Who We Are

Facilitators & Presenters

Kimberly Baker has taught Grades Pre-K through 12 in independent schools. She is currently Renbrook School's Learning Strategist, a 6th grade English teacher and a member of the Technology Department.

Dr. Angela Burke has been an educator for 14 years, with experience in traditional public, charter, and magnet schools throughout CT and MA.  She has been a classroom teacher K-6; Literacy Coach; Founding Academic Dean at a charter school in Hartford, CT,; Assistant Principal; coordinator  for the revision of the teaching standards for the MA Department of Education; and Parent Educator. Currently, as the Director of Curriculum at Jumoke Academy she coaches and mentors classroom teachers.

Sally Follansbee is an elementary teacher at The Renbrook School in West Hartford, CT. She has taught in both private and public school settings. In her spare time she trains dogs.

Tara Harrison is a visual arts teacher with over 10 years experience teaching urban youth in NYC and the greater Hartford area. Currently, she teaches at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Elementary Magnet School in Bloomfield. Previously, she worked with PreK through 8th grade students at Jumoke Academy Charter School.  She has also served as an art staff developer and mentor for Creative Classrooms Visual Arts Program in New York.

David Heiser is the head of Education and Outreach at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History.  He works to connect teachers and the New Haven area community with the opportunities available at the Peabody.

Annie Hettick is the Farm Manager & Director of Agricultural Programs at Common Ground High School.

Rebecca Holcombe is the Director of Community Programs Common Ground High School.

Lulu Kellogg is Head of the Upper School at Renbrook where she previously taught third grade, Upper School English, and served as Lower School Curriculum coordinator. She has also served as a consultant/trainer for McGraw Hill/Everyday Mathematics Program.

Cyra Levenson  is the Associate Curator of Education at the Yale Center for British Art.

Janice Markey: A Seedlings facilitator for 5 years:  teacher in the New Haven Public Schools for 35 years including: ESL, Literacy Mentor, Multi-Age Groups.

Winnie Naclerio: A Seedlings facilitator for 5 years, kindergarten teacher for 32 years at Calvin Hill a private Yale affiliated Day Care Center in New Haven.

Leslie Prodis:  Director of Neighborhood Music School's Preschool & Toddler Program; designer of an Integrated Arts/Emergent Curriculum; educational consultant; parent coach specializing in conscious parenting and communication.

Jessica Sack: The Jan and Frederick Mayer Associate Curator of Public Education, at the Yale University Art Gallery, Jessica leads the Gallery's development of family programs and teaching resources for K-12 teachers and students. 

Judith Spaar has taught kindergarten for 23 years in the Branford Public School System. She has been a mentor for beginning teachers, as well as a cooperating teacher working with students from area universities.

Shelley Sprague: currently the middle school theatre arts teacher at The Independent Day School and Director of Middlesex Academy for the Performing Arts, an after school performing arts program on the IDS campus; formerly the Head of School at the Wightwood School/The Pine Brook School and a kindergarten through 8th grade teacher over the course of 29 years.

Violet Talbot: a retired early childhood teacher who spent much of her career inspiring children and educators to investigate the natural world.  Talbot was a founding teacher at Cold Spring School in New Haven and taught at Foote School for many years.

Jennifer White-Dobbs is the Director of Education at the Connecticut River Museum, which offers a variety of on-site and on-line options to help teachers access resources about the Connecticut River.

Betty Whitney: Seedlings facilitator for 4 years:more than 25 years teaching experience in public and independent school in New Haven; the last 20 plus years of teaching were at the Foote School teaching a Mixed-Age Group (grades 1,2).

Karen Zwick: Technology Coordinator and Master teacher, grades 4,5 Cold Spring School, New Haven Conn.; Recipient of 2008 Woman of Innovation Award, Winner of NAIS Stories of Excellence Award, NAIS Teacher of the Future Award.

Advisory Board

Alan Plattus: Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at Yale University School of Architecture.


Alan Organschi:  Design principal at Gray Organschi Architecture,  New Haven, Conn.


Mary Schwab-Stone:  Associate Professor, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, Conn.


Carla Horwitz:  Director of Yale University's Calvin Hill Day Care Center and Kitty Lustman-Findling Kindergarten; joint appointment in the Teacher preparation Program, the Psychology Department and the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University


Joya Marks: Educational consultant; Docent, Yale Center for British Art; Board of Directors, Edith B. Jackson Child Care Center; Former Lecturer, Yale College 


Jean Lamont: Former Head of Foote School; former Co-coordinator, Seedlings Teacher Collaborative; currently, partner, Educators' Collaborative, LLC


Jeffrey Jonathan: Head, Cold Spring School, New Haven, Conn.


Sequella Coleman:  Principal, John S. Martinez Magnet School, New Haven, Conn.


Tina Mannarino: Supervisor for early childhood education for New Haven schools


Nancy Close: Psychologist, Assistant Professor in the Yale Child Study Center; Associate Director of the Yale Program in Early Childhood Education


Cyra Levenson is the Associate Curator of Education at the Yale Center for British Art.

Seedlings Directors

Judy Brennan: Seedlings New Haven Co-Director.
Judy had 15 years of teaching experience in public schools in NY and TX and 10 years at Foote School in New Haven. She is presently a docent at the Yale Center for British Art.

Judith Cuthbertson: Seedlings New Haven Co-Director.
Former Mixed Age Group teacher, Foote School, New Haven, Conn.; consultant Edward Zigler Head Start Center, New Haven; teacher-trainer, Edgewood Magnet School, New Haven.

Kathleen Higgins: Seedlings Hartford Co-Director and Director of the Seedlings School Leaders Initiative.
Kathleen was the principal of the John B. Sliney School in Branford, Conn. and an elementary school teacher and reading consultant in both public and independent schools. Many teachers from John B. Sliney School attended the Seedlings/New Haven Program and enjoyed the professional atmosphere, educational opportunities and collaborative culture. Currently she is a part time professor at Quinnipiac University and an Executive Coach for the CT Association of Schools.

Marfie Lavendier: Seedlings Hartford Co-Director.
Marfie has been an elementary teacher for 35 years in independent schools, 29 of which have been at Renbrook School in West Hartford. There she spent 16 years in second grade and 7 years as a reading specialist. She holds a Masters Degree in reading and is currently teaching fourth grade.