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Head of School
Director of Enrollment
Chief Financial Officer
Director of Operations
Associate Director of Student Information Systems
Community & Events Coordinator
Extended Day Assistant Teacher
Ronnie completed her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, receiving her MAT in Teaching in 1970. She received her Montessori Certification in 1972. She was appointed to Manhattan’s Community Planning Board #1 in 1979, and served on the Design Committees of both the Washington Market Park and P.S. 234. She has been a faculty member in the Early Childhood Education Department at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). During her sabbatical in 1993-1994, Ronnie was the Head of the Lower School of the Bali International School. Ronnie has served on the Board of Directors for BMCC’s Daycare Center, as well as serving 18 years on the Board of Trustees for ISAAGNY where she was the early childhood head of its mentorship program and the strategic planning committee. Ronnie also holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Baruch College and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from NYU. Ronnie has trained as a child and an adult psychoanalyst and is a member of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. Over the years, Ronnie has raised “thousands” of WMS kids (as well as three of her own)!
Since 1976, when she founded WMS with 6 children in her Greenwich Street loft, Ronnie has been responsible for ensuring that WMS lives up to its goal of providing an exemplary educational experience for each child. Ronnie is the often unseen eyes in every classroom, known to and familiar with each child (especially as Hudson Street’s “Lunch Monster”), and is always available to help teachers with challenging issues. She meets bi-weekly with the entire staff to discuss curriculum and child development issues, sits in on team meetings at both sites, and meets regularly with our Child Development Consultant. Together with the Site Directors, she plans professional development workshops for our staff. Ronnie also meets with parents to discuss their children’s progress and provides consultations regarding the ongoing schools selection process. She serves on the Board of Trustees for WMS. She is the school’s official liaison to all City and State licensing and regulatory agencies, as well as to several local community and educational organizations. Feel free to contact Ronnie with any questions you may have about our school’s history or educational philosophy.
Maria was born and raised in New Jersey. She attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where she received a BA in English Literature. After graduating, Maria moved to Brooklyn and began a brief career in fashion. Quickly realizing young children and their development were where her interests lay, Maria began working in a 3s/4s program in the West Village. She went on to receive a dual MA in Early Childhood Education and Special Education for Early Childhood at New York University. Maria started at WMS in 2011 as a classroom teacher and spent many wonderful years in Classroom D! Wanting to understand schools and the education of young children more holistically Maria transitioned into the Enrollment Team where she had the opportunity to work closely with Ronnie and Rachael building the WMS community. Maria now lives in NJ with her husband and 2-year-old son and is thrilled to be starting her 9th year at WMS and 3rd year as Site Director at Hudson Street.
Heather was raised in New Hampshire and still enjoys spending time there in the summer with her family. She attended the University of New Hampshire and received a B.S. in Family Studies. After taking a child development course Heather knew she wanted to pursue a career in early childhood education. Heather was particularly interested in the Reggio Emilia philosophy and had the opportunity to spend many semesters at the UNH Child Study and Development Center, a Reggio inspired center. After graduating, Heather moved to Washington D.C. and began her teaching career in a Quaker preschool. After many years, she came to NYC and received a Master’s Degree in Special Education at Bank Street College. Heather continued to work in a Quaker School, this time a K-12 school for children with learning disabilities in Brooklyn. There she taught kindergarten, was head of the lower school and head of admissions. In addition, Heather was an adjunct professor at Bank Street College and Hunter College. She is delighted to be back in preschool as the Site Director at Duane Street. This is Heather’s fifth year with WMS.
Lauren was born and attended nursery school here in New York City. She went on to attend the Hackley School in Westchester, Middlebury College in VT, and got her MBA from École des hautes études commerciales de Paris while she and her husband were living abroad. Prior to her MBA, Lauren worked in fundraising across the hedge fund and endowment management spaces with a focus on endowments and foundations. She now lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and two daughters, Lily and Lulu. Lauren has led the PA for multiple years at her daughters' preschool school in addition to helping the admissions office meet and tour prospective parents at the Trinity School on the UWS. She is very excited to join the enrollment team at WMS. Lauren works with all aspects of enrollment for our student body. She works with the enrollment team in the process of touring and placing new families. She also works closely with our Head of School, Ronnie, on the ongoing school process, helping families apply to public and independent schools. Lauren is based at the Hudson Street site.
