“River Song has provided a truly loving, creative and nurturing environment for my daughter to thrive in her preschool years. She is well prepared for her next chapter in life, with a strong imagination and healthy confidence.” – Sunflower Room parent

Who is caring for your children? We all are!

Waldorf educators are very special people. We all come into this profession for a variety of reasons, and we all find the beauty, simplicity, and soulfulness of the Waldorf approach speaks to our vision of the world. River Song is fortunate to have a diverse staff of experienced, excellent and loving souls who hold the strongest of commitments to young children and the precious years of early childhood.

Becky Praamsma, Administrative DirectorBecky Praamsma

Becky Praamsma came to River Song in 2015 upon leaving a large for-profit child care center after 10+ years. She was ready to give back in a way working in the corporate world would not allow and was looking for an early learning program that better aligned with her beliefs of what is important for young children. Becky is married with 3 daughters, 2 here on earth (Hanna & Keemaya) and one watching over from above (Nella). She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University in Early Childhood Education. Becky began her career teaching preschool, slowly moving her way into a Director position before moving to Colorado from Michigan in 2004. She loves hiking, reading, camping, and visiting Lake Michigan in the summertime. She has become the embodiment of the River Song Waldorf Philosophy and guides the school with a gentle, loving hand.

  • Favorite children’s book:  Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg and any of the Pettson & Findus stories by Sven Nordqvist

For inquiries about visiting or enrolling at River Song, email Becky at riversongfc@gmail.com

 

Katie Ross, Assistant Director

Katie spent her days as a young girl outside splashing in the lake, hiking nearby trails, and prancing  around in the snow with her older brother in Wisconsin. Katie moved out to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2017 to attend Colorado State University (CSU). She originally studied to become a Conservation Biologist, but quickly realized her calling was in Early Childhood Education. During her time at CSU Katie completed a practicum at River Song and was enthralled by the Waldorf philosophy. She continued on as a sub afterwards to continue to grow her knowledge on the practice. Katie went on to earn her B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Teacher Licensure from CSU in the spring of 2021. After her graduation Katie went on to work as an Older Preschool teacher at CSU’s Lab School. She greatly appreciated her time there, being with the children and growing her love of being an educator for young children, but quickly realized she missed River Song and the Waldorf practice deeply. Katie is now the Assistant Director at River Song and is very excited to be a part of the team that makes River Song so magical.

  • Favorite children’s book: The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater

 

Claire Browning, Star Garden Lead teacher

Claire Browning is the lead teacher for our Star Garden class. Her interest in Waldorf education is rooted in years of child care experience as well as her education from the University of Oregon, where she received a B.A. in Fine Arts. After working in a Waldorf early childhood education program in Washington state for several years, she earned her Waldorf Early Childhood teaching certificate in 2017. Shortly after, she moved to Colorado to become part of the River Song family. Being a Northwest native Claire loves Colorado because of its proximity to the mountains and rivers. She is excited to continue studying anthroposophy and exploring this great state.

  • Favorite children’s books: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak & The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright

 

Taylor Blacklock, Star Garden Assistant teacher

 

  • Favorite children’s books: 

 

Aurora Romine, Moon Garden Lead Teacher

Aurora Romine was led into Waldorf education through her children & puppetry business as a textile artist. All her passions found a home in the Waldorf community: to guide children in freedom through their head, hands, and heart; reverence for nature & spirit; and pedagogical development. She began her anthroposophical studies and substituting at River Song in 2004. When her children were both school-aged, she finished her Waldorf teacher training at West Coast Institute and became the lead Moonflower teacher. While on her 3rd child’s ‘baby leave’ Aurora continued to mentor the teachers of River Song while also serving on the Board of Trustees. Aurora played a key role in helping to manifest our new building! She feels incredibly blessed to be doing this good work and for all the wonder and morning lovins’ each day brings. 

