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Waldorf Handwork Educators

Who WHE Are

We began in 2013 as a small group holding in person summer conferences in a retreat setting in Southern California for anyone who self-identifies as a teacher of handwork in a Waldorf environment. In 2018 we held our first February conference, in 2019 our first homeschool conference, and in 2020 our first Austral-Asian conference. Our organization has evolved over the years! In order to meet changing needs, we pivoted to online conferences in July 2020. With this new growth came a new name, and a renewed purpose.

Today Waldorf Handwork Educators has expanded to offer a wide variety of programs. In addition to our July and February conferences we now offer professional development opportunities, handwork skills classes for home-based learning and new teachers, and a two-year handwork teacher training program. We also offer handwork curriculum for homeschoolers and new teachers in classroom settings. Offering these programs online allows us to welcome colleagues from around the world, creating space to learn from the diversity of our shared experiences.

Waldorf Handwork Educators is dedicated to:

 - Offering the highest quality, forward-thinking professional development and teacher training for handwork teachers in Waldorf schools and other educational settings.

- Bringing the Waldorf Handwork curriculum to homeschooling parents and home-based programs who seek to bring handwork to their children in an effective, lively, and developmentally appropriate way.

- Working collaboratively with Waldorf handwork teachers around the world to establish an international peer-learning network.

- Balancing the outpouring of the school year by reconnecting with colleagues and rediscovering balance, passion, and purpose.

- Offering online programs to increase accessibility for handwork teachers worldwide.

- A reputation for warmth, acceptance, and collaborative, respectful group dynamics. 

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Our Community


Founders and Directors

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Elizabeth Seward

Elizabeth Seward has 35+ years teaching Handwork and other subjects in public, private, and homeschool Waldorf settings. She was co-director of a nationally recognized Waldorf teacher training institute from 2000 - 2003. Elizabeth is a trained Waldorf class teacher in the grades. She holds a PhD in Education, an MA in second language learning, and an MA in Education and Spirituality. She is author of Teaching Through Stories: Jane and Jeremy Learn to Knit


Shellie Smith

Shellie Smith has been an educator in public and private schools for 20+ years. She taught handwork grades 1-8 at the Haleakala Waldorf School on Maui for 12 years. Shellie completed her Waldorf handwork teacher training at the Rudolf Steiner College. She holds a BA in social work and a BA in education. She is author and illustrator of A Twisted Tangled Tale , A Handwork Fairy Tale

Core Faculty

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Betty Staley

Betty Staley has been a Waldorf teacher for over fifty years in kindergarten, grades, and high school. Betty taught handwork in her first years of teaching, and has been a member of our core handwork teacher training faculty since Day One. As one of the founders of Rudolf Steiner College, she directed the High School Teacher Education Program and taught foundations courses in Anthroposophy. Betty helped to found a number of Waldorf high schools. She consults with Waldorf schools (public and private) and is an international lecturer on Waldorf education, adolescence, and parenting.  She is the author of eight books including two on adolescence - Between Form and Freedom and Adolescence, the Sacred Passage. Her newest book, Tending the Spark, Lighting the Future for Middle School Students, has been a study topic in many schools.



Sven Saar

Sven Saar gained his Waldorf Teaching diploma as a very young man. After moving to England, he worked as a class teacher for 30 years, eight of those in Germany. He also taught in the High School, specialising in history and drama. Now he works full time in Teacher Education and is on the faculty of several courses and universities in the UK and abroad. Sven gives lectures and seminars internationally and works as an active mentor and advisor to schools and teachers in Britain, Germany, Asia and Africa. He is a co-founder of Waldorf Modern Teacher Education UK.


Yoriko Yamamoto

Yoriko Yamamoto (she/her) was born and raised in Tokyo. 

She teaches Handwork in the San Francisco Waldorf School. She also teaches Japanese folk toy art, Temari, using cotton thread she dyes herself using many plants from the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from Yokohama National University (BA), San Francisco State University (MA) and Rudolf Steiner College Handwork Teacher Training.


Dahlia Haberman

Dahlia has been an educator all her adult life, starting as  a preschool teacher in 1980 in a Kibbutz in Israel. Currently she has been teaching Handwork to grades 1-8,  in the Davis Waldorf School, Davis, CA, since 2005. 

Dahlia completed her Handwork Teacher Training in Israel in the School of Education, Oranim and in the Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks. Dahlia comes from a long line of makers and her life mission is to empower children and adults to become creative makers.


Camille McHaffie

Camille McHaffie teaches handwork at the Edinburgh Steiner School in Scotland and oversees the school’s costume department. She earned her B.A. in English and German in the U.S. and later trained as a class teacher in the Edinburgh Steiner Teacher Training Course, subsequently completing her Handwork Teacher Training in
Berlin, Germany. Camille’s current area of research focus is the early development of the Steiner-Waldorf handwork curriculum at the time of Hedwig Hauck and how that influences the current teaching of handwork. Her other areas of interest are quilting,
developing her pattern making skills and learning how to repair treadles.


Jodie Jean Marston-Arellano

Jodie Jean Marston-Arellano grew up performing bluegrass and folk music in the Sierra Nevada of California. She has taught handwork, music, and pre-school, with training as a Waldorf Handwork Educator through the Rudolf Steiner College of Sacramento.  Jodie Jean lives in Talent, Oregon at Wildflower Farm, where she raises a small flock of sheep and sells handspun yarns. She teaches guitar, voice, and songwriting lessons from her home studio.


