Judit Gilbert, First Grade Teacher
Undergraduate study of theology, Theological University of Szeged (Hungary); certificate in Waldorf Education, Emerson College (UK); Eurythmy diploma, Eurythmy Spring Valley (New York); BA in Eurythmy Education (anticipated in 2013), University College of Eurythmy (Oslo, Norway)
Judit has taught in elementary schools in Hungary, her birth country, and helped launch a Waldorf school in her home town. A trained eurythmist who has performed with the Eurythmy Spring Valley ensemble, she is also a craftswoman, specializing in felted wool pictures depicting fairy tales, using plant-dyed colors. She has been an assistant teacher at Green Meadow in the handwork department and First Grade.
She is married to Harlan Gilbert, a high-school math teacher at Green Meadow. Their two sons are middle- and high-school students at Green Meadow.
Ruth Olson, Second Grade Teacher
BA Psychology, McGill University Canada. ECE Montessori Teacher Certification, Canadian Montessori Academy. MEd, Waldorf Teacher Training, Antioch New England Graduate School.
Ruth began teaching very young, when she summoned up the smallest neighbors on her street, handed out the books and pencils, and her teaching career was off. Since then, Ruth has pursued her own love of learning through her undergraduate studies in Psychology at McGill and Simon Fraser Universities. She has received training as both a Montessori teacher and Waldorf educator. For Ruth, the main goal of teaching is to reflect the gifts each child innately carries, and to be joyful in her work. Waldorf education connects Ruth to what she loves best, including time in nature, making music, and being with children. Ruth lives with her husband, three children, two cats, and a big yellow dog in Chestnut Ridge.
Karen Atkinson, Third Grade Teacher
BA, Vermont College in Liberal Arts and Education, Waldorf Certification, Antioch New England in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Karen has been working as a Waldorf Educator since graduating from Antioch New England in 1995. Inspired by a love of teaching and a calling to become a Waldorf educator, Karen has devoted her years in the classroom to the care and development of young children. In addition, she has served as a guide and support to their parents. Karen maintains a deep connection with the natural world, is involved with the local and organic foods movement, and is committed to preserving family values. Prior to joining the Green Meadow faculty, Karen served as a Representative for WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) as well as a Delegate for AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools). She has served on two Waldorf School Boards, has been a member of the College of Teachers, and mentored both individuals and schools on their path of Waldorf education. Karen’s two children attend Green Meadow. Outside the classroom, she and her family can be found hiking along a nature trail, or in the colder winter times, keeping up with local and NBA basketball fun.
Diana Humphrey Carlson, Fourth Grade Teacher
BA, San Jose State University School of Journalism. Waldorf teaching certification, Antioch New England Graduate School. M.Ed., Antioch
An educator for over a dozen years, Diana has taught and developed classes in a wide variety of subjects. Diana has been a yoga and dance instructor, a childbirth educator and the Director of Religious Education for a Unitarian church, where she created a multi-aged education program based on Rudolf Steiner's ideas about child development. She taught Parent & Child classes at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod and taught first and second grades at Tidewater Waldorf School in Maine. Diana is a published poet and enjoys writing plays, songs, stories, and verses. Diana is a member of the Anthroposophical Society. She is married to a sea captain from New Mexico; their three daughters attend Green Meadow.
Shannon Baer, Fifth Grade Teacher
Bio coming soon!
Elizabeth Hall, Sixth Grade Teacher
BA, Spanish Lit. and English Lit., Minor in Art History, Earlham College; MA. Ed, Antioch University; Waldorf Teacher Certification; Certificate in Curative Education (Camphill Special Schools)
Elizabeth has been a Waldorf class teacher for grades 1-8 for several years. Prior to joining Green Meadow, she served as an elementary school chair and on the College of Teachers at the Baltimore Waldorf School. Elizabeth is a former summer camp director and holds a New Hampshire state teaching certificate for grades 1-6. She has been teaching at Green Meadow since 2006.
Heather Kono, Seventh Grade Teacher
BA, Theatre Arts, San Francisco State University, CA; Waldorf Teacher Training, Sunbridge Institute
After 15 years of a theatrical career in NYC, Heather is joyfully entering her third year teaching in a Waldorf School. Heather spent a year at the Rudolf Steiner School in NYC with the Seventh, Fourth, and Third Grades and teaching in the aftercare program. Last year, she assisted in the First Grade at Green Meadow and taught Second, Fifth, and Sixth Grade Music. Heather deeply values connecting with the students, discovering their individual gifts, and bringing them together through this rich curriculum. She lives with her husband and daughter in Nyack.
