Amélie Veyrat-Durebex

Amélie Veyrat-Durebex

Amélie is the Assistant Director of Smith Street Maternelle.  As a founding teacher, Amélie has played a major part in the development of the school. She began teaching in our French immersion playgroup in 2016 and became the lead teacher of the Petite Section the following year.

In addition to her administrative role, she is the lead teacher in Toute Petite Section. Amélie has a Master's Degree in Sociolinguistics and Teaching French as a foreign language from the University François Rabelais in Tours, France. She has taught French in various schools around the world, namely in Vancouver and later in the beautiful Loire Valley in France. Amélie loves reading stories, doing (messy) art projects, and dancing.

  Laure Bastide

Laure Bastide

Laure is the lead teacher in Petite Section. She was born in France but grew up all over the world - from the Ivory Coast to Vanuatu to São Tomé. After finishing high school in France, she moved to San Francisco to work as an au-pair for a French family. During that time, she also completed her associates degree in Photography at the City College of San Francisco. After working as a caregiver with children for several years, Laure became an assistant teacher at the French American International School of San Francisco.

Laure is now pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Development at Brooklyn College. In the classroom, she loves art projects, music, and storytelling.

  Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth is the lead teacher in Moyenne Section. She grew up in France in a little village just north of Paris. Elizabeth was raised by an American father and a French mother. After University in France, she decided to move to Boston to better understand her father's country. Elizabeth first worked at l'Alliance Française in Boston where she specialized in toddler classes. Three years later, she moved to New York to start a children's program in a French language school in Williamsburg (Coucou Brooklyn). In 2015, she worked at the Lycée Français as long term substitute teacher in their PreK, Kindergarten and Elementary programs.

Education is Elizabeth's passion and she's a big believer in play-based learning and differentiated pedagogy. Providing the children with the resources they need to reach new developmental milestones is an absolute thrill and a responsibility she’s truly grateful for.

  Clara Pedeches

Clara Pedeches

Clara is the assistant teacher in Moyenne Section. Clara was born and raised around Paris and moved to New York three years ago. She has a bachelor's degree in Literature and Civilizations, with a specialization in the English Language.

Before coming to Smith Street Maternelle in 2016, Clara led playgroups and music classes in French across all age groups: from infants to middle-schoolers in a school on the Upper East Side. Clara is passionate about children’s literature and loves sharing a good story with her students. 

  Megan Stahl

Megan Stahl

Megan is the assistant teacher in Petite Section. She is an Oregon-born francophile with undergraduate degrees in French from Portland State University and Film from Paris Nanterre University.

She spent three years living in Paris as an au pair, a middle school English Teaching Assistant with the TAPIF program, and a film student. Megan moved to Brooklyn in 2017 from Oregon, where she worked as a preschool assistant at Portland's L’Étoile French Immersion School. In her free time she enjoys running, cooking, traveling, filmmaking, and playing the piano. She is so excited to join the team at Smith Street Maternelle!

  Laurence Abbasi

Laurence Abbasi

Laurence is the assistant teacher in Toute Petite Section this year. She is originally from Versailles, France. After earning her Master’s Degree in Law, Laurence studied International Business and Marketing in France. Laurence moved to New York more than 20 years ago after some time in Dublin and London. Five years ago, she moved to Carroll Gardens and loves her neighborhood and community. Laurence wanted to be involved in helping raising bilingual/multicultural kids. She has two children, 10 and 13, raised bilingually and attending elementary and middle schools in Carroll Gardens. She sings in a choir and loves yoga and baking.

  Marina Babakoff-Petit

Marina Babakoff-Petit

Marina leads the art program at Smith Street Maternelle. After completing her studies in France at L'École Nationale D'Art de Cergy and le Studio National Le Fresnoy, Marina worked in schools, on French Public Radio Projects, and in museums telling stories through art pieces. For Marina, it is not just about telling the story, but inviting the listener to become an active participant in the story through his/her own interpretation.

At Smith Street Maternelle, she introduces students to the world of art through “ Le Petit Workshop”. These classes allow students to experiment with the French language through colors, shapes, material, and construction in a very artistic way. Marina has two bilingual children, and she is very happy to be a part of our team!

  Anath Benais

Anath Benais

Anath leads the music classes at Smith Street Maternelle. She holds a bachelor's degree in Hebrew Literature and Civilization from the University Paris VII. She has been teaching language (French and Spanish) and music at the preschool and elementary level in New York City private schools since 2010. A registered "Music Together" instructor, Anath is also formally trained in music and dance in styles and countries as diverse as classical and jazz in Israel to Middle Eastern dance and Arabic music in Egypt and France.

Anath has performed internationally as a vocalist, songwriter, actress and dancer, including at the BlueNote and City Winery in New York City. She is the musical curator of "The Rough Guide to Bellydance" (a CD/DVD set) as well as the narrator of the documentary "Corpus Christi." Having taught classical Egyptian dance for over a decade, Anath continues to build her own portfolio of musical compositions in Brooklyn, where she resides with her husband and young son. 

  Olivia Ramsey

Olivia Ramsey

Olivia is the Executive Director of Smith Street Workshop and Senior Director of Smith Street Maternelle. After completing her Masters degree at Bank Street College of Education, she taught for ten years here in New York, beginning at the Downtown Little School, moving on to the Lycée Français de New York, and finally ending up as one of the founding teachers of PS 58's French Dual Language program in Carroll Gardens.

In the fall of 2013, Olivia started a small tutoring practice out of her apartment on Smith Street. To meet the growing demand for tutoring and academic enrichment in Brooklyn, she founded Smith Street Workshop in 2015.  

Before her career as an educator, Olivia studied French and traveled extensively abroad. After graduating with a dual-degree in French and Psychology, she worked as the assistant director to Earlham College's semester abroad programs in Paris and in Fort-de-France, Martinique. She deepened her knowledge of French by being immersed in the culture, making lifelong French-speaking friends, and now by being a part of the French/American community here in Brooklyn.