A Letter from Our Head of School
Dear WSP Families and Friends, The fall is often a season for homecomings. At WSP, we feel this in a very special way this year as several of our alumni have “come home” to give back to the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh. In writing this, I can’t overlook that one of our first alumni, Mr.Toby Foglia, Class of 2000, has been a teacher in the Yellow House for three years! (You'll see him pushing one of the red buggies in the Halloween Journey photos here.)
While Julia Roberson, Class of 2005, has often come back to substitute during school breaks, this year she is one of our regular on-call substitutes who has worked in more than half of our classrooms already while she pursues a doctoral degree in occupational therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to returning to Pittsburgh, Julia worked at Camphill School, the only Waldorf school in North America that exclusively serves children with special needs.
Looking back on her Waldorf experience, Julia “appreciates and values all of the art, music, movement, and time outside that she enjoyed at school as a child.” She sees how important they are to her even now as an adult.
As Julia plans to work in pediatric occupational therapy, she was especially interested in coming back to the Waldorf school where she spent so much time in this “calm, welcoming environment”. She wanted to be reminded of this before entering into this new phase of her professional life.
Alena Roberson, Class of 2007, is the assistant in Buttercup Kindergarten, the same classroom where her mother once taught. She remembers helping her mom, Lydia McShane, in the classroom before school started and sees other children today working with their parents in much the same way. Alena was interested in coming back to work at WSP, because of the warmth she remembers but also how “the teachers invested so much in the students and in their learning.”
The gift of music from WSP stayed with Alena long after she left. She began playing the cello at WSP and played all throughout college. Alena graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 with a degree in Psychology and minor in Spanish. After college, she completed two years with AmeriCorps teaching English — the first year in a K–2 elementary program and the second year to adults in a work training program in Texas. For the last 14 months, Alena worked and lived in Camphill Village in Copake, New York, a community for adults with special needs. Alena hopes to do more traveling abroad but is pleased to be reconnected with the school she considered her “second home” growing up. Alena and her sister, Julia, are also the daughters of Bob Roberson, Director of Business Operations at WSP.
Liam Gannon, Class of 2010, has returned to WSP several summers as a Camp Waldorf Counselor. He still has active ties through the school as his mother, Julie Stunden, is our Woodworking teacher.
Now a carpenter and contractor by trade, Liam graduated from Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore. He was recently at school helping Ms. Stunden set up the wood shop when Ms. Illar asked if he would consider being a substitute at the school. Liam thought he might enjoy the variety and flexibility of working the two positions and so far, he has worked in the kindergartens and seventh grade!
When thinking about what stands out most to him about his time at WSP then, as well as today, and why he would want to come back, Liam says it’s all the same thing. “What stands out is the way the people at WSP take care of people. It’s the approach to teaching, helping, and supporting children and young people — taking care of humans rather than achieving some systematic goal. It’s about helping them grow.”
In celebration of our alumni,
Head of School