Governance

The General Council

John Bloom, General Secretary and President

email: john.bloom@anthroposophy.org

Helen-Ann Ireland, Member at large and Chair

Nathaniel Williams, Member at large and Secretary

David Mansur, Member at large and Treasurer

Gino Ver Eecke, Eastern Region Representative

Hazel Archer Ginsberg, Central Region Representative

Christine Burke, Western Region Representative

Margaret Runyon, Member at large

The Leadership Team

Deb Abrahams-Dematte, Director of Development

email: deb@anthroposophy.org

Katherine Thivierge, Director of Operations

email: katherine@anthroposophy.org

Tess Parker, Director of Programs

email: tess@anthroposophy.org

Administrative offices for the U.S. Society are located at
Rudolf Steiner House
1923 Geddes Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 41804

The three-member Leadership Team are professional staff who work together with the General Secretary and Council Chair to take initiative, lead, and serve on behalf of the Society.

The General Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America carries the spiritual mission of the Society, and they are the volunteer board of directors of our non-profit organization, with responsibility for its legal and financial well-being.

The General Council strives to represent the Anthroposophical Society in the world, support the work of the School for Spiritual Science and the Sections, and help cultivate a deep relationship to anthroposophy among members and initiatives. It is the intent and purpose of the General Council to serve as a connection to the incarnation of anthroposophy in our time. Minutes of General Council meetings are available online to members who are logged in.

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Deb Abrahams-Dematte,
Director of Development

Deb Abrahams-Dematte joined the ASA leadership in 2014. She has over 30 years of experience working in educational and non-profit settings, including many years at Pine Hill Waldorf School and High Mowing School in Wilton, NH. Her efforts on behalf of the Society are a natural outgrowth of her interest in anthroposophy and her lifelong commitment to creating social and organizational forms that reflect and support our highest intentions. She shares that “building relationships is a passion of mine, particularly in service to generating positive social change.” Deb has a BA in political science and women’s studies and an MS in leadership of mission driven organizations. She enjoys reading, cooking, and xc skiing, and lives on a small homestead in Wilton, NH.

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Katherine Thivierge,
Director of Operations

Katherine Thivierge joined the ASA leadership in 2015, bringing extensive administrative experience, most recently with the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and the Oakland (MI) Steiner School. An attorney who practiced law in Michigan for over ten years, she has trained as a Waldorf teacher and a speech artist and has often spoken for eurythmy. Katherine joined the Society in 1976 and is a member of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science.

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Tess Parker,
Director of Programs

Tess previously served as assistant Director of Programs, leading Building the Temple of the Heart, the 2021 hybrid conference and annual general meeting of the ASA, and has been active in the Youth Section. Before coming to the Anthroposophical Society, Tess was the Out-of-School Program Coordinator at the Pasadena Waldorf School, and developed a garden/outdoor education program. She also built a biodynamic farm business (Common Hands Farm, NY), developed a membership CSA, founded a local farmers market, and managed an educational apprenticeship program, all of which continue to this day. Tess brings a deep connection to anthroposophy and a commitment to bringing growth and innovation to the Anthroposophical Society's programs as a means to engage and connect members and friends of the ASA..

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John Bloom, President
and General Secretary

John Bloom has served as General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America since October 2016. He writes frequently for being human and is an active member of the Council of Anthroposophical Organizations. He recently retired from RSF Social Finance, San Francisco where he served as vice-president for organizational culture. As part of his work at RSF he developed and facilitated conversations and programs that address the intersection of money and spirit in personal and social transformation. He also developed a spiritually based leadership program to support nonprofit organizations. He continues to deepen that work independently and is part of forming a new organization, Spirit Matters, serving anthroposophical initiative. He has written extensively on money and culture and has fostered collaborative dialogues on the challenging social aspects of money. He is a founder and trustee of Yggdrasil Land Foundation, a national land trust committed to supporting biodynamic agriculture and land-based regional economies. He has led numerous workshops and written about issues of land preservation and community supported agriculture. He has written two books, The Genius of Money, and Inhabiting Interdependence, both published by SteinerBooks. He is currently working on his next book of essays and lives in San Francisco.

