Thanks and appreciation for all the encouragement and support you have provided to us over these past six years. It was always nice to know we had the help of a warm and welcoming staff to address any of our concerns or questions. You’ve made the experience of homeschooling all the more rewarding.
Michelle Simpson-Siegel
Executive Director
Michelle Simpson-Siegel, M.S.

Michelle received her undergraduate degree in Education and English from the University of Rhode Island. She pursued her graduate degree in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England because she believes, as David Orr does, that “all education is environmental education. By what is included or excluded we teach students that they are part of or apart from the natural world.” Before coming to Oak Meadow, Michelle taught English at Northfield Mount Hermon, was a Learning Specialist in the Massachusetts public schools, and worked as a Program Director for The Massachusetts Audubon Society. Michelle lives in Dummerston, Vermont with her family. Her interests include slow food, travel, parenting, yoga, and the literary arts.


Apple Gifford
PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Apple Gifford

Apple’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Religious Studies from Yale University, as well as a Masters of Education and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Counseling Psychology for Educators, both from Lesley University. Apple has been an academic tutor in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a Sixth Grade teacher and Directing Teacher at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, and a Lead Instructor for Outward Bound. In addition to her teaching duties, Apple is the K-8 Program Director and Curriculum Director at Oak Meadow.  She enjoys guiding students and families on their homeschooling journey, and is particularly interested in applying new educational technologies to enhance the experience of distance learning. Apple resides in Newfane, Vermont, with her family and enjoys knitting, quilting, and canoeing.


K-8 Teaching Faculty

Sarah Antel
Sarah Antel

Sarah received her B.A. in Psychology from the College of Wooster and her M.Ed. from Antioch New England. Her teaching career has taken her from the woods, to classrooms, to farms, and into curriculum and program design. When working with her students, she speaks from her own experience, and helps guide students toward their own personal discoveries. She understands that each child's path is different, and believes that adults can only use their knowledge gained to encourage students to make their own discoveries and be driven by inspiration to follow their own path. Sarah lives where her heart is, in the Green Mountains of Vermont. In her free time she enjoys gardening, baking, and sewing.


Lesley Arnold
Lesley Arnold

Lesley received her Bachelor of Science in Education and her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Childhood Development from Boston University. She also completed additional graduate level work in Movement Education and Outdoor Education, and received her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Antioch New England Graduate School. After teaching in the public schools for many years, Lesley was a class teacher at Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, New Hampshire. In addition to being a K- 8 teacher for Oak Meadow, Lesley also works as a Youth Librarian at the Keene Public Library. Being both a teacher and a children’s book librarian allows her to combine her love of children with her love of books. Lesley resides in Keene with her husband, and spends her free time visiting her children, knitting, hiking, biking, skiing, and, of course, reading.


Leslie Daniels-Vanzo
Leslie Daniels-Vanzo

Leslie graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Outdoor Education and a minor in General Science. She also received a Teaching Certificate through the School of Education for Grades K-8, and took graduate courses in Alternative Education at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California and at Antioch College in Keene, New Hampshire. In addition to her 24 years working as an Oak Meadow teacher, Leslie is the Founder, Director and Head Teacher of the “Little Tree Education” program, which offers educational activities to groups of home-schooled students. Her whole professional life has centered around guiding children toward the joy of discovery, and with homeschoolers, this enjoyment of learning extends to the entire family. Leslie currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana with her family and pets. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, canoeing and kayaking, writing songs and stories, sharing nature with children, and taking long walks in the woods with her three dogs.


Amy Fredland
Amy Fredland

Amy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire, followed by a Certificate in Yoga Therapy and a Masters Degree in Waldorf Elementary Education from Sunbridge College. Before coming to Oak Meadow, Amy taught at Monadnock Waldorf School for four years, carrying a class from grade one through grade four. Since then she has completed the Sophia’s Hearth Family Center Training Course which focuses on parent education in child development from birth through age three, and serves on the center’s Board of Directors. She enjoys seeing parents learn from their children as much as seeing children grow in their understanding of themselves and the world. Amy lives with her family in Keene, New Hampshire, and enjoys many nature-based activities, as well as traveling, singing, baking, and handwork.


