SWS found its inception with a group of parents who wanted an education for their children that was not being offered in Tuolumne County. They began studying Steiner’s philosophy and educating themselves in the practical considerations of starting a school. They also began searching for an appropriate site and found our current campus that was then and is still owned by Bud and Tutti Whitman, who agreed to lease it to this founding group. Bud and Tutti have been essential supporters of the school ever since.
At that time we were Sierra Country School and were receiving consultation from Rudolf Steiner College, particularly from Rene Querido. Our early mentors included Nancy Poer, Keith McCreary, Thomas Proctor from Christchurch, NZ, Else Gottgens from Holland, and Patrick Wakeford-Evans. All of them were instrumental in setting us on our course of becoming a Waldorf School.
We began in September 1989…
with a Kindergarten and two combined classes (1/2 and 3/4/5). Training of teachers began at Rudolf Steiner College the summer before we opened, supplemented by study with one of our founding parents who was a longtime student of anthroposophy. Another of our founding parents took a sabbatical from her job as a social worker to administer the school in its first year. During the 1990-1991 school year we changed our name to Sierra Waldorf School with the justification that by then we had hired three Waldorf trained teachers, Keith McCreary agreed to be our mentor, Else Gottgens committed to annual mentoring visits to our school, Nancy Poer and Patrick Wakeford-Evans agreed to continue their mentoring with us, and the parents and teachers of the school clearly and strongly committed to offering students a Waldorf education.
Gradually we became known as a credible school in our relatively small community and our enrollment increased. Our administration continually worked at building infrastructure that would support and sustain our school. We became members of AWSNA and our teachers continued their training. In 2016, our school became an accredited Waldorf school from AWSNA (Association of Waldorf School in North America).