Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is legally and ethically responsible for all activities of the organization. Under Florida law, the “Board of Directors” means the group of persons vested with the management of the affairs of the organization. The Board may delegate certain responsibilities to various committees or staff of the organization, but Board Members are expected to oversee and protect all of the corporation’s operations and assets. The Board has responsibility for maintaining high legal and ethical standards for the organization, and ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

The Playgarden, Inc.'s  Board of Directors is a volunteer group comprised of current and past parents, faculty, alumni, and other community members. The Board operates in a three-pillar partnership with the College of Teachers and the School Administration and is advised by a carefully selected Advisory Council.


If you are interested in supporting our school by becoming a board member, please email

Kathy Wiley Bull


For nearly 20 years, Kathy was the co-owner and Chief Financial Officer of a successful Maritime firm that operated at the Ports of Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, and Savannah called Coastal Maritime.  One of the highlights of that time was hosting President George W. Bush, who gave a televised speech about the Columbian Free Trade Agreement from Coastal’s dockside terminal. She and her husband Niels, a native of Denmark and retired Merchant Mariner, have three children who are alumni of the Playgarden.  Besides being Board President, Kathy is also the Chair of the Governance Committee, member of both the Spring River and the Compensation Committee and is one of the founders of the Sophia Circle, an anthroposophical study group that meets monthly to discuss the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. She is a member of Antioch University’s Administration and Leadership Cohort for 2019-2020, completed Explorations workshops through the Center for Anthroposophy, and is a certified Guardian Ad Litem (Child Advocate) Volunteer and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Lauren Galvin

Vice President

Lauren Galvin is a native of Jacksonville. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English. She worked in sales for 10 years before getting married and having children. She is passionate about providing a Waldorf education for her children; Thomas (6), William (5) and Benjamin (1.) She started out homeschooling and has been so blessed by the Playgarden, where her 2 oldest attend, and by this Waldorf community. She and her husband, Tom, look forward to their oldest attending Spring River next year in the first grade. In her spare time, Lauren loves to cook from scratch, sing, craft and read. Lauren is a Member of the Governance and Spring River Committees.

James Vergara


James Vergara serves as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Playgarden.   He has served on the Board since 2014.  His son is currently enrolled in the Playgarden and his two older sons are alumni.   James is the Chief Investment Officer of PACE Funding Group, LLC, a California-based clean energy specialty finance firm where he manages the companies lender, financing and investor relationships.  Prior to this current post, James spent over 15 years working in investment banking in New York, with Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank.  James also serves as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the OUT Foundation.  James graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

Darrell Murray


Darrell is an Eagle Scout who grew up camping and exploring the Florida wilderness. After graduating from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Computer Science he worked for various software and Fortune 500 companies in New York City before relocating back to Florida with his family. He is currently a Principal Senior Software Engineer at an AdTech company. Darrell and his wife Megan have one child who currently attends The Playgarden. Darrell is the Secretary of the Board and a member of the Governance Committee. 

Michelle Carter

Board Member

Michelle received her Bachelors of Science in both Biology and Chemistry from Wilmington College and Master’s of Science in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She began her chemistry career developing analytical methods at the FDA, and subsequently conducted and oversaw sample analysis at a contract analytical chemistry laboratory. She is currently a freelance chemist and science teacher. Michelle also teaches partner acrobatics classes and volunteers with Duval County Special Olympics Surfing Program as a surf coach. In her spare time, she relaxes by gardening, spending time outdoors and cooking.  Since being Introduced to The Playgarden and Waldorf education in 2014, Michelle has been a constant member on the Board of Directors. Michelle is a member of the Sophia Circle, an anthroposophical study group that meets monthly to discuss the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner and she completed the Explorations course offered by Antioch University and the Center for Anthroposophy in the spring of 2019.  Michelle is currently a member of the Governance and Spring River Committees, and is teaching Science, Math, and Forest School for Spring River.

Carrie Zarka Dooley

Board Member

Carrie Zarka Dooley grew up in the Jacksonville area working in her family's restaurant business, European Street Cafe. Carrie began serving her community through food service in her early teens and this family work life inspired her to ignite her own business. For over a decade, Carrie has been a leader in connecting our city to locally produced and sustain-ably sourced Organic Food with her company Shakti Life Kitchen. She has a B.A. in Sociology and is currently working on a Master's Degree in Waldorf Education. A former Board President, Carrie has been involved with the Board of Directors for 7 years. Carrie is currently the Chair of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Resource and Development Committee.

