Leadership Team

Heartwood is graced with an inspired leadership team comprised of two experienced Waldorf professionals.  They help hold and craft the creative impulse that forms the core of Heartwood's mission.

"To lead people, walk beside them."
~ Lao Tsu


We believe that leadership is an act of service.  We, as leaders, model the growth and openness we want to foster in our community.  We embrace a wealth of possibilities, choosing to see education as a living paradigm evolving to meet the needs of present day children and their families.  We are inspired by the community that is Heartwood. We believe that the heart, as well as the mind, has a place at the helm of education. We actively choose to embrace the unique talents of each member of our community.  We lead through their grace and create our own by combining our individual histories to encompass and support the tremendous journey of each child in our care.

We dare to collaborate.  We boldly model that two strong individuals can work together, supporting each other and thriving as a team.  We fearlessly applaud the brilliance of the other. For we strive to be our best selves, unique and wonderful and we thrill at seeing each other grow.

A flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it.  It just blooms. ~ Zen Shin


Stephanie Felton-Priestner
Faculty Administrator

With a BA, BS and MSE from Stanford University and a Masters in Education from Touro University, Stephanie Felton-Priestner is committed to education.  She has taught at every level of education from preschool to university, working as a Waldorf class teacher for the past ten years. A fully trained Waldorf teacher with a California State teaching credential, she provides expert advice and support for our community of teachers, students and families. Stephanie is inspired by the challenge of evolving education to meet the needs of today's children; empowering them to step into the world as independent thinkers and enlightened authors of their own story.


Melinda Richard
Administrator of Communications and Admissions

A Waldorf Trained Early Childhood Teacher since 2001, Melinda has a broad range of experience in the realm of early childhood.  She has owned and operated a Waldorf-inspired Nursery program in San Francisco and acted as the Director of a Waldorf Early Childhood Department.  She is also a certified CTI Co-Active coach. As a mother of five, Melinda brings her passion for alternative Waldorf education to Heartwood. Her innovative thinking informs her leadership.  She uses mindfulness, love and logic methods and the techniques of compassionate language to inspire her work with the social health within classrooms. Melinda's heart values are led by the deep understanding that each child is a change agent in the world.