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.
Karin Mansberg is an Assistant Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She previously worked as a school teacher and director of the art program at Find Us Outside, a nature immersion program for children ages three to eight in Bethel, CT. Prior to that, Karin taught multi-disciplinary classes indoors for over ten years. Karin has two children with whom she loves to play outdoors, especially during winter.
Klaudia Maniskova is a Teaching Assistant in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She has three years of experience working in a preschool and loves nature and all things outdoors. She believes in connecting ourselves and kids with the outdoors as much as possible! Klaudia is originally from Slovakia and spent two years teaching in Prague in the Czech Republic. She loves to travel and explore the beautiful world.
Briony Noome is the Lead Teacher in our Parent-Child Program and has also lead our Lunch Bunch Program for the Kindergarten. She is also a former Teaching Assistant in our Kindergarten Program. Briony 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.
Meghan Huzsagh is a Teaching Assistant in our Parent-Child Program. For two years, Meghan and her two children attended Parent-Child Class. She now brings extensive artistic education and experience to our school along with her creativity.