The Dreamers’ School came out of the desire for a Waldorf-inspired hybrid program in the Orlando area. The Dreamers’ School has a sister school of the same name in the northeast Atlanta suburban area.
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.
Sarah Barrett, Founder, Administrator, and Teacher (Grades 3/4 Main Lesson, Grades 7/8 Main Lesson & Main Contact, Grade 9 Main Lesson)
Sarah Barrett founded her first homeschool enrichment program in 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. In 2016, she opened a second homeschool enrichment program in the southwest Orlando area. Both programs are still thriving.
In 2018, Sarah and her family relocated to Atlanta, where she opened a third homeschool enrichment program to continue her passion for bringing Waldorf education to homeschoolers. This school is called The Dreamers’ School. In 2019, her family relocated back to Orlando, where Sarah is opening a sister Dreamers’ School. This one is the first hybrid option Sarah has opened, and she is excited to move in that direction for families who want a more complete Waldorf education experience.
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.
Sarah currently homeschools her two children, and enjoys reading, specialty restaurants, and traveling with her husband and kids in their RV.
Candi Clark, Founder, Administrator, and Teacher (Grades 5/6 Main Lesson, Grades 7/8 Main Lesson, Grade 9 Main Lesson and Main Contact)
Candi Clark started her journey in education in 2009 when she took over the company Character Lines as owner and performer. Character Lines developed educational shows that taught a specific lesson each month through music, movement, and storytelling. Each workshop centered around an age appropriate, classical lesson. When her childrens’ private school closed, Candi was unable to find anywhere that met the emotional and academic needs of her kids. So, she decided to homeschool. In order to make the homeschool schedule feasible, Candi created a photography company called, Magical Pix by Candi Clark. The company grew so rapidly, Candi and her family moved to Orlando in 2016 to keep up with demand.
“ I met Sarah in 2016 when I signed my children up for her enrichment program, I have since taught for these programs and realized the need for a more a full-time, teacher led program. I hope our new hybrid program helps more families feel comfortable homeschooling.”
Candi’s educational background is in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology. She worked with Georgia State University on a National Geographic grant in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Where she studied a pre-contact era maritime Maya site. She also worked with Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta on a Mississippian-era Native America site in south Georgia.
“ The study of Anthropology really changed the lens in which I viewed the world. It is the driving force to ensure that my children understand that the cultural differences of the world are what make us all uniquely amazing, but also show how similar we all truly are. I believe this is what draws me to the Waldorf method. Through the art, music and lessons, my children receive an education that celebrates and respects the people of the world.”
Candi is excited to bring Waldorf to more families, and especially the upper grades.
“ Middle and High School seem to be the forgotten stages in educational development. It becomes a race to college, all of the wonder and joy of elementary is replaced with learning that feels more like work. This is when we should be reinforcing that a love of learning is a life-long venture to be enjoyed and not rushed through.”
Candi is currently the photographer and owner at Magical Pix, and enjoys reading, camping with her family, and the rare day at home with her cat.
Maud Ormrod, Director
After living in England for a couple of years and on the island of Jersey (the Old Jersey) for almost ten, Maud and her family decided to make a big leap across the Atlantic, and moved to Orlando almost three years ago.
“We consider ourselves very blessed to have found a community that welcomed us, and even embraced our quirks.”
Originally from France, and wearing the stripes to prove it, she left her country at the age of 19 to work in New York as an Au pair. Since then, a large part of her career has been in the hospitality and tourism industry, including opening and managing restaurants around the world. She currently works as a freelance translator, which allows her to spend quality time with her two children and husband.
“I am ever so excited to join the team, to make new friends, and be a part of the children’s journey at the Dreamers’ School.”
Alexis Bohrnstedt Rapp, M.Ed., Education Consultant
Prior to beginning her public school journey, Alexis was accepted to attend Sunbridge College to focus on her Master’s degree in Waldorf Education in Spring Valley, New York. Instead, she began her career with Orange County Public Schools in 2001 as a primary grades facilitator at Orlando’s premier science magnet school. After receiving her Master’s degree in Education from Rollins College, she then worked as the Reading Resource and Art Integration Specialist for Grand Avenue Primary Learning Center under the mentorship of Lino Rodriguez and Sue Wilder. During this time, she began consulting work for the Developmental Studies Center, now the Center for the Collaborative Classroom, and had the fortune of training under Peter Brunn, Kelly Stuart, Thuy Do, and Linda Rourke. Alexis had the honor of meeting Sylvia Palluzi of Morning Meadow Waldorf School, which rekindled her love for the Waldorf educational philosophy, during a brief move to Gainesville. Upon her return, Alexis worked at the Orange County district office in professional development.
