Our Team

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.

Specialties
Specialties
  • Jada Beasely - Grades Assistant
  • Lisa Bohn – Ukulele
  • Jessica Bromby – Nature Studies, Cultural Connections
  • Jonathan Cunningham – Qi Gong
  • Jean Ferderber – Handwork, Mentor
  • Kai Green - Gardening
  • Suzanne McMillan – Substitute Teacher, Mentor
  • Kalin Wilson – Grades and EC Substitute Teacher, Storigami and Japanese
Pamela Carlson
Pamela Carlson
Little Owlets; Mentor
Bio Coming Soon
Joanne Whitney
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 my 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.
Nahidia Henry
Nahidia Henry
EC Assistant - Sandpiper and Plover; Aftercare
Bio Coming Soon
Cat Welch
Cat Welch
Bluebird Kindergarten Guide
Ms Cat Welch has a Bachelor's Degree degree in Early Childhood, as well as a DCF Staff Credential and FCCPC (Birth-Five Certification). Cat has previously shared her talents in Reggio Emilia settings, and began her Waldorf Early Childhood training last year, in addition to  Forest Teacher training through ERAFANS. 
“What attracted me to Waldorf education is the gentle guidance and unhurried environment offered. The children are given a safe and nurturing space to unfold at a natural space, to truly develop to their full physical and emotional abilities through play.”
Her interests include spending time in nature, dance, art, anthropology, and astronomy.
Tibisay Barrios
Tibisay Barrios
EC Assistant - Bluebird Kindergarten; Spanish
Bio Coming Soon
Birte Hoag
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.
Deirdre Heyder-Harris
Deirdre Heyder-Harris
Forest Kindergarten Assistant
Bio Coming Soon
Laura Barrett
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.
Amanda Suter
Amanda Suter
1st Grade Guide
Bio coming soon
Andrea Marti
Andrea Marti
2nd Grade Guide
Andrea Marti is the second grade teacher at Mangrove School. She has a bachelor’s degree in arts education, a degree in Eurythmy from Spring Valley, and Waldorf teacher certification from Rudolph Steiner College in Sacramento. She has been teaching for 16 years and has taught in California, Hawaii and now Florida which has been her home since 2016. Andrea feels very “at home” in nature and believes that developing a relationship with nature facilitates learning and can give children a peacefulness and sense of feeling “at home” no matter where they are through familiar plants, animals and landscapes. Andrea had always dreamed of sending her children to a Waldorf School. When she had her first child, not only did she make that dream come true but jumped into Waldorf education herself. Having an extensive background in Eurythmy allows for a unique opportunity to integrate movement and music into her classroom and Andrea’s class gets to do Eurythmy every day as part of their routine!  Many people see Eurythmy as a form of dance but it is actually an art that makes sounds visible in movement and is deeply tied to Waldorf educational philosophies.
“Music has the capacity to transform and to elevate and ennoble mankind. The children can ride on the wings of music into their higher self.  Because eurythmy is visible singing, I had an experience of what it is to sing with my body.”
Another way Andrea brings music to the class is through her flute which she plays to accompany the children singing and to call them for certain parts of their day. She believes that the way parents are held is one of the most important things a teacher can do because providing their child with a Waldorf education can transform the family in such an intense and wonderful way and Andrea experienced this herself as a Waldorf Parent.
“One of my greatest passions is being part of creating human beings who see the best in one another and the best in themselves.”
Gabriella Frankhouser
Gabriella Frankhouser
4/5th Grade Guide
Bio Coming Soon
Jon Stevens
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.
Heather Green
Heather Green
Operations Manager
Bio coming soon
Erin Melia
6/7th Grade Guide, Administration
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.

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