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

Parent-and-Child

  • Meggan Gill, Lead Teacher
  • Olivia Biller, Assistant Teacher

Nursery

East
  • Gun Blue, Lead Teacher
  • Cecilia Torres, Assistant
West
  • Jenn Wilenta, Lead Teacher
  • Elise Pizzonia, Assistant Teacher

Kindergarten

North
  • Monika Stanislawek, Lead Teacher
  • Aliya Birdoff, Assistant Teacher
South
  • Monica Sibrizzi, Lead Teacher
  • Keri Lynn Patton, Assistant Teacher
East
  • Gillian Zagorski, Lead Teacher
  • Lily Henley, Assistant Teacher

Lower School

  • Isaac Roosa, Grade 1 Class Teacher
  • Lillian Olney, Grade 1 Assistant
  • Bianca Brousseau, Grade 2 Class Teacher
  • Allison Stovall, Grade 3 Class Teacher
  • Josephine Russo, Grade 4 Class Teacher
  • Alex Eidman, Grade 4 Assistant Teacher
  • Kiana Ward, Grade 5 Class Teacher

Middle School

  • Steven Simonak, Grade 6 Class Teacher
  • Lidija Juka, Grade 7 Class Teacher
  • William McKay, Grade 8 Class Teacher

Specialty Subjects

  • 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
  • Debbie Campbell, Afternoon Program Teacher
  • Conor Klein, Woodworking Teacher

Learning Support Team

  • Hannah Bleier, Educational Support Chair
  • Catherine O’Brien, Educational Support Assistant Teacher
  • Roberta Perlin, Learning Support Consultant
  • Christina Pantazis-Blades, Learning Support Chair

PARENT ASSOCIATION CHAIRS

  • Mara Leimanis-Ricard
  • Korbin Heiss

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 and High School Placement Coordinator
  • Jocelyn Harris, Administrative Support
  • Cullen Girolamo, Communications Coordinator
  • Merry Scholl, After School and Operations Coordinator
  • Edward Holtby, Front Desk Associate
  • Tim Kacic, Building Superintendent
  • Sean Brekke, School Operations and Library Coordinator 
  • Ross Pannebecker, Front Desk & Operations Associate

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. Olivia Biller, Parent Child Assistant Teacher

 

Ms. Olivia Biller is a Waldorf “lifer.” She attended Waldorf Schools from Early Childhood through Grade 12. Attending Waldorf gave Olivia a love of lifelong learning, a deep connection to nature, and the belief that curiosity and passion are the perfect recipe for creativity. She wants to share her enthusiasm for Waldorf education through teaching in a way that nourishes the mind, body, and spirit of both parent and child.

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.

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.

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. 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. Keri Lynn Patton, Early Childhood Assistant

 

Ms. Keri Lynn is elated to be assisting Ms. Sibrizzi with her Kindergarten class this year. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she left the city briefly to attend college in Scranton, PA where she earned her masters degree in Occupational Therapy and played rugby. A love for anatomy and kinesiology developed in these years. She is particularly interested in how the brain and body develop and adapt throughout a person's life. Yoga is very important to her and she loves teaching yoga and mindfulness to both adults and children. You will often find her singing in the hallways of the school.

Ms. Gillian Zagorski, Kindergarten West Lead 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.

Lily Henley, Early Childhood Assistant Teacher

 

 

Isaac Roosa, Grade 1 Lead Teacher

 

       Mr. Roosa, a graduate of the Meadowbrook Waldorf School in West Kingston, Rhode Island and the High Mowing High School in Wilton, New Hampshire, will be moving to Brooklyn this summer from Shanghai, China.

      After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College, Mr. Roosa began teaching in the Czech Republic. His student body was broad -- he taught kindergarten children as well as senior citizens. His TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification truly supported this work. Mr. Roosa and his wife chose Shanghai, China as their next home, where he taught kindergarten for two years.

      Part of the reason Mr. Roosa chose to move back to the United States was his desire to return to a Waldorf community. He says, "Waldorf schools inspire an intrinsic passion for learning through life experience, movement, and real-time exposure to the world around us."

Lillian Olney, Grade 1 Assistant Teacher

 

Ms. Lillian Olney is from a Waldorf family. She attended the Linden Waldorf School in Nashville, TN from kindergarten through Grade 8 as part of the pioneer class of the school. Her mother was a handwork teacher there. Ms. Olney has Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing from the Pratt Institute. She is an experienced art teacher and is looking forward to bringing that experience into her classroom. The summer before joining Brooklyn Waldorf School, she participated in a watercolor course at Sunbridge for Grades 1 - 3.

Bianca Brousseau

 

Ms. Allison Stovall

 

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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.

Alex Eidman

 

Alex Eidman grew up in New Jersey, graduated from The Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan, and has a B.A. in Psychology from McGill University and a Masters in Journalism from the City University of New York. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 2014 to work for Oregon Public Broadcasting as a producer for their flagship live radio show. He returned to New York two years ago and began his teacher training at Sunbridge Institute this summer. Alex is thrilled to join the Brooklyn Waldorf School for his first professional Waldorf experience. In Waldorf Education, Alex found a fusion of his dual interests in storytelling and teaching. When he’s not in school (and sometimes even when he is), he loves playing basketball, banging on whatever drum is available, and doing the New York Times crossword.

