Sixth Grade | Seventh Grade | Eighth Grade
Rick Betz holds a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing/Literature from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters Degree in Education. He joined the Novato Charter School (NCS) in 2003.
In his words:
“I love children. I love to see their faces light up when they learn something new, or when they have mastered a skill. I love being surprised by their take on the world, by the thoughts and ideas they bring to the class. I love to see their willingness to work together, to sweat together, laugh and play together. In them, I see the hope for the future.
From my experience, teaching requires a delicate hand and an intuitive eye. While programs, planning, and research play a large part in any classroom, the need for spontaneity and flexibility in thinking should not be overlooked. What I love about NCS is the deep commitment to place children first. If a plan needs to be altered to fit a class better, or if an entire program needs to be overhauled to better meet the needs of the children, NCS has proved to be fearless in championing her teachers to respond to these needs.
NCS allows for the art of teaching to not only exist but to flourish.
That is what I love about this school.”
Mr. Kinney holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of California Santa Barbara and a teaching credential from Dominican University of California. Both as an educator and a parent, Mr. Kinney has been involved in education reform through his work with innovative charter schools.
Steve’s specialty is teaching science and he is credentialed in both Physics and Biology/Life Sciences.
Steve has taught at NCS since 2007, working as the class teacher for the classes of 2010, 2014, and 2018, and teaching science, technology, and projects in the middle school.
In his words:
I first encountered Novato Charter students while teaching science at the project-based charter high school, MSAT (Marin School of Arts and Technology). I knew there was something special about NCS because the students had a much higher love of learning and curiosity than I was used to seeing from other local schools. They also brought creativity and artistry to their work in science which was refreshing to see. When an opportunity came to work at NCS, I felt fortunate to join this amazing learning environment.
Now having worked at the school for a few years, along with having my own children attend, I fully understand the magic behind NCS. The curriculum is masterful, the teachers care and collaborate and support one another, and the parents and administrators do whatever is necessary to support the NCS community.
I especially value the privilege to build closer, long-term relationships with my students. By teaching my students over multiple years, it has allowed me to make greater connections to past experiences and to have a greater impact in their personal growth and academic achievement.
For me, this is what it is all about.
Karina Haedo is a Waldorf School graduate. She attended Oberlin College, and completed her B.A. in Liberal Studies, Magna Cum Laude, at Purchase College. She completed her Waldorf Elementary Teacher Training, as well as a Waldorf Remedial Education Masters Degree at Sunbridge College. She holds a California Multiple Subjects Credential through the Dominican University of California. Karina has been teaching for over 20 years.
In her words:
I cannot imagine another vocation. As a Waldorf teacher, I am engaged. What a boon to be an educator, student, artist, scientist, scholar, mentor, nurse, event planner, colleague, and circus performer. Where else could I find so much diversity in my daily life? As a teacher, I am constantly learning, stretching beyond my imagined capacity, meeting the challenges and reveling in what children bring. Whether I am quietly researching nuances in grammar or sweating while I balance a headstand, I am fulfilled!
I first stepped into the classroom nineteen years ago, as a twenty-one-year-old assistant. I was immediately and deeply drawn to the children. A hundred questions filled me. Who were they? Who would they become? Why did they behave in such a manner? Why were they considered challenged? And most importantly, how could we, as the adults supporting them, guide them to become everything they were capable of being? How could they become “their best selves?” Like the clichéd bolt of lightning, I had found my destiny. Along with this clear path came a desire to unravel what informed my own education as a life-long Waldorf student.
Through my Waldorf teacher training, I discovered how the curriculum met every facet of the child at each stage of development. Through my remedial training, I developed a capacity for observation and a deeper understanding of pedagogy. Interestingly, through my studies, the pendulum shifted from unearthing my own experience into incorporating valuable aspects of mainstream methods into my teaching. A growing appreciation for mainstream’s focus on accountability, sequencing, and transparency blossomed. I recognized that the public school method’s concrete, clear-communication, and common language are vital components that balance the connectivity, beauty and reverence for humanity existent within Waldorf schooling.
In my first visit to Novato Charter School, I was immediately impressed by the sweet school that sprang up out of the asphalt of an Air Force Base. It was apparent to me that the lush greenery of the gardens and the joyful cries of happy children were results of incredible work. I felt sure that I would find absolute clarity and organization in the staff, as well as camaraderie and colleagueship within the faculty. I felt sure that tireless support of a parent community lay at the roots of the beauty and health in the environment. In every facet of its composition, I recognized balance and harmony. I was right. I am delighted to become part of Novato Charter School for it is here that all worlds can exist.
“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince