Our Staff

We attract staff who appreciate our model and enjoy working with young children. Our teachers have been approved by a stringent process overseen by our licensor, New York State’s Office of Child and Family Services.  Due to the Rose Garden’s quality standards and unique model, our staff development exceeds the mandated 30 hours every two years. In addition to the qualifications outlined by our licensor, we are a LifeWays representative site and so our lead teachers are required to engage in a 200 hour LifeWays training. Personal development is an important part of the ongoing work of teachers at the Rose Garden. Children learn through imitation, therefore our staff strives to present a worthy picture of humanity for the child to imitate.


Stephanie Neikirk-Epes


You can see Stephanie daily in the office and all around the Center. She has been a teacher for more than 30 years, and cannot imagine a day without children.

She graduated from The College of William and Mary with a dual degree in Psychology and Art History. She interned at The Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh Museum of Art Children’s Room. She has done graduate work in Art History at The University of Pittsburgh and in Museum Education at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She interned at The Guggenheim Museum and Manhattan Country Day School, and consulted at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She is a certified Waldorf teacher having studied at Sunbridge College in New York.

She has taught all levels and ages from nursery school through college undergrads, and has always enjoyed creating opportunities for students to flourish. She directed a summer respite camp for autistic teenagers and young adults in Duchess County outside New York City. She taught at the First Presbyterian Church Nursery School in New York City and at TLC Daycare in Latrobe PA before becoming one of the founding teachers of the Pittsburgh Waldorf School. Marriage brought her to Buffalo NY where she became one of the founding teachers of Aurora Waldorf School in East Aurora New York. She carried a class from 1st through 8th grade, sat on the board, and took a rotation as Faculty Chair. One of her favorite activities with her talented, outgoing and musical class was writing and producing their class plays. Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance and Shakespeare’s A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream (neither of which she wrote!) were 2 favorites.

After an extended sabbatical to pursue other interests (as a florist) she became involved in The Rose Garden volunteering her time as cook, cleaner, and phone answerer in its first year. By observing the work flow of the teachers and studying the regulations pertaining to Child Care in New York State, she   developed and standardized the office procedures. In her 50’s she learned computer skills and brought them to her work in the office. She became Assistant Director and then Director in the fall of 2015.

She loves learning new things and helping things begin. It’s no surprise then that gardening is a favorite hobby.  She is looking forward to The Rose Garden’s transition to worker owned co-op, and will continue in her present role to bring stability and depth of experience.


Dasha Nadolinski

Cook; Worker Owner

Cook Dasha grew up in the city of Buffalo. She attended the city Waldorf School start-up, The Beautiful River Waldorf School, and, after its closing, The Aurora Waldorf School. Dasha went to The Park School of Buffalo for high school. In the past handful of years Dasha has traveled cross-country twice, camping and seeing wonderful new sights. She has also worked long-term as a Nanny, and bought a home in The Rose Garden neighborhood.

The approach to food at The Rose Garden consciously meets the needs of the young child, while honoring the whole being. In training for this work, staff are reminded of the importance of acting with consciousness, taking time with words and movements, and really slowing down so that a moment of connection with a child can be given the full weight it deserves.

Dasha was pleased to discover this attitude of reverence could exist in the kitchen as well, and she puts this principle into practice in a few simple ways. She brings a joyful heart to each meal. She keeps the kitchen clean and beautiful so that the food may reflect these qualities. She embodies for the children equal importance of creation and clean-up. She is certain that by choosing to act with love and respect during preparation, serving, eating, and clean-up, this boosts the quality of the food and in turn the health of our bodies.

Here at the Rose Garden: Monday is Rice and Beans Day, Tuesday is Pancake Day, Wednesday is Soup Day, Thursday is Pasta Day, and Friday is Pizza Day. Dasha has come to value this rhythm; its consistency is helpful in structuring her sense of time and anchoring her place in space. She notices it does the same for the children. She emphasizes what a gift it is to work in an environment where people are learning and practicing such a beautiful way of being.


Theresa DiMuro-Wilber

Rosebud Lead Teacher; Worker Owner

Teacher Theresa graduated from Daeman College in theatre. She has been both a company member and taught at TOY – Theatre of Youth. Ultimately she became their theatre/school co-ordinator. She has toured city and suburban schools for TOY and for the Western New York Institute for Arts and Education. Theresa moved to California where she returned to school for early childhood studies. In California, she taught and then directed at the same center for 17 years. Now back in Buffalo with her husband Jeff, she lives on the West Side helping to revitalize the neighborhood. Currently she also acts with The Brazen Faced Varlots.


Lisa Akers

Sunflower Lead Teacher

Teacher Lisa has been working with young children for about 8 years. She is very passionate about Early Childhood Care. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood from SUNY Fredonia in 2012 and completed her Master’s at Buffalo State in May 2016.

She believes that young children learn best through play and through their experiences with the world around them. Seeing children explore the world curiously and discover new things are what she loves best about working in the field of Early Childhood.


Leanna Lang

Toddler Assistant Teacher

Teacher Leanna grew up on Grand Island and now lives in Buffalo. In her free time, she enjoys painting and being creative. She's been working in the hospitality industry for a while but never quite felt fulfilled in her roles. Leanna loves caring for and being around children and has always felt that she has a strong, mothering instinct since childhood. As a little kid, Teacher Leanna always wanted to play with babies. She dreams of one day opening her own at home daycare someday, making this experience truly important and close to her heart. Leanna is excited and grateful for the opportunity to be part of our family here at The Rose Garden. 


Jessica Widmer


Teacher Jess is an emerging artist here in the city of Buffalo. She aspires to merge her passions for art, community action, and outreach with her love of working with children. Artistically she experiments in a variety of media including drawing, sculpting and textile work. Teacher Jessica has loved drawing and reading since she was a child and was known for walking and reading at the same time! She combines her many interests and talents here at The Rose Garden and in teaching art education courses and exhibiting her own artwork locally. Teacher Jess graduated from Buffalo State in 2014 with a dual degree in Art Education and Ceramics. She has been an assistant teacher both at the Albright Knox Art Gallery and at the Buffalo State Childcare Center. Jessica brings her artistic skill and bubbling enthusiasm to her work here at The Rose Garden and has found a special joy in bringing her creative energy to the TRG kitchen.

Would you like to join our team?

Would you like to join our team?

Please fill out the below application. On the last page please write a brief autobiography focusing on how yo came to want to work with young children,  what you like to do in your spare time, and what you hope to pursue in the future. 

It can be emailed to hello@therosegarden.us or mailed to 257 Lafayette Ave. Buffalo, NY 14213


Employment Application

Interested in enrolling your child at The Rose Garden?

Find Application on our Programs page. Complete the form and send it to us by email or mail to secure a space!