Board of Trustees

Darshi Balasuriya, President
Darshi Balasuriya is currently a Program Manager/Researcher at the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE). Born and raised in Sri Lanka, she moved to the U.S. at the age of 17 to pursue a college education, which culminated with a Master in Public Health, with a specialty in Program Planning and Evaluation from Tulane University in Louisiana. Darshi’s life-long desire to advocate on behalf of disadvantaged youth has taken her from being a teacher at Edison Middle School in South Los Angeles, to conducting public health research focused on under-served populations through UCLA, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and currently at OCDE. In addition to her research and evaluation work at OCDE, Darshi is also the coordinator of OCDE’s Diversity and Social Justice Initiative, which provides schools and school districts with professional development in a range of topics concerning educating students with a ‘cultural lens’ in mind.
Since her move to the U.S., Darshi has gained a lot more than a simple college education. In her personal life, she has met and married a wonderful man and has been blessed with a beautiful daughter – a middle school student at the Waldorf School of Orange County (WSOC). Darshi attributes much of her intellectual and spiritual growth to being a mom. Through her daughter, Darshi was introduced to the wonders of Waldorf education, and the wisdom of Anthroposophy. She has completed final year of the Waldorf Teacher Training Program offered at WSOC, and is looking forward to putting her Waldorf education and career experience to productive use to support the growth and expansion of the Maple Village School.
Chip McCarthy, Treasurer
Chip McCarthy was born on the east coast and raised in Northern Illinois. He was raised in a family of five with two older sisters and a mother who was a bit of an artist and a father who was a successful marketing manager and entrepreneur. Chip combined those skill sets and headed off to University of Illinois where he graduated with honors with a BA in Graphic Design.
Upon graduation he packed up his car and headed west to California and has been in Long Beach for the past 24 years. He is an award-winning Digital Advertising Creative Director and has worked on accounts including Porsche, Acura, Lexus, Herman Miller and Allergan. Chip posses a seemingly contrasting combination of a professional fascination for both visual design and business, which often translates into complex and lovely looking excel spreadsheets.
Outside of the office Chip has many interests with one theme. He is always taking raw materials and combining them in specific ways to create a very specific result. These interests would include cooking, baking, wood working and gardening. He has recently combined all of these interests and built his own outdoor wood-fired pizza oven in a effort to perfect his pizza making skills.
Chip became involved with Waldorf Education through his wife Lisa. He has supported and experienced her growth as a Waldorf educator and together they co-founded Maple Village Waldorf School with a group of other dedicated community members. He also served on the founding Board of Trustees.
Charlotte Guest, Faculty Representative
Charlotte Guest serves as Maple Village’s Sunflower Kindergarten teacher. She fell love with Waldorf education the moment she first stepped into a kindergarten class and knew this was her work she was meant to do. She chose to attend Emerson College, a Waldorf training center in England after high school, where she completed a year-long orientation program focused on anthroposophical studies. She then earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education at Naropa University in Colorado, were she focused her studies in Waldorf Education. After teaching at a Waldorf inspired preschool, Charlotte and her husband relocated to her hometown of Encinitas, California, where she began working at the Sanderling Waldorf School. She served as a kindergarten assistant and director/lead teacher of both Sanderling’s aftercare program and summer camps for five years. This is her third year with Maple Village Waldorf School. When she is not teaching she enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, crafting, and exploring Long Beach.
Basil Hernandez, Faculty Representative
We are very excited to welcome Basil Hernandez to the MVWS Board of Trustees! Basil taught in our Kindergarten during the first few months of the 2014-15 school year before teaching 1st, 2nd, and now 3rd Grade as a Class Teacher. Previously, Basil also did his practicum at our school, working with Ms. Ania. Basil was part of the first graduating class at the Chicago Waldorf School and went on to get his BA in Biology from California State University of Long Beach. He was an Emergency Medical Technician before realizing his destiny as a Waldorf teacher and completing his Waldorf Teacher Training at The Waldorf Institute of Southern California.
Elizabeth Seward
Elizabeth Seward, PhD has been in a Waldorf classroom since 1984 as a parent volunteer, handwork assistant, High School teacher, lead handwork teacher, class teacher, teacher educator and mentor, and evaluator. She co-directed the Waldorf Institute of Southern California for three years, and opened the San Diego program. Elizabeth was instrumental in bringing the practices of Council, and of consensus decision–making to her school, and has served locally and nationally as a consensus facilitator. She is now delighted to be supporting Maple Village as a new Board Member.
Originally from England, Elizabeth earned a Master’s degree in Linguistics (second language learning, and medieval literature) from the University of Freiburg in Germany. She came to California in 1978 to attend UCLA, but motherhood turned out to be much more important! When her youngest of three children turned 18, she also returned to school and earned her PhD in the historical and philosophical foundations of Education from Claremont Graduate University.
She is currently working in a Waldorf charter school and teaching Waldorf handwork classes to homeschooled children, and has returned to school again to study the place of spirituality in education, in an interfaith context. Elizabeth shares her enthusiasm for Waldorf Education with parents of young children, home-schooling parents and graduate students. She established and co-directs an annual summer peer-sharing retreat for Waldorf Handwork teachers.
All three of her children are securely and happily finding their own individual paths, for which she credits Waldorf Education. All four grandsons attend Waldorf schools. She is delighted to see the very positive results of this education in her own family.
Pam Villano
Pam is also the MVWS Business Administrator and has served on many committees during her years at Maple Village. Originally from Tennessee, she was raised by a single mom and moved to the west coast when she was a young child. Here she learned to love being near the water, appreciate the great climate and met life long friends.
Pam attended California State University of Long Beach and earned a Bachelors of Art in Geography. She has an adult daughter who lives locally and a current Kindergarten daughter at MVWS. Before becoming a stay at home mom, she spent nineteen and a half years with The Home Depot. Her experience in all aspects of a retail environment are extensive. Her job duties span from Assistant Store Manager at the highest grossing store in the company to many years in the Human Resources departments. She worked at more than ten different stores over her years of service with the company.
She currently runs the food bank at Emanuel Presbyterian Church, volunteering and helping other food banks and currently working with Rio Hondo College to set up a food bank for their students in need. She is also on the committee for Make a Difference Day, MADD, in Long Beach.
She lives close to the school and learned of it by driving to work and seeing all the children having a good time on the play yard. After inquiring and some research, she realized it was perfect for her young child. Pam and her daughter started with parent toddler over four years ago and will continue to grow with Maple Village.
Kelly Olauson, President Emeritus
Kelly Olauson was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He relocated at an early age to southern California with his mother (who wanted to escape the cold winters) and they eventually settled in Long Beach, CA. Kelly enjoys an active lifestyle, and growing up near the beach he became an avid surfer and general lover of the ocean. Kelly’s higher educational pursuit started in architectural design studies and later shifted to business where he earned an undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
Kelly’s active lifestyle also propelled his interests into the booming health and fitness industry where he worked as a fitness trainer and nutrition consultant at a local gym in Long Beach, where he ultimately met his wife Lisa. After university Kelly’s professional career shifted from hands on personal training to sales, which eventually led him into the real estate industry, where he is actively involved in commercial real estate development with his father.
Kelly and Lisa have been involved with Maple Village Waldorf School since its inception in 2008 and their two daughters, Jaden and Summer, attended the school for many years.