Gardengate Academy, 249 N Main St, Natick, Massachusetts 01760, United States

(508)720-0033

Gardengate Academy

GARDENGATE ACADEMY

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Gabi maza

Owner & Director

Gabi Maza brings more than 20 years experience in Early Childhood Education. Her experience includes schools  from Mexico and United States with children ages 2 to 10 years. Gabi holds a degree on  Art Therapy for Young Minds from La Salle, she is a Music Together Certified and part of Casa Alianza, a Program which provides education for Teen moms in South America. 

Gabi had taught Child Development  at Music Together, Kinder-Music and ISIS Maternity.  After working at ISIS Maternity Gabi offers parenting advice to families and educators on child development, sleep and children's behavior.  Gabi had worked as a teacher, administrator and curriculum coordinator bringing a high quality program for families in the MetroWest Area. Gabi is passionate about the Reggio approach and is willing to bring any resource necessary to expose children into this environment.

In addition, Gabi served her time for over 3 years at Harvard Labs leading young entrepreneurs finding their way to found their own business in the local areas. 

When not at Gardengate, she enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her family,  who continue to inspire her work.

GABI'S REFERENCES

SALAM ELSAKKA

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Co-Director

Salam has over 7 years of experience working as a teacher and administrator in independent schools. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Education & Care with a concentration in Administration and Supervision from the University of Massachusetts - Boston.   Before starting with Gardengate, she was a Director of an Early Childhood Center in Boston and prior to that, she was an infant, toddler and preschool teacher throughout college. 

Inspired by the Reggio approach, Salam loves being able to show children their potential and  figure out ways to learn more effectively to achieve their milestones. She aims  to create a motivating community for  teachers as educators in a fast paced, ever changing environment. Salam believes that strong communities are based diversity and she is willing to provide this in a nurturing environment for all. 

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.

JACKIE COUTOUMAS

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Toddler Lead & Dance Coordinator

Jackie graduated from Dean College with a bachelors in dance and a minor in business. She takes passion in her teaching and choreographing as well as encourages creativity, confidence and being active! Her work has been showcased in numerous shows throughout college and her most recent work was performed in Danceworks at Fitzgerald Theater. Jackie has been teaching dance for over 8 years in local Dance Studios and most recently at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Her styles include ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, contemporary, salsa and musical theater.

Aside from teaching dance, Jackie has worked with children ages 2 to 5 years in the last 6 years. She is a certified lead teacher by the Department of Early  Education and Care.  She is excited to transmit her passion for the Reggio Style to children and families within our community. 

In her free time, Jackie likes to watch movies, play with her puppy Brady and hang out with her family and friends.

ISABELA CARVALHO

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Toddler Teacher

Isabela is a student at Massbay Community college. She is pursuing a career as an educator with a concentration in English. She will be graduating with my associates degree in spring of 2020 and pursuing higher education after that. Her prior experience with children includes nannying her niece when she was first born up until she was two years old. She enjoy working with children as she loves seeing them grasp ideas, become independent and develop their own personalities. While growing up, she  was always outside either riding her bike, climbing trees, exploring forests, swimming at local lakes or getting her hands dirty in anything outdoors. She believe nature is an important aspect of a child’s development. She is overjoyed to be teaching toddlers by using the Reggio Style approach. 

She is  elated to be apart of our Gardengate community.

"Learning alongside Ms. Jackie has been nothing short of extraordinary."

In her free time, she enjoys time with my family, writing poetry, exploring local coffee shops, cooking, and traveling. 

JANET CRAMER

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Infant Lead Teacher

Janet holds as BS/MS in Computer Science. After working in this field for 14 years she decided to stay home full time with her four children.

When her youngest entered first grade, Janet became a foster parent and fostered several children in need of temporary homes. A few years later, Janet  began pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education. She is Lead Teacher certified by the Department of Education and is continuing her classes at Mass Bay Community College to further her certifications.

Janet has a second degree black belt in Taekwondo. For several summers she taught her Tae kwon do skills to children ages 5-10 at a summer camp in Needham and Robert Giorgio’s School of Tae kwon do. Her love of language, nature, and art has been of personal interest to her as she explores the world with her baby students. 

During her free time Janet works as a licensed Real Estate agent and enjoys showing homes in the Metro West area! She also loves football, basketball, exercise, baking, eating and spending time with her family and friends.

ROB CARNEY

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After School Lead

Rob Carney is a certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Reiki practitioner, & Thai Bodyworker. Rob holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sustainable Food & Farming with a concentration on Holistic Health from UMass Amherst and is currently enrolled in his Master's for Business Administration at UMass Boston. Motivated by a concussion that knocked him out of activities at 17 years old, he set out on a mission to become the best version of himself and empower others in the process.

Rob has worked with many of the best nutritionists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and other integrative practitioners south of Boston. Each experience has been a stepping stone of learning and growth which has led to the next. In early 2017, Rob set out on his journey to Southeast Asia. It was here that some monumental shifts occurred. Being able to live in the jungles of Sri Lanka as the only American, Rob gained perspective and experience connecting without the use of a common language. Here, Rob worked with the children on the nearly 300 acre farm, teaching English & practices of Sustainability to protect our planet. This last experience was an enriching inspiration for our Reggio Style which he practices naturally with our children in class.  In addition, Rob has spent time working at various schools and leading classes to help the youth become more in tune with their bodies and share his knowledge of health. 

