Resources

Who We Are

The faculty and staff at the Brooklyn Waldorf School are an energetic team of educators. Our teachers are Waldorf trained and have taught in Waldorf schools all around the world. They bring their combined experience to form a rich Waldorf curriculum here in Brooklyn. Together we learn from each other’s experiences and are motivated to work with cooperation and enthusiasm. Collaboration in planning and action encourages a school-wide interest and a deep feeling of responsibility for all aspects of BWS.

Teachers are guided by, and work within, a Waldorf school framework that gives indications toward curriculum, school communication and structure. All staff are encouraged and supported to continue on a path of lifelong learning.

To learn more about our faculty and staff, click on an individual’s name to read his or her biography.

TEACHING FACULTY

Early Childhood

  • Tara Monaghan, Early Childhood Assistant

Parent-and-Child

  • Meggan Gill, Lead Teacher
  • Monica Snavely, Assistant

Nursery

East
  • Gun Blue, Lead Teacher
  • Cecilia Torres, Assistant
West
  • Jenn Wilenta, Lead Teacher
  • Aliya Birdoff, Assistant

Kindergarten

North
  • Monika Stanislawek, Lead Teacher
  • Hannah Westerman, Assistant
South
  • Monica Sibrizzi, Lead Teacher
  • Nneka Maginley, Assistant
East
  • Zohar Apple, Lead Teacher
  • Gillian Zagorski, Assistant

Lower School

  • Bianca Brousseau, First Grade Class Teacher
  • Allison Stovall, Second Grade Class Teacher
  • Josephine Russo, Third Grade Class Teacher
  • Kelly Beekman, Fourth Grade Class Teacher
  • Steven Simonak, Fifth Grade Class Teacher

Middle School

  • Lidija Juka, Sixth Grade Class Teacher
  • William McKay, Seventh Grade Class Teacher
  • Chris Castelli, Eighth Grade Class Co-Teacher
  • Hank Mittnacht, Eighth Grade Class Co-Teacher

Specialty Subjects

  • Laetitia Berrier-Saarbach, Eurythmy Teacher
  • Chris Castelli, Mathematics & Technology Teacher
  • Orlando Colón, Movement Teacher & Athletic Director
  • Jayanthi Bunyan, Music Teacher
  • Emily Yue Xu, Mandarin Chinese Teacher
  • Sibylle Johner, Music Director & Orchestra Teacher
  • Laura Montaño, Handwork Teacher
  • Constanza Ontaneda, Spanish Teacher
  • Dorke Poelz, Early Childhood Assistant and Grades Support
  • Martina Bonolis, High School Placement Coordinator

Learning Support Team

  • Liz Baring, Psychotherapist
  • Hannah Bleier, Educational Support Teacher
  • Fran Pado, Learning Support Instructor
  • Roberta Perlin, Learning Support Consultant
  • Christina Pantazis-Blades, Learning Support Chair

PARENT ASSOCIATION CHAIRS

  • David Bivins
  • Mara Leimanis-Ricard

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

  • Randy Yuen, President
  • Alex Blades, Treasurer
  • Meggan Gill, Faculty Representative
  • Denese Giordano, Administrative Representative
  • Cynthia Hammond
  • Konrad Meissner
  • Christina Pantazis-Blades, Administrative Representative
  • Kojo Campbell
  • John Egnatios-Beene
  • Julian Katz
  • Jelani Mashariki
  • Yiorgos Sarrinikolaou

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM

Admissions

  • Christina Pantazis-Blades, Admissions Director
  • Sheila Shaw, Admissions Associate

Business Office

  • Lena Lvova, Business Office Associate
  • Annie Ng, Business Office Coordinator
  • Vincent Ruggiero, Business Manager

Community Development

  • Denese Giordano, Administrative Director
  • Leecia Manning, Special Events Coordinator

Operations

  • Denese Giordano, Administrative Director
  • Tara Hempstead, Administrative Assistant
  • Jocelyn Harris, Administrative Support
  • Vanessa Willoughby, Communications Coordinator
  • Edward Holtby, Front Desk
  • Sequoia Harrison, Front Desk
  • Tim Kacic, Building Superintendent
  • Michelle Moyer, School Operations and Library Coordinator 
  • Daniel Abse, After School Programs Support

Tara Monaghan

 

Tara Monaghan attended Rudolf Steiner in Manhattan for grades 1-8, where she discovered her love of the arts. She went on to receive a BFA and an MFA in printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She is currently working on her MA in early childhood education at Brooklyn College and looking forward to enrolling at Sunbridge for Waldorf EC certification. Her experience as a mother and teacher has brought her back to the most treasured time in her own life as a child—her Waldorf education.

Ms. Meggan Gill, Parent-and-Child Teacher

 

Ms. Meggan Gill first learned about Waldorf education while pursuing a liberal arts undergraduate degree in health sciences at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. As part of her class entitled “Arts and the Child”, she visited the Olympia Waldorf School and learned from their kindergarten teacher about baking bread and about the rich day this teacher shared with the children. Soon thereafter, she began working in their extended day and early childhood programs and in 2004 became a Waldorf kindergarten teacher. In 2008, she left the green landscape of the Pacific Northwest, moved to New York City and completed the Waldorf early childhood teacher training course at Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, New York. She taught Parent-and-Child classes as well as Nursery classes at the New Amsterdam School in Manhattan before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2009. Since then, she has taught parent-and-child and kindergarten classes in our school’s early childhood program and has been actively involved on the school’s faculty council and board of trustees. “I am passionate about bringing Waldorf education to our urban, Brooklyn families.”

Ms. Gun Blue, Nursery West Lead Teacher

 

A native of South Korea, Ms. Gun Blue grew up outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she majored in criminal psychology and minored in clothing design. After moving to San Francisco, California with her husband she worked in the corporate world of merchandise buying. She developed an interest in Waldorf education after the birth of her eldest child. In 2011 Ms. Blue and her family moved to Brooklyn where she began working in a small Waldorf-inspired home nursery program. In addition, she began attending the Sunbridge Institute to study Waldorf early childhood education. She enjoys road trips and spicy foods.

Cecilia Torres

Cecilia Torres is a graduate in Advertising, Design, and Interior Decoration from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. After arriving in the United States seven years ago, she studied English at LaGuardia Community College. Additionally, she studied for her childcare certification. She has worked at Brooklyn Waldorf School for the past five years and is happy to be a member of the BWS community and staff. She sincerely enjoys working with the younger children in the Nursery program.

Ms. Jenn Wilenta, Kindergarten East Assistant Teacher

 

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Ms. Jenn Wilenta hails from Asheville, North Carolina. After receiving her bachelor’s in fine arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in dance. For over 10 years, she designed and implemented a popular yoga program for children that she took into preschools in and around New York City. In addition to her work in the kindergarten, she is a proud Brooklyn Waldorf parent. She is currently enrolled in the Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education certificate program at Sunbridge Institute and plans to obtain her master’s degree in early childhood education through Sunbridge’s collaboration with the State University of New York (SUNY) Empire State College. During her free time, she still pursues her dance work and also loves sewing “Waldorf” dolls.

