Meet the Preschool Colleagues 2021-2022
The Brooklyn Friends School Preschool Faculty is a group of extraordinarily diverse, committed, and creative early childhood teachers. They are active in the classroom and beyond, and are exemplary life-long learners. The following is a brief introduction to our second floor colleagues.
Our Preschool Fours Colleagues
The Green Room
Rachel Rowan, Head Teacher
Rachel has taught in the Brooklyn Friends School Preschool for the past five years in both the threes and fours. Before coming to Brooklyn Friends, Rachel worked in Kindergarten and Mixed Age preschool classrooms. Rachel’s primary interests lie in constructivist-based teaching philosophies, nature exploration, the Reggio Emilia Approach, and supporting emerging literacy and early math skills through a play-based curriculum. She recently completed the Friends Council’s Spirited Practice and Renewed Courage program, a leadership program for teachers. She holds a BA in Anthropology and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Inclusive Education.
Jazelyn (Jazz) Montanez ’98, Associate Teacher
Jazz is a singer and dancer who loves to promote an environment of artistic and holistic exploration. She has worked in the Brooklyn Friends School Preschool, Afterschool, Camps, Athletics and Horizons programs for the past seventeen years. A marathon runner, she organized the Brooklyn Friends School Community Running Team in 2014, in sponsorship of our Student Financial Aid Fund. Jazz is an anti-bias education leader and has worked as a facilitator for our Upper School Latinx and The Youth Action Project of WPC (White Privilege Conference) student groups. She is an alumna of Brooklyn Friends, graduating in the class of 1998.
The Orange Room
Niamh Dolan, Head Teacher
Niamh begins her nineteenth year at Brooklyn Friends School. She has taught first and second grade in the Lower School and is now in her twelfth year teaching the Preschool Fours. She has a Masters in Childhood Education and a special interest in the integration of academic learning into everyday activities. She loves thematic units of study, particularly the study of wildlife, and enjoys creating fun learning games in Math and Literacy.
Rachel Kleinman, Associate Teacher
Rachel is excited to begin her fifth year at Brooklyn Friends School. Prior to joining the Preschool community, Rachel was the Admissions Associate at the Family Center at Brooklyn Friends School. She has a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. Rachel is passionate about incorporating into the classroom children’s literature that features a diverse range of voices. She has worked in a variety of educational settings from the coast of Maine to Denmark. When not in the classroom, Rachel can be found at the local bookstore searching for her next read.
Our Preschool Threes Colleagues
The Red Room
Sharon Carter, Head Teacher
Sharon is an expert early childhood educator in her twenty-ninth year at Brooklyn Friends School. She particularly enjoys crafting nurturing and holistic curriculum ideas, mentoring new teachers, and working to support parents. Sharon is a graduate of Medgar Evers College (CUNY University) in Early Childhood Education. She is passionate about social justice and building communities in the classroom and beyond.
Linda Villamarin, Associate Teacher
Linda has been a member of the Family Center and Preschool faculty at Brooklyn Friends School for 14 years. Prior to her work at Brooklyn Friends School, Linda was a Spanish specialist and Summer Camp Head Fours and Kindergarten Teacher. Born and raised in Ecuador, Linda has a love of family and community, and is deeply rooted in the values of her culture. Linda is a graduate of Brooklyn College, with an early childhood concentration in Math and Spanish. Linda loves child development and doing art with young children.
The Yellow Room
Zoe Goldberg-Stewart, Head Teacher
Zoe begins her seventh year of teaching at Brooklyn Friends and her fifth year in the Yellow Room. She has a Masters in Infant and Parent Development from Bank Street College. Zoe spent 10 years teaching early childhood education before taking a hiatus to raise her own children. Zoe taught Preschool Fours at Brooklyn Friends School for two years before coming to the Yellow Room. She is passionate about child development in the early years and loves working with both children and parents.
Ruth A. McQuiggan, Associate Teacher
Ruth A. is beginning her fourth year at Brooklyn Friends School and her second year in the Yellow Room. Prior to Preschool she taught at the Family Center at Brooklyn Friends. She holds a BA in Film from Hampshire College and worked in film production before beginning her career in early childhood education. Ruth A. is passionate about creating a welcoming and nurturing environment where children can grow and discover.
