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Grade School Faculty

1st Grade Teacher

Christa Valdez is excited to begin teaching at DWS this Fall! She’s a native of northern New Mexico and moved to Denver in 2014 with her son, dog and cat. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Prescott College in Arizona and completed her Waldorf Certification through Antioch University New England with an emphasis on early childhood and elementary education. Additionally, Christa went on to complete an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on teacher leadership through Concordia University. She began her Waldorf teaching career in 2010 and has gained experience teaching in both private and public Waldorf schools, having worked most recently as a class teacher at Mountain Phoenix Community School. Her favorite aspect of being a Waldorf teacher is that every school day the teachers and students are co-creating an inspiring and enriching learning experience together. During the past few years, Christa has been a part of the extended community at DWS – attending conferences, teaching summer camp and volunteering with various initiatives. You may contact Christa at christavaldez@denverwaldorf.org.

1st Grade Assistant

Tracy Gonzalez came to DWS in 2017 after having worked as an Assistant in the Kindergartens at The Waldorf School of Bend in Oregon as well as Mountain Song Community School in Colorado Springs. She also enjoyed teaching a Waldorf-inspired parent/child class after she and her family moved to Colorado Springs in 2012. Tracy loves witnessing how Waldorf education nurtures not only students, but the families of students as well. Tracy studied art, sustainable living and consciousness at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. She also studied and practiced massage therapy in Austin, Texas before her son was born. She is passionate about healing arts, GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini farming (which has roots in Biodynamic growing), permaculture, singing, meditating, storytelling and spending time with her family. She makes and sells beeswax candles in her free time. She can be reached at tracygonzalez@denverwaldorf.org.

2nd Grade Teacher

Jennifer Grahnquist became the Interim 2nd Grade Teacher in January of 2018 after having joined The Denver Waldorf School in 2017 as a 2nd Grade Assistant. Prior to earning a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Chatham University, Jennifer danced professionally with several ballet companies across the country including the Colorado Ballet. While attending college, she was an intern at the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh working with first through eighth graders. Jennifer is completing her Waldorf teacher certification at the Sunbridge Institute and expects to graduate in 2018. She can be reached at jennifergrahnquist@denverwaldorf.org or x121.

3rd Grade Teacher

Brittney Gaillot graduated from The Denver Waldorf School in 2006. She went on to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated with a BA in Humanities with an emphasis in Political Science and Linguistics. After returning to The Denver Waldorf School in 2011 as the first grade assistant/lower school games teacher/reading assistant, Brittney went on to earn a Waldorf Teacher Training certificate at Antioch University of New Hampshire where she is now finishing up her Master’s in Education.

“I get to do something that I love in a supportive and loving community, stand among incredible colleagues in front of the most incredible group of children I can imagine,” Brittney says. “I feel as if it is my job to teach my class a love of learning. If I have planted that seed inside of them, then I have done my job well.”

Outside the classroom, Brittney is a CrossFit athlete, lover of good food and of being outdoors as often as possible.

She can be reached at brittneygaillot@denverwaldorf.org.

3rd Grade Assistant

Caitie Hicks joined The Denver Waldorf School in 2017 from Vermont, where she recently completed an internship at The Lake Champlain Waldorf School’s 2nd Grade and earned her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Antioch University New England.

Caitie studied English and Fine Arts at The University of Vermont. She then worked with The National Outdoor Leadership School, which awakened her passion for wilderness travel and sustainable living. She has also worked and volunteered with farms, bread bakeries and small schools specializing in art and wilderness education. Out of these experiences, she discovered Waldorf Education, which beautifully illustrates for her the tremendous healing power of working with nature to help children begin forming joyful and meaningful relationships with our world.

In her free time, Caitie enjoys cooking, gardening, making pottery, backcountry skiing and singing. She looks forward to sharing her energy and enthusiasm with the students, faculty and community at The Denver Waldorf School. She can be reached at caitiehicks@denverwaldorf.org.