Mike grew up across the river in New Jersey where he attended Montclair State University and earned his BA in Business Administration. He started his career in corporate finance working in various roles, but primarily in forecasting and financial analysis. As Mike went on to earn his MBA at William Paterson University, he also transitioned into education administration. He has enjoyed gaining valuable experience in both the public and private education sectors and finally landed at Washington Market School in 2016. Mike is thrilled to be a part of the WMS community.
Carrie is a native New Yorker who lives with her family in the West Village. She graduated with a BS in Business Administration and started her career in the banking industry. She left banking to pursue her own business and, once successfully launched, moved on to a career in Human Resources as a consultant. For the last 12 years she has been raising her daughter and volunteering with the Parents’ Association at The Little Red Schoolhouse & Elisabeth Irwin High School. She has held various positions including two years as Co-President. She enjoys all family activities including theater, NYC cultural excursions and family game night.
Genna grew up in Brooklyn. She received her Bachelor's in Cognitive Science-Linguistics and Italian from Pitzer College and her Master's in International Education from NYU. Prior to Washington Market, Genna worked in higher ed and K-12 admissions and taught English in Italy through a Fulbright scholarship. In her free time, Genna likes to tap dance and go camping.
Julia grew up in West London, England. She graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Geography from Royal Holloway University of London before her career in event planning. She took a break from her career for a wonderful two year backpacking adventure travelling through 5 continents. For the last 12 years she has been raising her two children and volunteering with the PTA at PS 107 in Park Slope. She has held various positions with the PTA from class parent, volunteer, auction chair to the director of community and fundraising events. Julia is excited to be working at WMS as the Community and Events coordinator, located at the Duane St site, working closely with class parents and parent volunteers to bring fun, exciting & meaningful events to the school community.
Jaya grew up in a spiritual/interfaith community known as Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida. From there, she went on to earn her BA in Art History at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Following college she moved to Aspen, CO for four years where she learned how to snowboard and enjoyed the splendor of the Rocky Mountains. In 2008 she moved to NYC and held various jobs as a nanny and a Family Assistant at Bank Street Head Start until 2013. This is Jaya’s 8th year at WMS and she is very excited for another wonderful and productive year. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their 3 year old son, Giri. Jaya also enjoys reading, hiking, biking, and going to the beach with her family. As an Administrative Coordinator Jaya works at the front desk of the Duane Street site. She is responsible for welcoming families and providing administrative support. She collects and organizes all of the health and parent forms for the children at Duane. She ensures that information about school functions is available for parents to review. She also assists in the implementation of events.
Brooke grew up in Connecticut on the Long Island Sound and received her BA in Psychology from Trinity College. While attending Trinity, Brooke worked at the on-campus child care center as an assistant teacher for four years. She previously worked for a Media company on the Digital Investments team, and missed working in an educational environment - which is why she is thrilled to be apart of the WMS community. In her free time she loves to ski, go for runs, and enjoy the company of her family and friends.
Carmen was born and raised in New York City. She received her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from University of Hartford, her Masters in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education, and is certified to teach in New York. Carmen lives in Queens with her husband, two children, and bulldog. She loves reading, photography, and spending time with her family. This is Carmen’s ninth year at The Washington Market School.
Odette was raised in Westport, Massachusetts. Her family is originally from the Azores, which are nine Portuguese Islands 900 miles off the coast of Portugal. Odette received dual BA’s in Education and Sociology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She also holds an MA in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College. She is New York State certified and licensed to teach from birth to sixth grade. Odette completed her yoga training for children through Karma Kids in NY and is certified to teach yoga to ages 1-18. In her spare time she enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. She also loves traveling, hiking, being by the ocean, yoga and dancing. Odette is looking forward to beginning her 18th year at WMS.
Christine was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She later moved to Staten Island where she lives with her 10 year old son JJ and dog Maggie. After student teaching at WMS in high school, Christine attended Hunter College and graduated with her degree in English. After graduating she returned to WMS as a full-time teacher and has been part of the WMS family ever since. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, baking, and being her son’s biggest cheerleader during his basketball games. She is excited to begin her 18th year at WMS and her first year teaching with Lisa!
