Mount Airy Learning Tree

6601 Greene St. | Philadelphia PA 19119 | 215-843-6333 | 215-843-6655 (FAX)
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-2pm

About Us


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Registration / Policies

How do I register for a class? MALT Policies

Creating a MALT Account

Staff & Board

MALT staff and board lists

Celebrating 35 Years!

MALT is celebrating its 35th year in 2016.

Gift Certificates

Treat a friend or relative to a MALT class with a Gift Certificate!

Love Stories

Instructors share their stories about MALT

Mt. Airy Posters

MALT has two large posters (one of Mt. Airy, the other of Chestnut Hill) providing historical details throughout. And "Signs You're in Mt. Airy" is a poster of sign images throughout Mt. Airy.

Board Members


Susan Bash (Susie) is a native NY’er, but has lived in W. Mt. Airy for the past 20 years. Susie has her LCSW and works as a Behavioral Health Consultant within a family medical practice for the past 8 years. Susie brings her enthusiasm for heart-fullness and inspired living to her work and to the clients and communities she serves. She also works with graduate students as they work towards their Master’s Degree in Social Work.


Susie has been a student of MALT over the years, taking classes ranging from gardening and Spanish, to African dance, and cooking. She loves the community minded-ness of MALT and she plans on adding her voice and creative touches as a new board member and as part of the class development committee.


Susie’s passions include nature, gardening, and the outdoors; the incorporation of body, mind, and movement into her therapeutic work and practice, and traveling throughout Latin America to continue her pursuit of Spanish language and culture.


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Sue Beetle has lived in Mt. Airy since 1971, where she raised three great kids. She majored in English literature in college with a minor in cartography. Besides work in finance and business management, she has done engineering and architectural drafting and developed software to simulate operations of railroad and rapid transit systems. She enjoys travel, movies, and being part of this community. She is detail-oriented, practical and respectful of organizational processes.


Sue now works as finance manager of Weavers Way Co-op. Before that she was finance director at the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement for 17 years. She served on the board of West Mt. Airy Neighbors for many years. She has assisted many local organizations in setting up/straightening out their accounting systems.


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Karl Biemuller, a long-time resident of Mt. Airy, is the former editor of the Germantown Courier and Mt. Airy Times Express community newspapers and is currently a freelance writer. His interests include astronomy, a subject he has taught several times at Mt. Airy Learning Tree; and history, both local and worldwide.

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Vashti Dubois currently serves as the Executive Director and Founder of The Colored Girls Museum, a grassroots cultural institution which focuses on celebrating the history and perspectives of the Ordinary Extraordinary Colored Girl. Headquartered in Historic Germantown this living museum has been engineered to pop up in other cities and neighborhoods around the country—transforming ordinary spaces into  Colored Girls Museum outpost which collect, archive, and share the stories of indigenous colored girls in that place.


DuBois has over thirty years of experience working in  non profits in leadership positions. Much of her work has focused on the educational and socioeconomic needs of black women and girls. She has left her impact on several organizations, including Tree House Books, The Children’s Art Carnival, Haymarket People’s Fund, the Leeway Foundation, the Historic Church of The Advocate and The Free Library of Philadelphia.


Vashti has lived in Germantown for fifteen years and is exciting to be joining MALTS board.

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Mary A. Harris, MSS, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, educator, and eldercare consultant with 26 years’ experience providing counseling, care management, and consultation to a wide range of clients, agencies, and organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area.


Born and raised in NW Philadelphia, Mary is a longtime West Mt. Airy resident and currently serves as President of the MALT Board and Vice President of its 501(c)(3) umbrella organization, Mt. Airy Community Services Corporation. Mary is a dedicated helping professional who values lifetime learning and community service. Previous volunteer positions include seven years as Treasurer for Talking Stick Learning Center, Co-Chair of the Delaware Valley Mental Health Aging Advocacy Committee, and Continuing Education Coordinator for The National Association of Social Workers-PA Southeast/Phila Division.


