The WECAN Board is composed of experienced early childhood educators from throughout North America. The Board has a four-day annual meeting each November and an additional meeting in the spring. Its various committees—Finance, Personnel, Board Committee, Conference Planning, Diversity Equity Inclusion and Access, Outreach and Public Policy, Membership, Teacher Education, Birth to Three and Publications—are active throughout the year in a number of ways.
Board members and other WECAN colleagues participate in our WECAN Working Groups to deepen aspects of our educational work and share the results through WECAN Books, the Gateways newsletter and through conferences and regional gatherings. The Board also acts as an organ of perception for the needs of the Waldorf early childhood movement and collaborates with AWSNA (the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education (APWE), and a number of other organizations with similar goals and ideals in service of childhood. Two board members act as WECAN representatives on the council of the International Association for Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE), based in Switzerland.
The current members of the Board are: Louise deForest, Heather Church, Keelah Helwig, Susan Howard, Ruth Ker, Laura Mason, Gabriela Nuñez Plata, Anjum Mir, and Magdalena Toran.
Experienced Waldorf educators in each region are invited by the Board to serve as WECAN Regional Representatives. On a volunteer basis, they help to assist organizations on their steps on the membership path, contact members to explore activities and issues of concern, facilitate collaboration within the region, act as a speaking partner to the AWSNA regional representative, and make recommendations to the WECAN Membership Committee regarding applications for membership and the evolving Membership Handbook.
WECAN Co-Director ~ Heather Church, Gores Landing, ONT firstname.lastname@example.org WECAN Co-Director ~ Susan Howard, Amherst, MA email@example.com Administrator ~ Melissa Lyons, Spring Valley, NY firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative Support ~ Mia Radysh, Shelburne Falls, MA email@example.com Communications Coordinator ~ Lara Radysh, Shelburne Falls, MA firstname.lastname@example.org Membership Coordinator ~ Laura Mason, Issaquah, WA email@example.com Teacher Education Coordinator ~ Ruth Ker, Duncan, BC firstname.lastname@example.org
WECAN BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS Publications Coordinator ~ Donna Miele, Spring Valley, NY email@example.com Gateways Editor ~ Nancy Blanning, Denver, CO firstname.lastname@example.org Gateways Managing Editor ~ Lory Widmer, Villeret, Switzerland email@example.com Shipping ~ Kate Barhydt, Spring Valley, NY firstname.lastname@example.org
BIRTH TO THREE Coordinator ~ Magdalena Toran, Conway, MA email@example.com
WECAN CONFERENCES Conference Administrator ~ Mia Radysh, Shelburne Falls, MA firstname.lastname@example.org Conference Committee~ Heather Church, Susan Howard, Laura Mason, Magdalena Toran Conference Team ~ Elia Gilbert, Melissa Lyons, Lara Radysh, Celia Riahi
Individuals who wish to support and contribute to Waldorf early childhood education are invited to join WECAN. Schools, training centers, and home programs may also enter on the path of organizational membership.
Heather is WECAN’s Birth to Three Co-Coordinator working together with Magdalena Toran in support of birth to three programs, conferences, the Birth to Three Advisory Circle and teacher training in North America. She is on the WECAN Board Committee and Finance Committee. Heather is now active in teacher training and New Adult Learning. In the past she was the Pedagogical Director and EC coordinator at the Halton Waldorf School, a WECAN regional rep and Pedagogical Co-Chair at the Toronto Waldorf School. She now lives in Gores Landing, Ontario, Canada
Louise deForest, Chairperson and Secretary Mill River, MA
Louise is an experience early childhood educator and teacher trainer and for many years has worked with Waldorf schools and programs around the world. She represents North América on the Council of the International Association for Steiner/ Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE) and has edited several books for WECAN. She is a member of the Finance Committee, the Board Committee and the Membership Committee. She lives in Western Massachusetts.