Nicole is from a small town in west central PA. She attended New York University, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education – she is certified by the State of New York in both fields. Nicole is an American Montessori Society trained educator for ages 3-6. She served as a field consultant to the West Side Montessori Teacher Education program, where she co-taught the student teaching course and is a past participant of the International Study Group in Reggio Emilia, Italy. As a child, Nicole often traveled to visit her father’s family in Hungary, and she continues to have a passion for travel and the arts. Nicole lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 4-year-old son, Enzo. This will be her 15th year at Washington Market School.
As a child growing up in San Francisco, Maxwell's favorite things to do were swimming in the ocean, watching movies with his family, and rooting for the Giants. He attended and later worked at a Reggio-inspired school in the Mission district, which he credits for his love of working with children. After earning a B.A. in Film from USC, he worked in Education and restaurants, did some traveling, and moved to New York to earn a M.S. in Education from Sarah Lawrence. He spent the past five years teaching at Manhattan Country School, and is excited to return to Early Childhood Education for his first year WMS.
Sonya was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where she studied Anthropology and Social Justice Education. This is Sonya's second year of teaching at Washington Market, and has worked at WMS Summer camp for 5 years. Sonya is passionate about art, music, and exploring nature. She is very excited to support her class both academically and emotionally during this very different school year.
Thomas was born and raised in Tribeca and is a Washington Market School Alumni. Thomas taught at the Hudson street location of WMS for four years before pursuing his masters degree and is excited for his first year at Duane . He has a B.S. in Biology and Philosophy from University of Wisconsin- Madison and an M.A. in early childhood education and early childhood special education from NYU Steinhardt. Thomas is an avid rock climber and outdoor enthusiast who enjoys woodworking and magical realism.
Janie was born and raised in Florida. She has a B.A. in Religion and Gender Studies from New College of Florida. Janie loves reading and exploring the city in her free time. She is very excited for her first year at WMS!
Linda has been teaching in NYC for two decades. She holds a Ms.Ed from Queens College and a BFA from the School of Visual Arts. She also completed the Montessori accreditation program at West Side Montessori. She was born and raised in Queens, where she still lives with her husband and two children. She enjoys painting and drawing, reading biographies and visiting museums. Linda is looking forward to her fifth year at WMS.
Molly joins us from the mountains of Colorado for her third year at The Washington Market School. She graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Social Work degree and is currently pursuing her early childhood Montessori credential at West Side Montessori School. Molly loves anything sweet and is always up for a class dance party. She is beyond excited for another year at WMS.
Deanna was born and raised in New York City. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and Sociology from Hunter College. Deanna enjoys reading and drawing in her free time. She is very excited for her second year at WMS!
Marsha was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has a Bachelor's degree in Children Studies, a Masters degree in General and Special Early Childhood Education, and is Montessori trained. Marsha enjoys spending time with loved ones, decorating, singing, and traveling! She is excited to spend her fourteenth year at the Washington Market School!
Catherine grew up in New York City. After graduating from the Horace Mann School, she received a BA in Writing and History from Johns Hopkins University. While she worked at the Park Children’s Day School, she received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education (ages birth through 2nd grade) at the Bank Street College of Education. Also, she has her New York State Teaching license. Before WMS, she taught kindergarten for two years at the Brooklyn Friends School. She currently serves on the Professional Development Teacher Advisory Council at the Wildlife Conservation Society and is looking forward to furthering their connection to the Washington Market School through educational programs. In her free time, Catherine enjoys cooking, reading, and keeping in touch with her former students. This will be Catherine’s seventh year at WMS, and she is ready for a great year!
Stina Puotinen is originally from New York City, and spent her teen years in Baltimore, MD. She has been working in Museum Education since 2005, teaching at leading NYC arts institutions including the MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among many others, as well in public and private school classrooms across the city! She is currently in her second year of the West Side Montessori School Teacher Education Program. She also holds an MFA in Collaborative Practice from Manchester School of Art, UK, and keeps up her own art-making practice. She loves approaching both teaching and learning creatively and collaboratively. She now lives in Brooklyn with her rescue chihuahua Paco, and they both love park walks, beach trips and making new friends.
