Meet our Staff

The Gan Keshet Staff is so excited for this upcoming year!

Sara Rachlin, (she/her), Kitah Parpar Teacher: Sara
was born in NY and now lives in Florence with her
husband and two children. She has also lived in Ghana,
The Marshall Islands, and Colorado. Sara has a Master
of Arts in Teaching from Clark University and has taught
preschool in both Colorado and Massachusetts.
Growing up, Sara spent time at a reform synagogue in
White Plains, NY and was active in her synagogue
youth group as well as the local and regional NFTY
chapters. In Colorado, she taught at the Boulder JCC
Preschool, which is where she fell in love with early childhood education. Sara has worked as a Tinkergarten leader, a postpartum doula, and as a barista. Sara loves to sing and will be singing with a local chorus in the fall. She can often be heard making up songs (many of them silly) about
her day, and is currently starting a parenting metal band with songs like Get in your car seat!,
We’re gonna be so late, AND I LOOOOOOVE YOU. Sara is excited to meet new friends at Gan Keshet.

 

Cornelius Que, (he/him), Kitah Parpar Teacher and Outdoor
Classroom Curator: Cornelius will be starting his second year at
Gan Keshet in the Fall! He grew up on a small farm, in a small
town on the Oregon Coast where his mother ran a home-based
childcare. At an early age, he became inspired to begin his career
caring for young children. He got his start nannying for a family
for 6 years. He also worked as a caregiver for adults with
developmental disabilities, which he found very rewarding before
deciding to go to school for Early Childhood Education. He
worked for 6 years as a preschool teacher in Oregon before he and
his partner made the decision to pack up their family and move
across the country, relocating to the Pioneer Valley, where his
partner went to grad school at Bay Path University. Prior to
joining the GK team, Cornelius worked at Meadowlark Childcare Center, just up the street. He connects best with the world through
nature and art and loves to share his passion for the outdoors and creative expression with children. He is especially excited about following the children’s interests and seeing where their great ideas take us. Cornelius is excited to be joining the Parpar room this year.

Spring Horne, (she/her), Kitah Parpar and Kitah Chamaniah Support
Teacher: Spring has a great love of childhood and has been working
with young children for much of her adult life as a nanny, mom, and
preschool teacher. She has worked at many schools that have followed
different philosophies or guiding principles but finds that she keeps
coming back to Reggio Emilia-inspired schools because the ideas of
emergent curriculum and child-centered learning are so near and dear
to her heart. Spring has a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Design.
Two of her favorite things are exploring the great outdoors and reading
with children. She is excited to have the opportunity to bake with the children this year. Spring has lived in the Happy Valley for most of her life and loves being here for all the beauty and opportunities it affords. She has recently become more interested in gardening. She is looking forward to exploring the garden and farm with her new Gan Keshet friends. She has a small poodle and a love of all dogs.

Lauren Miller, (she/her), Kitah Chamaniah Teacher and Extended
Day Supervisor: Lauren is excited to be starting her 10th year at Gan
Keshet, her 8th as a lead teacher in the Chamaniot classroom, and her
5th year as Extended Day Supervisor. She is a 2002 graduate
of Smith College and has been in the field of Early Education for 18+
years in the Pioneer Valley. She received her EEC director
certification through the state of MA in 2016. Lauren is passionate
about nature-based education with a specific connection to food/social
justice and how they intersect. Over the last several years, Lauren has
participated in a campus-wide committee hoping to “elevate” the
conversation of food justice on campus. She is particularly interested in
integrating this into her work with children. On a personal note, Lauren spent this past summer teaching private swim lessons, exploring the local outdoors in our GK Summer Program, and spending time with family at their lake house in the Finger Lakes. She also had the honor of being Maid of Honor in her sister’s wedding, celebrated at the summit of Mt. Greylock, in July. On a professional note, Lauren ventured up to Alna, Maine in early August, where she participated in an intensive week long graduate course titled: Teaching with Nature: An Introduction to Forest Kindergartens, led by Anne Stires, founder/director of Juniper Hill School. She hopes to continue her learning in this area throughout the year, taking courses at Antioch University on nature-based education, bringing what she learns into her classroom. Lauren is looking forward to this year! In particular, she is excited to explore the natural world with children. She is particularly interested in introducing some of Jon Young’s core routines into her classroom, including sit spots, mapping and tracking. She is also excited to explore the outdoors in all-weather, and continuing with Forest Fridays. Lauren is looking forward to connecting with everyone in a couple of weeks.

