The Dreamers' School
Orlando
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About Us

 

About us

 

 
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Our Story

The Dreamers’ School came out of the desire for a Waldorf-inspired homeschool enrichment program in the northeast Atlanta suburban area.

The Dreamers’ School’s sister-schools in Orlando, FL opened in 2015 and grew from eighteen students to over 100 students in two years.

We are part of a movement away from the conventional idea of school, toward a new idea that centers on making a child’s education all it was meant to be – FUN, JOYFUL, CREATIVE, and INSPIRING.

We believe the best education is one that is authentically inspiring for each unique child, and we provide a diverse range of educational opportunities and experiences to encourage students to uncover their deepest desires and interests. This paves a path for them to follow their dreams, which is becoming more and more uncommon in our society. Several experts agree that people who live in alignment with their passions are happier, healthier, more generous, and they inspire others to do the same.

We hope The Dreamers’ School can be a place of inspiration for our children and for yours.


Our Board of Directors

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Sarah Barrett, Founder, & Board Member

Sarah Barrett founded a sister-school to The Dreamers’ School in July 2015 in Orlando, FL. She had been seeking a homeschool enrichment program for her two children that combined hands-on, nature-inspired, whole-child learning with Waldorf philosophies. After envisioning what an ideal program would look like and not finding one nearby, she decided to open a school in Orlando that offers this unique program for homeschoolers.

Sarah’s educational background is in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a degree from Georgia Tech. Upon graduating, she started her career with Walt Disney World.

Math and science were always Sarah’s favorite subjects in school. In college, she took math classes beyond Calculus-6 along with numerous science and engineering courses. She also had an interest in physics, taking several physics courses outside of her major and teaching a physics undergraduate lab.

Disney recruited from GA Tech, and Sarah went to work in various engineering roles for Disney including managing a forecasting-and-workload team of engineers and statisticians.

“It was a rule of thumb at Disney that any presentation we gave should have more pictures on a page than words – on every page. This would make your presentation more effective. This rule even applied to the engineering teams where we were inclined to display numbers and facts. This simple rule has shaped much of my view of education, and has played a big part in what led me to discover Waldorf education. The best leaders are ones who teach by telling stories that paint pictures in your mind. Those are the ones you remember, and often the ones that stir in your heart. The ability to uncover our innate creativity and to use it to express what we are learning or to teach others is a powerful tool. And it adds beauty, something we all need more of.

The best presentations are those with more pictures than words. It has been an effective guideline in our homeschooling, and I even use it in our math lessons.”

After leaving Disney, Sarah owned a consulting company that primarily worked with internationally renowned health & fitness brands and functional medicine doctors. She has ghost-written articles, presentations, curriculum, and health programs for many clients including two NY Times best-selling authors, medical doctors, and various business leaders. She has also served as editor for two magazines, and is the founder of the Waldorf Homeschool Conference, a resource for families interested in learning Waldorf homeschooling methods.

After living in Orlando for over fifteen years, Sarah recently relocated to the northeast Atlanta area and opened The Dreamers’ School to continue her passion for bringing Waldorf-inspired enrichment to homeschoolers.

Sarah currently homeschools her two children, and enjoys reading, specialty restaurants, and traveling with her husband and kids in their RV.


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Carrie Dendtler, Board Member

Carrie Dendtler is author of The Parenting Passageway blog, a resource for peaceful parenting, and a Waldorf homeschooling mother of three children ages 16, 13 and 8. She is currently homeschooling grades 10, 7, and 2.

As a neonatal/pediatric physical therapist, lay breastfeeding counselor and board-certified lactation consultant, Carrie has observed, worked with,  and counseled thousands of families. Her time working with families and especially with parents of children with special needs has given her a unique perspective and foundation through which to view not only the importance of attachment but also the framework of Rudolf Steiner’s twelve senses and the seven year cycles as a foundation for a healthy childhood.

She finished her Foundation Studies in the Arts and Anthroposophy through Antioch University in 2013. She has been married for twenty-six years to her wonderful husband, and most enjoys spending time with her family in nature.


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Jean Miller,MAT,Board Member

Jean Miller is the mother of three and has been on the Waldorf homeschooling journey for almost 25 years. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching and has taught in public and private schools, homeschooled her own children, and led small groups. Jean has studied and practiced Waldorf methods since 1992, attending numerous local and national conferences and trainings, reading extensively, planning and implementing many lessons.

As the founder of Waldorf-Inspired Learning, Jean mentors homeschooling parents through online group coaching programs and one-on-one coaching sessions. She also hosts a live summer event in Ohio, the Taproot Teacher Training for Waldorf homeschoolers, along with her mentor, Barbara Dewey.