Bridgitte grew up in sunny San Diego, CA. She has a BA in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MA in anthropology from The George Washington University. She spent a number of years in Washington, DC in museum education, after which she moved to Los Angeles and worked in fundraising for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Upon moving to NYC, she began working with kids at various schools in the metro area. Bridgitte has always enjoyed working with younger children and finds them fascinating to have conversations with. She is looking forward to getting to know the students in Classroom D and seeing them learn throughout the year.
Sana was raised in Singapore, and just moved to New York just last month! She is thrilled to be here, and is excited to experience winter (and snow) for the first time in her life. She graduated from Occidental College in 2017 and has spent the past few years teaching at an international preschool in Singapore. In her spare time, Sana enjoys reading, running, and Facetiming her dog back home. She is looking forward to beginning her first year at WMS!
Claudia grew up in Brooklyn. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Childhood Education and Special Education at Hunter College. Before teaching at Washington Market, Claudia worked at Reading Partners, a literacy intervention nonprofit. This is her third year at WMS.
Hannah grew up in New Jersey. She received her B.S. from New York Institute of Technology in Behavioral Science. Hannah loves hiking and running in her spare time. This is Hannah's second year at Washington Market School. Before working at WMS she was a tutor and nanny.
Liza grew up in Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in English from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Rabbinic Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Liza believes in fostering an environment of creativity in the classroom. In her free time, she loves exploring NYC coffee shops and looking longingly at all the cute dogs walking around.
Julie began life in Chicago where she grew up with a strong appreciation of the arts. In 1981 she moved to NYC to attend Pratt Institute and later worked in both the photography and film industries. Along the way, Julie’s interest in early childhood education became clear once she began teaching film and art workshops to kids. Later, she began teaching at a science center in Brooklyn, getting comfortable introducing kids to all kinds of wonderful animals, from a blue-tongued skink to Hazel the rat! Julie then headed up one of the Pre-K classes in a science-based preschool for many years. Julie has also spent time teaching in India where she used her background in art and science as a fun and engaging way to teach English to young children. Julie has had an active art practice throughout her life and continues to do so while balancing life as an early childhood educator. Julie adores teaching little humans and nurturing their natural sense of curiosity and wonder. She is excited to join The Washington Market School for her first year!
Jan is originally from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Jan has a BS in Elementary Education from City College and a Masters in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College. Jan serves on the Early Childhood advisory board at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Jan loves to travel.
Monica was born and raised in New York City. She holds a B.A. from Colby College in Studio Art and Art History. Before arriving at Washington Market School, Monica completed three years as an assistant teacher in the Pre-K program at an ongoing private school in Manhattan. She has worked in hospital settings with Art Therapists and is currently taking classes to complete her M.A. in Early Childhood Education and Special Education at Bank Street College. Monica loves to create, learn, and laugh with children and especially loves a good classroom dance party. Monica can’t wait to begin her fourth year at WMS.
Athena Decker is thrilled to be joining WMS for the 2021-22 school year! A graduate of Bank Street College of Education, Athena has spent the last three years as an associate at the Dalton School. There, she furthered her love of teaching reading, poetry, and creative social studies units; such as a study of the artist Kehinde Wiley and hosting a classroom farmer’s market. Athena lives in New Jersey with her husband and three year old beagle mix, Bodega. In her free time Athena enjoys reading, baking cookies, and sailing New York Harbor.
Molly Dore was born and raised in New York City. She received her BA in Music and Psychology from Bennington College. In her free time she loves to write music, spend time in Prospect Park and cook. Molly is very excited to start her second year at WMS!
Biancy Garcia was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to Harlem in NYC at the age of 4 where she still currently lives. She completed a B.A. in Black Studies from CUNY Lehman College. This will be Biancy's first year at the Washington Market School as an assistant teacher, and she is very excited to embark on a new journey. Prior to joining WMS she was a nanny in the neighborhood of TriBeCa for five years. Nannying enriched Biancy's experience with children by allowing her to build intimate connections with them as well as discovering the different ways in which children view the world. During her spare time, Biancy is an activist, loves to read and spend time with her friends.
Inez is a native New Yorker. She attended Fordham University for both her undergraduate and graduate studies, holding a BA in Spanish Language and Literature and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Inez has taught in a variety of independent schools in NYC and Los Angeles. She enjoys watching reruns of The Office with her husband, going on long walks with her two rescue dogs, and crafting with her Cricut. Inez joined the Washington Market School in March 2020 and is looking forward to the new school year!
