Three Pillars

The school is governed by Three Pillar Leadership and Head of School. The Three Pillars: the Faculty (College of Teachers), Board/Administration, and Parent Council have clearly defined responsibilities and work. The Head of School acts as both a support to and line of communication between the three pillars as well as the chief executive officer of the school holding the vision and executing the mission of the school, managing faculty and staff, and ensuring the financial health of the institution.

The Board of Trustees (BOT) is elected by the community and is responsible to the past, present, and future school community. Board members include parents, faculty, and friends of the school, and are responsible for sustaining the school for the long-term through long-range planning, selection and oversight of school administration, as well as oversight for all fiscal and legal matters. 

The Head of School (HOS) carries out the broad policies established by the Board of Trustees. Within these guidelines, the Head of School is accountable for board relationships, organization, planning and analysis, fundraising, academics, program & service support, personnel, finance, institutional image, environment, constituent relations, and enrollment & recruitment.

The Pedagogical Leadership Group (PLG) carries out the pedagogical management of the school, as delegated by the Head of School. Pedagogy comprises all activities pertaining to the school’s programs and the interaction with students, including classroom teaching, curricular and extracurricular activities, student social events, and class trips. The PLG is chaired by the Pedagogical Chair who provides support and leadership to the faculty, working in service of the faculty through collaborative leadership. The Pedagogical Chair works closely with the Faculty, Administration, and the Head of School to plan and implement the pedagogical and administrative objectives of the school community.

The Parent Council collaborates with the other governing bodies at RVWS, supporting the Faculty and Administration pillars by building an active community of volunteers brought together for a common purpose which enriches the experience of school life for our children and our families. Not only does the Parent Council and parent body elect the individuals to the BOT, but they also represent the parent body as a whole.


Governance Structure

Each pillar: Board of Trustees, Pedagogical, and Parent Council organizes a committee structure to facilitate work and decision-making. While adhering to legal requirements and general best practices of independent schools, River Valley Waldorf School practices a balance of consensus decision making and mandate committee structure. The decision making authority of committees are dictated by mandates. The assignment of a mandate allocates responsibility for a particular management task. Decisions made by committees are supported by the mandate assigning group and reviewed by the Head of School for alignment with the school’s mission, vision, and core values. 

The Board of Trustees has the ultimate authority and responsibility for River Valley Waldorf School, including legal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, and long-range planning.

The Board of Trustees has delegated authority to administer programs and manage the day-to-day operations of the school to the Head of School. The Head of School reports to the Board of Trustees and is supported by the Pedagogical Chair, Director of Operations, Business Administrator, Enrollment Coordinator, and Advancement and Marketing Team. The Head of School’s main responsibilities are board relationships, management of the organization and personnel, planning and analysis of operations and finance, fundraising, pedagogy and academic programming, institutional image, the school environment, constituent relations, and enrollment and recruitment of students. 

The Pedagogical Pillar is composed of the Pedagogical Chair and Pedagogical Leadership Group, made up of section leaders. The Pedagogical Chair in conjunction with the Head of School is responsible for the long term pedagogical visioning and development of programming and faculty management and organization, as well as overseeing admissions practices to bring pedagogical insight to all admissions decisions. 

The Parent Council consists of a Parent Council Chair and ideally two parent representatives from each grade level. The Parent Council coordinates the seasonal school-wide events, communicates volunteer needs to the parent community, maintains close-knit relationships with the Board, Pedagogical Leadership Group and Head of School, supporting those governing bodies and the parent community with two-way communication and feedback on the school environment.

All stakeholders are responsible for supporting the mission of River Valley Waldorf School. Decisions are made with appropriate stakeholder consultation and collaboration.

The Three Pillars meet at least once annually and are represented by the full Faculty, the Board of Trustees, administrative staff and Parent Council representatives. Annual meetings address school visioning, planning and communication.


Board of Trustees
Michelle Berrong Bader – President 
David Willey – Vice President 
Jef Betz – Secretary
Michael Sullivan –  Treasurer
Board Members:
Alex DiCandia
Bill Murphy
Chris Burke
Kelly Henriques
Melody Birdsong-Shubert
Molly Watson
Tom Chiarella

Michelle Berrong-Bader


David Willey

Vice President

Jef Betz


Michael Sullivan


Alex DiCandia

Bill Murphy

Chris Burke

Kelly Henriques

Melody Birdsong-Shubert

Molly Watson

Tom Chiarella

River Valley Waldorf School
1395 Bridgeton Hill Rd
Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972
Contact River Valley

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