Lee Young, Principal
Lee Young was born and raised in Washington State. Mr. Young attended Central Washington University where he earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Mr. Young earned his Masters Degree in Education from the University of Portland and his principal’s certificate from Portland State University. In the early years when Mr. Young was a schoolteacher he would drive logging trucks in the summer. After teaching and becoming a principal in Washington State, Mr. Young and his young family moved to Alaska in 1998. In addition to being a school principal Mr. Young is a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay during the summer.
Lisa Stratford, Kindergarten Teacher
Lisa grew up in a semi-rural community outside of Denver, Colorado and on a whim made her way to Alaska in 1992.
She graduated in 2000 from the University of Alaska, Anchorage with a BA in Biological Sciences, minor in Geology. Lisa earned her K-8 Elementary Education teaching certification from the University of Idaho in 2009 and completed her Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certification in 2016 from the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy in Vancouver, BC Canada.
Teaching and learning have been strong treads in Lisa’s life and she has enjoyed working as an environmental educator, a naturalist and sea kayak guide, a botanist and botanical specimens curator, a special education teaching assistant, an education mentor and the mother of two daughters.
Lisa has been the kindergarten teacher at Winterberry since 2012 and delights in coming to know the “littlest ones” and their parents at the very beginning of their journey at Winterberry. The children teach her how to be present in the moment and how to view the world through eyes filled with joy, the parents teach her the true meaning of self-less dedication and love.
Lisa finds renewal and delight in being in the mountains and by the sea and in sowing seeds and nurturing them as they grow. She loves swimming and yoga as cherished physical activities.
Her favorite quote is: “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” ~ John O’Donohue
Jeremy Crawford, Grade One
Jeremy Crawford was born and raised in Anchorage, and attended pubic school (K-12) here. His parents were both teachers, his mother at the elementary level, and his father high school. Mr. Crawford attended the elder Mr. Crawford’s Philosophy class in high school, and learned a good lesson in ethics: having forgotten to complete the final essay of the course, he received a B grade, despite having a definite “in” with the teacher. Steeped in education, Mr. Crawford swore it off forever as a profession (especially Middle School), and left for college in Gunnison, Colorado (BA, Biology). There, influenced by sunny winters and the beauty of cross-country ski racing, he found that he loved his freedom, and found himself a good education in a rather bad school, skied his heart out, and found true love.
He and his wife, Devon, honeymooned on the Alaska Highway then settled into paradise (it really was, for them!): Fairbanks, AK, where Mr. Crawford studied creative writing at UAF (MFA, Creative Writing). He and his wife also learned a thing or two about the cold and the dark (for one thing, you get to see lots of Northern Lights!)
Despite his earlier decision to never go into teaching, it turns out that teaching really is in Mr. Crawford’s blood. Waldorf education in particular was always somewhere in his heart, even though he did not know it. When he was studying to be a teacher, he was always drawn to the ideas that Waldorf education rests upon—he just didn’t realize that there was really a place for him as a teacher! Still, he knew one thing: you can’t teach unless you have students, and you can’t do good in the world unless you try, so he went ahead and got his teaching certificate, hoping to change some of the things that he had learned about in his studies. Slowly, Mr. Crawford and Waldorf education snuck up on one another, until one spring afternoon in 2005, as he was teaching his second graders at Roger’s Park Elementary School, just down the road from here, in walked… Ms. Mall! She was the principal of a brand new school (so new, in fact, that it did not really even exist yet), and she was there to meet him, and see how he taught. And the rest, as they say, is history. Mr. Crawford has taught at Winterberry since the 2005-06 school year, and he is currently teaching the most fantastic group of sixth graders that could ever be dreamed up. He is looking forward to two more fantastic years with this class, and then plans to take up a first grade and go through the amazing journey one more time.
Mr. Crawford and his wife, Devon, have a son, North, who is a first grader at Winterberry.
Kristen Seiff, Grade Three
The words “lifelong learner” describe Ms. Seiff perfectly. She grew up in Colorado and Idaho and spent Her childhood exploring the outdoors, learning about the natural world. To balance Her outdoor interests, she took ballet and jazz and still enjoy dancing. She learned to quilt, knit, garden and rebuild the motor of her first Volkswagen. She went on to live in many parts of the United States and has visited 28 countries. For two years she taught fifth grade in Saint Michael, AK, a small village on Norton Sound
Ms. Seiff has one daughter, named Rachel, who is 23. The rest of mher Alaska family includes Tilly, a 5-year-old black and white cat, and George, a 7-year-old Bassett hound who was just adopted. The rest of her family lives in Colorado. She visits them each summer.