Jean lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, and they are officially empty-nesters with their youngest now in college and two older children out on their own. Among Jean’s passions are singing, gardening, cooking, and bird watching.


Our Staff

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Elana Willett, Main Teacher for ages 6 1/2 & 7

Elana Willett is from the tiny beach town of Mexico Beach, Florida.  She enjoyed living small town life but always dreamed of being in a city.  Now that she’s near a big city, she really misses being able to spend all of her free time at the beach!

Elana launched her education journey in the Early Childhood program at Auburn University where she learned the importance of involving play in the classroom.  She learned that creative, hands-on activities and games can lead to a better understanding of concepts. 

Elana started teaching in 2005 for Gwinnett County.  For six years, she had an incredible time teaching 1st grade students. During that time, she applied for the opportunity to train as a Reading Recovery teacher.  This intense training program was a life changing experience.  It is where she truly embraced the fact that all children learn differently. Every child can become a reader and this training taught her how to adapt her teaching to fit each child as they needed.  For 4 more years, she worked one-on-one with struggling readers as a Reading Recovery teacher.  She also worked with ESOL students and was an instructional coach for Kindergarten and Second grade.

She has been married for 14 years and has 2 amazing children, Rees and Baylor. She has enjoyed being a homeschool mom for the past 3 years.  Her husband owns a special effects company and they enjoy taking school on the road to travel with him as much as possible. 


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Tara Bott, Yoga Instructor, 200-RYT, RCYT, Mobility|WOD Movement & Mobility Specialist

Tara Bott is a RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher).  Tara’s certification included a specialization in Early childhood through high school and Special Needs  and RYT-200 (for adults) with Yoga Alliance. Tara brings over 23 years of extensive classroom experience in child development and education in the Montessori environment and various others.

Tara also enjoys volunteering for other extracurricular groups such as a coach for Girls on the Run grades 3-5, or community non profits.  Tara's  love of sports and yoga has led her to pursue further study of the human body and movement. She recently completed “Movement & Mobility 101” certification with Kelly Starrett.  

Tara believes in the infinite goodness and potential of each individual child. She creates educational and fun kids yoga classes, camps, etc. infused with asanas (poses), mindfulness, grace, courtesy, children’s literature, music, art, and dance.


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Pat Edwards, Main Teacher for Ages 3 & 4

Pat Edwards has taught preschool for 14 years and has been involved in the planning and execution of children's programs for over 30 years. She has taught 4&5 year olds and then developed and ran her own preschool.  She loves working with children and creating an environment where they can be creative, messy, and engaged.  Pat has volunteered in numerous children's organizations over the past 30 years, and she has 13 grandchildren ranging from ages 2 to 16. 

Pat is excited to meet the 3&4 year olds at The Dreamers' School.  She believes preschool is a time when a child is developing their relationship with learning, and it must be joyful, intriguing, and fun!  She will develop a nurturing structure and rhythm for the students, while allowing them to explore and use their imaginations in all sorts of ways!

Pat and her husband enjoy camping, going to the beach, and spending time with their grandchildren.  She also loves crafting and creating.


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Julie Kernstine, Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant

Julie Kern is a registered nurse with a passion for physiology and how much more there is to discover in the field of medicine.  She spent most of her career as a certified emergency nurse at Emory University Hospital. During this time, she also began teaching nursing classes within the hospital allowing her to combine her interest in nursing and passion for teaching. She completed her Master’s of Science degree in Nursing Education and began teaching and training medical staff around the US on the use of noninvasive medical equipment in order to improve patient care.

Currently, she is a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling mother of three girls. Julie and her family live on a small farm in the little town of Clermont where they are learning all about goats, chickens, and organic farming.  Julie enjoys gardening, yoga, and hiking in her free time. 


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Gloria S. Elder, Storyteller

Gloria S. Elder is a storyteller and author for all age groups. She enjoys writing and telling stories of her many adventures of growing up around her loving grandparents and the life lessons she learned from them. Gloria published her first children’s book about her maternal grandmother, titled “I Walked A Mile in Her Shoes: A Story of Unconditional Love”.

Gloria S. Elder, M.A., is employed as the Deputy Director of Training at the Wholistic Stress Control Institute, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an administrator, educator, social worker and a certified yoga and Chi Gong instructor.  She received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Spelman College and her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Atlanta University. Gloria is the recipient of numerous awards for her work with children, youth and families. 


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Donna Dennison, Director

Donna Dennison comes to us from the corporate world.  She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration.  She used that degree and experience to manage multi-million-dollar accounts in the publishing industry as an account/category manager.  A couple of years ago she made the decision to work from home as a data analyst and consultant to be more involved in the lives of her family and community. In addition, Donna works assisting non-profits, churches, and small businesses with their organization and administration.

