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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
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.

Rosalinda Guerra, PreKindergarten Teacher
Born in central California, Rosalinda Guerra began working with young children while attending college and soon discovered that it was meant to be her profession. Moving to the east coast to continue her education, Rosalinda received her B.A. in Early Childhood Special Education and has been fortunate enough to have since worked in several programs with children from varying demographics in indoor and nature-based settings. It has been her great joy to find in young children, some of the most creative and present people in the world. Wonder, awe, curiosity, and imagination are an everyday experience and the best foundation to begin an education. Rosalinda believes that playing, spending time outdoors in the natural world, cooking, creating, sharing stories and song, and celebrating festivals (as well as the simple gifts of the everyday) are the best parts of a preschool day.

Julie Milani, Lower School Lead 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 a 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 Lead Teacher
Originally from New York City, where she worked as an 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 with a minor in Psychology. Continued coursework in education was completed at the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton, Massachusetts, leading to teacher certification in Special Education. From 2000-2018, Sue worked in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in Sheffield, Massachusetts. 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/Lower School Teacher
Born the daughter of a Long Island native and first generation Spanish immigrant, Tabitha Duff-Sanchez is shaped in equal parts by her: private school education, her rearing in her parents’ Warren Street restaurant in Hudson, and her years spent abroad in Germany as a young adult. Tabitha received her B.S. in Visual Art Education from SUNY New Paltz in 2012. For eight years, Tabitha has worked at OMI International Arts Center in various pedagogical capacities. This has imbued her with a love and vigor for education. She now spends her summers working as Creative Director of Artgarten at Art OMI. Tabitha lives with her two daughters Isla and Athena in Hudson, New York.

Jerrice Baptiste, Middle School Classroom Assistant
Born in Haiti and living in the Hudson Valley, Jerrice Baptiste has worked as an educator for over fifteen years. She is a professional writer of numerous children's books and poetry and short stories for adults. Jerrice's books for children include Tu es ma belle, You are my beautiful; Look What The Mouse Dragged In; Astrid’s Wish For Papa Noël: A Haitian Christmas Story; My Cat Adeline; The Girl Who Ate Bread, Banana, Egg: A Poetic Tale of A Day in Haiti; and Weird, Wonderful, Water Birds! Jerrice is passionate about empowering people of all ages with her creative writing workshops and presentations.

Brendan Delury, Upper School Teacher
Brendan Delury was born in Seaford on Long Island but has been a resident of Saugerties, New York for over twenty-five years. A lover of learning and knowledge in nearly any field, Brendan holds a B.A. in English Literature and a M.A.T. in Secondary Education from SUNY New Paltz. His intellectual interests include Post and Post-Postmodern literature, psychology, and literary theory. He has taught in rural and urban settings to diverse learners of all levels of capability before landing at The Liberi School. His goal as an educator is to help his students discover what they are both interested in and have a knack for so that they can use that self-awareness to develop into the best versions of themselves as they engage with their world with awareness, a critical eye, and good-hearted morality.

Sarah Whetzle, Assistant to the Director/Afterschool Care Teacher
Sarah was born and raised in New York City. She is the middle child of eight, and has always taken an interest in how her younger siblings learn about the world around them. She recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in English and a minor in Dance. She also studied dance in the pre-professional program at Ballet Hispanico in New York City before moving to Vermont for school. Sarah loves working with kids. She worked as a day camp counselor for several years with children ages three through nine, and has spent time observing classes at the local middle school in Burlington, Vermont, as part of her education courses. Throughout high school, she was asked to volunteer in kindergarten classrooms, spend lunches with middle schoolers who needed an extra friend, and help her younger brothers and other students with homework. Sarah has an open-minded and empathetic way of connecting with and understanding kids, and she is excited to be a part of The Liberi School.

Christine Flood, Studio Arts Teacher
Christine Flood was born in Northern California but has been a resident of Ghent, New York for over fifteen 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 ten 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.

Ari Wolff Cameron, Studio Arts Teacher (maternity leave replacement)
Ari Wolff Cameron is a Berkshire County based poet, visual artist, and educator. She graduated from the New School with a B.A. in Arts In Context: Visual Arts and Poetry in 2013. Ari has worked as a teaching artist across age ranges, designed curriculum for afterschool programs and summer camps, and managed community arts projects. She currently serves as a teaching artist with IS 183, Berkshire Country Day School, The Liberi School, and The Mastheads: Fireside Writing Program. Ari also serves as a board and accountability member with BRIDGE, a Berkshire-based grassroots organization focused on creating racial and social justice and equity. Ari’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in: The Offing, Vinyl Poetry, Lime Hawk, Hinchas de Poesia, Tinderbox, Whiskey Island, among other places. Her artwork has been included in shows at Collar Works and Para//el Performance Lab, and Glasshouse. She is the recipient of a 2019-2020 LABA: Laboratory for Jewish Culture Fellowship.

Alan Jay Palmer, Music Teacher
Music educator Alan Jay Palmer is the creator and founder of the United Institute of Music Science, former Professor of American and World Music History at The University of Hartford, Queens College, and Montgomery College, and was also the principal pianist with the legendary Dr. Jackie McLean for fifteen years. Alan has been teaching and developing programs in American Music to students and teachers worldwide for over thirty years. He has trained many famous and accomplished musicians on the scene today as well as designing successful music curricula. Alan has created and directed music programs for America's most notable schools and non-profit organizations including The Artists Collective, Big Thought, The Jazz Foundation, Levine School of Music, and South Dallas Cultural Center to name a few. An accomplished composer, Alan has written over 200 songs recorded by various artists and has been recognized as one of today's innovative composers. An active performer and bandleader, Alan leads several groups and has worked as pianist and musical director for a who's who of top artists today including Roy Hargrove and Common.

Cherokee Lynn, Spanish Teacher
Cherokee Lynn comes to The Liberi School with experience teaching languages to students from ages five to eighty in Cleveland, Ohio, and New York, as well as internationally in Honduras, Argentina, and as a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil. She earned a B.A. in Spanish Education with a minor in English Literature from The College of Saint Rose. She also holds an M.A. in Spanish Pedagogy from Middlebury College where she was selected as a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace. Most recently, she worked as the Community Engagement Coordinator at WMHT Public Media. As a world language teacher, she seeks to motivate students to begin an exploration toward culturally informed and comprehensible communication.

Katiushka Melo, Chef
Katiushka Melo is an artist, spice collector and the founder/chef of Culture Cream, a living probiotic ice cream and sorbet company eatculturecream.com. She is also a performance and video artist that is compelled to collaborate and enter communities through the tradition of food. Before Liberi, Katiushka worked with a Brooklyn preschool, La Petite Colline, to develop a healthy food program aimed at developing the palates of the students (1-4 years), where she successfully served as head chef. Attached is a sample menu from La Petite Colline. She will develop a menu that reflects the tastes and needs of the Liberi community.