High School & Enrichment Program Advisors
Daniel Packer, High School & Enrichment Program Coordinator
Daniel studied philosophy at Tufts University, and the evolution of consciousness in graduate school at the California Institute of Integral Studies. His studies traced the metamorphoses of cultural worldviews throughout the course of history, involving the integrated developments of arts, sciences, and religious expressions over time. He has applied this perspective livingly in the context of human development, by working intensively with Rudolf Steiner’s educational impulses as a class teacher, high school humanities teacher, and private tutor at Waldorf schools. He has trained with both Michael D’Aleo and Paul Gierlach at the Center for Anthroposophy, and is deepening his commitment to Anthroposophy and his own evolution by undertaking a rigorous four-year Eurythmy training. Daniel reveres the task of education as a true vocation, which is nothing less than the practice of the evolution of consciousness. The students (and teachers alike), as developing human beings within a morally significant world-process, are the very beings who carry the past, present, and future within them. He believes that all parents and teachers carry an enormous responsibility in this regard, and hopes to inspire and cultivate a love for this mighty task, along with the capacities to meet it. As Enrichment Program Coordinator, he is enthusiastically imagining new ways for education to meet the students in these times.
Michael D’Aleo, Founding Advisor
Mr. D’Aleo lectures nationally and internationally on the topics of science, education and environmental issues and is a founding member of the Saratoga Experiential Natural Science Research Institute (SENSRI) in Keene Valley, New York as the Director of Research. He was a co-founder of the high school at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs where he taught physical science and astronomy. Mr. D’Aleo is also an instructor of physical science teachers at The Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, New Hampshire, as well as a guest teacher at various teacher training institutions and Waldorf Schools throughout the world. He is a co-founder and leader of the successful 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teacher training, Teaching Sensible Science.
Mr. D’Aleo has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rutgers University where he graduated summa cum laude. He also holds a Master of Education degree from Sunbridge College.
After completing his undergraduate studies, Mr. D’Aleo worked in design and development for Lutron Electronics, an electronics company in eastern Pennsylvania. As a result of his work for seven years with the company, Mr. D’Aleo is listed as an inventor on seventeen U.S. patents and various foreign patents as well. He was promoted to the position of Engineering Project Leader in charge of New Product Development. Mr. D’Aleo’s main interest was to find solutions to technical problems that resulted in designs that were artistic and based on processes found in the natural world. Many of his patents were the direct result of this interest.
In 1991, Mr. D’Aleo became involved in education and research out of his strong experience of the interrelationship between the world of man, both technical and artistic, and the natural world. He lectures internationally on the topics of science and education in various settings. Mr. D’Aleo is co-author of the book, Sensible Physics Teaching, a guide for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade educators to teach physics in a manner relevant to the experience of the students. He is also the author of the book, Embracing Materialism and Letting It Go, an experiential guide to overcoming an object-based world conception. He has also published a book of poetry entitled, What is Being Asked of You – Poems of Courage, Clarity and Love.
Mr. D’Aleo resides in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.
Paul Gierlach, Founding Advisor, Humanities
Paul Gierlach has worked in Waldorf education for the past 40 years. It is of no little significance that he came upon Waldorf education in a foreign country, Canada, when looking for a suitable educational program for his child. He left York University with an ABD in Commonwealth Literature and did his Waldorf training in Detroit, MI. It was immensely important for his relationship to students, parents, and Waldorf education itself that he then lived and taught for 17 years at Detroit Waldorf School. Experiential learning about community life went hand in hand with teaching in this challenging environment. That he spent six years at the most isolated populated spot on earth (less dramatically called Hawaii) as lead teacher for the high school speaks to a broadening of pedagogical horizons. It was while teaching in the high school in Honolulu that he created the block, Idealism and Humanity, that is now taught around the world.
By the time he left Honolulu in 2000, he had worked in virtually all the faculty-administration positions that exist in a Waldorf school. He had begun as a class teacher in Detroit and before long found himself teaching cycles of grades 6, 7, and 8. (He did take a class from grade 3.) Eventually, he migrated to the high school faculty where he taught humanities subjects in all four grades.
Mr. Gierlach was given an opportunity at San Francisco High School to work more closely with those students who posed challenges to the faculty and the actual conception of Waldorf education, because they came with many different learning styles. For the last seven years before retiring in 2013, he worked with the faculty, parents and board to create a learning environment, an Educational Support program, that spoke creatively and honestly to all the students who were being taught. During this time, he developed a form of adolescent and adult form drawing called, Dynamic Drawing, which now has a four-stage program in place.
Since his retirement, Mr. Gierlach has traveled throughout the United States and Asia teaching history blocks; lecturing on Educational Support programs in individual schools and the Association for Healing Education (AHE) training program; working in high school teacher training programs in California, New Hampshire, Austin, and major cities in China and Japan. While teaching in China, he “condensed” Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival to about one-third its size so Chinese students could benefit from the genius of the work (in translation.) He models the art of Dynamic Drawing that he has pioneered as a suitable artistic activity in high school classes. Mr. Gierlach has published articles for the past 20 years about history teaching and Educational Support programs in high schools. Presently, he is writing a book on the Anthroposophical view of history and history teaching in the 21st century.
Our educators are not only experts in their field, but also exemplary individuals who are enthusiastically engaged with students.