Our Community

Facilitators, Co-op LIAISONS, and Community PARTNERS


Madelyn zins, director and lead FACILIATOR

My life’s work is to learn about the act of learning. Cottonwood is the perfect incubator for discoveries in this process. My curiosity and thirst to explore derive mostly from the extreme regard my learning process was given during my undergraduate studies at Washington College where I studied English and Environmental Studies. The small, local learning experience I was privileged to have in Chestertown inspired me to share learning experiences rich with freedom, support, intentionality, inquiry and dedication with a wide network of learners. I am grateful to now do this in Brooklyn with a community of self-directed, nature-based child learners through such experiences at Cottonwood. I also guide many adults in a number of communities through various movement meditation healing modalities including yoga and improvised dance. You may run into Madelyn indulging in an affogato at Van Leeuwen (after school, of course!)

Contact: madelynzins@gmail.com


Katri inkilainen, FACILITATOR

I grew up in Finland where play-based learning is at the core of early education. I have been working with children for over nine years in various settings and have found my calling in self-directed learning where kids are guided to take responsibility and ownership of their interests. I have lived in New York City for five years, during which time I’ve had the privilege to facilitate at the Finnish School of New York as well as to finish my degree in Early Childhood Education. At Cottonwood, our mission is to create a thriving community in which we treat each other with respect and empathy, share ideas and build each other up. My personal passion is music which is something I get to share with the Cottonwood kids every week. I studied classical guitar for thirteen years in Finland, and I absolutely love to sing. Fun fact: I can sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in ten languages!

Contact: k.inkilainen@gmail.com


Sari GOnzalez, Parent Liason & Operations director

Sari is the coop’s parent liaison and operations director. She offers support to current and prospective parents of the coop, as well as operational support for the program.

Contact: saribgonzo@gmail.com

Park Church Coop

The school is located at 129 Russell Street, the home of the Park Church Coop. As we share space with the program, we also share efforts to engage with the community and strive to support the PCC with monthly service days in partnership with them.


Contact: info@parkchurchcoop.org

Cottonwood ALC

We hold a strong connection with our sister school in Helena, MT. Cottonwood ALC is run by Cottonwood NYC’s founder, Sara Casey Taleff and has some Cottonwood NYC students and alumni attending its summer camps each year.


Contact: contact@cottonwoodalc.org