4th Grade Teacher

Keenan Hand joined The Denver Waldorf School in 2013 as a Games teacher and assistant in the 3rd Grade class. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Humboldt State University and his Waldorf Teacher Education from Emerson Keenan HandCollege in England. He also has taken courses in Consciousness Studies at Rudolf Steiner College, focusing on inner transformation and initiation studies, collage, painting and drawing. He was a Waldorf Grades Teacher at the Olympia Waldorf School, taking a class from 6th to 8th Grade. He has many passions, including backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, fly fishing, surfing, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, soccer, basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, running and cycling. You may contact Keenan at keenanhand@denverwaldorf.org or x142.

5th Grade Teacher

Faustina Pfister started at The Denver Waldorf School as an assistant in the Preschool Kindergarten. She returned to DWS in 2005 to take her first 1st grade after completing her Waldorf Teaching Certification in Eugene, Oregon. She also received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Austin College and a French Baccalaureate at the French Lycee in Kuwait. This is Faustina’s second time serving as a Grades Class Teacher at DWS. She is fluent in French, Spanish, and Italian and equally skilled in pottery, handwork, cooking, and printmaking. You may contact Faustina at faustinapfister@denverwaldorf.org or x163.


5th Grade Assistant

Angela Martinelli began assisting in the classroom during February of 2016, bringing a wealth of experience to the students. Angela is also the Games Teacher at DWS. After earning an art and Italian language degree in 2008 from Colby College in Maine, Angela went to work as a ski instructor, trainer at REI, guest service assistant at Denver Art Museum, course advisor at Outward Bound, health care records specialist at a bustling medical practice and as a graphic designer at Monty Nuss Photography. Outside of work, Angela shows and sells her oil paintings and giclée print reproductions and volunteers her time teaching art.

6th Grade Teacher

Jessie Cartwright 1st Grade Class25has been teaching at DWS since 2003.  She was the games teacher for two years before taking her first class as a lead teacher from 2nd Grade through 8th Grade. Jessie attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities. She graduated from Antioch New England Graduate School, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Waldorf Education in the summer of 2006. Jessie is a graduate of The Denver Waldorf School. You may contact Jessie at jessiecartwright@denverwaldorf.org or x191.

7th Grade Teacher

Darlene Gilchrist 2nd Grade Class4has been a part of DWS since 1994. She enrolled at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California, then began her teaching career with a Preschool Kindergarten teaching position in Texas before moving to Denver. As well as working for one year in our school’s administration, she worked in our Preschool Kindergarten for three years before moving into the role of a class teacher. She earned her Waldorf teaching certificate from Sunbridge College in March 2006. Darlene has taken one class from 1st through 8th Grade. You may contact Darlene at darlenegilchrist@denverwaldorf.org or x193.

8th Grade Teacher

Vernon Dewey 3rd Grade Class1has been working at The Denver Waldorf School since 2008, assisting in the 1st and 2nd Grades before taking on the 1st Grade as class teacher in 2010.  He attended Evergreen State College and graduated with a Master’s in Education and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Antioch University of New England in 2010.  In addition to teaching at The Denver Waldorf School, Vernon also serves as a founding member and co-chair of the school’s Diversity Committee.  You may contact Vernon at vernondewey@denverwaldorf.org or x125.

Vicki Hindes

Middle School Math & Language Arts Teacher

Vicki Hindes has been teaching at the school since 1985. She taught three years in the Preschool Kindergarten before taking a position as class teacher, graduating four 8th Grades. Ms. Hindes is the Middle School Support Teacher teaching math, language arts, Latin and social dance. Ms. Hindes has a BA in Speech Communication at Metropolitan State College, and an MA in Speech/Language Pathology at the University of Denver. You may contact Vicki at vickihindes@denverwaldorf.org or x165.

Middle School Assistant

Joni Anderson joined The Denver Waldorf School as our Middle School Assistant in 2017 after having worked in education as a teacher’s assistant and music teacher in the Denver area for nearly 10 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell College in Iowa and a Master’s from the Lamont School of Music at The University of Denver. Joni is a Denver native and enjoys biking and hiking with her daughter when she isn’t teaching. She can be reached at jonianderson@denverwaldorf.org.