2467 Route 9D - Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
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Randolph School Faculty
Randolph School Faculty

Randolph School teachers, staff, and leaders share a commitment to seeing and understanding each child. Drawing on our decades upon decades of teaching experience, we support children to celebrate and use their own strengths as they meet the many wonderful challenges of learning and growing up. Meet the people who work and learn at Randolph School...

DOWNSTAIRS TEACHERS

EVAN MIKLOS 

Evan Chadwick

I have been an itinerant member of the Randolph downstairs for over two decades. I first discovered the wonderful world that young people at Randolph are invited to engage in as a student myself, where I learned lessons and formed friendships that have endured throughout my life. Fifteen years later, I found myself back in  the same block rooms and circles, but this time as an assistant teacher. This serendipitous chance to return to Randolph as a teacher during a break from college became an opportunity for me to fully grasp and articulate my intention to spend my life in education, and I have never looked back.

My passion for, and boundless interest in, natural systems and the living environments that surround us everywhere is a theme that has guided my life alongside my bottomless thirst for education. I have spent time living in the Hudson Highlands and the Berkshires, on the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and on blue water sailing vessels, in Maine and California in pursuit of these interests. While I appreciate learning and teaching about nearly everything under the sun, it is when beholding a salamander, chasing a butterfly, or tickling a jewel weed seed pod that I am most wholly in my element. (Coincidentally, I spent much of my early education at Randolph catching amphibians and looking for creatures in the creek and not so much time coloring inside the lines.)

Since graduating college I have worked extensively as an outdoor educator, leading groups of kids of all ages and from all socioeconomic backgrounds in cooperative team building and environmental education experiences in the outdoors. I also spent a year living in Japan teaching English to junior high school students. Having recently finished a Master's in teaching and certification in secondary biology education at Bard College, I am very enthusiastic to be at Randolph participating in an intentional learning community.

SAMANTHA DROESE

I am thrilled and fortunate to be a Downstairs teacher.  I was introduced to The Randolph School in 2011 through Dutchess Community College. While attending Dutchess Community College, I was assigned to do my fieldwork with the Upstairs children.  I was amazed each week by the learning environment and how welcoming the teachers and students were. I observed and was able to be a part of such valuable and memorable experiences. I hoped that I would have the opportunity to be a part of The Randolph School again one day in the future. After my fieldwork, in the summer of 2011, I was asked to participate in Randolph's summer camp program.

My passion for becoming a teacher started in elementary school. While attending high school and Dutchess Community College, I worked as an Assistant Teacher for four and a half years at a daycare center. I graduated from Dutchess Community College in May of 2012 with an Associates Degree in birth through second grade. I recently graduated Suny New Paltz studying with a bachelor's degree in birth through sixth grade. I am overjoyed to be apart of The Randolph School.

JULES MCGORTY

I joined the Randolph School community back in 2011 when I was placed here for the semester working with the Downstairs children while I was a student at Dutchess Community College. I quickly learned that Randolph was an amazing place where children can learn through exploration and teachers can guide their students through the environment that surrounds them. After graduating from DCC in 2012 with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Esucation I transferred to SUNY Cortland to continue my studies. I never lost touch with Randolph while I was away because I always came back to help work at the annual Maple Fest each year. I also have been apart of the summer camp programs since 2012. 

After recently graduating in 2014 and earning a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education-Birth through Second Grade, I came back to Randolph and subbed mostly in the Downstairs Program. Two years ago I became a part of the After School team and am so happy to continue to be apart of this community of life long learners. I became the Head Afterschool teacher last year and have loved working in the After School program and watching these children grow and express themselves in many ways. 

I am excited to be back this year as a full-time Downstairs Teacher. Being apart of this school community has fueled my passion for working with children and allowing them the freedom to express who they are and how they learn. I am looking forward to creating many more memories here with the amazing children at Randolph!


MARIA DE LA PENA

I am the fourth and newest member of the Downstairs teaching team. After a year’s worth of Randolph experience under my belt, I am convinced more than ever, of the importance of a progressive education. Our nation’s educational pendulum has swung quite far from John Dewey’s original philosophy, that of children learning by doing, and being productive members of a democratic community. I am proud to offer my experience, my fondness for children, and my love of books to help grow these curious youngsters into kind, ever-learning, stewards of our Earth.

