Lindsey joined Great Oak School as an assistant for the Rose Garden in 2015 and began her Waldorf Teacher Training at Pleaides Initiative in Austin the same year. She grew up in the West Texas town of Midland where she worked in the oil and gas industry. Lindsey has four children ranging from 17 to 4. She has been involved in community theatre as an actor, director and stage hand. She is also a runner, a vegetarian, a recent convert to trough gardening, and a live music fan.
Vanessa Williams Kindergarten Teacher
Vanessa joined the Great Oak Staff in the fall of 2018. She holds two degrees, a bachelors in piano performance, and a masters in music history. She has taught in the classroom for 15 years and has devoted her last 7 years to teaching music to families with young children and developing music and movement curriculum for several preschools. She holds music certifications including Kindermusik and Smithsonian World Music Pedagogy. She has also studied yoga through several organizations earning her RYT 200 in 2018, and enjoys teaching both children and adults. Currently she is working on her Waldorf certification through The West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. Vanessa lives in the Woodlands with her husband and two sons. Her other hobbies include rock climbing, camping, hiking, and writing folk songs for children.
Beth Holden Parent Child Teacher
Beth’s family joined the Great Oak School community in 2015. As a parent she sat on various committees including the Parent Education Committee, lead the Simplicity Parenting study group and substituted for Parent Child classes as needed. Beth also organizes the annual Ladies Handwork Retreat. She joins the faculty as lead Parent Child Teacher in the upcoming 2019/2020 school year. Beth grew up in West Texas and moved to The Woodlands area in 1995. She enjoys studying holistic nutrition and herbal medicine, is passionate about working with parents and their children, and she loves music, theater, yoga, crafts, and coffee. Her husband Buck is a member of the Board of Trustees and all three of their children attend Great Oak School.
Angela Maar Second Grade Teacher
Angela grew up in Austria, where she graduated from a business school. She received her B.A. in Sociology and French from Keene State College, NH. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Waldorf Education from Antioch University. She has worked in project management in the industrial valve world, serving the chemical, pulp and paper, water, and wastewater, as well as the oil&gas industry throughout Europe. She finished a program in Germany to become a healing practitioner, focusing on foot reflexology and Korean Handaccupuncture. Angela is ACE-certified as a group fitness instructor, a fitness nutrition coach, and a senior fitness coach. She moved to Texas together with her husband Wolfgang and their two sons in 2008 from Germany and lived in Montreal in 2010. Angela joined Great Oak School in the spring of 2016 as a German teacher and became a lead teacher in 2017. Angela’s hobbies include Bikram yoga, weight lifting, reading, cooking, skiing, snowboarding, running, and writing. She enjoys working with children and their families and supporting the children to grow into healthy, happy, confident, and successful adults.
Andrea Badot Third Grade Teacher
Andrea completed her Waldorf grades training through Sound Circle Center in Seattle, Washington in the summer of 2022 and is thrilled to be in her third year as lead teacher at Great Oak. Andrea’s passion for joy-filled, hand’s-on education started with a strong interest in the Montessori Method for her own children and finally with obtaining a certificate in Montessori Lower Elementary Education with the Houston Montessori Center in 2013. She served as Lower Elementary Guide at Kingwood Montessori School for seven years before she discovered Waldorf education and has never looked back. She is excited to apply wisdom from both Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori as she moves through the grades Great Oak School. Andrea loves spending time outdoors and took an early interest in nature and portrait photography. Originally from Colorado, she loves to ski, take nature walks, sit around campfires and cook. One of the best gifts she ever received was Julia Child’s modestly titled book “The Way to Cook” as a young bride living in France! She raised two children with her French husband, and has lived in Kingwood, Texas with her family for over 20 years.
