Waldorf High School Teacher Education
Sunbridge Institute’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education program provides appropriate credentials and practical, philosophical, and artistic foundations for successful Waldorf teaching in a wide variety of subjects in grades 9 through 12. This is a hybrid low-residency program, with summer intensives held on campus and weekend classes taking place online during the year (see Length, below). Graduates are conferred a diploma in Waldorf High School Teacher Education.
Director: Stephen Sagarin, PhD
Core Faculty: Stephen Sagarin, PhD; Gary Banks, MS, MEd; and Heather Scott, MA
This program enrolls every summer. The next cohort enters July 2024.
The goal of Sunbridge’s High School Teacher Education program is to guide teachers in their development as educators and as persons. We aim to develop points of view, based deeply in Rudolf Steiner’s educational work, that give you the means to teach your subject or subjects to adolescents in today’s world. Negotiating the tension between Steiner’s work in Germany in the early 20th century and the requirements and considerations of adolescent education in North America in the 21st century is at the heart of our work.
Through lecture, discussion, reading, writing, and observation, in courses and classes both broad and subject-specific, you’ll come to know why and how Waldorf teachers do what they do, and you will develop your own view of principles, methods and curricula. You will also work to develop a contemplative practice that will support your teaching and assist you along the path of a teacher. In addition, through independent projects and mentored teaching, you will engage with lesson, course, and curriculum creation and planning.
It is expected that this program will prepare students to:
- Design lessons and courses that address appropriate development of students’ thinking, feeling, and willing (cognition, affect, and behavior).
- Understand, interpret, and apply the philosophy and contemplative practices of Rudolf Steiner to their own preparation and practice.
- Teach creatively, regardless of subject matter, to enliven and support student learning and human development in developmentally appropriate ways.
- Demonstrate the skills necessary to create healthy learning communities within a classroom, school, and learning environment, including work with colleagues and parents
- Regard teaching as ongoing research, and to further develop practices using appropriate methods, including observation, contemplative practice, and academic research skills.
Sunbridge’s High School Teacher Education program combines in-person coursework with synchronous online instruction. The program is divided into two-week terms of on-campus study for each of three summers, supported by five online weekend sessions that take place during each of the two interim academic years, for a total of six weeks of in-person classes and ten online weekend sessions.
The program consists of courses in the following areas: educational principles, methods, and curricula; adolescent development; anthroposophy, including inner development; practical work in a high school; and artistic development. View curriculum outline.
Practical Work in the Classroom
This program carries requirements for students to engage in practical experiences in classrooms during the course of their Sunbridge studies. The specific requirements for these experiences will vary according to each student’s work and experience status.
Our High School program director, Steve is co-founder and faculty chair at the Berkshire Waldorf High School, where he teaches history and art. Since 2000, he has also been a core faculty member of Sunbridge’s Elementary Teacher Education program and, from 2019-2023, a member of the Sunbridge Board; previously, he served as associate professor and director of Sunbridge College’s MSEd program. He is also a former teacher and administrator at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School and the Waldorf School of Garden City, the high school from which he graduated. Steve has taught history of education at Teachers College, Columbia University; human development at the City University of New York; and US and world history at Berkshire Community College. Former editor of the Research Bulletin of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education, he writes, lectures, mentors teachers, and consults with Waldorf schools on teaching and administration and is the author of The Story of Waldorf Education in the United States: Past, Present, and Future, of How the Future Can Save Us: Rudolf Steiner’s Educational Work [forthcoming in 2022] and of the introductions to Rudolf Steiner’s Art History and What is Waldorf Education? His blog “What is Education?” may be found at ssagarin.blogspot.com. Steve has PhD in history from Columbia University and a BA in art history and fine art from Princeton University.
Gary is high school faculty chair and high school math and science teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, where he has been on the faculty since 2007; he is also a member of the School’s College of Teachers and a Board trustee. Gary is also a presenter in the Teaching Sensible Science course and has taught in a number of teacher training programs and foundation studies courses. From 1993-2001, he took a class from first to eighth grade at the Denver Waldorf School, then worked as a high school science teacher at High Mowing School and a class teacher at Pine Hill Waldorf School before moving to Michigan. Gary earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and worked as a research engineer on the NASA Space Station project before entering teaching. He completed his MEd at Antioch New England Graduate School and is an enthusiastic hiker, gardener, and musician.
Heather joined the faculty of the Waldorf School of Lexington as pedagogical director in 2023. Previously she worked at The Waldorf School of San Diego for 17 years, where she taught high school humanities and graduated two eighth grade classes. She also spent time teaching at The Community School for Creative Education, a public, Waldorf-inspired charter in Oakland, CA. Heather’s interests are in diversifying Waldorf middle- and high-school curricula. She is passionate about supporting anti-racism through a grounding in history and biography and has a decades’ long interest in African-American culture and literature, especially attuned to Black women writers. Heather earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA from The University of New Hampshire, Durham.
