“One of the best pre-schools around. Both of our sons attended and I honestly could not imagine a better program with our two boys.”
Kathy Abbott comes to Sprout House from the Summit Speech School with a wealth of non-profit leadership experience. She first joined our community as a parent and then has served as a longtime board member and president. Kathy holds her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from New York University. She lives in Chatham Township, New Jersey with her husband and three daughters. Kathy is an enthusiastic volunteer in our community having served on the board for the League of Women Voters of NJ. She has also been active in the local Chatham Township government, serving on the Environmental Commission, Planning Board, and as an elected official.
Sprout House Founder
Joanne Lockwood White founded Sprout House in 1985 as a pioneering school, which inspires self-directed learning, where kids are happy and intellectually engaged. She served for years as the director of Sprout House, teaching multitudes of children to appreciate the environment and how to “walk the walk.” She is continually bestowing her Early Childhood Education (M.A.) experience through advising, training teachers and assessing on matters of the edification of young children. A longtime active member of the Chatham Township community; and in her free time Joanne enjoys the serenity of the Pine Barrens and splashing around in the Long Island Sound with her husband, her grown daughters, who were once Sprouts, and their families.
Bookkeeper/ Office Staff
Leslie started working at Sprout House in 1997 when her youngest child was enrolled in the first Rising Five Program. She has a BA degree in history and art history, and worked as a Human Resources manager at AT&T and Bellcore for many years. She loves reading and traveling in her spare time.
Dina Barrionuevo, Lead Teacher
Dina has over 2 decades of experience as an early childhood teacher at well-known schools in the area. She is excited about Sprout House’s nature-based curriculum and the high value the school places on authentic children’s art and literature.
Dina has a BA in clinical child psychology and says, “I believe that children learn through play. I provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, imagine, and create. I look for opportunities to extend their learning according to the child’s interests and strengths.”
In her free time, Dina loves photography, singing and dancing.
Cindy is an experienced early childhood teacher who believes, “No two children are the same, as there is no one way to teach. I am always looking for new ways to keep a child’s mind engaged.”
Cindy lives in Madison with her husband and 3 boys. In her free time, she is often at her sons’ soccer games. She enjoys dining out and going to the movies with her family.
Maribel Escobar is an experienced Early Childhood lead teacher. She was especially attracted to Sprout House because of its outdoor curriculum and child-led exploring, creating, discovering and idea-sharing. In her free time, Ms. Maribel enjoys hiking, crafts, sports and spending time with her daughter.
Her definition of education is the ability to collaborate, create, explore possibilities, experiment and try new things. “Little children are like sponges looking to understand the world, while finding their independence.” She believes that children learn best when they make choices involving their own development. She is honored to be an influence in their early years.
Maria is an experienced early childhood teacher. Music and dancing are two of her favorite ways to teach ideas and self-expression. At Sprout House, Maria has naturally gravitated towards tending our native plant gardens and sharing with children the wonders of living things.
Maria also has expertise in caring for adults. She has worked for many years as a medical assistant, including as a phlebotomist, and has enjoyed helping seniors as a home health aide.
In her free time, Maria enjoys long walks in the mountains with her 2 girls and husband. She also loves to read, exercise and dance.
Andrea has been involved in teaching for 15 years. As an educator and artist, she looks forward to fostering your child’s personal artistic expression though a wide variety of mediums that Sprout House uses–paint, clay, 3D, fabric, and found objects.
“I see the early childhood years as a golden opportunity to ignite the imagination and allow the mind to develop creative and unique patterns of thinking in problem solving, positive social interactions and discovery of the world around us,” says Andrea.
“I especially admire Sprout House’s encouragement of a child’s independent thinking skills and exploring the question, “Why do you think that is?” Andrea earned a BFA from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science, majoring in graphic design, fine arts, and sculpture. In her spare time, Andrea refinishes and rescues old furniture, and loves to paint, garden, and read.
Susan Lanham holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College and is certified in Elementary Education. She has 25 years of Early Childhood experience tutoring, teaching pre–kindergarten and kindergarten. In her free time, Mrs. Lanham enjoys reading, hiking, gardening, and restoring furniture.