Jana Hawley, Eighth Grade Teacher
BFA Music, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA; MSEd Waldorf Elementary Teacher Education, Sunbridge College, Spring Valley, NY.
Jana taught music, served as class teacher in the middle school, and regularly taught morning lesson blocks at the Whidbey Island Waldorf School from 1992-2006. Since coming to Green Meadow, she has taught lower school music, eleventh grade music history, and eighth grade math. She also teaches at many Waldorf teacher training programs, including Sunbridge Institute, where she currently serves as Director for Waldorf Elementary Teacher Education. Jana is a member of the Teacher Development Committee, the Festival Committee, and the Child Study Group.
Teaching Assistants & Interns
Andrew Gilligan, First Grade Assistant
Andrew Gilligan recently moved to Chestnut Ridge from Keene, NH, where he has spent the last year at Antioch University, working towards his M.Ed. with Waldorf teacher training and New Hampshire state teaching certification. He spent four years previous to this in Asheville, NC, where he worked at a small independent school while completing a foundation year in Anthroposophy with the Center for Anthroposophy, and studying education at the University of North Carolina. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 2007, where he began his studies in creativity, art, writing, literature, and philosophy. He also very much enjoys a good song or game of tag, and is happy to be joining the Green Meadow community.
Bonnie Johnson, Second Grade Assistant
BS, Resource Development, University of Rhode Island; MS, Education, Sunbridge College.
Bonnie became acquainted with anthroposophy and Waldorf Education while managing a natural foods co-op just out of college. She later assisted in the kindergarten at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School in Rhode Island. It was years later, when her eldest child graduated from Green Meadow and her youngest was ready to enter our first grade, that Bonnie tired of living vicariously thourgh her children's Waldorf Education and enrolled in Sunbridge College, completing the Foundation Studies and teacher training programs. She has also been a first grade assistant and afternoon Early Childhood teacher here.
Gary Osborne, Third Grade Intern
Gary Osborne and his family recently moved to Chestnut Ridge from New York City. Gary started his career as a costume designer for theatre and opera after receiving an MFA in theatre design from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1999. Soon after, he began a successful career of 10 years as a menswear fashion designer in New York and in China, where he lived for a year.
Before his children were born, he decided to make a career shift, go back to school, and receive an MAT from School of Visual Arts in Art Education (2010). While he was a stay-at-home dad for two years, Gary taught art, fashion, and history part-time in NYC public schools, and at FIT and LIM College. He now is on his way to becoming a Waldorf classroom teacher, enrolled in the Elementary Teacher Training Certification Program at Sunbridge Institute.
Victoria Dehan, Fifth Grade Assistant
Bio coming soon!
Abigail Dancey, Sixth Grade Assistant
Bio coming soon!
Lower School Specialists
Deborah A. Renna, Lower School Educational Liaison
BA, Elementary Education, Westminster College; Early Childhood Training, Sunbridge College; MS Ed., Special Education, College of New Rochelle; coursework in Remedial/Therapeutic Education and Waldorf Collaborative Counseling.
Before becoming the Lower School Educational Support Liaison at Green Meadow Waldorf School, Deb taught in the Green Meadow kindergarten for 14 years. She has chaired the Early Childhood Section and the Care Group Committee, been a member of the Listening Council, and most recently developed the Social Inclusion Committee. In addition to her many years of teaching and service at Green Meadow Waldorf School, Deb weaves together her wisdom and experience as a special education teacher in the Ridgewood public schools, with her recent training as a collaborative counselor. She is the mother of two Green Meadow alumni, plays golf, and recently competed in the New York City Marathon.
Jim Bennett, Middle-School and High-School Math
BFA, Virginia Commonwealth University; MFA, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Tools for Teaching Classroom Management Certificate; teacher training in Experiential Math and Science in the Middle School at Sunbridge Institute.