Ms. Kiana Ward, Grade 5 Class Teacher

 

      Ms. Ward is passionate about fostering inquiry- and curiosity-based learning. A former AP Biology and Chemistry teacher at Achievement First Brooklyn High School, she has a wide range of educational experience, including mentoring young girls as an Expedition Trip Leader with Girl Ventures, SAT-preparatory tutoring, outdoor educational opportunities, and teaching students in Indonesia as part of her Fulbright Grant.  While a member of Americorp, Ms. Ward helped establish Richmond's first tool-lending library.

       Ms. Ward’s initial interest in Waldorf schools was inspired by a ‘lifer’ of the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan. His ability to blend the worlds of art, science, and literature and his demonstration of how each field informs the other convinced Ms. Ward to look into teaching at a Waldorf school.

      Ms. Ward graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Brown University in 2013. She strives to incorporate the sense of wonder and enrichment for learning that defined her time at her alma mater into teaching at the Brooklyn Waldorf School.

Mr. Steven Simonak

 

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

 

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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

 

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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. 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.

Debbie Campbell, Afternoon Program Teacher

 

Ms. Campbell, a long time resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, first became aware of the Brooklyn Waldorf School when family members started a community basketball program. When the Brooklyn Waldorf School opened its doors, she and her husband were inspired to have their children attend the school. Ms. Campbell is deepening her Waldorf roots by attending courses at Sunbridge College and working alongside the other Early Childhood teachers. Having her children enrolled in the school and working here gives a unique perspective of the educational philosophies.

Conor Klein

 

Mr. Conor Klein, who previously successfully shepherded children through both the beginner and intermediate woodworking After School classes,has now expanded his relationship with the school by adding woodworking classes to the regular curriculum in our middle school. Mr. Klein is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and has over 10 years experience working with wood. In addition to being the woodworking instructor at Brooklyn Waldorf, he designs, makes and repairs furniture in his Clinton Hill shop.

Ms. Hannah Bleier, Educational Support Chair

 

 

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 Chair. She enjoys reading, writing, walking, pastry, zazen, and blues harmonica.

Catherine O'Brien, Education Support Assistant Teacher

 

Ms. Catherine O'Brien grew up in rural New Hampshire and Vermont, and although she was home schooled for most of her education, she made a brief exception to attend the Orchard Valley Waldorf School in 8th grade. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2017 with a bachelor of arts in English and biology and moved to New York City to serve as an AmeriCorps member.  In this position, she tutored elementary school students and facilitated after school programming at a public school in the South Bronx. She has received training in Orton-Gillingham and in current best practices in elementary math instruction. In addition to attending summer courses at Sunbridge Institute, she looks forward to furthering her knowledge of Waldorf teaching philosophy and methods. In her free time, she enjoys swing dancing, hiking, knitting, and playing violin.

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.

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..

Korbin Heiss

 

Korbin Heiss is the father of Sebastian and Felix. Korbin and his wife, Yvonne, have been at the school since 2014.   Korbin is a Senior Vice President in the Community Lending and Investment group at Wells Fargo, where he leads a team responsible for investing in affordable housing communities.  He has 20 years of experience in community development and housing finance. Korbin also serves on the board of Project EATS, a nonprofit that teaches low-income neighborhoods to grow food on small-scale, high yield farms that become community hubs for education and training.  But his true passion is beekeeping, a hobby he picked up several years ago and now cultivates on weekends in upstate New York.   

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.

Cullen Girolamo

 

Mr. Cullen Girolamo is a Brooklyn native who came to the Brooklyn Waldorf School first as summer intern and, after graduating from Kenyon College, returned to join the full time staff. Mr. Girolamo attended Saint Ann’s school and has friends from many of the other independent schools in the borough. During his internship, he recognized that many of his sensibilities aligned with those of the school.

Merry Scholl, After School and Operations Coordinator

 

 

Ms. Merry Scholl studied theater performance at Oberlin College and has taught English as a Foreign language in Russia. Before coming to Brooklyn Waldorf as the After School Coordinator, she taught Pre-K for four years. She is currently a Master's candidate in Early Childhood Education at Bank Street where she is writing her Master’s Essay on human-plant interactions in Waldorf Pedagogy. In her last school placement, Merry had the opportunity to tend a school garden, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She is interested in pursuing further education in horticulture. Ms. Merry was drawn to the rich horticultural tradition of Waldorf Education.  

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.

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.

Ross Pannebecker, Front Desk & Operations Associate

 

Mr. Ross Pannebecker is a recent Brooklyn resident originally from Baltimore, Maryland. He has a B.A. in anthropology from SUNY Purchase College. He spent the summer of 2018 as a counselor at a Greek mythology sword camp, before joining the staff at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. He is also an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. Being introduced to the school by Mr. Sean Brekke, he became immediately inspired to understand the warming, caring ways in which we educate the children. Having a long term interest in teaching, he’s taking the first step in that journey at the front desk.