Our Staff

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Jess Divine: Ms. Divine
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Mae Waldron: Ms. Waldron

My name is Jess Divine, you can call me Miss Divine; I am the director of Iron and Pine Preschool.

I have worked in the field of early education for almost nine years and have had the opportunity to explore and experience an incredible range of educational philosophies, skills, situations, and classrooms. All of these experiences have been working with children ranging in age from 4 weeks old to seven years old.

My experience ranges from private care, to working as the Bilingual interpreter in early ed. classrooms, to a lead infant toddler/preschool teacher for an Early Head Start/Head Start program, to working in our very own local Waldorf K-8th program in their Waldorf preschool program. 


I learned early-on in my professional life that I was passionate about early childhood education, and after exploring the various teaching philosophies, it became very clear to me that the Waldorf philosophy was the one that resonated with my heart and my work as an educator/director. I, and my staff, are continually enrolled in Waldorf teacher enrichment training for Early Education. I am always looking for new ways to improve myself, my program, and continually expand my knowledge of early education to help support my staff and our families in the development of the whole child. 


My reverent and intentional approach to education reflects my personal outlook on life, and is aligned with my continual dedication to myself as both a teacher and person. Being present and authentic with the young child, intentionality, humor,  creating beauty with and for the child, humility and daily self reflection, trusting/respecting each child’s unique process of growth, and modeling reverence for all aspects of life is the synopsis of my personal teaching philosophy. In today’s world technology and fast paced lifestyles dominate our reality making it all the more crucial that we as educators create a safe haven for childhood: where children can grow in alignment with their truest highest selves and give back to society what has been lost and or forgotten. 


I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to be a teacher to your child during this incredible and magical period of growth in their lives. 

Hello Families, My name is Mae Waldron. I am so happy to be a part of Iron and Pine Preschool and cultivating a warm, inviting and curiosity piquing learning environment for your children. 


I love to watch and encourage a child's eyes to open up to the small wonders of life and to teach through the involvement in these wonders. The details and mysteries of the natural world are what keep my inner child alive and one of the reasons I love working with children so much is because I get to practice this wonderment and share it with them.


Caring and working with children has been a constant in my life from early in my working life. I have worked as a private nanny for many years, and spent a few summers working in the Early Childcare Village at Live Oak Waldorf School in Meadow Vista Ca, of which I am an alumni attending K-8. I have a passion for Waldorf education and a deep interest in the philosophy of Anthroposophy. I graduated in May 2020 with my Bachelors in Sociology (with a focus in environmental and rural issues) from Humboldt State University. After years of part time school and lots of life experiences, I choose to finally strap down and get my degree in Sociology purely because I enjoy learning about the subject but with no real career trajectory. Since graduating I am becoming more and more aware of how much working with children just feels right. Though my career and education path has taken me in many different directions, always in the back of my mind there is a little voice saying “Just be a Waldorf teacher…” At the end of the day this is where my heart is. 


I look forward to furthering my education while learning and growing alongside your young ones. I am honored to be involved in the exploration of these wee folk as they learn about the world. 

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Jess Ferchaud: Ms. HotIron (Ferchaud in French) 

Hello families, my name is Miss Jessica Ferchaud. I am so grateful to be a part of this loving family at iron and Pine. 


Traveling to Guatemala and Mexico as a missionary in High school initiated my passion for teaching children. Following my passion for traveling the world I joined the United States Navy. In the Navy I became an instructor and found my strength in guidance and communication. My military career opened up vast opportunities for professional and personal growth. 


After the military I went to college to become a K-8 teacher. I have my credentials from Sierra College in Child Development. I studied at California Sate University of Sacramento. My hearts desire is to learn and study the young child. My courses centered around child developmental psychology. During college I began working at a Waldorf K-8 school in Meadow Vista. Upon my move to another city I started working at an Early Head Start program where I met Ms Divine. Ms Divine and I worked closely alongside one another and developed a strong bond. Our dream was to open a school together. It is awe inspiring that the dream came true. 


As a mother my children have been my biggest teacher. My son Luke was born in 2011 while I was in college. My daughter Leela was born in 2017. I am encouraged by them to strive to be the best person I can be in everything that I endeavor. 


It is an honor to be a part of this community and family. I am excited to be a part of your child’s exploration and experience. 

Kara Rane: Ms. Rane

Hello Dear Ones, My name is Kara Rane.
All my passions come together in the nurturing of a child. As an artist, I create beauty from chaos, transform suffering into meaning, and communicate universal truths. Having traveled and lived in many places, I understand how to relate to all people, different cultures, and diverse perspectives.

My dedication to Earths creatures, the plants and trees, the entire natural world is a continuous source of inspiration and peace. As a lifelong practitioner of yoga, the union of the self with the divine, I am reminded that each moment is an opportunity for connection.

Being a mother is the greatest teacher of all. Guiding my children has ultimately guided myself to higher consciousness and awareness, as I seek to be the best person I can in my shadows and in my light, for the service of the next generation.

