Advisory Council

The Advisory Council of the Playgarden serves to assist and advise the current Board of Directors in fulfilling its responsibilities, to retain institutional and historical information about the organization, and to provide reference for the foundational values of the organization.  The Advisory Council is comprised of former members of the organization’s Board of Directors holding diverse skills, professional backgrounds and experiences who have illustrated a proven commitment to the not for profit (service) organization, or leaders of the greater community with a particular expertise in organizational leadership and development of a non profit entity.


Chris Lester

Advisory Council Member

Chris is one of the founding parents of the Jacksonville Waldorf Initiative, which later became The Playgarden. Chris brings expertise from her career in local, state and federal government, to include six years as an education program manager in Europe and Asia and a year on Capitol Hill, mostly running errands for senior staff. She holds a Master’s in Education and, when her kids started school, began a second career as a community educator with Baptist Health System. 


Chris’s life trajectory changed in 1995 when she and several other Beaches moms discovered Waldorf parenting philosophy as they passed around a copy of You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin. Inspired by the idea of preserving and protecting the magic and wonder of early childhood, this passionate group of families started Waldorf and Anthroposophical book studies, launched playgroups, festivals and camping trips, visited Waldorf schools and attended conferences, formed a nonprofit agency, wrote grants, and brought consultants from across the county to educate our community. Playgarden children continue to paint, make bread and share Stone Soup on tables and chairs purchased through grants awarded during those early years.  A member of the Sophia Circle Anthroposophical Study Group, Chris serves as a LifeWays Mentor and is the author of “N-TOUCH”, a program to introduce families and caregivers to Waldorf parenting philosophy during pregnancy and early infancy.

Megan Hubbuch

Advisory Council Member

Megan Hubbuch, CPA served on the Playgarden Board of Directors from 2013 through 2016 and currently serves on the Playgarden's Advisory Counsel.  Megan is a financial examiner providing consulting services to various state insurance departments across the country.  From 2014 to 2017 Megan was the Director of Finance and Administration for the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.  Prior to that she spent nine years in public accounting providing auditing services to property/casualty and life insurers and co-managing office operations including marketing, recruiting, budgeting and professional development.  Megan received her Bachelors in Business Administration from Kutztown University and Masters in Business Administration from Salisbury University. She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs. Megan is married to a Waldorf teacher and has three small children, two of which are Playgarden alumni and now currently attend Emerson Waldorf School's grades program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where her family recently relocated. Though miles separate Megan from the Playgarden, she still feels quite pulled to support the school's mission and is thankful her participation on the Advisory Council has allowed her to stay connected.

Samantha Orender

Advisory Council Member

Samantha is a business attorney at Burr & Forman in downtown Jacksonville.  She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College and her law degree from the University of Florida.  She has three sons and one daughter, one of which currently attends The Playgarden. Her oldest son was part of the Playgarden's first forest kindergarten class!  She currently serves on the Advisory Council and was a board member from 2013-2017. She loves the Playgarden's delicious organic snacks and all weather outdoor play.

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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