Specialists

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. 

Art

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)

Farm

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 Farm Bio

Kevin Murawski

Kevin is Waverly’s envi­ron­men­tal studies and outdoor educa­tion teacher. Kevin grad­u­ated from Otis Art Insti­tute of Parsons School of Design with a degree in fine arts and worked profes­sion­ally as an artist for over 20 years. While illus­trat­ing 14 books for young readers and working as a designer on many children’s programs, Kevin began to find his passion for connect­ing with kids. A life­long learner and self-proclaimed natu­ral­ist, Kevin has always had a deep appre­ci­a­tion for our envi­ron­ment and under­stand­ing our connec­tion to it. With count­less excur­sions into the field with students and dozens of overnight school camping trips over the years, Kevin brings a wealth of expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge to our program. After 13 years of teach­ing in the class­room, Kevin is thrilled to be working outside with students getting dirty, observ­ing closely, looking deeply, reflect­ing, wonder­ing, having fun, and contin­u­ally growing. (Email)

Music

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)

Spanish

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)

Human Devel­op­ment

More infor­ma­tion to come!

Meg Bradbury 19 20

Meg Brad­bury

Meg teaches human devel­op­ment at the elemen­tary and middle schools, co-facil­i­­tates queer affin­ity space, and works closely with the board of trustees and head/​assistant heads of school. Certi­fied as a Body Trust coun­selor, anti-diet nutri­tion­ist, and yoga and medi­ta­tion teacher, Meg has been a member of the Waverly commu­nity since 2003. She is inspired by the school’s progres­sive peda­gogy, commit­ment to build­ing conver­gences of respect and indi­vid­u­al­ity, and students who, even at age four,​“teach me what it means to be rad, resilient, and a potent source of hope and change.” (Email)

Library

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.