Sarah Carlson is a Bank Street Graduate with an M.S. Ed. in Early Childhood Elementary Education, and has taught in a variety of public and private school settings in New York, New Jersey and London for the past 17 years. She is certified as a Forest School Kindergarten Teacher through Cedarsong Nature School. Sarah holds Permanent Certification in both New York and New Jersey. She is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid. Sarah is inspired by children's authenticity, energy, and expression and is rooted in the idea that we are always learning through experience, reflection, and finding the magic in day to day moments. She believes strongly in the freedom, health, and creativity that ample time in nature can provide.
Originally from New York City, Lilly Mihalko graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Childhood Education, minoring in Sociology. She continued her professional studies at Bank Street College of Education, focusing on the Reggio Emilia approach. She has been running her own independent play-based cooperative in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Lilly believes in nurturing the whole child through unconditional acceptance and compassionate interactions that are respectful of the child's ideas, input, and social-emotional development. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, knitting, and snuggling her giant dog.
Katie Henly grew up across the Hudson in New Jersey and enjoys cheeseburgers, banana bread, and corny jokes. She received her Graduate Degree in Musical Performance from BYU. She lives in Brooklyn, where she works regularly babysitting for various local families. She is compassionate and energetic and uses her love and talent for music to inspire the kids to sing and dance out in the fresh air!
Alice Ryan is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and hails from California. She loves spending time with kids and has over a decade of childcare experience. It brings her great joy to share her passion for music, dance, and storytelling with the kids of Brooklyn Nature Days. Alice is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid.
Christy grew up on a small farm in New Jersey, milking cows and running barefoot through the fields. She spent the last 14 years in the fashion industry and once having children she decided to follow her original passion for teaching. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Early Childhood Elementary Education at Hunter College and was certified as a Forest School Kindergarten Teacher through Cedarsong Nature School. Christy is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid. She lives in Prospect Heights with her husband, son and daughter. She believes children are happiest when they are learning what peaks their interest and that they are joyous when given the chance to explore freely outside.
Jess started off her career in education as an assistant teacher to Sarah Carlson at a co-op preschool and is now running her own co-op school and working as a nanny. She is an NYC native currently living in Clinton Hill. Jess is passionate about dogs, dance parties, knitting, reading, and playing outside.
Susannah is originally from Hershey, PA, but has been a Brooklynite for 14 years. She holds a BA in English with a minor in Women's Studies, an MFA in Poetry, and has 6 years of classroom experience with ages 2-5. She has also continued her education with courses and certificates through CUNY's New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute. Susannah is the Co-Director and a teacher at Outside the Lines Playschool (playoutsidethelines.com) along with her teaching partner Lilly Mihalko. She believes that children are powerful in both body and mind and that they possess the skills and strength to complete difficult tasks autonomously. She loves the freedom of play and nature-based teaching and is excited to be working with Brooklyn Nature Days. Susannah lives in Cobble Hill with her husband and two young sons and loves biking, reading Scandinavian crime fiction, watching Buffy, and playing strategy board games.
Anna Fitzgerald spent her childhood in Connecticut's "quiet corner" and historical encampments all over the east demonstrating 18th century American life for families and students. She has been a Big Sister (BBSS) to amazing LIttles, and has since worked as a nanny in Park Slope. She coordinated educational and literacy all-ages events at the community arts venue she co-founded in Brooklyn. Her current documentary work continues her graduate study in civil organization and social movements at Goddard. She now shares her Ridgewood home with an aquatic snail, a beloved human, and some very cool plants.
Susannah Simpson is a multi-disciplinary artist, with a primary focus in performance and poetry, and a teacher of yoga, improvisational dance, and meditative healing/empowerment workshops. She believes fully in the importance of loving, honoring, and connecting with the Earth as an integral aspect of personal, inter-relational, and collective social progress and compassion cultivation. She has been working with children since she was a child! First by helping at her Aunt's "Dance Camp" in her hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, fixing snacks and choreographing dances with wee ones to various Disney scores. Then as a teenager she spent many summers as a YMCA camp counselor and spent her last year of high school doing an internship with the young adult Special Education Department. Over the past ten years she has worked as a pre-school teacher for ages 0-5, a nanny, an instructor of children's yoga classes, and most recently as a facilitator of "Fairy School" at Maha Rose in Greenpoint. At Fairy School she helped children tap into the practices of conscious breathing and meditation, creative movement, art, constructive rest, and nurturing holding sacred our relationships to plants, other creatures, mythology, the elements, and each other.
Monica, originally from the D.C. metro area, has called Brooklyn her home for over a decade. She earned her M.A. in Art & Art Education from Teachers College Columbia University, and has worked as an Art Educator for the NYC Department of Education and for After School programs throughout the city for nearly 5 years. Before becoming a teacher, Monica was, and still continues to work as, a Graphic Designer. She loves to watch children, of all ages, make art and new discoveries, as they overcome challenges through critical thinking and imaginative play. She can not wait to enjoy all the adventures and outdoor fun that Brooklyn Nature Days has to offer!
Courtney Kotsionis received her BFA in photography from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is nearing her 10th year living in Brooklyn. Courtney is excited to be joining Brooklyn Nature Days, where she finds each day more inspiring than the next. She is passionate about being present and engaged with children, especially when she’s able to share her love of dancing, art, music, and nature.
Karl grew up in Northwest New Jersey. He attended Colorado State University and received his undergrad in Computer Information Systems. After four years of working in business software he decided to take some time off. He worked on a farm in California and volunteered with a K-8 school there, ultimately deciding to pursue a career in teaching. He has taught 6th grade science and is currently pursuing his Masters in General Education grades 1-6 at Bank Street. In his spare time he loves to travel as much as possible, meditate, exercise, and to cook.
Ben Robinson grew up in the temperate rainforest of Juneau, Alaska. He moved to Brooklyn just over a year and a half ago, and is currently enrolled in the Masters in Early Childhood and Childhood Education Program at Bank Street College of Education. He has worked in classrooms in Alaska and New York. Brooklyn Nature Days combines two of his favorite things—children and the great outdoors! When he’s not working with kids or working on papers, Ben loves riding his bike around the city, lounging in his beautiful backyard, and listening to live music.
Following completion of her B.A. degree from Northwestern University and a year-long fellowship working at Match Middle School in Boston, Melanie is currently tackling a dual degree in Childhood Education and Social Work at Bank Street College of Education and Columbia School of Social Work. Melanie developed and ran a Social Skills through Drama program at Our Victory Day Camp, and spent seven of her own summers hiking and camping in the Maine woods, developing a lifelong love of the outdoors.
Maggie is currently a sophomore at New York University pursuing a B.S.
in Applied Psychology. She believes that creating a positive learning
environment is a crucial factor for development. She is on a research
team that works with the Department of Education of NYC and is
collecting data on professional development workshops for Pre-K
teachers to see how effective they are for the teacher and the
children. She recently moved to Park Slope from Long Island. She is
passionate about dancing, cooking and dog watching. Maggie is excited
to explore the outdoors with Brooklyn Nature Days!
Kelly has been teaching yoga to people of all ages for nearly a decade. In 2007 she left her successful advertising career for the yoga mat and never looked back. Her passion for the practice truly shines whether she is 'playing' yoga with children, helping teens meditate, or guiding adults through a creative flow. Highly regarded as a kids yoga expert, Kelly spent four years regularly traveling the world training kids yoga teachers. She resides in Brooklyn and teaches in schools, studios, and privately in homes all over the city.