Maria was born and raised in New York City. She began her career in media and communications before committing to her passion as an educator. She received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College, and has been happily teaching preschool for 6 years. Maria is an avid traveler and has spent a good amount of time in Latin America where she has volunteered and studied; she has also worked in Spain where she tutored English to children. In her free time, Maria enjoys taking photos and playing guitar. She is excited to be at Washington Market School for her second year, and to be back in Room 2!
Jeff Johnson moved to New York City from the Midwest in 2014. He holds a BA in Music and is currently pursuing an MA in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. Jeff loves seeing every bit of the greatest city in the world and getting to know the amazing people who call this city home. After teaching music and singing with kids all around NYC, he is thrilled to be joining the team at WMS.
Justine was born in Barbados and raised in Connecticut, but has considered herself a New Yorker since the first moment she arrived at NYU for her undergraduate degree. Since then, she has worked as a medical editor, earned an MA in art history at Hunter, married her husband, lived in Japan, had two wonderful children, and has completed her Master’s in Early Childhood Education (again, at Hunter). Justine believes that coffee is a food group, reading is a daily necessity, two-year-olds are amazing, and that you should always have
Kayleigh was raised in a military family and lived mainly in Virginia and California. She moved to NYC for college and received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education at New York University. She is dual certified in special education and early childhood education (birth through second grade) in the state of NY. She completed her master’s degree in the Infancy and Family Education/Early Intervention/Special Education program at Bank Street College of Education. In her free time she enjoys exploring the many parks and restaurants that the city has to offer. This will be her seventh year at WMS and she is very excited for the year.
Ava is super excited for her first year working at Washington Market School, which she attended as a child! Born and raised in Downtown Manhattan, Ava spent her evenings helping at her father's photography store on Chambers Street. Ava went to Beloit College, a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin where she received a double bachelor's in Psychology and Anthropology. Feel free to talk extensively about Primatology with her! Ava plans to get a masters degree in child psychology due to her love of working with children and adolescents. Ava wants to travel more and loves to try new restaurants; she is a big foodie. Ava is American-Iranian, and she loves sharing her culture with others and is open to all sorts of questions! She can't wait to work with the tiny humans in Room 2.
Noriko grew up in Tokyo and Southern California where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. She lives on the UES with her husband, 14-year old son and rescued Chihuahua Brownie. She is very excited and happy to start her seventh year at WMS with Charelyse and Emma!
Emma was born and raised in Brooklyn Heights. She graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in Theatre Studies concentrating in Directing. She has spent a lot of time working on plays and musicals with children of all ages. She’s passionate about traveling and spending time with friends. Emma is so excited for her second year at WMS.
Sofia Schultz was born and raised in Brooklyn. She received her BA in sociology from Connecticut College. She is currently working on her masters in Early Childhood & Special Education at Fordham University. In her free time she enjoys being active, knitting and cooking with her friends and family! She is very excited for her first year at WMS.
Lucy Wittenbaum has relocated to New York from her hometown, Cincinnati, OH. She is keen on joining the WMS family. Lucy is a recent graduate from the University of Cincinnati (UC), with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Education in Literacy and Second Languages through UC, and plans to graduate this fall. Her whole life she has dreamed of teaching in NYC, and is more than ready to begin her first year at WMS. Lucy’s biggest passion in life is working with young children, and she plans to continue furthering research throughout her career. A fun fact about Lucy is that she wishes to someday own an English Bulldog.
Heather has a BA in Modern Dance from Sarah Lawrence College and a MSEd in Early
Childhood and Elementary Education from Hunter College. She has taught dance,
creative movement and theater arts to children in diverse settings in Hong Kong and
New York. She was a classroom teacher at Hudson Street for 12 years and the Site
Director at Duane Street for two years. She was a professor of Early Childhood
Education at the Borough of Manhattan Community College for two years.
In 2004, she returned to the Washington Market School to create the Movement and
Drama program that incorporates art, music, light, color, puppetry and children’s
literature. She has been writing children’s books, (so far, a musical picture book about
chess and poetic board books on hand washing and vegetables), as another means to
promote play and learning. She loves modern dance, clogging, flat footing, square
dancing and yoga.
