“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.”
Ang diki sherpa - Born and raised in Namche Bazar, Nepal (in the lap of Himalaya’s). She has been living in Portland for twelve years. Her interest in children grew when she had her daughter in 2001. She attended Portland community college and graduated in early childhood education and family studies. During her study, she worked and volunteered with preschool children at the Child Development Center of Portland Community College, with infants and toddlers in Early Head Start, and in children relief nursery. Now she is stepping into her third year at New Day School and she is grateful to have a safe and nurturing learning environment where she learns and grows each day with the children. Ang is also a Nepali folk/modern dancer and has been performing since she was eight years old. She is an active member of the Sherpa community in Portland and is always ready to lend her hands to preserve the language and the culture. At home she likes to cook with her daughter, tell stories to her, and sing with her brother and friends.
Chris Kaminski - Entering his seventh school year at New Day, Chris has been working with our youngest children. Born and raised back east in several places around New York, he graduated from New York University with a degree in print journalism, which, in light of the current climate in the newspaper industry, might as well be burned for fuel energy. When not making little children laugh, Chris can be found in his basement music “studio,” cranking out beats. and noise. He is raising his first child with his wife of seven years, Ivana.
Jean McConnel – Jean is a former New Day parent who has worked at the school for two years. She was literally raised in a daycare environment, as her home was a licensed child care center when she was growing up. From her very first job teaching in a children’s art camp, to working as a bookseller specializing in children’s literature, to homeschooling her son in Kindergarten and First Grade, she has enjoyed working with young children to fulfill their potential. Jean attended an innovative private high school in the Bay Area where Socratic dialogue was the main method of learning, and subsequently developed a longstanding interest in alternative modes of education. She studied the humanities while traveling to 19 countries and continues to take Early Childhood Education coursework. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, researching, and traveling.
Katie Walsh – Born and raised in the NW, Katie is an avid coffee-drinker, rain-scorner, thrift store shopper, music listener, and chess player. She graduated from the Art Institute’s graphic design program, but preferred to work in a field that is more soul enriching, and was lucky to find New Day. She has enjoyed the large family atmosphere and feeling of community at the school, along with the ethical values that it holds. Along with teaching, Katie owns the River Rock Tile Company with her musician partner Steve. Katie has been a teacher at New Day for over 5 years.
Leslie McCollom, Leslie was born in Oklahoma but raised in Portland from the age of five. She was educated in Portland public schools and never once fell asleep during nap-time. Leslie spent a portion of very summer of her formative years at YMCA Camp Silver Creek in Silver Falls State Park until she was old enough to work there, which she did for five years. Inspired by the kindness and determination of the staff there, and instilled with a passion for the outdoors and silly songs and games, Leslie realized as a young child that she wanted to work with children. At the time, she considered it more play than work really. Despite her great love for Oregon, she decided it would be a good idea to try something different for awhile and somehow ended up at Syracuse University in upstate New York, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking. After 3 very cold winters (one was spent in Florence, Italy – a very wise choice) Leslie decided it would be a good idea to go back to Portland, where she took some elective classes at Pacific Northwest College of Art in order to complete her degree from Syracuse. After her classes were complete, Leslie worked at PNCA for two years in student services and then at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in development. Leslie loves lots of things, especially learning languages and spending time with her friends, some of whom happen to be children. They make her laugh all day. She is very happy to be a part of New Day School.
Marta J. R. Millard – I was born in Longview, Washington and moved to Boring, Oregon and am currently living on Mount Tabor in Portland. Being raised on a gentleman’s farm I was taught to lead a green lifestyle from the garden out. I grew up with 4-H and FFA; Square dancing, camping, sewing, preserving foods, milking cows, feeding chickens, picking berries, bucking bails, mucking stalls and other hard physical work. This was balanced out with playing in the great outdoors, learning to drive a tractor, cheer-leading and water skiing. There was nothing boring about Boring! I finished my high school years in Woodward, Oklahoma and came home and graduated from Clackamas High in Milwaukie, Oregon. I attended Montana State in Bozeman, Montana and met Andrew at the campus radio station. After his graduation in Architecture,we moved to Portland and raised 4 children: Candace, Lessa, Joshua and Alex. In the mean time, I continued my education at Marylhurst College where I Majored in Religion, worked on a Chaplaincy Certification, studied Art and Music Therapy and added a Minor in Music. Despite my undergrad wanderings, the idea of teaching children seemed to keep me drawn to an education track.
After two and a half decades of teaching K-12th grades in Diocese of Portland Catholic Schools, I have found the best campus ever! New Day School provided a loving center for our granddaughter, Cregan, (graduate of Skylarks) and a wonderful place for my lessons to blossom right in front of my eyes. While teaching the Skylarks this year, I will attend yoga class, continuing education in Waldorf, Orff, and Early Childhood Development.
