Our Board

Denise Liberi, Teacher Representative

Denise is an educator, artist, and resident of Eau Gallie. She studied Fine Arts and Graphic Design at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, and completed her graduate degree in Art Education at Boston University. Denise has taught and held administrative roles within the museum, public school, gallery, and non-profit settings. She is a specialist in arts integration – an approach to teaching that integrates art as a primary pathway to understand concepts across multiple disciplines and core content areas.

Denise is a patient and dedicated teacher. She seeks to maintain an inquisitive, creative, respectful, and fun learning environment. At the Verdi EcoSchool, Denise wears many hats as a co-educator of the Upper School and arts integration specialist in addition to her roles as an administrator and board member. When not teaching or making art, you can find Denise cooking, gardening, renovating her house with her husband Matt, or walking her dogs.

Sandra Walder McMillin, Parent Representative/Secretary

Sandra received her MBA from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. Ms. Walder’s international experiences have led her to positions as a consultant, Executive Project Manager and partner at international firm, UsersInnovate. She is an author and educational entrepreneur as the founder of Microschool, LLC.

Ms. Walder is one of the original “founding families” of Verdi EcoSchool and currently enjoys living on the Space Coast with her family as an AirBnB owner/operator.

Sara Russo, Community Representative

Sara is a curator, florist, and resident of Melbourne Beach. A native of the area, she returned to Brevard in 2006 to own/operate Thallo Floral Design Studio. In 2012, she began working as curator of eduction at the Renee Foosaner Education Center, Florida Institute of Technology. While in that position, she revitalized and renovated the community art and summer camp program, created exhibition-related educational programming, and developed community events including April in Paris. During her tenure Sara met Ayana and began working towards ways to integrate Verdi Eco School into the EGAD landscape.

Sara received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Eckerd College which sparked her love for learning and fostered an understanding of the value of empowering individuals to improve the world through mastery of self and a lifetime of learning, both inside the classroom and the community we live in.

Ayana Verdi, President

Ayana is the founder of Verdi EcoSchool and a Drexel Fund Fellow. She was inspired to begin this extraordinary journey by her beautiful children and is an Eau Gallie Arts District resident.

John Verdi, Vice President

John Verdi is a retired law enforcement officer and 9/11 First Responder. John received a degree in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University in New York City and is the co-founder of the HeyBlue! Initiative: an interactive approach to creating meaningful connections between police officers and the communities they serve. John is a mentor at the Momentum Student Incubator at the Florida Institute of Technology and serves as both board member and security consultant for Verdi EcoSchool.

John enjoys leading a free weekly story-time for children at a local recreation center and coffee shop and is an Eau Gallie Arts District resident.





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