“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, Executive 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

 

Anthony Neal (AKA Mr. Ant), Star Garden Lead teacher

Mr. Ant is an outdoors enthusiast who is in his first year as lead teacher with River Song. He is also one of our counselors for the summer Nature Camp program. Prior to joining us full time, Mr. Ant was the kindergarten Assistant Teacher at Mountain Sage Community School. Anthony shares his life with his wife, Carly, and their 4 children. With over 15 years of passion and education with children of all ages, he continues to be a role model for children indoors and outdoors. Anthony thrives on continuing the education of the Waldorf philosophy in any way he can, in a manner that all people will enjoy. He is extremely blessed to be a part of this community and strives to make a positive impact in all lives he touches.

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

 

Karla Nelson, Star Garden Assistant teacher

Ms. Karla was born and raised in western North Dakota, attending a small country school and enjoying the freedom that came with being able to roam the prairies. She moved to Fort Collins in 2014 and found that along with the milder winters, she greatly appreciates the proximity to mountains, rivers, and endless outdoor adventuring on the bike trails. 

Though she obtained her nursing degree in 2010, Karla found her true calling when she became a mother to her daughter Jovi in 2015 and was fortunate enough to be able to stay home to raise her while she was young. A strong desire to learn more about simplistic parenting practices and preserving the magic and wonder of childhood rather than rushing academics and benchmarks lead her to explore Waldorf early childhood education. After taking a tour of River Song and attending the Blossom Garden class with her toddler, she immediately fell in love with the school and found it felt like home. Through the years of attending the community building events, festivals, parent evenings, and volunteering within the school, she continued to submerge herself more and more into the Waldorf world while soaking up all the practices that she could to carry over into her home. The Waldorf community as a whole has felt like a welcoming and warm embrace from the start, and she greatly values the love and belonging she has found within this community. 

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and the school was closed off from the rest of the community, Karla saw an opportunity to get to still be involved within the school as a substitute teacher. She valued the opportunity to get to spend time within all of the classrooms, gaining knowledge and experience from each of the amazing teachers she worked with. She has found great comfort and joy in spending her time living in the present moment with young children. She also appreciates being able to lean in to creativity and learn so many new artistic practices, and passing those skills along to the children. She has found a true passion for holding space for the emotional development of the young child, and the importance of proper nurturing during this brief period of their lives.  

Karla is finishing up her Childhood Development Associate credential now, and looks forward to attending many Waldorf training workshops and classes over this upcoming school year. 

  • Favorite children’s books: The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClosky, and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams 

 

Aurora Romine, Moon Garden Lead Teacher & Pedagogical Chair

Aurora Romine was led into Waldorf education through her children. Her textile business, work with puppetry, and parenting style all found their home together in Waldorf education and anthroposophy. 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. Aurora joined the Board in 2008 and 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 Fiechtl, 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  

 

Chloe Resler, Sun Garden Assistant Teacher

Chloe joined the River Song team as a sub this summer after finishing her master’s degree at UNC. She loves living in Fort Collins, going for runs, practicing her fiddle and mountain dulcimer, and writing. She earned both her bachelor’s degree and her master’s in music at UNC, and hopes to continue her education in the future. She’s thrilled to have the opportunity to be with the Sun Garden!

  • Favorite children’s book: Toby Belfer Never Had A Christmas Tree by Gloria Teles Pushker
 

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, Waldorf Weaver

Liz discovered the joy of a Waldorf education after reading River Song’s job listing and decided to discover more. After learning about Waldorf’s rhythms and love for nature, she felt like she found a place that would allow her to be herself. As the Waldorf Weaver, Liz gets to see all the children at River Song as she goes in and out of each class throughout the day. She finds joy in creating positive and warm relationships with the children, and encouraging them to be themselves. Liz received her bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education, but never found her place in that world. She and her husband, Nick, moved to Colorado in 2019 to broaden their horizons after living in Alabama for most of their lives. After moving to Colorado, she took early childhood education classes to receive a certification in the field. 

  • Favorite children’s books: Penguinaut by Marcie Colleen

 

Mandy Robinson, Afternoon Teacher

Mandy was born in West Virginia and spent much of her early adult years wandering from Ohio to California, Alaska to Montana, and as far as Zambia as a Peace Corps volunteer. She found her way to Colorado—and her spouse—in 2008 and has been here ever since. Her passion for teaching was discovered with a small class of preschoolers in the mountains, which led her to a master’s in teaching and nine years in public schools. After experiencing classroom teaching and becoming a mother, her passion for developmentally-appropriate education, particularly in early childhood, was ignited. This passion, combined with her love and reverence for nature, free play, emotional safety, and process art, along with some gentle nudges from friends in the Waldorf world, have helped her to find a home at River Song. She is so happy to be spending her afternoons with these creative, curious, brilliant young souls.

  • Favorite children’s books: The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, Some Bugs by Angela Diterlizzi, Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin, and the Zoe and Sassafras series by Asia Citro

 

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

 

Cary Klataske, After School Abloom Program Director

Hailing from the Flint Hills of Kansas, Cary wandered the countryside seeing adventure in the surrounding natural beauty. Kansas provided many years for his imaginative and playful explorations through field and forest with family and friends, a practice he continues onward. Cary attended Kansas State University, where he received a B.A. in Theatre, and found the beauty of Drama Therapy. Launched into a new realm of excitement, Cary studied Counseling Psychology and Drama Therapy in San Francisco, deepening an understanding in the power of play and artistic expression. Finally, he landed in Fort Collins. Once here, Cary finished up his educational cornucopia with a Masters in Special Education from UNCO. Since arriving, he works in the community as an educator, actor, founder of Comedy Brewers—a local improvisational comedy troupe, and community builder. Cary enjoys sharing his life each day with his family—playing, learning, singing and dancing together. Since arriving at River Song, Cary looks forward to sharing light and love with the community.

  • Favorite children’s books: 

 

Nikiya McDonald, After School Abloom Counselor

 

  • Favorite children’s books: 

 

Tenaya Heredia, After School Abloom Counselor

Tenaya grew up in Fort Collins and is also a member of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe. They spent the last 3 summers working on crews with the Conservation Corps doing trail work and fire recovery. They are currently working on an Associates degree in forestry technology. They are passionate about environmental issues, and educating the next generation to be good stewards of the land, society, and themselves. They also enjoy fishing and playing music and have a 7 year old Australian cattle dog. 

  • Favorite children’s books: Redwall series by Brian Jacques

 

Substitute teachers:

Tobias Bank

Colleen Barricklow

Samara McDonald

Claire Browning

Abby Shifriss

Marna Widom