Alum Corner with Kiera Brodsky-Chase

After post-secondary studies in Scotland and Canada, Kiera Brodsky-Chase pursued a Master’s in Special Education in California. With a passion for integrating students in general education classrooms, Kiera now works with ConnectEd California, focusing on instructional experiences preparing students for college and careers. Kiera’s time at VWS instilled a love for stories and crafting, influencing a student-centred approach to education and belief in avoiding stigmatizing learners.

I travelled for a year after graduating from high school, spending time in India and working in Corsica. Then ready to begin my post-secondary studies, I found a unique program in Aberdeen, Scotland, that incorporated University course work with rigorous practical experience in a teacher preparation program in Special Education. After two years, I transferred to Concordia University and completed a B.A. in arts education.

After a road trip to California, I enrolled in a Master’s program in Special Education at San Francisco State University. During this time, I had the privilege of working at several charter schools in the Bay Area. My professional focus was to develop special education programs in which students could be fully integrated into general education classrooms, while most of my instructional focus was on supporting educators. I decided to continue my education and was accepted into a Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley. My research began to focus on the use of technology in instructional settings, with a specific emphasis on designing tools that encourage constructivist-learning experiences.

I now work on the Learning Teaching and Pathway Development team at a non-profit educational company called ConnectEd California. We work with teachers and administrators who are implementing Linked Learning. This approach challenges practitioners to design integrated instructional experiences that prepare students for college and careers.

Looking back at my time at VWS, I recall loving all the stories! How learning the letters of the alphabet involved a story. That our history lessons were told as tales. I loved learning to carve, knit, and crochet. People that I have met are constantly impressed with my crafty skills. I have wonderful memories of all of my teachers; Mr. Adams trying to get me out of a tree, Mr. Timm and his love for nutmeg lattés, and Elaine and her fanny pack on our Stein Valley adventure. In fact, those hiking trips are also some of my fondest memories.

The Waldorf approach to education helped me be curious and always willing to try new things. Being part of such a unique educational experience helped me recognize the importance of not pathologizing and stigmatizing learners. I bring this student-centred approach to the work I do with students and teachers. I have no way of knowing what my life would have been like if I had gone to another school, but I know I did not want to attend another school.

Compiled by Ronaye Ireland for Development, June 2016

Kiera Chase
Kiera ChaseClass of 2007

The Vancouver Waldorf School provides an experiential, age-appropriate approach to education based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner that inspires students to love learning, to be creative, open-minded, and compassionate. With a curriculum that integrates all academics with the arts and social learning, Waldorf Education develops not only the left and right hemispheres of the brain but the whole human being. A child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development is considered equally, supporting a conscious unfolding of the individuality within each student. Waldorf graduates possess capacities for empathy and clear, creative and independent thinking that enables them to carry out a chosen course of action with moral courage and social responsibility.