Staff

Principal and Dean of Students: Peter Ryan, M.Sc                                            pete@lotusla.org

Peter’s primary interest is in directly training adolescents in meditation and mindfulness techniques derived from traditional Zen practices. These skills come into play throughout the entire school day, in academics, care-taking, social time, and the preparation of meals. Students find that immersion in such a school culture has enduring, highly positive effects at home and elsewhere.

He is a long time student of the Great Zen Master Chang Sik Kim, and holds three black belts in Zen Sword. He holds degrees in English Literature and Education from Boston College and Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College.

In 1998, he co-founded The Lotus School’s precursor, Tinicum Art and Science.

He is a certified therapist in Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy, a modality that teaches attention to sensed, pre-verbal experience. Peter has taught in the classroom for twenty years and has practiced psychotherapy for ten years.

Assistant Principal and Dean of Faculty:  Stephanie Kenney, M.Ed stephanie@lotusla.org

Stephanie Kenney (M.Ed in Integral Education from Endicott College, Beverly, MA; BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Boston College, Newton, MA) is Assistant Principal and a founding member of the Lotus School Of Liberal Arts. As the Assistant Principal and Director of Admissions for Tinicum Art and Science, she enthusiastically embraced the concept of continuing her work with the same dedicated group of teachers and with the same educational paradigm.

She has been teaching for 25 years and her classes have included Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, Woodworking, Jewelry Making and Japanese. She has traveled to over 25 countries and speaks German and Japanese. She has worked with adolescents for more than 30 years and is certified to teach at the secondary level by the state of Pennsylvania. Stephanie holds a second degree blackbelt in Shin Boep, and studies sword and Ho Shin Sul in the Shim Gum Do style of martial arts. Stephanie serves on the Board of Trustees of LSLA.

Teachers:

Matthew Kustafik, Director of Admissions      matt@lotusla.org

Matthew has been a teacher for the past 18 years and has taught numerous English and literature classes, creative writing, poetry, Introduction to American Sign Language, Social Studies, Global Studies, and U.S. History.

In addition to teaching, he helped to develop, write, and implement curriculum. Matthew also has many other responsibilities relating to student services, admissions, transition and placement, finding internships, and outreach.

Prior to teaching, he worked in the mental health and intellectual disability fields for 7 years as a counselor and in various other capacities. Matthew has also worked extensively with dyslexic students, teaching them reading and writing techniques using the Wilson Reading System. He has worked in human services field and as an educator for the past 25 years.

William Q Palmieri, English        will@lotusla.org

WIll received his B.A. English from Kutztown University and is currently working towards his M.A. English. He has taught at Tinicum Art & Science for the past 18 years and during contributed to the development of the English core curriculum and elective courses, as well as performed a myriad of duties which include creating many arts related courses such as Aesthetics and Film History. He also designed and ran the photography program for 13 years and co-chaired the senior project committee. In addition, he assisted with technology infrastructure building in the classroom as well as facilitated school wide interior space usage and classroom design.

His hobbies include photography and film studies, learning about music history, playing drums, and rearranging spaces.

Steffi Park Eger, Spanish and Art Instructor      steffi@lotusla.org

Steffi Eger teaches Spanish and art at The Lotus School of Liberal Arts. She taught all levels of Spanish at Tinicum Art and Science for four years before continuing on with The Lotus School.

Before that, she taught Spanish 1-3 and 2D art at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School. She has been a classroom teacher for 20 years including three years teaching English as a foreign language abroad in Mexico and The Republic of Georgia. She is an avid runner competing for a local team in endurance events and spends time volunteering for runBucks’ races in order to give back to the running community. Steffi holds a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Art and a Master of Art in Humanities with a fine art emphasis.

She is currently completing her coursework for a Master of Education and dual certification in Spanish and art. While teaching in The Republic of Georgia, she was awarded the 2011 Volunteer Teacher of the Year from the Ministry of Education and Science.

Brad Wuerstle, Science and Math Instructor       brad@lotusla.org

Brad is master of many trades. He has a Bachelors in science from the University of Pittsburgh and is Pennsylvania certified in general science, math and physics. He lived in Alaska for five years where he was a Survival Instructor and was on the Denali rescue team on Mount McKinley. He provided hands on training and instructed passengers and pilots to egress underwater aircraft. As a Local 1281 Journeymen Carpenter, Brad worked on the construction of the Alaska Convention Center.

When Brad moved back to Bucks County, he dreamed of living in a home that was good for the environment where he could grow food and work towards living sustainably. He did extensive research on how to design and build a ‘green’ home that was cost effective​, low energy and inviting. ​With this knowledge, he designed and built a timber framed, eco-friendly, geothermal and passive solar house. He did this on weekends and during the summer for two years while teaching math and science during the day. Brad enjoys learning and any outdoor activity from gardening to sailing.

Buffy Parvin, Chef

Buffy Parvin is the vegetarian whole foods chef at Lotus. From the start she has been preparing meals regularly for the students, staff, and visitors with a healthy and nutritionally conscious diet in mind. Stemming from a background in Asian culture, the food that is cooked is seasonally inspired, local and organic as possible, and ethnically influenced from Latin to Mediterranean to Indian cuisines.

A participant at the inception of Tinicum Art & Science 20 years ago and into the development of the school as it came into being she has been the head chef since the beginning. In addition to cooking were also about ten years of of teaching art and yoga classes. Now at Lotus, the tradition continues to delight those who come to enjoy the meals that are served regularly from her kitchen. Students learn to love eating food that is good for them and a conscious eating habit is encouraged to all.

Buffy attended Tyler School of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Barnes Foundation seminars, and Philadelphia College of Textile and Science (now Philadelphia University) all in Philadelphia. She also studied at the Art Students League in NYC. For a period of time she worked as representative and assistant for architectural photographer, Tom Crane. She has traveled to Japan, UK, France, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, painting and cooking all along the way. Her certification for teaching yoga is from teacher Erich Schiffmann from Los Angeles. She continues to attend classes at Dig yoga in Lambertville, New Jersey. She has been an active attendant at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY and has taken many workshops and classes at the New York Natural Gourmet Cooking School in NYC.

Yoga Instructor:

Mel Robin

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