Ms. Rachel Hanson-Myers
Ms. Rachel began teaching at Tamarack Community School in 2001 as both a Spanish and Handwork specialty teacher. Eventually her handwork position grew and she spent the afternoons teaching 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders and assisting 5th graders. During the other half of the day she worked as a lead teacher at Lifeways Childcare Center, a Waldorf inspired early childhood program. In 2004, she completed the Lifeways Early Childhood training with Cynthia Aldinger and Mary Thienes Schunemann. By the year 2006 her family had moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin and shortly after that she became the Handwork teacher at Three Rivers Waldorf School. She has been here six years, teaching children in 1st – 8th grade, how to knit, crochet, spin yarn, make dolls, cross-stitch, hand and machine sew. During this time she also helped to start the Little Lights Early Childhood program for TRWS. She is currently a teacher in our Little Lights Child Child Program. When she is not teaching, she is at home raising three lively children, gardening, swimming laps, baking, reading and sewing.
Ms. Sara Merrell
Ms. MaryEllyn Mattison-Doerr
Ms. MaryEllyn is a trained Waldorf teacher having taught for more than 27 years. She is experienced in providing a safe, nurturing, child-centered play based environment allowing young children the freedom to learn. As an Early Childhood /Kindergarten Teacher, she is “present” daily to each child’s developmental needs, by giving her full attention to their inherent creative energy, imagination, spontaneity, enthusiasm, humor and physical movements. Her program emphasizes daily interaction with the outdoors and the natural world. It is a pleasure for her to have the opportunity to participate in this kind of environment and to work with these young children. For many years she has also had the pleasure of telling many stories and working deeply into the art of puppetry and performance with colleagues. She began teaching at Three Rivers Waldorf School in 1999.
Ms. MaryEllyn received her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education & Biology from Briar Cliff College in Sioux City as well as post graduate work in Studio Art & Philosophy at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She has also completed Waldorf Teacher Training at Mercy College in Detroit. Her completed summer training courses include Storytelling, Remedial Education, Early Childhood/Kindergarten Education, Speech, Anthroposophy, Mentoring, Puppetry, Handwork, Movement, and Eurythmy. Ms. MaryEllyn has also organized and taught several Waldorf Teacher training summer programs with Sophia Institute in Viroqua, WI.
Ms. Marinella Pro
Ms. Marinella has been a Waldorf kindergarten teacher since 2001. She is originally from Italy where she worked as an elementary teacher and environmental specialist. She now lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters. She is passionate about puppetry, which she uses as a therapeutic tool in her classroom and for the greater community.
Ms. Marinella received a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Torino, Italy. She has earned an Associate degree in Early Childhood education from Western Technical College in La Crosse, WI. She has taken foundation studies in Anthroposophy in Viroqua, WI and three years of Puppetry certification from Juniper Tree Puppetry School. She is a Simplicity Parenting Group Leader and looks forward to teaching classes in an effort to support families in creating a deep connection with their children through ritual, rhythm, and simplicity.
After moving to the La Crosse area in 1994, Ms. DeGroot worked as a substitute teacher for over four years and home schooled her two oldest sons for three years. Most recently, she taught full-time Kindergarten for four years at a private school in La Crosse. Over the years she has been active as a Cub Scout Den Leader, Cubmaster and 4-H Project Leader. In addition to teaching she enjoys biking, reading, being outdoors and attending her sons’ sporting events. She is excited to learn more about Waldorf education and is looking forward to teaching and growing with the first and second grade students.
Ms. DeGroot received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary and Middle School Education from Edgewood College in Madison, WI.
Ms. Tracy Erickson
Ms. Erickson is blessed and delighted to be on this path to support children in going through metamorphosis and awakening to being more fully present in the world through the integration of their hands, their hearts and their heads. As this lively art of education and this community give children a childhood, they grow up free to impart meaning and direction in their lives. She has been a Grades Teacher for four years and is currently teaching the 3rd/4th Grade Class.
Ms. Erickson received her Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts as well as Foundational Courses of Anthroposophy and the Arts.
Ms. Morse came to Three Rivers Waldorf School in the fall of 2000 as a parent seeking an alternative for her children. The rich and developmentally-appropriate curriculum, the music and arts integration, the positive social environment and the respect for the child as an individual are only a few things she values within the Waldorf philosophy, both as a parent and teacher. It is an honor for her to watch a child unfold and blossom into a well-rounded young adult on their journey through the grades; resulting in an individual who is self-assured, critical thinker and an active participant in the world around them. Aside from teaching she enjoys writing, cooking, gardening, yoga, knitting, being in nature and spending time with family.
Ms. Morse received a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education with a Creative Writing/Poetry Minor from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse. She then went on to the Master’s program in Language and Literature at Winona State University. She studied Foundations in Anthroposophy at Sophia Institute in Viroqua, WI, Class Teacher Deepening for Grade Three at Michael Institute in Portland, Oregon, Essentials Grades Five and Six Conferences with Eugene Schwartz and Annual mentoring with Leo Klein.
Ms. Katie Wellnitz
Since 2004, Ms. Wellnitz has been teaching environmental and outdoor education programs to people of all ages through the National Audubon Society, UW-Extension, Wisconsin DNR and several other nonprofit organizations. After earning her teacher certification in 2009, she spent two years teaching middle and high school science at a charter school in Milwaukee. She discovered Three Rivers Waldorf School shortly after moving to La Crosse in 2011 and soon became the long-term substitute teacher for the 1st and 2nd grade class. She has found that the mission and values of TRWS closely mirror her personal values and educational philosophy, and she is excited to return as the 7th and 8th grade class teacher. When she is not in the classroom, she is camping, gardening, knitting or volunteering as a youth mentor and environmental educator for several other non-profit organizations.
Ms. Wellnitz earned her Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconson – Madison as well as her Teaching Certification from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.