High School, I was chosen to go on an exchange program to Beijing, China.
Samantha Coogan, or Sammi as she prefers to be called, is a native New Yorker from Larchmont in Westchester County.
She has been working with children, infants to teens, for 25 years and she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from PACE University, a Master’s Degree in English and Creative Writing from SUNY Binghamton, and she has accumulated 30 credit hours towards a Master’s of Professional Studies in Secondary and Special Education from Manhattanville College.
Sammi has always had a passion for learning, and becoming a teacher was a natural career choice. “You laugh, you cry and you work harder than you ever thought you could. Your wallet is empty, but your heart is full and your mind is packed is packed with memories of the kids who have changed you life.”
When she isn’t teaching, you can find Sammi spending time with her nieces, Mia and Lexi, and her nephew, Nicky, or playing with her dogs, Maggie May and Molly Maguire. She spends the summers at Camp Hillard in Scarsdale, where she has worked since 1998; for most of those years, she was the Divisional Head Counselor for the three and four year old mini-day campers. Most recently, she has been working with the CIT’s, or the counselors in training, all rising 7th to 10th graders.
Sammi’s favorite colors are orange and yellow, her favorite novels include The Sound and the Fury, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Stand, and all of the Harry Potter novels. Her favorite films are to numerous to list, but Jaws and The Sound of Music are definitely at the top of her list. She is an avid fan on the New York Yankees, a spirited supporter of Stepinac Varsity Football, where her oldest brother works as a Head Coach, an ardent admirer of Gordon Ramsay and an unabashedly ravenous fan of The Walking Dead.
“We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.”
Virginia Purdy, hailing from Brooklyn NY, homeschooled her own daughter (now a Special Ed/Early Childhood Educator) and rediscovered her passion for teaching after a career in post-production media.
She adores living and learning with preschoolers and when asked why she enjoys being a teacher she says “The joy and creativity young children possess is an endless inspiration to me!”
She has lived in Riverdale for over 20 years and, when not teaching, loves hiking with her husband and dog Lucy. She also enjoys traveling, reading, animals, nature and chocolate — not necessarily in that order!
Kara Tatelbaum has been eating, sleeping, and dreaming dance since she was a toddler. Now she’s excited to be teaching them!
After graduating from Poughkeepsie Day School, Kara earned her BFA in Dance from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and MFA in Choreography with a Teaching Assistantship from The Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase.
As a teenager, her love of teaching was cultivated at Ballet Arts Studio in Beacon, NY where by the age of eighteen, she was teaching five classes a week. To date her teaching credits include elementary outreach programs, Ivy League Universities, and pre/professional dance conservatories. Her dance company independentdancemaker has performed extensively in NYC and abroad.
Kara is a mom to Mattea, in the 3’s class, and baby Phinn who looks forward to coming to RTNS in a couple of years. Her favorite color is purple, Everybody Poops seems to be the hit of her household lately, and mint chocolate-chip is by far her favorite flavor ice cream. When she’s not teaching dance, Kara is also teaching Pilates and writing.
Anna is originally from Warsaw, Poland, but has loved living in New York for the past few decades. Her background and education are in architecture, but Anna’s passion in life is children — she has worked at Riverdale Temple Nursery School for over 9 years, teaching two year olds, three year olds and four year olds.
Anna is also the costume designer at the Riverdale Children’s Theatre, and she has two kids of her own at home: a college student (an RTNA alumna!) and a rabbit named Kicus.
Sandi Daniels is thrilled to be part of RTNS. She has been teaching Early Childhood for twenty years. Teaching is not just a job, but is a passion.
She has her Master’s Degree from Manhanttanville College in Purchase, NY.
Sandi’s favorite color is yellow, she loves coffee yogurt and loves to eat pasta.
When Sandi is not teaching, she loves to go to the beach and loves to have her grandchildren stay with her. She loves to travel and enjoys long walks.