Chris Topham – Executive Director
Chris joined Sebastopol Charter in 2013. Prior to arriving, Chris served as the Lower School Coordinator at Summerfield Waldorf School, an administrative role that he stepped into after 15 years of teaching which included teaching a class grades 6-8 and another class grades 1-8. He began his teaching career as a Waldorf class teacher at Novato Charter School when the school was founded in 1996 and where he taught a class 4th to 8th grade.
Chris has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Pepperdine University, Master of Arts in Education Leadership from Sonoma State University, a California Public School Teaching Credential from Dominican University, Waldorf Education Teaching Credential from Rudolf Steiner College and an Education Administration Services Credential from Sonoma State University.
Karen Erdman – Vice Principal and Director of Student Support Services
Karen Erdman is formerly the Director of Special Education at Credo High School. Prior to that she was the special education teacher at Live Oak Charter School. Throughout her career, Karen has developed project based middle school programs, has been a Waldorf class teacher, public school teacher and an education specialist in both public and charter schools. Some of her teaching posts have included remote Alaska, inner city Oakland, and Richmond, Mt. Shasta, and Japan. She is passionate about supporting student needs with best practices from many sources, including Waldorf remedial education. Karen holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching and credentials in Life Coaching, and Blomberg’s Rhythmic Movement Training.
Karen enjoys gardening, knitting, swimming, hiking and camping, week-long bike trips with her husband, watching a good documentary, sharing precious time with her mom, and traveling to Europe to see her family. She has a nephew, two adult step-children, and two grandchildren.
Lori Grey – Office Manager and Enrollment Director
Lori was born, raised and educated in San Francisco and has two adult children who attended San Francisco Waldorf School – KG-12th grade. She and her husband are now happy to be Sonoma County residents!
With over 19 years in Waldorf School Administration – including Registrar, Enrollment Director & Preschool Director – and credentials in Early Childhood Education, Lori is excited to join the team at Sebastopol Charter School. She is a dedicated baker/cake decorator and volunteer for Cake4Kids – an organization that provides birthday cakes for foster children and/or children in transitional housing or shelters. She also loves traveling, books, sewing/quilting, gardening & hiking in nature.
Jennifer Neylon – Operations Manager
Jennifer joined Sebastopol Charter School in December of 2021, following her return to her hometown of Sebastopol. She has her A.A. Degree in Business Management and her B.S. Degree in Human Resources Management. Jennifer has held various diverse leadership roles in both public and non-profit sectors, including the Town of Windsor and Hospice Services of Lake County. With over 20 years of experience, her diverse background includes Human Resources Management, Administrative Management, facilities and accounting oversight, and Risk Management.
John Azzizzi – CFO/Finance Manager
John arrived at Sebastopol Charter in 2013 after serving in finance and operations leadership roles in the nonprofit sector for several years. Prior to pursuing graduate studies in education, psychology, and philosophy, he was an international business executive with General Electric leading and serving in various management capacities.
John is a certified Waldorf teacher having completed his training at Rudolf Steiner College in their San Francisco program where he received his MA in Waldorf Education. He also holds a BA in Economics from Yale University, an MA in Philosophy and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a certificate from the Universidad de Sevilla where he studied abroad. John has lived and worked in Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong and traveled widely before settling down in northern California. John also provides finance services and support for Live Oak and Novato Charter Schools.
Emily Cortes – School Secretary
Emily joined us at Sebastopol Charter in Fall of 2020 after receiving her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Sonoma State University. Emily has always had a love for children and has worked in multiple school settings from her early days as a teacher’s aide to her previous position supporting students with intellectual disabilities. The direct opportunity to make children feel special while also seen and heard is a value that she holds dear in her heart. While Emily is new to Waldorf, she appreciates the vast potential it holds in educating students beyond curriculum. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, spending time in nature and laughing.
The Charter Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public nonprofit corporation. They use the funds they raise to cover the gap in expenses between what the state provides and what it costs to maintain our school’s facilities, hire high quality faculty, and implement the meaningful Waldorf programming that makes up our curriculum. Click here to learn more about the Charter Foundation
Essie Bishop – Administrative Director
Essie has worked with multiple local charter schools and businesses in fundraising and various administrative work for over 20 years. She has been with the CF and Sebastopol Charter School for 7 years, during which time she has established successful events, systems and relationships among the two organizations and the greater school community. She is passionate about working in positions that have direct impacts in the betterment of humanity, a goal which is happily fulfilled at the CF and SCS. Essie is a Sonoma County native, as is her husband and, of course, her two children. Her family finds great joy in hiking, traveling and exploring the wonders of the natural world.
Jeanna Collet – Community Engagement and Development Director
Photo & Bio to Come.