Jackie Ortiz, All Preschool Assistant Teacher and BFX Extended Day Teacher
Jackie has been teaching at Brooklyn Friends School for 20 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a minor in early childhood education. Jackie works as an All Preschool Assistant Teacher in the Preschool and was previously Head Teacher in the after school program, and will be teaching in the new BFX Extended Day program launching in September 2021. Jackie has taught in both Threes and Fours classes. She has a talent for promoting a calm, nurturing and caring environment for children. Additionally, Jackie is very creative and loves to sit with the kids to create arts and crafts. She loves to listen to the creative stories the children come up with and nurtures their love for reading and storytelling. Over the years Jackie has worked one-on-one with children with medical conditions and other special requirements. Outside of school her interests are staying indoors curled up with a good novel, and she’s also passionate about writing.
Our Preschool Leadership
Maura Eden, Head of Preschool
Maura holds a master’s degree in early childhood leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Prior to becoming Head of Preschool, Maura was a classroom teacher and taught two, three and four year olds. She was also a dance specialist, teaching dance to children and adults. Maura was a professional modern dancer for ten years and has been an early childhood educator for more than twenty five years. She has a special interest in the importance of play, social justice and the arts and their role in early education, parenting and in life! She is delighted to begin her twenty second year at Brooklyn Friends and her ninth year as Head of the Preschool. Maura looks forward to supporting the continued growth, vitality, and creativity of all the teachers, students and parents of the Brooklyn Friends Preschool.
Camille Fobbs, Teacher Leader and BFX Extended Day Interim Director
Camille begins her sixteenth year at Brooklyn Friends School, and this year marks her first year working in both an administrative and teaching role. Born and raised in Trinidad, Camille has a Masters in Educational Theater from NYU and has developed her own drama curriculum for young children. She has co-presented at WPC (White Privilege Conference) and NYSAIS (New York State Association for Independent Schools) Diversity Conference and developed a “frequently asked questions” guide to talking about differences in early childhood. She is a graduate of The Interschool Leadership Institute and NYSAIS Institute for Teaching Diversity and Social Justice. Camille is a passionate advocate in her anti bias work with young children.
Joy Roberts, Program Manager – Preschool and BFX Extended Day
Joy has been part of the Brooklyn Friends School community since 2014. She is now in her fifth year working with the Preschool, and is very excited to be part of the new Extended Day program team as well! Before coming to Brooklyn Friends, Joy spent many years in healthcare as an educator and advocate, and is also a licensed acupuncturist. Joy loves writing, painting, and relaxing at home with her kitties!
Dr. Jane Davidson, Preschool Developmental Specialist
Dr. Jane is a psychologist with background and experience in child development and early childhood education. Dr. Jane provides her expertise to our Preschool, leading workshops and guidance discussions for teachers, and Connect & Talk sessions for parents. Jane is available by appointment to provide parenting support for home as well as school challenges and questions.
Our Preschool Specialists
Nancy Tanney, Music Specialist
Nancy is the Preschool Music teacher and is in her 14th year teaching at Brooklyn Friends School. Once a week, Nancy teaches songs and rhythm instruments, and helps everyone move and groove to music! In past years Nancy has taught Music at the Family Center and to our Kindergarteners. She has also taught Science in the Kindergarten and First Grade.
Tony Soll, Sing
Once a week the Preschool gathers together to “Sing with Tony”. We sing songs from the vast folk music tradition exemplified by Pete Seeger, as well as tunes by such writers as Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Guy Davis, Ella Jenkins and Tony. Some are stories, others are “zipper songs” where the children suggest what words to “zip” into the verses – foods, colors, animals – depending on the subject. We sing songs of the seasons, and songs that expand on the classroom curricula, like celebrating Martin Luther King, winter, apples, butterflies, food and much more! We build community spirit while having fun and working together to create a ‘joyful noise’!
Mary Post, Dance Specialist
Mary taught for 9 years in the Family Center and is excited to return to Brooklyn Friends! Before that, she was the Pre K, Kindergarten and 1st grade dance teacher at The Berkeley Carroll School for 15 years. Mary currently also teaches dance to 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and Kindergarteners at The Riverside Church Weekday School where she’s worked for 12 years. Mary studied in the Teacher’s College Dance Education Master’s Degree program and approaches her work from the perspective of play-based learning. She uses Laban concepts and explores dance through the lense of space, time, energy and shape. Mary uses a great deal of literature in her work and loves helping children explore words kinesthetically.