Our Teachers

Jody Lukas

Lead Teacher/Elementary

  • BA:1 (Hons) Primary Education Studies with Qualified Teacher Status – University of Wales, Newport
  • Certificate in Steiner Waldorf Education – West of England Steiner Teacher Training

Jody Lukas

During my fourteen years as a teacher, I have been fortunate to work with a diverse range of incredible children in a wide variety of educational contexts: these include various mainstream primary schools; a secondary comprehensive; a Camphill Community school for students with additional educational needs; and most recently, one of Britain’s oldest independent Waldorf Schools. During this time, I have come to discern what is most important to me and have discovered that it is educating young people towards freedom and enabling them to feel truly seen and valued. The words of Rudolf Steiner capture my sentiments best, he said, "Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility - these three forces are the very nerve of education." Consequently, I pride myself on working creatively and out of a sound understanding of child development to engender in children a sense of awe, wonder and guardianship for the world. The beautiful natural setting of the Village Forest School provides the perfect backdrop for the holistic, health-giving Waldorf Education which I wholeheartedly believe in and enables me to bring my passions for literature, sciences and the arts to a new constellation of students.

In addition to my role as class teacher, I have worked as a leader and member of middle management in several areas in the wider school context; these include mentorship & training, safeguarding & child protection, recruitment, differentiation & moderation, literacy co-ordination, and policy writing. This experience has helped me to lead the formation of VFS this year and I consider it a special privilege to work with parents and the wider community to realize the long term dreams for this venture.

I relocated to Montaldo from Stroud, England with my whippet Luna and have enjoyed exploring the local landscape and learning a new language. I enjoy art, poetry, music, swimming and travel. Building the foundations of this school alongside committed colleagues, parents and students has been a gratifying experience which has forged strong bonds; I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the first academic year and am excited about all the opportunities for growth which lay before us.

Adam Clark

Administrator

Adam

I am a Waldorf teacher with 14 years experience. I have taken a class from Class 1, when they were aged 6 and 7 to Class 8 when they are aged 13 and 14. This was such a special journey for me. I felt privileged to watch the children grow and help them become confident and resilient adolescents, full of a sense of adventure with a deep appreciation of nature. During my time as a teacher I also took management roles and was involved in recruitment, safeguarding. I hope to put the skills that I have learned in these areas to good effect at the Village Forest School.

It is very important for me to have a dialogue with parents and guardians of the pupils in my care as this relationship helps the one I have with the children each day. There are many ups and downs during a child’s life at school and helping them to navigate them means the adults need to be in communication also!

Before teaching I was involved in the growing and cooking of food in many different ways. I helped to set up the Local Stroud Community Agriculture which is still going strong. I cooked in many different settings and favoured local, organic produce whenever possible. Prior to this I lived for 5 years in Camphill communities for adults with additional needs, hand milking cows, making cheese, bread and butter. I also worked in the Catskill Mountains in New York state on a summer programme for children with additional needs.

I am a keen swimmer, play any kind of sport (perhaps not skydiving though!) and love to get stuck into a good novel. I am really enjoying getting to know the local hills and valleys on the weekends. Being part of an exciting new venture is great, with the daily challenges and ‘magic moments’. I look forward to helping grow the school so that it reaches maturity, like the children, strong, confident and with a big heart!

Nivan Yahaghi

Support Teacher/Elementary

Nivan Yahaghi

Nivan spent his early childhood in the Umbrian countryside, moving to Rome when he was 8. Born to international parents, he grew up bilingual, attending both Italian and English language schools. At 19 he moved to Chicago to study film, but instead found himself immersed in the theater department where he studied directing, costume design, and stage management. After graduating in 2011 he worked in film and theater, in the food industry, and with several urban farms, until a long-standing interest in education led him to start working in public high schools on the South Side of Chicago in 2015 as part of a University of Chicago program aimed at boosting student prospects in one of the most disenfranchised and violent neighborhoods in the USA. Upon his return to Rome the following year, he continued his work as a teacher, working in Italian public high schools and overnight summer camps. He has taught in Italian and English, has taught sciences, humanities, arts, and crafts, and has experience working with children of most ages, with many different challenges, and from a wide range of backgrounds, always trying to awaken students' curiosity, wonder, empathy, and critical thinking skills. He is an avid reader, cook, craftsperson, and amateur farmer, believes that there is always something to learn, and is extremely excited to join the Village Forest School in the Monferrato.

Irene Riccioni

Pre-School Teachers Assistant

Irene Riccioni

I am a native Italian speaker with a diverse array of skills and work experience. After finishing my translation and literature studies in Italy and France, I moved to Amsterdam, where I worked as a consultant, advisor, seller and process specialist for small to medium-sized international companies. I spent the last 3 years in Barcelona, where I helped build and define retail processes for a clothing brand which aims to promote slow and sustainable fashion. I have always been thrilled to work in multicultural environments and wanted to integrate travel and discovery into my personal and working experience, as well as the practice of foreign languages.

During the past 10 years I had the chance to work with children of most ages in different countries and environments. I have 2 years experience as a children's events organizer and entertainer in Rome, I was a volunteer Childcare assistant and teacher during a stay in Quito, Ecuador. I have also been a drawing teacher assistant for adolescents in Boston. Working with children has always been the happiest and rewarding experience for me, and I am now planning to focus on expanding my knowledge in the field of child development and education.

I have a very creative mindset, and I believe that integrating arts and creativity into the schooling experience is very important. Drawing has always been my passion, yet I enjoy exploring art in many forms. I love painting with different colors and materials, pottering, collages, photography. I have recently started to crochet and embroider clothing items.

I thrive in environments that align with my passion and values and feel that Village Forest School is a perfect fit. Looking forward to joining the family!

Sara Pfaff

Bi-Lingual Consultant

Sara Pfaff

Sara comes to the Village Forest School with several years experience in early childhood bilingual education. As the coordinator and founder of a bilingual program at an Italian preschool she has direct experience with children aged 3 to 6 years old in the field of language acquisition at an early age. Sara's teaching philosophy focuses on learning a second language through play, storytelling and song as well as context based language learning. As the mother of two young children, she also has direct experience raising children in a bilingual home. Sara is excited to combine her experience and expertise in bilingualism with the Village Forest School's outdoor learning Steiner based education model. Learning by doing is the perfect compliment to learning a second language.

Where We Are?

Cascina Iuli, Via Centrale 27
15020 Montaldo di Cerrina

Give Us a Call

Mon-Fri 8:30 - 15:30
+39 014 294 6657