A native Virginian, Jim has been teaching for 30 years. While in college, he received the Virginia Artists' Certificate of Distinction and undergraduate and graduate fellowship grants from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. From 1987 through 2002, Jim lived in Poughkeepsie, NY. For the past 9 years he has been teaching math in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2003, for his creativity in combining art and math, he was named Educator of the Year by the Ohio Art Education Association. Examples of his teaching can be seen on his website. In addition to teaching, Jim has worked as an artist and a calligrapher, and he is the author and illustrator of Calligraphy For Dummies. He is delighted to be in the Hudson River Valley, where he and his wife, Karen, are close to their family.
Brigitte Bley-Swinston, Grades 8-12 Fine Art
Brigitte received her BA in Art Education in Berlin, Germany, and her MS Ed as a Waldorf teacher at Sunbridge College. She taught for two years at the Steiner School in Manhattan before coming to Sunbridge College as the resident art teacher for all programs. She taught at Sunbridge for 12 years while she continued her own artistic education at the Art Students League, The National Academy of Design, and the New York Botanical Garden. She frequently taught courses at the Rudolf Steiner Institute and is co-director of the Foundation Studies Program in Anthroposophy at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. Her daughter attended GMWS from Kindergarten through Grade 12.
Defne Caldwell, Middle-School and High-School English and Drama
BA, Literature, Boston University; MA, Teaching, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Defne completed an independent Foundation Studies under Signe Schaefer at Sunbridge College and is a certified high-school English teacher.
Before joining the Green Meadow faculty full-time in 2006, Defne taught English and Humanities for six years at Ramapo Indian Hills High School in Franklin Lakes, NJ, and taught literature, college writing, and creative writing courses at Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ, for four years.
Defne teaches high-school and middle-school English and is the co-advisor to the class of 2015. She serves on the Collegium, the Board, and the Curriculum Development Committee. Her two daughters attend Green Meadow.
Alix Christofides, Middle-School and High-School Humanities and Drama
BS, Art History/Design/Film, Empire State College, NY; MAT, English, Manhattanville College. Alix has taken various courses and trainings at Sunbridge College, Bard College, NYSAIS and AWSNA and is certified to teach art and English in New York and New Jersey.
A member of the Collegium, Alix is co-advisor for the class of 2014 and is also the faculty co-advisor for the Burning Bush literary journal.
Alix has obtained seven arts grants for the Green Meadow high school. She has been teaching at Green Meadow since 1998 and is the parent of two GMWS alumni.
Lisa Krogh, Middle-School and High-School Mathematics and Computer Science
Lisa began her professional journey after achieving her Honors BMath (Computer Science) degree at the University of Waterloo. She designed and developed business computer systems for corporations (introducing new technology to adults) while living in Canada, Europe, and the US, eventually launching her own consulting practice.
While raising her 3 children, she entered the world of Early Childhood Development and attained her MSc in Education from Niagara University. She taught at Montessori, public, and private schools before beginning her journey into Waldorf Education. She is a graduate of Foundations of Anthroposophy, and the certificate for Waldorf High School Teaching, from the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, NH.
Lisa began Waldorf teaching as the Third Grade class teacher at the Aurora Waldorf School in West Falls, NY, and most recently taught middle-school and high-school mathematics and life science for five years at the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill, NC.
Lisa joins Green Meadow to be part of strong and well-established faculty, and help grow the middle-school and high-school math and computer science offering. Her son Niels is completing high school in Europe while Sophia and Ana attend Green Meadow.
Brigitte Marten, Grades 7-12 German
1st and 2nd Staatsexamen (German state examinations), Freie Universität, Berlin; Waldorf Teacher Training, Sunbridge Institute
In 1984, Brigitte started teaching German as an assistant teacher in London during a gap year, while still studying German and English at the Berlin University. Since 1989, she has taught German in such varied places as Berlin, London, and San Francisco and has tutored students in all levels of the language.
Brigitte is the parent of two teenagers. She joined the Green Meadow faculty in 2009 and embraces the creative, friendly, and rural atmosphere of this unique school. In fall 2010, she started her Waldorf teacher training at Sunbridge Institute.
Angela Nusbaum, Middle-School English
BA, St. John's College, Santa Fe, NM.
Angela has taught high-school English and history at the San Francisco and Chicago Waldorf schools. Previously, she worked with young adults at Job Corps, teaching math, and led interdisciplinary seminars for grades 6-12 in Anchorage, AK. She has two children at Green Meadow.
Click here for a list of books authored by Green Meadow Faculty.
All images courtesy of Pedro Sousa http://psfotography.com/