Vanessa Van Burek

Associated School: 

Vanessa graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology. Upon graduating she founded the Hudson Valley Sudbury School, where she has staffed since its inception. Both inside and outside of school, Vanessa enjoys debating educational philosophies, photography, soccer, becoming engrossed in craft projects and the ridiculous fun of raising six kids! She is happy to be a part of a much needed revolution in education.

Articles by the Author

Images of Sudbury

Associated School: 
This year – my tenth as a staff member at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School – I have been given a gift; I get to follow my ever curious toddler as he explores campus and interacts with the big kids.

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Giving

This week's blog is a joint effort from Staff Members Vanessa Van Burek and Matthew Gioia.  They both reflect on their recent experiences with gifts, giving and community.

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Sacred Acorns

Associated School: 

There are times that I stumble upon an activity at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School that make my jaw drop in awe of the brilliance of children: their creativity, their simplicity, and their ingenuity. Coming upon The Sacred Acorn Civilization was one of those moments. I stood at the edge of our natural play-scape wide-eyed as I surveyed several young barefoot boys busily collecting acorns, carefully balancing bark, and finding perfect natural tools to build a civilization. Set amongst several stumps on a gradual hill, were intricate acorn and stick sculptures – balconies, huts, stone paths, and walls, all perfectly set in miniature style. It was beautiful. And it was clear these boys had been there for hours, not only by the exacting work they had done, but also by the dirt between their toes, the seats of their pants, and the expressions of their faces – calm and focused. The language they were using sounded to be a different dialect, familiar yet foreign

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Lessons of a Sudbury Education

As we sit in our school's main lounge, trying to write about the underlying lessons of a Sudbury education, we often find ourselves "off task." We are watching the bustling activity around us…Jeff, a staff member, and Sonya, a 14-year-old student, are working on math problems in order to move her closer to her goal of becoming a vet. (She's contacted Cornell University to find the best method of getting into their program.) Cody, age 11, and Madison, 15, are reading medicine cards for all who walk by. Eli, 5, and Kiran, 6, are comparing new Magic Cards and talking about the mysterious gum switcher—the spearmint and cinnamon gum from the School Store have seemingly switched bottles.  The Judicial Committee members file into the JC room to start the daily session but Natasha, 15, one of our JC clerks, has to find a replacement for the 5- to 9-year old representative to the JC who is out sick. Success—Sophie, age 8, is filling in. Lisa, a staff member, and David, age 16, are discussing whether or not putting "spring water" on a bottled water label ensures you aren't getting someone's random tap water. A man drives up attempting to deliver food to the Zena Elementary School, a public school down the road. While only a few miles away, the Zena Elementary School couldn't be more different then The Hudson Valley Sudbury School on Zena Road.

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Vanessa Testimonial

Associated School: 

"When I pull in here, when I leave here, there are kids everywhere that are blossoming with energy and excitement.  I think to myself, 'wow, if I can send my kids to a school or if kids can spend time in a school for 13 years where they are happy and they want to go, that is huge.'  That is a huge chunk of their life that is setting up the rest of their life."

 

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Contact Us

Hudson Valley Sudbury School

84 Zena Road
Kingston, NY 12401
 
Phone: 845-679-1002
Fax: 845-679-3874