Management

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Mindy Guss - School Director

I was born and raised in Mexico, where I attended a bilingual international school. I completed my undergraduate degree in elementary/early childhood education at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and my master’s degree in Bilingual Special Education at Bank Street College in New York City. In my 17 year career I have taught elementary school in both NY and Mexico, including the International School in Monterey and the Child family Center at Rockefeller University. I joined Pusteblume as Preschool Director when the school opened its doors in 2012. As Director, I have collaborated on the development of the school curriculum and created our Spanish program. I enjoy working with all of the Pusteblume families, children and teachers and also make time to explore the city with my two girls and to escape to the ceramics studio.


Teachers

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Maria Fernanda Ruiz

Maria is originally from Ecuador. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the Universidad Laica Vincente Rocafuerte of Guayaquil in 2004. Maria brings 12 years of classroom experience at the preschool and elementary levels as well as several years as an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Universidad Peninsula de Santa Elena (UPSE). She has also done extensive volunteer and community work with lower income families to promote proper care and enhance child welfare. Maria is currently preparing to defend her Master’s thesis in Early Childhood Education Educational Unit Design and Evaluation at Universidad Tecnica Empresarial de Guayaquil.

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Cristina Grisanti

Cristina graduated from the University Osnabrück, where she focused on Early Childhood and General Education and Special Needs Education. She is also a Certified Preschool teacher (‘Erzieherin’) from Dortmund and has eight years of experience teaching children and youth. To nurture children’s independence and confidence, Cristina finds it crucial to provide a warm, trusting and also fun and loving environment. She supports the individual strengths, needs and creativity of each of her students and she strongly advocates social learning. Cristina came to New York City in 2016 and lives in Queens with her husband and her little son. She enjoys spending time with her family, being outside and exploring the many exciting activities that NY has to offer.

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Mehrnosch Mirzaei-Reyes

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Psychology and worked in advertising and project management for three years before becoming a teacher of the German language to different age groups. When I’m not at Pusteblume, you can find me teaching German classes at the Goethe Institute or following my second passion: bellydancing. I have a 2-year-old child and appreciate every minute I get to spend with my family. We are enthusiastic hikers in New York State’s beautiful parks. I love working with children because they inspire my creativity and show me a different perspective of the world. I can learn as much from them as they can learn from me. 

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Mariya Samoylova

Maria was born in Azerbaijan and grew up in Germany, where she finished her Abitur and attended the University of Bielefeld. There she studied German as a foreign language and Educational Science. Mariya speaks five languages and loves traveling.

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Nina Stocker

I was born and raised in Solothurn, Switzerland. After I had finished my MBA at the University of Bern, I moved to New York to work in marketing. I have been a dancer since I was 12 years old. When I was accepted to a dance program at Broadway Dance Center in 2013, I left marketing to focus on my first love: dance. I also started working as a nanny and discovered how much I enjoy working with children. Before starting as a preschool teacher at Pusteblume, I worked as a nanny for several families and taught children of all ages. I am currently working on a second master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

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Miri Stransky

I am originally from Munich, Germany and moved to the US in 2017. I graduated from my teacher program in 2010 and worked as a teacher for 7 years in Germany with kids from 2 to 13 years old. From 2013-2014 I participated in an au pair program in NYC. I’m also a dancer and teach children and adult Streetstyle/Hip Hop classes!

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Azra Torres

I am originally from Germany and moved to the United States in 2016. I now live in Brooklyn. My experience with children includes two years working as an Au Pair in the United States where I improved my English skills and experienced new cultures. I have also worked in Germany, Switzerland and the Dominican Republic. In my free time I enjoy being outdoors, reading and traveling. I have been a certified teacher since 2013 and I look forward to working with you and your children.

 

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Carmen Bruns

I began my career as a preschool teacher in México where I was born and raised. I studied Pedagogy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. I received my license as Teacher of Preschool Education from the Teacher Training School and a Diploma Certificate in the Treatment of Addictions from the Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico.

I left Mexico to live in Germany for a few years before moving to New York City in 1998. While becoming familiar with the American lifestyle, I moved back into schools. I have been working for more than 30 years in the field of Early Childhood Education in Mexico City, New York and Jersey City, teaching in Progressive Education, International Baccalaureate and Back Up school curriculums.  I am excited for support the dual language program in my native language, Spanish and bring my experience in bilingualism to Pusteblume.

I will start studying this fall semester the Early Childhood Leadership Advanced Certificate Program at Bank Street College of Education, in New York City.

 

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Alisia Eichwald

Alisia is a returning Pusteblume teacher and she is very happy to be back! Prior to teaching at Pusteblume for three years, Alisia has taught Russian, German and English at Preschools in Germany and around the NYC area. In her ten year teaching experience, Alisia have worked with students of ages 2 to 7. She sees the bilingual education as a profit for both: children and parents, as it gives them a chance to be more prospective in times of globalization. Alisia is a proponent of pulling relevant methodologies from the old masters with combination of modern teaching methods. She focuses on providing children with rich social experiences that give them the chance to practice empathy, kindness, patience and respect for themselves and their environment. Alisia holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education (Erzieherin) from Mannheim, Germany, Helene-Lange-Schule-Froebel Seminar. 

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Maximillian Shire

I was born in the United States and raised in Austria. Going to a Steiner School fostered my interest in many fields such as craft, communication and music. After finishing my apprenticeship in carpentry I started studying Medicine, and Math in Graz and Vienna before I chose Music and Dance Education at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg. I finished my masters there in early childhood music education and focused my final thesis on how to teach a second language with the help of music & movement. I put this into practice teaching English in a preschool in Barcelona for 2 years, using my own language-teaching program.

In New York I’ve worked as performer, videographer/film editor and music and German teacher.

I'm classically trained in piano, violin and percussion and love to make music in my free time. I also love being outdoors doing sports such as sailing/surfing, skiing or rock climbing.