Who does what at Alabama Waldorf School?
Waldorf schools do not have a traditional hierarchical structure. Instead they are composed of three interrelated spheres: the Board of Trustees, the Faculty and the Administrative staff, and the Family Association (similar to a PTA). All have as their top priority the welfare of the children.
The Faculty — Nursery, Kindergarten, Grades, Subject, and Extended Care — is primarily responsible for bringing the content and principles of the Waldorf curriculum to life in the classrooms. The various programs have representation on the College of Teachers which holds the spiritual and practical ideals of the school and facilitates communication between the different teams.
The Administrative Staff is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school — finance, enrollment, development, operations, public relations and marketing. The administrative staff ensures compliance to governmental and accreditation standards.
Administrator, Lisa Grupe, Ph.D., has a doctorate in Developmental Psychology and joined AWS faculty first as a kindergarten teacher. She completed her Waldorf Grades certification in 2003 and graduated a Grades class in May of 2009. In April of 2009, Dr. Grupe completed the Waldorf Administrative Certification program a year after starting as the School Administrator in 2010.
Admissions Director, Rachel Baay, joined the Administrative Team in 2011 after spending 2 very active years on the Marketing Committee. She is the mopther of one alum and one son in the Grades program. After serving as Community Development Liaison, she became Admissions Director in 2014.
Marketing Director, Cassia Kesler, has worked in marketing and advertising for 15 years, as an account executive, creative director and freelance copywriter. Her children have been attending AWS since 2009, and are currently enrolled in the Grades program.
Finance, Terri Reece, owner of Reece Bookkeeping Services, LLC, keeps the finances at Alabama Waldorf School under control. Her extensive expertise with both people and Quickbooks make her a valuable asset to the Admin team.
Development Officer Brianna Payne is also AWS's Movement Teacher. She works tirelessly on the school's many necessary fundraisers and on donor stewardship.
Faculty Chair Emily Hoppe is also AWS's Music Teacher. She spends countless hours planning meetings, onboarding substitutes, and managing the faculty function at our school.
The Family Association is composed of parents/guardians of enrolled students and meets throughout the school year. Active parent involvement is encouraged and welcomed. The FA communicates through the room parents (elected representatives for each class), and organizes activities such as fundraisers and community work days to benefit the school.
F.A. Officers for 2019-20
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is entrusted with making sound fiscal and legal decisions for the school as a whole that are in keeping with the philosophy and principles of Waldorf Education. It is composed of competent and committed parents, as well as members of the Faculty and the wider Birmingham community.
Patrick McCarty, Chair, is active in the Family Association and as a Grades and Preschool parent. He works for PACE as a software developer.
Jenn Gray, has a BSE in Chemical Engineering and earned her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from UCSF. Jenn is an AWS parent who serves on the AWS Marketing Committee.
Neville Baay is co-owner and head chef of El Barrio, Paramount, and Woolworth Restaurants in downtown Birmingham and father of two AWS students.
Dave Hall owns Agoge Fitness Systems and is the father of three AWS alumni.
Bri Wright is an accountant and an AWS Nursery parent.
Colin Reily is an Assistant Professor at UAB's Nephrology Research & Training Center. He is also a Waldorf alum from Emerson Waldorf School, and has taught science courses at AWS.
Melissa Downs is a former Grades certified Waldorf teacher.
Sarah Langford and Ben Knox are the current faculty representatives to the Board of Directors. See their bios under Faculty.
College of Teachers
The College of Teachers is responsible for upholding and supporting the pedagogical values of the Faculty. They also supervise employment, mentoring, teacher evaluation, and the school's Voicing A Concern process.
Holly Thompson - Preschool Rep, Chair
Lynda Powell - Grades Rep
Rita Meikson - Subject Teacher Rep
Andrea Holley - Kindergarten Rep
Samantha Hall - Nursery Rep, PDC Chair
Hiring Committee - Jodie Bradley, Chair
Marketing & Events Committee - Cassia Kesler, Chair
Grounds & Beautification - Family Association
Professional Development Committee - Samantha Hall, Chair