Jessica Conroy
Starlings Teacher

Jessica came to TCGP five years ago.  In fall, 2017, she will celebrate her 11th year as a preschool teacher.

Jessica graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has been an artist and crafter her entire life.  Jessica, her  husband Bill and their two wonderful daughters live in Druid Hills.

Among her passions, she enjoys the outdoors, biking, photography, animals and her beloved Fripp Island.

Jessica says, “The Children’s Garden Preschool is a dream job for me and I’ve gained so much from our approach to teaching and the experiences I’ve had here. I grew up in Atlanta, attended Paideia School with my two sisters and have always enjoyed working with children from a young age.  I look forward to another amazing year with the children and the school community.”

Lucette Bernard
Starlings  Assistant Teacher

This will be Lucette’s sixh year at The Children’s Garden, and her fifth year assisting in the Starlings class. Before coming to The Children’s Garden, she worked for ten years as a middle and elementary grades teacher at several independent schools in the Atlanta area and in New York City.

Last year Lucette married her long-term partner, Linda, with whom she has raised two teenaged daughters adopted from China. The girls are both in their third year away from home – one in college and the other at boarding school – while Lucette and Linda continue to share their empty nest with the family dog, Coco.

Among her outside interests, Lucette enjoys sewing, reading and walking her dog.

Lucette has greatly enjoyed her work at The Children’s Garden and especially appreciates the way that time spent with young children is a regular reminder of the joy and wonder found in the simplest experiences.

Julia Eisler
Robins Teacher

Lori van Rossem
Assistant Robins Teacher, Director & Chief Financial Officer

Lori has been a part of The Children’s Garden Preschool since its inception, first as a parent of a child in the founding class, later as a Robins and Owls teacher and currently as the Assistant Director and CFO.

Lori returned to the classroom two years ago as a fill-in teacher due to a staffing change, and discovered her reignited passion for teaching.  Back as a Robins teacher in fall 2017, Lori is thrilled to be doing what she loves most.  And on Tuesday – Thursday afternoons (following class pick up time) she is still managing all of the financial aspects of the school.  This breadth of responsibility means that you can ask Lori just about anything about the running of TCGP and she’ll likely have an answer!

In her spare time, Lori enjoys yoga, travel – particularly visits to see her family in Ohio, to get away to the North Georgia mountains or the Carolina coast.

Lori is the parent of two high schoolers enrolled at The New School in Grant Park.  Lori and her family have lived in Candler Park for over 23 years.

Sally Hansen
Owls Teacher, Preschool Director & Founder

Sally, an Early Childhood educator since 1994, brings her experience, creativity and warmth to the classroom and the school community.

Sally has a degree in Early Childhood Education and has spent the last 10 years studying holistic education, with a special passion for Waldorf approaches to learning for the young child.  After a five year hiatus from teaching in the 1990’s, Sally set out to create and open her own school.  Her youngest child was ready to start preschool and it was decided that founding a new school in Ormewood Park would serve her daughter and potentially build a new community.  Sally used her personal savings and accepted the help of a few kind friends and interested parents to get The Children’s Garden Preschool up and running.  In October, 2005, TCGP opened its doors.  Great fortune played a role in allowing Sally to cross paths with a wonderful new friend who is credited for exposing her to Waldorf education.  Seeing natural play and the reverence for and beautiful way of guiding child capacities into cultivated strength, inspired Sally to integrate this approach into the writing the school’s holistic curriculum.

With a childhood spent almost entirely in Australia, Sally draws much from the lush, wild and open experiences of her own younger years into the work she does with children today.  A deep passion for the natural world, free, open exploration and creative expression, Sally is committed to “meeting young children in their place” everyday.  Understanding that every child is following his/her own unique, divine path, Sally views her role in working with children, as that of a loving, leading and gentle guide.

Sally says, “I cherish the connection with each child and family in the school, to be entrusted in this beautiful, heart-felt work each day.  Teaching our children is a deep expression of reverence for life and love. ”

Sally offers parenting classes and support, including home visits and help in simplifying family life. Additionally, her work at the school involves teacher training, non profit fundraising, child and parent advocacy and community work.

Though there are many interests outside of school for Sally, she’s especially passionate about meditation, Buddhism, music, gardening, social justice issues, singing, cooking for friends, reading, writing. walking and hiking.  A long time resident of Ormewood Park (since 1994),  Sally shares her home with her daughter, who is now a student at Atlanta Girls School, a cat named Davey and the family dog, Owen.  Sally’s son, in his mid-twenties, lives in central Texas and entered the US Navy in early 2016.

Sally is beyond delighted about starting The Children’s Garden Preschool’s thirteenth year!

Sarah Edman
Owls Assistant Teacher

Sarah is commencing her fourth year at The Children’s Garden, in fall 2017.  She loves to learn, and that’s one of the reasons she loves to teach young children.  Sarah says, “each child teaches me about him or herself, and no matter how much I know about children in general, I keep learning more, one child at a time.”

Growing up in Alabama, Sarah started guiding neighborhood children to draw before she entered elementary school.  She began babysitting at age twelve. During her high school years, she studied violin and guitar privately, participated in music and theatre at school, and earned money as a lifeguard.  Additionally, Sarah taught private swimming lessons and classical guitar.  She attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, studying performing arts.  Her summers in college were spent life-guarding and being a camp counselor.  Since then, Sarah’s work with children has included Boys and Girls Clubs, public school and preschool teaching, as well as being a nanny with several families.  Shining shoes, working back stage at the Fox Theatre and producing promos for Turner Classic Movies are some of what Sarah calls her “more interesting non-childcare jobs.”

Music has always been a very important part of Sarah’s life with much singing and playing of instruments, both professionally and for fun.  Other activities that never cease their allure for Sarah are photography, gardening, flower arranging, movies, reading, writing, poetry, puppetry, dancing and taking long walks through different neighborhoods and parks.

Sarah is glad to be in her fourth year at TCGP, taking delight in all of the time we spend outside.  She is really looking forward to being in the Owls classroom this year!











Jessica Long

Substitute Teacher & Park Day Assistant

Jessica is thrilled to be joining the Children’s Garden team for the 2017-2018 school year!  Jess moved with her family from Nashville, Tennessee to Dunwoody, Georgia in 1996.  She attended high school at DeKalb School of the Arts, where she double majored in creative writing and theatre.  Jess received her bachelor’s degree in criminal forensics from the University of Alabama, and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Eastern Kentucky University.  Jess is currently a student at Mercer University, where she is working towards her Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision.

Jess currently lives in Decatur with her husband, Joe, and their three fur children: a cat, Calcifer, and two dogs, Sweet Tea and Coal. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, scrapbooking, reading, hiking, and exploring.

Founder & Executive Preschool Director (M-F)
Sally Hansen
Preschool Director/CFO (T-Th)
Lori van Rossem
 Asst Preschool Director (T-Th)
Melanie Regnier
Owls Lead Teacher (T-F)
Sally Hansen
Owls Assistant Teacher (T-F)
Sarah Edman
Robins Lead Teacher (T-Th)
Julia Eisler
Robins Assistant Teacher (T-F)
Lori van Rossem
Starlings Lead Teacher (T-Th)
Jessica Conroy
Starlings Assistant Teacher (T-Th)
Lucette Bernard
Curriculum Consultant
Sally Hansen
Substitute Teacher & Parkday Asst
Jessica Long (F)