My path to becoming a teacher was a non-linear one, as my Bachelors degree from Fordham (Math and Economics) led me to banking; which led me to dissatisfaction. After half a year in Italy, I returned to NYC and worked as a caterer, and then a part-time assistant teacher at a nursery school. I so enjoyed working with children, I obtained a Masters degree in Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. I hold a NYS and NYC certificate to teach grades N-6.  

I worked for years at The Washington Market School in Tribeca and, later, was Educational Director and teacher at the Old First Nursery School, a parent coop in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Upon moving up to the Hudson Valley with my three children, I was a substitute teacher for grades preK through 11th grade (pre-Calculus!) at various public and private schools. Most recently, I have taught for 5 years at Vassar College’s lab school, Wimpfheimer Nursery School and the Infant Toddler Center. 

I am looking forward to this coming year’s Maple Fest, Winter Sing-Along, Rocket Launches, and so many other lovely Randolph traditions. I am also very excited to continue learning to keep honeybees!


UPSTAIRS TEACHERS

ANITA MERANDO ~ 5-6-7s Group

Anita Merando

I believe that education is about being a researcher in your own life, learning, reflecting, and making sense of and connections to the world. Since 1983, I have enjoyed teaching children of all ages. My interest in teaching evolved while I was an artist-in-residence in West Coast schools, integrating music and storytelling into the teaching of language arts. As a pre-school teacher, I developed an in-home preschool for four and five year olds, basing the curriculum on exploring the sights and sounds of the Seattle area. After spending twelve years as an extended-day Kindergarten teacher, I received my teaching certification, Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grades, from Central Washington University, and my Professional Certification from Antioch University Seattle. I taught Kindergarten and was a Reading Support Specialist in Seattle Public Schools. My experience as a Fellow in the Puget Sound Writing Project, a branch of the National Writing Project, led me to work with the Seattle School District’s Writing Curriculum Design Team. During this time, I also worked with city and county agencies, designing and presenting workshops for early childhood educators on transitioning children to Kindergarten and on developmental reading and writing.  In the summers of 2002-2004, I collaborated with printmaker, Laurie Brown, presenting integrated arts and storytelling workshops for children of all ages.

In 2006, I returned to my hometown, Cold Spring, and began teaching at Randolph School. At Randolph, I found a learning community that shared my view that learning is a life-long endeavor. I have taught humanities and creative writing in the Upper School program and Language Arts and Math in the Upstairs (Elementary) program. During this time, I completed a MAED from Antioch University and in the summer of 2009 I was a Fellow at the Hudson Valley Writing Project. I continue to present workshops for early childhood educators. When I am not teaching, I participate in two writing groups, and sing jazz standards at restaurants in the Hudson Valley. I also teach voice at C-Note Music School in Cortlandt Manor and have a private tutoring and voice practice. Anita's website

RENEE VITALE ~ 5-6-7s Group                                            

My journey here at Randolph began in 2011 as a substitute teacher. Each visit to Randolph felt like a gift. I would leave thinking about how lovely it was to have spent my day with creative educators who can harness children’s natural curiosity in engaging and meaningful learning experiences. I began as a full time teacher for the Downstairs and After-school in 2014 and look forward to Team teaching the 5,6,7s group in the fall 2016.

I began my life in education by helping my mother in her elementary art classroom, and teaching ballet lessons to middle schoolers, but it was my time spent as a one-on-one aid in a special education classroom that solidified my decision to pursue a career in education.  I earned a Bachelor’s in Childhood Education 1-6 with a concentration in Art History from SUNY New Paltz, during which time I gained valuable experience as a nanny for two families with preschool-aged children.

The possibility to form new bonds with the Randolph children, families and educators is very exciting. I am looking forward to spending much more time playing and exploring outdoors, reading books, creating fabulous art, singing and dancing, and celebrating the many Randolph events and traditions.

FELECIA BHADAI  ~ 5-6-7s Group

My first experience at the Randolph School was during my time at Dutchess Community College from 2009-2011. I did my fieldwork with the downstairs program and never forgot the wonderfully unique and amazingly warm experience it left me with. I began working as an assistant teacher for summer camps in 2014 and over time began subbing and working in the After School Program. After graduating Dutchess Community College with an Associates Degree in Childhood Education, I went on to graduate from Mount Saint Mary College in 2015 with my Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education and a minor in Psychology.

