Alliance of RIE® Associates

Debbie Bergstrom (Sigonella, Italy) is a Child Youth Program Administrator, WestEd PITC Graduate, PITC Infant/Toddler Specialist and ECE Consultant. For 30 years she has worked in full day care programs, and in supporting and training Family Child Care Providers. Debbie studied at the Pikler Institute in 2008. She is currently the Child Youth Program Administrator for the U.S. Navy in Sigonella, Italy.

Rebecca Bowler (Fairfax, California) has been a RIE® Associate since 1994 and a member of the RIE Alliance since 2008. A former nanny, she is fortunate to have trained with Magda Gerber. Rebecca has maintained a massage therapy practice for 17 years and is the former Managing Editor at Underwood Books. Blessed with a four year-old daughter, Rebecca is passionate about RIE parenting and community, Waldorf education, gardening, theater, and anything orange.
Lisa Chariff Better (Miami, Florida) became a RIE Associate in 2010. She observed her first RIE Parent-Infant Guidance™ class in Los Angeles many years earlier and became a passionate advocate for Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach. Lisa frequently presents about the Educaring™ Approach as a keynote speaker for Holistic Moms of Miami; she also works as a Guardian ad Litem in Dade County, Florida. She attended the 2010 Pikler Conference in Tulsa where she studied with Anna Tardos. Lisa lives in Miami where she teaches Parent-Infant Guidance classes for both infants and toddlers. •
Alexandra Curtis Boyer (Tampa, Florida) is a RIE Foundations™ Instructor and Parent-Infant Guidance Class Facilitator. She is also a mentor and teacher trainer who directs prenatal education programs for at-risk women and the community for the Child Abuse Council of Tampa. A former preschool teacher, she is an honorary board member of the Pikler Institute and Residential Nursery Home in Budapest, Hungary.
Mary Louise Brennan (Portland, Oregon) studied with Magda Gerber both at Pacific Oaks College and at the Los Angeles RIE Center and has been a RIE Associate since 1989. She is an Infant Toddler Program Consultant and RIE Foundations Instructor, currently working with infants and toddlers in a child development center in downtown Portland. Mary Louise has presented at national and international seminars and workshops. She is a passionate professional with over 35 years experience working and learning with the very youngest children, their parents and their teachers.
Deborah Carlisle Solomon (Los Angeles, California) was RIE Executive Director from 2006-2014 and recently started her own teaching and consulting practice. A RIE Associate, she is the author of Baby Knows Best, Raising a Confident and Resourceful Child, the RIE® Way. Deborah teaches the RIE Foundations, Parent-Infant Guidance, Before Baby and Nurturing Nanny courses. She has spoken at various national and international conferences and workshops, and studied at the Pikler Institute in 2005 and 2006. • 
Elsa Chahin (Pacific Palisades, California) serves as President and Treasurer of Pikler/Loczy Fund USA. She was born in Mexico City and grew up in both the United States and Mexico, feeling at home with both cultures. She is a RIE Associate, PITC Trainer, and UCLA Certified Lactation Educator; as a Certified Interpreter-Translator, she collaborated in the translation into Spanish of Magda Gerber’s Your Self-Confident Baby and translated and narrated several videos for Resources for Infant Educarers. Elsa is a Certified Teacher of English as a Second Language, passing her ESL Exams at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. She studied at the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary under the tutelage of Anna Tardos on nine occasions, and was a presenter at the 2004 and 2007 Pikler International Symposiums. She assisted Anna Tardos as co-trainer in Budapest in 2007, 2008, and in 2010, and 2012 in the US. She has been mentored by Ute Strub since 2004. She has authored several articles and speaks nationally and internationally on the topic of caring for babies with respect. Elsa has practiced yoga, meditation and mindfulness for over 20 years; was a professional ballerina and continues to teach dance to adults and children.