Aliya Birdoff

 

Aliya is so happy to be a part of the Brooklyn Waldorf School community. Aliya attended the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City and then returned to Steiner to work in the nursery and kindergarten programs. Aliya has also developed a Waldorf-inspired early childhood summer program. She looks forward to completing the Waldorf early childhood teacher training at the Sunbridge Institute.

Ms. Monika Stanislawek, Kindergarten North Lead Teacher

 

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Ms. Monika Stanislawek has been an early childhood teacher at the Brooklyn Waldorf School for over ten years. She originally hails from the Midwest, where she did her undergraduate studies in cultural anthropology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. In 2008, she received her Waldorf early childhood teacher education certification at Sunbridge Institute. Prior to teaching, she worked for several years as a cook, then spent time helping run a small honey company in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. Motherhood brought her to Waldorf education, where she strives to serve the needs of today's urban children. When she's not teaching, she enjoys sailing.

Hannah Westerman

 

Hannah Westerman grew up in the East Village and remained in New York City for her undergraduate degree, where she studied psychology and sociology at Hunter College. Prior to her introduction to Waldorf education, she worked at various non-profit organizations and also assisted an art collector. She was introduced to Waldorf education by a best friend and Waldorf graduate, who recognized her love of learning, community, and the arts. Before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf staff, Hannah was a first grade assistant in Garden City.

Ms. Monica Sibrizzi, Kindergarten South Lead Teacher

 

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Ms. Monica Sibrizzi grew up in a bilingual English/Spanish speaking household. She attended the Green Meadow Waldorf School from kindergarten through 12th grade where she sang in the choir, played basketball, ran track and worked on a fun senior project making chocolate truffles. “My favorite memories of school include working on class plays and visiting Hermit Island in Maine with my classmates where we worked on invertebrate zoology and met students from other Waldorf schools.” After graduating from Green Meadow, she attended the State University of New York-New Paltz, where she earned bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with a concentration in Spanish. It was during this period she realized the importance of Waldorf education and returned to Green Meadow where she worked for about two years in their farm kindergarten program while pursuing a certificate in Waldorf early childhood education at Sunbridge Institute. In 2016, she joined the faculty at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. During her free time, she enjoys camping, knitting and traveling.

Ms. Nneka Maginley, Kindergarten South Assistant Teacher

 

Ms. Nneka Maginley grew up in Antigua and came to the United States when she was 12, living first in Florida before moving to New York. A fluent French speaker, she attended Pace University where she majored in English and French. Before joining the faculty at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she worked in the bilingual, Anglo-French community in Carroll Gardens/Park Slope where she met a bunch of families interested in Waldorf education and who suggested she visit the Brooklyn Waldorf School. “It felt very familiar and something inside of me immediately clicked.” She is currently enrolled in the Waldorf early childhood teacher training program at Sunbridge Institute. During her free time, she enjoy crocheting (hats, scarves) and spending time on a farm on the eastern shore of Maryland where there are chickens and foxes.

Ms. Zohar Apple, Kindergarten West Lead Teacher

 

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Born and raised in Israel, Ms. Zohar Apple learned about Waldorf education while growing up in a small community in Galilee, where a group of anthroposophists were also working to initiate the first Waldorf school in Israel. In 2004, she came to the United States to study modern dance and jazz at Dance New Amsterdam while also pursuing a bachelor’s in educational studies at Empire State College in New York City. She completed her practicum teaching at the Rudolf Steiner School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and briefly worked at the New Amsterdam School in Lower Manhattan. In 2007, she joined the faculty at the Brooklyn Waldorf School and in 2009 completed the certificate program in Waldorf early childhood education at Sunbridge Institute. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, dancing, taking classes in yoga, movement and singing and attending dance performances in New York City.

Ms. Gillian Zagorski, Kindergarten West Assistant Teacher

 

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Originally from Georgia, Ms. Gillian Zagorski moved to Brooklyn in 2010 after graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a bachelor of fine art in painting. She came to the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2014 with over ten years of childcare experience. Before teaching, she was a nanny, a breath and creative visualization therapist at the Park Slope Methodist Hospital, a floral designer and an artist. She is a certified Reiki practitioner and is currently pursuing her certificate in Waldorf early childhood education at Sunbridge Institute.

Bianca Brousseau

 

Ms. Allison Stovall, First Grade Class Teacher

 

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Ms. Allison Stovall hails from Louisville, Kentucky where she attended Bellarmine University. While working on her degree in arts administration with a theatre emphasis, she also began teaching drama at The Blue Apple Players, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit theater company producing original educational musicals and programs that engage young people. From this experience, she decided to pursue a career in education. While finishing her master's degree in teaching from Spalding University, she began training with the Kentahten Teacher Training program to become a Waldorf teacher. After graduating, she began teaching in Waldorf-inspired public schools in Louisville - first at Byck Elementary which housed a Waldorf-magnet school in Jefferson County Public Schools before transferring to The Catalpa School at Maupin Elementary. She enjoys cooking and crossfit.

Josephine Russo

 

A graduate of Pace University in New York City with a BBA in management information systems and accounting, Josephine enjoyed a 10-year career as an internal auditor for several Wall Street firms including Salomon Brothers, American Express, and Bankers Trust. Her introduction to Waldorf education began when she served as the arts and crafts teacher during the summer program at the Waldorf School of Garden City for two years. Searching for a deeper understanding of Waldorf education, she attended the foundation studies program at the Winkler Center for Adult Education and obtained a MSED in Waldorf education from Sunbridge College. Josephine went on to fill many roles at the Waldorf School of Garden City, including director of the fiber arts program, class assistant for grades 1-7, long and short term substitute for grades 1-8, and middle school class teacher.

Ms. Kelly Beekman, Third Grade Class Teacher

 

Ms. Kelly Beekman worked for nine years at the Waldorf School of Garden City as a class teacher and mentor, where her ability to plan, organize, and maintain a high level of executive functioning skills within both her personal class preparation and her classes themselves (grades 5-8 and 1-4) earned her a high degree of respect. Most of her responsibilities as a mentor focused on this skill set. While at Garden City, she also served as a member of the Accreditation Team and as Chair of the Lower School. Previously, she served as a Board Trustee at The Clover Hill School and Business Administrator at The Linden Hill School. A longtime student of anthroposophy, she is a member of the Anthroposophical Society and the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science and the Pedagogical Section. She completed her Waldorf teacher training and completed her Masters in Elementary Education at Antioch University New England.

Mr. Steven Simonak, Fourth Grade Class Teacher

 

Mr. Steven Simonak has been a teacher for over 30 years. He began his teaching career in the New York City catholic schools, first as a middle school teacher and then as a high school mathematics teacher. When his own children were of school age, he and his family moved to upstate New York and enrolled at the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in Ghent, New York. Soon after, he was hired as their high school mathematics teacher where he was trained and mentored by the late Harry Kretz. After 12 years of high school teaching and coaching, he became a class teacher for the lower grades. Educated as a painter, he studied at the Pratt Institute and worked for many years for The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a patinator and mold-maker. He finished his mold making career as part of a team that helped renovate the Statue of Liberty from 1984 to 1986. He began the Waldorf teacher training program at Antioch University New England and completed it at the Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center. Today, he is a contributing faculty member at the Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center and is a faculty member and teacher trainer at Sunbridge Institute during the summer.