In 2017 I was given an amazing opportunity to run the After School Program along with assisting both the 9-10-11s and the 7-8-9s. Halfway through the year I became full time and co-taught in the 7-8-9s for the remainder of the school year.

Since I was in elementary school myself, I have always wanted to teach children. I was a volunteer soccer coach in Wappingers when I was in high school and continued for five years. This past year I started an after school soccer program at Randolph and can’t wait to continue running around with the kids outside and teaching them new skills in the years to come. My love for teaching has only grown since being apart of the Randolph community. I am looking forward to being apart of the 5-6-7 teaching team this coming up year and making many more memories and connections with the teachers, families, and kiddos!


DEBBIE STONE

Debbie Stone

I have been a teacher for many years, enjoying my work with parents and teachers, with all ages of children, adolescents and adults. I have a tutoring and consulting teacher practice which takes me from my headquarters at High Valley, a center in Clinton Corners, all over Dutchess County and sometimes beyond. I am privileged to spend most days at the Randolph School. Here I focus on a particular student, or work with large and small groups, benefiting enormously from a chance to work with colleagues who share my enthusiasm for an integrated, alternative approach to teaching. This approach demands a great deal from teachers and students alike. Nothing is cut and dried; the challenges of cooperative learning are always demanding. But opportunities for discovery and creativity abound, and the satisfactions are beyond description. The Randolph community seems to provide an ethical groundwork that students and teacherscan build on as they interact with the world beyond.

I grew up in Dutchess County and raised my son here. After graduation from Radcliffe College, I studied at Vassar College. A Masters Degree from Bank Street College of Education in New York City and NYS teacher certification in several areas came later, as well as recent course work in play therapy and in the teaching of reading. Besides being an educator, I have done writing, editing and critical reading of fiction and nonfiction books for a number of writers. I sometimes write poems, and I love to read all kinds of things, both to myself and aloud to others.


AMY MIKLOS ~ 7-8-9s

Over the past thirteen years I have explored teaching as a profession in a variety of settings. I was a museum educator at The Boston Children’s Museum, taught English as a second language in Japan, co-created an nature based after-school program (Creek Scouts) and coached middle school sports teams. In 2009, I found my way to the Hudson Valley where I solidified my passion for progressive education and began my masters degree in Elementary Education at SUNY New Paltz. Since 2011 I have worked as a Head Teacher at Poughkeepie Day School where I had the opportunity to teach grades Pre-K-3 in a progressive setting.

My connection to the Randolph School spans a decade, as I was first introduced to the school by my partner, Evan Miklos. Over the years, I have had the privilege of spending time at Randolph as a substitute teacher, Creek Scouts leader and a parent.

My educational philosophy is deeply rooted in the teachings of Reggio Emilia and John Dewey. I believe that self-expression and authenticity should be the central pillars that all educational experiences are built upon. Children should be doing meaningful work, using real tools and materials and answering real questions. I am thrilled to continue my work with children at Randolph School.

I have two amazing sons with whom I enjoy playing outside, making art, growing food and cooking endless pizzas.


MIKE FERRARA ~ 9-10-11s Group

Hello Randolph family! My name is Michael Ferrara, and I teach the 9,10,11s in the Rainbow Room! I’m so very excited to be a part of the Randolph family!

My educational background began at SUNY New Paltz, where I graduated with a BA in English. Immediately after graduation, I took a month long cross-country trip across the United States in a car with two friends. Even though college had ended for me, I looked at traveling across our vast country as an opportunity to obtain even more knowledge. I brought a journal with me on my trip to document my experiences, and to reflect on them later. First and foremost, I consider myself a lifelong learner. I love being exposed to new ideas, concepts, places, cultures, and foods!
After the birth of my wonderful niece, and seeing how my interactions with her affected her development, I became passionate about becoming an educator. I went back to my Alma Mater, and I majored in Elementary Teaching. Later, I graduated with my Master of Science in Teaching degree, and have since obtained my professional certification as an elementary classroom teacher in New York State.