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Helen-Ann Ireland,
Council Chair

Helen-Ann began exploring spiritual ideas in high school when she wrote a paper on Buddha and Christ. After meandering through some Eastern pathways and traveling, she met anthroposophy in Australia when she became interested in educating and raising children in a wholistic way. Through her work as a class teacher in Honolulu and then Pine Hill in New Hampshire, she continued to study and deepen her interest in Steiner’s works. For seven years, she was the Vice-Chair of the Hawai’ian Society and became a member of the First Class there in 1992. After graduating her second class of children at Pine Hill in 2009, she pursued doctoral studies at UMass Amherst and co-authored a book Assessment for Learning in Waldorf Classrooms. Having been conferred her title in May 2018, she is currently working as a post doc fellow at UMass Amherst and will continue as a lecturer coordinating the Elementary Educator Master’s Degree program and teaching undergraduates about human development. At the same time she entered her doctoral program, she was appointed as a reader for the First Class, School of Spiritual Science, in February 2011 for Wilton, NH.

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Nathaniel Williams,
at large, Secretary

Nathaniel Williams is originally from the Southeastern United States. He studied visual art and anthroposophy at the neueKUNSTschule in Basel, Switzerland, worked in marionette-theater, and then returned to the USA. He has worked since as an independent artist (visual and performing) and an educator. In 2008, he co-founded Free Columbia, a cultural initiative in Columbia County, New York. He was an active member of Think OutWord, the peer-led training in Social-Threefolding and has a PhD in Political Theory from the University at Albany (SUNY). He is the director of the M.C. Richards Program at Free Columbia.

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David Mansur,
Treasurer

Dave has been a member of the Society since 1997 and active in the anthroposophical movement. He served on the Board of Trustees of The Cape Ann Waldorf School in Beverly, MA, and currently sits on the Board of Directors of The House of Peace in Ipswich, MA, serving as Treasurer. He holds a certificate in Sustainable Biodynamic Beekeeping from Spikenard Farm in Floyd, VA, and has completed the one-year training in Biodynamics offered at the Pfeiffer Center in Spring Valley, NY. He manages e-mail for the Anthroposophical Society of Cape Ann and is active in organizing its events, and teaches occasionally in the Center for Anthroposophy’s Foundation Studies course. Dave holds a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Massachusetts, and is employed as a Principal Project Engineer at Physical Sciences, Inc. of Andover, MA. He and his wife, Mary, live in Ipswich, MA, where they have raised three sons to adulthood and now enjoy the company of grandchildren and honeybees. The process taken to re-form the Eastern region of the Society has made clear to him the pressing need for human connection in our times, and the unique role that anthroposophy can play in forging those connections. He looks forward to working with the Society to develop new and meaningful ways that we may meet one another.

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Gino Ver Eecke,
Eastern Region

Gino met Anthroposophy in his birth town of Roeselare, Belgium, at the young age of 16. After working for a year on a BD-farm in Switzerland, he moved to New York to study eurythmy, receiving his diploma from Eurythmy Spring Valley in 1994. For eight years he performed as the character of Benedictus with the Threefold Mystery Drama Group, culminating in the performance of the Four Mystery Dramas in the summer of 2014. During the Mystery Drama Conference at the Goetheanum in July 2018, Gino performed the last scene of “The Soul’s Awakening.” Currently he guides the work of the Threefold Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in Chestnut Ridge, NY. He also serves as the President and Treasurer of the Eurythmy Association in North America.

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Hazel Archer Ginsberg,
Central Region

Having grown up in the Heart-Land, Hazel took her heart to San Francisco at the tender age of 16 to study Philosophy and Comparative Religion (with a minor in Women’s Studies). She met Rudolf Steiner’s Spiritual Science through Owen Barfield, and her work with the Societas Rosicruciana in America (S.R.I.A). Landing in New York, she began applying her Midwest work ethic, and her eclectic blend of teachings, building community with disenfranchised youth for the Homesteading Movement on the Lower East Side, all the while creating experiential theater, and playing music in various original Bands. Hazel is a biodynamic ‘Merry Prepstir’, a meditant, essayist, lecturer, poet, and a Trans-denominational Minister - creating custom ceremonies for all occasions. She has been founder and facilitator for many initiatives over the years. Inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s original Calendar of the Soul commemorating feast days, and birth and death days of important individualities, Hazel connects the seasonal round with human karma, and great historical events in her Reverse Ritual blog: Understanding Anthroposophy through the Rhythms of the Year, and the ‘I Think Speech’ podcast. Hazel is the Cultural Events and Festivals Coordinator for the Chicago Rudolf Steiner Branch and a member of the Central Regional Council. She is a member of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science, and of the Esoteric Youth Circle. Hazel offers anthroposophical lecture presentations, workshops and festivals around the world.