Ms. Lidija Juka, Fifth Grade Class Teacher

 

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Originally from Sydney, Australia, Ms. Lidija Juka graduated from Western Sydney University with a bachelor’s in education. She also holds a master’s in language acquisition from the University of Sydney. After teaching for four years in Australia’s public school system, she decided to pursue her own love of learning through studies in Waldorf education and anthroposophy at Sydney Rudolf Steiner College. Soon thereafter, she became a Waldorf teacher, teaching at the Kamaroi Rudolf Steiner School in Sydney. In 2015, she relocated to the Brooklyn Waldorf School. In addition to teaching, she enjoys traveling, outdoor adventures and caring for the honeybees on our rooftop garden.

Mr. Will McKay, Sixth Grade Class Teacher

 

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Mr. Will McKay is a K-through-12 ‘lifer’ at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Vermont where he graduated in 2007. He earned his bachelor’s of arts in 2011, summa cum laude, in theater and English from Middlebury College, followed by a master’s in classical acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in 2014. His teaching experiences includes summer work at a summer theater camp for high school students, the educational outreach program at the Middlebury Town Hall Theater and bringing Shakespeare workshops to five public schools, culminating in a production that involved over 200 students. He is a founding member and director of educational outreach at Ducdame Ensemble, a New York City theater company. Recently, he has taken a variety of training seminars and workshops at Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, New York to further his teaching background.

Mr. Chris Castelli, Mathematics & Technology Teacher

 

Mr. Chris Castelli has been a mathematician his whole life and a musician for most of it. After earning his bachelors in computer science at Lehigh University (along with a minor in cognitive science), he felt that education was a more worthwhile challenge. He completed a master of science for teachers (M.S.T.) in adolescent education at Pace University. Since 2007, he has taught at both public and private schools in New York City, always with the goal of helping students become creative thinkers and problem-solvers. Recently, he took part in the two-day workshop “Waldorf Middle Schools: Realizing our Potential–Practices, Approaches and Responsible Innovations” at Sunbridge Institute, as well as a math colloquium at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan. He enjoys board games, playing drums and trumpet, going to concerts, and learning as much from his students as they learn from him.

Mr. Hank Mittnacht, Assistant Teacher

 

Mr. Hank Mittnacht graduated from the Kent School in northwestern Connecticut, and between his sophomore and junior year at Middlebury College, spent a summer at Harvard University earning high honors studying Colonialism in Africa and recording an album titled The Cambridge Sessions. He received his bachelor's degree from Middlebury College and his Master in Social Studies Education from New York University's School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Ms. Laetitia Berrier-Saarbach, Eurythmy Teacher

 

Ms. Laetitia Berrier-Saarbach grew up in Alsace, France with a passion for film. In 2003, she began teaching a film block at the Ecole Steiner Waldorf en Region d’Avignon (the Steiner Waldorf School of Avignon) while enrolled in the Waldorf teacher training program at the Institut de Formation à la Pédagogie Steiner-Waldorf DIDASCALI. It was here where she learned about Eurythmy and how it can be used to help children develop into well-adjusted adults. In 2007, she and her family moved to Chestnut Ridge, New York to continue her studies at Eurythmy Spring Valley. After completing their program, she taught Eurythmy for three years at the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School in Newtown, Connecticut. In addition to her work as a eurythmist, she has also worked at the Fellowship Community in Chestnut Ridge, New York --- an elder care community located in a rural setting of farm, woods and orchards. She is the parent of two graduates of the Green Meadow Waldorf School and is excited to be working and teaching at the Brooklyn Waldorf School.

Mr. Chris Castelli, Mathematics & Technology Teacher

 

Mr. Chris Castelli has been a mathematician his whole life and a musician for most of it. After earning his bachelors in computer science at Lehigh University (along with a minor in cognitive science), he felt that education was a more worthwhile challenge. He completed a master of science for teachers (M.S.T.) in adolescent education at Pace University. Since 2007, he has taught at both public and private schools in New York City, always with the goal of helping students become creative thinkers and problem-solvers. Recently, he took part in the two-day workshop “Waldorf Middle Schools: Realizing our Potential–Practices, Approaches and Responsible Innovations” at Sunbridge Institute, as well as a math colloquium at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan. He enjoys board games, playing drums and trumpet, going to concerts, and learning as much from his students as they learn from him.

Mr. Orlando Colón, Movement Teacher & Athletic Director

 

Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Orlando Colon attended Fiorello LaGuardia High School of the Arts and Fordham University. An avid cook, he also studied and worked at The Culinary Center at the New School and studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute. It was at the latter where he learned about biodynamic farming and immediately became attracted to Waldorf education. He subsequently completed the certificate program in Waldorf teaching training at Antioch University New England and interned as a teaching assistant at the Waldorf School of Garden City. In 2004, he and his family moved to Mexico where he worked as a third grade teacher at Los Charcos Waldorf School - a Spanish and English speaking bilingual Waldorf initiative school. In 2007, he and his family returned to the United States and he began working at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. Mr. Colon teaches all the movement and physical education classes as well as coaches our middle school after school athletic teams: Boys and Girls Coed Cross Country (Fall), Boys and Girls Coed Volleyball Club (Fall), Boys Basketball Team (Winter), and Boys and Girls Coed Track and Field (Spring). (Depending on student interest, Mr. Colon also offers other after school athletic opportunities including softball and ultimate frisbee.) As a teacher, Mr. Colon’s favorite course topics include salsa dancing and the annual 5th grade Greek pentathlon. In addition to being certified in first aid, automated external defibrillator (AED), and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Mr. Colon is a graduate of the Spatial Dynamics Institute in upstate New York and is a certified Roadrunners Club of America track coach.

Ms. Jayanthi Bunyan, Music Teacher

 

Born and raised in Colorado, Ms. Jayanthi Bunyan lived in Kolkata, India for two years before moving to Brooklyn in 2015. She received her bachelors in music education with a focus on choral music at the State University of New York Fredonia near Buffalo before returning to Colorado. There she taught music in Boulder and earned her masters in music education from the University of Colorado where she focused on vocal performance and pedagogy. In 2016, she attended the Waldorf music teacher training program at Sunbridge Institute and is thrilled to bring her passion for music to the Brooklyn Waldorf School. Her interests include traveling, cooking, hiking, and hula hooping.

Ms. Emily Yue Xu, Mandarin Chinese Teacher

 

Ms. Emily Yue Xu was born in Chengdu, China, a city known for its giant pandas, hotpot stews and tea houses. She studied English Literature and French in college and decided cross the ocean to see the English-speaking world. After completing her Master’s in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, she worked as a teacher at the Penn Museum, integrating art and storytelling into her language classes. Her class is a creative blend of old and new, Western and Eastern. In addition to teaching, she enjoys dancing the tango, playing guzheng (the Chinese zither) and hiking.

