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Early Childhood Faculty

Emoke F. Lopez-6093.jpg

Emőke Antal-Schultess

Early Childhood Assistant 

BS International Business, Berkeley College, NY; East West School of Planetary Herbology

Emőke grew up in a Hungarian family in Transylvania, where she spent her early childhood years gardening, caring for animals, knitting, and playing outside in nature. She is passionate about herbal medicine and loves foraging for herbs with her husband and three young children. She has been a Waldorf parent since 2014.

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.


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 over many years worked 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. She is currently teaching in the Kindergarten. Carol has been a member of various school-wide committees including the Media Resource Group and has taught at Sunbridge College as an adjunct faculty member.

As a native of Switzerland, she is multilingual. She enjoys doll making and puppetry as well as work on the farm and in the garden and spending time in nature with her family. Carol is the mother of a GMWS high-school student and an alumna.

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, both GMWS alumna. She likes painting, sewing, and photography. 

Jeanette LoPinto

meadow's nest

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.

Hiromi Niwa

Parent & Child

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; Waldorf Early Childhood Certification, Sunbridge Institute

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 completed the year-long Sheep to Shawl course at the Fiber Craft Studio and studied biodynamic gardening at the Pfeiffer Center. She enjoys outdoor activities such as camping and gardening, and loves storytelling, puppetry, and being with young children.

Jessica teaches Parent & Child Classes and founded our Forest Preschool, a place where children find joy in the simple outdoor rhythms of the day. Jessica has two children in the school; her eldest daughter graduated with the Class of 2017.

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. Her elder son graduated with the Class of 2018 and her younger son attends our High School.

Ayako Yanagi

Early Childhood Assistant / Saturday Japanese Kindergarten Teacher

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

After working in human resources of financial institutions in NYC for many years, Ayako became a mother of two and started exploring Waldorf education.  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 while their transition.  Ayako moved to Green Meadow when her older daughter became 1st grade and has been working in nursery and kindergarten for more than 10 years.  She helped set up Saturday Japanese program at Brooklyn Waldorf School in 2012 and established NPO, a Waldorf-inspired Japanese Saturday School “Brooklyn Nijinokakehashi (Rainbow Bridge) Japanese Cultural Center” in 2015.  Her older daughter graduated with the class of 2017 and younger one attends in Green Meadow High School.