Meet the Faculty

Our Early Childhood faculty undertakes a rigorous formal training which includes the pedagogical philosophy, its approach to child development and the pivotal role of child observation for assessing and monitoring each child’s development.

Stephanie Cleary - Parent & Child Teacher, Simplicity Parenting Facilitator
Email

clearys@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Stephanie Cleary is one of the lead teachers in the Parent and Child Program and is the facilitator of the Simplicity Parenting program as both coach and counselor. She holds an undergraduate degree in Art, as well as Waldorf Early Childhood certification along with a range of professional Waldorf certifications.

Stephanie has served as an assistant in the Nursery and Kindergarten, as well as the Afternoon Early Childhood program. Ms. Cleary’s dynamic leadership has led to the launch of several Parent and Child satellite programs along with our Nature Trail program. She is a member of the Diversity Committee and mentors teachers at Our Sons and Daughters, a Waldorf Initiative in Sag Harbor. Her children Luke ’22 and Soleil ’24 attend the School.

Stephanie is a certified yoga instructor, screen writer, and playwright, and has had two Off-Broadway plays produced. She believes that the Waldorf School of Garden City graduates students who are “recognized for their abilities to be self-reliant, socially minded, critical thinkers who are well balanced individuals.”

Cristina Covas - Kindergarten Assistant & After School Program
Email

covasc@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Cristiana Covas received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Florida International University, where she graduated Cum Laude. She joined the Waldorf School of Garden City in 2016.

Prior to joining the School, Christina spent many years assisting in Early Childhood classes including the Waldorf School of Miami. She also served as the lead teacher in the 2.5-3 year old classroom at the Creative Learning Center.

Joanna Dorman '05 - Kindergarten Assistant
Email

dormanj@waldorfgarden.org

Biography 

An alumna of the class of 2005, Joanna Dorman studied at St. Johns College of Annapolis before receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from Fordham University. She holds a Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from the Sunbridge Institute.

Joanna previously worked as a CIT and Counselor at Camp Glen Brook, the School’s New Hampshire campus. Additionally, Joanna served as an Early Childhood Assistant for two years at Green Meadow Waldorf School before returning the Waldorf School of Garden City in 2017.

Joanna is the proud aunt of a current Waldorf School of Garden City Student.

Monica Gallardo - Nursery Teacher
Email

gallardom@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

The 2018-2019 school year marks 19 years in the Early Childhood program for Ms. Gallardo.  Her daughter Carla attended the School and was a student in the Class of 2006.  Ms. Gallardo hails from Ecuador, is fluent in Spanish and has traveled extensively in South America.   Her undergraduate focus was on Latin American Studies.  She has completed numerous graduate and training programs on topics of early childhood education, special education, and Waldorf Education.  She holds a great interest in nutrition and natural healing support.

Karen Giumenta - Nursery Teacher

karen giumenta

Email

giumentak@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Karen Giumenta received her Bachelor of Science degree from Hofstra University and is a graduate of the Sunbridge Institute’s Early Childhood Teacher Training program. She also completed the Waldorf Foundation Studies program through the Winkler Center for Adult Learning.

Karen was the Nursery & Afternoon Care Assistant for many years before transitioning into her current role as lead Nursery Teacher. In addition to her responsibilities as an Early Childhood teacher, Karen is the advisor to the after school gymnastics club for children ages 9-13.

Karen is an avid runner and loves going for early morning runs with her friends before she gets ready to go to school. Her children Joseph ’23 and Francesca ’25 currently attend the Waldorf School of Garden City. Before she joined the School, Karen spent over a decade as the proprietor of a successful Health Food store.

Keelah Nurse Helwig '89 - Mixed-Age Kindergarten Teacher, Early Childhood Chair
Email

helwigk@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

An alumna of the Waldorf School of Garden City, class of 1989, Keelah Helwig received her Bachelor’s Degree in Drama from Spelman College. In 2009 she received her Master’s in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College in Chestnut Ridge, New York.

With two daughters who are alumni of the School and as a graduate of the School’s Foundation Studies program, Keelah is delighted to be part of the preschool faculty, and loves her role as a Kindergarten teacher.

Maria Kata - Mixed-Age Kindergarten Teacher
maria_kataEmail

katam@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Maria Kata earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Spanish Education from Syracuse University and her Master’s in ESL Education from Queens College.   For several years, she taught Spanish and ESL to language learners of all ages, including adults.

After her children were born, she became a childbirth educator, doula, and prenatal yoga instructor.  Upon learning about Waldorf Education, Maria began a Waldorf-inspired cooperative home-schooling group in Suffolk County before joining our Early Childhood faculty in 2008.  She assisted in our Parent-Child and Kindergarten programs, and in 2009, completed the Winkler Center’s Foundations Studies Program.  Maria graduated from Sunbridge Institute in 2014 as a Certified Waldorf Early Childhood Educator, and is thrilled to have become a Lead Kindergarten Teacher in 2015!

