Advisory Board

Allegra Alessandri, EdD

A former Waldorf student, Allegra has been involved with Waldorf education most of her life. She is principal of the George Washington Carver High School for Arts and Sciences in Sacramento, which is inspired by Waldorf education. Beginning in 1994, she was the lead developer, founder and coordinator of the San Francisco Waldorf High School; in this capacity she developed the high school curriculum in alignment with University of California admission standards, recruited and hired teachers, developed outreach and marketing materials, developed the internship program, and generally oversaw all aspects of the developing high school. She also taught English and history and served as the school’s college counselor. Prior to her affiliation with the San Francisco Waldorf High School, Allegra worked as the high school coordinator for the Washington (D.C.) Waldorf School. She has written and lectured on the development of Waldorf high schools. Allegra earned her BA from Pomona College in Spanish Literature and Anthropology; her College Admissions and Career Counseling certificate from U.C. Berkeley; her MA in English Literature from Georgetown University; her Waldorf training certificate from Rudolf Steiner College; and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from U.C. Davis.

Daphne Amory

Daphne Amory is a biodynamic wine grower and consultant for Enterprise Vineyards Sonoma County, where she advises vineyards on their path towards biodynamic Demeter Certification. Previously, she was the owner of Amory Consultants, a multi-faceted wine consultant company specializing in market development for small European and American wineries, private collections, cellar development and wine education. Daphne studied Biodynamic Farming at Rudolf Steiner College and earned her BA from NYU. She has been a guest teacher at Stanford University. Daphne is the mother of two independently thinking children.

Bob Anderson, MA

Bob Anderson is Senior Assessment Specialist at WestEd, which specializes in assessment and accountability, providing technical assistance on NCLB standards, assessment, and accountability plans to California, the southwest and states throughout the nation. For sixteen years (1988-2004), Bob was a consultant and administrator in the Standards and Assessment Division of the California Department of Education, serving as a writer, editor, speaker, and program administrator, specializing in standards and assessment development, policy, and planning. He currently serves as a federal Peer Reviewer for NCLB state-level standards, assessment, and accountability systems. Bob was a lecturer, associate, and assistant professor in English and Comparative Literature at U.C. Davis from 1976-1978 and from 1983-1989. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Rudolf Steiner College. He received his BA in English from San Francisco State University, his 1970 MA in English Literature, University of California at Davis, 1982, and he advanced to Candidacy for Ph.D. in English Literature, University of California at Davis in 1985.

Bill Bindewald

Bill Bindewald has served for eleven years as the Administrator of the public Waldorf Stone Bridge School in Napa, California. Prior to this tenure, he served on the boards of Woodland Star Charter School and Cedar Springs Waldorf School. He served as board member and Treasurer of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, a national 501(c)3 corporation serving public schools inspired by Waldorf Education. Bill studied Engineering at San Jose Sate, business administration at Sacramento State and worked in engineering management at Intel for nineteen years. He studied Waldorf administration at Rudolf Steiner College.

Rachel Bishop, MA

Rachael, now retired, served for fourteen years as the Director of the Novato Charter School, the third public Waldorf charter in California. Rachael earned a BA in Art History and Ceramics from the University of Colorado, a BA in Psychology and California teaching credential from Sonoma State University, an MA in Human Development from Dominican University and her Waldorf training from Rudolf Steiner College. Prior to joining Novato Charter, Rachael taught grades 1-4 at Sonoma Valley Waldorf School and grades 1-4 at Sonoma Meadow Oaks Waldorf School. She is the mother of twins.

Peter Coughlan, PhD

Peter Coughlan, PhD, is leader of Transformation by Design, a practice within the IDEO design consultancy that specializes in helping organizations manage complex change using design tools and methods.  Peter plays a leading role in developing techniques for helping leaders to rethink organizational structures. He has worked with clients as diverse as public school districts, Internet start-ups, Native American tribes, chemical manufacturers, governmental funding agencies, multinational food companies, and healthcare organizations.  Peter holds a Ph.D from UCLA.