Mary keeps busy maintaining an adult counseling practice and providing clinical supervision and mentoring to  LCSW candidates seeking PA licensure. As a consultant, she advises organizations serving older adults in best practices, ethics, and patient-centered care.  She also teaches college-level psychology courses as an adjunct professor and invests in real estate in Mt. Airy and Germantown.  Mary has owned and operated several successful businesses, including Rugmaven, an Oriental Rug Business with locations in Chestnut Hill and Manayunk.


Mary loves living in Mt. Airy, being a mom, culinary adventures, and world travel. She has been an avid supporter of MALT for many years as a student and loves the opportunity to give back to an organization so vital to this community by serving on the Board.


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Allyson Katzman has lived in Mt. Airy for 14 years and loves the friendliness, diversity and physical beauty of the community. She is also a board member of West Mt. Airy Neighbors and has worked with several community based groups such as the Emlen Circle Beautification Group as well as Homeowners United to Protect Pelham (HUPP). Allyson has served on the planning committee for WMAN's largest fund raiser Eat Your Heart Out for six years and has served as a dinner hostess for three of those years. Along with her husband Mitchell, they initiated the first monthly Pelham Pink Flamingo party which is six years strong. She enjoys traveling, gardening, walking in the Wissahickon with her dogs and fostering animals. She works downtown as a paralegal for an antitrust law firm.


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Celeste Lamb is a Philadelphia native, and has lived and loved in NW Philadelphia for the past 20 years. She is a graduate of Temple University where she majored in Religion and English. Celeste is the mother of three, and works in real estate sales with her husband, Rob. She loves to read and learn new things. Her favorite thing about MALT is that it combines learning with her favorite things about NW Philly- diversity, community, and a laid back attitude. 

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Lanina Nelson-Cavicchio, a native Philadelphian, has been an on-going supporter of MALT as a teacher, student, and board member; currently the Secretary of MALT's Board. Since becoming a board member, she has been active on various committees but is most recognized for her leadership and active participation on the MALT Ball Committee which organized, promoted and garnered support for the MALT Ball (a multi-year fundraising effort). Her professional background includes work experience among both private and public concerns. Currently, she works for a national transportation company where she oversees and manages IT projects and acts as a liaison between IT and internal customers – including oversight and evaluation of their IT portfolios and strategic planning. She has varied interests which include:  mystery book reading, line dancing, travel, classic movies, orienteering, and greyhounds.  

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Marin Richeson is a California girl turned east coaster. In 2004, she moved from San Diego to Pittsburgh for graduate school, assuming she would return to the west coast after graduation. But, much to her surprise, she fell in love with Pennsylvania and decided to stay.


As a professional, Marin works for an IT consulting company as a Lead Business Consultant in the life sciences practice (e.g., pharmaceutical, medical device). Her title is vague and her responsibilities are varied. She designs regulatory compliance strategies for IT systems that are used to support clinical trials and product safety; she authors technical documentation that proves IT systems can be trusted to manage clinical and safety data; she designs and innovates business processes; she provides input on responses to requests for proposals (RFPs); she develops strategic relationships with clients; she authors and edits marketing content, including educational webinars and white papers; and she is assuming a new role in 2017 as the practice lead for a new strategic advisory service. To complicate matters more, Marin holds a bachelor’s in international peace and conflict resolution, a master’s in professional writing, and a graduate certificate in marketing strategy.


As a human, life is much simpler. Marin devotes her spare time and energy to the many causes she holds dear: health and wellness, including helping the body help itself; food and nutrition, including raising consumer awareness; environmental stewardship; education; and plain ol’ human connection. She is currently serving as the chair of MALT’s strategic planning committee.


In all things, Marin strives to be a force of positive change, including in her own home (much to her family’s chagrin, at times!). Marin currently lives in Ardmore with her husband, step daughter, and two hilarious cats.  

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Patricia Robinson has been a native of Philadelphia since moving from Maryland in her early childhood; Pat is a MALT board member and has been active on the MALT Ball Committee for two years.  Her professional background includes experience has been in the private sector and the health care industry.  She currently works in Human Resources for a leading health care provider that employs the largest number of employees in the city of Philadelphia.  She served as a co-block captain, volunteered at homeless shelters, the Philadelphia Flower Show and provides pro bono notary service.  Pat is a certified Dom Care provider for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and is serves as an Election Board clerk. She very much enjoys interior decorating, architecture, comic movies, and reaching out to help whomever she can. 

