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Early Childhood Faculty

Leslie Burchell-Fox, Kindergarten

MS Ed., Waldorf Education, Sunbridge College; BS, Speech Pathology, Kent State University

Leslie, who has been teaching since 1996, began her Waldorf teaching career at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. She joined Green Meadow in 2002. She serves on the school's Teacher Development Committee and is Secretary for the Board of Trustees for Green Meadow. She is a member of the Core Faculty for the Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education program at Sunbridge Institute, and mentors students enrolled in that program.

Prior to becoming a Waldorf teacher, Leslie worked as a Speech Pathologist for several years before becoming a full-time fiber artist. She exhibited her work at major craft shows and museums for 10 years before she met Waldorf® Education. At that point, she was inspired to unite her skills as an artist with her love of working with young children in a career as a Waldorf teacher. In her spare time, she is a Lazure artist and enjoys gardening.

Marieke Duijneveld, Kindergarten

BA, Social Work, Rotterdam University, the Netherlands; Waldorf Teacher Education, Freie Hochschule, Stuttgart, Germany; coursework in Remedial/Therapeutic Education, certification Simplicity Parenting Group Leader; Certificate from The Child and Family in the First Three Years, Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, Keene, NH;


Marieke grew up in the Netherlands and attended a Waldorf School from Kindergarten through High School. Before becoming a teacher, she worked with children and their parents in the Netherlands and in Germany, first as a social worker, later as a Waldorf Class Teacher, Music Teacher, and Remedial Teacher (inspired by the "Extra Lesson" method developed by Audrey McAllen) for special-needs children.

After moving to the US in 2008, she was trained to become a Simplicity Parenting Coach and leads ongoing courses and workshops.

Marieke also completed the course in Early Child Development at the renowned Sophia’s Hearth Institute.

Marieke lives in Chestnut Ridge with her husband and their four children, and enjoys singing and hiking (preferably at the same time).

Andrea Gambardella, Kindergarten

MS Ed., Remedial Education, Sunbridge College; Waldorf training, Towson State University; B.A., Human Development, Antioch College

Andrea began Waldorf teaching in 1977 as a founding faculty member for The Waldorf School of Baltimore.  She has 40 years of experience as a Waldorf early childhood educator and involvement in every aspect of school life, including board membership and parent council.  She is a former board member of WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) and Leadership Council Representative for AWSNA.  She is currently Collegium Chair for Green Meadow.  Andrea loves being outdoors with young children, friends and family.  She is the mother of three children, all Waldorf alums.


Carol Grieder-Brandenberger, Kindergarten

MS Ed., Waldorf Education, Sunbridge College; MS, Nursing, Women's Health, Rutgers University; Registered Nurse and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner; Lactation Consultant

For many years, Carol has worked part-time with women, infants, and children as a maternal-child health nurse. Before joining Green Meadow as a nursery teacher in 2006, she taught Waldorf-inspired art classes and Parent & Child classes in a Waldorf-inspired nursery school in New Jersey. Carol is a member of the Go Green Committee and the Media Resource Group. As a native of Switzerland, she is multi-lingual. She enjoys spending time in nature with her family, working with fiber arts and plant dyeing, making dolls and puppets, and practicing the art of puppetry. Carol is the mother of a Green Meadow student and a student at the Otto Specht school.

Carol's publications include "Michaelmas in the Nursery: A Celebration of Courage" and "Bringing Easter into the Nursery: A Universal Celebration of Spring". The Seasonal Festivals in Early Childhood: Seeking the Universally Human. The Gateway Series, edited by Nancy Foster. The recently published book Tell Me a Story, edited by Louise DeForest, includes a number of Carol's original stories, which she frequently shares with the children at the snack table.

Lisa Miccio, Kindergarten (ON SABBATICAL FOR 2016-17)

MS Ed., Waldorf Education, Sunbridge College; MS, Elementary Education, C.W. Post, Long Island University; B.A. English, College of Charleston

Prior to teaching, Lisa worked as a Personnel Administrator for seven years. She began her teaching in a public school before becoming a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher in 2001. She was a Kindergarten teacher at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School and a Nursery teacher at Dayspring Community School before joining Green Meadow in 2006 as a Kindergarten teacher.

