Jessica came to TCGP four years ago. In fall, 2016, she will celebrate her 10th year as a preschool teacher.
Jessica graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has been an artist and craft-er her entire life. Jessica, her husband Bill and their two wonderful daughters live in Druid Hills.
Among her passions, 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.”
This will be Lucette’s fifth year at The Children’s Garden, and her fourth 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 second 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 returns to The Children’s Garden Preschool in for her second teaching year this fall, following a year spent assisting and substitute-leading in the Owls class. Born in a small town in central Russia, she comes from a family of pedagogues—her grandmother was a kindergarten principal for over 20 years and her mother taught music to preschoolers for over 15 years.
In high school, Julia completed an 8-year music academy, studying music theory, solfeggio, chorus and piano. She graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts with a Masters in Social Pedagogy and Anthropology. Her professional experience include that of music teacher and piano accompanist in a preschool and organizer/host of children’s parties and events. Additionally, Julia worked as a project manager organizing international children’s art festivals across Europe and Russia.
Upon moving to the States, Julia tutored and babysat children ages 10 months–6 years, and worked as teacher in a private daycare. She is currently conducting private music classes in Russian for babies and toddlers.
Julia and her husband have a 3.5 year old daughter named Eva, who is enrolled at TCGP, and a dog named Boogie.
Besides her native Russian, Julia is also fluent in English and French. She enjoys her vinyasa yoga practice, tending to her own backyard garden and making all kinds of crafts.
Julia is very excited to lead the Robins class in the 2016-2017 year at The Children’s Garden!
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.
After returning to the classroom last year as a fill-in teacher due to a staffing change, Lori discovered her reignited passion for teaching. Back as a Robins teacher in fall 2016, Lori is thrilled to be doing what she loves most. And on Tuesday – Thursday afternoons (following class pick up time) she is still handling a multitude of administrative tasks from managing the financial aspects of the school to building maintenance matters. 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, 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 is entering the US Navy in early 2016.
Sally is beyond delighted about starting The Children’s Garden Preschool’s twelvth year!
Sarah is commencing her third year at The Children’s Garden, in fall 2016. 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 third 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!
Ayana began her journey with our school as parent at The Children’s Garden Preschool for 5 years. She fell in love with the school’s philosophy and started volunteering regularly.
After stepping into the role of administrative assistant for a year, the school hired Ayana as Assistant Director of Operations at the start of the 2015-2016 school year. She continues in her second year as a director, in fall 2016.
Ayana is a former college electronics instructor and still enjoys being a mathematics tutor.
Ayana is married to Anwar and has two children: Ezekiel and Anaya, both enrolled at The Waldorf School of Atlanta.
Among her many outside interests, Ayana is deeply passionate about handwork, particularly crochet, crafting her own jewelry and journal making.
Melanie was a beloved teacher in our school for many years, first as a sub, then as both an assistant teacher and lead teacher, before returning to her beloved calling as a social worker.
Through a series of events, some of that being highly fortuitous, we learned that Melanie was seeking an opportunity closer to home last year that would allow her to follow her interests and work more part time again. We were beyond delighted to offer Melanie a role in our school, first as a part of our administrative team and as a one-day a week teacher. Working with the Robins and Owls who come for Friday parkdays each week is providing both the school and Melanie with a wonderful opportunity – our need for an experienced teacher in this pedagogy and her wish to work with and around children again.
Beginning in the fall of 2016, you will find Melanie handling administrative duties each Thursday and on Fridays, she joins Sally and Sarah with the children in our beloved parkdays.
Melanie is the parent of two daughters, both high schoolers at Maynard Jackson High. She and her husband James, originally from Boston, MA, have lived in Ormewood Park for many years. She is a former girl scout leader with many varied interests including sewing.
|Founder & Executive Preschool Director (M-F)
|Preschool Director/CFO (T-Th)
Lori van Rossem
|Asst Preschool Director (Tu & W)
|Administrative Assistant (Th)
|Owls Lead Teacher (T-F)
|Owls Assistant Teacher (T-F)
|Robins Lead Teacher (T-Th)
|Robins Assistant Teacher (T-F)
Lori van Rossem
|Starlings Lead Teacher (T-Th)
|Starlings Assistant Teacher (T-Th)
|Substitute Teacher & Parkday Asst