Keller Lindler, Program Director
Keller joined Discovery Woods in 2011 and joined Eastern Ridge in 2014. She came to us from the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center Preschool, another Reggio-Emilia-inspired program. Keller has her BA from High Point University in Technical Theater, and that background allows her to bring great creativity and artistry to all facets of the children’s education from painting, building, and exploring to singing, dancing, and expressing. She’s become famous for reading books or acting out characters with the children in funny voices. Keller loves to collaborate and play with our young students towards a creative, nature-based, and dramatic learning environment. Her hands-on teaching approach reinforces independence while allowing children to explore within safe boundaries, and she loves watching how the children become inspired when presented with the right materials in a comfortable, rich environment. In her free time, Keller likes to attend plays, dance performances and movies; visit art galleries; go ice skating and bowling; and visit museums and historic houses. She can also be found painting, taking pictures, building sculptures out of anything, and making collages. She loves to go on road trips (especially to the beach) and her favorite animals are otters and ducks.
Heather was born and raised in Miami and moved to the Washington area in 2000. She worked in higher education and then for the federal government, where she focused on training and development. She became a stay-at-home parent when her daughter was born, and then began homeschooling her daughter and other children. Before joining Eastern Ridge, Heather worked at Frying Pan Park’s farm preschool. Outside of work, she enjoys painting and music. She also loves hiking and camping and, true to her Florida roots, anything related to the beach. Heather and her daughter live in the Herndon area.
Maritza was born in Mexico, where she studied architecture. She worked for 22 years in that field and then worked for two years as a math teacher in a public high school. She later taught art and design at a private Catholic school. She and her husband (of more than 30 years!) have lived in the U.S. since 2005. She started at Discovery Woods at 2008 and joined Eastern Ridge when it was founded in 2014. Maritza truly loves working with our youngest students, and is particularly inspired to collect forest artifacts like leaves, twigs, and rocks with the children to inspire painting and art. She also enjoys teaching them songs and stories in Spanish. She especially loves how her children explore and discover new things, and watching their faces when they finish a project that they’ve worked on for a long time. Maritza and her husband, Jorge, have two children and live in Sterling.
Sue Stone, Lead Teacher
Sue has been with ERS and its predecessor for more than 10 years. Prior to this, she spent six years as a team teacher in the three-year old classroom at the Beverly Hills Church Preschool (BHCP), a Reggio-inspired school in Alexandria, and one year at Frog Pond, a nature-inspired program also in Alexandria. Prior to that, she was a co-op parent at BHCP for nine years, where she was on the board and served as its president for last two years her children attended. She also taught at Emmanuel Lutheran as a kindergarten teacher. Sue holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from College of the Potomac and also studied at Lesley University in their early childhood program. Most of Sue’s interests are nature focused; she loves gardening, being outside, kayaking and trail walking. She also volunteers with Animal Allies, feeding, rescuing and setting up shelters for feral cats. Teaching runs in her family: her oldest daughter is an environmental science teacher at the relatively new middle and high school, Howard Gardner School in Alexandria. Sue has three children and one granddaughter.
Sarah Gamble, Support Teacher and Outdoor Specialist
Sarah graduated with a degree in comparative literature from Hamilton College, where she was actively involved in the community farm and the outing club. After graduation, she worked in environmental education, teaching elementary school students about the forest ecosystem of central Pennsylvania as an intern at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, and then engaging young farmers in the garden at Stone Barn’s Center in the Hudson Valley. Most recently, she spent time on the Maine coast, teaching ecosystem-based ecology to middle-school students. She loves being outside, whether that’s in the garden or going rock climbing with friends but also can’t say no to a good book and good food. She’s excited to be in northern Virginia at Eastern Ridge, working with our dynamic young learners.
Julie Liddle, Enrichment Teacher
Julie is a registered art therapist and director of ART IN HAND®, a parent-child art program for toddlers and preschoolers which she founded in 2001. Previously, Julie practiced art therapy for nearly a decade in a therapeutic school serving children and adolescents with a variety of emotional and learning disabilities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in art therapy from George Washington University. Julie finds that young children inspire her own creativity with their spontaneity and unselfconscious approach to the materials she provides, opening her eyes every day to the wonders of the world that are right at our fingertips. She does not consider herself an art “teacher” but a facilitator who offers the materials, space, and opportunity for little ones to do what comes naturally. She is especially interested helping children to make connections between real life experiences (with others and with the natural world), literature, and their own creative self-expression, so she often interweaves children’s books, experiences in nature, and natural materials into her sessions. Her developmental approach taps into the innate creativity in children of all needs and abilities, and naturally builds connections within the brain by stimulating sensory input, honing gross and fine motor skills, and building language, cognitive, and social skills. Julie lives with her husband and two sons (ages 11 and 14), who constantly keep her learning and growing, given their widely divergent interests and abilities. Together, they enjoy year-round campfires and cookouts in their backyard fire-ring, hiking, and vegetable gardening. The Liddles have mastered the art of the staycation, finding adventure and respite from the “real world” sometimes as close to home as the creek and common ground that runs behind their own back yard. Like her grandmother, Julie swears by the healing power of fresh air, and she finds rejuvenation in long walks, and occasional jogs with her only girl, a three-year-old beagle-mix named Chessie.
Jackie Robson, Support Teacher
Jackie is a recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University, where she studied english and creative writing. She worked as a Montessori assistance for several years. She loves to travel, and recently spent a year and a half living in Germany with her family. When she was younger she lived in Japan for several years, so she’s been lucky to experience a variety of lifestyles and cultures. Jackie loves to sing and read with children, and experience and explore the natural world as much as possible. Her passion is writing fiction, and she hopes to eventually add ‘published author’ to her list of accomplishments.