Alexis became involved with the Seminole County Opt-Out movement in 2015, collaborating with Cindy Hamilton and Sandy Stenoff. She also began homeschooling her two children and taught Art under the directorship of Sarah Barrett. Currently, Alexis teaches at a public Montessori charter school in Upper Elemetary and, now, in Student Services focusing on Exceptional Education.
During her 20 year tenure in education, Alexis achieved, and currently holds, a valid Florida teaching certificate in Elementary Education, ESOL K-12, Art K-12, ESE, and Reading Endorsement. She also holds a NAMC certification in Montessori education. She is passionate about alternative education and is excited to work with The Dreamer’s School.
MaryJayne “MJ” Waddell, Yoga Instructor and Class Play Instructor Grades K-9
MaryJayne’s extensive professional career began in 1980 and she has worked steadily in practically every capacity of the theatre business. The past 40 years have taken her to stages around the world, performing on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National and International Tours, cruise ships, theme parks, feature ﬁlms, television and scores of regional productions.
She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG), and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Some of the many career highlights include starring in the North American Tour of Mamma Mia! as Donna Sheridan, the Broadway and National Tour of Les Misérables where she covered the role of Fantine and the Factory Girl, The Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center in 2002 in the extraordinary casts of Merrily We Roll Along where she was co-choreographer and dance captain, and Sunday in the Park with George, A New Brain starring opposite Tony winner Michael Rupert at Studio Theatre in DC. Four seasons were spent singing and dancing alongside the Rockettes as a New Yorker in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
As a cabaret artist, her shows What I Know, Calendar Girl, and In the Middle have been seen at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Germano’s Cabaret Club in Baltimore, MD, The Art’s Club in DC, Signature Theatre in VA., Rochester Fringe Festival and many corporate and private events. Her holiday show Completely Christmas has played for three seasons at Actor’s Theatre of Indiana. She is an active member of The DC Cabaret Network and has coached and created shows for new artists entering the cabaret art form.
As an educator, she held the position of Director of Education at Actors Theatre of Indiana. It was there she created and developed numerous programs for teens and adults. The success of Teen Theatre Immersion Experience, The Business of Backstage, Teen Audition Bootcamp and Adult Improv classes are all popular and still running there.
In addition to her theatrical career she is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance with over 1000 hours of training, and more than 2,000 classes since 2006. She is the owner and creator of ShareYoga and has hosted dozens of events to raise money and bring awareness to local charities. Since its inception in 2015 ShareYoga has raised over $3K.
“I’ve worn many hats in my journey: Real estate agent, dog groomer, bartender, bouncer, product ambassador, dog walker, atmosphere actor, business owner and tour guide to name a few. The two greatest teachers in my life have been theatre and yoga. As a little girl, I just had to keep moving so dancing is what introduced me to the theatre world. I thrived on the discipline and also, coming from a large family, it made me feel like I had something special to offer. Thank goodness my parents never told me to sit still!
I discovered yoga when one day, in the gym I decided to take an “easy little stretch class” or so I thought! At the end of that class I walked out with such a feeling of peace and clarity. I knew I had found a new way to stay physically AND emotionally ﬁt in mind, body, and spirit. With a professional career in musical theatre and dance, yoga kept me ﬂexible, balanced, and calm both onstage and off. I’ve had the extraordinary gift of taking classes and trainings all over North America with some of the best teachers. The fascination and love for Yoga continues as I teach, train and learn from my students of all ages and abilities.
I applaud Sarah and Candi for including yoga in their curriculum. It teaches focus, concentration, coordination and how to manage stress through breathing just to name a few of the many beneﬁts. What I love most when teaching kids yoga is that they are usually uninhibited. There’s no “wrong” in yoga so they can express shapes and poses with a playful, creative attitude.
Theatre and Yoga have been my greatest teachers. I know how they can make a difference and sometimes even transform a child’s life, like it did for me. I am honored to be part of this outstanding program.”
