Our Faculty 21-22

Our Faculty 21-22

Our school is unique in that the children are the messengers here, thus we work from the bottom up, rather than the top down, and in a very collaborative manner, so the teachers come together to discuss both overall principles, as well as day to day logistics of running the school.  The result is a fluid, thoughtful process where everyone has input, based on their own experience  with their students, and an empathetic approach for each child in our care.


Lisa Bohn – Ukulele

Jessica Bromby – Nature Studies, Cultural Connections

Miriam Cornell – Grades Assistant

Jonathan Cunningham – Qi Gong

Jean Ferderber – Handwork, Mentor

Kai Green – Gardening

Chrystal Hoffman – Seahorse Nursery Assistant, Aftercare

Ryan Marti – Grades Assistant

Suzanne McMillan – Substitute Teacher, Mentor

Renee Moss – Sandpiper VPK Assistant

Geoff Pierce – Games, Grades Substitute

Amanda Suter – Forest Kindergarten Assistant

Cat Welch – Starfish Kindergarten Assistant

Kalin Wilson – Japanese, Grades and EC Substitute Teacher

Main Teachers and Staff

Shivani Lash – Little Seedlings Parent Child Circle; Seahorse Nursery

Shivani Lash joins our faculty with a well of experience and diversity in early childhood classrooms. She has been a midwife, teacher and a mother for over twenty years, serving communities of families and children from conception to kindergarten and beyond. Shivani has training in a variety of pedagogies including Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Nature Education, the Nurtured Heart Approach and the Art of Mentoring. She finds delight in children’s delight and has a passion for honoring each child as a unique and shining light in this world. She enjoys skipping rope, baking, singing, playing, and listening deeply to what children have to say. She strives to model respect and gratitude for our natural world, kindness for all beings and peace that grows from within. Shivani sees the time we share with children while they are young as incredibly sacred and holding of immeasurable potential to contribute to our community and world.

Joanne Whitney – Sandpiper VPK

Joanne grew up roaming the Scottish Highlands and Sherwood Forest in
Nottinghamshire and is certain where her passion for the natural world and nature/forest education began. She completed her Nursery nurse/nanny training in the UK and began a career as an English Nanny, a job that afforded her the luxury of travelling the world.
It was this job that brought her to the United States and she began her career as an early childhood educator at a Reggio-inspired pre-school..
As she drew inspiration for her teaching from Reggio Emilia, she also became more intrigued and involved in the Forest school movement that was sweeping across Europe and Scandinavia and fell in love with the pedagogy and passion these educators possessed for nature education.  Joanne began to spend time working with forest and beach school educators and decided that being a certified forest/nature school teacher would be the next step in her journey as an early childhood educator. She completed her forest/nature school certification with ERAFANS, and met many Waldorf teachers along the way. During this time she also discovered that she had a real affinity for the Waldorf educational philosophy and that she was already integrating much of their teaching into her daily rhythm with the students she worked with. Joanne loves storytelling and puppets, imaginative play, nature-inspired art, baking and gardening. She is thrilled to be continuing her journey as a Waldorf inspired teacher and to spend time with the children connecting to nature and finding joy in the simple outdoor rhythm of their day.

Birte Hoag – Tender Root Forest Kindergarten

Originally from Germany where she was an accomplished nurse, Birte has been a member of our community for over 12 years. She fell in love with the magic and depth Waldorf education, and once both of her children became of school age, she began assisting Ms. Laura, first in the Nursery and then in the Kindergarten. Now a lead teacher for the past 6 years, Birte has received Waldorf training from Sunbridge Institute, completed her NECC, and is also a trained Forest Kindergarten teacher, through both Cedarsong and ERAFANS. Warm, caring, and gentle with the children, Birte is the perfect person to comfort a young child who may be beginning school for the first time. She is most comfortable outdoors, and loves nothing more than to lead a young group out in the woods. She believes strongly in fostering a healthy rhythm in the life of the child – daily, weekly, and over the year in the festival life in our school and community. Birte enjoys fiber arts and spending time in nature in her free time.

