Berkshire Waldorf School Announces 2020 First Grade Teacher

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Waldorf School (formerly Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School) welcomes Safina Alessandra as first-grade class teacher for the 2020-21 school year.

Alessandra was selected from a pool of applicants after an international search. At Berkshire Waldorf School, as in most Waldorf schools worldwide, grade school class teachers practice "looping," moving through the grade school curriculum with their classes, to build strong, long-term relationships for up to eight years.

"We are so happy to welcome Safina Alessandra as teacher for the Class of 2028," said Berkshire Waldorf School Director Dr. Sue Das. "She is already a valued member of our teaching staff, working effectively with students at all grade levels, and brings many valuable resources and experiences to the class, including her love of diverse cultures. Ms. Alessandra's addition to the faculty as class teacher continues the school's exciting phase of growth, heading toward our 50th anniversary in 2021."

Alessandra earned her teaching certificate in Waldorf Education from the Alkion Center at Hawthorne Valley in Ghent, N.Y. She also holds a bachelor of science in early childhood and childhood education from the State University of New York at New Paltz, a certificate in childhood education for grades one through six from New York State and a certificate in therapeutic education from Camphill Special Schools in Glenmoore, Pa.

Alessandra began her teaching career at Camphill Special Schools and worked as a substitute in both public and private schools, including John L. Edwards Primary School (Hudson, N.Y.) and Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. Since she joined Berkshire Waldorf School this year, Alessandra has served as a full-time substitute teacher in fifth grade.

Alessandra is bilingual. She grew up in Zurich, Switzerland, where she graduated from a K-12 Waldorf school, the Rudolf Steiner Schule. She lives in neighboring Columbia County, New York.

"While my long relationship to Waldorf pedagogy started in my toddler years, it was studying child development and spending time in a range of classroom settings during my New York state elementary certification process that helped me fully understand the unique gift of Waldorf education," Alessandra said. "I look forward to guiding the class of 2028 through a curriculum that honors each child's physical, emotional and intellectual development with hands-on, artistic and academic learning. From my own Waldorf childhood, I bring resourcefulness, resilience and creativity. From my therapeutic background, I bring collaboration and a deep commitment to working with families to develop each student’s full potential. The opportunity to share this journey with the incoming first grade, surrounded by my welcoming and dedicated colleagues at Berkshire Waldorf School, fills me with joy.”

Berkshire Waldorf School's rich curriculum integrates academic excellence with movement, music, outdoor learning and the arts. The school has been preparing students to achieve their full potential for almost 50 years, earning BWS "Best School in the Berkshires" accolades for seven consecutive years. Berkshire Waldorf School is one of over 1,000 International Waldorf schools, part of the fastest-growing independent school movement in the world, and offers sliding scale tuition and generous scholarships for accepted students based on need.

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Berkshire Workforce Board Hires Second Career Readiness Coordinator

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Responsible for overseeing employment and training services in the region, the MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board recently hired a South County career readiness coordinator; a position that is funded by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Ruthann Eagen will be responsible for assisting the Berkshire Workforce Board youth director with coordinating strategies to further enhance career readiness systems and programming within the public school systems in Southern Berkshire County. She will also assist with the development of a South County College and Career Advisory Team and individual school district teams with the goal for every student to graduate with a completed college and career plan.  

As a youth, Eagen was a member of the Nassau County Law Enforcement Career Exploring Program through the Nassau County Police Department in Long Island, N.Y., and as an adult volunteered for the same program. She looks forward to bringing her career exploring experience to her new role.

Eagen was previously the senior district executive for the Appalachian Trail District of the Western Massachusetts Council, Boy Scouts of America. She received her masters of science in human services and leadership in 2017 from Saint Joseph's College, Patchogue, N.Y., and her bachelor's of science in criminology in 2014 from State University of New York (SUNY) Old Westbury.  She also holds a business administration certificate from Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y.

Eagen can be reached at 413-442-7177, ext. 144, or by email.

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