Early Childhood Program Director, Core Faculty
Laura Cassidy taught in the Early Childhood Department of Prairie Hill Waldorf School in Pewaukee, WI, for 22 years, 8 of those as a lead Kindergarten teacher. She founded the school's WonderGarden Preschool, taught in the Parent-Child Playgroup, assisted in Grade One, and continues to teach calligraphy to sixth graders.
Laura has a B.A. in English Literature, graduated from the LifeWays training, and took the 3-Year Gradalis Early Childhood Therapeutic Education Course with Bonnie River, Nancy Blanning, and Laurie Clark. She currently studies Integral Spiritual Psychology with Robert Sardello, and teaches for LifeWays. She is the mother of three grown Waldorf alumni. Laura is inspired by the fairy tales, her work as a calligraphy artist, and the archetypal artist and healer: Mother Nature.
Faith Danneil began teaching preschool at Tamarack Waldorf School in 2012. She earned a Masters in Library Science from UW-Milwaukee, a Masters in Education from Mt. Mary and her Waldorf Certification from Great Lakes Waldorf Institute. She served on the GLWI Board from 2013-2018. Faith has completed Nurturing the Roots: A three-year advanced therapeutic course for Early Childhood Educators, and The School of Uncovering the Voice Advanced singing training with Christiaan Boele. Faith lives in Milwaukee with her husband, two teenagers, two dogs, and two cats. When she is not teaching, she can usually be found singing.
Core Faculty, Early Childhood
Pam Harsch began her journey into Waldorf education through her 2 children (both now adult alumni) and taught in the Early Childhood program at Prairie Hill Waldorf School in Pewaukee, WI for 13 years and as an adjunct faculty member there for many more. She also served as PHWS’s Administrative Coordinator for the AWSNA Full membership and accreditation process and as Faculty Chair. She obtained her Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate from the UW-Milwaukee and AWSNA, her MS in Clinical Science, emphasis education and management from San Francisco State University, CA, and her BS Honors in Medical Technology and Philosophy from Marquette University. She has served as a GLWI faculty member, Mount Mary University, since 2002. She recently moved to southern Oregon, is adventuring into the field of energy medicine and enjoys hiking in the mountains.
Dawn Van-Kley Imes
Core Faculty, Fine Arts, Handwork
Dawn has a BA in Studio Art and Psychology from Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale, Illinois. She has been teaching handwork at Prairie Hill Waldorf School since 1990. Dawn has presented workshops in felting wool, knitting, spinning for children and adults. She completed the Juniper Tree Puppetry Training through Suzanne Down 2003-2005, attended Handwork Conferences at Kimberton WS with Margareta Eischenholz, has done Foundation Year Course work at Arcturus, Chicago, IL, and Waldorf Teacher Summer Intensives at GLWI Milwaukee, WI.
Fine Arts, Grades Curriculum
Michael Imes was the Director of the Great Lakes teacher development program from its inception to 2011. Michael Imes received his MFA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He also has a BA from Iowa Wesleyan College and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the UW-Milwaukee and AWSNA. He taught grades 1-8 and 5-8 at Prairie Hill Waldorf School. Since 1988, he has been teaching ceramics at Carroll College, in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Bernadette Link has a BA and Masters degree in Communication Disorders and a Waldorf certification received her Waldorf certification through UW-Milwaukee and AWSNA. She started teaching at Prairie Hill Waldorf School as a French teacher, then carried two classes through to eighth grade. She moved to Viroqua WI with her husband where she took another class through to eighth at Pleasant Ridge WS. She has served on many committees, College of Teachers and faculty councils and enjoyed serving as a delegate to AWSNA for many years.
Core Faculty: Eurythmy, Child Development, Inner Development
Mary Ruud has taught eurythmy to children and adults for over 25 years, including 12 years at the Urban Waldorf School, and works as a therapeutic eurythmist. She has degrees in Eurythmy from Spring Valley Eurythmy School and the Eurythmy School in Nurnberg, Germany and a Masters in Liberal Studies from the 21st Century Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin. As an adult educator, Mary teaches for Great Lakes Waldorf Insitute, the LifeWays North America Early Childhood Training, and the Waldorf program at the Kentahnten Teacher Training program in Louisville, Kentucky and Arcturus Teacher Training in Chicago. Mary received her Masters in Liberal Studies in 2005 with an emphasis on ecology and earth healing. She has adult grandchildren in the military and in social work. Mary is a certified Therapeutic Horsemanship instructor.
Itzel Butcher was born and raised in near Mexico City where she graduated from the Universidad del valle de Mexico with a degree in Biomedical Science. She is currently lead kindergarten teacher at the Madison Waldorf School and also serves on their board of directors. Previously she was developed and served as lead teacher of the forest kindergarten at the Waldorf School of the Roaring Fork in Colorado. Itzel has trained extensively in puppetry with Susanne Down and has also worked with Michaela Glöckler, Joan Almon, Sharifa Oppenheimer, Michael D’Aleo, Bente Goldstein, Dr. Michael Lipson, Jack Petrash and Nancy Mellon. Early in her career, Itzel spent three years in India where she studied Tibetan language and Buddist philosophy. She received her early childhood certifications from Great Lakes Waldorf Institute and LifeWays Milwaukee and did her practicum with Helle Heckmann in Denmark. Itzel enjoys spending time in nature, skiing in the mountains, traveling around the world and loves music and dancing. The ocean is her favorite place.
Simone Shurney was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Spanish literature. The following year, she completed the Educational Policy Program at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned an MSEd. Simone completed her Waldorf teacher training at the Waldorf Institute of Southeastern Michigan and is now a member of the board of directors there. Simone is an alumna of the Detroit Waldorf School (DWS), graduating with the eighth grade class of 2003. She worked as an assistant at DWS for two years before taking her first class in 2014. She is now the rising fourth grade teacher.
Core Faculty, Music, Director of Teacher Education