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Lauren Ballester (she/her)


Lauren is a queer mixed-race Dominican-Philadelphian. She has worked in many traditional school and childcare settings and is passionate about centering the voices, passion and joy of young people in a setting that supports who they are as whole people. She loves to spend time near water and in nature. She is also a writer and lover of language. She lives in West Philly with her sister and is excited about building intentional community with young people. 


Bethany Castillo-Cann (she)

Elementary Homeschool Evaluator

Bethany is an unschooling mom of two kids, a former music + math teacher (12 years) in the Philly School District, and a homeschool evaluator. She lives in South Philly where she provides child-care and owns Songbird Music, a small business offering local music classes. 

Anna D'Isidoro (she/her)


Anna is a farmer, bread-baker, and artist. Her greatest inspiration is found through exploring nonhierarchical collaborations between humans and nonhumans– how these relationships open up channels for deeper knowing and “sense of place.” She has experience in after-school programming centered in food and cooking and seeks to co-create spaces that nurture processes where magic is upheld and not diminished. As a new arrival to the world of unschooling, she hopes to contribute to the spaciousness, safety and trust that is necessary for young people to truly self-actualize.

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Teresa Giardina (she/they)

Special Education +  Homeschool Evaluation

My name is Teresa Giardina (she/her or they/them). I am a special education teacher at HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Philly Free School. I am certified in elementary, special education, and middle school science in Pennsylvania. I live in an intentional community in West Philadelphia with my partner and our two children and two other families. I am the parent of two young people: Gus age 13 and Sage age 2. Gus is homeschooled in a self-directed/unschooled style and Sage is constantly schooling us in the ways of the toddler!


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Hannah Mack (they/them)

Co-Founder, Co-President, Facilitator

Hannah is a queer educator who loves visioning, planning, implementing, and facilitating programs with youth, especially teens. Hannah grew up in the wilderness of unceded Lenni-Lenape land, and brings their connection to the natural world to their facilitation and relationship building with young people. A former secondary English teacher, Hannah couldn’t ignore the disconnection between most classroom learning and the real lives of young people. In 2018, they left public ed and joined other families to help found Philly ALC. In 2020, they co-founded The Dandelion Project with a vision of making unschooling and community building more accessible, inclusive, and rooted in core values. Hannah is a parent to three unschoolers, and they also facilitate with teens at Youth Peace Circles, an Alternatives to Gun Violence Program at Philly Thrive.


Hannah’s long term vision is co-creating a highly- accessible collective of unschooling + community building spaces and programs for young people and families in Philadelphia. That work is starting with the Philly Alt Ed Collective. 

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Lily Myers (she/her)

Aftercare Facilitator +

Camp Co-Director

Lily Myers is a queer, environmental educator and gardener who grew up in the woods of Vermont, on unceded Abenaki land. She has been teaching about art, science, nature, gardening, and food in the Philadelphia area for the last few years. 


She is new to the unschooling movement but is passionate about education focused on youth agency and empowerment, non-hierarchal learning, and increasing accessibility to nature and environmental education for everyone. She has experience teaching after-school nature clubs, organizing and facilitating outdoor youth field trips, teaching place-based school garden education, and various other environmental education programs across the city with Let’s Go Outdoors, Philly Thrive, and directly for schools. She is excited to continue this work with Philly youth at The Dandelion Project with their Aftercare program and camps.

Lauren Umlauf (she)

Co-Founder, Treasurer, Facilitator

Lauren is deeply committed to creating community centered education. She is a certified elementary school teacher, with a Master's degree in the Science of Instruction, and a parent to three unschooling children. Lauren co-founded the South Philly Cooperative Playschool in 2014 to fill the need for community driven, affordable early childhood education in South Philadelphia. She was also a founding member of the Philly Agile Learning Community in 2018, a school for self-directing young people. Lauren believes that creating a new model of education that prioritizes self-determination and community is the path to liberatory learning.


Community Partners

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