Sue Ann Chilcote (Studio City, California) became a RIE Associate in 2002 after many years working directly with infants and toddlers as a nanny and later as a teacher in group infant and toddler care at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California. Over the past 12 years she has devoted much of her time to studying infant development, and in 2005 completed the ECE Certificate Program at Cabrillo College. Sue Ann has presented workshops about the Educaring® Approach at various conferences in California and Washington. She currently works as a nanny for a family in Los Angeles.

Valorie Cole (Santa Barbara, California) has been a student and advocate of RIE since 1989, when she attended her first RIE course. This led to in-depth studies in infant and toddler care and development, including attending PITC and traveling to Budapest to see and experience Loczy. She was a part of the planning and implementation of Cottage Hospital’s RIE Accreditation in 1991 and later worked with teen parents at two local high schools, teaching parenting skills and caring for their infants and toddlers. Valorie was then hired by Discoveries Learning Center to open and direct Early Discoveries Toddler Center, and later became the Director of both programs. Her current goals are to conduct Parent-Infant Guidance classes, to mentor RIE students on their own journeys, and to spend lots of quality time with her 11 grandchildren.

Catriona Davies (Santa Monica, California) attended RIE Parent-Infant Guidance classes with her two young children. In 2001, she began her RIE Professional Development training. Catriona has been teaching Parent-Infant Guidance classes at Hari’s RIE studio in Santa Monica since 2005. She also co-facilitates parent workshops. 

Simone Stave Demarzi (Carmichael, California) became acquainted with RIE in the summer of 2002 on Whidby Island with Polly Elam. Simone has been working in the field of Early Childhood since 1981, has a BA, Waldorf Teacher Training, LifeWays certification, all her ECE units, and is a PITC trainer. She is one of the original four members of the CORE 4 in Sacramento, bringing RIE to Northern California. Simone now has an Infant Program in her home combining RIE with her Waldorf background. Her program has recently been accepted into the mentoring/practicum program in the local community college circuit. 
Anita Cooper Ebright (Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada) became a RIE Associate in 1992 while working with Magda Gerber at RIE during a sabbatical year. She is a RIE Foundations Instructor and Parent-Infant Guidance Class Facilitator. Anita attended Pacific Oaks College for her Master’s degree work. From 1986 to the present, after many years of working directly with children’s programs, she joined the ECE faculty at Lethbridge College in Alberta, Canada.
Polly Elam (Paso Robles, California) studied and worked with Magda Gerber for 20 years and has been RIE President since 2011. She studied at the Pikler Institute in 1986, 2005 and 2008 and presented at the Pikler International Conference in 2007. She is a WestEd PITC Graduate and PQ Trainer. Polly has experience as a Regional Child Development Program Administrator and Community College Instructor. She was a contributing writer to Authentic Relationships In Group Care for Infants and Toddlers, RIE Principles Into Practice. As an ECE Consultant, Polly has worked with a variety of infant/toddler programs and has conducted seminars and training in Europe, New Zealand and Canada.
EliasbergPhotoKristin Eliasberg (New York City, New York), inspired by the Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes she attended with her daughter in 2006, embarked on her RIE® training in 2008. She currently facilitates RIE Certified Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. She is grateful for the inspiration and guidance of her mentors, Beverly Kovach and Ruth Anne Hammond. She has also attended Pikler trainings in Oklahoma and in South Carolina, in addition to helping found the first downtown Manhattan Waldorf school.  Her experiences as a professional dancer and yoga instructor and as a journalist inform her work with infants, toddlers, and their parents.
Fernandez, Lee Lee Fernandez (Redwood City, California) is inspired by the work of infant specialist Magda Gerber and physician-educator Maria Montessori. She currently conducts RIE Parent-Infant Guidance classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lee has 40 years experience in parent education and ECE as a teacher, trainer, administrator (military and university programs), Montessori preschool owner and author. Lee has an MA in Human Development, specializing in infants and toddlers, from Pacific Oaks College where she trained with Magda Gerber, and a Montessori Teaching Certificate from Spring Hill College.  

