Specialty Teachers

  • Billy Alexander, Guitar
  • Sandra Blanco, Spanish (Upper Grades)
  • Gaylen Corbett, Visual Arts
  • Diana Corbo, Music and Music Coordinator
  • Storm Dye, Games
  • Janet Gates, Mathematics
  • Diana Graber, Digital Media Literacy/Cyber Civics
  • Joy Halverson, Games
  • Amanda Hammond, Handwork
  • Iris Ortiz, Spanish (Lower Grades)
  • Kathryn Pitts, Music (Grades 4-8)
  • Janet A. Poth, Strings Program
  • Sylvia Sandefur, Handwork
  • Todd Skidmore, Ukulele
  • Tammra Tanner, Cooking Arts and Little Acorns
  • Kerry Townley-Smith, Mathematics and Music
  • Richard Martin, Science and Woodworking


Diana Graber photoDiana Graber
Digital Media Literacy / Cyber Civics

Diana Graber has an extensive background as a producer and marketer of media, including film, video, television, print, and special events. She is co-owner of Graber Productions, an Emmy award-winning film and video production company. Together with her husband, Michael, she has produced numerous sports, adventure, and educational documentary films and television programs and series since 1993.

Diana is also co-founder of CyberWise, a Learning Hub that helps busy parents and educators become digitally literate. Launched in the Summer 2011, CyberWise was a Stage 2 winner of the MacArthur Foundation/HASTAC/Mozilla Digital Media and Learning Competition designed to find and fund the most innovative uses of new media in support of connected learning. Diana has a B.A. in Communications Studies from UCLA and an M.A. in Media Psychology and Social Change from UCLA/Fielding Graduate University.

She was recently a finalist for the NAMLE Research Emerging Scholar Award for her research on New Media Literacy Education, which was featured in the Journey of Media Literacy Education (JAMLE). She also serves on the programming committee for NAMLE (National Association of Media Literacy Education) and is on the board of a nonprofit organization, Wheels4Life.

Kerry Townley-Smith — Mathematics and Music

As a long time Journey School parent and educator, Mrs. Kerry Townley-Smith can’t wait to return to Journey School in her new capacity of Math, ELA and Music Specialist. Mrs. T-S’s own children have been part of the school community for many years, and she has grown with the school from volunteer to Specialty Teacher to Main Class Teacher and again to Specialty teacher.

Mrs. T. S. graduated with high honors in English from the University of Saskatchewan with both her undergraduate and masters degree and also possesses a California State Teaching Credential. As a life-long learner interested in making connections, Mrs. T-S especially enjoys teaching mathematics, music, English, and history in integrated and inspiring ways. As she looks ahead, Mrs. T-S reflects:

“I look forward to working in partnership with parents and fellow teachers to provide extra support and enrichment opportunities for the students. I am particularly passionate about providing my students with a well-rounded education that they can really dig into and be excited about. It is important to me that each one my students is well-prepared for high school and set up for life-long success.”

Janet Gates — Mathematics


“I am excited to be a part of the Journey team! I have been teaching different levels of math for over 20 years. I also worked as an Electrical Engineer before starting a family. Math and science are my favorite subjects and I love to see the delight on a student’s face when a new concept is understood. I enjoy showing my students examples of math in action in our every day lives and also in our world. I have been married for over 25 years and have four wonderful children who are are all attending various California universities.”

Richard Martin — Science and Woodworking

Mr. Martin is a certified Waldorf teacher with a California clear credential and over 18 years of classroom teaching experience. He first taught at the Waldorf School of Orange County, where he took a class from third grade through eighth. Since joining the Journey School faculty in 2005, he has focused on middle school, first as a class teacher, and more recently specializing in science and woodworking.

Mr. Martin has a keen appreciation for the Journey School curriculum, and relishes the challenge of bringing education to life in the classroom. He feels privileged to work with the talented and dedicated Journey School faculty and staff, and cherishes the opportunity to participate in Journey’s vibrant school community.

