Tradition &

About the Honorees

Outstanding Alumnus Award 
Rob Haedrich ‘78, P ‘09, P ’14, P ’15

Rob Haedrich’s ‘78 history with The Waldorf School of Garden City all began with his mom’s foresight and parent’s sacrifice to send him to the greatest school in the greatest time period. Rob & his mom were interviewed by John Gardner to start kindergarten, and the journey of a lifetime began!

Thanks to Laszlo Jurak, Rob started a sport called Team Handball, which he played in tournaments on a regular basis during his high school years, culminating in National Club Team Championships; Empire State Games with countless gold medals (and even a Gold medal as a coach); National Sports Festivals in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center; and dozens of international competitions with three summers in Hungary, Czechoslovakia (behind the Iron Curtain), and Mexico on the Junior National Team representing the United States. All before the age of 18!

Rob attended Adelphi University proudly as the recipient of the Waldorf Scholar, where he played Division 1 soccer, ranked 8th in the nation. After college, Rob started working in his family printing business at New York Label in sales in New York City.

In Rob’s spare time, he started serving on a handful of Boards and organizations to start to give back to causes he admired. Rob served as Vice President for eight years at his family’s most memorable place, The Bayberry Beach & Tennis Club. Rob also served as Chairman on The Islip Hamlet Restoration Trust, where he raised private donations to install period lampposts to beautify Islip’s Main Street and served as a Campaign Manager for a Suffolk County Councilman. Additionally, Rob was a member of The Lion’s Club, where he volunteered to help those in need in his community. Rob was awarded Suffolk Life’s Person of the Year and awarded a citizen’s proclamation from Suffolk County.

In the mid 90’s, Rob was honored to serve on the Board of Trustees of The Waldorf School of Garden City. He was in awe of his fellow Trustees and did his best to work hard and contribute on the Development & Executive Board committees. During his tenure, fellow Board member Chris Pisano ‘81, suggested Rob work for his family company. Fast forward years later, Rob just celebrated his 25th year at Citrus & Allied Essences and working for the Pisano Family. Rob has traveled to more than 55 countries in his position in purchasing but above all learning, working, and growing a company with an esteemed global reputation with his classmate Rich Pisano has been the most fulfilling career on the planet and journey of a lifetime.

Rob regards his wife, Lauren, and three children, Chelsea ’09, Noah ’14, and Faith ’15 who all attended WSGC, as his greatest achievements. The Waldorf Community will always be Rob’s second family.

Spirit of Waldorf Award
Grant Butler ‘85 

Grant Butler ’85 was born in Mineola, New York on November 8, 1966, to Louise and Jay Butler.  It was a midterm election day.  He spent his early toddler days at a Garden City daycare center, where after a few notable social disputes, the search began for a new school for Grant.  He was fortunate enough to land a spot in what became The Waldorf School of Garden City’s Class of 1985. His sister, Emily, soon joined her class of 1983. After 8th grade, Grant moved with his mother Louise, and Emily to New Hampshire, to the other side of Mt. Monadnock from their beloved Camp Glen Brook. Louise still resides there to this day with her husband Bernie. After attending a couple of local NH high schools, Grant returned to WSGC for his senior year to graduate with his class.

From there Grant attended the University of New Hampshire, where he graduated with a BA in geography. This major set Grant up perfectly for a career in education and construction! From UNH, Grant went to work for his old Glen Brook friend Jason Townley, doing summer stock theater at UVA. That crash course took Grant to other union scenery shops in NYC, Washington DC, and an apprenticeship in Seattle.

As engaging as the world of set construction was for Grant, he longed for the opportunity to teach in a Waldorf school. After interning at High Mowing School and Bethesda Waldorf School, he enrolled in Sunbridge College. The master’s degree seminar was given by his old camp counselor, Stephen Sagarin ‘81. From Sunbridge, Grant moved to Baltimore for a couple of years before relocating to Philadelphia to be closer to his now wife, Jennifer, who was also a student at Sunbridge. They settled in Phoenixville, PA and married in 2000 at the Kimberton Inn, close to where Jennifer was teaching at KWS. Grant took on a first grade at The Waldorf School of Philadelphia and carried them through fourth grade.  He enjoyed the life of the school, but found himself working more and more on his house in Phoenixville rather than preparing for the forthcoming main lessons!

In 2003 Grant and Jennifer moved to Glen Brook. Glen Brook offered what he was hoping for: a chance to be around young people and share the joys of caretaking. In the 17 years on campus, they raised their two children: Jae, 19, and Grace, 15. Jennifer taught extensively with the Monadnock Waldorf School, and then with the rebranded Gathering Waters Waldorf Charter School. Since 2020 they have been living in nearby Keene from where Grant happily commutes.

Grant enjoyed multiple happy summers as a Glen Brook camper starting at age 7 with his friend and classmate Scott Williams ‘85. Their counselors included former teachers Andy Leaf and Michael Welch, as well as a summer with Preston Martindale ‘76. To this day Grant keeps in touch with several people who did the same work he does now:  Doug Hamshaw ‘68, Steve Salamin ‘76, Steve Yardley, and Dwight Webb ‘72.  Being a part of the WSGC, however peripheral, has had special meaning for Grant. He credits the school for many of his most impactful relationships today, as well as his appreciation for music (still playing cello), sports, art, and the creative caretaking he thrives on each day at Glen Brook.

