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 www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com, registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the state. Registration #CH42628

Board of Directors

The Playgarden's board is a volunteer group comprised of current and past parents, faculty, alumni, and other community members. They operate in a three-pillar partnership with the College of Teachers and the School Administration. Their responsibility is to provide oversight and leadership to the organization.


If you are interested in supporting our school by becoming a board member, please email us at board@theplaygarden.org.

Kathy Wiley Bull


Kathy grew up in the snowy hills around Pittsburgh, and headed south to Jacksonville after earning a degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland.  For twenty years, Kathy was the co-owner and CFO of a successful terminal operations company that operated at the Ports of Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, and Savannah.  Kathy’s daughter attended The Playgarden for four magical years. She and her husband Niels, a native of Denmark and retired Merchant Mariner, also have twin boys, Max and Sam. Kathy is a former President of the Board, currently 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. 

Lauren Galvin

Vice President

Michelle Carter


Michelle received her Bachelors of Science in both Biology and Chemistry from Wilmington College and Masters 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. Since being Introduced to The Playgarden and Waldorf education in 2014, Michelle has been a constant member on the Board of Directors.  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 preparing delicious food. Michelle is also currently completing the Explorations course offered by Antioch University and the Center for Anthroposophy.   

James Vergara


James is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. James has four sons, three of whom have attended The Playgarden. 

Darrell Murray

Board Member

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 lead 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 Art's 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

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 one years old!  Liz is a member 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.

Carrie Zarka

Board Member

Carrie Zarka Dooley is a proud homeschooling Mother of a Playgarden alum.  She is inspired by her daughter, Zophia, to be a part of creating community. Her veganism inspired the founding of Shakti Life Kitchen, a local organic plant-based food company. She has a B.A. in Sociology from U. N. F., and is currently working on her Master’s in Waldorf Education. She is successful Business Woman, serving her local community for over 30 years. She is moved to support educational reform that will give future generations the support to honor the beauty of the natural world and the tools needed to connect deeply to one another the Earth and cosmos that surrounds.  Carrie is a former Board President and current Chair of the Compensation Committee and member of the Resource Development 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