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The Liberi School

  • Our vision for a contemporary and holistic education innovates the classic one-room schoolhouse model
  • An integrated curriculum focuses on academic rigor, creativity, intellectual freedom, and the arts
  • Children access the curriculum at an individual level and learning is personalized
  • Opportunities for teaching and learning among children across age groups are myriad
  • Mindfulness, metacognition, self-direction, and independence in learning is developed
  • Free thinking, curiosity, questioning, and differences are valued and encouraged
  • Teaching is creative, inspired, and free from dogma
  • Knowledge and big ideas are ever present in the classroom
  • Assessment is based on multiple measures of mastery
  • Whole school community cultivates a culture of respect, commitment, and collaboration

FACULTY

Jennifer Wai-Lan Strodl, Director and Cofounder, Middle School Teacher

Born in Toronto, Canada, Jennifer Wai-Lan Strodl is a writer and educator who has traveled the world to teach children in China, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Jennifer received her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Princeton University. She holds an M.A.T. in Elementary Education from Smith College, where she was the Helen Donker Rives Fellow. She created and launched STORY, an innovative fiction writing workshop for teens, which is offered locally in diverse venues. She continues to teach with a specific passion for liberating children’s creativity through education. She and her husband, the visual artist Oscar Strodl, cofounded The Liberi School in September 2015.

Julie Milani, Director of Curriculum and Teacher Training, Lower School Teacher

With over twenty-seven years of teaching experience, Julie Milani offers the abilities of a practiced educator, demonstrated innovator, and experienced teacher of teachers. Julie received a B.F.A. in Dance and an M.A. in Southeast Asian Anthropology from Ohio University. After a career in dance and movement education, she received an M.Ed. from Bank Street College and started her elementary teaching career in 1988. In subsequent years, Julie completed the Reading Recovery Certification Program at Lesley University and the Administration Program at the Hampshire Educational Collaborative. Julie was the Kindergarten/First Grade teacher in the South Egremont School and First-Second Grade teacher at Berkshire Country Day School.

Suzi Kim, Lower School Teacher

Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Suzi received a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Spanish from the University of Arizona. Upon graduation, Suzi traveled to Wonju, South Korea, to teach English at Yonsei ELP Institute, where she discovered her passion for education and working with children. After returning to Tucson, Suzi continued to pursue her teaching career as an English Language Learners Instructor at Southside Community School, a progressive charter school, where she taught until relocating to Hudson, New York. At Southside, Suzi led her own multi-age full-time classroom, designing syllabi, assessing student progress, finding creative ways to meet state rubrics, and honing her classroom management skills. She also served as the school’s Afterschool Program Director. Suzi enjoys practicing yoga, painting, reading, and spending time with her dog, Elliott.

Susan Efferen, Middle School Teacher

Originally from New York City, where she worked as a orthopedic then pediatric nurse, Sue Efferen transitioned into the field of education in 2000. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst University Without Walls program, she received a B.A. in children’s learning, while minoring in psychology. Continued coursework in education was completed at the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton, MA, leading to teacher certification in Special Education. From 2000-2018, Sue worked in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in Sheffield, MA. Her time there was spent teaching predominantly reading and math to third, fourth and fifth graders. Sue’s kind and fun-loving personality becomes apparent in her daily interactions with students and staff.

Tabitha Sanchez, Middle School Teacher

Eric Fraser, Music Teacher

Eric Fraser is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, composer, and music therapist (MA, MT-BC). Eric brings his array of musical talents to children through singing, guitar, keyboard, percussion, wind instruments, electronic instruments, audio and digital software, recording arts, lyric writing, beat boxing and beat making. His philosophy for teaching music combines technical skill with the imagination and spirit that makes music a core part of a child's life. A Fulbright senior research scholar for Indian music, Eric has studied and performed with renowned maestros of Indian music including Pandit Krishna Bhatt, Pandit Ramesh Mishra, Steve Gorn and Bollywood composer A.R Rahman at Carnegie Hall, including radio performances (NPR morning edition and WKCR New York). Eric is also a senior disciple of a living master of Indian classical music, bansuri flute artist Pandit Gopal Roy. Having learned intensively in the traditional way since 2003, Eric's bansuri playing rings with authenticity and pure tone, imbibing the soul of Indian classical music. The heritage of the musical tradition Eric learned from in Kolkata, India, is a rare gayaki-ang or "vocal style", giving it a vital place in the preservation of Indian classical music

Juan Basilio Sanchez, Spanish Teacher

Juan Sanchez is a naturalized citizen of the United States. Born in Nicaragua, Juan is a professional journalist and has also worked actively as a community organizer in Duchess and Columbia Counties. He has had years of experience working with children and young people. He has been a producer of in Spanish radio programs for WRPI 91.5 FM, Robin Hood Radio WHDD 91.9 FM, WBSL 91.7 FM, AM1020, WGXC 90.7-FM, and Greene and Columbia County community radio. In addition to teaching Spanish at Liberi, he currently work as a freelance journalist for El Registro New York. He is also a musician who integrates his love for playing guitar and singing into his teaching.

Christine Flood, Studio Arts Teacher

Christine Flood was born in Northern California but has been a resident of Ghent, New York for more than 15 years. She received her B.F.A. in painting with a minor in Art History from SUNY Albany in 2009 and went on to obtain her M.S. Art Ed. from the College of Saint Rose in 2011. Over the past 10 years, Christine has taught art to all age ranges in countless schools and community centers throughout the Capital Region and the Berkshires. Along with teaching at Liberi, she is Assistant Director of Education at Art Omi in Ghent, New York, and mom to Zoey, 4 and Stella, 2. Her passion for teaching art is fueled by the belief that understanding art is a vital tool in the teaching of multiple disciplines as well as her belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to express themselves creatively.

Sarah Cooke, Prekindergarten Teacher

Sarah Cooke received her M.A.Ed from Bank Street College in NYC and her B.A. in theater, literature, and anthropology from Sarah Lawrence College. She has had extensive training in Reggio Emilia, Montesorri, and Waldorf approaches to early childhood education and holds Birth-Grade 2 teacher certifications in NY and MA. Her work with children has spanned decades and included being a puppeteer, teaching at a parent run cooperative preschool in Brooklyn, working as an artist in residence with The Touchstone Center for Children at PS 20 on the Lower East Side and creating creative and expressive arts programs for libraries and museums. In addition to years of experience working as an educator in NYC preschools and museums, including at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Sarah has been the Preschool Teacher at Berkshire Country Day School and K-1 Teacher at Mountain Road School locally. Sarah is described by Berkshire Country Day's Former Associate Head of School as “one of the most gifted educators I have had the privilege of working with during my 25 years in education” and ”a true master teacher in action.” Sarah has lived in Columbia County for over 15 years, raising her three daughters in an extended family of beloved friends.