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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 is co-chair of the Early Childhood Section and serves on the school's Collegium, 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, Parent & Child Teacher and Simplicity Parenting Group Leader

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 Parent & Child 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 Group Leader and leads ongoing courses and workshops.

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

Marieke lives in Chestnut Ridge with her husband and their three 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; Montessori Certificate (ages 2 1/2-7 years); BA, Human Development, Antioch College

Andrea began teaching in 1977 at the Waldorf School of Baltimore, and has more than 20 years teaching experience in parent & Child, nursery, and kindergarten classes. In addition to being an early childhood educator, she has also been active in WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America), as both a membership coordinator and Board member, and was formerly an Academic Administrator/Instructor for early childhood education at Sunbridge College. She is among the authors of Mentoring in Waldorf Early Childhood Education and has written articles published in Gateways, the professional journal for Waldorf Early Childhood educators. Being outdoors, sharing the wonders of nature with young children, is one of Andrea's greatest pleasures. She is the mother of three children, who are all Waldorf alumni.

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.

Liza Henderson, Nursery

Liza Henderson grew up in Montreal, Canada and has lived in New York City, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Scotland, Italy, and, most recently the Hudson Valley. 

She has been a teacher all her working life. After many years at graduate school, she began teaching Shakespeare at the college level and then, after giving up that career in order to become a full-time mother, she discovered the magic of Waldorf® Education when she enrolled her daughter in a Parent/Child class at the Beverly Waldorf School. One thing led to another, and soon she was moving with her family to New Paltz, NY, in order to send both her children to the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School. 

Liza volunteered in her daughter's Nursery classroom and the following year became the full-time Assistant, where she stayed for 10 happy years. Discovering her deep affinity for young children, and realizing that she had found her true vocation as a teacher of Kindergarten rather than college, she decided to take up Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales in place of Shakespeare, and pursue Waldorf Early Childhood training at Sunbridge Institute. This past year, she worked at Acorn School, a mixed-age Kindergarten in Accord, NY, and recently graduated from Sunbridge Institute. She is thrilled and honored to join the wonderful Green Meadow Early Childhood faculty!

Lisa Miccio, Kindergarten

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 currently a Kindergarten teacher, a Co-chair of the Early Childhood Section, a member of the Collegium Committee, a member of the Collegium, and serves on the Boards of Green Meadow and 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 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.

Nell-Marie Rowland, Kindergarten (on maternity leave, 2014-15)

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 private violin lessons to students at Green Meadow from 1993-1997. Her journey then took her to Budapest, Hungary, where she taught German at a Waldorf school, and later to Baltimore, where she taught Music. It was during her time in Baltimore that she first assisted in a Waldorf nursery class, as well as in a Parent & Child class. She joined Green Meadow in 2006, began her formal training at Sophia's Hearth, and has now been teaching for six years. She has woven her early experiences as a Waldorf student with the wisdom she has gleaned through mothering and studying child development. Rebecca has two children attending 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.

Patricia Lynch LoParrino

BS, Psychology; BS, Special Education; Associate's Degree in Human Services, Mercy College; Certificate in Early Childhood Education, Sunbridge College, Chestnut Ridge, NY

Patricia has 20 years' teaching experience in private and public New York City schools. She has taught in nursery and kindergarten classes and first and second grades; as well as in a Waldorf-inspired kindergarten class for children who have special needs. Patricia is also a certified reflexologist, who works with children, senior citizens, and adults with developmental disabilities.

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. 

Sarah Weber

MSEd. Waldorf Elementary Education (focus: Music), Sunbridge College; Instrument Building, Improvisation and Artistic Training with Manfred Bleffert, Summerfield Waldorf School; Foundation Studies, Waldorf Institute of the Great Lakes; BFA Digital Media, College for Creative Studies

As a young child, Sarah enjoyed exploring the natural world at her own pace. She remembers exploring every vein on a blade of grass, and creating small hospitals for injured bugs. When her daughter was born in 2000, she quickly realized this was not the pace of early childhood today.

In 2003, Sarah began working with young children at the Waldorf Kinderhaus, in Southfield, MI. Here she discovered a kind of education akin to her own inner wisdom, where children are encouraged to be themselves and to learn at a pace and in a way which meets their developmental needs. She soon began her foundation studies training in Anthroposophy at the Waldorf Institute for the Great Lakes in Michigan. Sarah has since taught in Waldorf schools and/or continued her research and studies in Anthroposophy in Michigan, Washington, California, Illinois, and New York. She has a broad range of experience in Waldorf® Education from teaching afternoon Kindergarten and after-school care for the grades, to being a lead preschool and Kindergarten teacher, to beginning a Music Program and teaching music to multiple grades and individuals.

Sarah has written articles on early childhood and music in the mood of the fifth for Kindling Magazine, out of England. One of these articles has been reprinted in the new book Music in the Mood of the Fifth, compiled by Nancy Foster. 

Early Childhood Assistants

Debbie Johnson

MS, Horticulture, Colorado State University; MS, Oriental Medicine, Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, Chicago, IL.

Debbie has a long relationship with Waldorf Education and the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. After being introduced to Waldorf Education in the 1980s, she and her husband, James, put their three children through Waldorf School and were active members of the Waldorf communities in both Denver and Chicago. Debbie holds a MS in Horticulture as well as a MS in Oriental Medicine, and she enjoys the intersection of her scientific and holistic Oriental medical background with the insights of Steiner's understanding of the developing child. For the past four years, Debbie has found great joy working in the Early Childhood Program at GMWS. 

Jenna Lieberman

SUNY Fredonia, BA in Psychology, minor in Dance.

Jenna grew up in Rockland County and attended Green Meadow Waldorf School from Kindergarten through 8th grade. For the past six years, Jenna lived in New York City and worked with preschool- and Kindergarten-aged children. She worked as a special needs teacher, as a para-professional, and a Kindergarten teacher, as well as an after-school director and nanny. Since 2002, Jenna has been very involved with working at the Nature Place Day Camp and is currently Program Facilitator. Jenna assists Lisa Miccio in the Kindergarten and is excited to be getting her Early Childhood teacher training at Sunbridge Institute. Jenna moved back to the area in 2013 and is happy to have come full circle. She enjoys swinging in her hammock, tending to a beautiful house and garden, cuddling with her two dogs and five chickens, and riding her bike to work.

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. 

Jessica Oswald

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 assisting 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.

Monica Sibrizzi

BA, Early Childhood Education, SUNY New Paltz

Monica attended Green Meadow from Kindergarten through 12th grade. She graduated in 2007 and worked for a year in the Kindergarten as an assistant. She is now enrolled in the Waldorf Early Childhood program at Sunbridge Institute. 

Monica has worked since the age of 12 as a childcare provider in the Chestnut Ridge area, and currently splits her time between teaching, studying, and childcare.

Ayako Yanagi

BS, International Business, US International University-Europe, United Kingdom 

After working in human resources and as a secretary to a branch manager 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. She has been involved in fundraising for Green Meadow, the Fellowship Community, and the Fiber Craft Studio. She currently enjoys participating in speech courses for Japanese eurythmists as well as Taiko drumming. Her two daughters attend Green Meadow.

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