I studied Environmental Science and Art Studio at the University of California at Santa Barbara, graduating with a B.A. and worked at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network
rehabilitating Birds of Prey. I am credentialed in Child Play Yoga from Kundalini Yoga East NYC. As an entrepreneur, I had an art gallery and yoga studio in Prospect
Heights, NY and then moved to Vieques Island in the Caribbean, where I had a small business on the beach selling food and art. My experience in health and healing lead me to a job as a vitamin and wellness specialist at Whole Foods Market in the SF Bay area. I moved to Nevada County in 2014, and to learn more about growing
food and permaculture, I worked locally at Peaceful Valley Farm supply. My first child, Felix, was born in 2015 and my second child, Flora, in 2016. I devoted myself to motherhood and also have an online business selling ecofriendly greeting cards and Cosmic Circles sunlight catchers.

My children have both attended Iron and Pine preschool, and through our involvement I have seen from the very first moment and over many years, just how special this school is. It is a living example of the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and the visionary dream of a New Earth becoming reality. Currently, I am obtaining my credentials in Child Development at Sierra College and I am expanding my
knowledge in Waldorf education. I am also working towards my Masters degree in Marriage and Family therapy, so that I can further assist families and children.

It is an honor to be of service to the children and families in this loving community.

Robin Harp: Mr. Robin

Robin Harp will be joining our team as a Teacher’s Assistant and has provided Music Enrichment for our school for the past year. Upon becoming more active with our community Robin is now pursuing his Director's license for early childhood programs. He presently works at our school, Madrone Grove Private School, and is alos a private nanny for some of his students. Robin is a father of 4 and now a new grandfather! Originally from Boulder CO, he moved to Nevada County in 2001. Robin has a variety of experience working in preschools, with elementary aged children, and in a church setting. Robin has taught music and performed his songs about taking care of ourselves, each other, and the planet we live on for nearly 30 years. If you are interested in private music lessons with Mr. Robin he teaches begining guitar ages 5 and up for $25 per lesson. He is also the creator of a workshop called Parenting With Wisdom, which he taught at Unity of Boulder for many years. He is a resource for parents who may want a little calming advice on how to improve the harmony in their family lives and in relationship with their kids. He has been an excellent addition to our team and we look forward to many years with Mr. Robin at Iron & Pine Preschool. 

Luke Hefele: Teacher Luke

Hey Everyone! I'm Luke. It's great just to know this movement exists, efforts to fundamentally improve the education for our kids. I spent my middle school and high school in Philadelphia in a Quaker based education, Germantown Friends School. I graduated in 2002. I appreciate the perspective it gave me, the ability to question and to think for myself. The Quakers were part of many revolutionary acts and peaceful social protests during the early days of this country, and vocal during times of war and crises. More and more I'm feeling like I'm pulled to be a part of that revolutionary history.   


I've been facilitating arts education in Northern California since 2010. I was based out of Sonoma County in Sebastopol until the current escalation of what was already a huge crisis that small businesses, education, families and communities were up against. The task of finding our way in these bizarre and intense times has been a global challenge. Maintaining the highest principles in my role as an educator in my areas of skill and passion has been essential to how I have coped as a single parent, a small business owner uprooted by Covid, and as a human being trying to navigate the ever changing landscape of our new reality with as much compassion, awareness, and truth.


My focus in the arts has been movement: martial arts and dance. I ran a non profit movement arts space in Sebastopol called SHDWBX (shadowbox) with my focus being its Capoeira program, Brazilian Dance, Martial Arts, and Social Tool.  I had a large community of families, and individuals involved. I hosted special guests, influential figures in specific fields, and events covering a large range of topics with a focus on lineage based and ancestral arts. Aside from traditional and modern movement arts, I have a diverse art background.  Since the early 2000's I have been a student of Tom Brown Jr. and The Tracker School, a wilderness arts and earth skills survival school based in The Pine Barrens of New Jersey. The Tracker School community is what brought me to Nevada County, working as an instructor at 4 Elements Earth Education. Since I was a teenager, I worked in the restaurant industry holding almost every position from dishwasher up and eventually ending up as a cook and a chef. In Sebastopol, with support from the Sebastopol Community Center, I started multiple programs at a local charter middle school: culinary arts, wilderness and earth skills, and dance and martial arts. I'm also a visual artist, mainly drawing and painting, and I have been an aspiring musician since I was a kid as well.


I'm a single dad. I have my 9 year old daughter who is with me every other month. Her mom lives in Grants Pass, Oregon. Since the start of the school year in fall 2020, we have been homeschooling, registered in Oregon.

I'm slowly getting settled here in Nevada County, it's been tough to say it simply. I've finally started offering Capoeira classes at The Yoga Dive in Grass Valley, as well as a program at Iron and Pine Preschool in Nevada City. One of Capoeira's strengths is in community creation and it makes me happy to be able to say my community is growing. 

More than what you'll find if you google "capoeira", I see Capoeira as a social tool for helping people explore their potential as humans, a forum for celebrating each other and a theatre to play with societal dynamics.  Its pedagogical roots are in tribal methods, the way our ancestors taught and learned, through fun, songs, games and creativity. 

If you're interested in learning more or attending a class feel free to message me or checkout my website: www.lukehefele.com


Thank you all for caring about our kids' futures, which is the future of this world. I'm excited to see where we go this year.