Committed to expanding GMWS’s family programs, she taught several Parent & Child classes and deepened her study on the development and care of young children, and creating the very best experiences to meet their needs, through her studies at Sophia’s Hearth Family Center in Keene, NH.

She is on sabbatical from the Kindergarten for the 2016-17 school year,  and serves on the Board of Sunbridge Institute. Lisa enjoys both research and writing, and is continually inspired by her work with parents, her observations of the children, and her experiences at Sunbridge Institute, where she also teaches in the Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood Education course and mentors students enrolled in the part-time Early Childhood Education program.

Lisa is the mother of a Green Meadow alumnus and a HS student, and often attends school basketball, baseball, and soccer games. Her summers are spent playing doubles beach volleyball with her family and walking along the shore at Fire Island.

Jessica Oswald, Kindergarten

BA, English, St. Francis College 

Jessica was raised in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The neighborhood was not aesthetically beautiful, but its lively atmosphere and childhood street games provided colorful memories. In college, she discovered a love for English literature and published creative writing of her own. As a mother considering schools for her kindergartener, she became curious about the education her husband (a GMWS alum) received. Soon after, the family was living on Hungry Hollow Road and their first daughter was enrolled at Green Meadow. An avid knitter and gardener, she studied biodynamic gardening at the Pfeiffer Center.

She loves working in the Kindergarten, a place where children find joy in the simple rhythms of the day. Jessica and Brendan have three children in the school.

Nell-Marie Rowland, Nursery

MS Ed., Waldorf Early Childhood Education, Sunbridge College;BA Social Science, Southern Oregon University; Foundation Studies, Waldorf School of Garden City; Licensed Early Childhood Teacher

Nell has been serving young children as a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher since 2000. Her love of little children, coupled with her awareness of the profound sanctity of childhood, led her to this most wonderful vocation; she teaches as a way of helping to guide the young child into the vast world, being ever-mindful of protecting innocence, joy, and wonder. She has enjoyed experiencing the various stages of the young child's development while working as a Nursery, Kindergarten, and Parent/Toddler Educator.

For six years, Nell was administrator of the Magic Garden Waldorf School in Northern Vermont, a WECAN full-member school which she founded, where she also taught and mentored.

Prior to becoming a Waldorf teacher, Nell worked as a public-school teacher in Brooklyn, NY. She has served on the Boards of two Waldorf Schools, and was the Faculty Chair at Green Mountain Waldorf School.

Nell’s husband Charlie is also a trained Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher, and is currently helping to run the organic farm at the nearby Fellowship Community. Their daughter, a Waldorf graduate, is entering her junior year at the University of Vermont, and their young son became a student at Green Meadow in 2012. In their free time, the family enjoys cooking together, working with wool, exploring the wooded trails of the Threefold Community, and taking exciting day trips into NYC.

Rebecca Ruof, Nursery

BM, Mannes College of Music; Certificate from The Child and Family in the First Three Years, Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, Keene, NH; Foundation Studies, Sunbridge College, Chestnut Ridge, NY

Rebecca grew up in Germany and attended a Waldorf school from kindergarten through high school. Before becoming an early childhood teacher Rebecca taught various subjects at Waldorf schools in Chestnut Ridge, Budapest, and Baltimore. She has been teaching in the nursery at Green Meadow since 2006. Rebecca is a member of the Early Childhood Outreach and Enrollment Comittee and has taught as adjunct faculty at Sunbridge Institute.

Rebecca has her certificate from Sophia's Hearth for "Working with Families and Children from Birth to Three" and is currently completing her training in Waldorf Early Childhood Education.

Rebecca has two children attending Green Meadow.

