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.

Liza Alicea - Kindergarten Assistant

After a decade, Ms. Alicea left a successful career in the dental industry to join the Waldorf School of Garden City to assist in the kindergarten.   She has completed undergraduate work in human development, the Foundation Studies Diploma at the Winkler Center, and is an extensive reader and crafter.  Her daughter Leila is a member of the Class of 2028.  She believes that the teachers in the early childhood program carry with them the gesture of “patience, presence and persistence.”

Cristina Covas - Kindergarten Assistant

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.


Stephanie Cleary - Parent and Child Teacher, Simplicity Parenting Facilitator
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In her 9 years at the Waldorf School Stephanie has served as an assistant in the Nursery and Kindergarten, and worked in the Afternoon Early Childhood program. Currently she is one of the lead teachers in the Parent and Child Program and is the facilitator of the Simplicity Parenting program. Ms. Cleary’s dynamic leadership has led to the launch of several Parent and Child satellite programs. Ms. Cleary is a member of the Diversity Committee and mentors teachers at Our Sons and Daughters, a Waldorf Initiative in Sag Harbor. She holds an undergraduate degree in Art, as well as a range of professional Waldorf certifications, with a graduate degree in Teaching and Learning in progress. Her children Luke ’22 and Soleil ’24 attend the school.  She is 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.”

Monica Gallardo - Nursery Lead Teacher, Parent and Child Teacher, Member of the College of Teachers
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The 2015-2016 school year is Ms. Gallardo’s 16th year working in the Early Childhood program at the School.  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 programs and trainings 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 giumentaMs. Giumenta spent over a decade as the proprietor of a successful Health Food store, before she joined the School four years ago.  Ms. Giumentacompleted her undergraduate work in Computer Science, has completed both the Foundations Studies program through the Winkler Center for Adult Education and is a graduate of the Sunbridge Institute’s Early Childhood Teacher Training program.  Her children Joseph (’23) and Francesca (’25) attend the School. She is a gymnastics coach for children agest 9-13.   Her favorite memory at the School is from last year’s class play, Johnny Appleseed, where “the deep sense of kinship among the children and their teacher was palpable.”


Keelah Nurse Helwig - Kindergarten Lead Teacher, Chair of the College of Teachers
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Ms. Helwig ’88, her husband Harry ’89, and eldest daughter Empress ’15 are all graduates of the Waldorf School of Garden City—with her youngest daughter Nzingha ’17 soon to follow. After attending a historically black college, Ms. Helwig completed her graduate work in Early Childhood education and the Foundation Studies Diploma at the Winkler Center.  A frequent conference attendee and presenter, the 2015-2016 school year is her tenth year at the School’s Kindergarten.  Her favorite memory from last year was “watching the children’s faces light up as they watched the puppet show The Roly Poly Rice Ball.  The set, costumes, and puppets came alive and the children were delighted!”  Ms. Helwig wants every parent to know that “there is beauty in silence.  It is a gift to our children when we create opportunities for them to just be.”

Carrie Vincenti Jaskowski - Early Childhood Aftercare Coordinator
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For over nine years Ms. Jaskowski’s cheerful presence has graced the early childhood classrooms.  Beyond her undergraduate degree, she holds a diploma in Foundation Studies from the Winkler Center for Adult Education, and has completed study in Biodynamic Farming—a true passion!  Her three children– Oliver (‘16), Sebastian-Class of (’20) and Lily (’23) attend the school.  She wants every parent to know that she sees a [qualitative] difference “in children who have gone through the Waldorf School of Garden City, in that they are present in what they do.”


Maria Kata - Kindergarten Lead Teacher


After working as an assistant in one of the Mixed-Age Kindergarten classes for the past 5 years, Mrs. Kata joins the School this year as one the lead teachers in the program. Mrs. Kata completed her undergraduate studies in elementary education and a graduate degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. She is fluent in Spanish.  A graduate of the Sunbridge Institute where she received her Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Certification and holds a Foundation Studies Diploma from the Winkler Center for Adult Education. The parent of two current Waldorf students Mrs. Kata, believes that “Our classrooms and play yards offer a haven for children to explore, work meaningfully, and play imaginatively . . . so building the foundation for all future learning.”

Tatyana Kissin - Parent-Child Program Teacher


Tatyana works with families of young children to help integrate some of the principles necessary for healthy child and family development. A graduate of the Foundations Studies program and the Life Ways Training program, Tatyana concentrates her work with parents and caretakers of young children. She received her undergraduate degree from New York University and a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College. Tatyana also helps individuals, couples, and families establish and strengthen the healthy social foundations for life’s various transitions in her private practice as a social worker.

Abby McGlone - Nursery Assistant

The 2015-2016 academic year marks the third year of Ms. McGlone’s work as assistant in the nursery program.  A graduate of the Waldorf School of Garden City, Class of 2009, Ms. McGlone returned to her alma mater, after graduating from college with a degree in Theatre Arts.  She will graduate from the Sunbridge Institute this July with a certificate in Waldorf Early Childhood Education.  Ms. McGlone is avid flutist and instructs those new to the instrument.  Ms. McGlone 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 - Nursery Teacher

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.




Carol Proctor - Associate Director of Admissions for Early Childhood


Ms. Proctor holds both an undergraduate degree in English and Geography, completed a graduate diploma in Education, has two law degrees, a Foundation Studies diploma, and is an author of a book on financing international trade contracts.   Originally from South Africa, Ms. Proctor started her journey with Waldorf Education as a parent, with her son Sean, who was enrolled in small playgroup in Johannesburg.  Ms. Proctor spent five years working as an English teacher and has been a part of the School’s Administration for the past 16 years.  Her children Sean ’11 and Jaclyn ’14 are both graduates of the Waldorf School of Garden City.  Her husband Michael Proctor is Technology Director at JP Morgan Chase and has been a Member of the School’s Board of Trustees since 2009.  Her favorite memory from last year was “The class of 2015’s African dance performance at the Thanksgiving Assembly.  The authenticity brought by students with personal experiences and cultural ties to countries in Africa was palpable.”   She wants every parent to know that “while Early Childhood education is critical in building the right foundation, the fruits of Waldorf education are truly appreciated when you see your children’s engagement in college and beyond.”