Helen Rushlow

Center Director

A lifelong believer in the value of holistic childcare, Helen brings 20+ years of experience working professionally with young children into her role as Center Director for Apple Blossom Preschool and Early Learning Center. Helen's cheerful presence is a hallmark of our Center, and we couldn't be more thankful for her kind, warm-hearted leadership.  


Niya Graeber

Preschool Teacher

Having attended a Waldorf school herself as a child in New Hampshire, Niya has retained a lifelong appreciation for holistic, play-based care and has many fond memories of her childhood experience. With continuing education course work from Waldorf Early Childhood Education of North America, Niya brings over thirteen years of experience in toddler and preschool education. Her ample experience and background have given Niya strong communication skills and empathy for everyone she works with, making her a wonderful teacher and colleague.

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Maud Sipe

Preschool Teacher

Maud joins us from New York. She has a BA from Wells College and her early childhood teaching certificate from the Alkion Center. She is very happy to be a part of the Apple Blossom team. Her love for story telling and puppet shows is what drew Maud to early childhood education. Working with her colleagues to provide the children with the the warmth and care that she received during her Waldorf education is her way of saying thank you and paying it forward for the next generation.

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Carissa Paup

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Carissa first began her journey with Apple Blossom when we ran playgroup before getting our childcare license. She decided to provide home childcare for the year to families with infants too young to attend Apple Blossom. She has now joined our team as an assistant teacher in the ‘Lil Roots’ Toddler room. As a mother of five children herself, she innately fosters relationship and brings security to children. She has a Bachelors Degree in design and has also worked in the natural healthcare field. Carissa hails her greatest time of learning and achievement, as a stay home mom and homemaker. She is passionate about the holistic well-being of children. Creating natural simple nurturing environments with loving caregivers and a good daily rhythm is key. Carissa is currently working toward her ‘LifeWays North America’ certification.

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Mark Heffner

Special Projects Coordinator

Mark Heffner is a Barrington native. He is young but already very well experienced for someone his Age at 28. He has mentored many young individuals with different organizations throughout the years. He Is also very active in the town of Barrington and his community.

He strongly believes that there should be more ‘Hands on Learning’ instead of just studying about it. Mark is taking on this task by ensuring the Preschool children get plenty of daily opportunities working with wood projects. He has a yearly plan of projects with more creative ideas and ambition then I think we’ll get to accomplish in one year, but I’m sure he’ll try. He is also a good organizer which in this environment is super important to model for children. We are excited to have Mark join our team.
Mark Loves to Work with the children and staff at Apple Blossom School.
Fun Fact- He was the very First Person to Stop by when we were under construction phase! We were covered in drywall dust, May of 2017.


Lisa Perron

Toddler Teacher

Lisa is a Rhode Island Certified Early Childhood Educator, with her B.A. in childhood development. Her extensive experience with children and families ranges from birth through preschool and management. Over thirty years of teaching experience, she embodies the LifeWays principles in her warmth and nurturing care for the toddler age group at Apple Blossom Preschool. She is delighted to guide the children in their exploration of nature and eagerly looks forward to watching each child grow in curiosity and independence.


Desiree Manley

Education Coordinator

Desiree has been working in the field of early childhood education for over twenty-five years. She comes to us with a variety of experience as a preschool classroom teacher, a mentor and coach to peer educators, and course instructor at Roger Williams University. Central to her philosophy is the belief that relationships are at the core of all learning. She values both the interactions and learning alongside students of all ages. 


Marcy Eichner

Wellness and Sustainability Program Manager

Marcy brings her experience in education, sustainability and farming along with her love for wholesome foods to her work. She is passionate about equipping the next generation in the tools they need to become conscientious stewards of the food and nature around them. She embodies the truth that every individual can realize and achieve his or her unique purpose through the diligent practice of intentional, intuitive, and explorative being.


carl salvo

Chief Strategy Officer

Hailing from a background in engineering and project management, Carl brings his ample experience in business strategy to weigh in his role as Apple Blossom's CSO. Carl further serves as the preschool's resident handyman and IT specialist. The proud father of two children, Carl is excited to embark on this new venture into childcare.