Board & Staff


School Board

Jeanie Petteys

Founder, Board Member, Director
B.S. Elementary Educational Studies, Empire State College, NY

For 25 years Mrs. Petteys taught her own children as well any other child she could find. With the college entrance of her youngest daughter, Mrs. Petteys did the first obvious thing, and opened an independent school. Opening a Charlotte Mason-inspired school was the next obvious thing, because Charlotte through her writings served as mentor and trusted guide throughout Mrs. Petteys’ homeschooling career. Connected with Ambleside Schools International, Mrs. Petteys delights in the work of bringing Ambleside and the educational ideas of Charlotte Mason to the children of the Glens Falls/Saratoga Region of New York State.

When not in school, Mrs. Petteys works alongside her husband and the ministry team of Gateway Church in Corinth, NY. She delights in her three daughters and two sons-in-law, with whom she enjoys kayaking, skiing, traveling, and participating in wonderful holiday traditions.

Abby Wald

Founding Board Member, Secretary of the Board
BA English Secondary Education, Nazareth College of Rochester
M.Ed, Curriculum and Instruction, Castleton University

Mrs. Wald’s first introduction to Charlotte Mason was through Mrs. Petteys, several years before Ambleside of the Adirondacks was formed.  Through Mrs. Petteys’ tutelage and an exhausting yet inspiring weeklong training at Ambleside of Colorado, Mrs. Wald’s understanding of and passion for the method have grown. She particularly values the way the curriculum points students to their loving and good Creator, inviting them to see the beauty and structure of His world through science, mathematics, the arts, nature, literature, and more.  The additional focus on training students in habits such as peacefulness under authority and mastering of one’s body creates a refreshingly calm atmosphere that is rarely seen in today’s schools.

Mrs. Wald comes from a family whose women and men have been passionately involved in education for generations.  Her maternal grandmother, mother, and sister were all teachers, her father is a pastor, and her husband has worked as a technology specialist at Burr and Burton academy since 2011. As a twenty-year veteran of public school teaching, both in the US and in South Korea (as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow); and as a recipient of formal Ambleside training, Mrs. Wald has joyfully participated in the ASA Board of Directors since its inception.  She currently works as a middle school English teacher in a small Vermont school, and she is pursuing licensure as an administrator.

Mrs. Wald is married and has four children, with the youngest in preschool and the oldest in college.  In her limited spare time, she enjoys reading, watching British historical era television shows, camping with her family, and documenting her adventures in parenting on social media. She is a member and Treasurer of First Baptist of Whitehall.

Mark Shaw

Board Member

Paul Silva

Board Member

Greg Van Grouw

Board Member

Pam Cleveland

Board Treasurer


Jenna Brooks

Preschool/Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Brooks has worked in teaching for the past fourteen years at our Ambleside Preschool, formally known as Gateway Stepping Stones. She has also taught both Kindergarten and First Grade and helped in the Third Grade classroom during the 2016-2017 school year.  She has attended training at the Ambleside Summer Institute as well as the Ambleside Internship.  When not at school, she continues to further her education as a full-time student at Empire State College. She is working to complete her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Mrs. Brooks loves working with young children and helping them to make those early first steps on their educational journey. She has three sons, two of whom have spent time as part of the Ambleside community. Jenna loves spending time with her family, drawing, and attending her children’s sporting events.

Jessica Trzaskos

3/4 Grade Teacher
Bachelor of Science – Elementary Education, The College of St. Rose, Albany, NY
Master of Library Science, SUNY Albany, Albany, NY

Mrs. Trzaskos worked as both an elementary librarian and middle school librarian, in Gloversville, NY, for a combined 10 years, sharing both her love of literature and her love of learning with hundreds of children. She was then blessed to be a stay-at-home mom to twin girls for four and a half years. Both she and her children became part of the Ambleside family in the 2016 – 2017 school year.

When not in school, Mrs. Trzaskos enjoys nature walks, bike riding, gardening, water skiing, snow shoeing and all manner of outdoor activities. She continues to enjoy reading and learning new things.

Alexandra Stevens

5/6 Grade Teacher
B.A. Communicative Disorders and Sciences & Sociology
M.A. Educational Psychology

Alexandra briefly encountered Charlotte Mason while pursuing her Masters degree at the College of Saint Rose, and later on was deeply immersed in the joyful approach to education after joining the Ambleside School of the Adirondacks community.  Through Ms. Pettey’s guidance and participation in the rigorously enlightening trainings offered by Ambleside Schools International, her faith in the approach- wherein learners build deep, meaningful relationships with texts and powerful ideas- grew.

Alex has been an educator with ASA since the 2015-2016 school year.  Prior to joining the staff, she worked as an educator and program developer with Go Kids, an early learning enrichment program based in the Capital Region. In addition, she has served families as a caregiver to their young children and has coached various levels of volleyball and softball at Spa Catholic High School in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Alexandra loves learning, gardening, projects around the house, and being ‘mama’ to her little 6-month old baby, Polly. She enjoys hiking and travels to the eastern seaboard with her husband and two dogs.