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 Advisor, was the Head Teacher at Westbrook from 2013-2018 and Director from 2013-2023. 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, Director, has been with Westbrook since 2014 serving as Office Manager for the first few years, then Assistant Director through June of 2023. She has her Master of Arts and Master of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and 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.
Meghan Huszagh, Community Administrator, attended Parent-Child Class with her two children for two years. Following her time here as a parent, Meghan was the Assistant for our Parent-Child Program for two years with Ms. Briony, bringing her extensive artistic education from Pratt Institute and FIT and experience being a full-time mom to our school along with her creativity. She has a corporate background in Sales and Operations and is an avid hiker and gardener and loves to continue to learn about nature.
Thayer Smock, Head Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten, is also a former parent at our school. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working at Westbrook 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 has been the Assistant Teacher in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten since 2020. 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.
Hannah Fischer is the Teaching Assistant in our Mixed-Age Kindergarten. She has been teaching art and nature classes to young children since 2016, most recently at Amber Farm. Her favorite part about working with children is sharing moments of teamwork and discovery. Hannah enjoys spending free time watching her chickens forage and going for walks in the woods.
Briony Noome has been the Group Leader in our Parent-Child Program since 2020 and is a former Assistant in Parent-Child and Teaching Assistant in our Kindergarten Program. She also has lead our Lunch Bunch Program for the Kindergarten. 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.