Ms. Sibylle Johner, Music Director and Orchestra Teacher

 

Ms. Sibylle Johner is the Brooklyn Waldorf School’s music director and teaches orchestra to grades 3 through 8. She has studied music in Germany and Switzerland, and at The Juilliard School, where she was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. She has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe. The Swiss Landbote wrote, “whenever her eloquent cello spoke, one would suddenly pay attention, and immediately it became clear that a true artist was at work on this instrument.” Her recordings include Turina’s complete piano trios and quartet, “Trios Brasileiros”, Linda Dusman’s “Diverging Flints”, and “MONTSALVATGE, X.: Complete Violin and Piano Works/ Piano Trio.” Before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2012, Ms. Johner has taught at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio and the Third Street Music School Settlement in Manhattan. She has been active as a conductor for youth orchestras since 2005. Currently she also is the orchestra program director, conductor and chamber music coach at The Chamber Music Center of New York and teaches at the Special Music School High School.

Ms. Laura Montaño, Handwork Teacher

 

A native of Colombia, Ms. Laura Montaño graduated in advertising from the Universidad Central de Bogota before coming to New York. While her children were attending the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, she fell in love with handwork and the important role it plays in child development. She subsequently took the applied arts training course at the Fiber Crafts Studio at the Threefold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, New York. For two years, she worked at the Rudolf Steiner School as a handwork teacher before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School. In addition to teaching handwork to grades 1 through 8, she also teaches courses at the Fiber Crafts Studio and has created several fiber art installations. She is very interested in plant dying, fibers and garments and the therapeutic benefits of handwork.

Ms. Constanza Ontaneda, Spanish Teacher

 

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Ms. Constanza Ontaneda was born in New Delhi, India and grew up across the globe from Lima, Peru and Sao Paolo, Brazil to Bucharest, Romania and Deerfield, Massachusetts. She studied Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and has taught English and French to adults in Lima and Spanish to high school juniors in Maine. After completing her master’s in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University, she decided she wanted to keep teaching --- and remembered a conversation she had about Waldorf education with one of her closest friends who was a Waldorf graduate. In 2015 she took a Waldorf language teacher-training course at Sunbridge Institute and joined the faculty at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. One of her creative passions is making soap.

Ms. Dorke Poelz, Early Childhood Acorn (After Care) Assistant and Library Assistant

 

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Ms. Dorke Poelz, a German artist, was born in Geneva, Switzerland and has been working at the Brooklyn Waldorf School since 2010. She grew up in Hamburg, Germany. Her father, a physicist and teacher, and her mother, a social education worker, shaped and influenced her life as an artist and educator. After receiving her Diploma in Illustration Design from the Hamburg University of Applied Science, she moved in 1998 to Brooklyn, New York where she lives with her husband and her two children. Previously she held internships at Haus Mignon, Institut für ambulante Heilpädagogik - a pedagogical institute for challenged children and at the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg, where she worked with children in their educational department. Since 2014, she has attended the yearly Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) conferences. Between 2011 and 2013, she participated in a handwork certificate program at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. She has done volunteer work for Gallop, a therapeutic horseback riding program in Queens, and Equestria, a similar program in Manhattan. She continues her work as an artist exhibiting in group and solo exhibitions. Recently, her work experience expanded into costume design, creating costumes for dancers in two productions directed and choreographed by Patti Bradshaw.

Martina Bonolis, Auxiliary/Community Outreach Programs and High School Placement Counselor

 

Martina Bonolis coordinates our Auxiliary and Community Outreach Programs including all After School Programs as well as our High School Placement Program. She graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, where she studied sociology and theater. She went on to receive a master's degree in education with a focus on clinical psychology from Columbia University's Teachers College. She is also the creative director of Wise Fish Theater Collective - a New York City based theater company that "asks our audience to consider the confusing, contradictory, and comical nature of humanity through adaptations, absurdism, magical realism, the surreal, and the unreal." She became interested in Waldorf education after working as a nanny for a Brooklyn Waldorf family and reconnecting with fellow Middlebury alum Mr. William McKay. "I had been looking for a career that merged my love of children with my love of creating community." In addition to her passion for theater, Martina manages our high school placement program. “I counsel our families, exploring and identifying appropriate New York City high schools, as they decide on where their graduating 8th graders will attend.” To learn more about Brooklyn Waldorf’s high school placement process and to view a list of our recent high school acceptances, click here.

Ms. Liz Baring, Psychotherapist, MSc, NCPsyA, LP, ATR-BC, LCAT

 

Ms. Liz Baring is a bilingual (Spanish and English) psychotherapist practicing in New York City, helping children and adults with a wide range of emotional and behavioral difficulties by combining sandplay and creative arts therapy with traditional psychotherapy. At the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she is a member of the school’s Educational Support Team. With over 20 years experience in private practice, she has also worked in medical and psychiatric settings and has collaborated closely with the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan. She is a currently faculty member and supervisor at the Relational Self Psychology Student Center and the Training and Research in Intersubjective Self Psychology (TRISP), both located in New York City. She is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, the American Art Therapy Association, the Focusing Institute and the Sandplay Therapists of America. For more information, visit her website at www.lizbaring.com.

Ms. Hannah Bleier, Educational Support Teacher

 

 

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Ms. Hannah Bleier traces her love for teaching to Mrs. Samson, her own fifth grade public school teacher. Ms. Bleier holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California-Los Angeles, a master's degree in Special Education from California State University of Los Angeles, as well as a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Her introduction to Waldorf education came after chaperoning a prom at the Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge, California. “I was so impressed by the way the students at the prom interacted with each other. They seemed like one large group of friends. No one was excluded and I did not see any evidence of intolerance among the students. It was the friendliest prom I had ever attended --- including my own!” In 2003, she earned a teacher training certificate from the Waldorf Institute of Southern California. Since 1996, she has taught at many public and private schools. She has taught grades 1 through 3 and high school English at Highland Hall Waldorf School, and grades 1 through 3 at Brooklyn Waldorf School. In 2016, she rejoined our faculty as our Educational Support Teacher. She enjoys reading, writing, walking, pastry, zazen, and blues harmonica.

Ms. Fran Pado, Learning Support Instructor

 

Fran Pado is a Learning Specialist who focuses on teaching children with language based learning differences, ADHD, and executive function challenges. She is certified by the Orton-Gillingham Association and a member of the National Dyslexia Society. Fran has been teaching students at BWS since 2011. In her spare time, Fran enjoys pitching in wherever she is needed.

Ms. Roberta Perlin, Learning Support Specialist

 

Ms. Roberta Perlin has had a varied career in child development and education. She holds degrees in speech and language therapy from Rutgers University and has worked with children in school and private settings to remediate language disorders and to support language development activities. In addition, she was trained in play therapy techniques in the public school system in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She also holds a master’s of education in learning disabilities and behavior disorders, as well as M.S and Ed.S. degrees in school psychology from Miami University in Ohio. She has served students from pre-school through high school grades. Her research focuses on psycholinguistic skills for reading acquisition. She has worked in both public and private school settings and has served as a school psychologist, focusing on diagnosis and development of effective programs and interventions for students. She has facilitated curriculums in reading and mathematics as well as classroom-based intervention strategies. She has also developed programs in student assistance programs, peer mediation and social skills. Teacher and parent consultation has been a focus of her work.

