Medina KhalilExecutive Educational Director
At BFS since 2010.
Medina’s goal as an educator is to help students discover the tools to become confident, independent learners. By scaffolding children’s learning and creating a loving environment, their naturally inquisitive nature can thrive within the classroom. Medina believes that, as they discover their interests through play, students learn to trust in their own sense of innate curiosity. She also believes that children’s first school years are the place where they engage with others in this discovery; so, creating an environment where cooperative learning is celebrated and cultivated allows for children’s social emotional development as well. Brooklyn Free Space bridges the transition from home to school, where the family of the classroom embraces all its extended members. Medina embodies the values that BFS holds dear and, in her role as EED, she will oversee both educational and operations functions for BFS.
Deidre SantosOperations Manager - Interim
Deidre is an enthusiastic person who loves taking on challenges. She loves being an integral part of a team and enjoys working behind the scenes to help keep things running like a well-oiled machine. She has strong leadership skills with the tenacity needed to get the most demanding of jobs done. She has a BS degree in Business Management and Finance from Brooklyn College and has over 17 years working in operations and management.
At BFS since 2014
Yannick believes that a child's environment affects their development and behavior. Well-kept, indoor and outdoor environments make it easier for children to learn, to get along with one another and become independent. Yannick has been working in child care facilities for almost a decade and take pride in providing a safe and clean environment that allows the staff and all the children of BFS to feel welcomed and stress free.
DanielaLead Teacher and Assistant Educational Director
At BFS since 1988.
Daniela believes that children learn best about the world through spontaneous and creative play. She likes to help enrich the well-rounded harmonious development of the children in all areas from physical, cognitive, emotional, moral, and social to artistic. She believes in respecting the individual personality of each child, and in creating a trusting and emotionally rich family atmosphere in the classroom. Encouraging independence and self-esteem in the children, and establishing and maintaining well-balanced communication and cooperation with the families are her main goals. Daniela's lively warmth makes the children around her blossom.
At BFS since 1992.
Aida is renowned for her gift of helping children to develop emotional self-awareness and empathy while they explore the world around them. With her gentle, wise guidance, children learn to pay attention to and articulate their own feelings and those of others, which enriches and expands the classroom learning environment as a whole. Aida believes that children want to be loved and understood, and that they learn best with open-ended questions and hands-on activities.
Irina has worked at Brooklyn Free Space since 2016 as student teacher, substitute and, now, an assistant teacher. After spending a few years in a Pre-K classroom, she decided to expand her teaching experience and join the little friends in the Jitterbug classroom. Together, with a team of amazing and caring teachers, she is committed to providing families with love and a developmental foundation for a lifetime of learning. At BFS, we know that play is the child's most important work, where children explore, question, socialize and discover answers to their questions. Most of all, they have fun. She thanks you for your trust and the willingness to share your children with us.
At BFS since 2012
Angel believes that children learn best in a loving and nurturing environment, and that children who are given the freedom to express themselves develop into strong and independent individuals. She loves helping children understand their environment, friends and themselves. She strongly believes that teachers are responsible for shaping the positive growth of kids and in order to aid that, must be good listeners. What she loves most about children is their innocence, their different personalities and their way of thinking. She sees each child as unique, and treasures their uniqueness.
At BFS since 1994
Laura believes that her first responsibility is to guide the children and help them establish confidence and, at the same time, give them all the tender loving care they need. Fun fact: Sometimes when she reads to the children, she changes her voice to match the characters in the book and becomes a little animated and goofy. The kids love it — they shout, 'More, more!' It's hysterical for everybody.
Amanda Kelly has been working with children for eight years. She attended Sarah Lawrence College for her undergraduate degree. Amanda began working in a Reggio Emilia daycare in 2016 as a substitute and After School Teacher. She is fluent in English and Spanish. Amanda is dedicated to bringing Spanish into the classroom. She connects with her students through storytelling and imaginative play. She is currently in the process of attaining her Masters in Early Childhood Education.
Bob BurkeLead Teacher
Bob is a recent transplant to Brooklyn from the west coast and is the dad to two college-age boys. After teaching for 9 years in Berkeley, CA , he is delighted to be in the Sunshine Room at Brooklyn Free Space. Bob has a California Site Supervisor Credential and will is pursuing his Masters in ECE at Brooklyn College.
