Our staff is a group of dedicated, professional individuals with decades of combined experience caring for and teaching children and building communities. We work cooperatively to achieve our school’s mission, uphold our school’s values, and build the community, curriculum, and future of our school.
The Redbud class serves 16 children ages 18 months through 3 years each morning.
I grew up in the Philadelphia area and received a B.A. from Connecticut College. I have taught children from infants to school age, but frequently return to working with toddlers, who continuously inspire me with their innate curiosity and drive to learn about the world around them. I had the opportunity to visit the schools of Reggio Emilia on a study tour in 2010; my teaching has been enriched through dialogue with other educators who center community, inquiry-based learning, and responsive relationships. I am grateful to have found these values at CCS, and am excited to be returning to begin a new year.
I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I developed a fondness for stage acting, choral singing, snowstorms, and small, still bodies of water. I wandered to the east coast to attend Swarthmore College, attained a BA in Sociology and Black Studies, and fell in love with Philadelphia in the process. Determined to live in the city and without a career plan, I easily fell into doing something that had always brought me joy: working with small children. I worked as a one-to-one support for several children who had special needs, and later I was a first grade Teacher Assistant at a fine-arts school. A few years later I enrolled in Teachers College where I earned an MA in Early Childhood Education, and I spent a year after I graduated teaching for an Early Head Start program in east Harlem. I could feel that I had made the right career choice for myself, but I was not yet satisfied because I missed Philadelphia so. Connecting with CCS was all I needed to pack up and return to this community that I cherish, and I am elated to take part in this meaningful work that I love with this school and with all of you.
Tyler has been working with children for 10 years, most recently as a teacher at the Little Green School House. They grew up in El Paso, Texas and graduated from Texas State University with a BA in German. After trying out law school, Tyler realized working with small children was their passion and began working in education. Their favorite part of teaching is engaging and channeling the exuberant energy and excitement the children bring to school into every learning experience. Tyler enjoys playing pretend and reading with children, and is inspired by each of their individual journeys in learning about the world. When Tyler is not teaching they enjoy reading, theater, yoga, and playing board games.
I moved to Philly a few years ago from Richmond, VA, where I earned a BS in Early Childhood Education on purpose and a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies by accident. I’ve worked as a preschool teacher, a camp counselor, a literacy tutor, and a “manny.” Grant Park Cooperative Preschool in Atlanta, which introduced me to the Reggio Emilia approach, and Mountain Meadow, a social justice-oriented summer camp for kids from LGBTQ families, are two places that have had a major impact on me as a teacher. I enjoy slow nature walks and bizarre conversations with young children. In my free time, you can usually find me covered in flour, sawdust, dirt, or dog fur. I’m a big nerd who loves learning about all sorts of things—this fall I will be returning to education after taking a hiatus to pursue my interest in baking. I’m super excited to join the CCS team, get to know the families, and spend some quality time playing with kids again!
The Oak classroom serves 18 children ages 2 and 3 each morning.
I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and moved to Philadelphia in 2013 after studying Humanities at New College of Florida. I see teaching preschool as an opportunity to share my love of play and learning with children and their families. Completing a course on playwork this year, I am interested in loose parts and the way open ended materials affect play and social interaction. What I particularly enjoy about this job is growing through encouraging others’ growth, and in that way am excited to spend another year learning from teachers, caregivers, and kids.
I grew up in Paris, France, moved to Vermont for college and have been living in Philly for the past year. I started working with young children in Vermont and loved it so much that it was an easy decision to work in preschools after moving to Philly. I’m so excited to work at CCS, to get to know all you lovely families and to grow as a teacher!
I am originally from Culver City, California, where I was lucky enough to grow up within a supportive school system and an engaged intercultural community. I attended a language immersion school during my elementary years, and have been continuing my studies in Japanese (to the best of my ability!) ever since. In 2017 I graduated from Bard College with a BA in Dance and Written Arts. After graduating, I moved to Philly and fell in city-love. I have worked as a babysitter for many years, and when a friend recommended I check out CCS, I knew I’d found a match—I love being able to foster physical and emotional independence in children, and give them the tools necessary to transform into engaged and socially skilled community members. I started out here as a substitute teacher, then became a Forest Friends teacher, and am so excited to be a morning teacher this upcoming year! I am most looking forward to exploring movement and sensory imagination in my class. When I am not at school, I am usually dancing, choreographing, or writing about dance for thINKingDANCE.net.
The Juneberry class serves 13 children ages 3 through 5 each morning.
I am so happy to have the opportunity to help your children continue to grow and develop as the school year progresses. I am looking forward to partnering with you in this journey. I am a wife, mother, Nana and teacher. I have been teaching preschool since 1977 and loving every moment of it! It has been my pleasure to be a part of helping many children from age three months to six years to grow in every area of development. I have been blessed to obtain my Bachelor Of Science Degree in Early Childhood thru 4 th Grade Education from Eastern University. I have also received many certificates of continuing education over the years that focus on the continual improvement of my skills to be an effective teacher in the classroom today. I enjoy crocheting, sewing, reading and relaxing with my family to unwind.
Lee has over 15 years’ experience guiding people of all ages to experience their body’s wisdom for wellbeing, creativity, and living with purpose. She is a Somatic Movement Educator & Therapist, Reiki practitioner, Teaching Artist, dancer, poet, nature enthusiast, and believer in adventures as a way of life and learning. She is the director/founder of The Visioning Body and board member of the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association, for which she co-leads the workgroup on Diversity & Inclusion. Children have always been among Lee’s most cherished students and teachers, and she is excited to join the CCS team this year!