Robert Dyer, Grade Four
Robert Mr. Robert Dyer was born and raised in many points between the Midwest and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where his family lived for three years. He pursued a classical education and sought instruction in music and foreign languages from an early age. To help support himself during school, he worked as a busboy, dishwasher and waiter in a local French restaurant. After graduating from Loyola University in 1999, he began working in Chicago’s demanding commodity futures markets, serving a variety of domestic and foreign clients in managing complex futures positions and risk. In 2006 Dyer left Chicago to launch his dream of operating his own professional diving operation. After three years of exciting diving, albeit mixed success amidst the turmoil of Thailand’s military coup and political instability, he chose to return to the United States. Home would certainly not be the cacophony of Chicago, and a visit to Alaska in 2008 ignited an interest in the Last Frontier. Although Alaska was everything he had envisioned, Dyer knew that his career lay not in a cubicle but in working with his community. After many months’ soul-searching, Dyer concluded that teaching was the best way to make a contribution, and sought out a teaching program aligned with his philosophy. Alaska Pacific University’s Active Learning method appealed to him, and Dyer took up teaching with relish. After a practicum in a district public school, Dyer learned from a colleague about Rudolf Steiner’s ideology as presented in the Winterberry Charter School. He immediately sought out knowledge and experience from that school and its teachers, and has been rapt in his study of Steiner ever since.
Mr. Dyer is very pleased to join the Winterberry Charter School community, and considers the school the pinnacle of elementary education here in Anchorage. The unique blend of structure, team synergy, and community make Winterberry very special and a joyful place to behold. Mr. Dyer’s academic passions include poetry, geometry and classical studies. Beyond his professional pursuits, Dyer still travels widely and actively practices soccer, triathlon, bowhunting, fishing, woodworking and a variety of musical instruments.
Sarah Glaser, Grade Five
Sarah Glaser was born in Ft. Lewis Washington and moved frequently between stateside and overseas as a child while her father served in the US Army. During her own elementary years, she attended a variety of schools and classrooms across the U.S., Germany, and Japan. After graduating from Dimond High School, she enlisted in the US Air Force and served six years maintaining F-15 avionics systems and managing the deployment program for her squadron. She met her husband, Aaron, while in the Air Force and they have been happily married since 2005.
During her last two years on Active Duty she began taking night classes at UAA working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education; something she had felt drawn to since working as a mentor with struggling students at her last duty station. After the Air Force, Sarah attended UAA full-time and earned her Bachelor degree in Elementary Education in 2012. During that time, she was introduced to Waldorf Education while taking outdoor leadership courses and knew immediately she would pursue a career as a Waldorf teacher.
She feels very fortunate to be working as part of the Winterberry team to help education students’ heads, hearts, and hands!
And…despite what other bio’s may say, she is the reigning champion of the 1st annual guacamole contest.
Sandy Christenson, Grade Seven
Sandy Christenson was born in Massachusetts, and has spent her entire life living all over the United States and England. She attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she earned a B.A. in English and a. M.Ed. (Master of Education).
After graduation, Ms. Christenson worked at a small private school for adolescents with emotional disturbances. She then followed her dream of living in Wyoming where she taught high school English in a very small and remote town. She decided to settle there permanently until she met her husband, Craig, who was active duty in the Air Force. Her first move with the military was to Idaho. There, she taught sixth grade. Subsequent military moves brought her to Oklahoma and Texas where she and her husband had their son, Lane, and daughter, Katie. One final military move brought them to Alaska. This great state captured the hearts of the entire family, and Craig retied from the Air Force so they could finally put down roots.
As Lane and Katie both reached school age, Ms. Christenson ventured back into teaching and pursued education to become a Highly Qualified Teacher in elementary education to add to her certifications in middle school and high school language arts. She spent the past two years as a substitute including long-term assignments in fifth grade and kindergarten.
Ms. Christenson was first exposed to Waldorf education four years ago, and upon learning of Winterberry, picked this school as her ideal teaching assignment. She has happily handed over the day-to-day operations of her composting worm business to her husband.
Ms. Christenson, her husband, and their two children currently live with their dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, numerous chickens, several fish, and a few million composting worms. Lane currently attends school at Winterberry, and Katie hopes to attend in the near future. When he is not elbow-deep in worms, Dr. Christenson spends his free time mushing and dreams of one day entering the Iditarod. Together, the family enjoys hiking, backpacking, hunting, dip netting, crafting, reading, crafts, and games.
Sarah Robicheaux, Handwork
Sarah Robicheaux, Winterberry’s handwork instructor, grew up outside of Boston, and has made her way West and North through the years; from Colorado to Oregon and finally to Alaska with her husband, Todd, arriving in 1990. She holds an Associate of Science degree in Solar Engineering Technology from Colorado Technical College, and a Bachelors Degree in Architecture from the University of Oregon. A licensed architect with 20 years of practice, she has made a rewarding and refreshing change in becoming the Handwork Instructor at Winterberry.
