News from Woodland Hill Montessori School 

Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day

We welcomed hundreds of grandparents and special friends to WHMS on Friday, May 11. 

Thanks to the Friends of WHMS for hosting a breakfast for the students and guests, and to the volunteers for setting up and serving. A huge thank-you to Kerri Scheib and Ashley Parks for coordinating the breakfast. 

It was a wonderful day. The students enjoyed showing their guests around their classrooms, and their favorite works. They also enjoyed a photo booth for family photos. 

At the Minuteman Visitor Center.

The Middle School left on Monday, May 14 for their annual class trip. This year they are exploring the Boston area and Cape Cod. The students are blogging about their trip.

At the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum 

Welcome New Staff!

Andrew "Andy" Biggane was named the Director of Finance & Operations, replacing Sue Evans who left at the end of March. 

Andy will be starting on June 1, 2018. 

Andy is responsible for managing the financial affairs of the school. His prior work experience includes more than 15 years of experience in not-for-profit financial management, banking and investment operations. He served most recently as the manager of the e-business department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and as the treasury coordinator for Capital District Physicians' Health Plan. Andy has a master's degree in business administration from The Sage Colleges, a bachelor's degree in economics from the State University of New York at Albany and has maintained the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation since 2007.

Debbie Lee joined WHMS as the Captial Campaign Manager on April 9. 

Debbie has been working in development for 34 years. She began her development career at The Albany Academy, and has worked at The Williams School, and Norwich Free Academy. Most recently she has worked as the Director of Development at Opera Saratoga, and The Hyde Collection. Debbie has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University at Buffalo.   

We are also saying goodbye to Paloma Cuprill. Paloma is leaving WHMS for a job at a creamery in Columbia County, effective May 18.  

Extreme Energy

Students attended a presentation in the gym on May 16, focused on energy. The students learned where energy comes from, and where it goes. They also learned about various forms of energy, potential energy, and conservation of energy. 

The students enjoyed the interactive performance. WHMS was given thermal imaging of our students in the audience. 

WHMS Gardens

WHMS students, parents, faculty, and staff have been hard at work in the gardens. Students built garden beds and planted seeds, in preparation for the summer growing season. 

Alumni News

Jared Walpurgis, June 2014
Max Heller, June 2014

Congratulations to Jared Walpurgis and Max Heller, members of the WHMS class of 2014!  Both are graduating at the top of their high school class.

Jared was named the Valedictorian of the Troy High graduating Class of 2018 with a scholastic average of 99.1.

Albany High School has not officially named their valedictorian, but it is likely to be Max. 

Max, the son of Toddler teacher Marion Heller, was also nominated in November for the  2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars program.  Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (shown in picture) nominated him for this distinction. 

"What Max has accomplished at such a young age is truly remarkable, including completion of 13 Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, and serving as captain of the track and cross-country teams," Fahy said.
"He has done all this while maintaining a 99.76 percent average, and earning the top academic ranking in his class entering senior year. I am confident his hard work will continue to lead to success, and congratulate him on his nomination."

WHMS Happenings

Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard of Equivisible came to the Woodland Hill Middle School on May 7 and 8 to present a workshop "From Perspective to Ally."

The workshop explored identity, stereotyping, prejudice and ways that students can support and help each other. She helped students to understand the power of their leadership in helping to make our world a better place for all.


The Honest Weight Food Co-Op visited Sandy and Olga's Lower El class on Thursday, May 10. They brought fruit, vegetables, and soy butter for the students, and encouraged them to play with the food. The students build rocking chairs and skiers, among other sculptures, before eating the snacks. 

Erin and Jessa's class study of Russia began with a presentation from Dr. Alex Gozman. He shared photos, told a story, and helped the students roll the Cyrillic alphabet out into the hallway. He also gave each student their names written in Russian.


Members of the North Greenbush Police Department provided a safety training to WHMS faculty and staff on Friday, May 11, after Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day had ended. 

While Ben Kelts is away with the Middle School, WHMS parent and yoga teacher Kristi Berner is leading the PE classes. 

Kris Gernert-Dott, Michelle Edwards, Moira Rienzo, and Susan Kambrich represented WHMS at the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce's Annual Dinner and Business Expo on Thursday, May 3. 

New York State Capitol

On Friday, May 4, the Middle School toured the New York State Capitol. Afterwards, they went to El Mariachi for lunch. They enjoyed the trip!
Dates to Remember

Monday, May 21
  • Shakespeare Rocks - dress rehearsal, 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday, May 23
  • Development committee meeting, 8:30 a.m.
  • Upper El presents The Tempest, 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 24
  • MS Coffee House, 8:30 a.m.
  • Curious George visiting aftercare, 3 p.m.
  • Track meet, 4 p.m.
  • Upper El presents Shakespeare Rocks and The Tempest, 6 p.m.

Friday, May 25
  • No School
  • Enrichment is available

Monday, May 28
  • Memorial Day
  • No School
  • No Enrichment

Tuesday, May 29
  • Spring Concert rehearsal, 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday, May 30
  • Spring Violin Concert, 10 a.m.
  • Violin and UE/MS Electives concert, 6 p.m.

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