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Cooperative Foundations of Governance: The Partnership of Three Governing Bodies

The governance of The Denver Waldorf School has been shaped by a partnership of trustees, teachers, professional administrative staff and parents. Waldorf education was founded with the impulse for creating social renewal. We believe that our consensus leadership is a governance model for the future that will, along with our curriculum, pave the way for social renewal.

Based on the existing governance structure, the College of Teachers oversees pedagogical policy, curriculum, program administration, faculty hiring and firing, professional development and admissions of students. They cooperate with the Trustees and school administration in yearly budget planning. The College includes the school Administrative Director, and together they function as a collective Head of School.

Parent involvement has contributed key participation and leadership in the Board of Trustees and its core committees that have worked steadily to envision, fund, manage and embody the school and its programs. Policy decisions of the Board have strongly shaped legal, fiscal, administrative, site development and fund development activities of the school. The Board is composed primarily of current and former parent volunteers, as well as one alumna.

The full staff of administrators, overseen by the Administrative Director, brings support to a wide range of administrative and business matters, including administrative oversight, the carrying out of administrative policies and procedures, day-to-day management, record keeping, fund development and fundraising, admissions procedures and practices, business and financial management, school-wide communication and publications, personnel practices, and building and site maintenance.

The Leadership Team meets bi-weekly and is comprised of the Administrative Director and one of the Chairs of the College, Board and Faculty. Their major responsibility is to act as a conduit of information among the governing bodies and to set agendas. As they meet and work together they balance responding to urgent needs and overseeing the strategic plan for the future.

The emphasis here is on a cooperative form of leadership that emerges out of identified capacities, conscious leadership selection, and the will to serve the school as a whole. Together the knowledge, talent and experience of individuals in the school community, committees and bodies they serve, must continue to work together cooperatively, guided by a clear and transparent governance plan.

If the question or concern is administrative in nature, parents are asked to bring them directly to the Administrative Director.

Denver Waldorf Governance
Board of Trustees

As a not-for-profit corporation, The Denver Waldorf School Association has a Board of Trustees that is legally responsible for the finances of the school. The Board of Trustees, made up of teachers, alumni, parents and community members, is responsible for the long-term direction of the business affairs of the school, ensuring proper legal counsel and insurance, approving the annual operating budget and tuition levels, including tuition assistance, long-range and strategic planning, and the purchase and maintenance of school property.

The Board of Trustees can have up to eighteen members, six of whom may be parents of children enrolled in the school and who are approved by the membership of The Denver Waldorf School Association. Three members represent the College of Teachers and up to six members are selected by the Board of Trustees from the membership of the association or from the community at large. There are ex officio members; the Business Affairs Director, the Enrollment Director and the Development Director, plus a recording secretary. Board terms are three years and are renewable. The Board meets monthly and as needed to conduct its business, meeting at least once a year with the College. Questions or concerns relating to Board work may be addressed to the Co-Chairs directly or through the Leadership Team.

Board terms are three years and are renewable. The Board meets monthly and as needed to conduct its business, meeting at least once a year with the College. Questions or concerns relating to Board work may be addressed to the Co-Chairs directly or through the Leadership

Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees

Current Board Members

Community Trustees


Parry Burnap – parrywburnap@gmail.com

John Russell – jrichmondrussell@gmail.com

Krista Douglass – kristadouglass@msn.com

Ryan Gregory – ryangregory100@msn.com

Steven Hill Jr. – shill@riggsabney.com

Charlene Hunter – hunter.charlene@gmail.com

Michelle Ichazo-Vasquez – michelleiv@gmail.com

Tyler Lewark – tyler33@me.com

John Oppenheim – john@jpopc.com

Daniel Opyd – dopyd@datanet.com

Jeff Price – jpprice@priceassociates.net

Richard Trenholme – rtrenholme@eroresources.com

College Trustees

Betsy Doyle White – betsydoyle@denverwaldorf.org
Pedagocical Director

Lydia Fiser – highschool@denverwaldorf.org
HS Student Support Coordinator

Administrative Trustee

Kelly Church – admin@denverwaldorf.org
Administrative Director

Ex-Officio Members

Craig Bond – develop@denverwaldorf.org
Development Director

Brie Kaiser – enrollment@denverwaldorf.org
Admissions Director

Laurie Thompson –  business@denverwaldorf.org
Business Director


Christa Gustafson – dws@denverwaldorf.org
Main Office Manager

College of Teachers

The primary purpose of The College of Teachers is to work with the meditative content given to teachers by Rudolf Steiner. In order for a teacher or staff member to join The College of Teachers, it is necessary to have been a faculty or staff member for at least one year; to recognize Anthroposophy as the guiding impulse of the school and of one’s own inner work; to commit to work at The Denver Waldorf School for the foreseeable future; to be able to work with one’s colleagues; to attend the weekly Pedagogical Meetings; and to be ready and willing to take on the responsibility for the school. The College meets weekly.

We encourage direct communication throughout the school community. If a parent has a program question, or wishes to discuss a concern in the class, the first person to approach is the Class Teacher, Class Sponsor, or the Subject Teacher. If an initial discussion is unsatisfactory, or if a parent is reluctant to address the teacher directly, the Pedagogical Director may be asked to participate. If the question or concern still remains unresolved, or is of a more serious nature, it may be referred to the Professional Development Committee and College.

College of Teachers

College of Teachers

Kelly Church
x108 or kellychurch@denverwaldorf.org

Vernon Dewey
x125 or vernondewey@denverwaldorf.org

Betsy Doyle White
x136 or betsydoylewhite@denverwaldorf.org

Lydia Fiser
x109 or highschool@denverwaldorf.org

Magally Luna
x108 or magallyluna@denverwaldorf.org

Rachel Nielson
x133 or rachelnielson@denverwaldorf.org

Jennifer Palmer
x184 or jenniferpalmer@denverwaldorf.org

Faustina Pfister
x163 or faustinapfister@denverwaldorf.org

Mark Shepard
x158 or markshepard@denverwaldorf.org

Mary Spotts
x186 or maryspotts@denverwaldorf.org


Each of the three Governing Bodies has committees that carry specific responsibilities within the school. Many of the following committees are standing committees, and are accountable to The College of Teachers and The Board of Trustees. Board-mandated committees include representatives from the parent body, The College of Teachers and from The Board of Trustees. College committees are staffed by faculty and staff. Each is staffed by a member of Administration. Parents interested in volunteering for a Board-mandated committee should contact Administrative Director Kelly Church at kellychurch@denverwaldorf.org or 303-777-0531 x108.

The Board Development Committee identifies the skill sets needed, selects candidates to meet these needs and to fill the offices of The Denver Waldorf School Association, and oversees the annual approval of parent trustees to The Board of Trustees. This committee is staffed by the Administrative Director and the Development Director. (Board Committee)

The Building and Grounds Committee makes recommendations to The College of Teachers and The Board of Trustees regarding the purchase and improvement of property, and maintains all school property, considering code and safety requirements. This committee is staffed by the Administrative Director. (Board Committee)

The Calendar Committee ensures consistency by creating a reliable calendar for the whole school including school openings and closings, festivals, holidays and all school related events. In so doing, the committee strives to honor the natural ebb and flow of the seasons, the spiritual cycles of the year, and especially the health and well being of the children and the faculty through thoughtful planning; to facilitate communication within and throughout all areas of the school; and to nurture a sense of community. This committee is staffed by the Administrative Director, the Community Development Coordinator and the Main Office Manager. (College Committee)

The Development Committee supports the vision for the future of The Denver Waldorf School by generating powerful financial support and is responsible for supporting the development process, building community participation and generating financial support for the school. This committee is staffed by the Development Director. (Board committee)

The Marketing Committee is responsible for supporting the process of conveying the vision of Waldorf education to prospective members of the community to facilitate a healthy, fully-enrolled school. The committee creates marketing strategies and materials to bring new families into the community. Through the work of this committee, the tenets of Waldorf Education can become more widespread throughout the Denver Metro area. This committee is staffed by the Enrollment Director, the Development Director and the Communications Coordinator. (Board committee)