  • Favorite children’s book: A Cloak for the  Dreamer by Aileen Friedman

 

Sophia Feucht, Moon Garden Assistant Teacher

Ms. Sophia was born and raised in Fort Collins, and grew up down the street from River Song, playing in all the same places she plays with the children now. She attended a Waldorf preschool and was working on a degree in restaurant management and hospitality when the pandemic hit. Spending her entire career working in almost every aspect of the  restaurant industry, things had changed with the pandemic and she decided to instead pursue a career in Waldorf early childhood education. Growing up down the street from the school, and being part of a family involved with the Waldorf community, as well as caring for younger siblings for most of her life, babysitting and spending  summers as a camp counselor, River Song was the perfect fit. She hopes to start working on her Waldorf teacher certification as soon as possible. Her favorite part of her job is all of the creativity and magic she gets to help cultivate in the next generation of humans, as well as sharing her love for the outdoors. When she is not at River Song, Ms. Sophia spends almost all of her time out fly fishing and ice fishing, with camping, cooking, crafting and concerts mixed in.

  • Favorite children’s book: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

 

Shana Doss, Sun Garden Lead Teacher

Shana’s nomadic lifestyle began in infancy when she lived in three different states all before the age of one.  She had the privilege to live in Germany twice for a total of eleven years of her childhood.  While living in Alaska, Shana first experienced the magic of Waldorf.  As a third generation teacher, her teaching career began in 2006.  She has her BA in Early Childhood Education and did her student teaching in a high risk kindergarten.  Along with Montessori certificates for infants/toddlers and preschool age, Shana will graduate with her Waldorf Early Childhood certificate in 2023.  Love for diversity led her to be a designated English speaker in both a Japanese bilingual Waldorf inspired preschool and a Spanish bilingual Montessori Head Start.  Most of all, Shana is enjoying growing deep roots in the Sun Garden with the Colorful sunflowers.

  • Favorite children’s books: Nina Bonita by: Ana Maria Machado & The Empty Pot by: Demi  

 

Abby Shifriss, Sun Garden Assistant Teacher

When Abby discovered River Song and the joys of Waldorf curriculum in spring 2018, it felt like home. She spent her childhood playing in the forests of Indiana and attending Harmony School—a community which values and respects the voices, hearts, minds, bodies and spirits of all its students equally. Abby went on to study Human Development and Family Studies at Indiana University. In 2016, she moved to Fort Collins to pursue her dream of living near the mountains. A deep connection to Mother Earth is at the root of Abby’s identity and it brings her so much joy to share that with children! She has worked with children through babysitting, a variety of summer camps, volunteering and nannying since the age of 12. She has done some training to become a birth doula and been a job coach and an advocate for adults who have disabilities (as well as for survivors of domestic violence). She has also worked for her local co-op and been a Mental Health Technician in a behavioral health facility. Throughout her various journeys, her heart continues to gently guide her back to children. Each day she spends in the classroom, she feels more inspired, creative and rejuvenated and she is filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of this community. She loves to travel, go to live music, garden, read and learn, nurture her yoga practice, hike, be silly and creative and spend time with her incredible network of family and friends.

  • Favorite children’s book: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
 

Susan Bruck, Kindergarten Teacher

Susan’s journey with Waldorf Education began in 1997 when she began taking a parent-child class with her daughter Gabrielle and also teaching Hebrew in the third grade, both at the Chicago Waldorf School, where she taught for 20 years. For 16 years, she had the privilege of being an early childhood and parent-child teacher in Chicago.  (Colby’s daughter, Zoe, was in the first class that Susan taught Hebrew to!) Susan completed her Waldorf teacher training, loving the combination of art, meditation, study, and movement. She also studied puppetry with Suzanne Down, movement with Nancy Blanning, and Simplicity Parenting coaching with Kim John Payne (and many other courses over the years with other wonderful teachers!)

