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High School Teachers
Karen Giuffre’, M.Ed.

Founding Director
Teacher/Researcher, Humanities/Social Justice

Our director received her BA in Political Science and Communications from Hood College and her M.Ed. in Education and Partnership from Goddard College. She has also participated in Advanced Studies in Exercise Physiology at Springfield College and earned a Masters Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA.

Karen began her teaching career in Harvard, Massachusetts where she taught 5th, 6th, and 8th-grade social studies. This was followed by years of serving as a teacher and director of fitness and recreation programs. Karen developed an elementary interdisciplinary curriculum as a researcher and writer and then as a trainer and promoter of the national physical education program, Physical Best. Karen’s children inspired her to create a progressive learning environment that honors all children as people. She founded Voyagers’ Community School in 2004 after spending 18 months composing the philosophical foundation that guides our day-to-day operations.

Karen has garnered recognition as the Keynote Speaker and Presenter at both national and local professional conferences, including, most recently, the Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference and the Progressive Education Network. She has also advised many start-up school efforts. She serves as the New Jersey State Liaison for the Alternative Education Resource Organization. She also served as Chairperson and Treasurer for the New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia, President of A Child's Place Education Fund, a member of The Colts Neck 9/11 Committee, and past Treasurer and President of The Colts Neck PTO.

Karen’s most recent project was directing the renovation of our new 14,000 square foot home, originally built in 1908. Our building was restored with thought to its original character, our contemporary needs, the necessary time-frame and the wants and visions expressed by students, faculty and staff. Currently, Karen serves as the Co-Chair of the Middle State Association Accreditation Team. Karen's passions include reading historical novels and memoirs, traveling, playing board games, chatting for hours with good friends and family and dancing always, everywhere.

"There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique." ~ Martha Graham

Richard Knab

Director of Admissions
S.T.E.A.M. Specialist

Rich has been a teacher at Voyagers' Community School since its inception. Starting with a weekly hands-on math class and after school robotics program, Rich’s involvement with the school grew over three years into a full-time teaching position.

Rich attended New Jersey Institute of Technology and Thomas Edison State University where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Education. Rich brings to his teaching his experience in engineering and software industries and his extensive woodworking skills to all of his classes. He chooses to teach through analogies and hands-on experiences and relates subjects to real life. He is attuned to children’s “out-of-the-box,” problem-solving techniques and is devoted to encouraging and preserving this way of thinking. Rich is an engineer and an artisan whose handmade light tables and recently constructed loft grace the classrooms at Voyagers'. These inspire students to create and to connect art with science, math, and technology.

Rich has been the coach of the Voyagers’ First Lego League Robotics Team since 2007. Over the years he has taught and mentored the team which achieved two invitations to the New Jersey state championships, one of which they won! He has won the Coach/Mentor of the Year award for his efforts in preparing FLL Robotics teams.

Currently, Rich is the Director of Admission and also heads the Technology Center. He teaches Upper School math, high school science, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) classes. He also teaches various Electives and Essentials to all ages. His summer camp offerings have included robotics, technology, skateboard construction, rocketry, chemistry, and woodworking. In fact, several summers age Rich's summer camp students built two canoes which they donated to the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

Professionally, Rich’s passion for and understanding of progressive education has driven him to present at various educational conferences. Most recently he has offered a seminar about the Voyagers’ Project Week initiative at the Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference.

Francesca DeVito

American Sign Language Teacher

Laura McCullough, M.A.

Visiting Professor ~ Literacy

Laura, the 15-year Brookdale English professor and long-time poet published, in June 2015, her second anthology of essays, Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race, through University of Georgia Press, and was in the same year selected as a featured artist in Best American Poetry collection by Sherman Alexie.

Also in June, Laura’s previously unpublished poetry collection Molecularity & the Science of Light won honorable mention in the 2015 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize, while her fifth book of poetry, titled JERSEY MERCY, was accepted by Black Lawrence Press. Laura continues to enjoy lasting recognition from her 2013 book Rigger Death & Hoist Another

Accolades, however, are nothing new to the poet/anthology editor/fiction writer/professor. Since publishing her first book in 2006, she has collected a Kinereth Gensler Award, was a finalist for the Forward Book of the Year Award and has earned a wide range of arts fellowships and scholarships.

Laura is currently serving as a visiting professor in our high school humanities class, helping our students hone their writing and communication skills. She is also mentoring a teaching assistant in the classroom.