Ms. Christina Pantazis-Blades, Admissions Director & Learning Support Coordinator

 

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Having grown-up in New Zealand among a family of educators, Ms. Christina Pantazis-Blades has been involved in education her entire life. She earned her Diploma of Teaching in 1990 from Wellington College of Education as well as her bachelor’s degree in 1994 in educational psychology from Victoria University of Wellington. In order to pursue a master’s of fine arts in Chicago, she and her family relocated to the United States and in 2004, moved again to New York, where she found herself seeking a school with an active, vibrant community. “I was fortunate to see Green Meadow Waldorf School's 12th grade play performance and knew immediately that I wanted an experience like that for my children! I was so impressed by the self-assured young adults these graduating seniors had become. I did some research and found Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy really resonated with me.” In 2006, she enrolled her eldest child in the Nursery class at the fledgling Brooklyn Waldorf School. Soon thereafter, she began working at the school and eagerly sought to bring Waldorf education to the burgeoning community of families in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

 

Before joining the staff at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she was director of the teacher development program at Educational Video Center and the founder and director of Ellinakia (Little Greeks) --- a Greek language and cultural program for infants and preschoolers. As Brooklyn Waldorf’s Admissions Director, Ms. Pantazis-Blades oversees the general operations of the Admissions Office, ensuring that the admissions process (including outreach, tours and open houses) runs smoothly for all incoming families. “I really enjoy connecting families with Waldorf education." Integral to this work, she also oversees a program that makes the school building accessible to the larger community by inviting kids from the surrounding Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood to participate in community basketball twice a week.

Mr. David Bivins, Parent Association Co-Chair

 

David Bivins is a seventh-year parent at Brooklyn Waldorf with his wife, Kristen. Their son, Arlo, is in Ms. Beekman's class. David loves how Brooklyn Waldorf engages all of Arlo's ways of learning and being while challenging him and giving him the confidence to meet the world. He also loves the School community and how we support each other in so many ways. Outside the school, David leads a software design team and helps run the Warren St. Marks Community Garden in Park Slope. When he's not at work, at the school, or in the garden, David squeezes in time to shoot and develop film or create sounds in his small music studio.

Ms. Mara Leimanis-Ricard, Parent Association Co-Chair

 

 

Mara Leimanis-Ricard is the mother of very energetic Lozen Skaidra Ricard, who is in Mr Simonak’s class. Mara lives with Lozen and her husband in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She first learned about Waldorf Education through her husband who met alumni during his college years in Europe. Mara was immediately drawn towards Waldorf philosophy, as it embodies many things Mara was exposed to growing up in a Latvian household in America. Mara is a daughter of Latvian refugee immigrants and speaks Latvian to Lozen. Prior to being a mother, Mara worked in the visual arts at a prominent art gallery in New York for 10 years. In the last 6 years, as a mother at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, Mara has volunteered her time in several ways; as class parent, as coffee hour organizer, helping with fundraising events, as chaperone on field trips... etc. She enjoys being with the children and within the school’s environment. She has much admiration for Waldorf Education, addressing all three realms of a human being; hands, head and heart. When not at school, Mara makes art and takes on freelance art projects..

Mr. Randy Yuen, Trustee

 

Randy Yuen has been a Brooklyn Waldorf School parent since 2007, when his son Jack waltzed into kindergarten without looking back. Jack graduated from Ms. Gimenez’s 8th grade in 2017 and his sister Francesca is currently in with Mr. Simonak's class. Randy’s technical, financial and business background have helped him guide the School’s growth since he joined the Board of Trustees in 2008. He is dedicated to providing strategic, long-term growth for Brooklyn Waldorf because he appreciates the excellent education his children receive and the people they are becoming as members of this diverse and uniquely exceptional community. Randy has worked in the financial markets for nearly 25 years and is currently Chief Investment Officer of Jafra Capital Management. He and his wife, Art, live in Manhattan with their children and spend free time resting and exploring with good friends, good food and good wine.

Mr. Alex Blades, Trustee

 

Alex Blades has been a member of the board since 2006, and is a proud BWS parent. Alex has been involved in various aspects of the School’s growth, including the search for a permanent home that lead us to Claver Castle, the management of the School’s finances, and also development and fundraising efforts. He has been a rider in every Scootathon held to date, and pretends not to care that his eldest son now laps him effortlessly on the course. Originally from New Zealand, Alex practiced as a corporate lawyer in New York before moving into the financial sector, and is currently a partner at Paulson & Co., an investment management firm. He is also a member of the board of directors of Piraeus Bank, the largest bank in Greece. In his spare time, Alex enjoys baking sourdough bread and wood-fired-oven pizza, cycling in Prospect Park, and attempting to grow heirloom tomatoes.

Ms. Meggan Gill, Parent-and-Child Teacher

 

Ms. Meggan Gill first learned about Waldorf education while pursuing a liberal arts undergraduate degree in health sciences at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. As part of her class entitled “Arts and the Child”, she visited the Olympia Waldorf School and learned from their kindergarten teacher about baking bread and about the rich day this teacher shared with the children. Soon thereafter, she began working in their extended day and early childhood programs and in 2004 became a Waldorf kindergarten teacher. In 2008, she left the green landscape of the Pacific Northwest, moved to New York City and completed the Waldorf early childhood teacher training course at Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, New York. She taught Parent-and-Child classes as well as Nursery classes at the New Amsterdam School in Manhattan before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2009. Since then, she has taught parent-and-child and kindergarten classes in our school’s early childhood program and has been actively involved on the school’s faculty council and board of trustees. “I am passionate about bringing Waldorf education to our urban, Brooklyn families.”

Ms. Denese Giordano, Administrative Director

 

giordanoMs. Denese Giordano holds an extensive background in independent school administration as well as Waldorf education. As the Administrative Director at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she provides leadership for the school --- working closely with the school’s Pedagogical Administrator, Business Director, Admissions Director and the Board of Trustees --- to plan and implement all the school’s administrative and operational objectives.

 

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School, Ms. Giordano was the director of finance and facilities at the Waldorf School of Garden City where she was responsible for their business office, human resources and facilities operations. She also worked closely with the staffs of Garden City’s summer day-camp as well as Camp Glen Brook --- a beautiful 250-acre farm, sleep-away summer camp and extension campus owned by the Waldorf School of Garden City and located in New Hampshire. After seventeen years at Garden City, she went on to manage the day-to-day financial operations, investment management and building renovation and construction at Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn, New York as their Chief Financial Officer. Before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2016, she was the chief financial and operations officer at Tuesday’s Children, a response and recovery organization that supports youth, families, and communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Ms. Giordano earned her bachelor's from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio with a major in English literature and a minor in classics. When not at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she volunteers in the community and is also an active alumni representative for Kenyon. She is the proud parent of four daughters --- all of whom graduated from the Waldorf School of Garden City --- as well as the grandparent of a grandson enrolled in the Parent-and-Child program at the Waldorf School of Lexington. “I firmly believe that Waldorf education contributes directly to an individual’s love of lifelong learning, caring of others and the environment and a respect and dignity for all persons.” Her interests include social and political history at the time of the American Revolution.