Fisher, AngelaAngela R. Fisher (South Orange, NJ), holds a Ph.D. in Infant-Toddler Developmental Psychology. She is an NJ-Infant Mental Health Mentor- IV [Policy], a Certified Infant Massage Educator, Childbirth Doula, and serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Early Childhood Graduate Department at City University in New York. She consults with parents, caregivers, and educators on developmentally appropriate and respectful practices with infants and toddlers nationally and internationally. She facilitates RIE Certified Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes in the New York/New Jersey area. Angela’s scholarly research and parent-infant observation tool are uniquely influenced by Magda Gerber’s work. She is dedicated to supporting parent-infant relationships across cultures based on Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach.

Getto Lee, JillJill Getto Lee (Studio City, California), was first introduced to RIE at Elizabeth Memel’s Parent-Infant Guidance class where she took her twin sons in 2004 at the original RIE Center in Silver Lake, California. In 2005, Jill began her RIE Professional Development training. She is a RIE Parent-Infant Guidance Facilitator and teaches classes at the Los Angeles RIE Center. 

Marcela Giannini (Newport Beach, California) was introduced to RIE over 20 years ago, mentored by Magda Gerber and studied under her tutelage throughout her RIE Professional Development training. Marcela also served as Magda Gerber’s personal assistant.

