Our People

Our Administration & Staff

bdiperna@orchardfriends.org Beth has been working with kids with language and learning differences for 27 years. A trained Speech-Language Pathologist, she graduated from Rutgers University with a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Psychology. Beth went on for her Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology with minor focus in Audiology at New York University. She has worked in a wide variety of settings with a wide variety of populations, most recently prior to OFS in private practice which allowed her flexibility as a mother of four kids. This is Beth’s 9th year at Orchard Friends School. She previously served as the school’s Speech-Language Pathologist, Director of Admissions, as well as Interim Head of School.

Courtney Bell started her career as a junior high school Language Arts teacher. She graduated from Chestnut Hill College with a BA in English Literature and a 7-12th Secondary Education Certification. She holds a teaching certificate in both PA and NJ. After staying home to raise her four children, she returned to education as a special education teaching assistant for five years before becoming Orchard Friends School administrative assistant. What she loves most about OFS is the nurturing family environment and the amazing staff and students! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and two rescue dogs, Molly and Harper.   

Our Teachers and Faculty

(click the names to read more!)

Pam Carpenter, MEd - Special Education Teacher

Pam Carpenter has lived in South Jersey all her life and has been a teacher at OFS for 10 years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Drexel University. Ms. Carpenter earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education, with a specialty in Autism, from Drexel University as well. She is trained in many programs including Wilson’s Fundations and Orton Gillingham. In her spare time Ms. Carpenter enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering for the MS Society and her local Civic Association. She lives in Cherry Hill with her husband and two children.

Kate Johnson - Special Education Teacher

Kate Johnson, a lifelong resident of Riverton, has been teaching in a variety of settings since graduating from University of the Arts in 1990. Although her initial focus was primarily Art and Early Childhood Education, she quickly realized the benefits her students with learning differences reaped from an arts intensive curriculum. More recently, she attended Rutgers University to formalize her Special Education credentials and further study the intersection of special education and the arts. She is thrilled to have a home at Orchard Friends, where teachers are encouraged to think outside the box in an effort to serve the individual needs of each student. In her spare time, Kate works as a teaching artist, specializing in community mosaic projects. She also enjoys relaxing with a book or playing board games with her family and friends.

Mindy King - Occupational Therapist
Sharon Pearl - Speech Language Pathologist

Sharon K. Pearl, M.A., CCC-SLP  has more than 30 years of experience serving children with speech, language, learning, oral motor (including Childhood Apraxia of Speech) and auditory processing disorders in private practice in the South Jersey area.  She has served as a consultant in both public and private schools in Camden County.  Sharon works closely with parents and teachers, empowering them to help their children, using the latest technologies. Language skills and learning go hand in hand.  Sharon’s language therapy addresses skills needed for academic success such as phonological awareness skills, listening skills, language based reasoning skills, reading readiness skills, oral and written narrative skills and executive function/organizational skills.  Working closely with teachers, often utilizing the student’s academic materials, supports the student’s educational process while simultaneously attaining speech therapy goals.Sharon received her training and education from Queens College, City University of New York for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), New Jersey Speech-Language Hearing Association (NJSHA) and Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology.  Sharon is licensed in New Jersey and certified by the NJ Department of Education and ASHA.

Brittany Sefransky - Special Education Teacher

Mrs. Brittany Sefranksy just moved to the Cinnaminson area in 2020.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Arcadia University in Elementary Education K-8, as well as her Master’s degree in Special Education N-12.  Prior to coming Orchard Friends, Brittany worked in a school for students with dyslexia as both a teacher and administrator.  In her free time, Brittany enjoys spending time with family, especially her two nephews, friends, and her dog Pudge.  She is very excited to be a part of the Orchard team.

Caroline Waraksa - Special Education Teacher


Caroline Waraksa graduated from Widener University with a BA degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education.  Mrs. Waraksa is also an Orton Gillingham classroom educator. Prior to coming to Orchard Friends School, she was a Special Education Teacher at Larc School and a Teacher Assistant for the Burlington County Special Services School District in the Pioneer Autism and Sensory Center. Mrs. Waraksa is a graduate of Holy Cross High School, where she played varsity basketball and softball.  She enjoys participating in outdoor activities, spending time with family, and playing with her two rescue dogs. She lives in Cherry Hill with her husband and daughter.

Cleveland “Sandy” Rea School Committee Clerk taught elementary school for 15 years including the final 8 of those years in Quaker Schools. He is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers). He was licensed as a psychologist in New Jersey after completing a Ph.D. in School Psychology at Temple University. Before joining the School Committee of Orchard Friends in 2005, he served on the Board of Delaware Valley Friends School for nine years.
Larue Evans’ 35 year career involved working with students and teachers from grades pre-K through to undergraduates at Rutgers College, Camden Campus. Larue spent 23 years at the Moorestown Friends School. While serving as director of the Lower School she helped the Lower School achieve the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence; awarded in Wash. D.C. by the United States Department of Education. Larue’s career continued for more than a decade in the Cherry Hill Public Schools in New Jersey –during which time, as a “Colleague Teacher” she mentored teachers on how to create and implement curriculum design based on developmental frameworks for mathematics and science.
Polly Kimberly has been an independent school educator for more than twenty years. She began her career at a boarding school in upstate New York, where she worked for thirteen years as an English teacher, coach, and dorm parent. When her family moved to New Jersey in 2009, she worked at Orchard Friends School as a classroom assistant, and over those two years she fell in love with the school and its students and gained a profound appreciation for the importance of special education. For the past seven years she has worked as a college counselor and diversity coordinator at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia.
Board Member & Co-founder of Orchard Friends School since 1997, Kiyo is an advocate for hands-on, life-long learning. Growing up on her family farm many of her activities have been agricultural or ecologically based including service projects for international hunger relief, 4-H, Our Shared Ground and work for California & NJ Agricultural Extension. Past & present committee and Board service work has been for Pendle Hill Study Center, Moorestown Monthly Meeting, and Haverford College Corporation. Her work has centered around Moorestown Friends School working at the MFS Thrift Shop and as a costumer for MFS theatrical productions. Education: University of CA, Davis, MS / Wilmington College-Ohio, BA
Mr. Riggins brings a background in business and government, currently serving as Strategy Director for Riggins Oil, Inc. – one of the largest privately held companies in New Jersey – where he is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s strategic initiatives. Matt previously worked as a management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, and served as Deputy Communications Director and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Rob Andrews in Washington DC. He received his MBA from Georgetown University and his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University.

Suzanne is a technical leader with over 30 years of experience in the food
industry solving operational problems and providing solutions for both quality and
food safety initiatives. She has held leadership positions at the Campbell Soup
Company, Kroger, and currently with PepsiCo North American Beverages.
Suzanne brings her passion for education and organizational leadership to
advance the impact and ensure sustainability of Orchard Friends School.
Education: BS Microbiology Pennsylvania State University, MBA Rutgers
University, Masters Food Science and Nutrition Drexel University.