Nora Ching Courtright, MA

Nora Ching Courtright serves Credo as a development consultant to our Mandarin program. A native Chinese speaker, she earned her BA in Economics from National Taiwan University, and her MA in Asian Studies with a minor in Linguistics from Ohio State University, where she also completed coursework for a Ph.D. in Art History. In 1972, Nora began teaching East Asian Language and Literature at Ohio State, where she received the prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award in 1975. In 1979, she joined the Office of the Governor and International Trade Division for the State of Ohio. She led the first American government trade mission to China (and subsequently five other such missions) and established the Hubei Province-State of Ohio sister relationship, the first such relationship between China and the U.S. From 1983-1987 Nora served as the World Trade Manager for the State of Ohio.  From 1987-2002 she was founder, owner and president of Ching and Associates, Inc., a trading and consulting firm in the field of international trade with an emphasis on China to government and private industry. Now retired, Nora brings her expertise in Chinese language and culture in service to Credo High.

Pooran Desai

Pooran Desai studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities before co-founding Bioregional Development Group in 1994. He has worked on Bioregional projects and enterprises in sustainable forestry (woodland management and products), farming (reviving the lavender industry of south London), recycling (converting tree surgery waste into biomass for energy) and real estate development. In 1997 he initiated the BedZED project, which in turn led him to initiate the One Planet Living concept.  He has since worked to implement One Planet Living principles in projects around the world, including SOMO Village in Rohnert Park, where Credo will be housed.  Pooran has also worked on policy, chairing the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ advisory group. He was voted in the UK’s top five most influential people in construction for the decade in 2010, received a 2009 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and a World Economic Forum 2011 Schwab Award as European Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

Terri Ellis, PhD

Terri Ellis served as Lead Process Developer for Credo High School for the three yars of preparation prior to opening the school. Then she served on the Credo board of Directors for 30 months. Terri is an Organizational Development professional with twenty years experience in consulting to corporations,nonprofits and schools. Her work includes personal and executive coaching, training design and delivery, culture measure and analysis, facilitation of complex issues, change management and strategy clarification and implementation. Terri has worked extensively with education, healthcare, executive and leadership teams, manufacturing and financial services organizations. She earned her BA in Psychology from Prescott College, her MA in Psychology from the Institute for Imaginal Studies and is completing her Ph.D. in Psychology from Meridian University.

Joe Glorfield, MBA

Joe Glorfield is currently a partner in TBL, a private equity firm specializing in social finance, and formerly Vice President of RSF Social Finance in San Francisco. Joe has considerable organizational, development and finance experience, having led, as chief executive, two large non-profit medical specialty camps and family centers through successful start-up efforts. As part of a family of eight camps worldwide founded by actor Paul Newman, Joe helped the camps raise a combined $50 million to serve children with serious illness at state-of-the-art facilities. He is also the co-founder and former chief executive of the nation's largest organic craft beer company, Wolaver's Organic Ales. Joe currently serves on the board of directors of Social Venture Network. A Waldorf parent, Joe served on the board of the Yuba River Charter School Foundation and was an early contributor to the founding of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education. Joe earned both a BS in Finance and MBA from the University of Florida.

