Our Team

ArborVitae’s administrators come from a variety of backgrounds, each using their unique skill sets to ensure ArborVitae provides the highest quality education and training in herbalism.

Diana Isidoro
Diana Isidoro

Diana Isidoro graduated with a B.S. in Nutrition Science at Brooklyn College. She quickly learned that her true passion lied with holistic healing and herbalism and she began to soak up knowledge from workshops throughout the city ultimately landing her at ArborVitae. She initially fell in love with the energy of ArborVitae as a student attending our Community Classes and is excited and humbled to take on the role of Administrative Director.

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Claudia Keel - Director, Founder, Core Faculty
Claudia Keel - Director, Founder, Core Faculty

A clinical herbalist and flower essence therapist with an additional specialty in food and nutrition therapy. She has had a private practice in Union Square of Manhattan, NY since 1999. From 2001 till 2015, Claudia has served as the Weston A Price Foundation NYC Chapter Leader, providing community education and resources for nutrition and traditional foods. Claudia also teaches regularly about herbs, flower essences and traditional foods in practitioner study groups, workshops and conferences.

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Richard Mandelbaum - Founder & Core Faculty
Richard Mandelbaum - Founder & Core Faculty

RH is a clinical herbalist with a private practice in Brooklyn and in Sullivan County, NY. Richard has been practicing as an herbalist since 1997, with a background in both Chinese and Western herbal traditions. He is currently on the faculty at David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies in Washington, NJ and has been a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) since 2003, and joined the AHG Council in October 2012. He is co-founder, co-director, of ArborVitae.

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Director & Administrative

Past Team Members

ArborVitae’s administrators come from a variety of backgrounds, each using their unique skill sets to ensure ArborVitae provides the highest quality education and training in herbalism.

Sam Perry - Core Faculty & Clinic Mentor
Sam Perry - Core Faculty & Clinic Mentor

Sam Perry runs a clinical herbalism practice from his office at the Radicle Herb Shop in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to clinical work, Sam leads a plant and mushroom walk series in Prospect Park in collaboration with Sacred Warrior. He also represents the medicinal herb farm RavenCrest Botanicals every Saturday at a farmer’s market in the Lower East Side’s Seward Park. He is a proud alumni of Arbor Vitae’s 3 year professional program and is thrilled to join the team as Teaching Assistant.

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Angelica Vargas - Teaching Assistant
Angelica Vargas - Teaching Assistant

Angelica began her foray into herbal medicine as a student at Arbor Vitae in 2015. She was hoping that studying plants would give her a good excuse to spend more time outside. She was right. Since completing the 3 year certification program in 2018, Angelica continues to practice as an herbalist with a collective she helped found: Herbal Underground NYC.

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April Matney - Financial Administrator
April Matney - Financial Administrator

April Matney is responsible for many of ArborVitae’s financial tasks such as managing student payments and ongoing Accounting. She has a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Parks, & Leisure Services Administration from Central Michigan University and has spent many years working with nonprofits and consulting for small business owners. April is a proud Michigan native but is currently living and working remotely from Louisville, KY with her husband and two rambunctious boys.

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Laura “Harmony” Palay – Past Finance Administrator
Laura “Harmony” Palay – Past Finance Administrator

Laura Palay (formerly Laura Smith) is responsible for the coordination and tracking of student and instructor payments. She has worked with ArborVitae since February of 2014, when the school was in its first year of operations. Laura graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s in English Language, Literature and Writing, minoring in Japanese Language and Culture. She is an animal lover, avid reader, and enjoys crocheting, sewing, drawing, and other creative projects.

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Rob Brink
Rob Brink

Rob is a student, educator, technologist and filmmaker who has produced multiple webinar series with the PathCheck Foundation, a global nonprofit. He hopes to contribute to the local global ecosystem of herbal medicine patients, practitioners, suppliers, growers, community-builders and educators.

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