MJ is originally from Fairport, New York. She recently moved to Florida to avoid the cold, gray, dark, snowy winters.
Kelly Kusterman, Main Teacher Grade 1
Kelly moved to Florida from Minnesota in 2007. Here, she met her husband, started her teaching career and had her first child, Isla, who is two. Kelly has taught a variety of grade levels, including PreK, Kindergarten, and 4th grade, in her ten years of teaching. She received a B.S. in Early Childhood/Pre-Primary and Elementary Education from Winona State University and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from U.C.F. in 2015.
In 2016 her peers at her school voted her Teacher of the Year. Math and reading have always been passions of Kelly’s. She articulates her feelings this way: “There is nothing that compares to encouraging the love and joy of reading in the life of a child. Teaching reading is a beautiful journey.”
After ten years in a traditional classroom environment, Kelly is excited to experience The Waldorf educational approach: the emphasis on play, creativity, and the arts to encourage individuality and joyful learning. She greatly looks forward to the opportunity to work and grow professionally at The Dreamers’ School.
In her free time, Kelly enjoys reading and spending time outdoors with her family. They love traveling to beaches and visiting local parks.
Anne Conde, Elementary Teacher (Grades 3/4 Main Lesson and Main Contact)
Anne moved to Florida in 2015 from New Jersey and has two boys ages 9 and 11. When her boys were little and it was time to send her first son to preschool, she realized that what she had been doing with him at home was just as good, if not better! This began her homeschooling journey. She soon feel in love with teaching her kids at home and having the extra time with them.
Anne graduated in 1995 from Hudson Area School of Radiologic Technology with certifications in Radiology and MRI and has worked in a hospital for the last 22 years. Since homeschooling her children, Anne has experience working with children of all ages. She previously served as Director of a local homeschool program and has been a substitute teacher in the same program. For the past three years, Anne has taught Religious Ed at her church. She is CPR certified by the American Heart Association.
"When I first read about The Dreamers' School Orlando, I became very excited for my boys to have an opportunity to be a part of a school that provides for children to learn, play and grow in a safe and loving environment. I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to teach at The Dreamers' School Orlando, and I look forward to making many new and lasting friendships!" Anne's favorite subject is science followed closely by English literature. She loves to read, exercise, and travel. She also enjoys spending time at the theme parks.
Karen mcgowan, art teacher Grades 1-9
Karen Mcgowan is an art teacher and professional artist from south Louisiana. As the owner of Creative U, she had a very successful span of eight years opening the eyes of our youth to the amazing world of Art. Schooled in art education , Karen has learned countless ways to bring art into the world and how to teach it. Her favorite art medium is textured acrylic, though she can teach at all. She's always looking for new and improved ways to create.
The mother-of-one 14 year old daughter, 26 year old step daughter, and wife of Ken, her family comes first. She is blessed to know that her family fully supports her career of Art and is a constant positive force that keeps her moving forward.
Elaine Pechacek, Theatre Intensive & Music
Elaine Pechacek, freelance award winning international composer and studio musician/vocalist (Sony Records, Digital Juice, and Energie Studios), has over 180 published songs within 8 bodies of works in the genres of musical theatre and media soundtracks. Her library of work consists of 5 musicals: WHEN, DELAYED, FRANKENCHRIST, 4 time award winning musical: SEASONS, and the international success LADY JULIANA. She has also co-written 2 song cycles: GIRLIE PARTS and HABITS & ADDICTIONS, along with the the all original comedic cabaret series, HAPPY PINK GIRL SINGS!
Elaine's work has been showcased and performed all over the world, including twice with the York New Musical Festival in England, the New York Theatre Barn New Composers series, the Time Square International Theatre Festival, Pantseat Productions in Newcastle, Australia, and with the Broadway Au Carre New Composers series in Paris, France. In September 2019, Elaine's musical, SEASONS, will open at the Dr Philips Performing Arts Center in Orlando Florida.
Elaine, twice nominated by Broadwayworld.com regional awards as one of Central Florida's Best Music Directors, has over 18 years of experience teaching private voice, piano, and composition lessons, as well as instructing large groups worldwide through master classes and workshops. With a B.S. in Music Education From Southeastern University with a concentration in Voice and post studies in Vocal Pedagogy, her influence as a vocal coach reaches far into the Central Florida performing arts community.
