Cairn Hill An Educational Collaborative

Cairn Hill is an after school program that seeks to enrich the education of children in underserved communities

Home | | 781.648.4605

Who We Are


In early 2012, three educators: Margaret Ris, Daniel Bekele and Cheryl Dressler met at the Abiata Café in Malden, Massachusetts to determine the best way to bring the gifts of Waldorf education to children in public school settings. We agreed to found a non-profit organization for this purpose, that we would eventually name after a spot in Malden’s beautiful and rugged Fells Reservation: Cairn Hill. We appreciated the metaphor of the cairn—a pile of stones marking a path created by many--and envisioned the activities of our new organization as helping to guide children along their paths.


Our founding members are three educators with complementary backgrounds in social policy, Waldorf education and language and literacy development.

Daniel Bekele, Ed.D., Harvard University, is program administrator for Tri-City, Malden’s community development program. Daniel’s success in catalyzing immigrant communities to receive needed educational and social support has earned him a reputation as a trusted community resource. Daniel has a deep understanding of the Malden community and the needs of its children.

Founders and Board Members
Founding Members and Board

Cheryl Dressler, Ed.D., Harvard University, has specialized in creating literacy programs for English language learners. She is a researcher and has experience designing and implementing evaluation tools to assess learning outcomes of educational programs. Cheryl has a deep appreciation for Waldorf pedagogy and understands the healing nature of its potential.

Margaret Ris, M. Ed, Antioch University, brings two decades of Waldorf teaching and administration to the team along with years of working with inner city children. The mentoring and evaluation she has done for Waldorf programs throughout the northeast gives her a deep experience in best practices of Waldorf Education.


Betsy Peck, B.A.,Wellesley College, has been volunteering and/or working at the Waldorf School of Lexington for over 27 years. Currently working in the Business and Development Offices, she also takes photographs for the website, publications, and parent use. Her two adult sons are graduates of the school, and she would love to see Waldorf educational principles available to wider communities.

Carol Damm, M.Ed.,University of Massachusetts, works at Brandeis University as an Instructional Designer. She has been involved in Waldorf education since 1999 as a parent, as a board member of the Portland Waldorf School, and as Communications Director at the Waldorf School of Lexington. For Carol, Waldorf education incorporates an educational approach that supports what Howard Gardner of Harvard has identified as Multiple Intelligences. She also advocates for sustainable land use and cultivation, which is critical for keeping our planet healthy and thriving for future generations

Linda MacK,Vice President of Development and Donor Services at the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts. Previously Linda was the CEO of her own business, HeronGrace Non Profit Solutions, based in Townsend. The organization specialized in providing fundraising consulting to smaller nonprofits to improve their fundraising efficiencies and capabilities. Prior to that, she served as executive director for the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions and for 15 years as Director of Development and Alumni Relations at High Mowing School, a Waldorf boarding/day high school in Wilton, N.H. where she established their first planned giving program and completed two Capital Campaigns of 3.5 million each. Linda has lived in Townsend for over 30 years on a small farm, and has two adult sons and two grandchildren.

Jaquelin Harris, B.S. University of Massachusetts at Amherst, brings eight years of experience promoting Richard Stoltzman's music career and managing his studio. She is currently an English tutor at Commonwealth School in Boston, where she is also the school's proofreader. Jaquelin’s three children were educated in Waldorf schools and she’s been involved in Waldorf education in a number of capacities:

Lauren Smith, Waldorf Education Certificate, Antioch University New England is a teacher at the Waldorf School of Lexington, MA. Having graduated a class of students in 2012 after an eight-year cycle with them, Lauren enjoyed a well-earned sabbatical year. During that year, she has volunteered her time to Cairn Hill to help create and teach the program we piloted at the Salemwood School in Malden, MA. She is now leading another class through the 8-year cycle at the Waldorf School of Lexington.