Donna Mikkelsen

Founder/Director/ Teacher
Donna has been pioneering a new model for education in the 21st century for more than a decade. She is a mother, an artist, a dancer, a teacher, and a social entrepreneur. Donna has made it her mission to help people of all ages find their natural genius, so they can realize what they are capable of. She is forging new pathways of learning for today’s children.

As a self learner, Donna sought out alternative teaching methods. She is a certified Montessori Teacher and has had extensive hands-on training at the innovative Golden Education Template school in Northern Israel. She has been working with children since she was 12 years old. Donna was a young scholarship student at the Martha Graham Dance Studio in NYC, attended Parsons School of Design in NYC, and has received business training through the Academy for Entrepreneurial Excellence by Westchester Community College and the Business Council of Westchester.

Donna has worked with leading educators such as John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down, Joanna Faber, speaker on How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and every child’s first educator – their parents.

Donna is committed to providing educational opportunities that accommodate the needs of today’s children as they develop into tomorrow’s leaders.

“The best part of my work at The Garden Road School is collaborating with parents and educators who passionately care about the transformative power of education as much as I do.” 

Terese Giammarco

Founder/Elementary School Teacher
Terese brings multiple areas of expertise to the Garden Road School and offers a unique approach to incorporating the arts into education. She has attended Columbia University’s Teachers College, completing courses such as “A Pedagogy of Artistry for Teachers of Young Children.” She has also completed the five step learning program, “Drawing/Writing and the New Literacy,” the Affect Based Learning Curriculum (ABLC) for teachers and therapists, and H.A.N.D.L.E (Holistic Approach to Neuro-Development and learning Efficiency). She also founded and performed with the musical storytelling troupe Teatro Imperfecto.

Before embarking on the growth of The Garden Road School, Terese gleaned over 27 years of experience in the television and film industry and can honestly say that having a theatrical background was the second best training she has had for becoming a teacher. The best training of all has been her role as a mother to her son Evan. Raising a child with autism has opened up a world of better understanding towards learning differences as well as a greater compassion for the struggles we share as parents raising children in the 21st century. We are all heroes!

“The best part about teaching at The Garden Road is how I am constantly learning from the children, the parents and the other teachers. This mostly happens through a myriad of mistakes and self reflection, but it has allowed me to continue to grow and develop as a teacher, a mother and a human being. What a wonderful, rare opportunity.”

Donna Sabia-Marino

Preschool Director/Teacher
Donna joined The Garden Road School in 2007, bringing with her many years of child education and experience, some of which came from being a stay-at-home mom raising her four children.

Donna is nationally recognized in the field of Child Development, specializing in preschool. Donna has recently completed  more coursework  in early childhood, focusing on families as partners.  Donna is currently studying with The Institute of Humane Education on Teaching for a Positive Future for which she has been invited to be a contributor to their curriculum development.

Prior to The Garden Road, Donna worked as assistant to the director at the
Mohegan Colony Nursery School. She was also employed by the Lakeland Central School District where she taught religious education. In addition, she was an arts & crafts instructor and a costume coordinator for the Panas Players. She has also been recognized for her poetry.

“What I love about our school is sharing the everyday curiosity of the children, and working with such a supportive and inspirational staff…. It doesn’t get any better than this!”

Lowry Reinauer

CSE Coordinator/Teacher/Art/Spanish
Lowry Reinauer has been a teaching art and spanish since 1993.  She graduated from the University of North Texas with a BFA in painting and drawing. She is a multimedia artist with a background in painting, drawing, sculpture and photography.

She received the Hillary Rebay Teaching Artist Award at the Guggenheim.  She was chosen for the bilingual artist exchange program at the Guggenheim in Bilboa, Spain.
Lowry was the director of the Visual Arts Camp at MoMA’s P.S. 1, Center for Contemporary Art. She collaborated with artists  Carola Dertnig and Pia Moos, producing an interactive exhibit, Flyby Productions at P.S. 1 Center for Contemporary Art.
Lowry is bilingual and studied Spanish at the Center for Bilingual Multicultural Studies in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  Many of the art programs she has taught in the public school system in NYC have been English/Spanish bilingual programs.

“The best part of teaching at the Garden Road School  for me is the arts-integrated curriculum and the love for learning shared by the children and the staff.”

Burt Marino

Elementary School Teacher
Burt holds a B.S. in both Marketing, and International Management, and a NYS elementary teaching license. He is currently completing his masters’ degrees in Elementary education, Special education as well as secondary education at Manhattanville College.

Prior to working at the Garden Road school Burt worked in the Special Education Department in the Pelham School district. He also coached the soccer and Lacrosse teams there. Burt has also been a head life guard, coach, and volunteer in his community.

Diane Metviner

Preschool Teacher

Diane is a licensed, Board certified and registered Creative Arts therapist. This is Diane’s second year at The Garden Road School as a teacher assistant for the preschool and is also the Body Education and Curriculum Craft teacher for the elementary children.[Is she teaching them to craft curriculum? Otherwise, she should probably just be the crafts teacher.]
Diane has her Master of Science degree in Art Therapy from the College of New Rochelle and is a graduate of Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Clown College. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Visual Arts with a dance minor from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

In addition, Diane is a professional puppeteer/puppet maker who has performed all over the United States. She enjoys cooking with the children and loves to have fun.

“The best part about working at the Garden Road School is the open-mindedness and flexibility of the dedicated teachers.”

Ava Bynum

Preschool Teacher/Head Farmer for the Giving Garden
Ava loves working with children, especially outside in nature. She graduated from the Masters School in 2010. Ava co-ran and designed Project Common Bond at Bryn Mawr College, an international summer camp for children affected by political violence. Since then she has been a counselor at Windsor Mountain International Summer camp, a camp specializing in a deaf plus program, and run a children’s center in Molokai, Hawaii. Ava has worked on Four Winds Farm since 2002, the knowledge from which she is using to build and run The Giving Garden during her first year at The Garden Road.

“I love working in an environment where I can foster the innate capabilities of children to understand and work with nature. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.”

Edith Kimchi

Education Consultant/Advisory Board
Edith has been instrumental in the forming up of the Garden Road since it began in 2001. She is currently the Head of the Education Department in the town of Qatzrin, Israel. Edith holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Education and Social Sciences with Honors and is currently in a PHD  program with the International University of Business and Law researching Educational Entrepreneurship.



Susan Midlarsky

Education Consultant/Part-time Teacher
Susan has worn many hats in her long association with The Garden Road School. She worked for three years as a full-time elementary teacher in the school, and she has done various other jobs such as bookkeeping, webmastering, tech support, and teacher training. Currently she offers part-time programs in math and creative writing for the school, and she consults with the teachers on the Singapore Math curriculum.
Susan holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Creative Writing and an M.Ed. in Elementary Education, as well as a New York State Elementary professional license. She was one of the pioneers of National Novel Writing Month’s Young Writers’ Program, featured in a number of newspaper and magazine articles. She also founded the Singapore Math New York summer program.