DeeDee Hughes
DeeDee Hughes

DeeDee holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Psychology, with an emphasis in Child Development, from the University of Redlands in California. She has also studied Waldorf education at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. After teaching for many years, DeeDee began work in the field of children’s book publishing, and has been a freelance children’s book editor for nearly 20 years. In addition to being a K–8 teacher for Oak Meadow, she is involved in developing new Oak Meadow curriculum, which lets her write and teach at the same time. An enthusiastic proponent of educational choice, she believes in allowing children to learn in the way that best suits each individual, and particularly enjoys using literature to bring academics alive. DeeDee lives with her two sons in Santa Cruz, California, where she enjoys reading, writing, and running along the coast.


Claudine Kaplan
Claudine Kaplan

Claudine holds an M.Ed from Antioch and a BS in Natural Resource Economics from the University of New Hampshire. She studied the Integrated Day curriculum and is Waldorf Certified. She has taught in an Outward Bound charter school as well as Waldorf schools around the country. After six years in the classroom, Claudine has become passionate about homeschooling. She has helped others educate their children in her "Pondside Classroom" for the past ten years. Claudine is an environmentalist, and worked at Earthwatch Institute which helps scientists around the world maintain their research projects. Claudine lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband while their two grown children roam the world.


Andrea Kilroy
Andrea Kilroy

Andrea Kilroy taught middle school history and English for thirty years at a private school in Massachusetts. Concerned that children are often underserved by mainstream institutions, she turned her attention to helping each child get the best educational support possible. Andrea is currently completing a customized hybrid B.A./M.Ed. degree in Educational Advocacy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She believes that parents often lack the confidence and guidance to embark on an alternative educational path that would better serve their children's needs. She feels Oak Meadow's mission of instilling a love of education in its students while gently guiding both student and parent provides the best of all possible worlds: a teacher (the parent) who is 100% committed to the student's success paired with a curriculum that is solidly grounded in good pedagogical research and practice. Andrea is the mother of five and the grandmother of five. She loves teaching, reading, cooking, needlepoint, and being with her grandchildren.


Nicole Lavin Williams
Nicole Lavin Williams

Nicole graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Masters of Education. Over the years she has taught a spectrum of learners from first grade through the collegiate level. Nicole trained extensively in The Responsive Classroom approach, and has taught other teachers to use it in their classrooms. She has also worked as a mentor and evaluator for student teachers who are working towards their Master's degree in education. In addition to classroom teaching, Nicole taught dance to performing arts students and choreographed a school musical. She appreciates the unique way that Oak Meadow provides students with the opportunity to explore who they are as learners and to truly live their education. Nicole lives in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and enjoys knitting, sewing, reading, and spending time with her family.


Michelle Menegaz
Michelle Menegaz

Michelle Menegaz holds a BA in Psychology and Biology from Middlebury College, and a Masters in Environmental Science and Elementary Education from Antioch University New England. Michelle taught at Academy School in Brattleboro for 13 years and relished incorporating nature studies, gardening, movement, knitting and song into the curriculum. John Muir's insight carries special significance for Michelle: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." Michelle homeschools her daughter and runs a camp called Girls on the Farm from her home. These endeavors have strengthened her belief that relationship is an essential piece of learning. Michelle lives in Southern Vermont on a "farmette" with her husband and daughter along with a mixed menagerie of goats, sheep, ducks, chickens and one old demanding cat. In between gardening, homeschooling and animal care she enjoys singing, knitting, hiking, and biking.


Deborah Velto
Deborah Velto

Deborah Velto earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in Education, and worked in several public schools before moving to the Navajo Reservation to teach high school English for three years. She has also worked as a middle school Special Educator at a small rural Vermont school, and taught at a Waldorf-inspired homeschool program, where she became actively involved in the local homeschooling community. Deborah now homeschools her own children, and teaches small group writing and reading workshops for homeschoolers. She greatly enjoys supporting students as individual learners and encouraging them to utilize their unique strengths and passions as tools in their academic growth. Deborah lives in Southern Vermont with her husband and two children, and their beloved dog. Her family loves to be active and spends a lot of time outdoors exploring the natural world. She also enjoys reading, painting, learning to play the mandolin, and writing.


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