Tami Arndt-Beatty Fourth Grade Teacher
Tami was born and raised in the small Northern California coastal village of Point Reyes Station. As a young adult she was employed as a nanny in Hawaii where she discovered Waldorf education. This discovery lead her to pursue a study in anthroposophy on the islands and ultimately to return to California to enroll in the Bay Area Waldorf Teacher Training. Tami graduated in 2002 and started her family in West Marin. Over the course of her teaching career, Tami has taught as an assistant and lead teacher in a home preschool using Waldorf principles, was an assistant at Marin Waldorf School for four years and eventually created and opened her own home-based preschool inspired by Waldorf education once her two sons were born. In January 2015 Tami moved to the Houston area with her husband and three children. Tami taught as a Lead Kindergarten Teacher at Bayou Village School in Houston for two years. Tami is an active runner, enjoys crafts and creative work and is devoted to her family.
Hayley Kay Haynes Fifth Grade Teacher
Hayley joined Great Oak School in the Spring of 2014 as a child shadow in the 1st and 2nd grade classes. Since then she has worked 2 years as an early childhood assistant and approximately 2 years as an assistant for 1st through 6th grade. She has led a 1st grade play and a 6 grade play. She has also taught movement, handwork, and substituted in every grade level throughout the years. Hayley has a Bachelors of Arts in Child and Adolescent Psychology and a Master’s of Education and Waldorf Certification from Antioch University. Hayley enjoys drawing, hand work, obstacle course training, theater, and working with children.
Dawn Coe Sixth Grade Teacher
Dawn received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas and her Waldorf teacher certification and Master’s in Education from Rudolf Steiner College in California. For her Master’s Capstone project, Dawn created a math curriculum based on origami for grades one through eight. Dawn feels that her greatest accomplishment has been in the homeschool education of her five daughters that spanned two and a half decades. Having tested Waldorf methods in her own home laboratory, Dawn became convinced early on that it is the education of the future. The top two items on Dawn’s bucket list are living long enough to celebrate her 80th wedding anniversary and assisting the birth of an accredited Waldorf school in the Houston area. Dawn also created and currently teaches a series of adult education classes to help parents learn more about the philosophy behind Waldorf education. Dawn’s favorite artistic media are fiber arts, sandcastling, origami and photomontage; and she recharges by gardening, dancing with her husband, and hacking up stacks of magazines to feed her photomontage habit.
Angela Harris Middle School Teacher
Angela was born in Southern California and has since lived in or near five major cities, including San Francisco and New York. Growing up, she enjoyed a bit of an unconventional education and, together with her husband, decided to homeschool their two boys. In 2011, Angela co-founded a learning community for homeschoolers in Northern New Jersey and began teaching a variety of subjects such as world history, literature, and writing. She has contributed articles to online magazines such as Education Revolution (AERO) and The Homeschool Post. Before moving to Texas in 2013, she piloted a course for a fellow homeschool mom and former NASA Goddard rocket scientist which focused on teaching math concepts to young children through play and exploration. In 2015, she became a writing instructor for Brave Writer, LLC. During the 2018 academic year, Angela served Great Oak School as an after-care teacher initially and then as the Preschool Assistant in the Butterfly Garden. She began her Waldorf certificate training with Gradalis Teacher Education in the Summer of 2020. Angela enjoys yoga and reading. She also manages multiple youth baseball teams in the greater Houston area.
Dana Fleming German Teacher
A German teacher since 1987, Dana pours a great deal of energy into every type of lesson. She thrives on the versatility and flexibility teachers must demonstrate at a young school. She enjoys teaching adults as well as children, offering classes and workshops. Dana joined Great Oak School’s Faculty in Fall 2012, and served for 6 years on the Great Oak School’s Board of Directors. She has taken two wonderful groups of children from first through fifth grade as a Waldorf class teacher. Dana is married to a theoretical physicist who cooks like a chef and invents astonishing things. Education: B.A., University of California, San Diego and M.A., M. Phil., and ABD, German Literature, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Dana completed her Waldorf Class Teacher Training at Sunbridge College while earning her Foundation Studies Certificate in Austin.
