Our teachers support the unfolding individuality of each child as they guide them through their early years of understanding themselves and each other. The wealth of training, experience and dedication they bring to our nests every day defines the Mountain School and the unique experience we offer.
BRENDA NOVICK, School Director
Growing up in New Mexico, Brenda spent her childhood playing outside with her three sisters, fishing with her father, camping in Colorado, and creating memories that inspired her future life as a teacher. Brenda’s mother was a local artist and high school teacher who instilled the love of reading, beauty, nature, painting, making ceramics of all kinds, gardening, sewing, and nurturing animals. With an inquisitive mind, it was only natural for Brenda to pursue a Liberal Arts degree, a Waldorf Teacher Training certificate, and a parenting coaching certificate. Most recently, she trained to become a postpartum doula. Always learning, she is now studying mindfulness meditation at a local meditation center. Now that her children are grown and in college, Brenda spends her time at home with her two rescue kitties, Timmy and Leo, in Larkspur, California.
BRONWEN DAVID, Lead Teacher
Bronwen David was born and raised in San Francisco, she comes from a large family full of educators. She is an alumnus of the San Francisco Waldorf High School. She completed three years of Waldorf teacher training at Rudolph Steiner College in Fair Oaks. Bronwen taught for 12 years at the San Francisco Waldorf School, seven years in the kindergarten, four years in the nursery, and one year in the aftercare as well as parent-child classes. Bronwen has always been drawn to Waldorf education which meets the child where they are developmentally and brings creativity, and imagination to the children. Bronwen also has her certificate as a postpartum Doula. She is a proud aunt to 14 children. She loves to travel, garden, and spend time with her large family.
CELESTE PAYESKO, Lead Teacher
Celeste grew up in a large family in the Midwest, obtaining degrees in Political Science from Indiana University and Waldorf teacher training from the San Francisco Extension of Rudolf Steiner College. She believes that the young child seeks kind, joyful, and wise adults that can help them become who they were born to be, and that Waldorf education gives teachers the tools to help this happen. Celeste began her teaching career by starting a preschool in her home, following the Waldorf early childhood curriculum. She has substitute taught at The Mountain School since 2010, serving in all teaching aspects at the school. She’s also taught at Marin Waldorf (where her three children attended K-8) in sub and volunteer capacities in both early childhood and grade classrooms and at The Hummingbirds’ Collaborative School.
KARLA WOOD, Assistant Teacher
Karla Wood was named after the hurricane that occurred in 1961 in Texas. She often used this as an excuse as to why her room was messy as a teen. Somehow her mother never bought it! Karla spent her earlier years in Juneau, Alaska where she ran a lot (even if bears were not chasing her) and gained a first-hand experience with glaciers, saltwater inlets, and sailing. Today, Karla is a Waldorf educator who started her journey some 25 years ago at the San Francisco Waldorf School and continued at the Olympia Waldorf School, Greenwood School in Mill Valley, and now The Mountain School. Karla is passionate about helping children acquire the skills and abilities that they will need in the future. She also enjoys kayaking, walking her grinning (almost) black lab, and ridiculous jokes with her daughter and husband.
TARA PURDY, Aftercare Program Lead Teacher
Tara grew up on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina where she was surrounded by pristine nature. The natural world has inspired her decision-making throughout her whole life. She attended Fort Lewis College and studied Early Childhood Development. She spent all of her free time exploring the wonders of the outdoors tuning into the four seasons. She also pursued other interests; including western herbalism, travel, and radio. In 2011, she completed teacher training at Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. She worked at San Francisco Waldorf for five years as a kindergarten assistant teacher and joined The Mountain school in 2018 after homeschooling three children in Thailand for a year abroad. Her goal is to impart the wonders of nature to children, while spending cozy afternoons in an “in and out breath” of relaxation and play, allowing them to feel truly free.