She has been married for 17 years.  She and her husband homeschool their two children, a 10 year old dancer/martial artist and a 15 year old aspiring writer.  The Dennison family strives to do things in a more natural/holistic way, which includes homeschooling.  Both children are creative and learn best in non-traditional styles of schooling.  Who doesn’t practice spelling and math while doing martial art forms or ballet positions? 

Donna’s hobbies include crochet, machine sewing, gardening, exploring new crafts/classes with the kids, and hanging out with her kids and husband.  A staycation is her favorite vacation.


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Tamara Owens, Main Teacher for Ages 10 & 11

Tamara Owens has been homeschooling her children, ages 11 and 13, since 2008. She has experience teaching the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling and is an advocate for the gentle art of learning and children as holistic learners. She believes that if children can develop a love of learning early on, they will become life-long learners. She particularly enjoys teaching history unit studies. Tamara leads a homeschool Wild + Free nature club in the Cumming area which she organized in 2014 that now has over 75 families. Her goal is to get kids and their families outside and help them to fall in love with nature while becoming good caretakers of the earth.  She also has created and led a Charlotte Mason-inspired enrichment group as well. 

Tamara spent some of her childhood living abroad in Costa Rica and Chile. She speaks passable Spanish and enjoys intercultural relations.  Tamara lives in Dawsonville with her husband of 17 years. She and her husband, an Eagle Scout, are involved in leadership with the Cub Scout and Boy Scout organizations with their sons. She enjoys music, yoga, writing, travel, reading, and being in the great outdoors.


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CANDRA UMUNNA, DISCOVER SCIENCE CENTER, SCIENCE INSTRUCTION FOR UPPER ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL

Candra Umunna has always been curious of how the world works and how to share what she’s learned with others. She has her Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with a minor in Photography. Using her degree, she has proven that an analytical and calculated mindset can be complemented with expression and passion. As a recent graduate of Georgia State University, she is eager to become more hands on in the field of education and hopes to inspire more minority girls and women to become more interested in STEM/STEAM related fields.

Currently, Candra is employed as a STEM Educator at Discover Science Center. In the past couple of years, she has gained experience at the Fernbank Science Center Observatory, Guest Experience Lead at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, and as a Substitute Teacher for Fayette and Gwinnett County School Systems. Candra is a Georgia native and currently resides in Peachtree Corners. She enjoys photography, playing music, traveling, and accomplishing anything on Pinterest.

Discover Science Center is an informal science education enrichment center, located in Roswell, GA, whose purpose is to supplement the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum taught in K-12 schools and homeschool programs.  Their programs were developed by scientists and educators, and take advantage of the natural fascination students have with science. Knowledge development, hands-on-learning, experimentation and creative activities are interwoven into each fun-filled session.  We are thrilled to have Discover Science Center come to The Dreamers' School each week!  Classes taught by DSC include Robotics 10&11, Biology for ages 12,13,&14, Robotics for ages 12,13,&14, Astronomy for ages 10&11, and Geology for ages 10&11. 


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Judy Forster, Art & Handwork Instructor  for Ages 8 & Up and Costume Design Instructor

Handwork has always been a part of Judy Forster’s life.  Over the years, her love of handwork was encouraged both by family members and her participation in the Girl Scouts.  Her connection to Waldorf Education began when her husband, Kini Anderson, started teaching German at the Susquehanna Waldorf School in Marietta, PA.  Their son began attending Kindergarten there, and a year later, Judy, who had been teaching college English, was asked to start teaching Handwork at SWS. 

During this time, Judy completed her certificate in Teaching the Applied Arts from Sunbridge College--a certification in Handwork.  After teaching for four years at SWS, Judy and Kini began homeschooling their son, and Judy began teaching Handwork and Art to homeschoolers. 

In the year 2000, Judy and her family relocated to the Metro Atlanta area so that Judy and Kini could both teach at the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  Their son attended WSA.  Judy taught Handwork there for 9 years but also continued teaching Handwork to homeschoolers.  After the birth of her daughter, she stopped teaching at WSA but continued teaching Handwork and Art for homeschool students. 

In addition to teaching Handwork and Art, Judy dyes fibers and textiles with natural dyes and teaches adult classes as well.  Her daughter attends WSA, her son is in graduate school, and her husband teaches German at Chamblee Charter High School. 


