Kelly is originally from North Carolina, but has lived in California, Mexico, New Hampshire, and most recently, Maine. She earned her BA degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies, and MEd from Antioch New England with Waldorf certification in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has worked with young children for many years, in both indoor and outdoor programs.
Kelly’s husband, David Barham, is a Waldorf high school teacher, and their 3 children attended Waldorf schools through high school. She loves textiles, music, creeks, dogs, a good story; and continues to work for, and carry hope for, a more just and equitable future for all.
Lead Afternoon Teacher
Ray has lived in the DC Metro area for 15 years and grew up mostly in the southeast United States. After graduating from University of Maryland with a degree in Elementary Education in 2013, Ray stumbled upon the Waldorf School of Baltimore at a teacher job fair and immediately fell in love with Waldorf Education. For the past decade, Ray has attended Waldorf grades teacher training and annual WECAN conferences, taught early childhood programs at a few different Waldorf schools in the DC Metro area, and operated a Lifeways-inspired home daycare in Northern Virginia. Ray earned a masters degree in Early Childhood education in 2021, and brings their academic and experiential expertise to our school. Ray has a child enrolled at Acorn Hill. Ray’s hobbies other than observing children and studying human development include cooking & meal planning, handwork, reading, editing, minimalism, tiny house/bus living, and organizing.
Angeli was born in the Philippines, and grew up in Catonsville, MD and New York City. She studied Fine Arts at Goucher College and later graduated with a B.A. in Communications & Business Management. Shortly after, she left for the Big Apple to work for a large Wall Street law firm. Angeli spent about 15 years in Manhattan working in corporate, securities, and film finance, while volunteering for the Children of Bellevue, reading to hospitalized children, Reach Out & Read, and as a Child Advocate for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) in Manhattan and Brooklyn Family Courts. She returned home to Maryland/DC after 9/11, and became a member of the Junior League of Baltimore, continuing her dedication to community service.
Angeli got off to an early start caring for children in the 1970’s by helping with her mother’s home child care service. She was introduced to Acorn Hill by a WWS parent, whom she met at a nearby dog park where their puppies played together. She started as a substitute teacher at Acorn Hill in 2016, later becoming the 3 Day Nursery assistant teacher while she completed the Waldorf Early Childhood teacher training at Sophia’s Hearth.
Outside of teaching, she is a licensed Realtor who helps manage her family’s properties. Angeli lives with her husband, a sports journalist, and her beautiful son, Sean, born in July 2019. Her family includes a cat named Einstein and two dogs, Fionnuala-Tula & Ellie.
Faculty Council Member
Kate was born in the DC area. She traveled through Europe, settled in Ethiopia, and traveled again in East Africa. When she returned to the States, she finished her BA (science, painting, poetry and pottery), and received her MFA (in painting and new forms) from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. During her middle years she lived in an artist’s loft in Soho, in the country on Martha’s Vineyard, and at the foot of the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. She gardened, made art, designed theatre sets, and got involved in a household hazardous waste project. Kate discovered Waldorf education shortly after the birth of her daughter and is now a certified Waldorf Elementary Education and Therapeutic Education Teacher. Since 1996, she has loved working at Acorn Hill as a nursery and parent-child teacher. Kate has written articles for Waldorf publications and gives workshops and presentations at the annual Waldorf Kindergarten Conference and to our Acorn Hill community.
Marie-Christine was born and raised in the Loire Valley, France, lived in the countryside and was lucky to grow up with wonderful homegrown vegetables and fruit from her father’s garden. She studied in Orleans where she earned degrees in Tourism and English. She came to the United States in 1992 and met her soon-to-be husband, and they moved to Bethesda in 1995, after getting married in her hometown in France. Marie-Christine worked for the French Embassy and French mission to the OAS for several years, then opened and ran a French Antique furniture store in Kensington with her husband for 10 years. She loved the contact with customers and the smell of beeswax used to nourish the old furniture. When her first daughter was ready for school, Marie-Christine was introduced to Acorn Hill – it was love at first sight! Starting as a substitute teacher, Marie-Christine is now a certified Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher and an assistant teacher in the Five Day Nursery. Her daughters, Emma and Hannah are both attending the Washington Waldorf School. Marie-Christine loves camping and taking walks in the woods with her dog Loki, finding peace and inspiration in nature.