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Christine Burke,
Western Region

Before completing a Waldorf Teacher training through Rudolf Steiner College (San Francisco) under the guidance of Dorit Winter, Christine earned a BA in Linguistics from UC Santa Barbara. Christine taught in Waldorf schools in California and Sweden before training in Formative Speech (Sprachgestaltung) and Drama at Artemis School of Speech and Drama (England) with Christopher Garvey. She earned a Masters in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Rhetoric (read: classical studies) and Performance at a local university, where she was able to bridge many of her studies and projects to anthroposophical initiatives and concepts.

Currently, Christine teaches Communication Studies at her local college and at a nearby university and travels to conferences, Waldorf schools, teacher trainings, and Christian Communities throughout the world to teach speech and drama and lead groups in a variety of themes. Christine manages the “for social benefit” company she founded in Ventura, California called Caffrodite Community Collective, which opened just before the corona virus changed our ways of gathering.  She leads meditations online and volunteers on local boards to continue her passion for fostering the art of community, exploring the many paths of this “art of the future” as Rudolf Steiner called it.  She is part of the collegium of the Social Sciences Section of the School for Spiritual Science in North America and is the Western Regional Council’s representative on the General Council.

Christine spends the remaining hours of her life balancing the loving duties that come with being the companion of a beautiful chocolate cocker spaniel and performing in street theater, community theater, a variety of activist performances and the life-infused, life-long learning of coming to know herself.

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Margaret Runyon,
At Large

Margaret grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1960’s and 70’s, punctuated by two of her father’s sabbaticals in Germany.  She moved to New Orleans in 1981 and pursued a career in retail.  In 1985 anthroposophy sought her out.  She was invited to the local Study Group at the home of Inge Elsas (read Inge’s amazing story here), and was encouraged to attend the 1986 Social Science Conference in Spring Valley, NY.  It was the uncanny sense of “homecoming” she experienced at that conference that convinced Margaret this was her path.

In 1987, with Rita Amedee and others inspired by a visit by Joan Almon, she co-founded the Waldorf Education Association of New Orleans, and joined the Society in the same year. Relocating to Detroit in 1991, Margaret was immersed in the many-faceted anthroposophical life of SE Michigan. In 1995 she was admitted to the School of Spiritual Science, and served for three years as president of the Greater Detroit Branch. She moved back to New Orleans at Michaelmas 1998, and was invited to join the Society’s Central Regional Council in 1999. After experiencing Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, Margaret worked with her CRC colleagues to plan an earth-healing “Pilgrimage” at Easter 2006, from Alton, IL, along the Mississippi River through Memphis, to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Back in New Orleans in 2007, after her home was repaired, Margaret served on the board of Waldorf School of New Orleans for nine years, was a founding board member of Raphael Academy (now Raphael Village), a pioneering urban Camphill community.  She has served on the ASA’s Development Committee since 2015.  Since 2016 she has worked as Enrollment Director at Waldorf School of New Orleans. She has been grateful to witness the growth of anthroposophy in the South, helping to host the ASA’s annual conference in New Orleans in 2018, and attending the 2019 AGM in Atlanta.

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Rudolf Steiner sculpting the "representative of humanity"

Statement on Diversity

The Anthroposophical Society in America [US] is open to every human being and supports fulfilling their potential and search for meaning. The Anthroposophical Society stands with those seeking spiritual and cultural freedom, equity and equality in rights, and interrelationship in economics. The  Anthroposophical Society in America stands against any individual activities or organizations that deny or disparage the dignity and humanity of any human being or group of human beings.

As a holistic researcher of human origins, consciousness, and future evolution, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founder of anthroposophy, dealt with questions of individuality, diversity,
and race in his talks and writings in the early 20th century. We recognize that some published passages characterize race and other group identities in ways that readers will find offensive. We fully empathize with that response and are working to assure that none of our current or future activities are based on or reflect those characterizations.

Throughout his life, Steiner spoke about the growing social and spiritual importance of diversity in communities of the future. A very clear statement of this view is in Lecture I of his series The Universal Human (1909):

[We] must cast aside the division into races. [We] must seek to unite people of
all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various
groups of people.

We affirm these principles of common humanity. We explicitly reject any theory that can be construed to be part of Rudolf Steiner’s work that characterizes or judges any individual human being or group of human beings as superior or inferior based on racial, gender, ethnic or other group identity.

Membership in the Anthroposophical Society is open to everyone who sees the value of anthroposophy without regard to gender, national origin, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or religion. In addition, the Society encourages a wide range of artistic, scientific, and economic perspectives and practices.

Adopted by the General Council on June 14, 2020