Staff

 

Steve Bernstein – Chorus, Games and Recorder Ensemble

Steve Bernstein joined Mt. Laurel Waldorf School as a parent in 1999. Steve taught and performed music in various ensembles for 20 years before beginning his Waldorf musical journey by playing guitar and mandolin for the Early Childhood Program and school festivals. He transitioned into the classrooms supporting class teachers in music education and arranging music for plays and other events. In 2003, Steve accepted the directorship of the Mountain Laurel Recorder Ensemble, a performing after school group of 5th- 8th graders. He writes most of his 4-part arrangements for the ensemble and has published his first recorder book with Waldorf Publications. Since 2009, Steve has also been teaching chorus and has been the 4th and 5th grade games teacher since 2015.

Steve serves on the Three Streams and Music groups.

 

Mark Bernstein – Orchestra and Ensembles

Mark received his BFA in Music from Ramapo College of NJ and has been performing and teaching music throughout the NYC and Hudson Valley area for over 40 years. He has performed and recorded with such artists as Willie Nelson, The Oakridge Boys, Boots Randolph, Mel Tillis and Allison Kraus. Playing with the jazz quartet, Avenues, Mark has shared the stage with Grover Washington, the Brecker Brothers, Dave Valentine, Kenny Rankin, and Bela Fleck; he toured nationally for five years with the 10-time Grammy Award winning Jimmy Sturr Orchestra. From 2000 to present Mark has directed the music program at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School. He is proud to say that, of his six children, three attended the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Spring Valley, NY—K through 12—and three are graduates of MLWS!

Mark serves on the Personnel and Music groups.

 

Patricia Dewitte-Kuyl – Office Manager

Patricia Dewitte-Kuyl is a native from Belgium, raised as a francophone in Flanders. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Oriental Philology and History from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium and her Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Osaka University, Japan. She married in Japan and worked as a freelance translator/interpreter in the French, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese and English languages for many years after she moved to America. She has 3 children through which she discovered Waldorf education. She has worked 13 years at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School as a kindergarten assistant, administrative assistant and office manager.

Patricia serves on the Admin, Enrollment and Eurythmy groups.

 


John EvansThird Grade Teacher

Mr. Evans has been teaching young children for twenty years, has trained in Waldorf Education at Sunbridge College and taught for eleven years at MLWS.

John serves on the Personnel and Eurythmy groups.

 

 

 

 

Carly Fridlich – Kindergarten Assistant

Carly grew up in Orange County New York.  After graduating from State University of New York at New Paltz with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Minor of Art, she decided to move to Colorado.  Within a few months, Carly began working at a Montessori preschool as a lead teacher.  There she found her love for teaching and children.  Researching different philosophies of thought on education, she found the Waldorf and Steiner teachings. Carly taught at Front Range Waldorf School in Lakewood, CO for two years, one year as a lead in the nursery and another co-leading a mixed age kindergarten.  Carly completed her Early Childhood Waldorf teacher training at Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, NY.  Later, Carly began teaching as a lead in the preschool at Mountain Phoenix Community School, a Waldorf inspired charter school in Colorado.  After 3 years at MPCS and 9 years in CO, Carly moved back to the Hudson Valley with her husband and 2 children.  She began assisting in the kindergarten at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in 2016.  Carly is so excited to be part of a Waldorf community again.

 

Bevin Gill – Sixth Grade Teacher

Bevin has lived in the New Paltz area for five years, after fifteen years of working in New York City in fashion and journalism. She received a Bachelor’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and after having children, moved with her family to New Zealand to study Steiner Education at Taruna College. She is a certified Waldorf teacher with experience assisting early childhood programs, leading a Waldorf summer camp, and teaching at a farm school. Bevin enjoys impromptu picnics, exploring forests, and writing stories- all of which she gets to share with her class. This is her first cycle as a grades teacher, and she is continually excited to meet each year of change and growth within the students at Mountain Laurel.

Bevin serves on the Three Streams group and the Executive Committee.

 

Judy JaeckelLead Administrator

Judy has worked at Mountain Laurel since it’s founding and has served as the Lead Administrator for over 20 years. She has a background in administration in the opera and arts world before coming to Waldorf education. Her children attended Waldorf Schools, and her late husband, Klaus, was an integral part of the school for many years. 

