Faculty & Staff

Leimomi Apoliona Browneli_20140305_0026-Edit

Teacher

In high school Leimomi knew she wanted to work with young children and was interested in progressive education. As a college sophomore she studied in India because she wanted to see the world and as a result became interested in the Hawaiian Rights Movement. She was a founding member of the Protect Kaho’olawe Ohana, which was successful in stopping the military assault of Kaho`olawe by U.S. forces and negotiating its return from U.S. military jurisdiction. This activism awakened in her the desire to discover what it meant to be a Hawaiian so she began an intensive study of Hula and changed her major from Philosophy to Dance Education and Hawaiian Studies. When looking for a school for her two young daughters, Leimomi discovered Acorn Hill and immediately found a kind of home – a home where her interest in the arts, philosophy, environmental justice, multiculturalism, storytelling, movement, and inner development has dovetailed neatly into her professional life. Working at Acorn Hill allows Leimomi to spend time teaching young children, a most rejuvenating and fulfilling occupation.

Andrea Daneyeli_20140305_0079-Edit

Teacher

Andrea came to early childhood education and teaching through a winding path. When her own son was young (too young for Acorn Hill!) she began a small home program for toddlers. After a few years of teaching at the Washington Waldorf School in the parent child and parent toddler programs, she began substituting at Acorn Hill, eventually becoming an assistant teacher, and then a lead teacher. Andrea completed her Waldorf Early Childhood teacher training through Sunbridge Institute.

Prior to staying home to care for her children, Andrea worked for a variety of Federal Agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency. She spent two years living and working in Sri Lanka as a Peace Corps volunteer—and loves to share stories from that experience with the children at snack time! Andrea holds a MPA from Indiana University and a BA from Haverford College. She attended the Washington Waldorf School as a child.

Angeli Escalante

Classroom Assistant   Bio and photo coming soon!

Kate Gageeli_20140305_0021-Edit

Teacher

Kate was born in the DC area. She traveled through Europe, settled in Ethiopia and traveled again in East Africa. When she returned to the States she finished her BA (science, painting, poetry and pottery), and received her MFA (in painting and new forms) from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. During her middle years she lived in an artist’s loft in Soho, in the country on Martha’s Vineyard, and at the foot of the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. She gardened, made art, designed theatre sets, and got involved in a household hazardous waste project. Kate discovered Waldorf education shortly after the birth of her daughter and is now a certified Waldorf Elementary Education and Therapeutic Education Teacher. Since 1996, she has loved working at Acorn Hill as a nursery and parent-child teacher. Kate has written articles for Waldorf publications and gives workshops and presentations at the annual Waldorf Kindergarten Conference and to our Acorn Hill community.

Liz HagermanLiz Hagerman

Teacher

Liz Hagerman MA, BC-DMT, is a board certified dance/movement therapist with a masters degree from Goucher College(1990). She has studied motor development and the relationship of motor development to the development of sense of self.She has taken both level I and II Pikler courses in Budapest (2007, 2010), and Level III in the U.S. with Anna Tardos and Agnes Szanto (2012). Liz studied at Sophia’s Hearth Family Center with Susan Weber and Jane Swain, and is a Mentor in their teacher training program. Working from the insights of both Rudolf Steiner and Emmi Pikler, Liz developed, in 2007, the Birth to Three Parenting program here at Acorn Hill, where she has worked since 2001. Liz is a certified Infant massage instructor. Liz offers adult education in the DC metro area on motor development –including supporting free, self initiated motor development. She is the mother of two sons both of whom attended Acorn Hill and WWS. In the summer, with her husband and sons, Liz works on her commercial salmon boat, the F/V Omar in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

Anna Halleli_20140305_0069-Edit

Teacher

Anna grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and graduated from North Carolina State University with a BA in English. After graduating, she worked at North Carolina State University Library as a Research Librarian for three years. After finding out about Waldorf Education in Virginia Beach, Anna moved to Detroit where she attended the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College, earning her Diploma in Waldorf Early Childhood Education. She then worked as a Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher at the Detroit Waldorf School for six years, later moving to the DC area to be a class teacher, taking her students from first to seventh grade at the Washington Waldorf School. After having her child Emily, Anna worked as a tutor and child care giver for three years, before becoming a lead teacher at Acorn Hill. Anna has been a Waldorf teacher for the majority of her life and is still growing and learning from the children she teaches to this very day.

Marie-Christine Hoover

Assistant Teacher  Photo coming soon!

