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Early Childhood Faculty

Bridgette Bartel

early childhood assistant

BA, Ramapo College; Waldorf Early Childhood Education, Sunbridge Institute

Bridgette was born and raised in Mahwah, NJ, right next to the Ramapo Mountains. 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.

Leslie Burchell-Fox 


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

Leslie began her Waldorf teaching career in 1996 at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. She joined Green Meadow in 2002 and she serves on the school's Teacher Development Committee and Collegium. She is Co-Director of the Part-time Early Childhood Teacher Education at Sunbridge Institute, a member of the core faculty there, and a mentor to enrolled students.

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 uniting her artistic skills with her love of working with young children and becoming a Waldorf teacher. In her spare time, she is a Lazure artist and enjoys gardening.

Joanna Dorman

Early Childhood Assistant and Meadow's Nest 

BA, Philosophy, Fordham University; Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood, 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 college, she has acquired NY state licensure in massage therapy and the healing arts. She is working toward teacher certification in Waldorf Early Childhood Education at Sunbridge Institute.

Marieke Duijneveld


Hochschule, Stuttgart, Germany; coursework in Remedial/Therapeutic Education, certification as a Simplicity Parenting Group Leader; Certificate in 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. She has worked with children and their parents in the Netherlands and Germany, first as a social worker, and 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 United States in 2008, Marieke was trained to become a Simplicity Parenting Coach and leads ongoing courses and workshops. She 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 she enjoys singing and hiking (preferably at the same time).

Andrea Gambardella


MS, Remedial Education, Sunbridge College; Waldorf training, Towson State University; BA, Human Development, Antioch College

Andrea began Waldorf teaching in 1977 as a founding faculty member at 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 work. She is a former board member of WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) and Leadership Council representative for AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America). Andrea loves being outdoors with young children, friends, and family.  She is the mother of three children, all Waldorf alumni.

Carol Grieder Brandenberger


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

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 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 multilingual. 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" in Early Childhood: Seeking the Universally Human, The Gateway Series, edited by Nancy Foster. Tell Me a Story, edited by Louise DeForest, includes a number of Carol's original stories.

Toni Kreusch

meadow's nest

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, a current GMWS student and an alumna. She likes painting, sewing, and photography. 

Jeanette LoPinto


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

Jeanette began her career 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.

Soon after the birth of her two children, Jeanette and her husband began research for a school: Waldorf was the answer. Jeanette took a leave from education some years ago and began helping her husband run the Threefold Cafe. She is very happy to be working with young children again.

Vanessa Luque


Vanessa was born in Bogota, Colombia. Growing up, she was influenced by magical journeys with her parents into the country's diverse landscapes. 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 contact improvisation and tango. The school then offered her the opportunity to teach aerial silks to students, during which she also worked in a recreational space for children under 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 receiving her degree, she moved to Boston, where she had her first contact with Waldorf Education. In 2016, she started to volunteer at Green Meadow Waldorf School and will soon join the Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education Program at Sunbridge Institute.

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.

Lisa Miccio


(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 Green Meadow’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 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 serves on the Board, 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.

Hiromi Niwa

Parent & Child Teacher

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

Born and raised in Japan, Hiromi's first job was teaching Kindergarten, then she 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 and completed the Sophia's Hearth one-year training course, The Child and Family in the First Three Years, in 2010.  While being challenged by her full-time work at the United Nations in New York City and balancing it with home life, she was supported by the Waldorf philosophy in her parenting and personal growth. She went back to join the pioneering Level 2 class at Sophia's Hearth and became certified in Waldorf Early Childhood Education in 2014.

She has taught dance, yoga, English, Japanese, calligraphy, abacus, and 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. Her daughter attends Green Meadow. 

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 kindergartner, 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, Jessica studied biodynamic gardening at the Pfeiffer Center. She loves teaching 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.

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. Dorothy carries an afternoon Kindergarten, and serves as the Kindergarten cook for the afternoon children. 

Nell-Marie Rowland


MS Education, 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. She teaches as a way of helping to guide the young child into the vast world, and 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 founding administrator of the Magic Garden Waldorf School in Northern Vermont, a WECAN full-member school, 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. Their eldest daughter, a Waldorf graduate, attends the University of Vermont, and their son is a student at the Otto Specht School.


Rebecca Ruof


Waldorf Early Childhood Certification, Sunbridge Institute; BM, Mannes College of Music; Certificate in 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 Committee and has taught as adjunct faculty at Sunbridge Institute. She has two children attending Green Meadow.

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.