She has worked to support early childhood education and play-based learning through
collaborations with Gardens for Health International (Rwanda), TeachRwanda, and The
Liberty International School (Tanzania), the Wales Avenue Shelter Family Library
(Bronx, NY) and the advocacy group Defending the Early Years. She truly hopes to help
more children, have more fun.
Kate is beginning her eigth year with the beloved Washington Market Community. Each year she eagerly looks forward to guiding the children in their art explorations and material investigations. She loves the collaborative opportunities that Reggio Emilia provocations inspire between teachers, children, families and our greater Tribeca neighborhood. Kate was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI and Kansas. She is the third of eight dearly loved siblings. From a very early age Kate enjoyed drawing at her father’s drafting table. She went on to receive her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her MFA from Yale School of Art. She has spent time in Kansas, Chicago and New York City teaching and making art with children. Kate taught woodshop for three years at Village Community School, before arriving at Washington Market School. Her studio art practice includes drawing, painting and sculpture. Her work has a spare geometric quality that highlights a conscientious use of Line, Color and Shape. She loves to explore these very same art elements with the young artists at WMS.
Born and raised in South Florida, Evan moved to New York City in 2010 to pursue a master’s degree in Music Therapy from NYU. He began practicing as a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) in 2012 and earned his license in Creative Arts Therapy (LCAT) soon thereafter, working primarily with preschool-aged children with special needs. Early in his career, Evan studied Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion and continues to perform as the drummer in the Brooklyn-based band, Yotoco.
In 2016, Evan began his role as the music studio teacher at the Duane Street site, and quickly found himself right at home. Informed largely by his music therapy background, Evan believes passionately in music’s ability to enrich children’s lives, supporting their global development, while broadening their appreciation and awareness of our world’s many cultures. Evan begins by first focusing on the childrens’ innate musical strengths and interests, to build a baseline of self-confidence and excitement around music. And soon enough in their music studio classes, the children will begin to build a foundation of skills and awareness around melody, harmony, rhythm, and dynamics. This is Evan’s sixth year at The Washington Market School and he is so grateful for the opportunity to share in music-making with our entire school community this year.
This is Laurie’s eleventh year at the Washington Market School, and her twentieth year of teaching. She has taught fifth grade, pre-k, kindergarten, and art. Prior to teaching, Laurie worked in not-for-profit, television and theater production and as an actress and puppeteer.
Laurie earned her Masters in Teaching from Fordham University in Pre-K through 6th grade and has her Early Childhood Education certification in New York State Birth-Grade 2. Laurie is Montessori trained and has her Early Childhood certification from the American Montessori Society.
Laurie is passionate about teaching, science and animals. She feels fortunate that Washington Market School has sent her for her Montessori certification and to study the Reggio Emilia approach to learning at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Opal School at the Museum Center for Learning in the Portland Children’s Museum and The Loris Malaguzzi International Centre in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Laurie is a seasoned traveler and scuba diver who has visited many continents and has dived with sharks and been on safari in Africa. She currently serves on the Professional Development Teacher Advisory Council at the Wildlife Conservation Society and is looking forward to furthering their connection to the Washington Market School through educational programs.
Michael Bruffee is a native New Yorker and grew up in Park Slope. He received his B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University, where he also began studying and practicing Zen meditation, which he now teaches to beginners. He has had experience working with children of various ages in summer camps and while serving a year with City Year Boston in a public middle school. He also studied massage therapy at the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences, and is a Licensed Massage Therapist specializing in pain relief and medical care. In his free time, Michael plays piano, paints watercolor, and does improvisational theater. Michael is so excited to be welcomed into the Washington Market School community and to help out with Extended Day!
Yuki was born in Japan and graduated from Tokoha College with an associate degree for accounting. Despite studying accounting, she started working at a flower shop in her hometown due to a change in interest. After two years, she came to the U.S by herself to attend flower design school in Boston for 6 months. She later moved to New York and began working at various flower shops until her first child was born.
Years later she took classes at Baruch College and received a bookkeeping certificate.
She now works at the Washington Market School where she has been a bookkeeper for 11 years. She also works as office manager at a dental office in midtown, and creates flower arrangements for a hair salon in East village.