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Amberly Barry McGee, 8 & 9 Year Olds Main Teacher

Amberly Barry McGee has always been drawn to teaching and working with children. As a child she went from playing school with her dolls and younger sisters to organizing theater groups for her sisters and the many children she babysat in her neighborhood during high school. From there she went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology and a Master’s of Art in School Psychology at the University of Memphis. Though she loved the field and her experience teaching at the college level, something was missing. She found that missing piece in Waldorf education. It seemed to fit all the things research continues to find about how children learn (by engaging the whole child).

Amberly taught at a Waldorf school for two years (grades 4 and 5) and had two years of Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College. She was so inspired by her students and by the material she was teaching that she experienced what most adults do when they encounter Waldorf schooling: she was feeling healed, creative, and wanting to learn more.

 Amberly and her husband, Robert, have lived in the Atlanta area for 7 years. Amberly has been using Waldorf curricula with her 6 year old daughter for the past three years. They are both looking forward to their Waldorf homeschool journey into the first grade starting in August. Amberly also has four cats and a dog that enjoy being included in some aspects of homeschool life. She also enjoys fitness, knitting, crocheting, felting, drawing, and painting.

 


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Tasha Fowler, 5&6 Year Olds Main Teacher

Tasha Fowler was born and raised in Georgia. She has always loved children and knew from an early age everything she would do would involve children. She has been married for 13 years and she and her husband have four kids ages 12, 10, 8, and 5. All of them love art, music, and nature.

Tasha has been homeschooling since 2010. She loves the Waldorf method because it allows a child to be a child. It encourages exploration of our world in a very hands-on, experiential way. Each child can find the way they progress through what inspires them. 

Tasha's background is in social work.  After her own schooling, she traveled to Honduras every year for six years, living there full time for two years.  She cared for orphans as well as young mothers, teaching them how to best provide for their family. She taught the children and parents cooking, gardening, hygiene, and housekeeping. After returning home she became a foster mom caring for children and also working as a respite to help families reunite.

Tasha looks forward to leading her students in a gentle way to learn about the lessons needed to progress in life, all while loving the life we have been given.


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Diana B. Osorio, Spanish Instructor

Diana Osorio is a native Spanish speaker born and raised in Miami to Cuban and Nicaraguan parents. Growing up in Miami, she was immersed into the diversity of the Hispanic and Latin American culture and the different Spanish dialects. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Care from Gainesville College (now known as University of North GA) and is the principal photographer and owner of MadCam Photo. She has homeschooled her children for 8 years and has previously taught a homeschool Spanish class. 

Diana resides in Flowery Branch with her husband and two children (Madison 14 & Cameron 11). They are a foster family and currently have a sweet one year old baby girl. When she is not driving children to various activities, she and her family like to discover Atlanta and all the fun it has to offer. 


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Suzanne Stroup, Drama and Musical Theatre Instructor, Chorus Instructor

Suzanne Stroup is a professional actor in Atlanta. She graduated with dual degrees in Journalism and Theatre from Mercer University in 2013, then completed a year long acting apprenticeship with the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA. Since then, she's performed with Aurora, Alliance Theatre, Gypsy Theatre Company, Theatrical Outfit, Out of Box Theatre, Stone Mountain Park, Deer Bear Wolf, OnStage Atlanta, The Strand Theatre and Sky Punch ATL. She's taught theatre and music classes from age 18 months to 18 years at the Aurora, Alliance, the Atlanta History Center, Eclectic Music and the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Suzanne is excited to join The Dreamers' School and is looking forward to some shows with her students this semester!

 

 


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Debi Dilione, Main Teacher (Tuesdays) 12-14 Year Olds and Substitute Teacher (Thursdays)

Debi moved to Suwanee, GA in the summer of 2017 due to her husband’s job.  He is on a professional race team and travels around the country.  She and her kids are loving the changing seasons here, as they did not have those in Florida.

Debi has a Bachelors degree in Organizational Management.  Graduating from Indian River State College in 2014, she and her oldest daughter walked the graduation stage together, earning their degrees at the same time.  She describes this as one of her proudest moments! 

She has been a substitute teacher for just over 10 years, currently at The Dreamers’ School and for Gwinnett County Public School system.  Through her substitute work at Dreamers’, she has come to love the students. The Dreamers’ staff has seen the creativity and enthusiasm Debi incorporates into the lessons and we connected with her teaching style right away. She is a perfect addition to our staff this year! Debi enjoys working with children of all ages and seeing learning through their eyes.  She is also the lead teacher in the nursery at a local church.

Debi has been homeschooling her family for the last 5 years and absolutely loves living life through them.  Her girls are 25, 15, and 14. Her son is 10.  She is an active part of his Cub Scout troop, that is still in Florida, and they travel South to attend his Den events. Her favorite things to do are reading, crafting, working puzzles, and camping.