Additional faculty include members of Sunbridge Elementary Program faculty.
Members of our inaugural cohort told us this after their July 22 intensive:
~ Being around such phenomenal faculty and getting to soak up as much as I can from their expertise has been the true gift of this experience. Walking in with questions as to whether I could continue in this movement, I have been filled up with inspiration and am eager to delve in more. The relationships built here will last a lifetime and I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program at this time in this place. This short intensive has had an impact on who I am, which will have an impact on my teaching.
~ Rather than telling me what to teach, I am being provided the philosophical framework that I can use to decide what I want to teach and how I want to teach it. In addition, being reintroduced to painting, singing, contemplative practice, I feel that I am a better person which in turn makes me a better teacher!
~ I feel like I am connected to a much larger network of colleagues and resources now. Being part of a bigger Waldorf movement than just my school feels more solid and purposeful.
~ My participation in this program is one of the best learning experiences I have had in my life. It will help me in every aspect of being a better teacher and a better human being. The program was wonderful in every aspect possible.
~ There are innumerable sources of inspiration and teaching techniques and insights that I have acquired at Sunbridge this month. Many thanks!
~ Thank you! I can’t wait for next summer.
2023-2024 Academic Calendar
Summer 2023 Intensive
Monday, July 17 – Friday, July 28
Note: Students are expected to attend a late Sunday afternoon/evening welcome/orientation prior to Monday’s start of class
Fall 2023 Online Weekends
Friday, October 6 – Saturday, October 7
Friday, November 3 – Saturday, November 4
Winter 2024 Online Weekends
Friday, February 2 – Saturday, February 3
Friday, March 8 – Saturday, March 9
Spring 2024 Online Weekend
Friday, May 3 – Saturday, May 4
2024-2025 Academic Calendar
Summer 2024 Intensive
Monday, July 15 – Friday, July 26
Note: Students are expected to attend a late Sunday afternoon/evening welcome/orientation prior to Monday’s start of class
Fall 2024 Online Weekends
Winter 2025 Online Weekends
Spring 2025 Online Weekend
Sunbridge’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education program welcomes applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (or the equivalent for international study). Candidates who hold a master’s degree are preferred; current Waldorf school employment is a plus.
Foundation Studies coursework is embedded in the program curriculum and is not a separate prerequisite; however, you are expected to have some familiarity with Waldorf education.
The regular application deadline is June 1. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible, especially those individuals seeking financial aid.
A completed application includes:
- Completed application form
- Current résumé
- Two letters of recommendation, accompanied by your signed letter of recommendation form and sent from your recommenders directly to the Sunbridge Institute Admissions Office
- An official transcript sent from your degree-granting institution directly to the Sunbridge Institute Admissions Office. If your university attendance was outside the US and you are having difficulty obtaining an official transcript, please contact the admissions office.
- Non-refundable $50 application fee. Applications submitted after the June 1 deadline incur an additional $50 late fee.
Once your application is received, it is reviewed for completeness and forwarded to the program director who will contact you for an interview. Admissions decisions are sent out soon thereafter, on a rolling basis.
Applications for the 2024 entering cohort will be available October 1, 2023.
Sunbridge is approved by the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to invite the transfer of foreign students into the United States to study at our Institute. We welcome students from all over the world to join our student body and engage in the pursuit of becoming a Waldorf teacher.
Please click here to learn about the step-by-step process of applying for a visa with the support of Sunbridge Institute.
NOTE: All applicants whose first language is not English or who have taken their prior education in a non-English-speaking college or university must demonstrate oral and written proficiency in English during the admissions process (through a hand written personal statement and phone conversation). Taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) may be required.
The Sunbridge Diploma
Please note that our diplomas are not academic degrees, as they reflect clock hours, not credits. Due to fluctuations and variations from state-to-state in the U.S. regarding requirements for teaching credentials, it is important to research your state’s regulations regarding requirements to be licensed to teach in a private or public school.
For Further Assistance
If you have additional questions about the program, please contact program director Stephen Sagarin at [email protected]. Logistical questions may be directed to admissions coordinator Barbara Vitale at [email protected] / 845-425-0055 x20.
Please Note: Sunbridge Institute Waldorf Teacher Education programs and intensives are recognized by AWSNA, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, of which Sunbridge is a full member, and are licensed by BPSS, the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision of the New York State Education Department. These offerings do not lead to New York State teaching certification.
Sunbridge Institute reserves the right to cancel or change any offering at any time and to make faculty or course substitutions when necessary.