As a member of NYSTA (New York Singing Teachers' Association), NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), and The Royal Conservatory, Elaine strongly believes that music and theater are gifts that can and should be treasured by all.
Her studio and production company, DRAGONFLY STUDIO & PRODUCTIONS is a facility not only committed to providing quality education in the arts to the Orlando community, but is also committed to supporting new artists, writers, creators, producers, and performers. Elaine is grateful for all the creativity that has already been birthed within the walls of DRAGONFLY STUDIOS and is excited to join The Dreamers' School and share her love of the arts with the students.
Amber Melendy, Main Teacher Grade 2 and Rose Tent Girls’ Club Leader (After School)
Amber Melendy graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts from Rollins College with a double major in Psychology and Environmental and Growth Management Studies. She is in her 2nd year of Waldorf Teacher Training receiving her Master of Education at Antioch University.
Amber was introduced to Waldorf Education in 2004 and felt a deep resonance to all of Rudolf Steiner’s work. She began her Teacher Training in Waldorf Education in Portland, Oregon in 2006 and has continued her studies toward a Master’s in Waldorf Education during the last couple summers. In 2012, she started a Waldorf Inspired Program out of her home for 3 and 4 year olds. She has taught at Heart Pine Waldorf School in Gainesville, FL for the past two years.
Her background is vast and includes Community Planning, Transportation Planning, opening an Organic Teahouse and Café, owning a Yoga Studio for 8 years and Montessori Teacher Assistant. For the last 13 years, Amber has studied yoga, meditation, mindfulness, conscious communication and energy healing, and offers Yoga Teacher Trainings, Young Girls Rites of Passage Circles and Women’s Circles.
Amber grew up in Illinois and enjoys long walks in nature, gardening and learning about biodynamics, dancing, singing, crafting, art and playing with her beautiful daughter, Willow.
April ortiz, Main substitute
April Ortiz is part of the National Society of Leadership and Success with the University of Central Florida, where she graduated in 2016 and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, with ESOL and reading endorsements. April began her teaching career at a trauma sensitive school teaching Kindergarten. After kindergarten, she began teaching first grade and enjoyed it very much. April was dedicated to the success of her students and enjoyed using alternative methods to reach them.
April is a native to Orlando, Florida. She had her first child in March and decided to put her teaching career on hold to stay home with her son. However, when she heard about The Dreamers’ School and their passion for teaching using Waldorf methods, she decided a few days away from her son to enhance her teaching skills sounded like a great plan. April is excited about being able to continue her love of being in a classroom with the flexibility of working in a hybrid program.
In her free time, April enjoys creating adventurous memories with her family. She also enjoys reading at her local coffee house, or shopping at Target.
Kathleen Pierfy, Kindergarten Teacher
Kathleen Pierfy has been home educating her three children for six years, in favor of an education that focuses on the whole child as well as the family unit. "I love the way that homeschooling allows my family to learn and grow together. There is a unique bond between my children that I'm sure is a result of the loving attributes of the homeschooling environment. When I discovered Waldorf education, the part that struck me the most was the emphasis on the child as a complete person; educating their hands, their hearts and their minds. Education became an opportunity to take the time to uncover the beautiful souls of our children while also joining them on the journey of discovering the world around them."
Kathleen has a history in music management, marketing and public relations. Working for Wright Entertainment Group, a music management company based in Orlando, she helped to develop and implement both the marketing and public relations campaigns for many up and coming artists. Working on the management side of the company, Kathleen served as an artist management representative, where she helped to guide the day to day activities of artists such as Danity Kane (Making The Band), Janet Jackson, and the Backstreet Boys. A creative soul at heart, Kathleen enjoys writing and has several children's entertainment programs in development.
After starting her family, Kathleen decided to be a stay at home mom and give up the constant travel and grind of the music business. Her passions include early elementary and preschool education. "Working at The Dreamers School is an exciting opportunity for my whole family. Serving as a Kindergarten teacher in a Waldorf environment has long been a dream of mine. Having a school right here in the Orlando area, where my children can attend and benefit from the expertise of The Dreamers School staff, is something we have long hoped for. As a family, we are thrilled to get to know all of the families at The Dreamers School and grow together as a community."