Marie-Christine was born and raised in the Loire Valley, France; she lived in the countryside and was lucky to grow up with wonderful homegrown vegetables and fruit from her father’s garden. She studied in Orleans where she earned degrees in Tourism and English. She came to the United States in 1992 and met her soon-to-be husband, and they moved to Bethesda in 1995, after getting married in her hometown in France. Marie-Christine worked for the French Embassy and French mission to the OAS for several years, then opened and ran a French Antique furniture store in Kensington with her husband for 10 years. She loved the contact with customers and the smell of beeswax used to nourish the old furniture. When her first daughter was ready for school, Marie-Christine was introduced to Acorn Hill – it was love at first sight! Starting several years ago as a substitute teacher, Marie-Christine is now an assistant teacher in one of our Five Day Classes. Her older daughter Emma is a 6th grader and younger daughter Hannah starts as a 1st grade, both at Washington Waldorf . Marie-Christine loves camping and taking walks in the woods with her dog Chester, finding peace and inspiration in nature.

Jane Jannottaeli_20140305_0041-Edit

Business Office Assistant

Jane was born and raised in Maryland and has lived in or near Silver Spring most of her life. She earned a BS degree from the University of Maryland, working for a Government contractor in Washington DC upon graduating. She soon sensed the need for a big life and career change, and joined the staff of a small health magazine as a Publisher’s Assistant, while also tutoring high school math part-time. Her favorite, most challenging and rewarding job followed – raising her three children. Her two daughters, Eva and Melia, and son, Nolan, all went to Acorn Hill many moons ago, and it was here at Acorn Hill that Jane’s deep interests in holistic health and spirituality dovetailed so beautifully with parenting. When her children began 1st grade, she home schooled them through 8th grade using Waldorf methods. Her recent interests include gardening, somatic movement, and long walks in the woods with her pup.

Janet Johnsoneli_20140305_0011-Edit

Administrator

Janet was born and raised in the Chicago area and attended Northern Illinois University, where she studied mathematics, art history and textiles. She and her husband relocated to the DC area in 1978 to pursue interests in Waldorf education and to start their family. Janet came to Acorn Hill as a parent in 1982 and joined the Board of Directors in 1987. Her two daughters Sarah and Emma Heirman attended Acorn Hill and graduated from the Washington Waldorf School. As a parent, Janet taught doll-making classes at Acorn Hill for a number of years before becoming our administrator in 1993. Janet believes being a parent at Acorn Hill deepened and enriched her own life, and that Waldorf education continues to inspire and inform her work in the business and parent life of the school.

Fozia Joshuaeli_20140305_0006-Edit

Teacher

Fozia Joshua brings her warm, quiet demeanor, bright smile, inner strength and love of children to her teaching at Acorn Hill. Starting first as a substitute, then working as an assistant teacher, Fozia is now a lead teacher in one of our Five Day classes. Prior to her work at Acorn Hill, Fozia managed a home-based child care business. Fozia attended one of our first Mother-Infant classes and, over the years, both her daughter and son attended Acorn Hill through kindergarten before continuing on at the Washington Waldorf School. Fozia received her Waldorf Early Childhood Education training from Sunbridge Institute, New York.

Mariam Kante

Business Manager   Photo coming soon!

Mariam Kante was born and raised in West Africa. She came to the United States, as a young woman, to further her education. She received her Associates degree in Business Administration at Montgomery College and earned her B.S. in accounting at the University of Maryland College Park. She was with an accounting firm in Bethesda for three years, where she enjoyed their client-focused and team-driven culture. She discovered Acorn Hill with great joy, when she was looking to become part of a warmth-filled community that embraces diversity, and where she could do something more meaningful. She takes great pleasure in reading and spending time with family.

Natasha Nair

Assistant Teacher   Photo coming soon!

As the daughter of a foreign service officer, Natasha grew up in Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Cairo and Maryland. She then attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada. After completing her BSc in Psychology, Natasha went on to work as a meditation and yoga program manager for both adults and teenagers. This led her to go back to school and complete her MA in Elementary Education at American University. She then taught various grades in the D.C. public school system. When her son was born, she discovered Acorn Hill and immediately fell in love with its holistic and nurturing environment. As another child came along and years went by, it became clear to her that Acorn Hill represented the perfect blend of her love for children and her beliefs in child rearing and education. She lives with her husband Dileep, her two grade school children who attend the Washington Waldorf School and her labradoodle, Milo.

Monica Nermark

Assistant Administrator  Photo coming soon!

Monica first came to Acorn Hill as a parent in 2010 in the Parent-Child program, and enjoyed the quiet and warm atmosphere and pedagogy of the school. Her children continued to attend Acorn Hill until 2016, while Monica became active in the Parent Circle, and joined as a substitute teacher. In September 2017, Monica was hired as the Administrative Assistant. Monica was born in Sweden and raised in Italy, Sweden and Switzerland, before completing her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. After working in Washington, DC for a year, Monica moved to London for 13 years, where she took on various roles at a number of small businesses, ranging from a consultant at a management consulting firm, strategy consultant at a web development company, and as an account manager at a software firm specializing in the asset management sector. Since moving back to the Washington, DC area, Monica has stayed at home with her two children, until they began grade school, and has been actively involved in school and neighborhood community activities. Monica enjoys walking or biking to Acorn Hill from her nearby home.

