Dr. Lucy Chartier learned about Waldorf Education in 1984 while a graduate student pursing a degree in Humanistic Education and Clinical Psychology. She was awaiting the birth of her first daughter and envisioned a different education for her children than what the mainstream approach was offering at the time. Looking for an education that would address the whole person and developing child, including nurturing the “inner life”, was important to her. An education that would not stifle a child’s enthusiasm, joy, and motivation and that would not promote the increased anxiety she was witnessing in school children was of paramount importance to her.
Lucy went on to co-found the Oakland Steiner School in Oakland County, Michigan in 1990, a school based on the principles of Waldorf Education. Later, she moved with her young family to Chapel Hill so they could attend the Emerson Waldorf School and be closer to Lucy’s family of origin. Her daughters graduated from Emerson Waldorf School after grade 8.
In 2018, Lucy co-founded Raleigh Oak Charter School. After the successful opening of that school, Lucy still held the vision to bring a school to Raleigh that could fully realize the principles of Waldorf Education utilizing the pedagogical indications of Rudolf Steiner without constraint of the NC Standard Course of Study.
The Waldorf teacher is inspired to create a balance between the three soul faculties: thinking, feeling, willing. Children are held in reverence and taught to respect themselves, all of humanity, and Mother Earth. Through this process children are guided to cultivate their innate strengths, to develop personal confidence, and to develop compassion for others. The learning process, too, is threefold, engaging head (thinking), heart (feeling), and hands (doing). Teachers nurture and engage children through a curriculum and methodology that integrates academics, arts and practical skills.
Lydia’s understanding and love of Waldorf education was born of her direct experience as a Waldorf student. Starting in an in-home Waldorf nursery school in Michigan, she then attended kindergarten at the Waldorf Kinder Haus in Southfield, Michigan and elementary school at the Oakland Steiner School, of which her mother was a founding member. After moving to North Carolina in 1993, Lydia completed 3rd through 8th grade at the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel hill. From there she moved on to an academically rigorous high school program at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, followed by earning two bachelor’s degrees (UNC-A and Duke). She was awarded a full Rotary academic scholarship which supported her earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from Auckland University in New Zealand. She earned a second Master’s degree in Nursing from University of South Alabama.
Today, Lydia is a Family Nurse Practitioner, with a background in general and geriatric primary care. Her current practice focuses on delivering primary care and medical management to patients with mental health and substance use disorders, in addition to developing practice for basic healthcare services including gender-affirming hormone therapy for the transgender community. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and two daughters, ages 5 and 7.
Lydia, along with her mother Dr. Lucy Chartier, was involved in the opening of Raleigh Oak Charter School. Her love of Waldorf education and her desire for her children and the community to have the full benefit of Steiner's pedagogy encouraged her to join in the development of The Unity School initiative.
HEATHER POWER (she/her/hers)
Heather Power has been an educator for over 15 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from Boston University, and a Master of Education from Antioch New England University with Waldorf Education specialization. She has held teaching positions at Monadnock Waldorf School, Cobb Meadow School, and was the director of a home-based Waldorf-inspired program called Summer Song School. Heather has a deep understanding and love of Waldorf education which she has developed by living into the philosophy both professionally and personally. She raised two children who attended Waldorf schools in New Hampshire where she and her family resided until 5 years ago, when they moved to sunny North Carolina.
Following her move to NC, Heather became involved with the effort to launch the Raleigh Oak Charter School, where she worked alongside Jamie Kelly as a lead kindergarten teacher, and as a mentor in the art of Waldorf principles of education to her fellow educators.
Heather joined The Unity School in it first year as Faculty Mentor, Chair of the College of Teachers, and to provide curriculum support. Heather is the lead teacher in the Bluebird class. She also heads the festivals committee, is a member of the Executive Council
Heather brings experience in Waldorf education and exceptional leadership.