Having practiced handwork starting at age seven she is skilled in knitting, spinning, felting, quilting, clothing sewing, embroidery, dying and more recently, crochet. She is happy to share these skills with the students of Winterberry as handwork is both a gift to the individual in the form of useful and meaningful skills and a gift to the community in the form of shared cultural tradition and connection. Throughout her life she has been drawn to visual composition and aesthetics, with fibrous materials being her primary means to express her love of pattern, color and appreciation for the richness and beauty of natural materials.
Both of her children, Max and Mary, are Winterberry graduates. They attended Winterberry from its first year of operation through 8th grade. During that time, Sarah had an active role as a parent volunteer. Sarah loves her family, likes to ski, hike, grow veggies and pet her cats.
Emily Baker, Spanish Teacher
Emily Baker, Winterberry’s Spanish Teacher, was born in Anchorage and attended public education in the Anchorage School District. After graduating from Chugiak High School, Emily attended college at Western Washington University in Bellingham to study Spanish language and Humanities. As part of her undergraduate studies Emily spent six months in Cádiz, Spain with the University of Washington and traveling Europe.
In 2008 Emily enrolled in the University of Alaska’s Masters in the Art of Teaching program and graduated in 2011. Her first teaching position with the Anchorage School District was teaching Spanish and Language Arts at Bartlett High School. Emily was at Bartlett for four years teaching elementary and advanced Spanish classes. When Emily saw that Winterberry was starting a Spanish program she was eager to learn more about Winterberry and its students.
Emily is excited to begin her journey in Waldorf education. In her free time she enjoys horseback riding, walking her dogs, hiking, singing, and reading. Emily currently lives in Chugiak with her husband, two dogs, two horses, and a cat.
Natalie Britton, Teacher’s Assistant
Natalie Britton was born in Orange, California, and raised in Seattle, Washington. Throughout elementary, junior high, and high school, she enjoyed drawing pictures, writing stories, playing music, participating in sports, and acting in plays and musicals. Due to her love for the arts and her passion for working with children, she majored in Fine & Applied Arts in Elementary Education at Seattle Pacific University.
After teaching third grade in Everett, Washington, she and her husband moved to Busan, South Korea to teach English. Subsequently, they moved to Iliamna, Alaska, where Natalie taught kindergarten to a class of five students. The next year, they moved to San Diego, California, to pursue a job opportunity for Natalie’s husband. After living in Southern California for a year, they longed to return to Alaska and grow permanent roots.
Upon discovering Winterberry Charter School, Natalie knew she had found her calling. Every aspect of Waldorf Education aligns perfectly with her educational philosophies. Her truest hopes are to create beauty in the world, to connect with her community, and to inspire and enliven her students. At Winterberry, Natalie has found she can fulfill all three wishes.
Natalie lives in Anchorage with her husband, Tyler, and her spoiled cat, Louie. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, attending concerts and plays, running, spending time outdoors, and frequenting cafes and bookstores with those she loves.
Natalie is thrilled to be a part of the Winterberry family and looks forward to the joy and growth-filled years to come with her extraordinary students.
Alicia Besh Barber, Enrichment Coordinator & Waldorf Teacher Resource Support
Alicia Besh Barber was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Ms. Barber attended the University of Montana, where she received her undergraduate degree in English Literature with an emphasis in poetry. During this time, she also received her Montana State Structure Fire Fighter Certification and worked for Frenchtown Rural Fire Department while going to school. She became a poet by day and fire fighter by night, winning the University of Montana Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. During her senior year of college, Ms. Barber completed a term of study in London, England. Post graduation, Ms. Barber solo toured on her bicycle up the Alaska-Canada Highway to return to Alaska, where she discovered Waldorf Education at Winterberry Charter School and started work as a Teacher’s Assistant. With the vision of returning back to Alaska as a Waldorf Teacher, she matriculated at the Antioch New England Graduate School receiving her Masters in Teaching and Waldorf Education.
Returning again to Alaska, Ms. Barber was hired as the Fifth Grade Teacher at Winterberry Charter School, taking her class to their eighth grade graduation. Ms. Barber then looped down the grades to teach the first and second grades. Now, as mother of two girls, Ms Barber coordinates enrichment opportunities for teachers, parents and the community that reflects Waldorf pedagogy. She provides support for teachers to help deepen Waldorf practices. Ms. Barber looks forward towards fostering the growth of Waldorf Education in her community every year.
[More bios to come.]