The Team

Aimee Arandia Østensen
Founding Teacher

Aimee firmly believes that learning is a life-long process and that our experiences along the natural path of life can be our best teachers. Walk into her classroom and you will see children engaged in context-rich activities where learning is joyful, interactive and experiential. Aimee has spent most of her teaching career at Manhattan Country School guiding students through adventures in interdisciplinary learning, and having been the head teacher at many Elementary grade levels. Most recently, she has held the position of Farm Curriculum and Outreach Coordinator at the Manhattan Country School Farm. Additionally, Aimee has had the privilege of partnering with a range of teachers, schools and districts in the Northeast as a professional learning consultant in the field of Education for Sustainability. Her own path to teaching is a spiral of explorations into art, nature, movement and community. Aimee’s early experiences in dance created a foundation in aesthetic and kinesthetic awareness, as well as an understanding of creative and collective processes. At New York University, she studied Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a minor in Anthropology. Aimee later went on to study Educating for Sustainability at Antioch University New England. In addition to classes rich in systems thinking, biomimicry and place- and play-based learning, these studies also led her into the woods, where she discovered the delights of hiking, campfires, swimming holes and forest ecology.

 
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Kim Mishkin
Curriculum Director & Teacher

Kim is celebrating her 25th year as an educator and school leader. For seven years, she was the Assistant Head of Lower School at The Spence School in Manhattan. Kim has also worked in public and independent schools in both urban and rural settings serving grades K-12. Also an entrepreneur, Kim founded SAS for Women, a consultancy helping divorced women. Kim holds a BA in Education from Miami University, a MS in Science Education from Wright State University and is licensed in Educational Leadership through The Ohio State University.

 
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Cate Han
Founder

Cate is the founder of Hudson Lab School. She has helped startups raise over $100M in early stage capital and worked with entrepreneurs to build company value through mentoring, strategic planning, practical problem solving, and fundraising. Cate began her career as a Quantitative Analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, she co-founded Launch Collective, and she set up and managed the finances for Managed by Q. Cate is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from Barnard College. Cate was inspired by Bayswater Maria Montessori School, Little Leaf Forest School and Portfolio School. She enjoys surfing, yoga and TED talks. 

 

Stacey Seltzer
Co-Founder

Stacey is a partner at Prehype, a group of entrepreneurs who help established companies and VC’s facilitate spin-outs, incubation and venture partnerships. Prehype runs programs for companies such as LEGO, Newscorp, Verizon, Kaplan and Coca-cola identifying new innovation and business opportunities and creating new adjacent businesses through a proprietary lean incubation process. A startup junkie, Stacey has also worked with numerous startups from Managed by Q to Barkbox, CuteCircuit, Joost and others. Stacey received an MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelor's degree from Brown University.

 
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Joanne Corrigan
Assistant Teacher

Joanne has 15+ years teaching in both preschool and elementary schools in New York and California. She majored in Child Development and Liberal Studies and earned her Teaching Credentials from Dominican University in CA. She has taught in both public and private schools including Innovative Learning Community in Marin County, CA, with a focus on project-based learning.

 
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Sari Givner
Teacher-in-Residence

For the past 28 years Sari has taught at an independent progressive school. Her main goal has always been to inspire and empower children to recognize their potential as learners and valuable keepers of the environment. She believes that children acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. This year she was awarded the gift of a sabbatical, which allows her to spend time at the Hudson Lab School. At Hudson Lab School, how children learn is as important as what children learn which is directly connected to her teaching experience and philosophy. Sari enjoys spending time with her family and friends and especially her two granddaughters.

 
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Vanessa Go
Science Specialist

Vanessa Go is the science specialist teacher at Hudson Lab School and at the Junior School (K-4) at the United Nations International School in New York City. At UNIS, she developed an interdisciplinary curriculum together with homeroom teachers from K-4 to integrate science and core subjects such as math, language arts and humanities. Before her current position, Vanessa also taught Biology and Chemistry at the high school level in Xavier School in the Philippines, was a teaching assistant for Chemistry at New York University, and was a research assistant in the Department of Teaching and Learning at New York University and the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.

