JENNIFER STRAUSSER – director of programming and membership
Jen applied for a job at apple seeds because she truly loves every child she meets (and she could walk to work). In fact, she threatens to take a few home with her every day. (Don't worry her background check came back clean.) In the past nine years she has gone from creating and launching our extremely popular apple seedlings gentle separation program to overseeing all apple seeds classes, teachers, curriculum and membership. We call Jen the baby whisperer around these parts. Put a child (or parent for that matter) in her arms and watch the tears turn to laughter in 3.2 seconds flat. Jen is mother to Cole, an amazing 14 year old boy who is obsessed with Ultimate Fighting and his mom.
TOM DELPIZZO – songs for seeds coordinator
You name it, Tom has done it here at apple seeds. Since apple seeds inaugural year in 2007, Tom could be found in the playground, classes, front desk, and birthdays. He has been an interior painter, an electrician, a voice actor (yes, that’s his voice on the phone system), a web designer, a photographer (yes, these headshots on this page were taken by Tom), a plumber, a dancer and our resident juggler. At one point Tom was the Facilities Manager overseeing: the daily operations of all our Manhattan and satellite locations, day time floor teams, and evening cleaning crews. Now Tom is excited to step into his latest role as Music Manager (oh, he also plays guitar and sings)! Tom received his BA in Acting & Directing from DeSales University near his hometown of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is the very proud father of his son – who he and his wife Kate welcomed in September 2014 – Benjamin Thomas.
DARIUS MARTIN – facilities coordinator
Darius was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. After leaving the city for college, he returned to complete a degree in Theatre at Brooklyn College. In the spring of 2012, while still at Brooklyn College, Darius found his way to apple seeds...and he's been here ever since. Darius has always enjoyed working with children and has found it very easy to relate to them (mostly because he is just a big kid himself). It became apparent that apple seeds would be a good fit for Darius and he has held a number of different jobs here: playground attendant, teacher, and evening crew member, just to name a few. Darius is now the Facilities Coordinator and oversees both our daytime floor team as well as our evening cleaning staff.
ASHER TOURIEL – accountant
Asher joined the apple seeds team in January 2014 as our accountant. As much as he enjoys his work, he quickly began escaping his Excel spreadsheets to make funny faces and noises at kids around him. He has been seen (if he doesn't have a pencil behind his ear) carrying a child on his back and trying to make him laugh. Asher is the father of two adorable kids, Maayan and Liam, who really enjoy visiting their father’s workplace. Asher received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Ramat Gan College (Israel) and another bachelor’s degree in Law from Ono Academic Center College (also in Israel). He is experienced at integrating technology with operations processes to ensure we're running a cost-effective business. Outside of apple seeds, Asher enjoys traveling, especially to New England, and reading books.
NANCY BRANDLER – Chelsea General Manager
Nancy, originally from Northern New Jersey, has been working at apple seeds since July 2015 as a front desk associate, and then as the Oval Kids supervisor. She is excited to step into this new role at apple seeds, as she has loved every minute getting to know the children and their families at all three locations. Nancy holds a bachelor of music degree in music education from Westminster Choir College, as well as a master’s degree in vocal performance and an advanced certificate in vocal pedagogy from New York University. When not at apple seeds, you can find Nancy singing in various ensembles throughout the city or teaching private voice lessons. In her spare time, Nancy also enjoys organizing things, seeing Broadway shows, and eating delicious vegetarian food.
KEELYN MITCHELL – birthday manager
Keelyn is a Music Education graduate from Stetson University (Go Hatters! Yes...that's their mascot...). She has worked as a K-12 Music Educator - band, chorus, and theatre - for 6 years, and continued her work as a private teacher, photographer, and Stage Manager in Central FL, until moving to NYC this past July! She and her husband Chris have an 8 year old pug/fur daughter named Mia, enjoy going to the theatre, and love road-tripping out west for some snowboarding and time with family!
NICK ANDERSON –– UWS general manager
Nick has graduate level training in child development psychology and has worked in early childhood for over 10 years. Before joining apple seeds, Nick was the program director for a preschool in Philadelphia. He has 3 music performance awards from Downbeat Magazine, and writes kids dance-pop, rock, and hip hop music. Nick's YouTube Channel, Mr. Nickle Kids, is about space, music, drawing, Legos, and more! His wife, Tanuja, is a resident at Montefiore Hospital in the Internal Medicine Primary Care unit, and they love to go backpacking together. When Nick grows up, he wants to be an astronaut.