Janet Gonzalez-Mena (Fairfield, California) interned with Magda Gerber at the Demonstration Infant Program (DIP) in Palo Alto, California in1976. Janet is the author of many books in the ECE field, having co-authored Infants, Toddlers and Caregivers, going into its ninth edition. On the faculty of WestEd PITC Training of Trainers Institute, Janet conducts seminars and workshops in the U.S. and internationally and is on the Board of Directors of Pikler/Loczy Fund USA.
Hari Grebler (Santa Monica, California) studied and worked with Magda Gerber from 1984 to 1990, and trained at the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary in 1994. She completed her Waldorf Early Childhood Education training in 2000. Hari taught intensive RIE courses at the Rudolf Steiner College summer program (2004-2006) and has presented workshops at numerous early childhood conferences. In 1990, Hari established Hari’s RIE Studio in Santa Monica which offers parent-child classes as well as educational workshops for those involved with young children from birth to three. Hari started Bueno Baby, a company which makes natural wood stools, tables and other RIE-friendly furniture. Hari also mentors RIE students.
Deborah Greenwald (Pensacola, Florida) is a member of the RIE Board of Directors. She joined WestEd in 2002 as a Senior Program Associate at the Center for Child and Family Studies. She directs the Infant/Toddler Guidelines Project for the California Department of Education and is a faculty member of the Program for Infant/Toddler Caregiver Institutes. Prior to working at WestEd, Greenwald spent 15 years in infant/toddler group care. She also taught RIE Parent-Infant Guidance classes and was an infant/toddler specialist in a resource and referral agency. Deborah received a BA in Child Development from Humboldt State University and an MA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. She also holds certificates from the American Montessori Society and Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE). She edits RIE’s Educaring® newsletter and provides training on infant toddler care and development around the country.
Ruth Anne Hammond (Los Angeles, California), author of Respecting Babies: A New Look at Magda Gerber’s RIE Approach (2009), is a RIE Associate and Mentor, having studied under its founder, Magda Gerber, and was RIE President from 2005 to 2011.  She teaches at Pacific Oaks College and was Master Teacher in its Infant/Toddler-Parent Program for 17 years. She participates in a study group on affective neuroscience with Dr. Allan N. Schore of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. A former professional dancer, she continues to express her love of movement in her work with infants and toddlers. •
Eileen Henry (Boulder, Colorado) is a RIE Associate and mother of two excellent sleepers. Her sleep program Compassionate Sleep Solutions™, is a mindful approach to healthy and dependable sleep based on Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach of caring for the young child with respect and authenticity. She lives and teaches in Boulder, and offers private consultations on child sleep and mindful parenting. Eileen’s parent education program is called “Mindful Moments” and is based on the Educaring® Approach.
Johanna Herwitz, holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is a New York State licensed clinical psychologist. She facilitates RIE Parent-Infant Guidance classes in New York City and also serves as an executive board member of the Pikler/Loczy Fund USA. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
 Linda Hinrichs (Topanga, California) is a Child Development Specialist and former Chair of the RIE Alliance of Associates. She met and began her studies with Magda Gerber in 1978 and served on the RIE Board of Directors from 1985-1990. She is a graduate of Cedars-Sinai Hospital Therapeutic Nursery Training Program and Director of The Children’s Corner Play Center in Topanga, California, which she founded in 1980. Linda consults with parents and offers parent education classes at her Center. She studied at the Pikler Institute in 1986, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and presented at the 2007 Pikler International Conference.
Beverly A. Kovach, MN (Melbourne, Florida) has been working with and consulting in early  childhood centers for more than 30 years. She is a RIE Mentor Teacher and was a member of the Board of Directors from 2001 until 2008. Beverly is a Montessori teacher-trainer, consultant, and presenter at national and international conferences, and co-author of Being with Babies. She founded Little Learners Lodge and Montessori of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina in 1977 and established Waverly Place (the first RIE Satellite Center in the USA) in 2003.
Wendy Kronick (Pacific Palisades, California) served on the RIE Board of Directors from 1999-2004. She became passionate about RIE in 1992 as a result of attending Liz Memel’s Parent-Infant Guidance class with her then four-month-old son. She became certified as a RIE Parent-Infant Guidance Class Facilitator in 1997 and has taught in Santa Monica and the West Side. Wendy now facilitates two classes at the Los Angeles RIE Center.
Karla Lee Kuester (Santa Monica, California) has been a RIE Associate since 1989. Her degree is in Early Childhood Education/Developmental Psychology with a minor in Art. Karla has been working with young children and families since 1977, as a Certified Montessori preschool teacher, infant specialist and an Early Interventionist (birth-3, atypical development). She is currently the Early Intervention Field Supervisor for the Step By Step EDU-Play Child Development Program in Santa Monica and in-house CD specialist at UCLA Kreiger Center. She teaches “Infants & Toddlers: A Class for Caregivers” at UC Irvine each spring and other workshops/ teacher trainings. Karla has served as a private tutor, specializing in enrichment and remediation, from K-Adult ages from 1988 to the present.
Melani Ladygo (Los Angeles, California) has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from California State University, Los Angeles. She currently teaches Parent-Infant Guidance classes, serves as the Office Manager at the Los Angeles RIE Center, and is a Foundations facilitator, and has presented workshops on Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach in a variety of conference settings. Melani spent nearly ten years working in a child care center, where she was initially introduced to the Educaring™ Approach and worked as an Infant/Toddler Master Lead Teacher.
Janet Lansbury (Malibu, California) has a passion for parent education that began when she became a mother and sought guidance from infant expert Magda Gerber. Deeply inspired and grateful for Gerber’s wisdom, Janet began training with her professionally. Mentored by Magda, Janet found her calling. Since 1994, Janet has taught RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes, presented at early childhood conferences, served on the RIE Board of Directors and written numerous articles. Her website currently reaches more than 200,000 readers each month.

Kimberly Lewis (Tucson, Arizona) became a RIE Associate in 2010. She has an MEd in Early Childhood Education from Antioch University, and she teaches parent-child and preschool classes at the Tucson Waldorf School. Kimberly is also joining the early childhood faculty of Pima Community College. Her passion is to integrate RIE, Pikler and neuroscience teachings into Waldorf and other educational settings through publications, workshops and a birth to three Yahoo group that she moderates.

