Subject Classes

Subject classes complement the core academics in Grades 1-8. Subject classes are not elective, and all students participate in the full range of subjects including Movement Education, Music, Violin (in 4th-6th grades), Russian, Spanish, Handwork, and, in the middle school, Chorus and Woodworking. Check out our curriculum chart for an overview of the whole Waldorf Curriculum for Grades 1 through 8.


Brianna Payne joined the AWS faculty in 2012 as an Extended Care teacher for the grades. She became the Movement/Games teacher in 2014. A former Crisis Center Counselor, Ms. Payne is unflappable and resourceful. She also enjoys being a foodie.


Emily HoppeEmily Hoppe joined the AWS faculty as the Music Teacher for grades 1-4 and violin teacher for grades 5 and 6 in 2013. Ms. Hoppe is a graduate of Samford University’s Music and Theater Department. She has worked as a music teacher and vocal coach, as well as a theater camp counselor at several area organizations, including Red Mountain Theater Company, Samford University. Ms. Hoppe is also a trained violinist and solo and ensemble vocalist. A professional actor, you may have seen Emily most recently in her role as Tracy in the Theater Tuscaloosa production of Hairspray!

Sarah GurganusSarah Gurganus has a degree in Music Education from the University of Montevallo with a concentration in vocal and choral music. She taught music at Calera and Shelby Elementary Schools. Sarah has been a lifelong musician, performing in many bluegrass bands, including the Colorado band Acoustic Ranch Party. She has also performed in other genres such as opera and jazz. She is the director of the Middle School Choral Group as well as the Handwork Teacher at Alabama Waldorf School.

Luke Lucas
 holds a B.A. in Music Performance and a Waldorf Teaching Certification for Grades 1-8. He consults on the Music Program in addition to teaching in the Grades.


Rita MeiksonRita Meikson
, AWS's Russian language teacher, lived her early life in Moscow, Russia. Ms. Meikson graduated from the Moscow Pedagogical University with a Master's degree in children's psychology and elementary education. She worked in Moscow for three years as an elementary school teacher, then for seven years as an instructor at the Moscow Teachers Institute. In 1992, Ms. Meikson moved to the USA with her husband, who had accepted a position as Math professor at UAB. After coming to America, she worked for seven years as a teacher at the ABC Child Development Center. Now, "Rita Grigorievna" (as only the students call her, practicing Russian tradition by calling Ms. Meikson by her father's name, Grigorievna) is the Russian language teacher at Alabama Waldorf School. In her classes, she not only teaches the language but also the culture. She uses many traditional Russian games, fairy tales, fables, and stories and poems written by the most esteemed Russian writers and poets. Ms. Meikson has three children, the youngest of whom is an AWS alum, focusing in Creative Writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. 

Rachel CullenRachel Parsons Cullen joined AWS's grades team as the Spanish Teacher midway through the 2013-14 school year. She loves to play Spanish games, reading Spanish poetry and spending time with her two children.


Sarah Gurganus loves all things Handwork! She began her Waldorf Handwork Certification in the summer of 2011 and specializes in knitting, quilting, and hand sewing. She also enjoys organic gardening, guitar, and traveling. She has extensive experience with one-on-one childcare as a nanny and has a daughter in the AWS Kindergarten. Sarah has always enjoyed her love of learning with children of all ages.