“Every afternoon at the end of the school day, my child is happy and excited, satisfied and enriched by the day’s activities. The depth of personal attention and skill that the teachers bring to the classroom follows us home each day.” —City Garden Parent

“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.” —Rudolf Steiner


City Garden School educates children in a method inspired by Waldorf education, which nurtures and develops the child’s senses, allows children to discover who they are, and supports each child’s creative capacities. We honor the development of each child by bringing age appropriate stories and multi-sensory materials in all subjects to them. We teach an intellectually rich curriculum that inspires creativity and self-discovery.

Waldorf Education

Waldorf education was founded by Rudolf Steiner over 100 years ago and is currently one of the fastest growing school initiatives in the world. It has a holistic approach to education that looks at the growing child developmentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and then creates curriculum and experiences based upon these observations. The curriculum then nourishes the child in each stage of her development and allows for a natural unfolding of skills, academic knowledge, and thought. As a result, children’s innate sense of wonder in learning is fostered, they find great joy in school, and remain intellectually curious.

Outdoor Education

City Garden is moving outdoors. Our community loves being outside, but that’s not the only reason we are making the move to fully nature based learning. We also know that connecting with nature is what’s best for children and for our world.

“An increasing body of empirical research is showing that young people—starting from our earliest learners—who have regular experiences with nature, children who bond with nature, develop critical and creative thinking skills that will help them succeed in life. We’re also learning that immersing children in nature to play and learn can result in reduced stress, improved brain development and restoration, increased social and emotional skills development, and civic engagement.” – The Children and Nature Connection: Why It Matters by Judy Braus and Sarah Milligan-Toffler


Our curriculum aims to help the child discover who they truly are, allowing them to explore multiple arts and modalities while feeding them with rich stories and experiences. We strive to give them a morally centered curriculum and to allow time for true learning to take place. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, our students learn to draw, paint, play a flute or recorder, move in rhythm, sing, recite poetry, and perform dramatic plays. They create their own textbooks and have time to explore the outdoors.

We believe all of this helps create balanced children, who will grow into responsible and contributing citizens. If you are interested in our curriculum, you can read directly from our teachers on our blog.


Neeley Current, First Grade Teacher

Drawn to the beauty, simplicity and interconnectedness of Waldorf education, Neeley Current was City Garden School’s first Board President. Working with teachers, the board, and parents she was instrumental in transforming the vision of City Garden School into a fully operational organization. Now, as the first grade teacher she has been able to pursue her love of teaching by directly serving the children at the school.

Neeley earned a B.A. in German and Anthropology and a Master’s in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri. She spent the past decade working t the University of Missouri College of Education where she ran a user-centered design lab and taught PhD students practice-based applications to their studies. Prior to that, she was a librarian at Stephens College. Additionally, with her long love of dancing, she spent the past two years learning dance & movement education from Nancy Stoy.

Neeley loves dancing and restful time at home with her family.

Monica Everett, Second Grade Teacher

Monica Everett began her journey at City Garden in 2019 as a Summer Camp teacher, where she spent many June days romping through Rockbridge State Park skipping rocks with our adventurous crew of children. She went on to become a classroom teacher, first in the 5th grade and is now teaching 2nd grade full time. Her passion for outdoor education stems from early childhood, which she spent roaming the forests and creeks of Indiana.

Monica has a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Missouri. She went on to study and later teach at The School of Forest Medicine, a forest-based herbalism school in Oregon. While traveling through North, Central, and South America she found herself immersed in nature communion, whether it was through organic and permaculture farming, wild harvesting herbs, teaching preschool, or supporting a summer camp at an off-grid education farm. Monica also has a background in dance and music, and is currently studying to be a homebirth Midwife.

Monica is grateful to have found a home back in Missouri and at City Garden. She loves exploring the world through the lens of wonder and beauty with the children. In her free time she is often studying, gardening, hiking, and making music or nature-based art.