Bob believes that Preschool children are thoughtful, capable and full of surprises. He believes in the value of taking time to discover the uniqueness and budding interests of each child and in using this knowledge to build relationships and a foundation for learning. Bob feels fortunate and grateful that he gets to spend most mornings in the presence of young children.
At BFS since 2004.
For Camille, an important part of teaching young children is to help them accept their friends and themselves. She wants them to feel comfortable with who they are, and to get along with one another. She wants them to know there is more good than bad in the world, and to be happy about who they are. Watching the children grow and become more independent, and contributing to their development, has been a source of great satisfaction and excitement for Camille. She is warm and funny, and greets students cheerily with lines like, "Where's my wink?"
Claudenie loves teaching because she loves seeing kids faces when they are curious about something. When they investigate and find out their own answers she is thrilled. She hopes they feel not only happy but comfortable. She believes they should be able to express themselves fully with her and their peers. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in Early Childhood Education.
Yakara PatrickAssistant Teacher
At BFS Since 2018
Yakara has been working with children, from toddlers to school-age children, for over 20 years. She believes that with patience, love and a sense of comfort all children can learn at any age level. A child can teach an adult how to be happy for no reason and how to always be curious.
Oi LingLead Teacher
At BFS since 2017
Oi was looking for a school that enables young children to have control over the subject matter in which they learn, and found it at BFS. Her ideal school allows teachers to observe children in their environment and use this information to help facilitate their explorations based on these observations. It is a great mutual fit! Oi has worked with young children from infants to Pre-K, giving her a comprehensive grasp of early childhood development. She has a strong passion for literacy and arts in early childhood which began when she was involved as the Cool Culture liaison at her first teaching experience. She saw first-hand how much growth and development can occur through arts, inquiry and family involvement.
At BFS since 2009
Every year Kathy is very enthusiastic to begin a fun-filled journey along with the families and teachers at BFS. She sincerely feels that it is amazing and beautiful to watch children as they discover and learn new things. She loves to see the joy and pride in their eyes when they realize that they could do things that they could not do before. To be apart of that is wonderful. She hopes to help children believe that anything is possible.
At BFS since 2014
Lizzie was born and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She has worked as a camp counselor and a substitute teacher. In addition to her love of working with kids she loves the world of theatre. Working in Early Childhood Education is something she’s known she wanted to do for a long time. Lizzie is so thankful and excited to be a part of the Brooklyn Free Space team.
At BFS since 2008
"Gabi" is our on-staff, part-time atelierista, who has a full-time effect on our school community and curriculum. Besides being an art teacher extraordinaire, Gabi is also a vintage treasure hunter, upcycler, & obsessive Image taker. Gabi supports the children and the teaching staff in exploring the “100 languages of children”.
JoanneMusic & Movement Enrichment Teacher
Joanne is the music and movement enrichment teacher for Jitterbugs and Dragonflies. Joanne has a wonderfully inventive style with the children, drawing upon their interests to create improvisational creative expressions. Joanne has taught Music Together for many years, including at BFS in its past incarnation. She is well known in the neighborhood, and hosts her own playgroups through her own business.
At BFS since 2014
Realizing that every child is born with their own unique musical awareness and creativity, Jeremy set out to create a program that helps foster every child’s musical journey and exploration. As a Music Education graduate of the prestigious, Berklee College of Music, Jeremy has had over 15 years of experience in and out of the classroom bringing his special brand of music education to thousands of children. As an accomplished children’s music writer and performer, Jeremy has won numerous awards including, A Parents Choice Award, John Lennon Songwriting Award, and Kid’s Music Award. Over the years Jeremy has also directed a non-profit which brought music classes to children in crisis, helped developed music curriculum for NYC school dept, toured the country performing songs for children, not to mention teaching thousands of music classes and lessons. He is also the director and founder of “Musication”, which bring music lessons and camps to children ages 3 and up.
Additional Teachers & Staff
MariaAssistant and After School Teacher
At BFS since 2008.
Maria believes that children need a teacher with patience, who develops a deep understanding of their words, feelings and needs. Maria feels that she is able to bring this consistent love and care to the children in her classroom. She loves working here, and feels that she is thriving as a teacher along with the children at BFS.