Rajni grew up in Lucknow, India where she earned a Masters of Anthropology and a Masters of Social Work. She started her career managing health programs in India for underserved rural populations. After moving to the U.S., she worked for several years teaching at a cooperative preschool in Silver Spring. When Rajni and her family moved back to India from 2014-2018, she worked with a non-profit in New Delhi where she trained teachers, organized programs for adolescent girls, and started a program to train young women from poor, urban areas in early child development. Rajni lives in Takoma Park with her husband and two sons, who attended the Acorn Hill summer program and parent-child program. She is drawn to the wholesomeness of the Waldorf philosophy of education and its emphasis on nature and imagination. Rajni enjoys yoga, painting, gardening, writing poetry, and acting in Hindi theater productions.
Mei-Lin was born in London, UK to Malaysian parents and spent her summers growing up in Penang. She attended Nottingham University in the UK and studied Architecture. It was at this time she met her partner Martin and moved to Washington DC. At this point an interest in using art as a modality for therapy began to surface, and Mei-Lin volunteered and worked in a DC arts infused charter school for two years. She then decided to pursue Montessori Training with the Maria Montessori Institute in London and gained her Primary (3-6) certificate in 2012 and her Post graduate diploma in Observation in 2013. Returning to the US she worked in Arlington, VA as the lead guide in a Montessori Primary program before she became pregnant with Elsie in 2016. During that time she met Liz Hagerman through a RIE Foundations course who introduced her to Acorn Hill. Blown away by the beauty and charm of Acorn Hill, Mei-Lin and Martin jumped at the chance to attend parent and infant classes, and they have not looked back since. Throughout her time with Liz, Mei-Lin began to develop a sense for both the Waldorf method and Piklerian developmental approach which to this day she continues to pursue. Mei-Lin has many interests, loves a good laugh and loves leisurely days spent outdoors in nature camping.
Mariam Watson Mokhtarzada began her parenting journey in Acorn Hill’s first infant-child class. As her children grew at Acorn Hill, so too grew Mariam’s involvement in the parent community. She particularly enjoyed organizing the Silent Auction and credits her joy for fundraising to Acorn Hill. Mariam is passionate in helping organizations deliver on their mission and has served in leadership positions at for-profit and non-profit organizations and boards. After working for over a decade as Director of Human Resources at an internet start-up, Mariam co-founded and served as the first Executive Director of Next Wave Muslim Initiative, better known as NWMI. She currently serves as the Sunday School Principal of the Islamic School of Potomac. Mariam has a Bachelor’s in Nursing, Master’s Degree in Organization Development, and a certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of Maryland Do Good Institute. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Zeki, and their three children.
As the daughter of a foreign service officer, Natasha grew up in Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Cairo and Maryland. She then attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada. After completing her BSc in Psychology, Natasha went on to work as a meditation and yoga program manager for both adults and teenagers. This led her to go back to school and complete her MA in Elementary Education at American University. She then taught various grades in the D.C. public school system. When her son was born, she discovered Acorn Hill and immediately fell in love with its holistic and nurturing environment. As another child came along and years went by, it became clear to her that Acorn Hill represented the perfect blend of her love for children and her beliefs in child rearing and education. She lives with her husband Dileep, her two grade school children who attend the Washington Waldorf School and her labradoodle, Milo.
Monica first came to Acorn Hill as a parent in 2010 in the Parent-Child program, and enjoyed the quiet and warm atmosphere and pedagogy of the school. Her children continued to attend Acorn Hill until 2016, while Monica became active in the Parent Circle, and joined as a substitute teacher. In September 2017, Monica was hired as the Administrative Assistant. Monica was born in Sweden and raised in Italy, Sweden and Switzerland, before completing her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. After working in Washington, DC for a year, Monica moved to London for 13 years, where she took on various roles at a number of small businesses, ranging from a consultant at a management consulting firm, strategy consultant at a web development company, and as an account manager at a software firm specializing in the asset management sector. Since moving back to the Washington, DC area, Monica has stayed at home with her two children, until they began grade school, and has been actively involved in school and neighborhood community activities. Monica enjoys walking or biking to Acorn Hill from her nearby home.
Becca was born in the Baltimore area, and spent her childhood growing and learning in Baltimore County, the mountains of New Jersey, and finally Carroll County – where she now resides with her husband, two cats, and turtle. Being an avid gardener she has begun weaving biodynamic gardening practices into her work at home, planting an abundance of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. In 2020 she earned her degree in Early Childhood Education, with an interest in the Waldorf pedagogy and the studies of Rudolf Steiner. Outside of this, Becca is a guitarist and enjoys being outdoors in nature, journaling, studying aromatherapy and herbs, and wishes to one day have her own small, sustainable farm.