Guest Teachers

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Kevin Avison

Kevin trained as a "mainstream teacher" in the 1970s & taught in Secondary & Primary schools before moving to Steiner education via a (curative) "home-school" for children with multiple special needs. From there, Kevin moved into Waldorf education, teaching classes in three UK Waldorf schools. He worked for the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (the UK Waldorf association) full time after leaving teaching, establishing the Steiner Waldorf Advisory Service & travelling regularly to schools throughout UK & Ireland. He was for a number of years UK representative to the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education. He is author of "A Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers" & an editor of "Towards Creative Teaching", "Tasks & Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum" & author of the introduction to the most recent edition of Karl Stockmeyer's compilation of Rudolf Steiner's indications for the first Waldorf School. Now retired, he serves on the governing Council for Elmfield Steiner School, responsible for teaching & learning. He and his wife Jane, a Waldorf school administrator, have two grown-up, Waldorf educated children, now in their 40s.

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Theodora Mason

Theodora was an integral part of the Sanderling Waldorf School in Southern California. Theodora developed and taught the handwork and movement program for 1st - 8th grade students. She then taught movement at the Portland Waldorf School from 1st -12th grade. She is now beginning a new teaching adventure at Living Oaks in Texas Hill Country. Theodora has over twenty years of teaching experience, with over sixteen of them teaching children in a Waldorf school.


Theodora is a graduate of level l and an ongoing student in the level ll and lll Spacial Dynamics training program, certified in Bothmer gymnastics, a life-long yoga practitioner and a certified instructor. She understands the vital importance of an education that supports and encourages each child’s development as a free human being. 

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Ania Kubik

Ania Kubik has been teaching in independent Waldorf schools in Southern California for 20 years as a class teacher, handwork teacher and art specialist, and is currently mentoring teachers and teaching art at Waldorf-inspired Ocean Charter School in Marina del Rey.

She earned her Bachelor of Art degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Waldorf certificate at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC). She is a faculty member at WISC, teaching art to teacher education students since 2011 and recorder since 2020.

Her mission is to guide students through the intellectual understanding of manual projects imbued with beauty, meaning and imagination while guiding them in making discoveries and allowing themselves to be joyfully artistic through self-acceptance.

Ania enjoys outdoor recreation with family and friends and is proud to be descended from parents who were refugees from Poland during World War II and later immigrated to America.

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Emily Maclean

Emily Maclean has been a speech artist and therapeutic speech practitioner for over 16 years, working as a Steiner/Waldorf Teacher Trainer and private therapist for children and adults. She has taught languages in Steiner/Waldorf Schools and State schools for over 28 years. She holds the following qualifications: MEd, Steiner/Waldorf (Antioch University); MA, (Duquesne University); BA (Carnegie-Mellon University); Creative Speech and Drama Diploma, (Artemis School of Speech and Drama); Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama, (Trinity College); Anthroposophic Therapeutic Speech Diploma (The Goetheanum). She is a registered member of The Association of Anthroposophic Therapeutic Arts and The General Teaching Council of Scotland.


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Melissa Koeneman - Business Manager

Melissa Koeneman lives on the island of Maui with her husband and two young children, a son, William, and a daughter, Adelynn. She is originally from Portland, Oregon, although she has lived in Hawaii for 10 years and, prior to that, resided in Traverse City, Michigan. She has been involved with education for 10 years and Waldorf Education since 2016. Her husband is a Waldorf middle school teacher and her son is a Waldorf preschool student. She has a degree in business and, aside from Waldorf Handwork Educators, has a small agricultural business that she runs with her family. She loves farming and homesteading, children and animals, decorating and holidays, and spending quality time with her growing family.


Joanna Hody - Registrar

Joanna Hody lives among the pines in the beautiful heart of North Carolina with her wife, two children, and three dogs. She’s a North Carolina native and loves exploring the beaches and mountains with her family. Joanna graduated from North Carolina State University with a BS in Middle Grades English and History and taught in public schools before finding her way to Waldorf. An avid quilter, Joanna taught sewing to all grades after school and jumped at the opportunity to be a founding teacher at the public Waldorf Charter that opened in Raleigh in 2018. She fell head over heels in love with Handwork and proudly completed her Waldorf Handwork Certification with WHE in 2022.  While her summers are spent poolside coaching swim team, you are equally likely to find her snuggled up with a book and a dog, doing yoga, testing out delicious vegan recipes, or painting!

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Monica De Francisco - Student Mentor and Teaching Assistant

Monica has taught high school Social Studies for 8 years before having kids and discovering Waldorf education and rediscovering handwork.  Before returning to the classroom officially, she volunteered in her children's Handwork classes, led the parent crafting group and taught doll making to adults at Pasadena Waldorf School.  She was the Handwork Assistant at PWS for 4 years and taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade Handwork at Ocean Charter School for 2 years.  She completed the WHE program in 2022 and did the Foundations training with Betty Staley and Rudolf Steiner College around 2012.  This school year, she is stepping back from teaching to complete a supplemental Art credential so that she can continue to bring Handwork to public school students.  She loves reflecting on teaching and learning and is looking forward to supporting other Handwork teachers!


Aparna Basu - Website Design & Development

A web and graphic designer for over 21 years, Aparna is passionate about bringing thoughts to life - creating websites and visuals for businesses, organizations, or individuals. A seasoned professional, she analyzes websites for usability and accessibility issues, and develops search strategies, project scope, promotional plans, SEO, and brand advertising strategies.

Aparna also loves teaching, and is currently part of “thread a joy” that focuses on teaching handwork to kids and everyone. She is a part-time handwork teacher at an International school in Goa. A graduate from Delhi University, she also completed her teacher training course with Waldorf Handwork Educators in 2023.

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