Keelah Helwig Long Island, New York
Keelah Helwig is an early childhood educator and section chair at the Waldorf School of Garden City on Long Island, New York. Keelah completed her training at Sunbridge Institute where she is also a board member. Keelah served on the conference planning committee for the 2021 WECAN early childhood educator’s conference and will be a keynote speaker at the 2022 Conference. She is a member of Alma Partners, providing support and resources for DEI work in Waldorf schools and communities. Keelah is also a member of the board of AWSNA.
Susan Howard Amherst, MA
Susan is a co-founder of WECAN and has worked as the WECAN Coordinator, a half-time position, since 2002. She has also worked since 2002 as a member of the three-person Coordinating Group for the International Association for Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE), based in Europe. She directed the Sunbridge Early Childhood Teacher Education Program for 34 years until 2018 and was a co-founder and later director of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education in the 90’s. Susan lives in Amherst, MA.
Susan has written “The Essentials of Waldorf Early Childhood Education” and edited a number of WECAN Books, including The Developing Child, Love as the Source of Education, and Working with the Angels. She is a member of the WECAN Teacher Education Committee, Publications Committee, and Envisioning Group.
Ruth Ker Duncan, BC
Ruth Ker, WECAN’s Teacher Education Coordinator and representative on the AWSNA Teacher Education Delegates Circle, is also a Program Director for West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. She lives in Duncan, BC., Canada, where she was a founding teacher at the Sunrise Waldorf School. As facilitator of the WECAN Older Child in the Kindergarten Group and member of the international IASWECE working group on this theme, Ruth edited “From Kindergarten into the Grades” and “You’re Not the Boss of Me”. She is also the author/editor of “Please Can We Play Games.”
Anjum Mir Los Angeles, CA
For over 20 years, Anjum Mir has been supporting parents in establishing healthy home rhythms. Her teaching experience has taken her from public and private school to Waldorf Education, which she discovered while looking for an educational system that honored the development and spiritual well-being of her first child.
Currently, Anjum, a mother of four, works in pedagogical administration and teaches parent-child classes at the Westside Waldorf school in Los Angeles, offers prenatal, infant and toddler focused workshops and seminars and holds parenting classes for parents of children through middle school. She is on the board of WECAN and several other education-focused organizations and is involved in teacher education and training.
Gabriela Nuñez Plata Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Gabriela studied education at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. She is a founder of the Ak Lu’um Waldorf Community in Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya, a coastal region of the Yucatán Peninsula. She has worked as a kindergarten teacher since 1998, and as a Waldorf teacher since 2008, working with mixed-age groups of two- to seven-year-olds and currently with children under three years of age. She is also the founder of the YaxKin Early Childhood Teacher Training in the Riviera Maya. Gabriela has her training in Waldorf Early Childhood education at the Centro De Desarrollo Antroposofico in Cuernavaca, is an anthroposophical art therapist at Arteterapia Antroposofica. This year she is a WECAN regional rep in Mexico. She lives in Playa del Carmen, MX.
Magdalena Toran Conway, MA
Magdalena is an early childhood educator at the Hartsbrook School in MA, where she teaches parent-child and parent-infant classes. She studied at Sunbridge and Sophia’s Hearth and is an active member of the WECAN Birth to Three Task Force. Magdalena has taught workshops and courses at conferences and training centers on birth to three. She is a member of the WECAN Diversity Group.
Laura Mason Issaquah, WA
Laura Mason received her Waldorf early childhood teacher training certificate at Rudolf Steiner College in 2006 and worked in early childhood programs for 19 years. She has served as WECAN’s Membership Coordinator since 2016 and represents WECAN on AWSNA’s Leadership Council and the Waldorf Associations Working Group. She is also a member of WECAN’s Teacher Education Committee and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Committee. She lives on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples in Issaquah, WA.
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We have established a new WECAN Community Hub for engaging in conversation and sharing resources, with subgroups for Parent Child, Birth to Three, Home Programs, Early Childhood Teacher Educators, and WECAN Organizational Members.
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