“Education is a social matter. Society, the social organization, is a reflection of the human being. If social conditions are to improve, a start must be made with an improvement in the attitudes and work of individuals.”
Waldorf Education as a New Social Form
Waldorf schools are structured in a unique way based on the philosophical and social insights of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education. Steiner believed that the schools should be self-administered, with no interference from the state (government) and without the traditional hierarchical form. He felt that antiquated top-down hierarchical forms were not supportive of healthy human development. By structuring the schools on a partnership model, with all bodies of the school working together as partners and stakeholders in the healthy functioning of the school, we are pushed as human beings to meet each other at deeper levels, allowing us to see ourselves more fully and to further our own self-development. The struggles that would ensue from this partnership would become sources of growth for ourselves, the school community, and society as a whole. He felt that these new, non-hierarchical social forms would create “hothouses” for human and social development that would change our world for the better and plant the seeds for a new, healthy culture-consciousness.
We at River Valley Waldorf School strive to uphold these ideals through the non-hierarchical structure and governance of the school, working as partners with the understanding that the collaboration of all of the bodies that make up our school is necessary to create a healthy, whole community and educational institution.
The RVWS Governance chart on the next page provides an overview of the governance and leadership structure at RVWS. The chart illustrates the different bodies responsible for governing the school, i.e., Board of Trustees, Faculty, Leadership Council, and Administrator and specifies the specific areas of responsibility for each of the bodies. The Board of Trustees holds the fiduciary and legal responsibilities; the Faculty is responsible for all pedagogical matters. The Leadership Council (LC), as vested by the Board of Trustees and Faculty, is responsible for the ongoing management of the school as a well-integrated whole. The LC works to ensure that all bodies are strong and functioning both independently and in a coordinated fashion. The LC has final decision-making responsibility on behalf of the Faculty, including the hiring and firing of all program personnel. The Administrator has overall responsibility for the day-to-day administrative business functions and decision-making. The Parent Council works in support of the other governing bodies to help sustain and strengthen the school’s mission and vision.