Staff members

Chester Elliot IV

Chet started on the path towards Sudbury as a teenager, working at the camper-driven Unison Arts Camp in New Paltz. He later graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2011 with a BA in graphic design and has been freelancing ever since. He is a Hudson Valley native and a longtime staff member and Site Director for the Wayfinder Experience. HVSS is the place for him -- a strong community that emphasizes equality, and like Graphic Design, lets him help others with their passions. At school, Chet will be found doing improv, role-playing, designing, fixing, laughing, and finding answers to any question.

Cindy Hoose

Cindy is an artist, designer and crafter, who has exhibited and sold her work throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond. She studied studio art at SUNY New Paltz and received a B.A. in Fine Art from Empire State College. Prior to coming on staff in 2007, Cindy held a variety of jobs in the restaurant business, worked for a web design company, and owned and operated a vintage clothing and antique shop. Cindy enjoys working at HVSS because it is the only place she has found where children share equality with adults. While at school she can be found sewing in the art room, cooking in the kitchen, playing games, debating in School Meeting and cleaning up at the end of the day.

Dan Weiser

Dan Weiser earned a BA in politics and philosophy from Binghamton University.  After taking some time to travel he was inspired to enroll in a teacher certification program focused on project based education while also earning a MS in environmental studies from Antioch New England.  In 2009 Dan was a founding member of New Roots Charter School in Ithaca NY where he taught high school science courses using Ithaca's famous gorges as his classroom.  For several years he also taught an activity based science course at a psychiatric center on Long Island.  Dan now lives in the Hudson Valley with his family and can be found climbing, biking, hiking, or otherwise adventuring with his kids.  He is super excited to be a part of the Sudbury community.

Janet Packard

Janet Packard has worked as a lawyer, business manager, office manager and university instructor and has been a Hudson Valley resident for over 30 years.  She worked 25 years as a lawyer before deciding to switch to teaching to work overseas.  After a short fellowship in Bangladesh last year, she has returned to the Hudson Valley and is excited to begin working in the office at Hudson Valley Sudbury School.

Jeffery A. Collins

Jeff is one of the founders of the Hudson Valley Sudbury School.  His background is in the computer industry where he has worked for over 30 years since he graduated from Cornell with a BS in Computer Science.  Throughout his career, Mr. Collins has been involved with and started a number of technology companies that have provides services to the financial and utility industries. One of Mr. Collins' goals is to increase the awareness of the Sudbury Model of education.  To do this, Mr. Collins has lead workshops at the AERO conference, the IDEC conference and Sudbury conferences.  He has also served on Sudbury Graduation Committees at 4 different schools.

Kathleen Hattenbrun

Kathleeen was raised in Elmhurst, Queens and moved to Ulster County during her teenage years. In high school, she became interested in the nursing profession and attended Orange/ Ulster BOCES, completing an LPN program. After graduation, she returned to Queens and enrolled in an Operating Room Technician training program at Bellevue Hospital.  She then attended Russell Sage College and graduated from Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing in 1996.

Matthew Gioia

Matthew began seeking alternative educational environments halfway through his college experience. He participated in Naropa University's "contemplative education program" in Boulder, CO,  and studied at St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM, which offers a Great Books curriculum.  From there, he moved to Mississippi to teach in a rural middle school and attend the Ole Miss on weekends.  Matthew came to HVSS by way of a search for a place where he is permitted to respect children and teenagers as fully human beings.  At school these days, Matthew loves to play sports, run the Judicial Committee, teach history and writing, and try making jokes.

Nina JeckerByrne

Nina has a bachelors degree in Computer Science from California State University, Chico, and has worked as a professional writer for over 25 years.  Her writing experience includes corporate and freelance technical writing, copywriting, and business communications. Nina has a passion for poetry and her poems have appeared in the Chronogram, Home Planet News, and other publications. Other interests include camping, hiking, baking, Italian language, poetry readings, Facebook, and more. She has been involved in HVSS since its inception, and has worked as a staff member for five years. 

Tallas Sandy

Tallas is a Hudson Valley Sudbury School alumna. After graduating, she worked in the Hudson Valley for 2 years before starting college in CUNY. She studied Linguistics, Communication Disorders, Japanese, TESOL, and Communication Studies. She received an A.A. from LaGuardia Community College in 2015 but has put her bachelor's degree on hold to devote time to HVSS. As a student, she visited the Makkuro Kurosuke Democratic School, a Sudbury School in Hyogo, Japan and met with other participatory democratic school start up groups. She hopes to continue promoting relations between Sudbury model schools globally as a staff member. She loves traveling and has volunteered and taught abroad. At HVSS, you can find her assisting student businesses, crafting new resources for students, playing games, and cooking in the kitchen.

Trine Boode-Petersen

Trine is the co-owner and co-manager of the local, theatrical summer camp The Wayfinder Experience. She received her BA in The Arts from The New School in 2011 and stayed in New York City for two years working in theater as a writer, director, actor, and producer. Trine’s pre-college education included a number of years at Sudbury Valley School, the original Sudbury school, and she could not be happier to be surrounded once again by people actively following their passions. At HVSS, you can find Trine working on up-coming theater productions, participating in cooperative meetings, or experimenting in the art room.

Vanessa Van Burek

Vanessa graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Elementary Education and 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.

Contact Us

Hudson Valley Sudbury School

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