South Mountain Nature School teachers 

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Mary Clair Sonneman, Director

Mary Clair founded South Mountain Nature School in the fall of 2016 after earning her Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten Certification at Cedarsong Nature School on Vashon Island, WA. Mary Clair is committed to connecting children with nature, empowering children and teaching kindness for all living things. Mary Clair is a former high school English teacher with a background and keen interest in progressive education. She loves to play in the forest with her two daughters and lives in Maplewood, NJ.


Devon Malizia, Teacher, Caregiver & Child class 

Devon’s Floridian roots ensure the following three things: she loves the be in the water, she can catch, clean and live off of fresh fish, and she’ll be wearing a puffy once the temp dips below 72 degrees.  She’s the mom to a spunky toddler, and is a zealous fly-fisher, hiker, paddler and former Ivy League D-1 soccer athlete at the University of Pennsylvania, where she double majored in Anthropology and Communication. An avid outdoorswoman, Devon has worked in the Outdoor Industry as a public relations specialist for the better part of the last decade, and will embark upon a master naturalist certification from Cornell this fall.

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Anna Maxwell, Teacher, Caregiver & Child class 

Anna Maxwell holds a dual Masters of Teaching in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education.  She has over 10 years of experience teaching kindergarten in the private and public school settings.  Anna's philosophy of education is rooted in the idea that children learn by doing and experiencing their natural environment.  Anna recently started a consulting business called Kids Live to Learn Consulting.  She specializes in supporting parents and educators refine their own teaching skills and foster a love of learning in young children. Anna lives in Maplewood with her husband and two daughters.