Nina S. Gorbach, MS

Nina is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Sonoma, CA and has worked with children, teens, and families for more than forty years through the arts, education and counseling.  Holding a BS in Fine Arts from UC Berkeley and a MS in Counseling Education from San Diego State University, she received her Waldorf Education at Emerson College, England, her Eurythmy diploma in Dornach, Switzerland, and Curative Eurythmy Certificate in England. Teaching art and Eurythmy in public schools and private Waldorf schools, she also worked in special education in Camphill, England and in Chicago’s inner city at Esperanza School, training with Dr. Traute Page.  For the past 22 years Nina has worked in schools, hospices, and social service agencies, developing programs in the field of Death, Dying and Bereavement. In 2000, she founded Sonoma’s WillMar Center for Bereaved Children, designed to serve children and teens who have lost loved ones or have family members with life-changing illness; Nina served as Executive Director for seven years. Valuing multi-cultural and generational experiences, Nina has taught people of all ages in the U.S., England, Scotland, Italy, Spain and Hungary. As an artist, teacher, and counselor, Nina lectures, facilitates groups and consults for universities and training centers in the U.S.  She is a member of CAMFT, The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists; ADEC, The Association of Death, Education and Counseling; The National Association of Poetry Therapy and The Poetry Foundation. She is a volunteer tutor for the Sonoma County Literacy Program. What has remained close to her heart throughout her career is her passion for the arts, children, and Steiner Education.  Nina is a professional portrait artist and is currently writing a book on her work with grieving children.

Trathen Heckman

Trathen Heckman is the founder and Executive Director of Daily Acts, an award-winning nonprofit organization in Petaluma, which empowers individuals by providing hands-on sustainability education and resources to build skills and strengthen communities. Trathen is also board president of Transitions, U.S best online casino canada., publisher of Ripples Journal, rormer director of Green Sangha and a backyard farmer. Trathen inspires, educates and collaborates with communities, business and municipal leaders to harness the power of nature and inspired action to restore the health of our lives and communities. He lives in the Petaluma River Watershed where he grows food, medicine and wonder while working to compost apathy and lack.

Kenneth Melia

Kenneth Melia was one of the pioneering teachers at Sacramento Waldorf High School and Summerfield Waldorf High School and served on the faculty of each school and taught in each original ninth grade in its first year. He has been an instructor at Rudolf Steiner College, The Nature Institute, Rudolf Steiner Institute and The Center for Educational Renewal. Kenneth has been teaching for over thirty years. He studied at Southern Connecticut, University of Connecticut and Auburn University and completed a course in Waldorf training at Emerson College in England. He worked with biologists Wolfganf Schad, Jochen Bockmuhl and Thomas Goebel at the original Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany and at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. He worked for a year teaching at the Centro Reginal de Estudios de Alternativas Rurales (CREAR) in the mountains of the Dominican Republic near the Haitian border. Kenneth brings his extensive experience in Waldorf high school science education in support of Credo.

Paul Minney, JD, Legal Counsel

Paul Minney is a partner of the law firm Spector, Middleton, Young and Minney, LLP in Sacramento. Paul has been involved in the charter school development process sine the adoption of the Charter Schools Act in 1992. Paul has drafted charter petitions, memorandums of understanding, nonprofit corporate and tax applications, bylaws, leases, employment contracts, personnel policies and other documents necessary to successfully operate a charter school. In addition, Paul has litigated many issues regarding the Charter Schools Act of 1992. He is a frequent speaker at charter school events, and he has authored many articles about charter school law. Paul graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law and received his BA in Economics from U.C. Berkeley. Paul is formerly an appointed member of the California State Superintendent’s Charter School Advisory Committee and currently a member of the California Charter Schools Association Legal Defense Fund Advisory Committee.

Matthew Morgan

Matthew is Executive Director of Live Oak Charter School, a K-8 public charter in Petaluma, California. Matthew taught in middle and high school for over a decade before becoming a public school administrator. The majority of Matthew's professional career was spent with the Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District, his alma mater. He earned his BA in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University and holds Science, History, and Administrative Service Credentials. Matthew lives in Sebastopol with his wife and three children.

Mark Nicholson, PhD, MBA

Mark Nicholson has been a leadership and organizational consultant and management coach for thirteen years and was formerly a partner in Alexander, the KU firm that pioneer coaching organizations. He earned his MA from Oxford, his MBA from Stanford and is currently a PhD candidate in Psychology from the Institute for Imaginal Studies. He serves on the faculties of the Kennedy School Executive Education Program at Harvard University, of Stanford Continuing Studies, of Esalen Institute and of The Academy for the Love of Learning. 

