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Outdoor School – Grades 6-8 Teachers
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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.

"If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” Chinese Proverb

Lesley Martin

Outdoor School Specialist

Teacher/Researcher ~ 6-8 ~ French

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

My son struggled in private schools whose sole objective was to force children who learn differently to learn the way our public schools want to teach them. They’ve missed the point entirely which is to help children learn and grow into well-rounded members of a community in a way that capitalizes on their skills. The turn-around for my son is nothing short of miraculous. At Voyagers he loves going to school, has entered honors classes and enjoys his role in a community of teachers and students who help and support each other. Voyagers Community Schools teaching methods allow children to learn, mature and excel in a safe environment. When children enjoy learning they learn more. Simply put.

Student Work