Hiromi Niwa, Parent & Child Teacher

BA, Comparative Culture, University of Tsukuba, Japan, with licenses to teach English as a Foreign Language and Social Studies; Waldorf Early Childhood Education, Sophia's Hearth Family Center, Keene, NH

Born and raised in Japan, Hiromi's first job was to teach in a Kindergarten. There she felt she needed to gain more life experience and came to New York to study dance, following her other childhood dream.  After becoming a mother, she started reading about Waldorf Education and applying it in her parenting. She went on to deepen her study at Sophia's Hearth Family Center in Keene, NH and completed a one-year training course, The Child and Family in the First Three Years in 2010.

While continuing to be challenged by her full-time work at the United Nations in New York City and balancing it with home life as a mother, she was immensely supported by Waldorf philosophy in her parenting as well as her personal growth. She went back to Sophia's Hearth to join the pioneering Level 2 class and became certified in Waldorf Early Childhood Education in 2014.

She has taught dance, yoga, English, Japanese, calligraphy, abacus, and most recently, workshops on self-healing based on applied kinesiology.  

Prior to joining Green Meadow, she taught at the Waldorf School of Garden City, as a Nursery assistant teacher and afternoon care teacher.  She has a daughter who attends Green Meadow. 

Meadow’s Nest Afternoon Teachers

Meadow’s Nest is an option for parents who need care for their children following the Nursery or Kindergarten morning. The afternoon teachers, working cooperatively with the morning Nursery and Kindergarten teachers, focus on the art of caregiving and provide as seamless an experience as possible for the children staying until 3:00pm.

Toni Kreusch

MA, Art Therapy, NYU; BA, Humanities, Dominican College; University Trier, German as a Foreign Language; School of Visual Arts, NYC

Over the years, Toni has worked as a Kindergarten Assistant and a German Teacher at Dayspring Community School as well as a Handwork Assistant and a Kindergarten Assistant at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, both in Warwick, NY. Most recently, she worked as an Afternoon Lead Teacher in the Kindergarten at Mountain Laurel. As a way of enriching her understanding of Waldorf® Education, Toni has attended Waldorf Early Childhood conferences. She has over 12 years of teaching experience and is fluent in German. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their two daughters, who now attend GMWS. She likes
painting, sewing, and photography. Toni looks forward to working with the children at Green Meadow Waldorf School in the Meadow's Nest.

Dorothy Rosano Walden

Early childhood training course, The Child and Family in the First Three Years, Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, Keene, NH; Introduction to the Waldorf Kindergarten, Sunbridge College, Chestnut Ridge, NY; Dental Radiography License, Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ; Liberal Arts major, Los Angeles Valley College, Van Nuys, CA

Dorothy has worked as the Afternoon Kindergarten Teacher at Green Meadow, as well as a Parent & Child playgroup leader. She has served in the Early Childhood section at Green Meadow since 2006, when she was an Assistant Teacher in Carol Grieder’s Nursery class. This will be Dorothy’s fifth year carrying the afternoon Kindergarten. She will return again as the Kindergarten cook for the afternoon children as well. 

Ayako Yanagi

Waldorf Early Childhood Education, Sunbridge Institute, Chestnut Ridge, NY; BS, International Business, US International University-Europe, United Kingdom 

After working in human resources of Japanese banks in NYC for eight years, Ayako became a mother of two daughters. She assisted Waldorf kindergarten teachers and served as an administrative assistant at Linden Hill School and Apple Blossom School and Family Center in Wilton, CT.

Since 2005 she has been in this community and been involved in fundraising for Green Meadow, the Fellowship Community, and the Fiber Craft Studio.  She is also working as a lead kindergarten teacher and Taiko Drumming teacher at the Saturday Japanese program at the Brooklyn Waldorf School.  

Early Childhood Assistants

Bridgette Bartel

Bridgette was born and raised in Mahwah, NJ, right next to the Ramapo Mountains. She currently attends Ramapo College and is on the path to graduating in the spring of 2016 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Gerontology.

Bridgette stumbled upon Green Meadow while on a class trip, immediately fell in love, and decided to start taking Early Childhood Education classes at Sunbridge Institute. Blessed to have been so warmly welcomed, she looks forward to continuing her journey in Waldorf Education.