Mikayla Templeton

Teaching Associate ~ Mathematics, Physics and STEAM

Tara Tomaino

Teaching Associate ~ Literacy

Tara is thrilled to be part of the Voyagers' vision and staff!  Monmouth County is her home and she is excited to assist her community full-circle, especially in the context of learning.  Tara currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Linguistics from Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J.  She will be receiving her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, specifically in poetry, at Sierra Nevada College's low residency program in Incline Village, Nevada in January, 2017.  She is a lover of all things words and considers herself a thinker and a professional learner above all else.  Tara is just beginning her educator's journey and not only hopes to be a part of the Voyagers' family for years to come, but also has goals of becoming a college professor.  Her passion and creative nature are just a few of the attributes she feels will be a great addition to the learning experience of the students.  Tara is beyond excited to learn from her fellow talented colleagues and grow alongside the students in their journey through self-discovery and education.

When not studying, reading, or writing, Tara can be found enjoying the local boardwalks, music/writing scenes, and experiencing all the Jersey Shore has to offer.  She is an avid fan of video games, animation, and comic books and believes in the power of all three to empower student learning.  Tara loves cats, hiking, Fall, and is known to create her own cosplays for conventions.  Her favorite type of sushi is a sweet potato roll.

Outdoor School – Grades 6-8 Teachers
Lesley Martin

Outdoor School Specialist

Teacher/Researcher ~ 6-8

Lesley joined the Voyagers’ team in the Fall of 2016, bringing with her a variety of teaching techniques collected through her experience instructing  French at Rutgers University and English at three urban middle schools in Paris, France.  Her focus on immersive Constructivist activities in the classroom help students acquire a wider and more innate understanding of foreign language; allowing the students to learn in the same manner as they did their native tongue.  She holds a Masters in French Literature and a BA in both French and English from Rutgers University with a focus on the Biological Sciences: highlighting her personal passion for ecological health.  

Lesley spent summers in college working as a Surfguard at Sandy Hook, Gateway National Recreation Area and every other available moment outdoors.  An avid hiker, mountain biker, road cyclist and camper who is a Monmouth County native, Lesley does not limit her outdoor adventures to this region.  She has an intimate knowledge of many State Parks here in New Jersey and has toured, camped and hiked through many of the great National Parks out West including Yosemite, Yellowstone, Arches, the Grand Canyon and Zion.  In 2014, following a graduate term abroad, she cycled from Leuven, Belgium to Nice, France; camping in the Belgian and French countryside along the way and finally traversing the Alps before arriving at her destination.  She is a strong advocate for cyclists and currently directs the Women’s Cycling Club and Girl-Powered Program at Second Life Bikes in Asbury Park, designed to empower more women and girls through holistic well-being to ride in such a male-dominated arena.

Lesley’s education in the literature, philosophy, and poetry of two languages, the instruction of foreign language itself, and profound experiences in nature both here and abroad have imparted a breadth to her thinking which allows for a greater understanding of the many languages of the individual learner.  Taking cues from the Reggio Emilia philosophy, Lesley seeks to create space for her students to express the synthesis of new knowledge in whichever medium they require.

“L'enfance a des manières de voir, de penser, de sentir qui lui sont propres, rien n'est moins sensé que d'y vouloir substituer les nôtres.” “Childhood has its own way of seeing, thinking, and feeling, and nothing is more foolish than to try to substitute ours for theirs.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Deborah McNish

Outdoor School Assistant
After Care Coordinator

Deborah has 25 years of experience as a visual art teacher from the Lakewood School District. She developed and wrote curriculum for grades K thru 6, secured grants for a Read/Write Program for the elementary school, and is the Art Specialist at Voyagers’ Summer Camp. Deborah’s passion for nature and volunteerism is an exemplary influence for all of our students, but particularly for our middle school students. Her work with the Appalachian Mountain Club, Jersey Shore Running Club, and the Peaceweavers Intentional community, promotes well-being in many communities. She also volunteered with Sandy Relief efforts by organizing donations and performing demolition and relocation work.

Richard Knab

Director of Admissions
S.T.E.A.M. Specialist

Rich has been a teacher at Voyagers' Community School since its inception. Starting with a weekly hands-on math class and after school robotics program, Rich’s involvement with the school grew over three years into a full-time teaching position.