Laura Barrett – EC Administration

Laura has been a teacher in our community for the past 10 years, including Parent/Child classes, Nursery, Kindergarten, and Aftercare. Prior to this, she taught at Mt. Laurel Waldorf School, in New York and the Housatonic Waldorf School, in Connecticut in various positions in both early childhood and grades classes.  Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, as well as a certificate from Sunbridge Institute in Waldorf Early Childhood.  Her training also includes the Waldorf 1st and 2nd grade intensives. She also holds a Florida State Staff Credential, Director’s Credential and a VPK Director Credential. She enjoys crafting, travel, and nature.

Heather Green – Operations Manager

Bio coming soon

Kerry Clements – 1st Grade Guide

Kerry Clements began her journey upon the earth in Orlando, Florida but moved with her family to the lush farmland of southern Lancaster County Pennsylvania when she was in first grade. Kerry grew up along the banks of the Pequea Creek where she grew a deep love and appreciation for the natural world. As a child she spent countless hours catching toads and crayfish or playing in the forests behind her family’s old brick farmhouse.
Kerry earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, with a major in ceramics from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. In addition to Kerry’s bachelor’s degree she has also completed 25 credits in early childhood education from Harrisburg Community College and Phoenix University and holds a Pennsylvania private school teaching certification. She has also  graduated from the Sunbridge Institute in Spring Valley NY with a certification in Waldorf Early Childhood Education and recently completed the Waldorf first grade training through Center for Anthroposophy.
While working as a Doula in Lancaster County, Kerry began her journey of providing loving and nurturing support to families and children. She discovered Waldorf Education when she enrolled her son in a Parent Child class and instantly felt a connection and calling to the Waldorf pedagogy. Kerry is passionate about working with her colleagues, parents and community to foster a loving and supporting learning environment that meets each child where they are. Her deep love of the earth and all the creatures that live upon it inform her teaching and guide her in sharing that love and respect for the natural world with the children in her care.

Andrea Marti – 2nd Grade Guide

Bio coming soon

Krista Bertelson – 3rd/4th Grade Guide

Krista has been in the field of outdoor education since 1994, working across the country leading people of all ages in various challenges for personal growth and awareness. She has also taught within four walls in three different states from 3rd grade through 12th grade, including a 100% project based high school. Having her Masters degree in Experiential Education has deepened her network and resources for great learning opportunities; Krista feels within everything there is an opportunity to grow and learn. Her  background and specialty is being able to create experiences for learning that are unique, active, and engaging in spaces anywhere and everywhere. Krista has also completed grades trainings through the Center for Anthroposophy.

Stefanie Albrecht – 5/6th Grade Guide

Bio coming soon

Jon Stevens – 7/8th Grade Guide

Jon received his bachelor’s degree in psychology, followed by a master’s degree in education.  He has been teaching children for over a dozen years, beginning in upstate New York and now in our community in Sarasota since his current class was a 3/4th grade.  Assisting children in uncovering and continuously consulting their own deep wisdom is what education is all about for Jon. In addition to Anthroposophy, Jon draws on teachings from many cultures to help children grow presence and bring compassion to their approach to learning and being in community.  

Erin Melia – Administration, Mentor

Erin received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Penn State University, then began her career as a chemist.  During her tenure in a windowless laboratory she longed for a career outdoors in nature, guiding young people to discover their personal truths.  After pursuing a master’s degree with a focus in education, she found her passion in developmentally appropriate, nature immersion, whole child education, and creating community through her work at Mangrove School of Sarasota. Erin strongly believes in the impact of exploration and revelation to foster a deep, meaningful, learning experience for her students.  Her own path of self-development has included Son-Rise, HANDLE, Nature Awareness Training, Florida Master Naturalist, Active Listening, and Waldorf Grades Trainings.