 
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Robert Berkman
Math Specialist

Robert Berkman was raised on the North Shore of Long Island and has lived in Brooklyn for the past 35 years. He has been teaching mathematics, science and technology to pre-K through college level for over 30 years, both as a classroom teacher and program coordinator. He has spoken at conferences hosted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the Association for Curriculum and Development (ACSD), and his work has been published in teaching journals. He is currently the math coordinator at the Manhattan Country School and publishes his mathematics materials under the SamizdatMath imprint. He has three grown children and a grandchild.

 
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Muhammad Abdul-Matin
Play Worker

Known as “Mo,” Muhammad supports kids at play at both Hudson Lab School and Little Leaf Forest School when he isn’t studying Psychology at Mercy College. Kids love Mo because he’s always up for a game of tag and because of his kind and gentle, optimistic spirit. Muhammad spends his free time working on films, including a documentary with the Mount Vernon Doles Center.

 
 

Mentors & Advisors

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Theresa McCaffrey
Little Leaf Forest Nursery School

Theresa is the Founder and Director of Little Leaf Forest School. She is also a NY state licensed elementary school teacher with six years of teaching experience in inclusive classrooms. Theresa has a Masters of Teaching and a Masters of Fine Arts, is a Harvard grad, and a Teach for America alum. She has spent time studying Waldorf Early Childhood Education at Sunbridge Institute. She is a Hastings-on-Hudson resident and mother of three young children. Theresa can often be found on family adventures, in yoga class or bustling about in the rivertowns. She revels in a good nap whenever she can find the time!

 
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Portfolio School

Shira Leibowitz, Nancy Otero, Doug Schachtel and Babur Habib, the founding team of Portfolio School, have been incredible mentors leading the way. Portfolio School is a project-based K-12 school in Tribeca that opened in September 2016.

 
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David Penberg
Advisor

David is an urban and international educational leader. He has held leadership roles in non-profits, community-based organizations, independent, international and charter schools, and in higher education. He has a deep grounding in progressive education, cross-cultural experience and leadership development. He has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He was a fellow in the Carey Leadership Program at Bank Street College (1982-84) and Klingenstein Fellow forInternational School Heads at Teachers College, Columbia University (2008). He was the founding director of the nationally recognized Liberty Partnerships Program at Bank Street College. David abides by Auden's dictum "We were put on earth to make things."

 
 

Educators in Residence

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Francesca Rosella & Ryan Genz
Founders of Cute Circuit

CuteCircuit is a fashion brand and a pioneer in the field of wearable technology. Founded over a decade ago, CuteCircuit sparked the fashion and technology revolution through the introduction of groundbreaking designs and concepts that merge the worlds of fashion, design and telecommunication.

 
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Steven Dean
Professor, Entrepreneur & Designer

With a broad entrepreneurial, design and product development background, Steven has designed and built new ventures, products and services for some of the most innovative consumer health and wellness brands. A leader in the field of behavior change, personal infomatics and health innovation, he is a frequent speaker at industry forums. Steven is an adjunct professor at New York University's graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and has taught courses on service design and innovation at Parsons The New School for Design and the Rhode Island School of Design.

 
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Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
Author & Innovation Lecturer

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg is the co-author of "Innovation as Usual", a Harvard Business Review Press book on the art of driving innovation in regular organizations. His research has been featured in Harvard Business Review, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, BBC Radio, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Financial Times. Recently, Britain’s HR Magazine included Wedell-Wedellsborg on their list of “Top 20 International Thinkers”.

 
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Kim Druce Sava
Craftsperson

Kim Druce Sava studied costumes, fashion and textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to motherhood, she worked in costume design and fashion styling in theatre, film, television and advertising. She now designs costumes for the Hastings-on-Hudson school theatre and is delighted to join Hudson Lab School. “Children have the most wonderful ideas! I love teaching the art of craft. It helps them bring their ideas to fruition.”

 
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Berk Ilhan
Product & Experience Designer

Berk Ilhan uses innovation as a pillar to cultivate delightful experiences via novel and meaningful interactions. His design work has been recognized by 15 international design awards including the prestigious iF Design Award, International Design Excellence Award (IDEA), Red Dot Best of the Best Award, International Design Award (IDA), and A’ Design Award. His design recipe involves rigorous primary research, holistic system modeling, latent need identification, participatory design, empathy, play, minimalism, and chasing wild dreams by pushing against accustomed constraints.