Diana Corbo – Journey Music Coordinator & Music Teacher

“Music isn’t just learning notes and playing them. You learn notes to play to the music of your soul.” ~K. Greenwood

Ms. Corbo is a co-founder of Journey School and we’re thrilled she is returning as Music Instructor for a 5th straight year in 2014-15. Ms. Corbo has a great deal of fun sharing her music, rhythm and performance skills with Journey students and works towards encouraging each child to unfold their own unique relationship with music and creative arts. She loves Journey’s dedication to weaving a myriad of arts into the curriculum and is continually inspired by the compassionate, deeply dedicated teachers and staff she works with.

Ms. Corbo and her husband Michael have three Journey educated children. As a founding parent of Journey School, Diana fondly remembers sharing music with the very first class of Journey school – now college age! Ten years later, while exhaling after completing USM’s masters program in Spiritual Psychology, she was called (literally & figuratively!) to share her joy of music with Journey once again.

Ms. Corbo has 30 years of experience in the Performing Arts, in many genres of music. She received numerous awards during her years on stage, from her town in New England to San Francisco – culminating in her solo act at York Hotel’s prestigious Plush Room Cabaret. Over the years she garnered many favorable reviews, including two in the San Francisco Chronicle before her move to Orange County, but adds that none of these experiences compare to her delight in guiding Journey students into the fullness of their own musical talents.

Ms. Corbo serves on the Board of the Southwest Community Center, a homeless, low income assistance Center in Santa Ana, learning a lot about Fundraising, and the power of compassionate community along the way. She sings (& waltzes!) monthly with the Seniors at Mt. of Olives Adult Daycare and in her spare time(?) Diana can be found walking on the beach, belly dancing (Raks Sharqi) and playing her doumbek (not all at the same time of course.)

Ms. Corbo feels blessed to be a part of this school‘s journey, seeing firsthand how the loving intentions from which it was conceived are now blossoming, infused with the wisdom, strength and stability that years of dedicated teachers, parents and staff – both present and past, bring.

Billy Alexander – Guitar Teacher

Billy Alexander is returning to Journey to teach Guitar for the 5th straight year. Mr. Alexander is an award-winning musician and producer. He plays lead guitar, sings, plays piano and organ, and is an up and coming Pop/Rock/Country songwriter.

Mr. Alexander began his music career at age 10 when he started taking guitar lessons. At 15, he studied classical guitar and music theory, and within a year he was playing professionally and teaching guitar out of a local music store. Mr. Alexander’s passion for music led him to take music theory classes in high school and college while continuing to perform, tour and teach at the professional level.

After years of performing and touring on the east coast, Mr. Alexander made the move to L.A. playing and recording around town with some great musicians and bands including The May Kings. Soon he met up with fellow east coasters Scot Sax (songwriter, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Joey McIntyre) and Mark Getten (RCA’s Wanderlust) to form FEEL. FEEL landed a record deal with Nashville’s Curb Records in late 2002 and spawned two radio hits “Won’t Stand In Your Way” going to #18 on national radio charts and “Got Your Name On It” reaching #28 on Billboard Charts.

Mr. Alexander continues to tour and record for other artists including a brief live stint with Sony/Columbia recording artist Anna Nalick and playing lead guitar/vocals for John Waite (The Babys, Bad English, Alison Krauss). In addition to lending his exceptional skills as a lead guitarist, he is establishing himself as a world class songwriter in the world of Pop and Contemporary Country music, earning one of Songwriter Universe Magazine’s Top 5 best songs of the month September 2006 and having songs cut in Nashville and around the country. Mr. Alexander currently lives in Lake Forest with his wife Doreen and their little Boston Terrier “Pepper”. He enjoys the warmth and smiling faces of the children at Journey and the positive attitudes of all the staff and teachers at the school.

Janet A. Poth – Strings Program

Ms. Poth is returning to Journey School to teach strings for a 4th straight year! Prior to coming to Journey, she lived in New Jersey. Her teaching experiences have included both public and private schools and a large private studio. She has directed string orchestras, fiddle groups, large “play-ins” and even summer day camps. Jan has attended national and international conferences for string teachers and relishes the friends she has made.