Elizabeth Memel (Los Angeles and Ojai, California), is a RIE Mentor Teacher, Vice President of RIE’s Board of Directors and has facilitated Parent-Infant Guidance classes for over 25 years. She instructs the RIE Foundations Course, Practicum and Internship locally and in outreach programs, such as Manhattan and Tucson, Arizona. She was a child development instructor at Los Angeles City College for many years and recently designed and implemented a community non-profit Parent/Infant/Toddler space in Ventura County, California. Liz has her MA from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development, specializing in infants and toddlers.
Ruth Money (Carmichael, California) is a retired RIE Foundations Mentor Teacher, and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the RIE Board of Directors. She worked as a psychologist (MA) before getting into preventive work in early childhood education. Ruth met Magda Gerber in 1985 and became her student and friend. Ruth founded the first RIE Demonstration Infant-Toddler Care Center in 1988 which functioned for ten years. Ruth and three fellow RIE Associates established a Sacramento hub offering RIE Foundations courses and workshops, a RIE Parent-Infant Guidance class, consultation to infant/toddler programs in center care, and a home-based care program.
Gail Nadal (Sacramento, California) is the Chair of the Alliance of RIE Associates. She currently works for the Yolo County Office of Education as the Director of Early Childhood Education. She is a part-time instructor for the Center for Excellence in Child Development at UC Davis Extension and is working with the Yolo County Early Head Start program to incorporate Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach in all the sites. Gail holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership in Child Development as well as her Administrative Credential from CSU Sacramento.
Erica Orosco Cruz (Studio City, California) is a mother of three and a child development specialist who founded Homeschool Garden nursery school in 1999. Erica facilitates RIE Parent-Infant Guidance classes and consults families and professionals based on Magda Gerber’s Educaring™ Approach. Erica is dedicated to providing an environment where children and families can thrive and grow together with a foundation of mutual respect. Erica offers a broad range of experience as a caregiver in diverse settings with groups of children from infancy through adolescence: in a preschool setting, a family day care setting, at a resident camp, as a nanny, and as a mother who home schools.
Kati Owens Gonzales (Pasadena, California) is a RIE mom who has traveled to the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary for advanced training. She taught Family Life and Child Development at Clark College and currently works at Pacific Oaks Children’s School in the Infant Toddler Program. 
Carol Pinto (Los Angeles, California), who provided the garage where Magda Gerber taught her first Parent-Infant Guidance class many decades ago, graduated from RIE in 1981 and was a member of the RIE Board of Directors from 1980 to 2009, serving as President for many years. She is a RIE Foundations Mentor Teacher and Parent-Infant Guidance Class Facilitator. Carol studied at the Pikler Institute in 1986, 1996, 2002 and 2006 and was a speaker and presenter at the 2004 Pikler Symposium. She is also a Feldenkrais Practitioner (GCFP). 
Jude Rose (Santa Cruz, California) is committed to supporting children and parents in all forms of diversity. She worked in non-profit organizations providing prenatal and parent education and support, and in community-based, RIE-influenced infant-toddler care programs. She operated a home-based child care program in Ithaca, New York and has worked in RIE-influenced group infant-toddler programs and migrant child care programs in Santa Cruz County, California. Jude completed her RIE training in 2001 and is a supporting editor of the RIE Foundations Training Curriculum.
Patricia Ryan (Sacramento, California). An Associate with Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) for 15 years, Patty has worked in the field of Infant, Toddler Development and Care for over 20 years. As the principal in Patricia Ryan Consulting, Patty leads workshops, seminars, in-service trainings and a variety of courses in infant, toddler development and care in the U.S. and internationally. Patty is a RIE® Foundations instructor, a RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ facilitator, a founding member of the Sacramento Area Infant, Toddler Network and works as a private consultant for full day infant, toddler group care programs and preschool programs. She is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Human Development at Pacific Oaks College and lives in Sacramento, CA with her husband and teen-aged daughter.
Antoinette Samardzic (Los Angeles, California) is the Secretary of the Alliance of RIE Associates. She is a Parent-Infant Guidance Class Facilitator and studied at the Pikler Institute in 2006. 
Kira photoKira Solomatova (Pasadena, California) has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development. Although both of her parents were engineers, Kira dreamed about working with children from the time she was seven years old. The RIE program is not only inspirational for Kira because it advocates for babies, but it has also helped her to become more authentic. Kira published her first book, Toby is My Bear, as part of a conflict resolution series for preschoolers, and she has a blog about conflicts with toddlers and preschoolers, Kira and her colleague Gilda have collaborated and created a program called Our Parenting Place that is designed to help parents be more effective, find support, acquire information and network ( At Our Parenting Place, Kira teaches RIE Parent-Infant Guidance classes, workshops, and is also available for private consultation.

