Michelle Nguyen Warren, M.A. Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding - Mediation Arbitration Studies, Mediation in Education Focus; Early Childhood Education Cert.
The Exploration Academy “TEA” was created in 2010 with a mission to provide superior early education, care and support for children and families in our community. The response to the school has been tremendous; we continue to grow, evolve, and implement new and exciting opportunities to enhance the environment(s) and to maintain a rich and exciting program. The exceptional and experienced educators of TEA commit themselves each day to the social, physical, emotional, and cognitive development of each child entrusted to us, and we sincerely hope to have the opportunity to work with your family.
Amanda Pattison, B.A. Communication; Child Development Associates (CDA) - Preschool Focus
Lead Young Preschool Instructor - Ages 2.5-3.5+
Since 2005 Ms. Amanda has been working with children ranging from infant to preschool ages, both in childcare centers and as a caregiver/nanny. Amanda has a B.A degree from the University of Oregon specializing in gender construction and uses her knowledge to celebrate diversity and acceptance with the children she serves. She also is a Kids and Family Certified Yoga Instructor and engages kids in focus, flexibility, and awareness. Amanda provides guidance, builds self-esteem, and establishes routines to help foster a sense of security and love of learning.
Lindsey Scott, Child Development Associates (CDA) - Candidate
TEA Party Room Instructor - Ages 2-3
Ms. Lindsey has worked as a childcare provider and teacher since 2006 with children ranging from infant to school age. Ms. Lindsay believes that a successful teacher treats every child with care and respect. When children leave the center at day’s end, Ms. Lindsey ensures they walk away having enjoyed a fun and engaging day with teachers and the classroom community. Ms. Lindsey is committed to making a difference in the life of every child, regardless of their ability level, and she genuinely desires to make a positive and meaningful impact on the children and families she serves.
Rebecca Cummins, B.A Early Childhood Education- Student, A.A - Inclusive of ECE Studies
Lead TEA Party Room Instructor - Ages 2-3
When children feel safe, they feel confident. Ms. Becky’s gentle and caring disposition supports the emotional needs of the children and reassures families that their children are in a warm and nurturing environment. Ms. Becky's integrative lesson plans and curriculum utilize an art-based approach to introduce children to science exploration, literacy, math concepts, building and design. Since 1998 Ms. Becky has worked in early childhood education as a caregiver and teacher, as well as worked as a teacher’s assistant at the elementary school level. She has training in both early education and special education. Ms. Becky’s patience, dedication, and thoughtful presence work in concert to support a cohesive and creative environment where children feel secure and valued.
Lui De Leon, B.A. Business, Child Development Associates - Infant & Toddler Focus
TEA Cups Room Lead - Ages 1-2 | Movement Specialist
Ms. Lui comes to us with nearly two decades of teaching experience; she has extensive experience teaching gymnastics to children of all ages, and has served in the leadership role for infant and toddler programs. Ms. Lui’s passion is teaching infants to pre-schoolers - and she likes to get them out and about and moving! Ms. Lui keeps our 1-2+ classroom active with gross motor activities, imaginative and dramatic play, and engaging age-appropriate art projects. Ms.Lui is committed to developing a solid foundation for a lifetime love of learning through nurturing exploration, play, creative movement, exercise….. and cuddles.
Genevieve Stuber, A.S. - Pre Nursing
Young Preschool Instructor - Ages 2.5-3.5+
Ms. Genevieve has worked as a caregiver since 2006. Initially working as a home health care provider, she later pursued her passion of working with children as a childcare provider and a preschool teacher. Ms. Genevieve facilitates a child-friendly environment with engaging activities and loves to get the children connected to the outdoors. Ms. Genevieve helps to maintain accurate and detailed daily records of children's progress and development and is a key support in the Young Preschool room.
Jackie Quitugua, Child Development Associates
Ms. Jackie has worked in the field of early childhood education since 2003 and has served as a Lead Pre-K teacher and Assistant Director. Ms. Jackie is a calm, nurturing, and devoted teaching professional; she works collaboratively with teachers to ensure age-appropriate lesson plans that seek to nurture the whole child: emotionally, physically, socially, and cognitively. Ms. Jackie is passionate about working in TEA’s student-centered learning environment, connecting with children and families, and seeks parent support to empower children to reach their fullest potential.
Riley Houk, B.A. Early Childhood Education and Family Studies; Education Minor
Lead K-Prep Instructor - Ages 4-5+
Ms. Riley has experience as a team Lead preparing preschool children from low-income neighborhoods for school success. Ms. Riley utilizes play and interactive materials to develop language and vocabulary, introduce scientific and mathematical concepts, improve social skills, and strengthen coping mechanisms. Ms. Riley's gentle and sportive demeanor encourages children to readily connect with her; she possesses sensitivity to the needs and feelings of each child and seeks to actively establish positive relationships with all family members involved with the program.
Breanna Salazar, A.S. Student
Ms. Breanna comes to us with three years of experience working for the Boys and Girls Club both in child enrichment and in meal preparation; she has also worked for Seattle Public Schools at the elementary school level. Ms. Breanna is committed to enriching children’s lives through new and fun experiences, providing a nurturing and caring environment, and sound nutritional support.