For Susan, Waldorf education—especially early childhood education– was love at first sight. She loves how the children are met with warmth, love, and respect for who they are. Seeing the child as a whole being—physical, emotional, and spiritual—really speaks to her, as does the honoring of play, movement, and the arts as important in the life of the young child. In her work at Chicago Waldorf, Susan also served as the Early Childhood chair, mentored many teachers, did WECAN site visits, and taught in the Early Childhood teacher training program that was held there. She’s also edited several books for WECAN, as well as editing and indexing many other books. Susan’s two grown-up children, Gabi and Rachel, both graduated from CWS high school and Vassar college (and Rachel is currently a PhD student at UC-Berkeley). They have been her best teachers and constant sources of inspiration, support, and joy. Before Susan became a Waldorf teacher, she worked as an attorney for Legal Aid, as an editor at a legal publishing company, and as a law clerk for a federal judge. Susan is also a writer, artist, and handworker.  She writes and illustrates children’s books (not yet published), and writes and creates art for her blog. Susan moved to Chicago in order to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and ended up settling and raising her family there. She’s now a happy citizen of Fort  Collins.

  • Favorite children’s books: Red Sings from the Treetops by Joyce Sidman & Pamela Zagarenski and Insectlopedia by Douglas Florian.

 

Oheo Walker, Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Oheo was born in a small town in New York and moved to Colorado when she was 3 years old. She became a mother to Scarlet in 2017, who is in the Moon Garden room. Oheo began subbing for River Song in 2017 and has had the privilege of working in all classes with all teachers, which has allowed her a great deal of learning from each one. Oheo’s favorite thing about teaching is hearing the children’s imaginative stories. Her biggest hobby is art of all kinds, with painting being her favorite medium. Oheo is very excited to have a permanent home at River Song and looks forward to helping Chelsea develop our kindergarten program.

 

Liz Boyd, Afternoon Teacher

 

  •  

 

Colby Beutel, ‘Waldorf Weaver’

Colby is the mom of two grown children, Zoe is 29 and Max is 23. She was born in New York in 1961 and have lived in London- England, Westchester NY, Philadelphia-PA, and Chicago-IL. She received a BFA from PCA/University of the Arts in 1983. Her life has always revolved around bringing up her own children and working with others. Colby has been a teacher’s aid in two Chicago Public Schools working with special need children and as a one-on-one aid. She had to stop working at CPS when Zoe, at 14yrs of age, was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkins Lymphoma. From 2004-2009 she had cancer three times, two stem cell transplants and both hips replaced from radiation damage. Colby’s daughter has been cancer free for ten years and is a truly amazing person. During that time Colby became a Children’s book specialist at Borders and then the Children’s Lead at Barnes and Noble. She returned to the Chicago Waldorf School two years ago as an early childhood assistant teacher. She has always wanted to be a nursery school teacher and Waldorf is the perfect fit. She has loved being a part of Chicago’s Waldorf community and is excited to be the Weaver at River Song Waldorf School. Colby is passionate about the importance of Waldorf education in the early years and looks forward to getting to know all of you and your children. We are excited by all the wonderful activities Ms. Colby is bringing to our afternoon rhythms.

  • Favorite children’s books: The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton; My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannnett

 

April Kraus, Afternoon ‘Lighthouse’ Keeper

Ms. April maintains our lighthouse watch over duties supporting our lovely school. After earning her B.Sc, M.Ed, and M.Sp.Ed, April became a high school teacher, which she loved! She was also a prep school natatorium Director for many years, mentoring her passion for swimming. She has been immersed in our nurturing, nature play Waldorf Community since 2008. After taking a leave from River Song and moving to the mountains where she worked at another Waldorf school, April has since returned to us in January 2019. She delights in continuing her education and practice of the concepts, values, philosophy, and pedagogy of Waldorf education. April is devoted to all things sports, especially those water-related…open water swims, boats and floats of all kinds, even lap swimming! She was raised on the magical campus of Cranbrook School in Michigan and her heart twitters when she is at her familial home on the lake in New Hampshire. April is grateful for the companion of her 3 children, their spouses, and 5 grandchildren, all under the age of 10 and live in Fort Collins.

  • Favorite children’s books: Mr. Grumpy’s Motor Car by John Burningham and Will’s Mammoth by Rafe Martin

 

Substitute teachers:

Tobias Bank

Colleen Barricklow

Samara McDonald