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Meet Our Specialty Teachers

Jude Lyon
Title 1 Reading/Writing Instructor
Jude Lyon.jpeg

Jude Lyon has worked at Malamalama Waldorf School for the past 9 years under the auspices of the Hawaii Department of Education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Teaching English as a Second Language certification from Seattle University. She previously taught grades 1 through 12 as a public school substitute teacher in Alaska.

Jude’s career in Hawaii includes several years as a Development Director for a family support services organization in Kona serving children at risk for neglect and abuse. She also served as an advocate for sexual assault victims in Kona through the YWCA and the Children’s Justice Center of Hilo. She has a long history of cause-oriented pursuits, working on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS, developmental disabilities, mental illness, people without homes, and those who are hungry, or food challenged. For many years in her youth, she worked in radio and television broadcasting as a copywriter, producer, director, and talent.

Asked about her view of the school, Jude noted, “What I love about our school is the personal attention given to students, the genuine desire to help them grow academically, developmentally, and emotionally. Waldorf is a wholistic education featuring high emotional intelligence and a kind of graceful calm.” And for her thoughts about our island, she said, “I love the island for the power I find in its natural beauty. It inspires my daily gratitude.”

Yukiko Ito
Specialty Sensei, Japanese Studies

Aloha, nice to meet you! I am Yukiko from Japan. I was born in Tokyo and raised in the suburbs of Chiba. My family moved to Hawaii five years ago, and It is a great pleasure for me to have an opportunity to teach Japanese at this school on Hawaii island.

Prior to moving to Hawaii, I was working at the international preschool in Japan and as a private tutor to prepare for the entrance exam for students ages 7-15.


In my childhood, I loved reading books and spending time with nature. I also loved listening to music and dancing. When I was 13, I gained unforgettable opportunities to join the parades to celebrate the founding of the United States as a baton twirler. Our team participated in ceremonies at several places in the US, but joining Parades at the Kalakaua streets in Oahu and Disneyland in California was the most memorable for me. In that same year, I read my first book about Waldorf education on my parents' bookshelf.  It was very impressive.

In my Japanese class here, in addition to learning to speak and write Japanese, students learn traditional Japanese songs and learn to make Japanese papercrafts with “Origami” as part of their lessons. They love to make it. I would like to introduce more Japanese culture and customs such as calligraphy and Japanese simple cooking. Through learning foreign languages, I hope that students will have a respectful mind in this wonderful natural environment at Mālamalama Waldorf School.

Dr. Irina Savery
Tutor/Specialty Teacher, Math

Irina has been a classroom math teacher for over a decade, teaching a range of math levels, from Elementary to College at public, charter, and private schools here on the Big Island of Hawaii.


On her journey to becoming a teacher, Irina lived in different countries on different continents, wore many hats, and explored many careers. Irina has a Bachelor's degree in Education and Mathematics/Statistics from the Ben-Gurion University in Israel and holds a B.Sc. and a Ph.D in Computer Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She worked as a financial consultant at a bank, did research as part of the Ph.D program at AT&T Research in NJ, worked as a software engineer at Google, lectured Math and Computer Science courses at the Hawaii Community College, and taught math at a number of island schools, including St. Joseph High School.


In Dr. Savery’s own words: “Fluency in math is a great contribution to one's quality of life. My students often ask me why math is important; I tell them that practicing math develops brain muscles, which in turn increase one's general intelligence. Math opens doors and creates opportunities, regardless of what professional path one chooses to pursue.”

Melissa Sigh
Specialty Teacher, Music

Melissa holds a Master of Music in Music Education from Michigan State University and used to teach music for East Lansing Public Schools.

Melissa is a certified Music Learning Theory early childhood instructor and has taught private lessons for the past 20 years. Her classes are interactive, informal, and they playfully encourage children to create their own sounds and movement.

Beginning students learn a variety of songs that rely on the easiest ukulele chords. Students are provided with practice routines to help master new chords and switch between chords fluidly.

Specialty Teacher, Movement

We are looking for a new teacher! If you are interested, please APPLY

Specialty Kumu, Hawaiian Studies

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LaRae Soleimente, Handwork Teacher

LaRae Soleimente or Auntie L, is our handwork teacher. She brings 25 years of experience working in classes of children with special needs and general education. She went to Seattle Pacific University for her degree in Special Education. She moved to Hawaii in 2018.

Her second love is handwork art, creating everything from the finished wood slab in her kitchen to crocheting baby blankets. She states, “This job is my two passions coming together into one. I am so very grateful and excited to be a part of the Malamalama Waldorf team and share my passion and experience with the children.”

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