Rob brings a unique skill-set and knowledge from the world of Functional Health & Sustainability that he is excited to bring to Gardengate. He believes that children should be in touch with the natural world; including plants, animals, and having a connection to their own bodies through moving and breathing.

He looks forward to incorporating these aspects into our After School program!

LINDA BURSCH

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Preschool Lead

Linda has always had a passion for teaching and made the decision to study Early Education and Care at 12 years old. When it was time to go to high school, she chose to go to go to J. P. Keefe Technical High School to study Early Education and Care and become a certified Lead Teacher by the Department of Education and Care. During her senior year, she realized she wanted to continue schooling and chose to study Photography. She made the decision to go to Salem State University majoring in Art with a concentration in Photography with a Minor in Theatre.

Linda has 6 years of experience working with children and about 2 years of experience working for various photography companies before realizing she preferred to do freelance work. Linda shares her love and passion for the Reggio style by exposing children to nature and love for art expression. 

Outside of work Linda spends time with family and friends, watching movies, reading comics, occasionally plays video games with her siblings, painting, drawing and anything artsy as well as fitting in freelance photography work where she can. 

MARY RODRIGUEZ

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Assisting Teacher

Mary attended MassBay Community College with a Medical Coding Certificate and a Medical Office Administrative Assistant Certificate with High Honors. Mary is currently a student Penn Foster and has  five years of experience in the medical office as a Medical Records Coordinator at a nursing home. 

In 2013, Mary worked at Kathleen Daniel Nursing Home and Bethany Health Care Center bringing high quality care for their patients. Mary is excited to bring her love of nature and warm care into our classroom. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently.

Mary is happily married, mother of 3 children and first time grandmother of a young infant. Mary is excited to continue being part of our Program providing a nurturing and  loving environment for our young minds.

During her free time, Mary enjoys going to the movies and restaurants but best of all, Mary loves spending time with her family.

Sara Williams

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Art History Teacher

Sara holds a BA from Brandeis University in Classics and Classical Archaeology and an MA from Tufts University in Teaching.  She has taught History in high school for 15 years, but her biggest passion (aside from her awesome family) is Art History!  Sara teaches Art History at Hopkinton High School and is also in charge of the Yearbook there.

When she isn’t teaching History, Sara enjoys doing lots of arts and crafts with her kids (including making slime!).  She also loves to spend time in Maine in the summer, read, and play with her eight guinea pigs and one turtle.  

Eamonn o'Hara

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Piano Teacher (Fridays)

Eamonn O'Hara was a scholarship student at both the New England Conservatory Prep School and the Boston Conservatory. His principal teachers were with Jonathan Bass, Ramon River and William Daghlian, and he also took a masterclass with the legendary Leon Fleischer.

Eamonn teaches at the Amadeus Music School in Lexington; he has previously taught piano at LexiMusic, and pedagogy at the Boston Arts Academy. He brings to his students not only his extensive teaching and performing experience but also his in-depth study of the Alexander Technique, in order to help them employ natural and effective movement in developing their piano playing.

Eamonn is a versatile performer who has appeared as soloist and chamber musician at a wide range of venues in New England, and has also performed as symphonic pianist with the Cape Ann and Melrose Symphony Orchestras and with the Prospero Trio.

Mia tsai

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Piano Teacher (Tuesdays)

Taiwanese cellist Mia (Chou-Li) Tsai enjoys a diverse and fulfilling life in music. Ms.

Tsai has had a passion for chamber music and teaching for most of her life. She

began her musical education on the piano at the age of three and soon after

discovered her love for the cello. An active performer, Ms. Tsai enjoys performing

music ranging from Classical to Jazz and collaborating with artists from different

genres. She has recently collaborated with such renowned musicians as William

Preucil, Invoke String Quartet, Laura Bossert, and Terry King. Ms. Tsai has held

principal positions in the Lyrica Chamber Orchestra, Syracuse University Symphony

Orchestra, Longy School of Music Conservatory Orchestra, Tainan University of

Technology Orchestra and Baroque Ensemble, and Chiayi Chih-Yin music ensemble.

Ms. Tsai has also performed at festivals such as Musikalischer Sommer Ostfriesland

Festival in Germany and LyricaFest Chamber Music Festival in Lincoln, MA.

She currently serves as the principal cellist of the MIT Summer Philharmonic under

George Ogata.

As a teacher, Ms. Tsai aims to help her students enjoy the journey of learning music

and discovering their passion for telling their own musical stories. As music reflects

life, Ms. Tsai encourages her students to apply what they learn through their musical

experiences into other applicable areas of their lives. Her current students are of all

ages and levels, and she devotes much of her time to teaching at the La Casita

Cultural Center in Syracuse, NY. She has been a devoted instructor for many years

and holds a Suzuki Teaching Certification. Ms. Tsai currently serves as a piano and

cello teacher at Wayland School of Music and Page Music. She also maintains a

private teaching studio in Malden.

Ms. Tsai received her Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance at Tainan University of

Technology under Professors Chia-Min Chen and Ting-Wei Chen. She recently

completed her Master of Music Degree studying with Professor Terry King at

Syracuse University, where she taught as a graduate Teaching Assistant.