Lisa Sunbury Gerber (Santa Cruz, California) is a former infant/toddler teacher, currently working as a nanny. Lisa earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley College, and has worked in the field for 25 years. Lisa studied with Magda Gerber at the original home of RIE, formerly served as RIE’s Office Manager, and on RIE’s Board of Directors. Lisa’s experience also includes supervising Cottage Hospital’s Infant/Toddler program, teaching RIE Foundations through UCSB, and presenting at numerous conferences. Lisa is the founder of Regarding Baby. Regarding Baby offers services including: Parent-Infant Guidance classes, consultations for families, and workshops and trainings for professionals.
Diana Suskind (Leominster, Massachusetts) supports authenticity and self-reliant behavior in adult learners as well as young children. In the Spring of 2011, Dr. Suskind volunteered at Liberty Orphanage in Belize. She recently retired as Associate Professor at Fitchburg State University, and was a Senior Fulbright Scholar (New Zealand, and Italy), and Helping Hands, Nepal. She is the co-author of “Baby Dancing.” Diana taught Educaring™ principles at Children’s Hospital No. #1 and Trung Tam Phuc Hoi Tre Suy Dinh Duong Va Trq Giup Tre Tan Tat Orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City in 2005. 
Tuttle, MaryMary Tuttle (North Hollywood, California) was first introduced to RIE when a family she was nannying for handed her Dear Parent in 2004 and she was immediately hooked. She has worked with infants and toddlers in the home setting as a nanny as well as in center-based care as a lead teacher and team leader. In 2009, Mary left the workforce to raise her first child and a second arrived in 2011. RIE has been a blessing to her as a mother. Mary has her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University. She was thrilled to become a RIE Associate in 2013 and is passionate about supporting families and professional caregivers in their journey to integrate RIE into their lives and interactions with babies. 

Nicole Vigliotti (Charleston, South Carolina) began her Early Childhood profession as an Infant Caregiver after completing her RIE Professional Development training with Magda Gerber and Carol Pinto in 1998. Inspired, Nicole continued her RIE studies and became a RIE Associate in 2011. Nicole is also certified as an Early Childhood Montessori Directress at the 3-6 level and is under mentorship with Anna Tardos and Agnes Szanto-Feder of the Pikler Institute. She currently serves as Program Director for Little Learners Lodge, a RIE Certified Infant Center located outside Charleston, South Carolina and is a strong advocate for Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach in center-based care. In addition, Nicole facilitates RIE Parent-Infant Guidance classes where she enjoys meeting and supporting new parents and sharing her personal experiences of raising her three boys using the Educaring® Approach.

JungSun Wohn (Seoul, Korea) first discovered RIE while she was searching for deeper knowledge in early childhood caregiving. She was fortunate to study under Magda Gerber and become a RIE Associate. She carried out Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach through her own “ChungSam Educaring Center” in Seoul where Magda Gerber and Carol Pinto once visited. Currently, JungSun is teaching a “Respect Baby & Respect Mom” class (which focuses on authentic, competent children and professional parents) at various lifelong learning centers. She also runs Green School, an online/offline school for preschoolers (children up to age 6). JungSun earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Child and Family Development from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul.

Karen Ziskin (Manhattan Beach, California) was a lead teacher from 1994-1998 at The South Bay Infant Center, the first RIE Demonstration Infant-Toddler Care Center. Karen served on the RIE Board of Directors from 2000-2006.