Ms. Cynthia Hammond, Trustee

 

Ms. Cynthia Hammond has been an active member of the Brooklyn Waldorf community since her son William entered the Second Grade in 2007. She served on Brooklyn Waldorf's Board of Trustees from 2008 through 2011, and re-joined in 2014 following William’s graduation. She and her husband Joseph Samulski have been ardent supporters of the school, and were closely involved in the process of locating a permanent home for the school at Claver Castle. Cynthia’s proudest Brooklyn Waldorf accomplishment is establishing, with fellow alumni parent Jhumpa Lahiri, Brooklyn Waldorf's library. Cynthia is the Supervising Court Attorney-Referee for the Honorable Margarita López Torres of Kings County Surrogate’s Court, and also serves on the board of the Breukelein Institute, a non-sectarian arts organization. Cynthia enjoys hosting family and friends on the back porch, cooking and baking with Alex Blades’s sourdough starter. She has heard of this thing called the "empty nest," but with three "children" and one son-in-law in residence, she remains curious.

Mr. Konrad Meissner, Trustee

 

Konrad moved from Texas to Brooklyn in 1998 to continue pursuing his career in music and is currently performing and touring nationally and internationally. He joined Brooklyn Waldorf's Board of Trustees at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year while his son was in 6th grade. Along with his active involvement in school life, he also served as President of Brooklyn Waldorf's Parent Association for two years. During this time, he became increasingly interested in anthroposophical studies and how anthroposophy speaks to our times. His family has been a part of the Brooklyn Waldorf School community since 2008. His involvement in the school stems from a deep desire to see the school grow and flourish while also maintaining a strong community spirit in an increasingly disconnected world.

Ms. Christina Pantazis-Blades, Admissions Director & Learning Support Coordinator

 

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Having grown-up in New Zealand among a family of educators, Ms. Christina Pantazis-Blades has been involved in education her entire life. She earned her Diploma of Teaching in 1990 from Wellington College of Education as well as her bachelor’s degree in 1994 in educational psychology from Victoria University of Wellington. In order to pursue a master’s of fine arts in Chicago, she and her family relocated to the United States and in 2004, moved again to New York, where she found herself seeking a school with an active, vibrant community. “I was fortunate to see Green Meadow Waldorf School's 12th grade play performance and knew immediately that I wanted an experience like that for my children! I was so impressed by the self-assured young adults these graduating seniors had become. I did some research and found Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy really resonated with me.” In 2006, she enrolled her eldest child in the Nursery class at the fledgling Brooklyn Waldorf School. Soon thereafter, she began working at the school and eagerly sought to bring Waldorf education to the burgeoning community of families in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

 

Before joining the staff at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she was director of the teacher development program at Educational Video Center and the founder and director of Ellinakia (Little Greeks) --- a Greek language and cultural program for infants and preschoolers. As Brooklyn Waldorf’s Admissions Director, Ms. Pantazis-Blades oversees the general operations of the Admissions Office, ensuring that the admissions process (including outreach, tours and open houses) runs smoothly for all incoming families. “I really enjoy connecting families with Waldorf education." Integral to this work, she also oversees a program that makes the school building accessible to the larger community by inviting kids from the surrounding Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood to participate in community basketball twice a week.

Kojo Campbell

 

kojo campbellKuzaliwa Kojo Campbell is a proud BWS parent of two daughters currently in 3rd and 6th Grades (his daughter Nialah graduated from 8G last year and is currently in HS at the George School). For the last two years, he has worked with students from BWS and the community to develop basketball skills. This program opens its doors for community youth and BWS students to play together and boost their basketball and team-building skills two nights a week.

 

Kojo has vivid and fond memories growing up playing against competition across the borough in tournaments and leagues that were held in “Claver Castle.” The games were often intense and the bleachers always full of family and community members who were there to see the game and cheer players on. While his extensive background in basketball began there, it went on to include playing collegiately at the University at Stony Brook, training players, coaching school teams, and organizing basketball tournaments.

 

In addition to his community work in basketball, Kojo has also organized jazz festivals, volunteered on political campaigns, and runs the “STEM-lympics,” a district science competition. Kojo has been educating middle school students with the New York City Department of Education for the past 18 years. He has worked in a wide range of roles such as Math Teacher, Lead Teacher, Academic Intervention Coordinator, Math Coach, and currently serves as an assistant principal at a junior high school in East New York.

John Egnatios-Beene

 

John Egnatios-BeeneJohn Egnatios-Beene has two children, Henry, age 5 (Ms. Zohar’s Kindergarten) and Farrah, age 7 months. John holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan (Biological Anthropology) and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. 


 
John is a member of Stroock’s Real Estate group. His practice focuses on real estate development with an emphasis on land use, zoning, and related environmental issues.


 
Prior to joining Stroock, Mr. Egnatios-Beene was General Counsel of the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals. In that capacity, Mr. Egnatios-Beene provided advice to the Commissioners of the Board concerning the New York City Zoning Resolution, the New York City Building Code, the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, and general administrative law matters. He also spent several years as in-house counsel at the New York City Department of Buildings.

Julian Katz

 

Julian KatzJulian Katz is father to Georgia (Grade 1), Rosie (K-North), and Lila, who has yet to join BWS but will do in the coming years. Julian's family has been in the school since 2012, when Georgia was in Parent-Child classes. Julian has spent three years as a Class Champion and is in his second year on the Development Committee, currently serving as its co-chair. 



Julian is Director of Production at Mother, an advertising agency with U.S. offices in New York and Los Angeles. Prior to Mother, Julian worked at agencies in New York, San Francisco, and Boston including BBDO, BBH, Modernista! and TBWAChiatDay, and has produced countless TV commercials, as well as branded content pieces such as Sandy Hook Promise “Evan,” AT&T “Daybreak," and the Titanium Lion and GRANDY-winning "Oasis Dig Out Your Soul – In The Streets" for Warner Brothers and NYC & Company. Over the course of his 20-plus year career, Julian has produced work for an array of clients such as Pepsi, AT&T, American Red Cross, MLB, Visa, GE, Levi’s, Cadillac, Axe, Miller Lite, HUMMER, Budweiser, adidas, and Sony PlayStation. His work has received top honors at the Cannes Lions, D&AD, One Show, AICP, The Epica Awards, the Webbys, the ANDY Awards, and other creative festivals.



Julian has served on numerous juries including the AICP Curatorial Committee, AICP Next, Ciclope Festival, Red Apple Festival, One Screen Film Festival, One Show Entertainment, and Connections by Le Book, as well as on the AICP Show Committee.

Jelani Mashariki

 

Jelani MasharikiJelani Mashariki has Social Service and Social Justice running through his veins. He was born into a large family of activists and political organizers who instilled in him a strong sense of respect for his neighbors and his neighborhood. Jelani is a BWS volunteer community basketball coach, along with Kojo Campbell. In February he was awarded a Community Service Outstanding Achievement Award by Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley. 

