All elemen­tary students receive weekly instruc­tion from special­ists in art, phys­i­cal educa­tion, and vocal and instru­men­tal music. Students also enjoy weekly visits to the elemen­tary school library, frequent trips to the farm, and regular well­ness classes. Twice-weekly instruc­tion in Spanish begins in 1st grade. 


In art, students explore a wide variety of media and are intro­duced to a number of artists and genres.

Michelle Dakan 19 20

Michelle Dakan

Michelle teaches art for preschool through 4th grade. Michelle has a B.A. in art from San Fran­cisco State Univer­sity and an M.A. in art educa­tion from Cali­for­nia State Univer­sity, Los Angeles. A working artist and print­maker, Michelle always knew she wanted to teach art. To support her students, she says, I try to meet chil­dren where they are and listen to their ideas and what they are inter­ested in explor­ing and express­ing.” Michelle has two daugh­ters; her daugh­ter Nadine is enrolled in the 10th grade at Waverly. (Email)

Faculty Bio Alyssa Sherwood

Alyssa Sher­wood

Alyssa teaches art in the upper elemen­tary, middle, and high schools. Alyssa has a B.F.A. in paint­ing and sculp­ture from Syra­cuse Univer­sity School of Visual and Perform­ing Arts and an M.F.A. in anima­tion from the Univer­sity of South­ern Cali­for­nia School of Cine­matic Arts. Alyssa’s animated films have screened and won awards at festi­vals in the U.S. and inter­na­tion­ally. Prior to coming to Waverly, Alyssa taught video art, drawing and paint­ing, and photog­ra­phy for almost eight years at Harvard-Westlake’s Middle and Upper Schools. (Email)


The Waverly organic farm, located within walking distance from the school, is a one-acre multi-purpose green space for students, teach­ers, and fami­lies. The farm provides weekly oppor­tu­ni­ties for learn­ing, play, and collab­o­ra­tion for every class at the elemen­tary school. Students partic­i­pate in age-appro­pri­ate farm work includ­ing plant­ing, weeding, compost­ing, build­ing, and taking care of the chickens.

Kevin Murawski 19 20

Kevin Murawski

Kevin is Waver­ly’s envi­ron­men­tal studies and outdoor educa­tion teacher. Kevin received a B.F.A. from Otis Art Insti­tute of Parsons School of Design. Prior to teach­ing, Kevin was an art direc­tor for a publish­ing company and at various anima­tion studios. (Email)


Students are intro­duced to keyboard, guitar, ukulele, and percus­sion instru­ments. The empha­sis is on chil­dren finding joy in creat­ing music as they learn to play songs and sing. 

Jim Reynolds 19 20

Jim Reynolds

Jim teaches instru­men­tal music from preschool through twelfth grade. Jim studied jazz guitar, vocal perfor­mance, and philos­o­phy in college at Oberlin, Ohio. He also has a back­ground in sound engi­neer­ing, working in the Los Angeles studio scene for over 10 years. A working musi­cian today, he has had expe­ri­ence touring in bands, working in sound studios, manag­ing live concert sound events, and song­writ­ing. His music has been licensed for film and tele­vi­sion, most notably on the tele­vi­sion show Sons of Anarchy. Currently, you can see Jim locally and on tour as The Jim Reynolds Band. During his time at Waverly, students have formed rock bands, wood­wind quin­tets, string quar­tets, and several incar­na­tions of a jazz band. Focused primar­ily on partic­i­pa­tion, Waverly students have a chance to explore all aspects of music and have many oppor­tu­ni­ties to get on stage and perform. (Email)

Phys­i­cal Education

Chil­dren love to move their bodies, and the curricu­lum at Waverly allows for move­ment of various sorts through­out the day. Elemen­tary school chil­dren enjoy time with our phys­i­cal educa­tion special­ist twice a week. 

Jack Anderson 19 20

Jack Ander­son

Jack teaches phys­i­cal educa­tion to the preschool, elemen­tary school, and middle school. Jack has a B.S. in Kine­si­ol­ogy Phys­i­cal Educa­tion Teacher Educa­tion from the Univer­sity of La Verne, and an M.S. in Kine­si­ol­ogy Curricu­lum and Instruc­tion from Cal Poly Pomona. Jack enjoys teach­ing P.E. because it allows him to work with students of all ages and lets him see them grow and develop from year to year. He feels that P.E. is a great time to not only teach students about motor skills, but inter­per­sonal skills as well. (Email)


Elemen­tary students receive twice-weekly lessons in Spanish begin­ning in 1st grade. Students learn and become famil­iar with the language through music, dance, games, art projects, story­books, and cultural activ­i­ties. The curricu­lum is designed to inte­grate language skills into our every­day class­room, excite students about Spanish, and intro­duce skills that will provide the support and repe­ti­tion chil­dren need to learn a language.

ES Bio Photo Maria

Maria Brown

Maria is an asso­ciate teacher in the kindergarten/​1st grade class­room and teaches Spanish in the elemen­tary school. Maria has worked with chil­dren for more than 25 years and has been with Waverly since its days as a preschool. Of her work, Maria says, It gives me joy to watch the chil­dren grow year after year and see how they become passion­ate artists, confi­dent speak­ers, talented musi­cians, and kind young adults who love us all for being part of their journey.” Maria’s two daugh­ters attend Waverly: Aaliyah in 8th grade and Natalie in 10th grade. (Email)

Bret Helvig 19 20

Bret Helvig

Bret teaches Spanish at the high school and is the 5th/​6th Spanish special­ist in the elemen­tary school. Bret earned a B.A. in French and Spanish and an M.A. in both languages from the Univer­sity of Hawai’i at Manoa. He enjoys sharing his passion for the Spanish language, its people, and its culture with his students and encour­ages them to use as much Spanish in the class­room as possi­ble to develop into confi­dent speak­ers. In his free time, he loves to travel, explore new places, and ride roller coast­ers. (Email)


Students in kinder­garten through 4th grade have a dedi­cated library visit each week. Visits include story­time for the kinder­garten­ers and chapter book read alouds for 1st/​2nd grades. Students learn the Dewey Decimal System and about the orga­ni­za­tion of books in a library. The library is open for Library Lunch for 5th and 6th grade students, who may check out books, read, or study quietly. Outside of class visits, the library is open to middle school students who need refer­ence mate­ri­als and books for class assignments.