The teachers at ESNS are responsible for developing the daily program, implementing our philosophy, and assisting the board of directors in establishing the school’s policies.

Karen Welser, Teacher, and Administrator


Karen graduated from Swarthmore College, where she majored in English. She has been a member of the East Side Nursery School community since 2001, when the first of her four children began in the Tuesday/Thursday class, and has been teaching at ESNS since 2016. Children and education have been longstanding passions for Karen: she is certified in Parent and Family Coaching; she currently leads an online international adoption support group; and has previously developed, written, and taught an original religious education curriculum for children ages 3-9. Karen and her husband live near ESNS on the East Side, with one child in elementary school, one in middle school, one in high school, and one overseas in graduate school.

Rebekah Ham, Teacher, and Education Coordinator

Rebekah Ham

Bekah graduated from Brown University with an AB in American Civilization and a Masters of Arts in Teaching and has worked with children ages three to high school in a variety of settings. She is committed to play based learning and chose ESNS in 2001 for her oldest child. Her next two children followed with the youngest finishing ESNS in 2017. Bekah served on the ESNS Board for six years, including two as President. Prior to returning in the role of teacher, she worked for ten years as a childhood cancer advocate, Mommas team leader, and fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. In addition to teaching, Bekah is active in her role on the Board of The Wolf School for Complex Learners and loves to write, make art, and get out in nature.

Sarah Dennigan, Assistant Teacher


Sarah Dennigan has previously worked as Assistant Director at Books Are Wings, a Rhode Island children’s literacy non-profit that works to mitigate the effects of poverty on literacy rates by providing free books to children. In that role, Sarah worked in different classrooms throughout the state every day, with children ranging from infants to middle school. Sarah has been involved in the East Side Nursery School community since 2008, when the first of her three children began in the Tuesday/Thursday class. She had served on the ESNS Board for five years in various roles, including two as President of the Board. Sarah graduated from the University of Rhode Island.