My experiences working with youth have included directing and teaching at Mill Street Loft’s Project ABLE program, volunteer work with the Children’s Media Project, substitute teaching, and conducting media literacy workshops with youth in the City of Poughkeepsie. I’m very passionate about inspiring youth to critically think, and to look at the purpose and power behind language. I also love to conduct open ended discussions with youth, where they can openly share and build upon their ideas.


JESSE LEAVER ~ Upstairs Teacher Assistant

I started working at Randolph as a student teacher through DCC in the spring of 2016  and fell in love with the school community, as well as the teaching style instantly. I was so happy to be working there that I started to volunteer on my days off to help out in the Downstairs and gain more experience. The following summer I had the opportunity to work as a Downstairs camp assistant and as a head teacher for the Upstairs Farm to Fork camp. In the fall, I became the head Afterschool teacher for the 2016-2017 school year. This year I look forward to working as an Upstairs teacher as well an Afterschool teacher. 

Prior to joining the Randolph team, I studied at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where I earned an associates degree in Culinary Arts. I had also gained culinary experience working as a line cook and as a pastry chef. In the spring of 2015, I began substitute teaching in Hyde Park Central School District where I discovered I loved working with elementary school aged kids. I began my degree in Elementary Education (Birth-6th grade) at Dutchess Community College that fall and have recently transferred to SUNY New Paltz to complete my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. 

I love constantly learning new things and find knowledge in activities like hiking, climbing, gardening, and raising chickens. I hope to use the kitchen and garden as places to practice classroom skills in the upcoming year and am so fortunate to be a part of a school community that supports those kinds of hands on, practical learning experiences. 


DESEAN MORROW ~ Upstairs Teacher Assistant/Head Afterschool Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADMINISTRATION


JOSHUA KAPLAN ~ Administrator / Director

Josh came to Randolph after serving ten years in New York City schools.  In Harlem, he was frequently disheartened by the bureaucratic obstacles that made teaching stale, and learning bland.  He was fortunate though to have worked under two supervisors who supported him in his efforts to rebrand the experience of urban education and bring some progressive flavor to an otherwise traditional community.  

Arriving at Randolph on the heels of 10 years in NYC public schools is like getting to the front of a long line at Disneyland; it is a relief and it is so exciting.  Josh is thrilled to have joined this family, as it reflects his values and passions as a person, as a parent and as an educator.  

After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Josh was awarded a fellowship that brought him to New York to become a teacher in the Department of Education.  Serving as a teacher, instructional coach, Environmental Stewardship coordinator and labor leader, he got a real education in how to effectively and efficiently manage a school.  The keystone, that holds up the entire structure, is in relationships and Josh is committed to building and maintaining strong ones, built on the foundations of the last 50 years, and that will carry Randolph for the next 50 years.

KAREN SZCZUKA TEICH ~ Administrator / Admissions Coordinator

I have been working at Randolph School since 2006. My connection with Randolph School began in 2001 when my son entered pre-kindergarten here. As an active parent in the Parent Group and a firm believer in the school's philosophy it was a natural fit for me.

Currently, I am the Admissions Coordinator, and one of the Co-Administrators.

I also coordinate the school's social media, maintaining our Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram accounts. I send out the school's press releases, as well as coordinate the school's weekly electronic newsletter;The Note. 

Before Randolph School, I worked at Archie Comic Publications in Mamaroneck, NY for seven years and later became a stay-at-home mom. I studied Broadcasting, Journalism and Speech at Buffalo State College and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree.



KATLYN TOMLINS ~ Administrator / Business Manager

I am the Business Manager and one of the Co-Administrators at The Randolph School. My connection to Randolph began as a student in 1964 when my mother, Lee Tomlins, founded the school with two other teachers. After Randolph I went to high school at The Putney School, a progressive boarding school in Vermont, and then on to Bennington College. I received my BA in English from Columbia University in 1982.

When my son entered Randolph in 1989 I began doing bookkeeping and other part-time work for the school. In 1999 I started full-time at the school, the first non-teacher to join the full-time staff. I do everything from  answering the phone to planning the budget for the next fiscal year; from monitoring the water quality to helping plan the annual giving campaign. My job is to support the mission of Randolph by creating an environment where progressive education can flourish. I try to run the business end of the school grounded in the Randolph philosophy — with trust, compassion, and respect for the individual.