Jelani is the Director of Pamoja House Men’s Shelter, a 200-bed homeless men’s shelter in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and has worked there since 1996.  He coordinates with multiple levels of government, written annual budgets, supervises 50 + employees, and provides direct service to the residents of the Shelter ensuring they receive the appropriate type of housing, employment, and the knowledge base to conquer any future challenges. 
 
Jelani played a key role in organizing Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts at one of Occupy Sandy’s headquarters. Additionally, he coordinated with the Department of Homeless Services, preparing the facility to accept evacuees, just as he had during Tropical Storm Irene. In early 2013, Jelani was selected to The Interfaith Medical Center Community Advisory Board where he fought to stop the closure of the hospital and maintain comprehensive medical services for the Central Brooklyn Community.
 
Jelani currently serves on the Board of Man Up Inc, is a (PAPA) Progressive Association for Political Action member, AcFounding Steering Committee member of (BPAN) Brooklyn Progressive Action. Jelani also has served as an Americorps/HIV outreach volunteer, an organizer with Black Veterans for Social Justice and Assistant Coach for Brooklyn Tech Football. He is the proud father of Adia Mashariki, who attends attends City Polytechnic HS of Engineering.  

Yiorgos Sarrinikolaou

 

Yiorgos SarrinikolaouYiorgos Sarrinikolaou first accompanied his daughter, Nephele, to the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2007, when they attended the Parent-Child program together for a year. Nephele, who is now in the Sixth Grade, has been a student at the school since that time, except for a three-year stint (2009-2012), when the family resided outside New York State. He first volunteered at the school in 2008-2009, when he researched school health policies and submitted a policy brief for the Board's consideration. Throughout Nephele's enrollment at the school, Yiorgos has volunteered in the Winter Fair, first as the Pocket Fairy, and in subsequent years as a minder of candle-dipping, jump-rope maker, photographer's assistant, Poseidon, ancient Egyptian, and regularly as a Mad Hatter Cafe assistant. When Nephele was in the third grade, he gave a 30-minute talk to the class about the environment, which is the subject of his work. In the last academic year, he also served as a Scootathon marshal. He is now the co-class parent of the sixth grade.

He is also the director of the Earth Institute's Office of Academic and Research Programs at Columbia University. In that role, he is responsible for the management of several educational programs, for initiatives that strengthen the Earth Institute's research enterprise, and for administrative support to the Institute's academic governance. Previously he worked at the Institute for Sustainable Communities, where he managed the Climate Leadership Academy, a training and technical assistance program for hundreds of sustainability practitioners working in U.S. cities and metropolitan regions. He also served as the first sustainability manager of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, where he advised the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners and senior management in developing sustainability policies and projects. He helped create and managed the Port Authority's sustainability program, which focused on climate change mitigation, carbon neutrality, and adaptation.

As part of the program, he conducted the Port Authority's first greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which included the emissions of the aircraft, ships, and vehicles that use the Authority's facilities. He also made the Authority's first purchase of carbon offsets, implemented a policy for sustainable design, developed green construction contract specifications, and supported the environmental management of World Trade Center redevelopment. He is the author of "Facing Athens: Encounters with the Modern City." He has also written for The New York Times and reported for CNN and Public Radio International. He holds a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in English from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in English from Cornell University.

Ms. Christina Pantazis-Blades, Admissions Director & Learning Support Coordinator

 

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Having grown-up in New Zealand among a family of educators, Ms. Christina Pantazis-Blades has been involved in education her entire life. She earned her Diploma of Teaching in 1990 from Wellington College of Education as well as her bachelor’s degree in 1994 in educational psychology from Victoria University of Wellington. In order to pursue a master’s of fine arts in Chicago, she and her family relocated to the United States and in 2004, moved again to New York, where she found herself seeking a school with an active, vibrant community. “I was fortunate to see Green Meadow Waldorf School's 12th grade play performance and knew immediately that I wanted an experience like that for my children! I was so impressed by the self-assured young adults these graduating seniors had become. I did some research and found Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy really resonated with me.” In 2006, she enrolled her eldest child in the Nursery class at the fledgling Brooklyn Waldorf School. Soon thereafter, she began working at the school and eagerly sought to bring Waldorf education to the burgeoning community of families in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

 

Before joining the staff at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she was director of the teacher development program at Educational Video Center and the founder and director of Ellinakia (Little Greeks) --- a Greek language and cultural program for infants and preschoolers. As Brooklyn Waldorf’s Admissions Director, Ms. Pantazis-Blades oversees the general operations of the Admissions Office, ensuring that the admissions process (including outreach, tours and open houses) runs smoothly for all incoming families. “I really enjoy connecting families with Waldorf education." Integral to this work, she also oversees a program that makes the school building accessible to the larger community by inviting kids from the surrounding Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood to participate in community basketball twice a week.

Ms. Sheila Shaw, Admissions Associate

 

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Ms. Sheila Shaw joined the Brooklyn Waldorf School as our Admissions Associate in November 2012. She moved to Brooklyn from Richmond, Virginia many years before that and can't imagine living in a better borough. At Brooklyn Waldorf, she helps oversee the admissions process for our prospective families and works closely with the teaching faculty to build robust and diverse classes. In addition to her work in the Admissions Office, she is a proud Brooklyn Waldorf parent. “I first learned about Waldorf education through my Swiss roots and close family friends and knew all along that I wanted my children to attend!” Prior to working at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she studied art history and museum education at the College of William and Mary, worked as a guide for Artrain USA (a nonprofit arts organization that delivers world class arts and cultural exhibitions and education programs by train to under-resourced communities throughout the United States), and worked at Sotheby's, the well-known international auction house. She loves folk music and dancing with her family.

Ms. Lena Lvova, Business Office Associate

 

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Ms. Lena Lvova works in our Business Office and is responsible for processing check requests, reimbursements, invoices and bills, as well as credit card reconciliations. She also provides assistance in payroll processing, human resources and benefits requests (i.e., health insurance enrollment and MTA Metrocards distribution). She also monitors classroom budget expenditures. During her free time, she enjoys going outdoors with her two children.

Ms. Annie Ng, Business Office Coordinator

 

Ms. Annie Ng serves as the main contact person for re-enrollment agreements, tuition payments and donations. She also prepares monthly financial reports for the Business Director, manages petty cash disbursements, performs bank reconciliations, and provides support in the conduct of the school's annual audit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ms. Ng joined the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2011.

Vincent Ruggiero

 

Vincent has a wealth of non-profit experience supporting human service organizations, NYC back-to-work programs, and food pantries. This work gave Vincent impressive auditing and budgeting experience. While working for the Yorkville Common Pantry and the Back to Work Programs in Brooklyn and Queens, his many responsibilities included helping employees navigate their benefits.

Vincent believes that working with BWS will bring new opportunities for his own professional development. His willingness to help others is equaled only by his accounting acumen—he has been monitoring, reconciling and balancing for years! He is a graduate of Mercy College with a BS in political science and a minor in accounting. His daughter, Sarah, attends an independent high school on Long Island. He lives in Queens.