Margaret Basile

BA, Fine Arts (cum laude), Montclair State University

Prior to becoming a Waldorf School Teacher's Assistant, Margaret worked as an Art Teacher, Teacher's Assistant/Education Assistant, Veterinarian Technician, Volunteer Heads Up Special Riders. She attended school for Educational Foundations at the same time. Margaret also earned a Certificate to Teach Art (K-12) in New Jersey and worked with horses in college.

Margaret has owned a horse for almost two years, and enjoys painting, sewing, animals, gardening, and caring for the environment.

Joanna Dorman

BA, Philosophy, Fordham University; Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood Education, Sunbridge Institute

Joanna attended the Waldorf School of Garden City from Nursery through Grade 12. Throughout her teenage years and into college, she spent many summers working at Camp Glen Brook, a Waldorf-based summer program with an emphasis on stewardship.

As an undergraduate, she studied the Great Books Program at St. John's College of Annapolis before going on to finish her Bachelor's degree in NYC. Since graduating from college, she has acquired NY state licensure in massage therapy and the healing arts. She is currently receiving her teacher certification in Waldorf Early Childhood Education at Sunbridge Institute.

Jeanette LoPinto

AAS, Early Childhood Education, Bergen Community College; Introduction to the Waldorf Kindergarten, Sunbridge College.

Jeanette began as a nursery assistant at a daycare center. After receiving her AAS degree in Early Childhood Education, she began teaching a preschool class and then became lead teacher for the three-year-old class. While attending a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference, she was introduced to Waldorf® Education. She immediately became aware of how aligned Waldorf pedagogy is with her teaching philosophy.

Soon after the birth of her two children, Jeanette and her husband Anthony began research for a school: Waldorf was the answer. Isabella began Nursery at Green Meadow in Mrs. Greider's first nursery class and Alex began Parent & Child. Both children continue to attend Green Meadow.

Jeanette took a leave from education some years ago, and began helping her husband run the Threefold Cafe. She was there for five years. She is very happy to be working with young children again. She assisted in Mrs. Rowland's Kindergarten and in Meadow's Nest, and substituted in other early childhood classes. 

Vanessa Luque

Vanessa was born in Bogota, Colombia. Growing up, she was influenced by magical journeys with her parents into the mountains, deserts, beaches, and the otherwise diverse landscape of Colombia.

In 2007, through the AmorArte School of Tenjo Cundinamarca, Vanessa explored and learned the art of aerial silks, following the Grotowski philosophy. Her study included other sources of exploration like contact improvisation and tango. In 2009, the school offered her the opportunity to teach aerial silks to students. Vanessa also worked in a recreational space for children through two years old. For a few months, she offered emotional support to children living with domestic violence. Vanessa Later embarked on a journey through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. 

In 2014, she got a diploma in Marketing and Fashion Design at the Technical College Work Arturo Tejada Cano. After her degree, she moved to Boston, MA, where she had her first contact with Waldorf Education. In 2016, she moved to New York, where she started to volunteer at Green Meadow Waldorf School. She will soon join the Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education Program.

Ashlee McCarthy-Nielsen

BA, Southwestern University; Eurythmy Diploma, Pedagogical Certificate, Post-Graduate Stage Training, Eurythmy Spring Valley.

Ashlee began her journey into Waldorf Education in 2003, when she joined the music faculty at the Austin Waldorf School. She completed Foundations in Anthroposophy at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA, where she also trained full-time in the art of eurythmy. During that time, she taught in the afternoon program at Sacramento Waldorf School, led the summer farm camp at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, and taught private lessons in her cello studio. Ashlee moved to Chestnut Ridge in 2010 to finish diploma requirements at Eurythmy Spring Valley. She chose to remain in the Threefold Community after graduation, caring for children and doing stage work. Ashlee is a beginner level tango enthusiast and enjoys camping, live music, and trips to the ocean.
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