Rich attended New Jersey Institute of Technology and Thomas Edison State University where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Education. Rich brings to his teaching his experience in engineering and software industries and his extensive woodworking skills to all of his classes. He chooses to teach through analogies and hands-on experiences and relates subjects to real life. He is attuned to children’s “out-of-the-box,” problem-solving techniques and is devoted to encouraging and preserving this way of thinking. Rich is an engineer and an artisan whose handmade light tables and recently constructed loft grace the classrooms at Voyagers'. These inspire students to create and to connect art with science, math, and technology.

Rich has been the coach of the Voyagers’ First Lego League Robotics Team since 2007. Over the years he has taught and mentored the team which achieved two invitations to the New Jersey state championships, one of which they won! He has won the Coach/Mentor of the Year award for his efforts in preparing FLL Robotics teams.

Currently, Rich is the Director of Admission and also heads the Technology Center. He teaches Upper School math, high school science, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) classes. He also teaches various Electives and Essentials to all ages. His summer camp offerings have included robotics, technology, skateboard construction, rocketry, chemistry, and woodworking. In fact, several summers age Rich's summer camp students built two canoes which they donated to the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

Professionally, Rich’s passion for and understanding of progressive education has driven him to present at various educational conferences. Most recently he has offered a seminar about the Voyagers’ Project Week initiative at the Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference.

Mikayla Templeton

Teaching Associate ~ Mathematics, Physics and STEAM

Lower School – 3-5 Teachers
Brittany Gaines, M. A.

Elementary Learning Specialist

Teacher/Researcher ~ 3-5

Brittany Gaines has a B.A. in Childhood Studies from Rutgers University and a M.A.T. in Elementary Teaching from The College of New Jersey.   She has earned Professional Eligibility Certificates, Elementary Education 1 – 6 & Middle School Mathematics 4 – 9, in the State of Maryland;  Instructional I, Elementary K – 6th & Mid-Level Mathematics 7th – 9th, in the State of Pennsylvania; and CEAS, Elementary Education K – 5th, in the State of New Jersey. Brittany has 7 years of elementary teaching experience.  She began her teaching career as an Assistant Teacher for four years in both first and second grade.   As a lead teacher, she taught first grade for two years. Most recently, she served as a junior kindergarten teacher in Washington, D.C. 

In the after hours, while in Pennsylvania, Brittany coached Junior Varsity Softball for four seasons, Junior Varsity Girls’ Soccer for three seasons, and Junior Varsity Volleyball for one season. She was also a part of the National Institute of the Progressive Education Network’s first cohort of educators.  She had the opportunity to visit two progressive schools, spending a week on each campus fully immersed in progressive education theory and practice.  Brittany is very excited to begin a new chapter of her teaching career here at Voyagers’. At Voyagers' Community School Brittany will be the head teacher in the grades 3-5 classroom.

Richard Knab

Director of Admissions
S.T.E.A.M. Specialist

Rich has been a teacher at Voyagers' Community School since its inception. Starting with a weekly hands-on math class and after school robotics program, Rich’s involvement with the school grew over three years into a full-time teaching position.

Rich attended New Jersey Institute of Technology and Thomas Edison State University where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Education. Rich brings to his teaching his experience in engineering and software industries and his extensive woodworking skills to all of his classes. He chooses to teach through analogies and hands-on experiences and relates subjects to real life. He is attuned to children’s “out-of-the-box,” problem-solving techniques and is devoted to encouraging and preserving this way of thinking. Rich is an engineer and an artisan whose handmade light tables and recently constructed loft grace the classrooms at Voyagers'. These inspire students to create and to connect art with science, math, and technology.

Rich has been the coach of the Voyagers’ First Lego League Robotics Team since 2007. Over the years he has taught and mentored the team which achieved two invitations to the New Jersey state championships, one of which they won! He has won the Coach/Mentor of the Year award for his efforts in preparing FLL Robotics teams.

Currently, Rich is the Director of Admission and also heads the Technology Center. He teaches Upper School math, high school science, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) classes. He also teaches various Electives and Essentials to all ages. His summer camp offerings have included robotics, technology, skateboard construction, rocketry, chemistry, and woodworking. In fact, several summers age Rich's summer camp students built two canoes which they donated to the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

Professionally, Rich’s passion for and understanding of progressive education has driven him to present at various educational conferences. Most recently he has offered a seminar about the Voyagers’ Project Week initiative at the Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference.