Jen Mathews began her career in children’s publishing in New York, then continued working with storytellers like screenwriters and directors in LA. More recently, she has been a Scout leader, a PTO Environmental Committee Coordinator, a Friends of the Library Board member, and helped other local organizations such as the Chatham Township Environmental Commission and the Open Space Committee. Jen has three children, two of whom attended Sprout House. In her spare time she enjoys listening to podcasts and audio books, and spending time outside with her family, friends, and sweet pup, Scout.
PM Lead Teacher, Teacher Mentor
Carolyn holds a BA degree in Early Childhood Education from Goddard College. She began working at Sprout House as the cook in 1985 and became the Rising 5s teacher in 1998. In 2017 Carolyn became the Sprout House PM teacher. Her hobbies include reading, American History, biking, and hiking. Carolyn has been on the Sprout House board of directors since 1987.
PM Group Teacher
Danielle joins Sprout House after spending the last several years working in the entertainment industry as a talent agent for both children and adults. She has always enjoyed working with young people and was involved in educational outreach for various arts organizations throughout the city, including The Ghetto Film School, a program designed to help teenagers from diverse backgrounds receive professional film school training. Danielle has also helped facilitate the summer horsemanship program for the Girl Scouts of Northern NJ and continues to volunteer at an equine therapy facility for children with disabilities. In her downtime, Danielle loves cooking (and eating), watching international films, camping in upstate NY, and horseback riding.
Jenna is a resident of Chatham, and recently graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a BA in Psychology. She is also a big sister of a Sprout alumna. Jenna has always been comfortable communicating and solving problems with children; in fact, this engagement with children led her to choose psychology as a major.
Jenna is excited about Sprout House’s nature-based curriculum and how it develops children’s imaginations and scientific curiosity. She has always been drawn to science, and won science fair prizes for 3 years in junior high school. Jenna also looks forward to sharing her artistic talents with the Sprout House children. She loves sketching cartoon characters, drawing animals and plants, and sewing dolls. As a teen, she was trained in the Young Rembrandts art program.
During her downtime, Jenna loves spending time with her large, tight-knit family which includes small children, and one loving senior black cat.
Lori is an experienced Sprout House teacher and is certified in elementary education and special education. She has a BA from Goucher College in English and a BS in Nursing from NYU. In her free time Lori enjoys walking in the woods, reading, practicing yoga and spending time with family and her dog Betty. Lori has recently completed teacher training in the Kaiut Yoga Method.
Vineeta Gudwani first came to Sprout House as parent with her son in 1998 and fell in love. She has been part of the Sprout House community on and off ever since, as a cook, substitute and assistant teacher. Birds, butterflies, bees, trees and wildflowers are a few of her favorite things. In her free time, she loves cooking and feeding friends & family. She also loves painting, reading and walking in the woods.
Andrew has a deep understanding of Sprout House’s mission, since he was a Sprout House student himself. He is passionate about teaching and coaching, and has strong knowledge of how to motivate children in a group setting. He also has extensive experience working with children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Andrew is undertaking his Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential. For several years before coming to Sprout House, Andrew taught children at the Summit and Metuchen YMCAs as an aquatics supervisor and instructor. In his free time he coaches and instructs for USA Sport Group soccer. He is an alumni ambassador for Oratory Prep School. Andrew actively participates in local NJ soccer pick-up leagues and also enjoys barbecuing and taking long hikes with his dog.
Nicole came to Sprout House as a substitute teacher and then taught our Rising 5’s. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and East Asian Studies. Nicole used to live on a sailboat and loves everything related to oceans, weather, and islands. Nicole earned her Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential.
Megan came to Sprout House as the “snack lady” and substitute teacher last year. This year, she is very excited to be starting as an assistant teacher. Megan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Penn State University. She has worked in many aspects of nursing, including surgical, oncology, and labor and delivery. She moved to Chatham four years ago with her husband and four children. In her spare time she loves to be at the beach!
What the parents say
“So many fantastic memories! All three of my kids attended, and we had great experiences, friends, and learning. Thank you!”
“Amazing, small, nurturing pre-school that gave my son a wonderful start. We went straight from four years at Sprout House to first grade in a diverse public school in a another town, and he had an absolutely seamless transition. I believe the solid, caring base he had at Sprout House prepared him. He is now in middle school and thriving – open-minded, intellectually curious, kind.”