Ms. Denese Giordano, Administrative Director

 

giordanoMs. Denese Giordano holds an extensive background in independent school administration as well as Waldorf education. As the Administrative Director at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she provides leadership for the school --- working closely with the school’s Pedagogical Administrator, Business Director, Admissions Director and the Board of Trustees --- to plan and implement all the school’s administrative and operational objectives.

 

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School, Ms. Giordano was the director of finance and facilities at the Waldorf School of Garden City where she was responsible for their business office, human resources and facilities operations. She also worked closely with the staffs of Garden City’s summer day-camp as well as Camp Glen Brook --- a beautiful 250-acre farm, sleep-away summer camp and extension campus owned by the Waldorf School of Garden City and located in New Hampshire. After seventeen years at Garden City, she went on to manage the day-to-day financial operations, investment management and building renovation and construction at Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn, New York as their Chief Financial Officer. Before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2016, she was the chief financial and operations officer at Tuesday’s Children, a response and recovery organization that supports youth, families, and communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Ms. Giordano earned her bachelor's from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio with a major in English literature and a minor in classics. When not at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she volunteers in the community and is also an active alumni representative for Kenyon. She is the proud parent of four daughters --- all of whom graduated from the Waldorf School of Garden City --- as well as the grandparent of a grandson enrolled in the Parent-and-Child program at the Waldorf School of Lexington. “I firmly believe that Waldorf education contributes directly to an individual’s love of lifelong learning, caring of others and the environment and a respect and dignity for all persons.” Her interests include social and political history at the time of the American Revolution.

Ms. Leecia Manning, Special Events Coordinator

 

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Ms. Leecia Manning joined the Brooklyn Waldorf School as a parent in 2011. In 2016, she became our Special Events Coordinator, managing annual celebrations such as the Winter Fair and Scootathon. Before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she served as Director, Membership, Marketing & Events for the National Coffee Association as well as Director, Member Services for the Magazine Publishers of America, where she was instrumental in founding the Independent Magazine Advisory Group (IMAG). Ms. Manning also co-owns and operates I Like Mike's Mid-Century Modern, a Brooklyn-based mid-century furnishings business, with her husband and fellow Brooklyn Waldorf parent, Mike.

Ms. Denese Giordano, Administrative Director

 

giordanoMs. Denese Giordano holds an extensive background in independent school administration as well as Waldorf education. As the Administrative Director at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she provides leadership for the school --- working closely with the school’s Pedagogical Administrator, Business Director, Admissions Director and the Board of Trustees --- to plan and implement all the school’s administrative and operational objectives.

 

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School, Ms. Giordano was the director of finance and facilities at the Waldorf School of Garden City where she was responsible for their business office, human resources and facilities operations. She also worked closely with the staffs of Garden City’s summer day-camp as well as Camp Glen Brook --- a beautiful 250-acre farm, sleep-away summer camp and extension campus owned by the Waldorf School of Garden City and located in New Hampshire. After seventeen years at Garden City, she went on to manage the day-to-day financial operations, investment management and building renovation and construction at Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn, New York as their Chief Financial Officer. Before joining the Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2016, she was the chief financial and operations officer at Tuesday’s Children, a response and recovery organization that supports youth, families, and communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Ms. Giordano earned her bachelor's from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio with a major in English literature and a minor in classics. When not at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, she volunteers in the community and is also an active alumni representative for Kenyon. She is the proud parent of four daughters --- all of whom graduated from the Waldorf School of Garden City --- as well as the grandparent of a grandson enrolled in the Parent-and-Child program at the Waldorf School of Lexington. “I firmly believe that Waldorf education contributes directly to an individual’s love of lifelong learning, caring of others and the environment and a respect and dignity for all persons.” Her interests include social and political history at the time of the American Revolution.

Tara Hempstead

 

Ms. Tara Hempstead is the Administrative Assistant at the Brooklyn Waldorf School.  She moved to New York this summer from Florida, where she performed in various orchestras and studied scriptwriting. This is her first experience with Waldorf education, and she is thrilled to be supporting the Brooklyn Waldorf School community!

Jocelyn Harris

 

A Florida native, Jocelyn Harris moved to New York City from Washington, D.C. where she studied mass communications at Howard University. She enjoys reading, beaches, and sports.

Vanessa Willoughby

 

Originally from Connecticut, Vanessa Willoughby earned her BA from Emerson College and her MFA from The New School. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, writing, museums, and exploring her new home in Brooklyn.

Edward Holtby

 

Mr. Teddy Holtby works part-time for Brooklyn Waldorf as a Facilities Associate, providing building support and coverage when needed in other areas. Teddy grew up in Clearwater, B.C., Canada where he enjoyed river rafting, heli-skiing, camping and hiking. Teddy studied at Macewan University in Edmonton, Alberta, before transferring to Hunter College to complete his BA in classical studies. Teddy is an active musician, and an emerging writer. He enjoys basketball, soccer, and running in his spare time.

Sequoia Harrison

 

Sequoia Harrison is a 19-year-old from the Pacific Northwest. After graduating from the Olympia Waldorf School, he relocated to Brooklyn in 2013. Following one year at the Rudolf Steiner School, Sequoia transferred to the Brooklyn Free School. While attending BFS, he was shown the world of social justice and democratic free schooling. His interests such as history, biking, hiking, photography, cooking, and playing music were all present and thriving in his education.

Mr. Tim Kacic, Building Superintendent

 

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Mr. Tim Kacic grew up in beautiful Ulcinj, Montenegro - which is located on the Adriatic coast - and attended Bratsvo Jedinstvo for high school and graduated from Luigi Gurakuqi College in Albania with a bachelor's in economic tourism. As Brooklyn Waldorf's Building Superintendent, he performs cleaning, maintenance and minor repairs on our building, grounds and equipment. He and his facilities staff ensures adherence to all rules and regulations, assumes responsibility for distribution and return of keys, building supplies and the operation of the boiler room. He also coordinates allocation of storage for faculty and staff and assists with the development and execution of school based events. He is also responsible for the school's safety and security. During his free time, he enjoys golfing, soccer and working out.

Michelle Moyer

 

Michelle Moyer is rejoining Brooklyn Waldorf School as the School Operations and Library Coordinator. Two years ago, she worked at BWS as the part-time librarian. Michelle not only has a master's degree in family therapy, but has honed a wide-range of experience from teaching and providing therapeutic services to administrative and finance related knowledge. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.  

Daniel Abse

 

Daniel has an extensive background in education and the performing arts, having taught english, acting, and filmmaking in New York City public schools. Additionally, he works on occasion as an actor, voice artist, filmmaker, and digital artist, and is the Founder of his design company, Retrocast Lab. Daniel completed his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds an MSEd in Secondary Education in english, and is ABT in his MPhil program in english, comparative literature, and theatre. “I’m thrilled to be working in a Waldorf environment,” Daniel says. “The idea that creative and spiritual development, community, artistic expression, critical reasoning, and empathy are all integral components of a child’s holistic development naturally attracts me.”