Lower/ Middle School Faculty

< Back to Faculty & Staff Bios


Claire Warner

Lower School Teacher



Malina Stoychev

Lower School Teacher


Ms. Stoychev joined our faculty in 2010, bringing 16 years of Waldorf teaching experience. Born in Bulgaria, Malina earned her B. A. in Elementary Teacher Education in Shumen (Bulgaria), added a B.A. in Curative (Waldorf) Education in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, and took part in a Mentoring Seminar, sponsored by AWSNA, 2006 through 2009. In the beginning of her teaching career, some 20 years ago, she taught ESL in Shumen, Bulgaria and was a class teacher (first through third grade) in a developing Waldorf School in her hometown. Later Malina moved with her family – first to Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, and then to Glenmoore, PA, where she worked as a house parent, art therapist, and educator at Camphill (Waldorf) Community, a group home for people in need of special care. In 2001, Malina took a first grade and led them on through fifth grade at the River Valley Waldorf School, PA, where she then worked for three years as Pedagogical Administrator and Subjects Teacher.


Adrienne Patrick

Lower School Teacher



Kris Ritz

Lower School Teacher


Born in upstate New York and living in a variety of places since, Ms. Ritz graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. During her advertising career, she discovered Waldorf education. A new pathway unfolded for her, and she returned to school to receive Waldorf certification and a Masters in Education from the Antioch New England Graduate School. Ms. Ritz also enjoys traveling (near or faraway), reading, running, and a challenging hike up a mountain. Kris joined the EWS faculty in 2008 after spending an inspiring year living in an anthroposophical life-sharing community, Plowshare Farm, where she assisted courageous adults with developmental disabilities who reside there with the various aspects of home life, as well as guiding workshop activities. Whether on the farm or in the classroom, she gratefully recognizes the many lessons the residents and students have taught or deepened within her, and how we all connect with compassion, respect, humor, and purposeful work.


Whitney MacDonald

Lower School Teacher


After receiving a Masters in Education and Waldorf certification at Antioch University in 1996, Mr. MacDonald came to North Carolina with his wife and two sons to join the faculty at Emerson and start his eight year journey through the grades. During that time, he began a training in Spacial Dynamics. In 2004, he became the first full time movement/PE teacher in the history of the school, a position he kept for six years. He also took on the role of athletic director and oversaw the development of our school’s athletic program. Mr. MacDonald is excited to be back at Emerson to teach the class of 2027!


Viorica Comaniciu

Middle School Teacher


Ms. Comaniciu joined the EWS faculty in 2009, bringing 15 years of Waldorf teaching experience with her. She earned her Teaching Diploma (Literature and Linguistics) in 1983-87 and her post grad Teacher Certification in 1990 in Brasov, Romania. After 7 years teaching at public school, she received her Diploma in Waldorf Education in Bucharest, Romania in 1992 where she taught grades 1-5 in the newly-founded Waldorf School. In March 1997, Viorica won the green card lottery and immigrated to the United States with her husband and their two-year-old son. In 2001, she took over a preschool group at the River Valley Waldorf School, then a Kindergarten group, and then a 1st grade class which she taught through 5th grade. Ms. Comaniciu has just taken an EWS class from Grade 1-8.


Benjamin Trueblood

Middle School Teacher


Mr. Trueblood joined the EWS faculty in 2006 and taught that class from 2nd to their culminating 8th grade year; he began a new class of students in 1st grade for another grades journey the fall of 2013. He was born in Chicago, attended the Chicago Waldorf School beginning in Kindergarten, and was a member of their first High School graduating class. He attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville for 2 years, where he studied “everything”, and then took a break to travel in India for 6 months. Returning to the States, he transferred to the University of Georgia and studied Anthropology. Benjamin is also interested in experimental “Music Concrete” and recently released a record album (Record Link ) and CD (CD Link).


Andrew Hubbuch

Middle School Teacher


Mr. Hubbuch earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 2004, while also working as a teacher’s assistant in a school for children with autism. Andy is currently taking coursework in the Masters in Waldorf Education program through Antioch University New England and has completed his first summer intensive along with seventh grade renewal courses. Andy has undergone extensive training in International Baccalaureate (IB) and gifted education. He holds teaching certificates in elementary education and middle school social studies while being endorsed in gifted education and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Over his career, Andy has earned honors such as teacher of the year for his school, Duval County Elementary Mathematics Teacher of the Year, and top 5 finalist for the Duval County, Florida Teacher of the Year. Andy is the father of 3 beautiful children, 2 of whom are attending Emerson Waldorf School.