Meet Our Training Team

Our Training Team

Cynthia Aldinger, Vice President

Cynthia founded LifeWays North America in 2001.  Author of the book Life is the Curriculum and co-author of the book Home Away From Home: LifeWays Care of Children and Families, Cynthia has lectured and presented internationally and is pedagogical director for trainings and seminars across the United States.  She served fourteen years on the board of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.  A former Waldorf Kindergarten teacher, Cynthia received her Waldorf teaching certificate at Emerson College in Sussex, England.  A mother and grandmother, Cynthia’s passion is the preservation of the playful spirit of childhood and helping to create home-like environments that provide the comfort, security and activities found in a healthy home.

Marianne Alsop

marianne.jpgMarianne is the Director of the California Coast LifeWays Early Childhood Training. She has been involved in Waldorf education for over 40 years as a mother, early childhood teacher and facilitator of Waldorf parenting groups. She holds a B.A. in English and attended Emerson College in England, a center for Waldorf teacher training.  Much of Marianne’s focus and interest has been on all things early childhood. She was a co-founder of The Ark (Fair Oaks, CA) in 1977, one of the first Waldorf toy stores in North America. The growing interest in Waldorf education in this country led her to become the first Managing Editor of Renewal, A Journal for Waldorf Education. For 15 years Marianne developed and led parent support groups in the Sacramento, CA area and for 8 years she taught in the San Francisco Waldorf School Parenting program. She is also the Administrator of the Online Waldorf Library , a website for Waldorf educational resources.  She and her husband, Dave, have two Waldorf educated adult children and three adorable grandchildren.

Rosario Villasana, Director of In-Person Training

Rosario Villasana, M.A., Department Chair at City College of San Francisco, Lifeways Instructor, and Director of In-Person Training. She has conducted training and staff development in Rudolf Steiner based education in China and Mexico as well as throughout the United States. Rosario is the happy mother of two Waldorf graduates; a son, Eduardo and daughter, Lucia.

A frequent presenter at professional conferences, notably NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), the World Forum and the AERA (American Educational Research Association) as well as universities and colleges in the US, she has travelled internationally presenting in China, Greece, Mexico and Russia. Her primary focus is the Birth to 7 year old child and focus areas include; the Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers, Rudolf Steiner Pedagogy, The Impact of Media on the Young Child, Environments for Children, Dance and Movement Education, Sensory Integration and Brain Development, and Resource Development for Spanish Trainers.

Acacia Moore, Director of Online Courses

Acacia Moore is Director of Online Courses and apprenticing Executive Director. She has been devoted to the mission of LifeWays for many years as an educator and mother of three sons. Alongside her role with LifeWays, she is co-founder and faculty member at the City of Fountains School, established 2011 as Kansas City’s first school inspired by Waldorf education. She has been an instructor in the Fundamentals Course and Full Certificate training in Oklahoma, as well as a mentor for trainees. She is in her third year of Curative Training with the Mulberry Center for Curative Education. She completed her own Certificate training in 2016, and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Art Education with a focus on Early Childhood in 2003.

Christine Margetic, Lead Teacher

Christine Hoffman Margetic, M.A. is a long time Waldorf Early Childhood teacher who currently teaches in the LifeWays San Francisco Bay Area Early Childhood Training. She is a certified Simplicity Parenting and Simplicity Parenting Discipline Coach. In addition to working in early childhood, Christine was also the Social Inclusion Coordinator at Marin Waldorf School for 7 years working with elementary school children, their teachers and parents.

Emilee Little, Student Services Oklahoma

Emilee has worked in various domains of education for the last 20 years. She started in elementary curriculum design and then moved into corporate education. In 2013, she launched and led a mid-high school for international refugees in Oklahoma City. She transitioned into education research and design, where she developed educational curriculum for peace-centered learning. She wholeheartedly believes education shapes identity, so how we educate matters. Emilee graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma, where her studies focused on Family and Child Development. When school is not in session, you can find Emilee sharing meals with friends, escaping to the mountains, or starting new projects. She is a creative trailblazer, mom to one amazing human, and partner to a great guy. They love their cats, dog, and neighbors in the heart of Oklahoma City.

Faith Collins, Lead Teacher

With over a dozen years of working with children, Faith Collins has been an early childhood teacher, co-director of the Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Program, and taught adult classes for parents and daycare providers in the US, England and online. In 2013 she was a keynote speaker at the first LifeWays conference, "Creating a Joyful Life with Children."  She founded her organization, Joyful Toddlers, in 2010 and since then over 200 people have taken her popular six-week tele-class, Joyful Days with Toddlers & Preschoolers.

