Advisory Board

Jeanette Rodriguez, Founder and Director of the Otto Specht School

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Ms. Rodriguez is a leading professional in the field of child development, recognized for her dedication and success. She has a Baccalaureate degree in Music Education K-12 from Susquehanna University and a Masters in Creative Arts therapy from Hahnemann University. After graduation, she started her career experience in child development, education and Waldorf pedagogy. Prior to founding the Otto Specht School, she worked as a licensed music therapist in pediatrics at Mt Sinai Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital and the Hospital for Joint Diseases in NYC. Ms. Rodriguez has provided direct care to patients, chairing the Creative Arts department and supervising graduate students from New York University and Columbia Teachers College.

Mary Holland, President

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Mary Holland is a member of the faculty and Director of the Graduate Lawyering Program at NYU School of Law. 

She writes on vaccine law and policy and has testified in many state legislatures and at the United Nations on this topic.  Educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Holland has worked in international public and private law. Prior to joining NYU, Holland worked for six years at major U.S. law firms, with three years based in Moscow, Russia. She also worked at a U.S. human rights advocacy organization, now Human Rights First, as its European Program Director. She also serves on the board of Actionplay, an inclusive theater group, the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Policy and Health Choice.

Charles Rose, FAIA, Principal Architect and Creative Director


Charles Rose and his colleagues at Charles Rose Architects have served as an invaluable resource for Otto Specht School. They have guided the school in identifying a site for the school building, mapping out site plans, developing concepts for the building, and strategizing on how to present the plans to the Village.

Drawing on his Waldorf education and his deep understanding of the underlying philosophy of Rudolf Steiner’s approach to education, Charles helped Otto Specht conceptualize a school building that will enhance the student’s educational experience, and provide a warm and conducive educational environment. Inspired by his early work with landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, Charles is renowned for his ability to

create buildings that “see the land,” and has masterfully woven the beauty of the Threefold campus’ natural environment into his design.

Mr. Rose studied at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, earning a Master of Architecture, Degree with Distinction, with a concentration in Landscape Architecture, Princeton University, earning a B.A. Architecture, Summa cum Laude, and Columbia University, First Year, Master of Architecture. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a Certified Member of the U.S. Green Building Council, amongst other accreditations and affiliations.

Mr. Rose has received a total of 83 design awards, including several national and regional American Institute of Architecture Awards for Design Excellence, Society of American Registered Architects National Design Honor Awards, and many more.

Eric Maskin


Mr. Maskin received the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (with L. Hurwicz and R. Myerson) for laying the foundations of Mechanism Design theory. He has also made contributions to Game, Contract and Social Choice theory, political economy, and other areas of economics. Mr. Maskin received his A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge University. He was a faculty member at MIT (1977-1984), Harvard (1985-2000, and 2012-present), and the Institute for Advanced Study (2000-2011). His memberships and fellowships include: the National Academy of Sciences, Econometric Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, British Academy, European Economic Association, Royal Spanish Academy of Economics and Finance.


Michael Sweeney

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Michael Sweeney is a Real Estate Developer focused on residential real estate development located in Connecticut, New York, and Florida. As the father of an Autistic son, Mike's long term mission is to build/grow an "Integrated Community" for the Special Needs and Developmentally Disabled communities in New York State. As a "Housing Navigator" in New York State, Mike is able to work with and advise individuals, families, and organizations on the complexities of the OPWDD housing system in New York State. Mike writes a Blog about NY State Housing and Community topics for the Developmentally Disabled on his corporate website

Michael Sweeney is also an investor in and advocate of Blockchain (bitcoin's underlying technology). Mike received his M.B.A. from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management (along with his wife Katie Sweeney), and received his B.A. from Boston College. The Sweeney’s are parents to two boys Dylan and Dustin Sweeney, and they are very active in the Autism community. The Sweeney’s live in Manhattan with their son Dustin Sweeney. Their older son, Dylan Sweeney, is a student at the United States Naval Academy and will commission into the United States Navy or Marines in May of 2019. 

Anya Kutsina


Co-founder, Board Member and Executive Director of Ultimate Risk Solutions (URS). Today, as head of URS’s Global Business Development group, Ms. Kutsina has been active in the International Insurance Society as an ambassador. Ms. Kutsina holds an M.Sc. in mathematics and computer sciences from Kiev Pedagogical University and an MBA in actuarial science and finance from the College of Insurance (St. John’s University). She has conducted postgraduate work in statistics at Columbia University in New York and is a graduate of the Eurythmy school of Spring Valley. As the parent of an Otto Specht School Alum, Anya is a dedicated supporter of our school.


Jessica Heffernan Ziegler, Secretary

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Ms. Ziegler has been the Executive Director of SunbridgeInstitute since 2008. Previously, she taught collaboration and group dynamics in Sunbridge College’s Administration, Biography, and Elementary Teacher Education programs. Ms. Ziegler has worked as an executive coach and organizational development consultant for Waldorf school administrators and teachers, as well as other professionals, in diverse institutions and schools in both the US and Germany. She served as the first administrator and as a board member at a Waldorf school she co-founded in Everswinkel, Germany. She is a partner in MIRA Companions for Development, an international consulting group. Ms. Ziegler holds a BS in Business Management.

Gerald Karnow, MD, Clinical Director, Teacher Training

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Dr. Karnow studied at the University of Chicago and is the medical director of the Fellowship Community, a state licensed elder care facility. He is the school doctor to several Waldorf Schools, including the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City and the Green Meadow Waldorf School, and he teaches in Waldorf Teacher Training Institutes. Dr. Karnow is a renowned lecturer, speaking on the indications of Austrian doctor and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner and their application in the medical arts. He has lived and worked in the Fellowship Community for several years, serving on the Executive Circle and the Board of Trustees.

Sophia Pisano


Sophia’s affiliation with Waldorf education has been a long one.  A graduate of the Waldorf School of Garden City, she was also a development volunteer, parent and alumni representative, and a member of the celebrated Waldorf Choral Society.  While her triplets were in the preschool, she enrolled in the Foundation Studies program of the Winkler Center for Adult Learning where she delved into anthroposophy and the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner.  Soon after, she was invited to join the board where she helped organize the annual Winkler Center for Adult Learning conference.

 A graduate of Guilford College, where she received a BS in Business Management, Sophia later went on to earn an MS in Elementary Education from Hofstra University.  Along with her teaching degree, she became certified to teach the Slingerland Method to students with dyslexia.

Sophia and her husband Stephen are thrilled that their daughter Alexandra, who has Autism, will be joining the Otto Specht community in the coming year.