Susan Oson, MA

Susan Olson is a financial planner who served for eight years as the Executive Director of the Sebastopol Independent Charter School, a K-8 Waldorf-inspired school in Sebastopol, CA. Previously, she served as the Administrator of the Pasadena Waldorf School. Susan earned her BA in Political Science and Education from Carleton College; an MA in Geography/African studies from UCLA; and MS in Human Resource Design and Organizational Psychology from Claremont Graduate University; and a Foundation Studies certificate in Waldorf Education from New England Waldorf Teacher Training Center. She was a founding board member of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, a national network of public Waldorf schools and educators, and served as the north coast region Member Council Representative of the California Charter Schools Association. Susan served on the Credo High development team and as President of the Credo High School Board of Directors.

Ida Oberman, PhD

Ida Oberman is the director of the Community School for Creative Education, a K-8 charter school inspired by Waldorf education in Oakland, California. She is former Director of Research and Evaluation at Springboard Schools. Her previous professional responsibilities have included: program officer for education at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, classroom teacher for a decade, and co-founder of a Waldorf public school in Harlem's District three. Dutch-born and Waldorf educated in Germany, Ida received her Waldorf training in Stuttgart, her BA from Swarthmore and her Ph.D. in Education from Stanford. Ida has conducted extensive research on the effectiveness of public school inspired by Waldorf education, and she is a frequent author and lecturer on this topic. 

Sheila Reilly

Sheila Reilly became the Administrator of Woodland Star Charter School in Sonoma in 2008. Prior to taking the helm, she served as Assistant Administrator during which time she oversaw charter renewal for the school and managed the school’s accreditation, making Woodland Star the first WASC accredited Waldorf-inspired charter school in California. Sheila earned her BA in Marketing from Eastern Illinois University, her RN degree from Santa Rosa Junior College, her Waldorf Foundation Year from Rudolf Steiner College; and she is an MBA candidate at Sonoma State University. Prior to joining Woodland Star, Sheila owned and managed small businesses with responsibilities including operations, finance, human resources, marketing and new business development. 

Mark Rice, MS

Mark Rice is a founder and former parent of the public Waldorf Sun Ridge Charter School in Sebastopol, California, where he has served as Director for twleve years until retiring in 2015. Mark earned his BS in Child Development from the University of California at Davis and an MS in Special Education from of the University of Oregon. Prior to serving at Sun Ridge, Mark was Director of Service for Adults with Developmental Disabilities at Santa Rosa Junior College, and he worked in Special Education in the Cotati Rohnert Park School District for sixteen years.

Bonnie River, MA

Bonnie River serves as Director of Teacher Preparation, Hybrid Program and Director of Advanced Studies in Waldorf, Hybrid Program at Rudolf Steiner College, where she plays a lead role in educating teachers for public schools inspired by Waldorf education. With more than 30 years experience in teaching, Bonnie brings a wealth of insight and innovative approaches to meeting children’s needs. Bonnie has taught in public schools, Montessori schools, and, mainly, Waldorf schools. She has founded two Waldorf schools; and she has been an innovative consultant to many others. She has been a keynote speaker at many international educational conferences and is highly regarded as a pioneer in the effort to bring therapeutic and compassionate interventions into Waldorf school settings. Bonnie has served as a delegate for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, and she now serves on the board of directors of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education. Bonnie currently serves as the accreditation specialist at Rudolf Steiner College. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of La Verne.

Adele Santana, PhD

Adele Santana, Pd.D., teaches in the Professional MBA program and undergraduate business college at Sonoma State University. She also represents SSU in the annual Sustainable Industries Conference at SOMO Village. Previously, Dr. Santana taught at the University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration. Dr. Santana received her PhD. in Strategy, Business Environment, Ethics, and Public Policy from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School, her M.S. in Business Administration and MBA from Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and her B.S. in Engineering from Pontíficia Universidade Católica in Campinas, Brazil. She is the mother of a Credo High graduate and a former member of the Credo Board of Directors.

