Mimi Ackers joined the Goshen Friends School faculty as a Preschool teacher in the fall of 2011, however, her relationship with the school began when her daughter, Anna, started Preschool in 2008. From 2010 to 2011, Mimi served as the clerk of the Goshen Parents Community.
In addition to teaching 3- and 4-year-olds in our Preschool, Mimi is also Goshen's diversity coordinator. In this role, Mimi invites the entire Goshen community to join in the school's mission to create a welcoming and open environment for students, their families and faculty and staff of all racial, cultural, religious and economic backgrounds.
Mimi also facilitates the school's after-school service club, Kids Care, where Goshen's students and their families are invited to bring energy and friendship through group activities to residents of Bellingham and Park Lane senior centers. Tr. Mimi looks forward to these Wednesday afternoons, where friends from several generations socialize with each other and bring smiles to each others' faces.
Mimi graduated from Roanoke College in 1993 with degrees in History and International Relations. Her career began in print news as an editorial assistant and reporter. She then moved to public relations, marketing, and advertising. After the birth of Anna in 2004, Mimi began a freelance writing and editing business. Before coming to Goshen Friends, Mimi was a Preschool teacher at the West Chester Area YMCA where she taught 2 and 3 year olds and enrichment courses for children ages 3 to 6.
Tr. Mimi has participated in several professional development programs, including Educators New to Quakerism at Pendle Hill and a seminar on Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders. She also participates on the Friends Council on Education's Diversity Peer Network. At Goshen, Tr. Mimi serves on both the Diversity Committee and the International Week planning committee.
Mimi loves to cook and read, particularly non-fiction and historical fiction. She is an enthusiastic football fan who supports the Baltimore Ravens, but can rally a cheer for the Eagles, as long as they're not playing Baltimore! Tennis is also a passion for Mimi, but these days she just gets to follow it closely on television. Totally random fact, she can read Russian! As the youngest of nine children and the mother of Anna, GFS '16, and Owen, GFS '20, Mimi calls her family, which includes husband Keith, "my favorite hobby. They are my greatest love and source of happiness."
Patty Darden joins the Goshen family via Northern New Jersey, where she grew up, and Southern California, where she raised her own family. She moved to the West Chester area in 2005, after living on the West Coast for more than 25 years.
Tr. Patty graduated from Wayne Hills High School and attended Long Island University, Southhampton Campus, for two years. While in California, Patty worked as a PARA educator and volunteer at Stowers Elementary School. She was also a manager at Robinson's Department Store in Torrance, California. In January, 2009, Patty joined the Extended Care staff and since 2012 has been assisting in Room G . She is always willing to lend a hand, by opening a door or staying for hours after her day has ended to help with a picnic or project.
If you have been lucky enough to be on campus when Patty has shared her rosemary scones, then you know that baking is more than a hobby for her! Patty also enjoys reading and traveling--she has skied in Austria and studied in South America during her college years.
Dierdra Mazurek joined the GFS staff in 2003 as a substitute teacher and later that year she became Extended Care Director. After seven years in that role, Dierdra transitioned to a classroom setting, teaching the five's program in the Grange.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Delaware (B.S.). She has attended the Quaker based workshops "Educators New to Quakerism" and "Mindfulness in Education". "The Mindfulness in Education is a workshop that I know will have a positive effect on my classroom. Its principles are designed to help children to be in the 'moment' both in their work and play. I will work toward their understanding of peace and quiet reflection." Dierdra has also completed workshops focusing on sensory integration, including "Practical Strategies for Working with Sensory Integration(SI) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)".
Before arriving at GFS, Dierdra worked as a health educator and ran an in-home child care when her children were small. While at Goshen, Dierdra has been active as both a staff member and as a parent (her daughter Alex attended the lower school and son Harry graduated in 2011, having arrived when he was 3!). She served on the search committee for our present head of school and was a member of the 2011-12 Curriculum Committee. During her first two years at Goshen, Dierdra coordinated Goshen Giving and has served as classroom representative in her "parent" role.
To say that Dierdra loves to exercise is an understatement. She teaches water aerobics, cycling and core exercise classes at the YMCA. Another passion of Dierdra's is the beach where she enjoys spending quality time with her family (husband Steve and daughter Maddie round out the bunch).
Joyce Nichols was born in Philadelphia and has lived in West Chester since 1977. She earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Reading from West Chester University. She previously taught in the Interboro School District in Delaware County for eight years as a 2nd grade and 3rd grade teacher.
In 1992, Joyce joined the Goshen Friends staff as a Lunch Bunch assistant. She next served as a teacher's assistant for the Lower School staff followed by working as an assistant in two Preschool rooms. Tr. Joyce began teaching a four year old class in 1998, later adding a class for three year olds. She currently teaches four year olds and also works in the Extended Care program.
Tr. Joyce attends many Friends Council on Education and Chester County Intermediate Unit workshops including "Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder", "Dumb Things that Widen the Diversity Gap" at WCU, and "Importance of Language and Social Communication Skills" at the Luma Center. She has served on several committees at GFS including Spiritual Life, Playground, Admissions, International Week, and the General Committee. Joyce enjoys volunteering for the Kids Care after school service program. All three of Joyce's children, Jeff, Steven, and Jennifer, were Goshen Friends Preschoolers.
Kim Prann is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a degree in Textiles and Design. Her work as a fabric designer entailed extensive travel--London, Paris, Milan, Florence, Brussels, and Dusseldorf. After fifteen years in the fashion industry, Kim settled in Pennsylvania. Her two children, Logan and Maren, attended Goshen Friends, and Kim joined the Extended Care staff in 2008.
Kim is the lead teacher in Room A, working with some of the youngest students at Goshen Friends. She brings creativity and enthusiasm to her role and enjoys working with children in a classroom setting. Before arriving at Goshen, Kim substituted for the WCASD (Kindergarten-12th grade) and taught preschool enrichment classes at the West Chester Area YMCA.
Kim is an artist: she paints, draws, and designs jewelry. She is an avid reader and enjoys being in two book clubs. Kim enjoys volunteering at her children's schools and she has taught Sunday School for more than twenty years, most recently at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Lori Rizzo attended the University of Scranton where she received a BA in History and did post graduate work in Education at Immaculate University. Before joining the Goshen Friends faculty, Lori was employed at The Vanguard Group and also substitute taught.
As a former parent of three GFS preschoolers (Belle, Lauren & Gabby), Lori volunteered on the Capital Campaign Committee. She also belongs to a ministry at Saint Mary Magdalen that provides meals for the sick and elderly.
Lori enjoys needlepointing and has bragging rights to one of the most unique Quaker connections in our community. She has worked at the Colonial Plantation in Ridley Creek State Park, which depicts a working Quaker farm in the 18th century.
Maria Rufe was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a BS in Geology from the University of Cincinnati and an MS in Geology from Virginia Tech. Maria has previously worked for nonproﬁts that focused on stream ecology health and taught Geology at the college level.
As a parent of Eliot (GFS Class of 2018), Maria served as a class representative and as treasurer of the Goshen Parent Community. Maria enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, and being outdoors and she has traveled to Tanzania and New Zealand. Currently she volunteers at Neighborhood Health Hospice, a little closer to home, once a week.
From mindful beginnings come global perspectives. In teaching our students to see goodness in everyone, we prepare them for the world outside of Goshen – to be caring, compassionate, involved, invested, curious, problem solving citizens of this earth.