ABOUT LAKESIDE SCHOOL AT BLACK KETTLE FARM
At Lakeside, children learn about themselves and the world around them. It is a place where children can still be children as they learn to be contributing members of a community. The experiences at Lakeside lay a strong foundation for success in all areas of life by fostering confdence, self-reliance, independence, a genuine interest in others, and a life-long love of learning.
Parents and community members are invited to participate in our parent education evenings, work parties, community events and rich festival life.
Lakeside School runs from early September to mid-June and is a developing member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. It is located on the corners of Cook and Leaning Road in Essex, NY at Black Kettle Farm.
Lakeside School is recognized and chartered by the NYS Department of Education and is a developing member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.
Drawing from the surrounding farms and forest and based on Waldorf education, Lakeside School cultivates the whole child in an evolving ecosystem of independent thinking, community spirit, and stewardship of our natural world.
At Lakeside School, we strive to meet the needs of the community we serve: our children and their families, our faculty, and our neighbors in the surrounding Adirondack Park.
Our Children. By encouraging independent exploration in both farmland and wild forest we seek to expand our students’ understanding of themselves and the world around them. By fostering compassion and flexible thinking, our students will carry with them confidence and courage as they join the global community. We accomplish this through:
exploring the relationships between humans and nature through sustainable farming;
emboldening our students to participate in forest exploration;
building developmentally appropriate foundations of science, mathematics, language, and arts through Waldorf philosophy; and
providing families with opportunities to nurture their children with a better knowledge of developmentally appropriate expectations.
Our Faculty. Lakeside School is committed to supporting the professional growth and creativity of our faculty by endowing them with the freedom of self-direction in developing curricula and facilitating a collaborative interaction between teacher, child, and parent.
Our Community. As a school, we strive to create an accepting environment that fosters a love of learning and a sense of hope for the future. Throughout the year, Lakeside School invites our surrounding neighbors to join us for seasonal celebrations, community discussions, and family activities. By practicing responsible stewardship, we model a commitment to duty and service to our community and land.
Elementary Lead Teacher
Julie joined Lakeside School's faculty in 2013, and has taught Kindergarten, Aftercare, and our Mountain Tots parent/child program. Julie began her career in education while living in Colorado, where she split her time working as a teacher’s assistant during the school year, and as an outdoor educator during the summers. She earned her elementary teaching certification from the University of Colorado.
Gregg Van Deusen
Lead Kindergarten teacher
Our Lead Kindergarten teacher, has been at Lakeside from its infancy. He was the assistant teacher for seven years, and taught children for sixteen years at camps and outdoor schools across the country. He has an AA in Rural Resource Management from Sterling College and a BS in Outdoor Education/Natural History from Northland College. He earned his Birth-to-Seven Certificate from Sophia's Hearth Family Center in Keene NH in 2019. Gregg spends his summers guiding trips at Northwaters Wilderness Programs in Temagami, Ontario.
Sprouts Lead Teacher
Jess joined Lakeside’s staff in 2020. In addition to her elementary teaching certification from CSU Monterey, she possesses a Bachelor’s of Music from the University of the Pacific, where she focused on the clarinet. A transplant from the West Coast, Jess embraced the natural beauty of the Adirondacks and spends her spare time hiking the Fire Tower trails with her two daughters.
Emily Froome Kuntz
Sprouts Assistant Teacher
Emily joined Lakeside School in 2023 as an Assistant Teacher in the Sprouts program. She has a bachelor's degree in Anthropology from SUNY Geneseo and more recently studied Urban Planning at Hunter College. Emily has a professional background in international/experiential higher education and education abroad administration. She looks forward to broadening her passion for education in a Waldorf setting and to having her own little sprout attend Lakeside School!
Bio and photo coming soon...
Elementary Assistant Teacher
Bio and photo coming soon...
Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Madeleine worked most recently at Northern Lights, a Waldorf inspired preschool in Saranac Lake, in the early childhood programs for infants to 3 year olds. Madeleine grew up in London, but spent every summer of her teen years in the Adirondacks with her family. She loves recreating outdoors and sharing her love of nature with young children. She looks forward to furthering her Waldorf education experience at Lakeside School.
Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Jenn lives in Keeseville and is the mother of three sweet and spicy kiddos. She discovered Lakeside School when they were tots and feels supremely honored to contribute to the holistic well-being of like-minded families. As a pharmacist, she appreciates the natural rhythm found in Waldorf pedagogy. Jenn feels most at peace ambling through the forest, particularly on days when sunlight sparkles through the leaves. In her spare time, Jenn enjoys yoga, riding her motorcycle, reading, and walking her dog, Butters!
Sprouts Assistant Teacher
Catherine, raised in the Adirondack Park, was homeschooled for middle and high school, highlighting small-scale homesteading. She first experienced Waldorf education at Northern Lights School, volunteering as a teacher's assistant in their elementary and assisting with the Spanish program. After spending some time in Guatemala, she came to Lakeside School as a Mountain tots parent in 2018 and became a Sprouts assistant in 2021. Catherine shares her Puerto Rican Heritage with the Spanish language, folklore, and song and is eagerly pursuing a more profound knowledge of Waldorf early childhood Education.
Elisaveta "Eli" Goff
Development and Outreach Director
Our Development and Outreach Director, Eli comes from Macedonia, a small and beautiful country in South Eastern Europe. Eli has a background in law and a decade long career in public service, working as a senior legal adviser to a national capital’s municipal government in Skopje, before relocating to the US. Eli and her husband chose to raise their two young children in Essex, NY where they are happily experiencing the wonders of the Adirondacks like hiking, swimming, skiing and exploring the great outdoors.
Black Kettle Farm
Since our move to Black Kettle in 2007, we have implemented a farm-based program, whose roots grow deeper each year. Our unique setting allows us the opportunity to experience an education inspired by Waldorf philosophy in a deep and rich way.
From animal husbandry to planting, tending, and harvesting their produce, children experience the seasonal food cycles of agriculture first-hand. Each fall, after the fall harvest is over, the children put the beds to sleep for the winter. They enjoy the fruits of their labor over the fall and winter by using root vegetables for soup, apples for applesauce, and grapes for grape juice. Over the last few years, they have cared for sheep, pigs, draft horses, goats, kids, cows, and laying hens. Herbs from their herb garden are made into healing salves and ointments to give as gifts. Any uneaten food goes to the compost pile to nourish the soil.
The Eddy Foundation
Lakeside School was fortunate to lease--and then purchase--Black Kettle Farm from the Eddy Foundation. The Eddy Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 with a focus on supporting a sustainable interface between humans and the ecosystem. The foundation purchased the 213-acre Black Kettle Farm in 2000 as part of a wildlife corridor connecting Lake Champlain with the High Peaks. Over the years, the farm provided a variety of educational programs and opportunities. At the same time, it always operated as a "wild farm," where wildlife and farming can coexist harmoniously.
Lakeside is honored to continue the stewardship of this land as we develop the farming component to our school at Black Kettle. In 2018, Lakeside School purchased Black Kettle Farm from the Eddy Foundation. If you would like to learn more about our Capital Campaign, please click here.
From our beginnings in 2006, the Eddy Foundation has been hugely supportive of Lakeside. Their generosity allowed us to gain momentum early on and we are so grateful for their continued support!