Heather Matthews Strings Teacher
Heather grew up in the Houston area and graduated from Klein High School. She and her husband have been married for over 20 years and have 3 children. Mrs. Matthews holds a degree in Music from Pensacola Christian College where she studied violin under Dr. Alberto Jaffé. She has been playing professionally and teaching strings classes and private lessons since 1994. Over the years, she has been hired to play in concert halls, recording studios, musical theater orchestras, weddings, and other special events. She has taught strings in both public and private schools as well as college pedagogy courses. Many of her students have received music scholarships. Mrs. Matthews enjoys being involved in her church where she plays violin and piano and sings in the choir. She also plays violin with the Symphony North of Houston.
Hilda Rueda Spanish Teacher & Art Teacher
Hilda is a native Spanish speaker and teacher, born in Columbia, who has taught the language abroad in public and private school settings. Hilda is a talented artist who possesses a deep love for connection and learning. She joined Great Oak School in Spring 2016.
Paul Sommer Orchestra Teacher
Paul is the founder and director of Instruments of Praise bands and orchestras. Since 1993, he has directed over 100 home-school and private school bands and orchestras in the Greater Houston area. His professional life includes teaching, performing, speaking and conducting at various churches and schools. He has a B.B.A. from Baruch College in New York City. Throughout the years, his bands and orchestras and students have been recognized for their musical excellence and individual achievements and have received numerous awards. Paul has four children ranging from ages 24 to 18 who still play their string and/or brass instruments along with him in a local orchestra. Along with his passion for music, he enjoys the beautiful outdoors while fishing, kayaking, hiking and biking.
Becky Blanton Gardening and Handwork Teacher
Becky Sykes received her Bachelor of Arts degree as a theater major with an emphasis in costume design from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and her Waldorf teacher certification from Antioch University New England. She is currently working on the final step of her Master’s in Education from Antioch University New England. Becky started doing handwork around age 6 and has continued to learn and develop new skills and techniques her entire life. Her handwork repertoire includes many styles of embroidery, quilting, clothing and costume design and construction, knitting, crochet, spinning, leatherwork, natural dying, and basket making. She was even younger when she started her first garden at age two. Becky has been living and gardening in Houston for a little over 20 years. She is particularly interested in edible plants both cultivated and foraged with a growing interest in dye and medicinal plants. Becky worked for Urban Harvest as both a garden instructor and the community gardens coordinator for about 10 years before pausing to start a family. Her two children brought her to Great Oak in 2014 when she started as a volunteer in the gardens until she joined the faculty in 2017 as the handwork teacher and added formal garden classes to her schedule a couple of years later. In her free time Becky enjoys puttering around in her own garden, sewing the odd costume for one of her children and taking spontaneous road trips with her husband.
Marine Kojanyan Eurythmy Teacher
Bio coming soon.
Didianne Gilman Administrator
Before joining Great Oak School in 2020, Didianne was a Waldorf grades teacher in Colorado.She taught one class 4th grade through 8th grade and a second class 1st grade through 8th grade.After graduating her second class, Didianne became a Faculty Administrator before her family was relocated to Houston for her husband’s work in late 2019.She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Education and a Waldorf Education Teaching Certificate. Prior to her career in Waldorf Education, Didianne worked in human resources for corporate and start-up high-tech companies.She has lived on the east coast, west coast and in between.She has been been married for 30 years and has three grown children who are still grateful for their Waldorf educations.Her joys include any and all family time, travel (she has been to all 48 contiguous US states and 5 foreign countries), water and mountains in major doses, reading, gardening and just taking in the world in all of its complexities and wonders.
Zuzana Leckova Finance Director
Zuzana has a BBA in Accounting from Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, MBA in Managerial Accounting from Pace University, New York, NY and MS in Taxation from Fordham University, New York, NY. She is a CPA in the state of New York. Zuzana’s accounting and tax experience ranges from Big Four Accounting Firm to VP of Tax in The Royal Bank of Scotland plc. She has served on the Board of Directors of Great Oak School as the Treasurer from January 2010 until becoming a full time staff member at Great Oak School in November 2014. Zuzana joined the board back in September 2016. Zuzana’s two daughters Emma and Kate joined Great Oak School in September 2009, when the school first opened its doors. Zuzana loves traveling, photography, tennis and music.