saint Michael, AK, a small village on Norton Sound

Ms. Seiff has one daughter, named Rachel.  The rest of her Alaska family includes Tilly, a black and white cat, and George, a Bassett Hound who was adopted when she moved to Anchorage. The rest of her family lives in Colorado. 

Robert Dyer, Grade Four Teacher

Robert Mr. Robert Dyer was born and raised in many points between the Midwest and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where his family lived for three years. He pursued a classical education and sought instruction in music and foreign languages from an early age. To help support himself during school, he worked as a busboy, dishwasher and waiter in a local French restaurant. After graduating from Loyola University in 1999, he began working in Chicago’s demanding commodity futures markets, serving a variety of domestic and foreign clients in managing complex futures positions and risk. In 2006 Dyer left Chicago to launch his dream of operating his own professional diving operation. After three years of exciting diving, albeit mixed success amidst the turmoil of Thailand’s military coup and political instability, he chose to return to the United States. Home would certainly not be the cacophony of Chicago, and a visit to Alaska in 2008 ignited an interest in the Last Frontier. Although Alaska was everything he had envisioned, Dyer knew that his career lay not in a cubicle but in working with his community. After many months’ soul-searching, Dyer concluded that teaching was the best way to make a contribution, and sought out a teaching program aligned with his philosophy. Alaska Pacific University’s Active Learning method appealed to him, and Dyer took up teaching with relish. After a practicum in a district public school, Dyer learned from a colleague about Rudolf Steiner’s ideology as presented in the Winterberry Charter School. He immediately sought out knowledge and experience from that school and its teachers, and has been rapt in his study of Steiner ever since.

Mr. Dyer is very pleased to join the Winterberry Charter School community, and considers the school the pinnacle of elementary education here in Anchorage. The unique blend of structure, team synergy, and community make Winterberry very special and a joyful place to behold. Mr. Dyer’s academic passions include poetry, geometry and classical studies. Beyond his professional pursuits, Dyer still travels widely and actively practices soccer, triathlon, bowhunting, fishing, woodworking and a variety of musical instruments.

Sarah Glaser, Grade Five TeacherSarah Glasser Sarah Glasser

Sarah Glaser was born in Ft. Lewis Washington and moved frequently between stateside and overseas as a child while her father served in the US Army. During her own elementary years, she attended a variety of schools and classrooms across the U.S., Germany, and Japan. After graduating from Dimond High School, she enlisted in the US Air Force and served six years maintaining F-15 avionics systems and managing the deployment program for her squadron. She met her husband, Aaron, while in the Air Force and they have been happily married since 2005.

During her last two years on Active Duty she began taking night classes at UAA working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education; something she had felt drawn to since working as a mentor with struggling students at her last duty station. After the Air Force, Sarah attended UAA full-time and earned her Bachelor degree in Elementary Education in 2012. During that time, she was introduced to Waldorf Education while taking outdoor leadership courses and knew immediately she would pursue a career as a Waldorf teacher.

She feels very fortunate to be working as part of the Winterberry team to help education students’ heads, hearts, and hands!

And…despite what other bio’s may say, she is the reigning champion of the 1st annual guacamole contest.

Corrie Bennett, Grade Six Teacher

Ms. Bennett was born in southern Oregon and grew up in western Washington. After graduating from high school in Mt. Vernon, WA, she headed to Thailand for a year.  While in Thailand she worked as an English teacher’s aid in a small town in the northeast. Upon her return to the states, she began working towards her teaching certification.

 

Ms. Bennett took a break from school to be at home with her two children, Ona and Oliver.  When her eldest, Ona, was nearing kindergarten age Ms. Bennett discovered Waldorf education. That following year her family moved to Anchorage, the same year Winterberry Charter school opened. Ona attended kindergarten at Winterberry in that very first year. Since that time, Ms. Bennett’s daughter has graduated from Winterberry and her son will be graduating this year.

 

Ms. Bennett received her teaching certification, magna cum laude, from Alaska Pacific University in 2011. She is currently teaching sixth grade and has been with incredible group since 2013.

 

Gratitude is the vessel that we lift to the gods, that they may fill it with their wonder gifts.

~Rudolf Steiner

Sandy Christenson, Grade Seven Teacher

Sandy Christenson was born in Massachusetts, and has spent her entire life living all over the United States and England. She attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she earned a B.A. in English and a. M.Ed. (Master of Education).

After graduation, Ms. Christenson worked at a small private school for adolescents with emotional disturbances. She then followed her dream of living in Wyoming where she taught high school English in a very small and remote town. She decided to settle there permanently until she met her husband, Craig, who was active duty in the Air Force. Her first move with the military was to Idaho. There, she taught sixth grade. Subsequent military moves brought her to Oklahoma and Texas where she and her husband had their son, Lane, and daughter, Katie. One final military move brought them to Alaska. This great state captured the hearts of the entire family, and Craig retied from the Air Force so they could finally put down roots.

As Lane and Katie both reached school age, Ms. Christenson ventured back into teaching and pursued education to become a Highly Qualified Teacher in elementary education to add to her certifications in middle school and high school language arts. She spent the past two years as a substitute including long-term assignments in fifth grade and kindergarten.

Ms. Christenson was first exposed to Waldorf education four years ago, and upon learning of Winterberry, picked this school as her ideal teaching assignment. She has happily handed over the day-to-day operations of her composting worm business to her husband.

Ms. Christenson, her husband, and their two children currently live with their dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, numerous chickens, several fish, and a few million composting worms. Lane currently attends school at Winterberry, and Katie hopes to attend in the near future. When he is not elbow-deep in worms, Dr. Christenson spends his free time mushing and dreams of one day entering the Iditarod. Together, the family enjoys hiking, backpacking, hunting, dip netting, crafting, reading, crafts, and games.

Molly Towner, Grade One Teacher