As most parents would testify, the birth of your first child is life changing in ways that you could never imagine. For Justin and Elizabeth, in the midst of raising their daughter Niya, another life changing event occurred in discovering the world of Waldorf education.
Justin grew up in the Verde Valley. Over the years, he lived and worked in many different places, but ultimately this valley called him home. Not long after returning home, he met a new arrival to Sedona, his soon-to-be wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth moved to the Sedona area from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina after serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer with an environmental education NPO.
Currently Justin and Elizabeth manage a small local business together. Among other things, the couple shares a deep love and respect for the land and consider it a daily blessing to live in such a beautiful place.
In 2007, their sweet daughter Niya was born at home in Sedona. When Niya was three years old, the family made their first visit to theRed Earth Waldorf Kindergarten(REWK). They instantly knew this was the place for Niya! Justin and Elizabeth were enamored with the beautiful natural environment, which held an obvious love and reverence for nature and the human spirit. Niya spent three magical years at REWK.
During this time, Elizabeth also discovered it was the place for her. She had long felt the call to work with young children, but didn’t know what that actually looked like until experiencing the kindergarten. Elizabeth is currently in her second year of assistant teaching, and is studying withRudolph Steiner Collegeto become a certified teacher.
When Niya reached first grade age, they were faced with the big question: “Now what? What school can meet our daughter’s heart, mind, body and spirit as holistically as her kindergarten has?” Fortunately, there were several other families who had this question as well!
Together they began Running River School, a grade school initiative in Sedona, AZ, inspired by Waldorf education, continuing with a form of education that truly honors the whole child, the adult they will one day become, and the community they will thrive in. Helping to create a school with like-minded parents, educators, and community members has been very rewarding, overall. We are one big family when it comes to our children, and being so intimately involved in their educational journey is an amazing experience for the whole family.