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 board@theplaygarden.org.

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Elizabeth Johnson

President

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.

Darrell Murray

Secretary

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. 

Sarah Hydrick

Treasurer

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.

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.

Lauren Galvin

Board Member

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.

Leah Hansen

Board Member

Leah Hansen is a Certified Baptiste Power Yoga Educator with over 15 years of practicing mindful living. She is Founder of Hot Spot Power Yoga Studios and has successfully expanded the brand to 4 locations that serve the Jacksonville and St. Johns communities. Leah has worked in the industry for nearly a decade and has experience in marketing, communications, human resources, brand development, business development, and experience in overseeing a diverse teaching and front desk staff that support the studios. Her passion is in helping others find their health and wellness as well as deepen their spiritual journey through the practices and techniques of yoga, meditation, and self inquiry. Leah utilizes her studios as a platform for philanthropic interests and has supported charities aligned to getting resources to underserved populations. Leah holds a B.S. in Chemistry from The University of North Florida. She worked for Johnson & Johnson in the research and development department for 7 years prior to leaving Corporate America to pursue her passions. Leah and her husband have 3 children at the Playgarden.

James Vergara

Board Member

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.

Adana Whyte

College of Teachers Representative

Ms. Adana serves as a Pedagogical Chair for the College of Teachers and Senior Lead Teacher for the Butterfly & Hummingbird program. She holds a bachelor's degree in fine arts, has worked in a variety of early childhood settings with children with diverse learning styles and needs. Since joining The Playgarden faculty in 2011, Miss Adana completed LifeWays Early Childhood Education Training through LifeWays of North America in Lincolnville, Maine. She has completed numerous trainings including Explorations Training through The Center for Anthroposophy and is currently seeking her Masters of Waldorf Education with a transdisciplinary focus in Healing Education. She has been a LifeWays Mentor for many years and she had the distinguished pleasure to teach handwork courses for our recent year long LifeWays Certification training. Ms. Adana brings her gentle natural warmth and love of fiber arts to our littlest ones in our Playgarden family.

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