Heather 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 4 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. In this role, her many years of experience enhances the strengths of our first grade and kindergarten teachers. She has a magnificent talent for the arts, such as puppetry, handwork, and watercolor painting-other ways she provides support to our teachers. Heather is the handwork teacher and serves as our primary substitute teacher. She also heads the festivals committee, organizes and leads book study groups, as well as parent education events.
We appreciate the depth and breadth of Heather's experience in Waldorf education.
Jamie Kelly holds a Master of Education degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she concentrated her research on Waldorf Education. She began her teaching journey as a preschool teacher at Christ Church in downtown Raleigh. After learning about Waldorf education, she left to become the lead teacher of Sun Star Farm's transitional kindergarten, a Waldorf-inspired preschool program in Apex, NC. While there, her growing passion for Waldorf education led her to serve on the founding board of directors of the Raleigh Oak Charter School, demonstrating vision and leadership as one of her many talents. Following her board tenure, Jamie become one of four lead kindergarten teachers at Raleigh Oak Charter School, where she worked to integrate Waldorf-inspired methods of teaching into public education.
Jamie is a passionate, dedicated teacher who brings joy to her class children, works collaboratively with their families, and altogether embodies the spirit of Waldorf principles. Jamie plans to continue her studies working towards a certification in Waldorf Education over the next several years.
We are pleased to have Jamie nurturing the children in our Early Childhood program. She brings an abundance of talent and immense love of educating young children in the Waldorf-inspired tradition to our mixed age kindergarten class.
EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSISTANT
Danielle Larkin has worked with children and families as an early childhood educator and social worker since 2006. She studied psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, and then completed her Masters of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. Danielle was a lead preschool teacher at The School of Grace for the past 4 years, a play based program in Raleigh. Danielle was also on the board at The School of Grace for 3 years, and worked with colleagues to promote racial equity in the program and classroom. Danielle began exploring early childhood theories, including Walforf education, after her two children were born. She also began implementing Waldorf methods at home and creating a Waldorf inspired classroom at preschool. As a previous social worker at the University of North Carolina, Danielle has experience working collaboratively with children and families and connecting families with resources in their community.
In her free time, Danielle enjoys being outdoors, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and two children. Danielle looks forward to joining the community of teachers, children and families at The Unity School and helping nurture and educate the whole child.
Patricia Minick has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University with a minor in theater. Her interests in the arts have always been a part of her life. She began exploring through nature studies and theater at an early age which brought her to studying the theater arts and education. Patricia has a combined experience of 16 years of teaching. During this time she has had the opportunity to work with children from early childhood through sixth grade including working with students with special needs. These teaching experiences include working in a variety of academic settings in both public and private sectors spanning four states. Following these years, after her first daughter was born, Patricia began a self-study of Waldorf education and anthroposophy, working with Life Ways of North America studying the Waldorf approach to early childhood, attending Sun Star Farm School, hosting and leading a Waldorf-inspired home Play garden, attending Waldorf Homeschooling conferences, and collaborating and leading local events with the Triangle Waldorf Homeschooling Organization. Over this time she gained a wealth of experience while working with her mixed aged children in her home. Most recently, Patricia taught 2nd grade at Raleigh Oak Charter School. While Embarking on the study of Waldorf philosophy, Patricia found she was called 'home." The holistic approach Waldorf Education provides resonated fully with what she had always been seeking as an educator. This fit beautifully into her home life with her children and community. She is grateful to now have the opportunity to share, grow and teach as the first grade teacher at the Unity School. When not teaching, Patricia enjoys spending time with her children, family, and community, exploring art, reading, playing guitar, practicing yoga, running, hiking, and gardening. Patricia is dedicated to Waldorf Inspired education and is excited to embark on this journey with the first grade class of The Unity School.
Leland Rayner has a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies from the University of South Carolina and a Certificate in Waldorf Education from Antioch New England University. His interests in music began at a young age, learning first the viola, followed by the guitar and piano. His love of music ultimately brought him to the double bass and jazz improvisation He spent several years as a professional freelance musician in Charleston, South Carolina. While teaching music lessons under the same roof as a newly founded Waldorf-inspired initiative in Charleston, Leland struck up a friendship with the school's founder. He quickly realized that Waldorf Education spoke deeply to his own instincts as an educator. It was at this time that he committed not only to a path of serving children, but also to one of spiritual development. In 2018 he moved north to pursue his Waldorf teacher training, and Masters of Education at Antioch University in Keene, New Hampshire. It was upon completion of his Waldorf teacher certification program in the summer of 2019 that he was asked to step into a full time teaching position in a mixed 7th/8th grade classroom at the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene. He loved teaching middle school and learned immensely through his work with this class as well as mentors and colleagues. He is excited to continue teaching in a new venture in North Carolina while finishing his M.Ed. Leland eagerly helped form this new Waldorf-inspired initiative in Raleigh, putting down roots close to his home town of Spartanburg, South Carolina. In his free time he enjoys running (and is currently training to complete his second marathon), hiking, playing his upright bass, reading and spending time with loved ones .
Leland is dedicated to Waldorf-inspired education. He is a steady and calming presence, whose mindfulness and clarity of action and word holds our first grade class with a gentle strength.
"Becoming a Waldorf teacher requires a willingness to learn–and so to teach–in an entirely new way. Rather than teaching students familiar answers, a Waldorf educator teaches them to ask unfamiliar questions. Instead of teaching from concepts to experiences or examples of these concepts–for instance, from rule of grammar to examples of the rule, or from a principle of physics to evidence of this principle in the lab–the Waldorf educator teaches the other way around: from experience to concept. Sometimes this approach is called the “discovery method” of teaching, or a “phenomena-based education”. This approach to teaching may take longer, but its results last a life time.
Becoming a Waldorf teacher requires an ability not only to teach through the arts but to teach artistically so that each lesson is not only beautifully crafted but authentic. "
-Center for Anthroposophy