Francesca DeVito

American Sign Language Teacher

Lower School – Kindergarten-Grade 2 Teachers
Sandy Miller

Early Learning Specialist
Teacher/Researcher ~ K-2

With a BA in Early Childhood Education from Kean College, Sandy Miller has been educating children for 25 years. She developed the Primary Program at A Child's Place School, was Director of Education for Head Start of Monmouth County, and a Teaching Assistant in Tinton Falls Autistic Program for early childhood students. Sandy teaches reading, writing and basic math skills to early learners in a meaningful environment that helps students see the value of their hard work. Energetic and creative, Sandy’s teaching philosophy ensures a fun and joyful classroom environment. She believes that every child is a powerful human full of potential and knows that children’s strengths should be respected and voices should be heard. Sandy was recently a presenter at the Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference, where she introduced a year-long literacy project.

Richard Knab

Director of Admissions
S.T.E.A.M. Specialist

Rich has been a teacher at Voyagers' Community School since its inception. Starting with a weekly hands-on math class and after school robotics program, Rich’s involvement with the school grew over three years into a full-time teaching position.

Rich attended New Jersey Institute of Technology and Thomas Edison State University where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Education. Rich brings to his teaching his experience in engineering and software industries and his extensive woodworking skills to all of his classes. He chooses to teach through analogies and hands-on experiences and relates subjects to real life. He is attuned to children’s “out-of-the-box,” problem-solving techniques and is devoted to encouraging and preserving this way of thinking. Rich is an engineer and an artisan whose handmade light tables and recently constructed loft grace the classrooms at Voyagers'. These inspire students to create and to connect art with science, math, and technology.

Rich has been the coach of the Voyagers’ First Lego League Robotics Team since 2007. Over the years he has taught and mentored the team which achieved two invitations to the New Jersey state championships, one of which they won! He has won the Coach/Mentor of the Year award for his efforts in preparing FLL Robotics teams.

Currently, Rich is the Director of Admission and also heads the Technology Center. He teaches Upper School math, high school science, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) classes. He also teaches various Electives and Essentials to all ages. His summer camp offerings have included robotics, technology, skateboard construction, rocketry, chemistry, and woodworking. In fact, several summers age Rich's summer camp students built two canoes which they donated to the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

Professionally, Rich’s passion for and understanding of progressive education has driven him to present at various educational conferences. Most recently he has offered a seminar about the Voyagers’ Project Week initiative at the Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference.

Francesca DeVito

American Sign Language Teacher

Pre-Kindergarten Teachers
Jaime Maddelena

Preschool Director

Guiding young children through hands-on learning experiences based on the natural world is Jaime's passion. She is a lover of nature and a mother of two wonderful children.

Jaime started her journey towards working with children by attending Montclair State University to receive her BA in Family and Child Studies.  From there, she continued her journey by starting in a small, non-profit, child care program where she went from being a teacher's assistant to director in just 2 years. Then, Jaime's journey took her to a non-profit agency where her job as a Quality Improvement Specialist directed her on a different path. This path led her to work with child care programs on improving their quality by working in the classrooms with teachers, developing improvements plans and providing trainings.  It is there that she received extensive training in curriculum, health and safety practices, quality assessments and infant mental health.

Through those experiences,  she has developed a strong sense of understanding about the needs of children. She believes children are at their best when they are given a happy, loving and healthy place to learn and grow.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” Rachel Carson

Judi Pack, M. Ed.

Preschool Specialist

Voyagers' is fortunate to have Judi Pack on board as an early childhood specialist aiding in the design of our preschool programs and environment. After 25 years as a teacher and then a director at a progressive school for children from the ages of two through eight years old, Judi Pack began working with teachers of young children. She taught graduate courses in early childhood education and worked for a childcare resource and referral agency as their early childhood specialist, providing workshops, conferences, and mentoring to teachers in Monmouth County preschools and child care centers. Judi has presented workshops at local, national and international conferences and has written articles for a variety of early childhood publications, including Young Children and Early Childhood Information Exchange. In addition, Judi has worked with United Way to develop rich inquiry-based experiences for young children, in local school districts, during the summer months. In her work as an independent consultant, Judi encourages early childhood professionals to listen carefully to children in order to build on their ideas and interests and, most importantly, to focus on the joy of being together, discovering and learning.