The Finance Committee sets financial policies, ensures that those policies are carried out, and provides the information required for sound financial decision making. This committee is staffed by the Business Affairs Director. (Board committee)

The Leadership Committee provides a nexus for communication and coordination between the Board, College, Faculty and Administration regarding issues related to governance, strategic plan development, implementation, accountability, communication, crisis management and oversight of policies and policy development. This committee is staffed by the Administrative Director.

Parent Council provides an opportunity for parents to communicate with each other and to bring a unique and coordinated effort to the vision of the school. Monthly meetings are open to all parents and are supported by two Co-Chairs who support members working on ongoing projects. The Parent Council is staffed by the Community Development Coordinator. (Board committee)

The Personnel Committee provides The Denver Waldorf School with an orderly method of hiring, training and dismissing employees; provides corrective guidance and benefits to employees; and is responsible for ensuring that in personnel matters all candidates and all employees are treated fairly and with due process in accordance with both Federal and State laws. This committee is staffed by the Administrative Director. The College of Teachers is ultimately responsible for the hiring and firing of school employees. (College committee)

The Professional Development Committee strives to foster enthusiasm and support for continuing education and professional achievement. This work will nurture community through the working together toward common goals of leadership, accountability and creativity. This committee is staffed by the Administrative Director. (College committee)

The Human Resources Committee is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the salary and compensation models for all faculty and administrative staff of The Denver Waldorf School. It will ensure the accuracy in implementation of the salary model as well as recommend changes and improvements. This committee is staffed by the Business Affairs Director and the Administrative Director. (Board committee)

The Scheduling Committee works to create a hygienic rhythm of the day for the children and staff at the school. They create parameters for an ideal schedule, alert the College to any diversions from the ideal, and create and implement a timeline for creating the schedule. This committee is staffed by the Administrative Director. (College committee)

The Tuition Adjustment Committee oversees the allocation of tuition adjustment, merit scholarships, remissions and community-funded scholarships towards our goal of making Waldorf education accessible to all. This Committee is staffed by the Business Affairs Director. (Board committee)

The Diversity Committee , a College committee, believes that diversity and inclusiveness strengthen education and foster the essential element of respect that prepares students to live and work in a global environment, and contributes to the well-being of all life. It provides a forum for discussion, education, and exploration of issues of age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, family composition, gender, gender-identification, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. It is committed to making The Denver Waldorf School a place where families, faculty, and staff of different backgrounds feel welcomed and valued. Waldorf education is founded in a worldview that acknowledges the spiritual nature of all beings. Waldorf fundamentally recognizes and values the many people and perspectives of the world. It honors the freedom, equality, individuality, and unique capacities of each child and is dedicated to creating an inclusive community that respects and affirms each of its members.
Purpose – We endeavor to create an inclusive community of faculty, staff, parents and students by working in the following areas:

To address and dismantle oppression on the following four levels:

    1. Individual
    2. Ideological
    3. Institutional
    4. Interpersonal

To study inclusivity within the pedagogy through curriculum review and provide alternative resources for teachers when needed (Ideological, Institutional).

Provide support for community members by serving as allies for any individual or group who has experienced discrimination (Individual, Interpersonal).

Study diversity within our personnel, student and parent body, and governance (all four I’s).

Provide education opportunities regarding diversity for our community, through in-service training and parent education (all four I’s).

Other committees are established when needed for a specific purpose and may be represented by, and work within, a particular segment of the school. Each of these committees requires the participation of the entire school community for the successful realization of its work. From time to time ad hoc committees are formed to address a single question or issue. For example the Sports Program Task Force supports the sports programs of the school and is a College committee. They work to raise funds for the programs and provide organization and coordination to parents such that they can support their child(ren) and the sports program as a whole. The Parent Education Task Force is also providing support to the administration in organizing parent education events.