Doran Catlin Morgan, graduated eighth-grade in 1993
Doran has become a leader in public-school education administration, and she credits much of her success to Hartsbrook. As one of the first students to finish eighth grade there, she experienced first-hand the passion and the vision of the school’s founders. She began attending Hartsbrook when she joined its first nursery class, taught by Katerina Radkai, which was held in a parent’s basement. Her teachers also included such seminal figures as Jan Kees Saltet, Catherine Hopkins, and (the late) Ekkehard Piening. Her mother was a Waldorf educator who taught part time at Hartsbrook and her younger sister also attended the school, through sixth grade.
About her education, Doran says that Waldorf’s genius is “it seeks to educate the whole child. There isn’t an artificial divide between the spiritual, academic, social, emotional and physical aspects of development. This produces deep learning that permeates all the senses, that produces not just skills but a way of being.” Doran says you can always spot a Waldorf kid. “They connect easily when introduced to new people, looking them in the eye, and they come off as supremely well-rounded.”
Doran’s Hartsbrook experience stayed with her for years after she moved to Milwaukee, where she attended an inner-city high school. Even though she took AP courses and excelled in them, she says, “I probably learned more in seventh and eighth grade at Hartsbrook. Its teachers taught me how to write and how to approach history synoptically and analytically.” Her Milwaukee school was more diverse, but Hartsbrook had prepared to her to develop connections anywhere. She soon found friends among various ethnic and socio-economic groups.
After high school, Doran’s path continued to bear Hartsbrook’s imprint. At Washington University in St. Louis, she helped inaugurate an honors education track, graduating summa cum laude. After teaching in DC and the state of Washington, she earned an M.A. in education policy at Columbia University’s Teachers College. She then worked at The National Center for Children and Families, and at New Leaders for New Schools, which urban school district principals. She then served as assistant principal in Oakland’s public schools, focusing on academics and implementing new teaching methods, before becoming a a consultant to that district so as to devote more time to raising a family of her own.
When Doran reflects on her time at Hartsbrook, she recalls “an overwhelming sensation of beauty—what we see, hear and experience through all our senses.” She remembers the Michaelmas Festival, the song about “wind in the trees,” the Holiday Fair, the Advent Garden, May Day with Morris dances, the Glenbrook trips, her classmates, their families, the community meals, and all the wonderful stories.