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Teachers and Staff


From left: Raquel Zapf, Saba Quraishi, Suzanne Fogle, Tanya Murray, and Thayer Smock

Westbrook teachers are unique individuals who have a profound love and respect for both the young child and for nature. Nature-based early childhood education asks a great deal of its teachers. While fostering meaningful relationship with each child based on caring and understanding, they must also deliver a strong, creative curriculum while rising to the physical challenges of outdoor work and play in all types of weather. Joy in their work comes from a deep commitment to fostering the child’s love of the natural world and to seeing them reach their full potential in all domains of development.

At Westbrook, we have a high teacher to student ratio of 1 to 4. This reflects our focus on safety and the quality and quantity of personal attention each child receives. Each class has a head teacher, who is ultimately responsible for the administration of the curriculum and for communication with the parents. All of our teachers are available to parents for discussion pertaining to their child and to address any concerns.

Suzanne Fogle, Founder, Director, and Head Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten, has years of teaching experience and holds a Baccalaureate degree in Early Childhood Education as well as a Teacher Certification in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Emerson College in England. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Maryland, and she completed her graduate school coursework in Molecular Biology. Suzanne is passionate about providing a well-rounded holistic education that nurtures the whole child in a natural preschool setting.

Thayer Smock, also a former parent at our school, is an Assistant Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She will have completed her degree in Early Childhood Education in June 2018. Thayer has experience working with kindergarteners and first graders and brings, along with her gentle, loving approach to the children, an enlivening curiosity and enthusiasm for nature.

Tanya Murray is an Assistant Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She is certified in Art Education and has experience teaching children from Pre-K through grade 12. Tanya works tirelessly to keep the class running smoothly while bringing her joy and playfulness. She is very much loved by the children.

Raquel Zapf, also a parent at our school, is an Assistant Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten and our Parent-Child Program. She has a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and has worked with young children for many years. Raquel brings a warmth and gentleness to the children with her stories and songs, many in Portuguese. Her strong commitment to the mission of Westbrook comes through in all of her work.

Sarah Jorgensen, an Assistant in the Mixed-Age Kindergarten, is currently studying Early Childhood Education at Western Connecticut State University. She has experience working with children from six months old through fifth grade. She is passionate about working with young children and also enjoys serving as the Head Coach of the Redding-Easton Field Hockey Team.

Saba Quraishi has been with Westbrook from its beginning. She is the Teacher in our Parent-Child Classes and brings her warmth and love as well as her crafting skills and gardening expertise to the school. All of the children love Miss Saba!

Jessica Gibson, also a parent to two of our Mixed-Age Kindergarten students, is a Teaching Assistant in our Parent-Child Program.  She has over ten years of experience teaching students in Pre-K through Grade 12, with a focus on students with special needs.

Danielle Caldwell, Assistant Director, has her Master of Arts and Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She worked in higher education for almost ten years before becoming a full-time mom. She brings years of experience volunteering and serving on boards at the preschool level. Her twin boys attended Westbrook and were enrolled in our very first Kindergarten class! Danielle enjoys serving the Westbrook community while learning all about the wonders of nature.