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Bob Rossman has many years of experience in computer technology. He began working as a computer programmer for INA (now Cigna) in 1970, when computing was on mainframes and employed punch cards. Now retired, his last position was providing technical support for a software company. His other interests include politics, bike riding and cooking, all of which he has turned into courses for MALT. He has served on the board of Weavers Way Co-op and the Chestnut Hill Community Association. He is currently treasurer of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Northwest Philadelphia, and president of the Mt. Airy Community Services Corp. He has been on the MALT Board for over 25 years; over that time he has helped with computers and a host of other tasks and is currently the treasurer and is on its building committee. 

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Andy Trackman is the Executive Director of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC), and is currently a resident of East Mount Airy. A graduate of Temple University’s School of Media and Communications, Andy has over 25 years of experience in the corporate world, working in customer service and marketing for MCI and Verizon. In 2011, Andy started his own communications consulting practice, focusing on arts and culture nonprofits. He joined GUCDC in 2012, and served as Board member, Board President before assuming the Executive Director role. In addition to his work life, Andy is also a professional musician, playing jazz piano and keyboards in various musical groups in Northwest Philadelphia. Andy is also an avid gardener, historic preservationist and history buff, and is the proud father of a Temple University student.

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Rene "Rick" Vargas is a native of New York City, who moved to Philadelphia in 1978. In 1979, he began his professional career with the City of Philadelphia, monitoring and evaluating job training programs funded by the City. He remained in this capacity until 1985, when he transferred to the City’s Personnel Department, where he performed a myriad of duties. In 1993, Rene began working part-time for the City’s Labor Relations Unit.  Enjoying the work tremendously, and believing Labor Relations was his “true professional calling”, he soon transferred to the unit permanently. As an Analyst in Labor Relations, he conducted grievance hearings for union members who filed formal grievances, attended and testified at arbitration hearings, mediated disputes between the City’s four unions and management, and conducted mandatory Labor Relations Training for supervisors and managers.  Rene remained in Labor Relations for the last twenty-two years of his career, culminating in his being named Labor Relations Director for the City in the winter of 2013. He remained in this position until his retirement from City service in January, 2015.


Since his retirement in 2015, Rene has remained quite active.  This includes weekly art classes taken with MALT instructor Mindy Flexer. In addition, during the school year Rene volunteers two to three days a week at Kensington High, mentoring the students and assisting the faculty as needed. Rene works out regularly at the gym, but as his friends and family know, he is a “golf junkie” who plays three to four times a week. While quite busy in retirement, Rene looks forward to increased participation with the MALT Board, and the Learning Tree!

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Karen Taylor Young is a native Philadelphian, and a 28-year resident of Mt Airy.

She and has been an active member in the MALT community for many years as a student, instructor and board member. Her classes are in movement: Zumba Gold, Senior Ballet, and Core Fusion: Barre & Mat classes. She was the Committee Chair for the MALT 35th Anniversary Celebration and concept creator and co-chair of the MALT Ball.

Karen is a retired professional dancer with the Philadelphia Dance Company, Philadanco. As a soloist and ensemble member of the company she has studied and worked with many respected teachers and choreographers. Her foundation in movement is the Checetti Method, Luigi Method, and Martha Graham. Her other accomplishments in dance: Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera North, and she was the first African American Squad Leader with the Philadelphia Eagles. Since retirement, she has choreographed 23 musical productions for Germantown Friends School, Ancillae Assumpta Academy, and the Corporation Incentive Program at PECO. Chorale work with NewWorks, Inc and the Heritage Chorale are new additions to her repertoire.

Karen is also an interior decorator and organizer, when she finds the time. Her other interests include the culinary arts, supporting and assisting in projects with awareness to uterine cancer, gardening, an eclectic collection of music, opera and pretty much anything about the Arts.


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