Melanie Pipes

Classroom Assistant  Photo coming soon!

Living a magical childhood in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Melanie Pipes patted out mud pies, cooked stew under wild grapevines and chewed on birch bark with her cousins!  She later went on to get a teaching degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and taught literature and writing to high school students who were very similar to kindergartners!  Embarking on a grand adventure, she moved to California where she made an experimental film about her uncle who died from cancer.  After getting an MFA in film at San Francisco University, Melanie headed to Los Angeles and worked in the film industry.  She stumbled upon this new kind of education at an LA charter school where they were using Waldorf methods in the classroom.  Missing her family, she returned East, got married and had an awesome daughter Maisy, who led her to Acorn Hill!

Teresa Priceeli_20140305_0087-Edit

Assistant Teacher

Teresa joined our faculty in 2005 as an assistant teacher, after eight years of substituting and working in our Summer Program. She has served on both the Diversity Committee and our Board. She is currently Vice President of the Southern DC Chapter of Mocha Moms Inc., of which she has been a member for more than 10 years and has run a summer camp for young children from her home. She has been involved in holistic health for over 25 years.  Teresa has been very active in many community projects involving children, parenting, education, world peace, nutrition, and equity and justice. Her sons Alan and Amir were students at Acorn Hill and the Washington Waldorf School for over twelve years. She has a BS from the University of Maryland in Business and Psychology. Teresa grew up in Prince Georges County, Maryland and spent her childhood baking, cooking, singing, playing, reading and spending time in nature.

Carol St. John

Classroom Assistant  Photo coming soon!

Carol was born and raised on a dairy farm in the Finger Lakes of Central NY. As a member of 4H from the age of eight she learned how to bake, cook, sew, knit, raise vegetables, show her Gurnsey heifers at the County Fair and  at the NY State Fair. Little did she know then when she went off to college as an education major that all she learned on the farm prepared her as a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher. After teaching a few years Carol received permanet certification for K-12 when she completed her Master’s degree in Education at Long Island University.
Even now, Carol enjoys mixing Biodynamic Agriculture and Gardening along with her daily involvement with children. She created a school garden along with parents, teachers and children at Potomac Crescent WS in Alexandria, VA. The school garden won Judge’s Choice award for Best School Garden in 2017 from Edible DC.  Carol advises schools on how to get started with a school Market Garden where students sell the produce they have grown in their school garden at pick up time.
In between her 20 years teaching in the public school system on Long Island and her 10 years as a Waldorf teacher, Carol was self employed managing a family owned Honda dealership in Levittown, NY. It was during this time period that Carol worked as a Human Resource Department of one and later became the General Manager.

Carol has been a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher at Acorn Hill since 2004. She completed her Waldorf teacher training at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto Ontario. She also completed her training in Waldorf Therapeutic Early Childhood Education  in 2013. She recently returned to Acorn Hill as an After Care teacher.

Caryn Wexlereli_20140305_0108-Edit

Classroom Assistant

Caryn grew up on Long Island in New York State. From there, she lived many places before settling with her family in Silver Spring. She graduated from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, with a BFA in Acting and Directing. Moving to NYC to pursue a career, she met her future husband. Moves to Chicago, Brooklyn, Erie, PA and Baltimore followed. Caryn has found many ways to serve in the communities she settled in – political campaigning in NYC, working in a GED program in the Cook County Jail (Chicago), advocating for libraries as a member of the Erie County Library Board of Trustees (PA), and coaching teen actors in Silver Spring. She discovered Waldorf education while looking for a school for her son. As soon as he “graduated” from Acorn Hill, Caryn began substituting, assisting in the Summer, Afternoon and Aftercare programs before becoming a full-time member of the staff.

Leslie Woolvertoneli_20140305_0030-Edit

Teacher

Leslie Woolverton has lived in the Washington, DC area the majority of her life. She double majored in Visual Arts and Art History at Trinity College, DC. Leslie began a varied and rich professional life right after college working at the National Institutes of Health as a photographer, serving as a correspondent’s assistant at ABC Network News, and owning and operating her own photography studio and interior design businesses. Parenting her young son led her to reconnect with the joy of Waldorf education and her anthroposophical upbringing. She came to Acorn Hill with her son and in 2003 joined our faculty as the Assistant Teacher in the Parent/Child classes. With the completion of her Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate, Leslie is now our Lead Teacher in the 3 Day Class.