Helen Brinkel (Lead Kindergarten Teacher)
Helen was Born in The Netherlands in Voorburg near Den Haag. She has also lived in Switzerland in the French speaking city of Neuchatel; after marrying she moved to the United States. Helen speaks four languages! Dutch, French, German, English
She has an Early Childhood degree and Elementary degree from St. Maarten College and her Masters degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College in New York. Helen says, “I believe that the early childhood is the most important foundation for a happy life, so I take my work very seriously. I’m trying to surround the children with many positive influences in a calm warm homelike atmosphere, so that they can step into the world with confidence and trust.” She realizes after her many years teaching children of all abilities and many nationalities, that all children are the same. They all need warmth and love.
Helen is a talented handwork artist and has an ongoing interest in art, music, theater, and cooking. Her next project is learning to play the piano! Her greatest hope is that her own children Dave (24), Daniel (21), and Martin (17) have happy and fulfilling lives.
Kelsey Richardson (Lead Kindergarten Teacher)
Kelsey is currently enrolled at The West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy, for early childhood educator training. She has also completed five years of course work in psychology, anthropology, and medical biology. She has worked with children her entire life and finds this is her true passion.
Kelsey was an assistant teacher in the Kindergarten under Ms. Helen for a year before beginning her studies to become a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher. She attended the Birth – 4 years classes by Carol Toole at the Austin Waldorf School and also did a training on the Waldorf Kindergarten with Betty Jane Enno at the Austin Waldorf School.
Gwen Wahlquist (Lead Kindergarten Teacher)
Dana Fleming ( Third Grade Teacher)
Dana completed her three-year Waldorf Class Teacher Training at Sunbridge College while earning her Foundation Studies Certificate in Austin. She took a group of wonderful children from first through fifth grade at a start-up school in the area, and fondly remembers every moment with the children as she tried to balance their time inside and outside the active classroom.
A German teacher since 1987, she pours a great deal of energy into every type of lesson. Dana thrives on the versatility and flexibility teachers must demonstrate at a young school. She needed to learn to carve wood and play three kinds of flutes, invent new cooperative games, new ideas for math and German in motion, new knitting projects, and of course the storytelling that forms the core of elementary instruction–to name only a few subjects!
Dana enjoys teaching adults as well as children, offering workshops to help people bring ideas from Waldorf education into a variety of different teaching situations.
She is married to a theoretical physicist who cooks like a chef and invents astonishing things. Conversations at home are never dull. Their only child, a recent graduate of the Austin Waldorf School, just began her college adventure. The family was delighted to discover that admissions officers are now actively courting Waldorf students.
Gap year in Hamburg and West Berlin
B.A. with high departmental honors, UC San Diego (and Junior Year in Munich)
M.A., M. Phil., and ABD, German Literature, Yale University
Waldorf Class Teacher Certificate, Sunbridge College
Foundation Studies Program Certificate, Austin Waldorf School
Becky Stemper (Second Grade Teacher)
Becky Stemper grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She majored in French/Russian at James Madison University. She lived a year in Paris, traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska for a degree in Geology, then finished with a M.Sc. in Geology from the University of Toronto in 1990.
She discovered Waldorf in New Orleans where she was an assistant kindergarten teacher for 2 years.
After moving to Houston she started Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College. She homeschooled her youngest daughter in a class with other children from 5th to 8th grade using Waldorf curriculum. She completed Remedial Education at Rudolf Steiner College in 2011 and is now in her 2nd year of Spacial Dynamics. She also has been taking workshops on the Masgutova method which works on integrating the reflexes from birth to maturity.
She’s an avid gardener and nature observer. She has many interests: handwork, languages, music, traveling, hiking, birds, plants, insects, rocks and, of course, children.
Laura Gabelsberg (First Grade Teacher)
Sara Moon (Administrative Director)
Sara graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Texas at Austin. She became a public school teacher to 3rd and 4th grade students for six years in both Houston and San Antonio. She has been the Director at Great Oak since 2010.
Her passion is to bring the beauty, reverence, and education she herself dreamed of to the children of Houston with an accessible Pre-K through Grade 12 Waldorf school. Sara and her husband have two daughters who both attend Great Oak.
Myrna Arana (Spanish Teacher)