Judy serves the school on the Admin, Communications, Enrollment, Executive Committee, Finance, Site, Strategic Planning groups, and is a member of the Board.

 

Greta JeeFifth Grade Teacher

Greta Jee has been involved in the Waldorf movement since her teacher training began in 2007. She earned her Waldorf Certification (K-Grade 8) and M.Ed from Antioch University New England.  Before joining the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, Greta taught at the Brooklyn Waldorf School for three years (2013-16), and was the founding Kindergarten Teacher at The New Amsterdam School in Manhattan, teaching there for two years (2011-13).  Greta received her B.A. in Humanities from Washington College, an intimate Liberal Arts school on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Greta moved to Camphill Village, in Copake, New York–an Anthroposophical intentional community–where she lived and worked alongside adults with developmental disabilities and underwent a training in Curative Education and Foundation Studies. It is there that Greta became interested in Waldorf Education and began her path as a student of Anthroposophy.   She is overjoyed to lead the Fifth Grade class this year!

Greta serves on the All School Meeting, Communications and Strategic Planning groups.

 

Donna JensenHandwork Teacher

Donna is the mother of two sons, Julian (MLWS class of 2008) and Jarrett (MLWS class of 2010). She is an avid traveler, dancer, gardener and beach-comber.

Donna was born on Long Island, was an AFS exchange student to Turkey and has lived in Minnesota, NYC, New Hampshire and Ohio. She moved to New Paltz to attend SUNY, receiving a bachelor of Science in Physics in 1985. Donna worked in business with her former husband at Ireland Corners Tire Center before finding her way to Mountain Laurel. She found her path to Waldorf teaching through her son, Julian. He was enrolled in the Nursery at Mountain Laurel in 1996. Three years later Donna was volunteering in Julian’s first grade handwork class and after that was asked to teach second and third grade Handwork. In addition to teaching lower grades handwork she was also the afternoon Kindergarten Teacher. Donna attended Sunbridge College, receiving her Applied Arts Certificate in 2007.

Donna is so grateful for all the years (17 and counting) of teaching at Mountain Laurel. Being a part of this community has given her so much joy and fulfillment and offered so much opportunity for personal growth .

 

Carol JordanBusiness Manager

Carol came to Mountain Laurel fifteen years ago, when her family moved to the New Paltz area and her children joined the school, from a background in Law and Finance. 

Carol serves on the Admin, Enrollment, Finance and Personnel groups.

 

 

 

 

Veronica Kent – Kindergarten Lead Afternoon Teacher/Aftercare Teacher

Veronica Kent has been the afternoon lead kindergarten teacher at MLWS since 2009. She combines her experience as a harpist trained in contemplative musicianship and early childhood music with her ongoing professional studies in Waldorf education to bring a joyful and peaceful atmosphere to the afternoon kindergarten. She believes that music is an important aspect of early childhood education and has studied music of the mood of the fifth, as indicated by Rudolf Steiner, as well as trained in other contemporary and classical early childhood music idealogies. She tells stories, plays the harp and sings daily for the children in her care, as well as for puppet shows and festivals.
Miss Veronica also leads the MLWS aftercare program, where she combines free play with structured games and activities to provide a healthy afterschool atmosphere for children spanning the grades. She has two children who have graduated from MLWS and is expecting the newest member of the family to arrive in December.

 

 

Laura Klimenchenko – Kindergarten Assistant

Laura grew up in New Jersey. She received he BA in Fine Arts from Montclair University in 1988. She spent the next 5 years painting and exhibiting work in the tri-state area. It is during this time that Laura started going on sabbaticals to have focused time in nature to support her creative expression.
From 1993-2004 Laura lived and offered service at a retreat site in upstate NY where she learned and developed a practice of meditation and yoga.  It was there that she meet her husband, Vladimir,  they have 2 boys, Ilia and Liam. In 2005 Laura and her family moved to the New Paltz area and discovered Waldorf Education which aligned perfectly with their values and what they had envisioned for their children.  Laura started teaching art in New Paltz however,  she soon realized that her interest in Waldorf Education was growing.  In 2013 Laura began the Early Childhood Teacher Training at Sunbridge Institute during which time she also worked at the Acorn School with her mentor.  From 2013-2015 Laura assisted in Handwork and Sculpture classes at Mountain Laurel.  For the last 2 years Laura has been working in the the Early Childhood Program as the afternoon assistant.
Marilyn LiebowitzSculpture Teacher

Marilyn has been immersed in art and sculpture since being an art major in high school in NYC. She studied conceptual sculpture with Tony Smith at Hunter College, accepted a full scholarship to the Brooklyn Museum of Art to study oil painting and print making. Marilyn went on to the Pratt Institute to get her BFA in Sculpture, Ceramics and art education. She has an NYC Teaching Certification to teach art to K-12, followed by art graduate courses at the Pratt Institute and UMASS at Amherst. 