TOMMY DALTON (he/him/his)
Tommy has served in the Raleigh business community since 1997 as a business developer and commercial real estate broker/ realtor. He is accomplished in the areas for teaching/training communication skills and public speaking, leadership development and professional relationship building, and business administration. Tommy served in the US Army Honor Guard and was a Command Staff Security Team Leader before serving the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia as an Executive Security Specialist. Tommy served on the Board of Directors of The Franciscan School and was an Eagle Scout. He joins us in support of the mission of The Unity School: to offer a unique opportunity for parents and children to become lifelong learners and appreciate education as a way to embrace others' differences, improve communication, respect other for who they are and gain confidence to express themselves without fear of discrimination or retribution.
Bridget Leibold holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Women’s Studies from SUNY Geneseo. She also holds an Associates Degree in Nursing and has been a Registered Nurse for over 18 years, specializing in medical cardiology and home health. Most recently, she held the position of Clinical Coordinator for the Office of Patient Experience, and managed the patient care complaints for the Mission Health System in Asheville, NC. Prior to beginning her nursing career, Bridget worked in various pre-schools and after school programs. She worked for The Charlton School for Girls in Burnt Hills, NY as a youth care worker in their residential treatment and special education program. Bridget learned of Waldorf Education through a friend who is a trained Waldorf teacher. Upon the birth of her own child, Bridget began a self guided exploration while her daughter attended a Waldorf preschool. Due to Covid-19 and school closures, Bridget homeschooled for one year using the Earthschooling online, Waldorf kindergarten curriculum, deepening her understanding and appreciation for Waldorf education in Early Childhood. Bridget currently holds the position of Early Childhood Teaching Assistant and brings a deep understanding of the Waldorf early childhood curriculum to her work in the classroom. Bridget is also the chair of our Parent Circle, volunteers with our school committees, and is a member of our Board of Directors. Bridget enjoys domestic and international travel. She served two years with the Peace Corps as a high school teacher in Malawi, Africa. She is self taught in needle felting and fiber arts, plays the violin, and enjoys hiking and camping with her family.
Leni Smith Covington discovered Waldorf education in 1975 as an infant teacher searching for holistic ways to nourish the young children at risk for developmental delays. She has been both a Waldorf teacher and a public school teacher for more than 30 years. She has taught infant education through grade 5 as a classroom teacher, both in-class and homebound, and served as a teacher of special-education, reading resource, and English-language learners; taught in the Charlottesville Waldorf School in both the Early Childhood program and grade school for 10 years; and taught at the Community School for Creative Education – a public charter Waldorf School in Oakland, California. Leni founded two private Waldorf preschools and has mentored Waldorf teachers in Xian, China and Raleigh, North Carolina.
She published her first book, THE SHOEMAKER AND THE ELVES, a retelling of the classic Grimms’ fairy tale, in May 2021. It is designed as a reading book for Waldorf and public school 2nd/3rd graders to develop vocabulary and comprehension. This fairy tale was chosen to portray poignant lessons of collaborative work, persistence, gratitude, and diligence, which are especially therapeutic in today’s world. Because of its literary value, this work is being translated into Spanish and Mandarin for Waldorf and other middle and high school students who are learning a second language.
Leni has a B.S. in Sociology from Kent State University, an M. Ed. from the University of Virginia in the field of Special Education, and Waldorf Certification from the AHE (Association for a Healing Education’s) Educational Support Program.
Leni has two sons and five grandchildren with whom she loves reading aloud. She enjoys gardening, kayaking, hiking, biking, reading, and writing.
Ana Quintana was born and educated in Puerto Rico. She developed an early interest in Waldorf education as she entered college. She was pulled to study business but envisioned herself as a teacher or founder of a Waldorf school at some time in her future. In fact, Ana had made plans to later open a Waldorf school in Puerto Rico when she was faced with a health crisis that brought her to Duke University Medical Center. Ana became well and decided to remain in North Carolina. She was invited to become the associate minister at Unity of the Triangle and, with her strong business acumen, has helped the church grow and build its now permanent home facility. Through the years, Ana has maintained her interest in Waldorf education and has envisioned a time when she could participate in the development of a Waldorf school. Ana brings her knowledge of business and economics to this school initiative and her spiritual guidance to help nurture and support the teachers and staff.