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Lower/Middle School Faculty

Suchitra Swift, First Grade Teacher

BA, Sarah Lawrence College; MS Ed, Hunter College; Waldorf Certification Sunbridge College

Suchi Swift began teaching in the New York City public school system in 2002, and after eight years working across a variety of grades, decided to pursue Waldorf Education professionally.  She taught at New Amsterdam School, a Waldorf initiative in lower Manhattan, as well as The Brooklyn Waldorf School.

Suchi has three young children and is thrilled to be part of the Green Meadow community. She enjoys crafting, cooking, and spending time near the water.

Mellie Mae Lonnemann, Second Grade Teacher

BFA, Alfred University, concentration in ceramics and minor in dance 


Mellie Mae Lonnemann comes to us from the mountains of North Carolina, where she has spent four years as a resident artist and educator. She has taught at art centers, an eco-camp, and homeschool cooperatives. She spent the 2014-15 school year assisting at GMWS. 

Mellie grew up in an active family, with three brothers participating in sports, and her love for movement was rekindled through modern dance at university.

She also studied ceramics for two years in Italy and received a certificate of professionalism at the State Institute of Art in Faenza.

Mellie became interested in Waldorf® Education during her undergraduate studies, as she explored diverse teaching styles. After various teaching experiences, she began the Teacher Training Program at Sunbridge Institute in 2014. 


Heather Kono, Third Grade Teacher

BA, Theatre Arts, San Francisco State University, CA; Waldorf Teacher Training, Sunbridge Institute

After years of a theatrical career in NYC, Heather is joyfully entering her sixth year teaching in a Waldorf School. Before coming to Green Meadow, Heather spent a year at the Rudolf Steiner School in NYC with the Seventh, Fourth, and Third Grades and teaching in the aftercare program. 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.

Winnie Jamieson, Fourth Grade Teacher

MA, Philosophy and Education, Columbia University Teacher's College; BA, Education & BA, Philosophy, Brooklyn College; NYS teaching license, Childhood Education, Grades 1-6; Waldorf Teacher Training, Sunbridge Institute.

The year her Class of 2025 students were born, Winnie went back to school to follow a calling into education. She soon became interested in exploring the foundations and goals of education through a philosophical lens. While seeking to answer the question “What kind of education helps to create a happy and healthy human being?”, Winnie discovered Waldorf® Education. She is happy to be part of the Green Meadow Waldorf School community. 


Judit Gilbert, Fifth 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, 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 elder son graduated with the Class of 2016 and their younger son attends the high school.


Ruth Olson, Sixth 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.


William Minehart, Seventh Grade Teacher

BS, Environmental Studies, Bucknell University; MEd, Elementary Waldorf Education, Antioch University of New England; High School Earth Science Certification, New Jersey.   

As an adult, William often finds himself reflecting on the impact of having spent much of his youth in the woodlands of Pennsylvania. A lifelong love for birds and the outdoors led him to achieving his childhood dream of researching birds in the tropical rainforests of Australia and the Peruvian Amazon. While living in these places, he also began to explore ways to heal the ailing relationship between humanity and the rest of the natural world. In doing so, William discovered his passion for education through working with environmental non-profits in the mountains of Colorado and Washington, where he focused on creating positive experiences for youth in the wilderness.

It was while working at one of these institutes that William met his wife, who introduced him to anthroposophy, while sharing their dreams for their future family.

 After teaching high school science for four years in a public high school in New Jersey, where he was lucky enough to share a classroom with his wife, William joined the GMWS faculty in 2014.  William now lives in Chestnut Ridge with his wife and three children, where they greatly enjoy the multiple benefits of this close-knit community.  

Elizabeth Hall, Eighth Grade Teacher

BA, Spanish Literature and English Literature, 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.


Middle School Faculty


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 Rudolf 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 is the High School Chair and English Department Chair. She teaches high-school English and Drama, and was the co-advisor to the Class of 2015. She serves on the Collegium, the Curriculum Development Committee, and the Social Health Committee. Her elder daughter graduated with the Class of 2016.  

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.

Alix has taught English and reading in Grades 3-12 at GMWS. She also has the great privilege of teaching the high school Art History and Architecture blocks. Alix was a co-advisor for three classes. 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, daughter Sophia graduated with the Class of 2016, and her youngest, Ana, still attends Green Meadow.

Angela Nusbaum, Middle-School English and International Student Coordinator

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.

Lower School Teaching Assistants

Bonnie Johnson, First 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 through her children's Waldorf® Education and enrolled in Sunbridge College, completing the Foundation Studies and teacher training programs. She has also been an afternoon Early Childhood teacher at Green Meadow. 