Nandini Jani - was born in India and travelled to US in 1992 to pursue graduate studies. She has training and great interests in India classical music, art, graphic arts, vipassana meditation and sustainable living. Early experience in childhood education came from working with kids through the Gandhi school and ashram in India. She is very happy to be a part of a “New Day school” community, who is dedicated to making a positive difference in every child’s life.
Patrick Dundon - Patrick is entering his fourth year at New Day School. He attended preschool in southeast Portland where his favorite activities included drawing, cooking and circle time. Later, he graduated from Yale University with a degree in mathematics. After working as a tour guide, an actuary, a math tutor and a grocery store clerk, he is grateful to be a part of the New Day community, a place where he can share his love for teaching and learning. When he is at home, you will probably find him reading, writing, drawing, painting, covering something in glitter, or petting his cat Polly.
Sarabel Eisenfeld – After traveling and falling in love with Portland 8 years ago, Sarabel made the move cross-country (by train!) from Philadelphia to SE Portland just this past Spring. Meanwhile back east, she graduated from Penn State (English/Philosophy), taught in Waldorf pre-school, taught Kindergarten in Quaker school, (cultivating purpose of empowering each person’s Inner Light, with young ones.) She also taught K-8 at The Farm School in Massachusetts (living in a bus in the woods,) fingers in dirt, tools in hand, hearts in the work: gardening/carpentry/bee-keeping/yoga/preserving harvest/maple-sugaring with children. Sarabel cultivated interests in language-acquisition and Latina culture (wood-fired cooking, social justice, surfing) through travel & work in Central America and led Alternative Spring Break service-project trips of high-schoolers (through American Jewish World Service,) partnering with NGOs throughout Central America. In Portland, Sara is thrilled to find that passions for dance, natural building/crafting, lacto-fermentation, playing/seeing live music, & Challah-baking can all thrive within biking-distance of each other, even under one roof. Sarabel is grateful to join the New Day School community of wondrous young ones, inspiring families and teachers, to be daily living the dream: fruit trees, story circles, cart wheels, and community building.
Suzanne -Born and raised on the rocky Maine coast in a family of teachers (I have worked with children my whole life), lupines, lichens & the salt of the ocean were my earliest memories. Even though most of my family is Maine-bound, my travel bug has led me to many places, and eventually to Portland and New Day School. I graduated with a B.A. in Geology from Mount Holyoke College, but I found my favorite & most rewarding education was on organic farms: a CSA, Abundant Life Seed Saving Farm in Port Townsend, Washington and organic farms around Europe. In 2002 I began working as the gardener at the New Day School and have worked off and on as gardener and teacher for the last eight years. During this time I have become certified in Permaculture, started my own gardening business, and have fulfilled my lifelong dream of attending herb school. My sweetheart and I have bought our home in the Montavilla neighborhood, in which I can be found making herbal medicines, making sounds with my saxophone, piano and voice, taming my wild garden, and sewing in my very own sewing room. Going into year nine with the New Day School, I am so excited to be one of the gardeners again, as this place and it’s inhabitants (plant & human) fill me with such great joy.
Thubten Munsel- Thubten Munsel has been a Buddhist nun for almost 30 years. She graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from New College of California, in San Francisco, and went through Montessori training in Coral Gables, Florida. While living in a Buddhist community in Northern California for 15 years, she taught ESL to the ‘boat children’ arriving in from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, worked in administration, and taught English, Writing, Meditation, and Buddhist studies to K-12th graders in their private schools. In addition, Munsel is a Feng Shui consultant, transcriber, and does gold leaf work on Buddhist statues. She has been a teacher at New Day School since the Fall of 2010.
Tynan Pierce - Tynan was born and raised in small town Massachusetts. The early years were spent adventuring outside in the New England woods and playing music. He moved to Portland in 2000, splitting time between playing bass and percussion in the local music scene and enjoying the rock climbing, ice climbing, and mountain biking of the Northwest. Tynan was a founding member of Tryon Life Community Farm in SW Portland, living and working there for over 4 years. He has been working at New Day School since 2006 and continues to play and teach music as well as enjoy those great outdoors.
Atandra didi, Director, Board of Directors, Accounts - Atandra was born and educated inMumbai, India. She has been involved in Ananda Marga her entire life. In 1991 Atandra became an Ananda Marga missionary, teaching yoga, meditation, holistic living as well as doing relief work and supervising & teaching in schools and orphanages all over India and the US. Atandra has a passion for vegetarian cooking that she loves to share with the NDS community. She is a talented henna artist with a keen ability to impart Indian philosophical knowledge.
Shannon Rowe, Office Manager – With a lifelong passion for early childhood education stemming from her own upbringing, Shannon brings an Associate’s degree in Special Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance to her role as Office Manager. More than fifteen years of managerial experience combined with over twenty years of motherhood have formed Shannon’s unique perspective on the needs of children and parents in the early childhood realm.