ART, MUSIC, SPANISH, , AND AFTERSCHOOL TEACHERS


PAM KOEBER-DIEBBOLL ~ Art

Raised in the Midwest, I was my family's third generation of women to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a BFA degree from the institution in 1989.  After graduating, I was awarded a fellowship to attend the Skowhegan School of Art, followed by a year-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center.  Thereafter, I attended graduate school at the Maryland Institute College of Art and received my MFA in 1992.  

In 1992 I also made my first trip to Asia.  An artist friend living in Bali invited me to join her there. My feet have not touched the ground since!  A lifelong love for travel and a deep connection to Asia were seeded on that trip.  Upon my return to the States, I moved to New York City.  Ahhh, the early years in Williamsburg!  On arrival, I was fortunate to find employment as an artist at EverGreene Architectural Arts and continued to work as a designer at that firm for the next 13 years, all the while maintaining my own studio practice.      

The importance of the connections I made with local people while traveling in Asia, and Africa as well, caused me to consider a career change, and I became interested in working with the new immigrant population in New York City.  In 2004, I was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows program as an ESL fellow.  I completed my MsEd in TESOL in 2006 and spent several years teaching all subjects to 1st and 2nd grade non-native English speaking children in the New York City Public Schools.  I hold NY State teaching certifications in K-12 Visual Arts and K-12 TESOL. 

My daughter, who is currently a student in the Upstairs, paved the way for my work as a teacher at Randolph.  When she started off in the Downstairs program, this special place very quickly became an extension of our home and family life.  There was so much that felt familiar, but Randolph also attracted with the allure of things not yet learned.  I assisted the school’s former art teacher as a volunteer for one year; and when that teacher moved on, I was hired to take her place in the Fall of 2016.  I love the work and every one of the kids (and parents, and teachers) that comprise our abundant community.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be present for the children's creative exploration, which feeds my own artwork and spirit.   

MICHAEL FARKAS ~ Music

Michael Farkas has joined our community as our new music teacher.  As a musician and a parent, this is a perfect confluence of his strengths and passions, and we are thrilled to have him here.  Professionally, Michael is a founding member of The Wiyos, which blends early swing jazz, rural folk, old-time blues, and Appalachian music and in 2009 toured as the opening act for a summer ballpark tour featuring Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp, and Michael has played in many other bands over the years, including some with other Randolph parents.  Additionally, he worked in European circuses and found inspiration in artist/activist collectives such as New Mexico’s Wise Fool Puppet Intervention, which created public spectacles using 14-foot puppets. Another influence was Vermont’s Bread and Puppet Theater, which mixes social activism with street theater, often at parades.  He is a trained mime and is passionate about helping all of our kids find the music that exists in everything. 

ALETHEA OLSON ~ Spanish

I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota but my passion for language and culture began the first time that I stepped outside the United States at the age of 16. I was struck by the many different ways that people perceive and interpret the world. I am fully convinced that the more people we meet and the more languages we learn, the more we can step outside of our personal bubbles and begin to balance our perspectives.

My love for Spanish in particular took deep root during my semester abroad in Seville, Spain in 2002. I fell easily in love with the vibrant culture of passionate people, rich food, good wine, colorful architecture, and, of course, flamenco dancing. It was only later that I discovered the huge variety of cultures, foods, and temperaments that Central and South America had to offer. No less intriguing was their fascinating and often tragic history.

Since graduation, my life has been immersed in Spanish. I have worked as a pre-school Spanish teacher, in a Spanish immersion grade school, and in adult education within the Spanish community both here in the United States and in the country of Nicaragua. I currently also attend a Spanish speaking congregation and try to keep my ties to the Spanish speaking community strong.

I am so happy to be teaching Spanish in an environment like the Randolph School. I have loved learning and teaching as long as I can remember. The Randolph school has a fantastic hands-on approach that is perfectly suited to language learning. Language is not intended to be learned from a book but as a means of understanding our world and expressing ourselves. I can only hope that my love for the Spanish language, as well as the many and varied cultures of people that speak it, will be contagious!


        The faculty from long ago          The faculty at Halloween


ERIC TOMLINS - In Memoriam

  • Cathy Riley
  • Allison Baldwin
  • Allison Baldwin

Teaching is one of the few professions that permits love.

Theodore Roethke

Teaching is one of the few professions that permits love.

Theodore Roethke