Fernando Lopez, Second Grade Assistant

Fernando Lopez has taught the After-School Program since 2014-15, has taken part of the Sunbridge Institute Early Childhood Educator training, and has been an intern at GMWS. He is also a photographer, the father of a third grader, and an active member of the GMWS parent community. 

Daniel Bieber, Third Grade Assistant

Daniel Bieber graduated from Green Meadow in 2003 and is honored to be a part of daily life in our community.  Daniel also works at the Nature Place Day Camp, plays music, and likes to cook and garden.  He got married at the beginning of October 2015 and welcomed a daughter to his family in August 2016.

Educational Support

Jacqueline Calica, LS Reading Teacher

BS, Human Ecology, Early Childhood Development, focus on Early Intervention, Ohio State University; MA, Teaching, New York University; Certificates: Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education

From 2006-2010, Jacqueline taught in a special education public school in Harlem, serving students with severe emotional difficulties. When her core class moved on to middle school, Jacqueline sought a new challenge. She joined the founding team of a charter school opening in Brooklyn, and received formal training in several literacy intervention approaches, including: Leveled Literacy Intervention, Preventing Academic Failure, Visualizing and Verbalizing, and Reading Recovery. With the dual role of Special Services Coordinator and Literacy Intervention Leader, Jacqueline built a team to accommodate students with academic, English language learning, speech and language, and counseling needs.

In the Fall of 2012, she bid farewell to the school to stay home and care for her newborn son. The Calica family joined the Green Meadow community in 2014 through Parent & Child classes.

Jacqueline is delighted to contribute as a teacher, and in her spare time enjoys the GMWS Parent Handwork group and exploring NY with her family. 

Galilee Damiao, Occupational Therapist, MS OTR/L

BS, Russel Sage College; MS, Occupational Therapy, the Sage Colleges, 2002.  Trained in sensory integration (SI), neurodevelopmental therapy (NDT), Developmental Individual Differences (DIR-Greenspan).

Galilee has spent time enjoying the magic of early childhood development as her little ones communed with nature and attended the Waldorf early childhood programs in Warwick and at Green Meadow.  She has also enjoyed learning about the magic of development through her work helping people with learning challenges find peace and purpose in their daily lives.  

Her childhood in Canada was influenced by immersion in wilderness.  She attended Waldorf School, beginning in nursery in Montreal.  She entered Green Meadow during middle school when her family moved to the Chestnut Ridge area.  Both her parents have been active in the community ever since.

Upon graduation from Green Meadow, she spent time at a Camphill Village in Portugal, where she both reconnected with her past (her father’s family came from Portugal) and was inspired to her vocation by meeting individuals with special needs.  After receiving her Master's in Occupational Therapy, she worked in a specialized Sensory integration clinic in Rockland County.   

For the past 12 years, Galilee has worked at the Center for Discovery in the Catskills.  There, she was involved in developing pilot programs in sensory integration and fine arts for individuals with severe developmental challenges and training professional staff.  Galilee has found that the basic ideas of Waldorf education, bringing balance to “head, heart and hand”, have resonated throughout her personal and professional practice.

Galilee feels blessed to be rejoining the community as an Occupational Therapist with Green Meadow and at the Otto Specht School.  Her husband, an occupational therapist, and her two children (who will be entering Green Meadow’s early childhood program) are thrilled to be in the neighborhood as well.

Jenna Lieberman, LS Reading Teacher

BA, Psychology, minor in Dance, SUNY Fredonia; MA, Special Education, George Washington University

Jenna graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2007 with her Bachelor's in Psychology and Dance. For the following six years, Jenna worked in New York City as a para-professional and Kindergarten teacher in schools that primarily served students with disabilities and learning differences. 

In 2013, Jenna worked at Green Meadow Waldorf School as an Kindergarten assistant and at the Otto Specht School as an afternoon lead teacher. In the fall of 2015, Jenna enrolled in a one-year intensive program at George Washington University, where she received her Master’s in Special Education, working with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD), learning disabilities and autism. 

While getting her Master's, she worked as a lead teacher in a Baltimore school for students with EBD. Jenna is very excited to return to Chestnut Ridge and share her skills and passion for the work she does.

Suzanne Lynn, LS Educational Support Services

M Ed., New York University; BS in Elementary Education, Elmira College; AAS Early Childhood Education, Dutchess Community College

Suzanne has a Master’s degree in Education from NYU, is a fully certified NYS teacher, and has been an educator since 1982 with experience in lead teaching, team teaching, and administration. She holds a Waldorf Therapeutic Educator Certification through the Association for a Healing Education (AHE) and has additional training in Bal-A-Vis-X, Brain Gym and Orton Gillingham, and is a certified Health Coach and HANDLE screener. 

Suzanne lives in Chestnut Ridge with her husband, and is a parent of a Green Meadow graduate and a middle schooler.

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