Callie Angrisani, (she/her), Kitah Chamaniah Teacher: This is Callie’s
first year at Gan Keshet. Callie recently moved to Western Massachusetts
from New York City where she has been teaching for the past two years
at an elementary school she herself attended. Callie studied Early
Childhood and Childhood Education with a concentration in English at
SUNY New Paltz in upstate New York. Her love of children is what led
her to explore education and seek learning environments that reflect and
instill ideas of social justice, diversity, and a love for the natural world.
She is initially certified to teach in New York state and is in the process of
getting certified in the state of Massachusetts. Callie has a love for nature, art, and animals, especially dogs! She is excited to learn about the children who are coming into the Chamaniot classroom and can’t wait to explore with them outside and introduce different materials and conversations into the classroom. She is excited for the upcoming school year!

 

Candice Lazarus, (she/her), Extended Day Teacher and Kitah
Chamaniah Support Teacher:
Candice came to live in The Pioneer Valley three years ago, and is
very excited to start her third year teaching at Gan Keshet; working
with her favorite age group – in Extended Day and in the
Chamoniot Classroom. Candice brings to her work, 17 years of experience teaching in early childhood settings. Candice grew up in New York near the ocean, on the South Shore of Long Island. Her life-long loves of music,
nature, and movement began there and have endured, guided, and
shaped her life throughout. She began studying piano at age 5. It
was her desire to become a music teacher at age 32, that first led her
to working as a Head Preschool Teacher (with 3-4 year olds) in a
private school in NYC. There she also became Pre-School Music Specialist for her school. She pursued studies in Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroze; three approaches to music education, and later became K-2 Music Specialist in The South Whidbey School District near Seattle. She began teaching piano after that. As an undergraduate in Boston, her studies at Brandeis University included living in Jerusalem for 6 months. She later returned to Boston University to pursue her interest in working with emotionally disturbed children; earning her Bachelors Degree in Special and Elementary Education. Later in New York City, she branched out into Social Work; working as an advocate with developmentally disabled adults living in the community. As the Reagan-era social services cutbacks took hold, she moved her career in a different direction – following her love of movement and pursuing an education in and becoming licensed as a massage therapist. She moved to Seattle in 1992 to revel in a home of great natural beauty. There, in order to pursue both her love of working with young children and her piano studies and teaching; she worked as an Assistant Teacher at The Evergreen School and Villa Academy; two well-known private schools in Seattle – with Pre-K and K/1 students. Candice is most looking forward this year, to getting to know a new group of children; to seeing who they are and what their interests are. She looks forward to sharing her love of music, plants and nature and planning along with them; sharing in their excitement and curiosities.

Kate Holdsworth-Clarke, (she/her), Gan Keshet Preschool Director:
This Summer, Kate and her family enjoyed their annual trips to
Hancock Point, Maine, Lake Spofford, New Hampshire, and many
visits to area farms for strawberry and blueberry picking adventures!
This year will mark Kate’s 12 th year at Gan Keshet and 16+ in the
field of education. Kate has a background in early intervention/special
ed, studio art, art history, theater, and puppetry. As a teacher, she has
always had a profound respect for parents and the work and
thoughtfulness that goes into caring for and raising confident, capable,
and happy children. Now, as a Gan Keshet Parpar parent to 3 yr old
William, she has an even deeper appreciation and awareness for howmuch organization, flexibility, creativity, humor, vulnerability, and love are a part of this cherished journey. As a parent and as the head of school, Kate acknowledges what a special and yet tender time the transition to school/care outside the home can be! She is delighted to continue learning and growing as a teacher, director, and parent as part of our special Gan Keshet family. Kate is particularly excited to continue working for PJ Library Page to Stage, with her dear friend and GK/Shabbat Shabloom/LGA music teacher extraordinaire, Felicia Sloin. More information about their puppet shows around the Valley coming soon! Kate is also looking forward to a year filled with fun GK family events—scaffolding a connection between home and school and cultivating an inclusive and welcoming Rainbow Garden: a place to explore, a place to grow, a place to belong.
We can’t wait to jump into this year together! See you soon!