Swati Alagh joined the Board of WMS in 2020. She is a wife and mother of two children, both alum of WMS. Swati has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry with leadership roles in Enterprise Risk Management including interactions with the Board and Regulators at some of the world’s largest financial institutions. Her most recent role was the Head of Enterprise Risk Framework at BNY Mellon. Previously, Swati was Global Enterprise Risk Leader at GE Capital after prior Risk Management roles spanning customer underwriting and portfolio management. Also, as part of GE's Corporate Leadership Program, she worked in 20+ countries across various GE businesses and is a recipient of the Chairman’s Leadership Award at GE. Swati grew up in India where she completed her Master’s in Business Administration.
Born and raised in Manhattan’s East Village, John Berton is the product of NYC public schools, including Stuyvesant High School. Since 2009, John has been an active member of The Washington Market School’s community, beginning with his committee work to raise $1.25M for the School’s expansion. With a BA from Williams College and a JD from Harvard Law, John opened his private practice firm in 2011 where he focuses on startups, small companies, and individual entrepreneurs.
In addition to serving on the WMS Board, John also serves as Trustee & treasurer for tow international human rights advocacy groups: the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran; and Justice Trust, which focuses on rights abuses in Myanmar.
Oz Hanley joined The Washington Market School’s Board of Trustees in 1994, and he has served as Board Chair for over 20 years. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Oz returned to New York City for law school. After earning his JD at Fordham University School of Law in 1973, Oz began his career at the Legal Aid Society of New York Civil Division the year he graduated. Upon moving to Soho in 1975, he opened his own storefront law office in a neighborhood that was facing radical change. Oz started out representing tenants, largely in the arts community, who had migrated to live and work in Soho. He was then, and remains today, an advocate for the protection of tenants’ rights.
Outside of his law practice and Board responsibilities, Oz enjoys spending time with his two children and three grandchildren. In non-pandemic times, he traveled around the country and the world to pursue his love of road biking (which he took up with a passion after realizing his golf game would never improve).
Lisa Hofer joined the board of WMS in 2015 and is the proud mother of two WMS graduates. She is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and Northwestern University. She spent her professional career working in television, mainly at the BBC raising co-production financing for fiction and non-fiction programming - bringing the best of the BBC's dramas, comedies, documentaries and children's programming to the US market. Today Lisa focuses on non-profit governance and fundraising for a variety of organizations in children's heath and arts education. She has chaired the Head of School Compensation Committee and the Head of School Search Committee; and serves on the Finance Committee.
John Howard is a WMS alum, parent, and member of the Board of Trustees. John was born and raised, and continues to reside, in Tribeca. John received his undergraduate degree from Grinnell College and his law degree from CUNY. He also completed language studies in Guatemala. John is an immigration attorney and works with clients facing deportation in the New York area.
As Founder and President of Innovative Philanthropy, Jennifer Grubman Rothenberg works with a wide array of philanthropic organizations and individuals to achieve breakthrough results around fundraising and donor relations, events, organizational strategy-setting, grant making and board of director development.
Prior to founding Innovative Philanthropy in 2002, Jennifer was a successful fundraising executive at The Robin Hood Foundation, a major philanthropic organization targeting poverty in New York City. During her tenure there, Jennifer focused on designing high-impact new fundraising programs, improving fundraising campaign effectiveness, and growing the foundation’s donor base.
Jennifer began her career of community service as an assistant district attorney with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office in the Appeals and Special Litigation Bureau where she focused on domestic violence and child abuse cases. Prior to that, while in law school, she served as an intern for the Legal Aid Society in the Law Guardian Department and at Sanctuary for Families, a domestic violence agency. Jennifer holds a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City and a B.A. from Boston University. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000. Jennifer is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Cardozo Law School, Washington Market School and Robin Hood’s Leadership Council.
David Stevens develops non-fiction media and events as the CEO of Broaden Impact and strategy director at Akuario 360. Born and raised downtown, he is a proud alumni of the Washington Market class of '82.
Sheila Wolper is the retired Founding Director of Beginnings Nursery School (founded in 1983), a Reggio inspired pre-school in the Gramercy Park area of New York City. Since her retirement in 2011, Sheila has returned to her interest in art and photography and now works as a mixed-media collage artist. In the last three years she has been teaching private mixed-media classes in person and on Zoom. Sheila is a member of the New York Artist’s Circle and the Hudson Valley Artists Group.