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 and Director, has years of teaching experience and was the Head Teacher at Westbrook from 2013-2018. She 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 earned her 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.
Danielle Caldwell, Assistant Director, has her Master of Arts and Master of Education 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 in 2014! Danielle enjoys serving the Westbrook community while learning all about the wonders of nature.
Thayer Smock, also a former parent at our school, is Head Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working at Westbrook as an Assistant Teacher since 2015. 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.
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.
Kate Beck is an Assistant Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She has been working in experiential environmental education for over ten years. Kate holds a Master of Arts in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University and an undergraduate degree in Conservation Biology from Green Mountain College. She is dedicated to enriching children’s lives through nature-based learning and inspiring the next generation of fellow advocates for the natural world.
Jessica Gibson, also a former parent at our school, is a Teaching Assistant in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten and a former 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.
Briony Noome is a Teaching Assistant in our Parent-Child Program and leads our Lunch Bunch Program for the Kindergarten. She is also a former Teaching Assistant in our Kindergarten Program. She brings to Westbrook her parenting knowledge, her special education training, her love of children, nature, adventure, and a design background. She enjoys spending her free time with her family hiking, skiing, swimming, gardening, traveling and will take any opportunity to be creative.
Becky Gibson, also a parent at our school, is a Teaching Assistant in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She holds a Masters in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University and is also a Certified Nutritional Therapist through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Along with her knowledge and expertise in movement development, health and nutrition, she brings to Westbrook a love of gardening and the natural world.