Clay was born and raised in Connecticut’s quiet northeastern corner. He attended Yale University as an undergraduate, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During this time, while working in the Peabody Museum of Natural History, he also volunteered as a tutor for K-12 students in New Haven Public Schools; he loved tutoring and decided to pursue a career in education. Clay spent his college summers dividing his time between tutoring and conducting research in ichthyology, especially loving the field trips that his lab would go on to catch fish for their research. This experience reinforced his belief that outdoor work (and play) should be an important part of education. He spends his free time walking, reading, and playing guitar, and is excited to grow as an educator in the outdoors at Acorn Hill.
Catherine grew up in the DC area, but she was born in Stuttgart, Germany. Her mother is Swedish, so she traveled to the US via Sweden so that she could meet her Swedish family. Through traditional Swedish child-rearing, she was introduced to Waldorf early childhood practices, and when she first saw Acorn Hill, once she had her own children, she felt like she had come home. She is now once again returning (home), though she has had decades of teaching–from college-level all the way down to toddlers. Most recently, she has been teaching Waldorf education in the Pacific Northwest, both in Portland, Oregon and Whidbey Island (near Seattle). She was trained in Seattle, at Sound Circle Center for Arts and Anthroposophy, as well (it’s where her American family is from).
In the DC area, she was an intern with Liz Hagerman in her parent-child program at Acorn Hill, and she taught the early childhood afternoon program at Potomac Crescent and Washington Waldorf Schools. Several years ago, she took her foundation studies with Jack Petrash at the NOVA Institute at Washington Waldorf School. Her teaching specialty before becoming a Waldorf teacher is teaching English, both as literature and as a language to visiting and immigrant students. Her advanced degrees are in English and Multicultural Education and Curriculum.
Besides teaching, she is involved in music, dance, and ushering at Washington area theaters. She has done handwork most of her life, and is also a long-practicing yoga student. She loves to write, work in the garden, walk and canoe/kayak, and cook. Her three children thrived at Acorn Hill in the 1990s, and she still has many important Acorn Hill friends from that time.
Tania was born and raised in Mexico, but has lived in upstate New York, Italy and Maryland. Tania completed a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design at ITLA University after growing up with a special love for art, painting, and all handiwork. Tania first came to Maryland, in 2016, through an exchange program completing photography and marketing coursework, tutoring children in Spanish, and volunteering at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. During this time, Tania met her now husband, a fellow teacher, and got married in 2021.
Tania’s older sister, also a Waldorf teacher, inspired her involvement in Waldorf Education in 2014. She then started her second bachelor’s degree on Phsycopedagogy at UPAV, Mexico. Tania served as a kindergarten assistant at two different Waldorf Schools in Quintana Roo and Pachuca, Mexico. In 2019, Tania officially began Waldorf Early Childhood teacher training in Morelos, Mexico through AWSNA. It is through this combination of international experience and continuing education that Tania has strengthened her love of the connection between nature, art, and quality human education.
Jessica is from Liberia, in west Africa, and has lived in the US for 19 years. She loves working with children, specifically the preschool and kindergarten age group because they learn from her and she learns from them. Jessica has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Prince George’s Community College and brings a wealth of experience from working with children for over a decade.
Yardena grew up in Kensington, MD. She has always been a lover of the outdoors, is an avid rock climber, and recently volunteered with a program teaching climbing skills to kids. She is interested in building experience in teaching and was drawn to the hands-on approach of the Waldorf philosophy. Yardena attended a Spanish immersion school and is excited to share her passion for the language with her students. She has firsthand experience with the way that young minds can grasp new languages and communicate in new ways, expanding their creativity and sense of self along with it. She’s interested in the human brain and body being vessels for our experience here on Earth and wants to foster curiosity about all our world has to offer. She enjoys arts and crafts, poetry, and spending time with her cat, Peep.
Cesia is attending Prince George’s community college, working on earning an associates degree in Early childhood Education. She worked as an assistant teacher at her church for 4 years until the pandemic hit and classes were no longer held in person. Cesia’s hobbies include film photography, baking, and gardening. She learned about Waldorf education through one of her cousins and became very intrigued to learn more. Cesia is very grateful and happy to join Acorn Hill this year.