Co-Founders of the Center for Contextual Studies


Jon McAlice

Jon McAlice began teaching in 1976 at East Hill School and Farm in Vermont, USA where he was introduced to the work of Rudolf Steiner. A co-founder of the Center for Contextual Studies, his research in contemporary education (contextualization, the experience of meaning, the role of self-directed activity in learning) has born fruit throughout the Waldorf educational movement in the growing recognition of the significance of direct experience in the learning process. 


Robert Sim

Robert Sim began teaching forty years ago. Initially he taught economics at university, but soon recognized the need to find a path that embraced the spiritual as well as the material. This led him to Emerson College and subsequently thirty-two years of Waldorf teaching. The first phase was spent at the Freie Waldorfschule am Bodensee in Germany, where he worked as both an English and class teacher. He came to the United States in 1998, taking a class for eight years at Pine Hill in New Hampshire. Upon graduation of his class he moved across the road to High Mowing, where he is currently teaching, as well as acting as Academic Dean. He teaches a number of main lessons in the humanities, social sciences and mathematics, as well as mathematics track classes and German. He is very interested in experimenting with new courses, collaborative teaching and the integration of diverse subjects into a cohesive whole.


Michele Starr

Michele Starr began her Waldorf teaching career in 1982 as a kindergarten teacher during the founding years of the Seattle Waldorf School. After six years teaching kindergarten, she was the pioneering class teacher for the Lake Champlain Waldorf School, continuing as a class teacher for 21 years. When LCWS looked to re-imagine their upper grade programs, Michele was instrumental in supporting this shift. She served on the Leadership Council of AWSNA for 8 years, leading questions focused on school development. While continuing to teach part-time at LCWS, Michele currently mentors teachers, working with Waldorf Schools across the country interested in deepening the impulse of Waldorf Education. When she isn’t gardening, hiking, biking, stone carving or paddle boarding, Michele’s passions include re-thinking our understanding of Waldorf Education in order to meet the needs of today’s children.

Wade Cavin

Wade Cavin currently teaches science and math at Portland Waldorf School and gives courses for adult learners at the Micha-el Institute in Portland, Oregon. Before beginning his teaching career, he worked in universities, in research laboratories and hazardous waste management, in an environmental consulting company, and lastly in commercial labs doing environmental testing. With degrees in biology and the fine arts, his interest in Goethean science and the phenomenological approach led to an interest in Waldorf teaching. He is completing a graduate degree at Prescott College combining phenomenology, Goethean science and the work of Rudolf Steiner.


Beth Weisburn

In all her endeavors, from electronic design to whale research to Waldorf teaching, Beth has sparked change, especially in the ways of working. Her interests in developing human consciousness, in Anthroposophy, and in creating collaboratively have led her to gather colleagues for educational research and phenomenological science conferences. Although her formal education includes degrees from Cornell University and the Center for Educational Renewal, she finds that ongoing, transformative learning happens with every attentive human encounter.

Kristin Buckbee

Kristin Buckbee has taught history and the arts in Waldorf high school settings as well as in non-traditional, Waldorf-inspired educational forms. Her experiences as an educator inspired her to engage with the questions: What do children need in order to learn? And how can we create a learning context for children that is truly child-centered and in support of their freedom? Working with these questions has led her to start a new educational form in upstate New York, where she will soon be leading the first graders as their class teacher. Kristin is a Waldorf graduate, a visual artist, and a co-organizer of peer-led anthroposophical youth work. She has had a unique and self-directed path of higher education involving time spent in traditional college, anthroposophical trainings, and working with mentors – but has found life and anthroposophy to be the best facilitators of substantive knowledge and growth.