Executive Director/Founder, Sam Bercovich, is a former special educator of 15 years, elementary school librarian and recently trained as an archivist prior to the pandemic. His GaragePod teaching philosophy is rooted in the child-led approach: know when to step in, know when to step out. Sam gives the space and support for each child to foster their own independent engagement and exploration whether inside GaragePod or out in the natural world. After years of working with children, Sam feels that when children feel secure in their abilities, they will organically become strong team players. Sam serves on the Days of Wonder Childcare Program Board. He holds a BA from SUNY Purchase and received his Masters in Teaching from Fordham University and Masters in Library Science from CUNY Queens College. Sam is also a published writer and musician. He is super excited to bring the magic of GaragePod to Dobbs Ferry!
Paula Rabasco is a retired Greenburgh Elementary Special Educator of 33 years and also a former Dobbs Ferry Girl Scout Leader for 7 years. Paula loves teaching children how to read, write, craft and become strong, self-sufficient human beings. She has become quite the expert in teaching children how to assemble loose parts into creative structures. Paula is a wealth of information regarding childhood development and curriculum. She also knows the value in a used Othello game and construction gutters!
Emily Cassella has over 10+ years of teaching experience working with children, ranging from infants to middle school level. Emily values providing open-ended, explorative opportunities for children to pursue their personal interests and passions. She views self-expression and working at our own natural pace as being a crucial part of childhood development. Emily is currently finishing her BS in Psychology at CUNY City College. She loves being active and in nature and is eager for further outdoor endeavors. She lives in Dobbs Ferry with her husband,
Patrick Wortner brings ten years of experience working with children and adolescents in a variety of professional settings, including teaching assistant, tutor, counselor, and athletic coach. Patrick believes in meeting children where they are at and helping them discover their talents and passions at their own pace. Patrick has a Bachelor of Arts in History from SUNY Geneseo and is currently pursuing his Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry. He is also a prolific long-distance runner who is excited to bring his knowledge and love of distance running to GaragePod through a running club. You may see him running along the Old Croton Aqueduct in the early morning!
Olena Nabatov has 35 years of experience working and communicating with children of all ages. She taught at the Kyiv School of Arts, the Children's Youth Sports School as a gymnastics coach, and at the Specialized School as the head of the Children's Modern Dance Ensemble. Olena studied and graduated from the National Pedagogical University and the Kyiv National University. She specializes in Classical Ballet, theatrical affairs, circus and acrobatics and is currently a PhD candidate. Olena enjoys sharing her knowledge and skills with children. Her main motto in order to learn something is the following: I can! I want ! I will do! Olena loves nature, needlework, and having an active lifestyle. She lives in Dobbs Ferry with her husband.
Mary Divers is a music educator with over 30 years of teaching experience. Her approach to general music is Orff-based and ensemble-focused, fusing the fun of musical experiences with a natural way of learning music literacy. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance from Syracuse University. Mary also teaches private piano and clarinet lessons at GP Studios for children and adults.
Sally Bertran is an Attorney Support Assistant at an international law firm where she provides administrative support to a team of attorneys specializing in Banking & Finance. At GaragePod, Sally wears many hats. She does Payroll/HR and provides administrative assistance to the GP team. Sally is a huge Pod fan and will never forget meeting Sam in the woods as he slid down a steep hill with a bunch of 5 year olds!