Emma Nuneviller

Teaching Associate, Preschool

Emma Nuneviller is very excited to be part of the Voyagers' faculty. She continues to learn from her colleagues and the students and to put her ideas into action. Emma recently graduated from Lasell College with a BA in Curriculum and Instruction. Throughout her four years at Lasell she worked with local schools as a student teacher. She taught in every grade from pre-school to 5th grade in public and charter schools and in an autism specialty school. Emma's passion for teaching was evident at Lasell, where she was hand selected to join a group of students visiting and working in Antigua. While there she taught in a local school on the island. This program opened her eyes to the different obstacles that some students have to overcome in order to obtain an education. Emma is a strong believer in incorporating all students' different learning styles in a lesson plan. She sees every student as having potential and encourages them to be the best they can be. Emma is very excited to be part of the Voyagers School Community and looks forward to learning from other faculty members and the students.

Ashley Crosby

Teaching Assistant, Lower School

Ashley Crosby has been working at Voyagers’ Community School for the last three years. She joined us as a Teacher Apprentice from Brookdale Community College, where she continues to pursue her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. At Voyagers’ Ashley assists in the Lower School classrooms and wherever else she may be needed. When not working with children Ashley enjoys spending time with animals and pursuing her hobby of decorating cakes. In the future, Ashley will complete her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Infant/Toddler Teachers
Jaime Maddelena

Preschool Director

Guiding young children through hands-on learning experiences based on the natural world is Jaime's passion. She is a lover of nature and a mother of two wonderful children.

Jaime started her journey towards working with children by attending Montclair State University to receive her BA in Family and Child Studies.  From there, she continued her journey by starting in a small, non-profit, child care program where she went from being a teacher's assistant to director in just 2 years. Then, Jaime's journey took her to a non-profit agency where her job as a Quality Improvement Specialist directed her on a different path. This path led her to work with child care programs on improving their quality by working in the classrooms with teachers, developing improvements plans and providing trainings.  It is there that she received extensive training in curriculum, health and safety practices, quality assessments and infant mental health.

Through those experiences,  she has developed a strong sense of understanding about the needs of children. She believes children are at their best when they are given a happy, loving and healthy place to learn and grow.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” Rachel Carson

Emma Nuneviller

Teaching Associate, Preschool

Emma Nuneviller is very excited to be part of the Voyagers' faculty. She continues to learn from her colleagues and the students and to put her ideas into action. Emma recently graduated from Lasell College with a BA in Curriculum and Instruction. Throughout her four years at Lasell she worked with local schools as a student teacher. She taught in every grade from pre-school to 5th grade in public and charter schools and in an autism specialty school. Emma's passion for teaching was evident at Lasell, where she was hand selected to join a group of students visiting and working in Antigua. While there she taught in a local school on the island. This program opened her eyes to the different obstacles that some students have to overcome in order to obtain an education. Emma is a strong believer in incorporating all students' different learning styles in a lesson plan. She sees every student as having potential and encourages them to be the best they can be. Emma is very excited to be part of the Voyagers School Community and looks forward to learning from other faculty members and the students.

Judi Pack, M. Ed.

Preschool Specialist

Voyagers' is fortunate to have Judi Pack on board as an early childhood specialist aiding in the design of our preschool programs and environment. After 25 years as a teacher and then a director at a progressive school for children from the ages of two through eight years old, Judi Pack began working with teachers of young children. She taught graduate courses in early childhood education and worked for a childcare resource and referral agency as their early childhood specialist, providing workshops, conferences, and mentoring to teachers in Monmouth County preschools and child care centers. Judi has presented workshops at local, national and international conferences and has written articles for a variety of early childhood publications, including Young Children and Early Childhood Information Exchange. In addition, Judi has worked with United Way to develop rich inquiry-based experiences for young children, in local school districts, during the summer months. In her work as an independent consultant, Judi encourages early childhood professionals to listen carefully to children in order to build on their ideas and interests and, most importantly, to focus on the joy of being together, discovering and learning.

Ashley Crosby

Teaching Assistant, Lower School

Ashley Crosby has been working at Voyagers’ Community School for the last three years. She joined us as a Teacher Apprentice from Brookdale Community College, where she continues to pursue her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. At Voyagers’ Ashley assists in the Lower School classrooms and wherever else she may be needed. When not working with children Ashley enjoys spending time with animals and pursuing her hobby of decorating cakes. In the future, Ashley will complete her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Sheri Erlich

Music Instructor, Principal of Honey Child Music Academy

ELECTIVES AND ESSENTIALS TEACHERS
  • Lisa Bagwell
  • Ashley Crosby
  • Jane Kleinman
  • Deborah McNish
  • Andrea Phox
  • Quincy Mumford
  • Sarbmeet Kanwal, PhD
  • Marie Coglianese
  • Margery Cohen
  • Sheri Erlich
  • Jason DeLeon

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