Stacey Gummey, Founder, Executive Director and Lead Teacher
Stacey is a certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher and a trained Pennsylvania Master Naturalist. She is also a native of Kennett Square, PA. Stacey began her studies at West Chester University in Pennsylvania with a focus on Art Education. She went on to MCCA Training Institute in Maryland and received her Early Childhood Education Development and Curriculum Teaching Certificate and also studied the Reggio Emilia Approach where she honed her skills as an Early Childhood Educator. After 5 years as a classroom teacher and 8 years as a Director at a large playgroup in Washington, DC. Stacey Gummey founded Hickory Hill Nature School to meet the needs of families who value the Forest Kindergarten philosophies and to offer an alternative to a 4 wall classroom that does not fit all children's needs. Stacey has come full circle in her love of nature as she experienced a very nature rich childhood in Kennett and Unionville growing up. Stacey and her husband Michael are also the proud parents of Endsley (9) and Hutch (6). They currently reside in Chadds Ford, PA.
Jessica Ladin, Lead Teacher
Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in Coastal Policy and Management. After college she served in the United States Peace Corps, as a Marine Conservation Development Extension Volunteer, in the Federated States of Micronesia. During her time in Micronesia she realized her commitment to environmental conservation through education. Back in the US, she worked for four years as an environmental educator and teacher naturalist.
After moving to Delaware, she received her
Masters of Education from the University of Delaware; certificates include: Special Education K-12, DE Teacher of Elementary Children K-6, DE Teacher of Elementary Children K-12, DE Teacher of Middle Level Science 6-8. She taught third grade for two years before having her two children. She is also certified to teach child yoga by Child Light Yoga. Jessica will also be traveling to Cedarsong Nature School to become a certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher.
Lolita grew up in Bucks County Pa. She grew up with two brothers playing in the woods, climbing trees, and throwing rocks. Fast forward to her adult years, where she still thoroughly enjoys the simple gifts of nature!
Lolita now lives in Newark, De. After becoming a mom, she realized the benefit and necessity of brining her child into nature on a regular basis. Before joining Hickory Hill, Lolita co-led a local nature based play group. She brings over those experiences and lessons to our school!
She is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish. She holds a TESOL certification (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and works with children ages 5-12 learning to speak English. She studied at Wesley College and holds her BSBA.
Fun facts: she loves photography and playing the drums!
Nina Walmsley Draper
Nina Draper grew up in New Orleans climbing trees, playing soccer, and babysitting. Spending her summers in Acadia National Park she came to love everything nature. Hurricane Katrina brought her back home from Colgate University in 2006 to run a nonprofit created help a devastated neighborhood rebuild. After graduating from Tulane with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology she moved to Los Angeles where she fell into work as an Interior Designer. With her nieces and nephews close by, she spent her spare time with them exploring everything the California coast had to offer from the mountains to the ocean. After nearly a decade on the west coast, she followed her heart back east to the rolling green hills and lush landscape of Chadds Ford where she lives with her husband and their two dogs. She is now pursuing her combined interest in childhood development and nature education.