In her spare time, Maria loves dance, travel, cooking and eating delicious vegan food, and laughing with her family that includes two daughters who currently attend the School.

Tatyana Kissin - Parent & Child Teacher
Email

kissint@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Tatyana Kissin received her undergraduate degree from New York University and a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College. She is also a graduate of the Foundations Studies program and the Life Ways Training program.

As a Parent & Child Teacher, Tatyana works with families of young children helping to integrate principles necessary for healthy child and family development. She concentrates her work with parents and caretakers of young children. Additionally, Tatyana also helps individuals and couples cope and thrive through life’s various transitions as a psychotherapist in her private practice.

Tatyana is a current parent with 2 children attending the School and 1 who is an alumna.

Abby McGlone '09 - Mixed-Age Kindergarten Assistant

Email

mcglonea@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

A graduate of the Waldorf School of Garden City, Ms. McGlone returned to her alma mater after attending from Marymount Manhattan College and St. Joseph’s College and receiving a certificate in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from the Sunbridge Institute.  After spending several years as an assistant in the nursery program Abby has taken on the assistant position in the Mixed-Age Kindergarten.  Ms. McGlone is an avid flutist and instructs those new to the instrument.  She wants every parent to know that “as a lifelong Waldorf student, I see in myself the fruits of my education.  It is an honor to be embarking on this journey as a teacher.”

Lisa Miccio - Mixed-Age Kindergarten Teacher

Email

micciol@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Lisa Miccio holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from L.I.U/C.W. Post and a Master’s Degree in Waldorf Education from Sunbridge College. Lisa has also received a certificate in Child Development from Birth to Three from Sophia’s Hearth in Keene, NH, as well as, completed Sunbridge Institute’s training in Collaborative Leadership, Negotiation, Pedagogical Leadership, and Conflict Resolution.

Lisa has been in education for over 21 years, with 16 years’ experience as a Waldorf early childhood educator. In addition to her 11 years as a member of the Green Meadow faculty, Lisa’s experience includes teaching at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School (NY) and Dayspring Community School (NY). She also sits on the Sunbridge Board of Trustees, leads the Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood Education course at Sunbridge Institute, and mentors teachers in training.

On a personal note, Lisa has won silver medals competing in doubles beach volleyball in Hong Kong and Liverpool. She is the mother of two Green Meadow Waldorf School alumni.

Rie Seo - Mixed-Age Kindergarten Teacher

Email

seor@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Rie Seo received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama from Tamagawa University in Tokyo, Japan and her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Theater Design from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She earned her Certificate in Early Childhood Education from LifeWays. She is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Teacher Training at the Sunbridge Institute.

Before joining the Waldorf School of Garden City, Rie served as the Aftercare Lead Teacher at New Amsterdam School. She also led nursery and parent/child programs at a Waldorf inspired Japanese Saturday Program in Brooklyn. She was also the founder and lead teacher for outdoor Waldorf inspired parent/child classes in Queens.

Rie is the proud parent of two girls and enjoys spending her time in her family’s vegetable garden.

Wenjun Zhang - Early Childhood Aftercare Coordinator

Email

zhangw@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Wenjun Zhang received her Waldorf Primary and Middle School teacher training at the Chengdu Waldorf School and her Waldorf Community Development and Waldorf School Management training from the Beijing Nan Shan School in China. She later served as a class teacher to the school’s first class at the Shan Shui Tao Yuan Waldorf School, which she also helped found. She went on to complete her Waldorf teacher training with a specialty in healing arts at Antioch University in 2018. She served as an assistant teacher at the Waldorf School of Garden City in 2017-2018 prior to taking over as the Early Childhood Aftercare Coordinator.

Wenjun also has a daughter at the School who is a member of the class of 2020. She loves working with children and their parents, and works hard to build cooperative surroundings in education.

 

Admissions

Carol Proctor - Enrollment Director, Early Childhood - Grade 3
Email

proctorc@waldorfgarden.org

Biography

Originally from South Africa, Carol Proctor first became acquainted with Waldorf Education when her youngest child attended a Waldorf program in Johannesburg. Carol holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand as well as a Bachelor and Master of Law Degree from the University of South Africa.

Carol has also completed the Foundation Studies Program through the Winkler Center for Adult Learning. Before joining the administrative team at the Waldorf School of Garden City, Carol taught high school in South Africa and worked in diplomatic, corporate and legal environments in New York. Introducing families to the world of Waldorf Education, Carol believes, is a most gratifying opportunity!