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
 
  • Libby Bailey - Sandpiper VPK Assistant
  • Jada Beasely - Grades Assistant
  • Lisa Bohn – Ukulele; Nursery Assistant
  • Jessica Bromby – Nature Studies, Cultural Connections
  • Jonathan Cunningham – Qi Gong
  • Jean Ferderber – Handwork, Mentor
  • Kai Green - Gardening, Games
  • Liz Pascoe - Drama/Singing
  • Krisztina Petrulis - Bluebird Kindergarten Assistant
  • Sydney Whitlock - Forest Kindergarten Assistant
  • Kalin Wilson – Storigami and Japanese, Grades and EC Substitute
Nahidia Henry
Nahidia Henry
Meadowlark Nursery
Nahidia is a dedicated teacher whose passion for nature education stems from her upbringing in Saint Lucia, where she spent much of her childhood in deep exploration of the outdoors. Nahidia received her Bachelor's degree with a focus on childhood development and mathematics from Nyack College, and is pursuing certifications in both Waldorf education and Pikler Institute, to support her practice of peaceful and tender care of young children. She is also Wilderness First Aid certified. Nahidia uses a warm and gentle approach to care for young children through purposeful activities and lovingly guiding them as they experience nature in its purest form. Woven into her work with children is a strong desire to support her students’ whole body health and wellness. In her leisure time, she enjoys camping, the outdoors, hiking, traveling, and learning about plants.
Cat Welch
Cat Welch
Bluebird Kindergarten
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.
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
1st Grade Guide
Ms. Deirdre thoroughly enjoys guiding young children to experience wonder and delight. She is a third generation trained Waldorf school Early Childhood educator and was born and raised in Europe; she lived in Germany and Ireland. She has a BS degree in Early Childhood Education from SUNY Oneonta, a Waldorf Early Childhood degree, and a Level 1 Nature-Based Teacher certificate along with Reggio Emilia philosophy experience. Deirdre’s practice stems from her deeply rooted beliefs about children’s early years in nature as the foundation of learning. “Out there is where children unfold their curiosity and love for learning about the world around them. There is so much to discover, so many questions to be asked, and answers to be found rather than given.” She feels that now more than ever, a child needs to have a relationship with nature to balance out the fast pace of our current, very electronically driven world. She has decades of experience teaching in indoor and outdoor environments that emphasize the developmental needs of children and can seamlessly integrate Waldorf and nature-based teachings. When not teaching, Deirdre prizes both time in nature hiking and many creative pursuits, such as painting, illustrating children’s books, and fiber arts.
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
2nd Grade Guide
Ms. Amanda is an experienced and passionate teacher dedicated to inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards. She has 15 years of experience as an early childhood educator, and after beginning her time at Mangrove in early childhood for two seasons, Amanda has since taken on the challenge of moving with a class of grade students as our first-grade teacher this year. Amanda studied Early Childhood Education at State College of Florida; she holds Florida Professional Credentials and the Florida VPK endorsed Director Credential. She has Nature-based Teacher Certification from ERAFANS, and continues to expand her knowledge and skills through ongoing professional development and personal growth with both Waldorf education training and nature education practices. Amanda’s teaching style is characterized by her ability to connect with her students and create a sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world. She believes that children learn best when actively engaged in the learning process and that hands-on experiences are essential for fostering a deep connection with nature.
Jon Stevens
Jon Stevens
3rd/4th 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, graduating his first class in 2023. 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
Upper Grades 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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