She is an active member of the local and international Suzuki associations and the American String Teachers Association. Jan has benefited from her training with renowned teachers such as Barbara Barber, Rudy Huzucha, Edmond Sprunger, Susan Moinester, Camilla Wicks, and Daniel Lewis. This training and numerous opportunities to meet, observe, and work with many other master teachers have enriched her life and provided Ms. Poth with many stories.

Highlights include playing strolling violin in the New York Rainbow Room hours after a huge snowstorm, inventing and playing tangos with an international group of young teachers in rural Virginia, traveling with an orchestra through the cities of Mozart’s lifetime and playing in the oldest Cathedral in Vienna. Ms. Poth enjoys the individuality of her students and loves to learn of their successes both musically and personally.

Ms. Poth’s extended family includes 2 sons, their wives and three grandchildren. “Grandma days” are a priority. She is also an active member of her church where she directs a small string orchestra. As a member of the South Coast Symphony, Jan was able to arrange a field trip for the fourth grade class to hear their “Koncert for Kids”. Born in LA and educated in Fullerton (FUHS ’64, CSUF English/Music ’68), Jan is settling into her “last” home and enjoying her busy life. She continues to learn from her peers, her mentors, and her students and looks forward to the growth of the string program at Journey School.

Sandra Blanco – Spanish, Upper Grades

Sra. Blanco is an experienced Spanish Teacher for grades 1-12th with more than 19 years of teaching Spanish in California, both in the Public School and Waldorf setting. Sra. Blanco as she likes to be call, was born in Mexico City and lived in Mexicali, BC for 14 years. Sra. Blanco has been teaching for more than 12 years in the Waldorf Schools. She is currently teaching here at Journey School and at Waldorf School of OC. Sra. Blanco has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Business Administration from CETYS University in Mexicali, B.C., and a Waldorf Training-Elementary School (1-8th) Teacher Diploma from Cuernavaca, Mexico and from Rudolf Steiner College at Fair Oaks. She is pursuing her Waldorf Training-HS Teacher Certification from Rudolf Steiner College at Fair Oaks, where she completed all her Spanish Language Course Requirements for the HS teacher as well as most Courses and Seminars.

Sra. Blanco’s love and passion for her native Spanish language and rich heritage led her to become a Spanish teacher when she came to live here in California. Sra. Blanco and her husband of more than 26 years Maher Moubayed have two daughters: Nadia 24 and Suzanne 23, both of them study their late elementary and middle school at Waldorf School of OC., and both of them are College graduates and are happily working on their fields of study. Waldorf education has always been a profound positive experience for the whole family.

Sra. Blanco loves to work here at Journey School because it has been an enriching and positive experience for her from the very beginning. Her students are wonderful! They are eager, enthusiastic, and interested in learning Spanish and happy to be immerse into its culture and its genius. The whole Journey family has made Sra. Blanco passionate in teaching at Journey and committed to bring a great Spanish Program for all students!

Kathryn Pitts – Music, Grades 4-8

Kathryn Pitts is a professional soprano and music teacher. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and K-12 Music Teaching Credential from California State University, Fullerton.  Katie is proud to join the Journey School faculty this year as the Upper Grades Music Specialist!  She also teaches local after school choral programs, sings with Pacific Chorale, and teaches private lessons.

Ms. Pitts has extensive choral singing experience and has performed in many well-known venues including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Hall, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Staples Center and the Nokia Theater.  She has performed with Pacific Symphony, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Musica Angelica, and Andrea Bocelli.  She made her European debut in summer 2014 at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria as a member of the Opera Studio.

Iris Ortiz – Spanish, Lower Grades

iris-ortizIris was born and raised in Argentina. In 1968 she became a school teacher and in 1974 she completed her studies as a professor of Piano and Theory. In 1985 she discovered the Waldorf philosophy and began teaching Spanish at Highland Hall Waldorf school and throughout the Los Angeles County. After doing that for seven years, Iris returned to Argentina and opened a children’s program that focused on music and arts and crafts as well as teaching music at several schools. In 2001 she returned to California and to the Waldorf schools and has since been engaged in using music to teach Spanish to children and adults in various settings, from private classes to public and private schools in Orange County. Iris enjoyes reading, crafting and knitting and her passions are her 3 grandchildren.