Lauren Holland, Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher

Lauren has been working to change lives through education since she first began her journey in 2011. She has since earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters of Art Education from the University of Missouri, and has worked as a teacher of many subjects and lessons all over the world. In her free time, Lauren continues to travel and make art for the purposes of learning and service. She is thrilled to be immersing in her second year with City Garden School as the 3rd/4th/5th grade teacher. 

Lauren is a passionate advocate and facilitator of development for the whole child. Her primary goal is to educate children for the future of our Earth through meaningful strengthening of intellect, discernment, will power, and the wisdom of the heart. Through City Garden’s educational philosophy of compassion, nourishment, and holistic practices, Lauren seeks to equip our children to bring about a more perfect world.

Tory Kassabaum

Tory Kassabaum, Director of School Affairs  

Tory Kassabaum started her career at City Garden in 2015 when she began teaching third, fourth, and fifth grade. In 2018, she had her first child and left the classroom to become the Director of School Affairs, which she does mostly from home with her now toddler.

Tory holds a degree in Environmental Studies from Knox College and a certificate in Environment, Education, and Community from Islandwood School and a masters degree in Education from the University of Washington.

She has taught outdoor education to many age groups from preschool to adults, and is passionate about teaching children about the beauty of our diverse world through art and nature.  Tory loves being the director of this unique school because she gets to facilitate providing children a rich and nourishing childhood. In her free time, she enjoys hiking to the beautiful Missouri creeks with her daughter, working to make Columbia an inclusive and just community, and spending time in her wildflower garden.

Board Members

Beth Anderson - Treasurer

Beth Anderson – Treasurer

Beth Anderson recently moved back to her hometown of Columbia after living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last thirteen years. As a Certified Birth Doula, Beth is devoted to the natural growth and development of children. She and her wife started their daughter at City Garden School in the Fall of 2018. With their daughter’s shift from the traditional black and white educational path into the full color of City Garden School’s guidance, Beth’s commitment to supporting the Waldorf philosophy of loving education has blossomed.

Beth brings her many years of experience in corporate finance and attention to detail to the board of City Garden School which she joined in the first quarter of 2019. Additionally, this past year, Beth spent time helping teach students crochet and hopes to bring her craftiness more frequently into the classrooms. She believes education is a family affair that extends outward and looks forward to supporting City Garden even more fully.

Rebecca McCorkle

Rebecca McCorkle- President

Rebecca McCorkle is married and an adoptive mother of two children. Her family moved to Columbia, Missouri from South Carolina. Rebecca and her wife looked at many educational communities in Columbia, and were immediately inspired by the philosophy of City Garden School and the depth and compassion of the College of Teachers. Rebecca enrolled her children in City Garden later in their elementary years, and has been amazed at their personal and educational growth. The intentional guidance and nurturing curriculum allows children to develop self-confidence, empathy, and a passion for learning, art, and nature. As a mom of two energetic boys, she is grateful the school allows them the opportunity to spend hours exploring natural spaces.

Rebecca works for Columbia Public Schools as a Parent Educator with Parents As Teachers. As a parent educator, she appreciates the focus that City Garden places on the whole family unit, recognizing the role that we all play in growing our children. Rebecca has her BSW from Columbia College and advanced training in working with trauma and PTSD.

Larry Dugan

Larry Duggan joined the City Garden community in 2019 as parent and volunteer.  He joined the board in 2020 after participating on the Covid Committee, which was formed to help the school safely and effectively navigate the challenges raised by the pandemic.  He is excited to have a small part in furthering the school’s mission and is continually amazed at the resilience and resourcefulness of the school community.  The evolution to full-time outdoor learning in 2020 – 2021 has been the result of a lot of hard work by the teachers, director, parent volunteers and numerous other supporters of the school.  As a parent, he sees the fruits of those labors in his daughter’s love of school and learning, and in her delight when she shares newly mastered skills.    Larry earned B.A.s in Theatre and Political Science from the University of Missouri and is a graduate of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania.  Larry is a Commercial Banking Product Manager for Central Bank Company.  

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