Marilyn then discovered Waldorf education, and studied for three years with Michael Howard and Peter Stebbing at the Waldorf Institute and Sculpture College. She also studied for one year with Lucas Zey and then worked and studied with Christian Hitch at the Goethealum in Dornach, Germany.

Marilyn has served as the sculpture teacher at Mountain Laurel for over twenty years. She also serves on the Executive Committee.

 

Rachel Loshak – Second Grade Teacher

Rachel has lived in the U.S. since 1995 after being raised in the U.K.. She has a BA Honors degree in Creative Arts from Nottingham University, a certificate in Music Therapy from The New School, NYC and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Alkion, Ghent NY. Rachel’s previous work experience includes creative arts therapist, art photo retouching, administrating. She has also toured extensively and has composed and recorded six albums as a singer/songwriter/bassist. Rachel has also taught singing and choir to children aged 3-14 years. Rachel joined Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in 2016 as a practicing teacher and a sub until joining as the new first grade teacher in 2017. She is committed to her continued study of the work of Rudolph Steiner and is very happy to be a part of the heartfelt community at the Mountain Laurel.

Rachel serves on the All School Meeting, Communications, Enrollment, Eurythmy and Strategic Planning groups.

 

Theodor LundinFirst Grade Teacher

Theo has been teaching as a grades teacher in Waldorf Schools for twenty five years here at Mountain Laurel and at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. 

Theo serves on the Personnel group. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hans Von Moritz – Eighth Grade Teacher

Theology studies at a German university and life changing years at the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California prepared the ground for Hans’ work as a
teacher. Now working at Waldorf Schools as a language and class teacher has been the center of his adult professional life for almost four decades. This work in German, Canadian, and North American schools finally brought him to New Paltz where he became a part of the faculty and took on a class. Ramona, his spouse, who introduced him to Anthroposophy and Waldorf education almost 40 years ago, and their four children have supported and accompanied him steadfastly on that path.

Hans serves on the Three Streams group and is the chair for that group, as well as serving as the Pedagogical Chair.

 

Preston NeelFourth Grade Teacher

Mr. Neel was raised in Macon, GA and Los Angeles. As a young adult he lived and worked along the West Coast, in the Southwest and Colorado as a scrimshaw artist, laborer, carpenter and sail boat crewman. He studied illustration for three years at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and has since worked as a children’s book illustrator and teacher. Mr. Neel came to New Paltz with his family in 2002, graduated from the Waldorf teacher training program at Sunbridge College and has been a grade teacher at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School for 12 years. Mr. Neel considers the diversity of his experience to be his greatest education, settling down, watching his two daughters grow, and cultivating a love of learning in children, has been the most fulfilling and meaningful adventure of all.

Preston serves on the Three Streams and Music group and is a member of the Board.

 

Aram OarceaSeventh Grade Teacher

“Mr. Aram” was born and raised in Romania. He came to the US in 1990 to study Anthroposophy and Waldorf education. He graduated from the Waldorf Institute/ Sunbridge College, Spring Valley, NY in 1993.
He has been teaching at Mountain Laurel since 1996. He is the father of three alumni and he is currently teaching the seventh grade.

Aram serves on the Finance and Three Streams groups and is the current College Chair.

 

 

Marta PorrasSpanish Teacher

Marta has worked at Mountain Laurel as the Spanish Teacher for over 15 years. 

Marta serves on the Three Streams group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosana Workman – Kindergarten Teacher

Born and raised in Brazil, she earned a medical degree there in 1979. She developed an interest in the work of Rudolf Steiner while still in Brazil, which eventually led her to Waldorf Education. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College in 2000. She has worked at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School since 1992, first as a Handwork teacher, then in the Nursery and Kindergarten.

Rosana serves on the Executive Committee, Finance and Early Childhood Pedagogical groups.