“I love teaching Spanish at Journey because the administrative team, Shaheer and Gavin, are always attentive to the needs of the teachers as well as of the students. I have received nothing but tremendous support all year from both of them. Another reason is the excellent relationship I have with my colleagues. And last but not least, I have to say that the students are a reflection of their class teacher and every class I have with them I am gifted with their respect and moments of joy in watching how they achieve a higher level of learning.”

Sylvia Sandefur – Handwork Teacher

sylviaMs. Sandefur is an experienced, firm and loving Handwork Instructor. She has served the Journey School Community in many capacities, including: Handwork Teacher, Office Assistant, Volunteer, and First Grade Assistant this past year. Ms. Sandefur’s oldest daughter attended Journey K-8 and is now thriving in high school. Her younger daughter will be in Grade 8 next year, rounding off her K-8. Ms. Sandefur is most excited about sharing her love and knowledge of handwork with the children. She grew up with handwork, taught to her by her mom. She hopes to instill a life long love of handwork in her students. Her professional and educational experience include a B.S. in Behavioral Science, Psychology and Minor in Interior Design, Pacific Union College; a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Corporate Wellness & Community Health, Loma Linda University. She also took extensive study in Child Development. She worked for the County of Riverside Health Department on the Anti-Tobacco team and ran the Family Life Education Program. She was also an instructor for a Parent/Child Family Life Ed. program.

Amanda Hammond – Grade 1 Handwork Teacher

amandaAfter having assisted Ms. Sylvia in the 2014-2015 school year, Amanda Hammond is excited to take on the position of our First Grade Handwork Teacher. In her third year of the Waldorf Teacher Training Program at WSOC, Amanda has found her passion working in early childhood and the lower grades. Amanda is also extremely grateful to Ms. Sylvia for her guidance through the previous year and for the opportunity to continue working with her and growing professionally with Journey School’s amazing school mentors. Ms. Amanda says, “I am so excited to spend my time working with your children! I look forward to helping them to grow more confident with their handwork skills, learning to appreciate color and beauty and to be more mindful of the world around them. This is joy and I am grateful!”

Joy Halverson – Games

Joy Halversonbw1Ms. Halverson was raised in a military family, moving every two years or so. Her dad always took the overseas posts so they lived in, Chile, Leisel, Germany, Colon, Panama in the Canal Zone and in Madrid, Spain. Her dad retired the summer before her freshman year in high school and moved the family to Mission Viejo, California. Ms. Halverson graduated from Capo High School, Saddleback College and UCLA.

She married Eric on Halloween 1992 and they have a daughter, Morgan who attended Journey 4th grade through 7th grade, graduated from Mission Viejo High School and will begin her 2nd year at UC Santa Cruz in the fall. Son, Jamie was a student at Journey from kindergarten through 8th grade. He will be a junior at The Academy in Santa Ana, in the engineering track, in the fall. Daughter Annie will begin her final year at Journey this year, enjoying her 10th year at our wonderful school!

Ms. Halverson will continue as our Outdoor Movement and Games teacher for 4th through 8th grades and rotating though the 1st through 3rd grades on a monthly basis. She has just completed her first year of Spatial Dynamics training.

Tammra Tanner – Cooking Arts and Parent Education

tammraA Southern California native Tammra grew up in Huntington Beach and is the mother of 3 daughters, two Journey graduates, and one in
the grade 6 class. She is a certified Waldorf teacher and has been involved in the Waldorf movement for over 18 years. Waldorf education in the public sphere is crucial to her and thus she is the Administrator for the Hybrid teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College and is also a faculty member of Gradalis, a Waldorf teacher training & consulting institute.