James Roth, Child Development Associates - Candidate
Upper Preschool Instructor - Ages 2.5-3.5+
Mr. Jim has a background in providing direct care for young children and adults with developmental disabilities. He's also coached youth sports and has worked in the culinary field in food preparation and management. Mr. Jim serves as a critical support in the Upper Preschool by assisting in all facets of general operations and aids in additional classrooms as needed. His kind demeanor, enthusiasm for working with children, and desire to facilitate quality early learning experiences makes Mr. Jim a valuable member of the team.
Kelsey McClure, B.A. Communications - Journalism
TEA Cups Room Lead - Ages 1-2
Prior to joining TEA, Ms. Kelsey taught preschool for three years at an early childhood academy in Louisiana. Her life-long passion and love for early childhood education is evident as she gently guides and cares for the 1-2 year olds in the TEA Cup room. Ms. Kelsey's patience and warm presence helps to create a nurturing environment for our youngest community members.
Benjamine Marple, B.A. Elementary Education; ESL Minor
K-Prep Instructor - Ages 4-5+
With his extensive background in elementary education, Mr. Ben brings enthusiasm and experience to the K-prep classroom. Mr. Ben is committed to bringing additional tools and techniques for preparing the K-prep students for Kindergarten and beyond. His patience, enthusiasm, and kind demeanor makes him an integral member of the TEA teaching team.
Lara Palileo, B.A. English Studies
Upper Preschool Instructor Ages 3-4+
Ms. Lara has been teaching young children since 2001. She believes that educators of young children should facilitate their well-rounded development through what they do best, and that is: play and exploration. The students of the Upper Preschool find in Ms. Lara nurturing guidance and commitment to a warm and safe environment with plenty of space for movement, introduction to quality tools and curriculum, and ample time for exploration. Ms. Lara's experience, patience, and humor are all assets to the Upper Preschool.
Mia Fischer, B.A. Public Health; M.A. Education - Student
TEA Cups Room Instructor - Ages 1-2
Ms. Mia is a 2015 Public Health graduate from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing a Master's in Elementary Education. She has extensive experience working as a caregiver in the capacity of childcare provider, and as a Certified Nurse's Aide. Ms. Mia is a sharp, kind, and creative instructor with strong attention to detail and a passion for working with young children.
Jennifer Lowe, B.A. Spanish; Psychology Minor
K-Prep Instructor - Ages 4-5+ | Foreign Language Specialist - Spanish
Ms. Jennifer has a passion and gift for working with children. Though she serves as a critical support in the K-Prep Room, Ms. Jennifer also teaches our Spanish language curriculum throughout the center utilizing interactive activities such as music, dance, games and imaginative play. From being a K-Prep teacher, to a private caregiver, to an assistant teacher in Spain, her combined experience, patience, and nurturing presence makes Ms. Jennifer a valued addition to TEA.
Jessalyn Quitugua, B.A. Early Childhood Education
Ms. Jessalyn has been with TEA since opening in 2010. You will find Ms. Jessalyn providing critical teacher support in all areas of the center; observing and assessing classroom operations, substitute teaching, ordering supplies to support curriculum development, and being a general resource for children, families, and colleagues. Ms. Jessalyn’s calm and nurturing presence, combined with her experience and expertise, makes her an instrumental and adored leader of TEA’s team.
TEA Party Room Instructor - Ages 2-3
Ms. Desiree has worked as a caregiver for children over the course of several years. She has a true passion when it comes to working with children and strives to make a tremendous and positive impact in their lives. Ms. Desiree is patient, dedicated, and full of fun and energy. She hopes to teach and learn something new everyday she walks into the classroom and adores being an authentic and enthusiastic contributor to the Party Room.
Catalina Díaz Gasca, B.A. Psychology
Young Preschool Instructor - Ages 2.5-3.5+
Ms. Catalina holds a B.A. in Psychology with background in clinical and educational fields and an emphasis on child developmental psychology and learning disorders. Her professional experience includes working as a preschool teacher in one of the main Bilingual Schools in Colombia for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Ms. Catalina is a well-organized and responsible professional whose caring and patient disposition make her a strong asset to the Young Preschool's team.
Janelle Hammer, B.A. Children's Studies
Lead Upper Preschool Instructor
Ms. Janelle has been working in early education and care since 2008, and has been in early education leadership since 2013. Ms. Janelle is committed to creating age appropriate activities designed to challenge each child, helping children strive and succeed in their own way and understands that every child learns differently. She believes a key strength she possesses is identifying children’s individual needs and continues to incorporate insight, knowledge, support, and compassion at every opportunity.
Cerice Keller, B.A. English and German Studies
Ms. Cerice comes to us with several years of experience working as a YMCA camp counselor for children ages 5+. She is a Fulbright grant recipient, and as a result has lived and taught in Berlin, Germany at the high school level. Ms. Cerice describes herself as "a teacher at heart" and she can be found giving critical assistance in each classroom of the center as an integral part of our operations and teaching teams.