Faith received an MA with Distinction in Early Childhood Studies from Roehampton University, doing original research for her dissertation on toddlers’ involvement in adults’ household tasks.  She lives in Denver with her husband and daughter.  You can learn more about her work at

Hunter Davis, Student Services Florida

Hunter Davis is a lead teacher at The Playgarden, a LifeWays Representative Site in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Holding both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from The University of North Florida, she brings a robust background in Social Work and invaluable experience in therapeutic settings for children and adolescents. Before delving into the realms of Waldorf and LifeWays education, Hunter dedicated her studies to understanding the profound impact of challenging experiences on the human experience. It was during this exploration that she unearthed a crucial insight – the key to resilience lies in fostering a sense of community. Hunter’s fervent passion lies in crafting environments that empower her students and their extended communities to not just survive but thrive. Beyond the classroom, she immerses herself in gardening, beekeeping, nature exploration, and cherishing precious moments with her family. She has recently completed the LifeWays Fundamentals course.

Jerilyn Burke, Communications Coordinator

Jerilyn Cole Burke is an avid traveler and has worked with children and families from all over the world. In addition to her LifeWays training, Jerilyn holds certification from Hand in Hand Parenting, Community Supported Postpartum, and received her Waldorf teacher training in Toronto. She earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities – focusing on Art History, Communication Arts, and Music. She was a lead kindergarten and nursery teacher for many years and served as department chair and new teacher mentor. She was a group facilitator and co-presenter for The Anthroposophical Society in America’s Applied Anthroposophy course and has served as an Early Childhood Advisor for a NYC nonprofit that focuses on mental and physical fitness. Her writing has been published in outlets such as Being Human, Whole Family Rhythms, Kindling, and the LifeWays newsletter. Jerilyn enjoys finding the golden threads between anthroposophy and other philosophical and spiritual paths – past and present. She lives with her husband and three children near the Delaware River in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Julene Humes, Lead Teacher Utah

After raising and homeschooling seven children, Julene started an in-home Waldorf kindergarten in the fall of 2003.  In 2006 she expanded her program, partnering with homeschool parents using Waldorf methods in a model she calls The Cottage School.  She received a LifeWays certificate in 2011. In addition, Julene participated in Waldorf summer intensives for grades one, two and three. In 2013 Julene was certified in Simplicity Parenting, and in 2017 she completed a Master of Arts Degree with an emphasis on Waldorf education.

In 2022 Julene passed on her work with the Cottage School to a dedicated group of parents. She now assists the newly-formed Honeycomb Cottage School on a volunteer basis, teaches and organizes parent and teacher education and is delighted to be part of the new LifeWays program in Utah.  Julene lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband.   They just welcomed their nineteenth grandchild into their growing family.

Kate Hammond, Student Services, Bay Area

Kate Hammond has taught kindergarten, preschool, parent and child classes, and infants. She has also taught adult literacy, parent classes, children with special needs and movement workshops. Kate is a Waldorf alumna with a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Applied Linguistics. While class teaching at the Calgary Waldorf School, she completed her movement training with the Spacial Dynamics Institute. Kate has had a lifelong interest in adult education and has enjoyed living in many anthroposophical communities all over the world. She is a passionate crafter, a life-long learner, and is the intrigued mother of two teenage boys.

Kerry Francis

Before she discovered Waldorf education, Kerry Francis was a teacher of young children in a variety of settings, including a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool and a shelter for street children in Tanzania. She completed the Lifeways training in 2016 in Boulder, and the Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Training in 2017 through Sound Circle Center in Seattle. She worked at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten for ten years, and spent five of those years as Lead Teacher in the toddler class. Prior to this, Kerry received her B.S. in Biology from University of Puget Sound, and her M.A. in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. She had a private psychotherapy practice before focusing more on caring for young children as well as opening a doula practice. Kerry has completed post-graduate trainings on attachment, embryology, child development, and early childhood education. In 2015, Kerry and her husband founded a nonprofit whose first project is a biodynamic educational farm called Dharma’s Garden.

Regin Dervaes, Student Services Alaska

Regin has been an Early Childhood educator for over 28 years. An early introduction to the work of Rudolf Steiner led her to Waldorf Education. She has attended various workshops and lectures throughout the US and Canada.

Regin earned her LifeWays Early Childhood Certification and built a successful mixed age program, Nettlewood Playgarden, a LifeWays Representative Site. She has completed her Waldorf Teacher Education at WCI in Vancouver BC and Steiner Foundational Studies through Antioch University.

Regin is an ambassador for LifeWays North America and looks forward to working with more representative programs and graduates in the future. She is currently teaching kindergarten at Anchorage Waldorf School.

Tiffany Manoukian, Student Services and Lead Teacher, Utah

Tiffany completed her LifeWays Early Childhood Certificate in Phoenix, AZ in March 2018 while serving as both the Administrative Assistant and cook. She also has a degree in business finance, and has completed the Mothering Arts postpartum training and a number of other early childhood trainings.

She has had a lifelong dream to work with young children. She discovered Waldorf Education shortly after her first child was born. She started a home school group that began by celebrating festivals, has had an in-home program and later taught in the kindergarten at Desert Marigold Waldorf. She then went on to establish a 70 family Parent & Child program at Tucson Waldorf School and currently she is supporting Waldorf Homeschool families though Seasons of Seven and is a lead teacher at a cottage school. She is fulfilling her dream to bring the life-changing LifeWays training to her community.