FACULTY & STAFF
Early Childhood Faculty
Patricia Cornelius, Lead Kindergarten Teacher
Patricia is an experienced Waldorf early childhood teacher and school administrator with 20+ years of experience. She began her career in 1998 as an assistant kindergarten teacher at The Waldorf School of Philadelphia (WSP). In September 2003, she was hired as a lead teacher in a mixed-age early childhood program at WSP where she worked until January 2021. In addition to working in the kindergarten, Patricia held an administrative position at WSP as Faculty Chair from 2016-2020. She loves being with and supporting young children, especially through the Waldorf early childhood curriculum. She is the mother of six and now resides in Fairfield.
In addition to being a kindergarten teacher, Patricia is a certified yoga teacher who has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1992. In her personal time she enjoys reading, walking, cooking, gardening, handwork, yoga and meditation.
Muna Askar, Assistant Kindergarten Teacher
Shortly after attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a teaching degree, Muna discovered that she was searching for a more balanced approach to child development than that which is taught in public schools. This led her through a path of self-discovery which continued at Maharishi International University, studying Consciousness and Human Potential. When she found Singing Cedars, she found at last an education model that aligned with her value of meeting the child where they are and nurturing their natural pace of development. 2022 is the first year Muna is teaching in the classroom, and so far she is loving every second. She spends her spare time in her greenhouse, exploring regenerative agricultural practices and playing with her two kittens at home.
Grades Program Faculty
Erin Adams, Grades 1 & 2 Teacher
Erin grew up in the town of Fairfield where her love for nature and art, including camping, hiking, swimming, watercolor, drawing, and crafting were strongly supported. After graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in elementary school education, she became a public school educator teaching art. Throughout the next 10 years Erin taught other areas of elementary education, including 4th and 5th grade and supporting fellow teachers with curriculum and instruction. As her own child grew closer to school age, Erin began exploring more holistic approaches to education. In her own words, she shares, “My family loves and values imagination, nature, and the arts and I wanted to be able to incorporate this into my daughter’s schooling and my own teaching. When I found Singing Cedars I knew that this was exactly the community I had been searching for.”
Martha Mullenneaux Sperry, Grades 3 & 4 Teacher
Martha is in her third year at Singing Cedars and is currently teaching the 3rd/4th Grades combination class.
With a background in art education, child development and wellness, her teaching experiences began many moons ago. In New York she taught in a private art school, a Montessori School and an outdoor summer camp, and upon moving to Fairfield began private classes in her home. Upon moving to Oregon her passion for teaching a nature-based program was fulfilled at a charter school on 40 acres. Having returned to the midwest, Martha is expressing her love of children by teaching at a school she would have been thrilled to attend. "It is very inspiring to give the children a beautiful balance of subjects in such a nurturing environment."
Jill Weber, School Administrator & Early Childhood Director
Jill completed her Waldorf teacher training in the Pacific Northwest, and proceeded to work in outdoor-based Waldorf early childhood programs for the following 10 years. As an outdoor educator, she has enjoyed living closely with the cycles of nature, both in western Oregon and in southeast Iowa, and seeing the changes that each season brings through the eyes of young children.
As Early Childhood Director since 2019, Jill has worked to establish and maintain the school’s mixed-age kindergarten as a state-licensed child care center, a designation which allows many families to receive need-based scholarships each year. Most recently, she fills the role of School Administrator, and is pleased to be supporting the school community from a new vantage point, whilst hearing the joyful voices of children at play! She works closely with teaching staff, the board of directors, and the parent body, in service of providing a rich Waldorf-inspired education to the Fairfield community.