Distinguished Faculty Award 
Alexios Kritas ‘85, P ‘19, P ‘23

Alexios Kritas ‘85 has been teaching high school English at The Waldorf School of Garden City for two decades. He especially enjoys teaching poetry and runs the high school’s creative writing elective which publishes Aura, a literary journal showcasing student talent. Alexios first came to Waldorf in 1972, his parents enrolling him in Athie Martindale’s kindergarten class. In lower school, Elizabeth Scherer became his class teacher. Alexios remembers that she provided his class with experiential learning opportunities to gain important concepts, while simultaneously holding the students accountable for completing regular homework assignments designed to develop basic skills. In middle school, Alexios learned to enjoy academics, athletics, and art from class teacher Mr. Resnick, a multi-talented Renaissance person who had run the Boston Marathon and who had exhibited his water-color landscapes at the prestigious Clarke Art Museum. In high school, Alexios developed a keen interest in writing and literature, reading the books his older sister Demetra had read for class in addition to his own assignments, while maintaining an afterschool job as the neighborhood newspaper delivery person.

After graduating from WSGC in 1985, Alexios attended Williams College in Massachusetts where he majored in English literature, courses in American literature being among his favorites. At Williams, Alexios created a student-run class on archaeology after spending a winter study abroad in Greece assisting a professor excavating a Bronze Age tomb near Mycenae. Upon getting his degree, Alexios joined the Peace Corps and was sent to a school in the Kalahari region of Botswana to teach English at a school located on the edge of the Okavango flood plain. There, he learned that teaching is a demanding profession and felt humbled when he realized that most of his African colleagues spoke at least three languages fluently. He was equally impressed with the maturity and resolve of his students, many of whom lived alone in the village during the week and then ran several miles home on the weekends to help their parents with agricultural work at the cattle posts surrounding the village.

Returning to the US, Alexios had a conversation with mother, Beverly Kritas, and consequently enrolled at Brooklyn College to complete courses for his NY State teaching license. After observing a licensed teacher for the fall semester and then teaching the spring semester at South Shore High School in Brooklyn, he began a Master’s program at Harvard University where he studied curriculum development among other subjects. There, he met his wife, Laurie Buelvas-Kritas, who enrolled in three of the same courses he selected first semester. Alexios is eternally grateful to his grandmother Lois Taber Coelho, a longtime library clerk, for paying his tuition.

In 1993, Alexios began teaching English, grades 7-12, at Saint Demetrios Greek-American School in Astoria. After two years, he reluctantly left the support of the Greek-American community –they had helped him open a weekend SAT tutoring business–and moved to Long Beach on Long Island’s South Shore. Joining the public school system, Alexios commuted for four years to Intermediate School 111, where he taught English to 300 students. With so few resources and many students, the job sometimes felt overwhelming. While there, he organized and led a schoolwide trip to climb Bear Mountain; the students absolutely loved it!

After another conversation with his mother who had just learned that Waldorf School was looking for a middle school class teacher, Alexios applied for this position and was given the job. After four years in this role, Alexios applied for a position teaching English in the high school and was offered the job. After going for a run with high school chair Roland Rothenbucher who articulated his ideal vision of the high school as they rounded the golf course, Alexios accepted the position. Alexios is grateful to be a member of the Waldorf faculty, “where teachers are afforded freedom in delivering the curriculum designed to help students meet the world with courage and conviction, and where we have the resources, we need to meet the needs of each individual student. Above all else, I am grateful for the unique education my son and daughter (Christian ’19 and Chloe ’23) received here and the innovative and dedicated teachers who helped my children build foundational skills. Moving through the Waldorf curriculum, my children had the opportunity to grow at their own pace, gain an appreciation for art, drama, music, and athletics, learn how to learn, engage in critical thinking, and discover capacities they did not even know they had. In short, Waldorf has been a blessing for them.”

Hans R. Brechbühl Service Award 
Martina and John Keane, P ‘18

Martina and John Keane’s journey at The Waldorf School of Garden City began with the enchantment of the Early Childhood Program, as it does for many families. Their triplet daughters cherish memories from their days in Mrs. Foster and Mrs. Lyons’ kindergarten class, maintaining the tradition of baking the renowned honey cake for each birthday. Residing in Queens, Martina drove her daughters each morning, welcomed by the captivating sunrise along the Cross Island Parkway. Unbeknownst to them at that time, they would make this drive for the next 14 years, with the girls becoming lifers at the school, graduating in 2018.

Martina and John, both born and raised in the rural countryside of Ireland (Co. Waterford and Co. Clare), crossed paths after immigrating to NYC. Continuing his passion for engineering, John worked in the construction industry before embarking on a lifelong career in real estate. Martina worked as a nanny for a family that felt like her own, before transitioning into the business world, ultimately landing at Citigroup. As the millennium turned, their lives became significantly busier with the arrival of their three lively daughters. Martina then became a stay-at-home mom, later revisiting the real estate field alongside John.

The Fraims, family friends and fellow members of the Waldorf community, introduced them to the school. From family camp hikes up Mount Monadnock at Camp Glen Brook and serene evenings at the Carol Sing, to cheering at cross country meets and soccer, basketball, and softball games, Martina and John actively engaged in every aspect of the school — volunteering as a class representative, attending class trips, and fundraising for the community.

Participating in the Waldorf School Exchange Program, over the course of two years, the Keane Family welcomed three German exchange students. In turn, Sarah, Kate, and Emma traveled abroad to different regions of Germany, lived with host families, and attended German Waldorf schools, immersing themselves in a new culture and gaining exposure to diverse world perspectives.

The Waldorf School of Garden City has left a lasting impression on the Keane Family, for which they are immensely grateful.