We are excited to introduce you to our Cooperative Nature School education team!
- Abigail Marsters, Executive Director, Director II certified
Abigail Marsters has a degree in Art History from Smith College as well as graduate level courses in Early Childhood Education and Administration from The University of Wisconsin, Massasoit College and Bridgewater University.
Abigail’s professional experience includes 3 years of teaching adults basic skills (Math, English as a Second Language and Communication) for Temple University and 9 years of retail management in a $1.4M store. Her present experience of 24 years in this highly successful non-profit preschool includes all facets of management and oversight, including finances and website and social media management, and implementing a strategic plan process. Abigail’s specialties include implementing the goals, objectives and mission statement of a non-profit, with a positive, professional relationship with all stakeholders utilizing strong interpersonal and communication skills.
Abigail is also a creative and engaging Lead Teacher who can write and present developmentally appropriate curriculum and preschool activities as needed. Her five years of teaching before becoming a full time Director were a wonderful experience. She believes in the school’s Cooperative philosophy, which involves families as partners in the school community. Thinking About the Needs of Others is a standard her family has followed since 1991.
- Barbara Simons, Lead Teacher, DII Certified Check out our video!
Barbara is one of our Lead Teachers at the Cooperative Nature School. She is DII certified and has a BA from the College of the Holy Cross and a Masters in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Adelphi University. She has been working with young children and in the field of early education since 1991. Barbara has worked in varying roles as Assistant Director, Director, Special Needs Coordinator, and teacher. She has worked in public and private schools on both the early childhood and elementary level and has previously worked at a Cooperative School in Newton. Barbara has been very excited by and invested in the idea of creating a nature school in Sharon. Her creativity and compassion are strengths.
- Keeli Cullen, Lead Teacher, DI Certified
- Keeli joined the Cooperative Community in August 2018 assisting in the opening of the Nature School as a Lead Teacher in the Chestnut Classroom. Keeli has been an early childhood educator for 31 years and has a natural love of teaching. Her passion for the outdoors and bringing the outdoors into her classroom has always been very exciting for the students in her classroom. So, being a member of the Nature School Team with the ability to spend so much time outdoors doing activities and exploring in nature with the children is a real treat and a privilege. Keeli enjoys learning with the children and guiding them through hands on experiences as they learn about the world around them. When Keeli is not at school she enjoys gardening, photography & scrapbooking, rock collecting, the Iditarod, bird watching and visiting with family and friends.
- Lisa Carstoiu, Lead Teacher, LTP certified, Chestnut Room
Lisa has a Master of Science in Human Development and a BA in Early Childhood from Wheelock College. She feels understanding a child is one of the first and most important things we can do to help them grow and achieve. Her experience with diverse learners, in public school programs and as a educator focused on process and play makes her an excellent addition to our staff. Lisa is working with Anna Kuo in Room 14 and the two are always coming up with something creative and fun to do! Lisa is lots of fun and brings an easy laugh and manner in working with 3-4 year olds. She has much energy, creativity and love that she shares with us and we love learning with her!
- Kendra Bucklin, Lead Teacher, DII Certified, Pinecones
Kendra holds a Master’s degree in education and a Bachelor’s degree in performing arts, and finds both to be quite useful in the classroom. She is Director II certified and has been working in the field of early childhood education since 2001. Before joining the team at The Cooperative Nature School, Kendra worked at programs including HeadStart, a nature preschool, and a Spanish-language immersion school. It is her belief that children are natural learners, who are innately capable of guiding their own inquiry and discovery. To that end, she prefers to follow her students’ lead whenever possible, creating (or sometimes simply allowing) truly child-led and play-based opportunities for learning. When she isn’t teaching preschool, Kendra also teaches line dancing at LGBTQ-friendly dance venues, crochets silly hats for her niece, and plays really nerdy board games.
- Sarah Whitmarsh, Lead Teacher
Sarah has a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College and experience in pre-kindergarten classes, differentiated curriculum, and project-based learning. As a passionate outdoorsman and seasoned professional educator, Sarah is excited about working in a nature-based preschool. Her teaching style is based on blending of a variety of early childhood educational philosophies and approaches, including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Constructivist. Children are viewed as active participants in their own learning, making choices and seeking out experiences that further their development. Sarah will be looking to incorporate her knowledge of local flora and fauna and passion for the natural world into daily curriculum experiences in nature’s classroom.
- Ashita Parikh, Lead Teacher and Administrator
Ashita Parikh has a degree in accounting from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (India) and further studies in Early Childhood Education. She is Director II certified by the State of Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. Ashita’s professional experience includes 15 years of teaching and 5 years of administrative work. She is married and has 2 children. She is a caring educator who believes that all children can learn and thrive in an exploratory environment that is stimulating and appropriate to children’s developing abilities. Children make her feel happy, loved, energetic and young. Ashita believes in establishing one community within itself that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of the children and families that it serves, and by making connections amongst these families to the community at large. Ashita enjoys photography, music, gardening and cooking during her spare time.
- Maura O’Gara, Engagement Manager, The Trustees
Starting in 2017 Maura has been the Engagement Manager for The Trustees fulfilling their mission to protect for public use and enjoyment properties of scenic, historic, and ecological value. She manages all aspects of the visitor experience, enhances visitor experience through programs, events, activities, and interpretive materials, grows visitation and program participation with outreach and development of partnerships, implements new events and programs, engages with visitors and new audiences and develops and strengthens relationships with local community groups, municipal entities, and media. Maura has a B.A. in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Summa Cum Laude (2008) University of Massachusetts; Boston, MA as well as an M.A. in Literary Studies, with Distinction (1997) University of Cape Town; Cape Town, South Africa and a B.A. English (1991) from the College of the Holy Cross; Worcester, MA. Maura has organized and led: Nature programs for Mass Audubon and Quincy Environmental Treasures, Nature and sustainability after-school programs for local elementary school, Environmental information events (Quincy Environmental Network), Guided kayak tours (Neponset River Watershed Association)and Group bicycle rides (QuinCycles). We are excited to be working with such a talented and experienced naturalist!
How to reach us: (781) 806-6156 ext. 7 or firstname.lastname@example.org