2024 Keynote Speakers

Constanza Kaliks

Born in 1967 in Chile, Constanza Kaliks grew up and lived mostly in Brazil. Constanza completed her studies of mathematics in São Paulo, and went on to be a high school mathematics teacher at Escola Rudolf Steiner in São Paulo for 19 years. There, she was also a teacher in the Waldorf teachers training program. Constanza holds a Ph.D. in Education with a thesis on Nicholas of Cusa. From 2012 to 2021 she was the leader of the Youth Section at the Goetheanum. She has been a member of the executive board of the General Anthroposophical Society since 2015; Leader of the General Anthroposophical Society since 2020, and co-leader of the Pedagogical Section since 2022.

Nkem Ndefo, MSN, CNM, RN

Nkem Ndefo is the founder of Lumos Transforms and creator of The Resilience Toolkit, a model that promotes embodied self-awareness and self-regulation in an ecologically sensitive framework and social justice context. She is known for her unique ability to connect with people of all types by holding powerful healing spaces, weaving complex concepts into accessible narratives, and creating synergistic and collaborative learning communities that nourish people’s innate capacity for healing, wellness, and connection.

Originally licensed as a nurse midwife, Nkem has extensive post-graduate training in complementary health modalities and emotional therapies and has worked in settings ranging from large-volume hospitals to mobile community clinics. She brings an abundance of experience as a clinician, educator, researcher, and community strategist to innovative programs that address trauma and inequity, build resilience, and shape liberatory change for individuals and organizations across sectors, both in her home country (US) and internationally. Nkem has lent her expertise in embodied anti-oppression, healing justice, and the trauma-informed and resilience-oriented (TIRO) approach to a wide range of projects. Most recently, she led a multi-year embodied diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism initiative for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Nkem is particularly interested in working alongside people most impacted by violence and marginalization.

Simone Shurney

Simone Shurney was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She is an alumna and class teacher of the Detroit Waldorf School (DWS). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan and a M.S.Ed in Educational Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Simone earned her Waldorf Elementary Education teaching certificate from the Waldorf Institute of Southeastern Michigan and she has served as a class teacher at DWS for 10 years.

In addition to her work with students in the classroom, Simone has also assumed a wide range of administrative roles including a member of the DWS College of Teachers and Board of Trustees, accessible tuition committee member, faculty chair, and Pedagogical and Community Life Committee chairs. Simone is privileged to realize her passion for human relationships, social justice, and community and organizational culture through her work with her immediate community at DWS, and also with the Waldorf community more broadly through her positions as lead faculty for the teacher training program at Great Lakes Waldorf Institute, a member of the AWSNA Leadership Development Team, and editorial advisory board member for School Renewal magazine.