Matthew Garner

Board Member

A board member since 2014, Matthew is a stay-at-home father of three wonderful children; all of which are currently enrolled, or have attended, The Playgarden. After graduating from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Microbiology and an M.S. in Food Science & Human Nutrition, Matthew quickly became the Director of Operations for a local indoor air quality and property inspection company; before starting his own inspection company in 2009. This business keeps him busy part-time but his true passion is coordinating the overall property maintenance of our wonderful school houses. It is his honor to assist The Playgarden in making it a fun, safe and memorable experience for his children and all others.  Matthew is Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Compensation Committee.

Natalie Garrow

Board Member and College of Teachers Representative

Ms. Natalie serves as the College of Teachers Board Representative as well as a Teacher for our Dragonfly Forest program. Growing up in the Adirondack mountains near Lake Placid, NY, she practiced and taught figure skating, dance, and Pilates. Ms. Natalie holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from St. Lawrence University. She moved to the Beaches area with her husband and two children in 2013 and is a graduate of the Educator Preparation Institute at University of North Florida. She enjoys being active and spending time outdoors with her two children. Her family appreciates all that nature has to offer, especially hiking through the marshlands and playing at the beach. Ms. Natalie wishes to provide warmth and support to The Playgarden children as they learn through exploration and discovery; and to nurture them as they grow socially, emotionally, and intellectually. She has completed LifeWays Early Childhood Education Training through LifeWays of North America and became a certified Forest Kindergarten lead teacher, through Cedarsong Nature School Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training.  

Sarah Hydrick

Board Member

Sarah has over a decade of corporate finance experience with large corporations, optimizing business and product line strategies and profits.  Most recently, Sarah was the Sr. Business Finance Manager for Arizona Chemical Company in Jacksonville, FL, where she led commercial business profit strategy, pricing, and commercial contracting.  Before relocating to Florida, Sarah and her family were in Tennessee with Eastman Chemical.  There she served as a Corporate Finance Lead, Product Manager, and Business Financial Analyst.  Prior to that she worked for Ford Motor Company in various roles, as part of their Finance Leadership Development Program. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and MBA from The University of Alabama.  Sarah has three daughters with her husband, Aaron.  She and her family love exploring all things outdoors and growing together in their interests and hobbies.  She is excited to partner with The Playgarden to grow the presence of Waldorf education in the Jacksonville area.  She is a member of the Finance Committee.

Elizabeth Johnson

Board Member

Elizabeth is a Virginia native, growing up just outside of Washington D.C. until moving to Florida in 2016. A graduate of James Madison University, with a B.B.A in Hospitality and Tourism Management, her experience ranges from hotels to meetings management and most recently is Vice President of The Moery Company, an association revenue consulting firm.  Elizabeth and her husband Andrew have two children, Summer (an alumni of the Playgarden) and Miller, who is two years old.  Liz is the Chair of the Resource Development Committee and organizes the Annual Fundraiser.

Dena Stapleton

Board Member

Dena Stapleton has a degree in early childhood education as well as 200 hour vinyasa yoga and prenatal yoga certifications.  She currently homeschools her daughter for second grade.  Dena's daughter is part of Spring River, but when she attended the Playgarden, she was part of the school's first Forest Kindergarten class!  Dena was PTO President for the 2014-2015 school year, and she has been a tireless supporter of the school, the staff, and the curriculum.  She has a great interest in seeing the school thrive, with a focus on supporting the Forest Programs and Spring River offerings.  Dena is the Chair of the Spring River/Alumni Committee.

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Board Retreat 2016 
Goldhead State Park
Board Members, Staff, & Alumni were led by Rahima Baldwin of LifeWays of North America

223 8th Ave S, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

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Office Hours: 8am-4:30pm

Phone: (904) 241-3259

©2018 by The Playgarden, Inc.

The Playgarden, Inc. admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs (#CO4DU0093).  A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free 1-800-HELP-FLA or online at, registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the state. Registration #CH42628