Leland Rayner has a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies from the University of South Carolina and a certification in Waldorf Education from Antioch 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 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 certification 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 has loved teaching middle school and has learned immensely through his work with this class as well as mentors and colleagues.
He is excited to continue with his Waldorf teaching in a new venture in North Carolina while finishing his MEd. He is eager to help form this new Waldorf 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's acceptance of a position with The Unity School has infused a renewed momentum as we steadily work to open the doors. His enthusiasm for education and the Waldorf curriculum is both inspiring and refreshing. He is a steady and calming presence, who 's mindfulness and clarity of action and word will hold our first grade class with a gentle strength we are excited to watch.
Jamie Kelly holds a Master in Education 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 based preschool program in Apex, NC. While there, her growing passion for Waldorf education lead 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 then went on to become one of four lead kindergarten teachers at Raleigh Oak Charter School, were she worked to integrate Waldorf 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 privileged, and so very excited, that Jamie has decided to join The Unity School, bringing her abundance of talent and immense love of educating young children in the Waldorf tradition to our incoming mixed age kindergarten class.
Heather has been an educator for over 15 years. She holds a BA in Environmental Science from Boston University, and a M. Ed from Antioch New England University with Waldorf Education. She has held teaching positions at Monadnock Waldorf School, Cobb Meadow School, and ran an in home Waldorf 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 school 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 then worked along side Jamie Kelly as a lead kindergarten teacher, and as a mentor in the art of Waldorf principles of education to her fellow educators.
Heather joins The Unity School in this first year as Faculty Mentor, and to provide curriculum support. In this role, her many years of experience will enhance the strengths of our first grade and kindergarten teachers. Heather also brings with her a magnificent talent for the arts, such as Waldorf puppetry, handwork, and watercolor painting-other ways she will provide support to our teachers.
Heather will serve as our primary substitute teacher, will head the festivals committee, organize and lead book study groups, as well as parent education events.
Then, in our second year, we are over-the-moon to say that Heather will be taking the rising first grade class as lead teacher. We could not be more thrilled to have this loving, patient, and knowledgeable teacher with us through this first year, and already prepared to shepherd The Unity School's second cohort of children.
We are now scheduling virtual meetings via Zoom with interested parents who would like to speak with our teachers. Meetings will be scheduled for groups and with individual parents as requested. Of course we would prefer to be meeting in person, and will do so as soon as we are able! Please email us to schedule a teacher meeting or with any questions: Theunityschool2020@gmail.com
Our goal is to cultivate a vibrant, connected, and involved parent community dedicated to the overall well-being of our students, and to the principles of Waldorf education. We will have many opportunities for parent volunteers both in and outside the classroom. All volunteers will be required to complete a background check.
Specific volunteer opportunities will include:
Regular parent volunteers interested in assisting the kindergarten class, chaperones/ transportation for field trips and outings, and assistance for recess times and certain activities such as gardening.
Please indicate on your application if you are interested in being a parent volunteer!
In the the Waldorf curriculum, they aren't really "specials," but rather a fundamental part of the education. Handwork develops dexterity, visual -spacial awareness, fine motor skills, creativity, basic math, not to mention patience and perseverance! In later grades, these skills are further developed by woodworking and coppersmithing. Movement forms, such as the traditional eurythmy, teaches control over the body, gross motor skills, and connects sound to movement, enhancing the understanding of phonetics. Molding, watercolor painting, puppet shows, playing the recorder, singing, and languages-each contribute to and enhance academic learning in ways which engage children and create a solid foundation on which to build for the rest of their lives.
Our teachers will provide these fundamental parts of a curriculum inspired by Waldorf education. We are excited to be able to offer Mandarin Chinese this year, which will be taught by our language teacher. Kindergartners will begin with lots of singing, movement, puppet shows, recitation from memory and beeswax modeling. In first grade they will continue to build on these skills, and add learning to play the recorder, and knit