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.
Silvia is an entrepreneur who focuses on hospitality and loves creating escapes for the community.
She is a co-owner and co-founder of Sushi Note, LA; the former assistant manager & hostess of the party at Augustine Wine Bar, LA; and co-founder of Blo Salon, Raleigh. The medium, whether it was wine, sushi, or a great hairstyle, was, and is always, about giving guests an escape from the norm to connect and reset, by immersing them in an experience other than work or home life.
Her next passion is to support local individuals and organizations that have a special contribution to offer the community and to give support to those that need community.
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.
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.