Her love of travel led her as a flight attendant for eight years until she married “my darling husband” and put down roots. “Once my eldest was born I began to search for a better system and philosophy for the education of my children; and so began my study of Anthroposophy and Waldorf.”

As a relationship based education Waldorf allows children to develop in freedom to their full potential by teaching with an awareness of
those to be taught, creatively offering the rigors of academics needed, fostering reverence for life, enlivening spirit, and
nurturing a love of learning. It is to become fully awake, aware and alive. It was this that led me to Journey 10 years ago and over those years has defined my service in many school capacities.

Today “Miss Tammra” as she is known to the children, is the Cooking Arts teacher, Little Acorns after care Director and parent education
facilitator offering Head, Heart and Hands program & workshops. She is a past Parent Cabinet Chair and is currently on the Parent Cabinet Executive Board and serves on the Pedagogical Council.

Gaylen Solomon Corbett
Visual Arts, Grades 6-8

gaylen-2015Gaylen’s passion for art came at an early age.  Born into an artistic family, her childhood was spent in her father’s art studio, with an unlimited supply of paint, brushes and paper. She was inspired by the local artists that traveled in and out of the studio, and learned many skills by watching them paint. Summers were spent on the grounds of the Festival of Arts or camping the woods with her grandparents. These childhood experiences continue to influence Gaylen’s work as both a teacher and an artist. Gaylen went on to study art throughout college, and continues to learn through workshops offered by local artists. She is currently a member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.

It is a joy and honor for Gaylen to put these experiences to work in creating a rich art curriculum for Journey’s middle school students.

When Gaylen is not teaching art to the middle school grades, she works as a Kindergarten Assistant. She is also is the proud parent of a Journey School graduate who is now attending Dana Hills High School. Her daughter, Hailey, is currently a 7th grader at Journey.

Todd Skidmore – Ukulele Teacher

Todd Skidmore his going into his 5th year teaching ukulele at Journey School. Hodd grew up singing and playing guitar with his father and brothers. “My father taught me more than anyone else in terms of how to play an instrument.  Fortunately music theory is pretty much universal from instrument to instrument,” he says. His musical talents also include ukele, bass guitar, and drums, as well as some piano, accordion, harmonica, trumpet, mandolin and banjo. During his childhood he studied the basics of music, harmony, musicianship, keyboard, music composition, music history and music theory.

With a degree in Education, he teaches privately in addition to his lessons at Journey, and also performs on a regular basis.

“What i enjoy the most every year is how pleasantly surprised i am with how the students take to the ukulele.  I am honored to introduce the students to the instrument and set them out on their musical journey.  I’ve always said that all I can do is help and point them in a direction because music is a personal journey.  I have heard many times how uncharacteristically enthusiastic some kids are and i really enjoy planting that seed and watching them learn to play songs they enjoy and have a great time and feel good about themselves because it is a skill they will have forever.”

Storm Dye – Games

After years of searching for a job to feel proud and passionate about, Storm happened upon Journey. Becoming a Specialty Teacher in games has allowed him to grow and learn, and the amazing opportunity to impact young minds in a positive way. With a background in multiple sports, over six years in dance and movement, and an unmatched passion for cooperative play, Waldorf style education is second nature to him. Aside from this, he has a combined total of just under eleven years of working with children of all ages to draw inspiration from. This came in the form of afterschool care, Tutoring, Babysitting, and training others, but mostly gathering kids from all walks of life and playing outdoor games in his free time.

“Since he was 14, Storm came up with and organized games for all the kids in the neighborhood. I remember looking outside and seeing him successfully keeping the peace and facilitating a game with over 25 children, with ages anywhere from six to sixteen. He’s always had a passion for playing, and I completely believe it translates into his teaching.” -Tammy Dye, Storm’s mom

As for life outside of Journey, Mr. Storm is currently finishing up a degree in Psychology at California State University, Fullerton, with an emphasis in child development, and hopes to solidify a teaching credential and more. He also professes to being a child-at-heart and a nerd, but argues that these qualities are exactly what gives him his abilities in class.

Storm is fluent in Spanish and can tutor almost anything taught in middle school with success.