Betty Staley

Betty Staley has been a Waldorf teacher for over thirty-five years. She directs the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program at Rudolf Steiner College, and is a consultant to the George Washington Carver High School for Arts and Sciences in Sacramento, to the Peninsula Waldorf High School initiative in Los Altos and the Desert Marigold Charter High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Betty was a founder and long-time teacher at the Sacramento Waldorf High School. In addition, she has been active in programs for public school teachers and teachers of at-risk students. She lectures widely on Waldorf education, specializing in the middle-school and high school grades, and has published several books on this subject and other aspects of Waldorf eucation. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education.

Will Stapp, MPH

Will Stapp is Business Administrator at the Marin Waldorf School. Will served for five years as the president of the Allaince for Public Waldorf Education and was founding Executive Director of the Live Oak Charter School in Petaluma, CA. His background is in youth work and community organizing. He was in turn, the Chairman and then the Coordinator of the Marin County Youth Commission where he developed a Youth Grants and Leadership Training Program funded by the Marin Community Foundation. He is a farmer, jeweler and a musician by avocation. Will holds a Masters Degree in Public Health Education from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sam Stier, MS

Sam Stier is the founding Executive Director of the nonprofit Learning With Nature, which promotes biomimicry education. He also currently serves as faculty mentor of Otis College of Art & design. He previously served as Director of K-12 & Non-formal Education for The Biomimicry Institute. Sam has more than twelve years experience working on ecological education, wildlife conservation, and environmental policy. Sam began teaching as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines, conducting outdoor, inquiry-based ecological education, and then worked with 1st, 4th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers in the U.S. developing and testing outdoor, inquiry-based curricula as a National Science Foundation Fellow. With The Biomimicry Institute, he worked on science curricula development for young people ages 3-18, now being used in schools across the country. Regionally, for example, a collaboration with the Montana Natural History Center introduces over 1,000 elementary students in forty-five classrooms per year to biomimicry through an outdoor learning program. Sam has an undergraduate degree from Brown University in Communications and graduate degree from the University of Montana in Natural Resource Conservation and Management.

Geof Syphers

Geof Syphers is committed to the principle of living well, within our means. He serves CEO of Sonoma Clean Power and, formerly,as Chief Sustainability Officer for Codding Enterprises, a Sonoma County developer and property management firm, where he manages the company’s environmental and social initiatives and helps with the planning of a deeply sustainable mixed-use community. He brings practical experience earned as the founding director of the Green Building Services Group at KEMA, an international consulting firm. Under his directorship, KEMA consulted on 160 construction projects, from homeless shelters to airports, including 40 LEED buildings. Geof is regularly interviewed for media stories, and is a frequent presenter at conferences and on college campuses. He is a founding member of the Frogsong cohousing community in Cotati, California, where he lives with his wife. He is a registered mechanical engineer, and a LEED Accredited Professional with degrees in applied physics and solar energy engineering. He bikes to work.

Chris Topham, MA

Chris has served as Executive Director of Sebastopol Charter School since 2013.  Prior to arriving, he served as the Lower School Coordinator at Summerfield Waldorf School and spent fifteen years of Waldorf. He earned a BA in Public Relations from Pepperdine University, MA in Education Leadership from Sonoma State University, a California Teaching Credential from Dominican University, Waldorf Education Teaching Credential from Rudolf Steiner College and an Education Administration Services Credential from Sonoma State University. He and his wife have three children, all Waldorf students.

Jana Waldinger

Jana Waldinger currently serves as the President for the Napa County Office of Education. A professional photographer and videographer, Jana is a Waldorf parent with great enthusiasm for the high school project.