The Magnolia class serves 18 children ages 4 and 5 each morning.
Rachel was born and raised in Cedar Park, Philadelphia to a family of dancers and musicians. She took her love of art and movement into her studies at Oberlin College, where she studied Dance and Child Development. Throughout college, she worked in the Oberlin City Schools and in the Oberlin Early Childhood Center, where, in conjunction with her studies, she started to develop a personal teaching philosophy centered in creativity, respecting the whole child, and being a responsive and innovative educator who is aware of the social milieu which shapes students, teachers, and communities. She studied early childhood education in Denmark and Finland, which strengthened her belief in outdoor education, the importance of risk taking, and child-centered teaching approaches. She is a compassionate educator who finds joy in creating new and exciting learning experiences which are uniquely geared towards her students. She loves sharing dance, art, music, and play with her community. After working at CCS as a summer educator in 2016, she is thrilled to be returning to the school full time.
I have worked in early childhood education for over 20 years in Philadelphia. Protecting and caring for children is my life passion. I received my Associate’s from Community College of Philadelphia in 2008 and my Bachelor’s from University of Pennsylvania in 2013. I have held many titles along my progressive professional journey in the early childhood and early intervention field: BiG little sister, mommy’s helper, babysitter, nanny, floater, classroom assistant, assistant teacher, lead teacher and behavioral therapist. I have been honored to work with children who require a varying and complex assortment of special needs, support and medical interventions. I love so many things about the early childhood and interventions fields. It has continued to be a source of joy, enlightenment, empowerment, professional and personal growth, learning and evolution. I am continually blessed when parents, caretakers and guardians give me allowance to safeguard and be a positive role model in the lives of the world’s most prized possessions-their children. I strive to and continually focus my efforts to be an effective and efficient teacher. Although, I began by saying I have worked in the early childhood education field. It does not feel like work. It is a happy part of my day. I am glad to have been welcomed into the CCS and am looking forward to getting to know all the children and their families. My hobbies include hula hooping, writing children’s stories, hiking, biking, baking, spending time with my family, travel and outdoor adventures.
Forest Friends Team
The Forest Friends serve approximately 30 children ages 18 months through 8 years each afternoon.
Charlie has been a childcare provider for over a decade. They grew up in Wisconsin with dozens of cousins, then went to Bard College, where they got a liberal arts degree with a concentration in Literature and Creative Writing. After that, they moved to the Tohono O’odham land known as Tucson, Arizona. They were a part of the Tucson Childcare Collective and worked as a certified caregiver for adults with severe dementia. They worked also as a trained crisis counselor for the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, and as a counselor’s assistant in a residential treatment program for teens and adults. Over the years, Charlie has continued to provide childcare, and to work for liberation from the governmental and interpersonal structures that seek to prevent people of all ages from realizing our capacity for compassion and creation. Charlie moved to the Lenni Lenape land known as West Philly in the summer of 2017. They are enlivened by the mechanisms, often punished or dismissed, by which kids adapt, celebrate, defend their autonomy, mourn, resist, and care for each other. Charlie feels honored to sing strange songs with people who haven’t been on the planet very long yet.
I grew up in Providence, Rhode Island with my parents and two older sisters. I lived in Boston for about 5 years, completing my BFA in Art Education at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I moved to Philadelphia about a year ago and absolutely fell in love with the West Philly community. I started working at CCS last September as a substitute and I am so excited to start the year as a Forest Friends teacher. Outside of childcare, I am a practicing artist and draw mostly with oil pastels on paper. This year I will work to combine my love of art with my passion for education.
Zach studied theater and education at Wheelock College in Boston. Over the past ten years he has taught at preschools, after school programs, and on a farm. He most recently was teaching at an outdoor preschool classroom at the Schuylkill Center. He enjoys using art, storytelling, and science experiments to continue the learning process in a fun and developmentally appropriate way. When not teaching Zach is usually spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and camping.
Madeleine grew up in Lexington, Virginia, and went to school at Wesleyan University, where she studied English and Government. Her studies focused on indigenous politics and the relationship between queer communities and far right extremism in Europe. Throughout college, Madeleine taught at a Montessori preschool, an arts after school elementary program, and an English language school in Russia. Madeleine just moved to Philly, and is thrilled to be joining CCS and hanging out with her new small friends.
Sarah Peskin is originally from Los Angeles, California and moved to Philadelphia in 2018. Shortly after her arrival in West Philly, she became a substitute teacher at CCS where she discovered her passion for early childhood education. Working with children felt instantly fulfilling because of her lifelong enthusiasm for learning through play and camaraderie with children. She is more than delighted to officially join the CCS team as a Forest Friends teacher. She is looking forward to leading art projects, being a loving support to children under her care, and developing her skills as a teacher.
Eliza grew up in Florida and attended Goucher College near Baltimore, Maryland. They’ve been in Philadelphia for five years, and are happy to call it their home. Soon after moving here, they began working at Belmont Academy Charter School. While there, they worked with 7th graders, babies ages 2 months to 1 year, toddlers, and 3-6 year olds. Additionally, they spent a school year as an Assistant Teacher in a 4 and 5 year old Head Start classroom. Their relationship with CCS began in 2015, when they were the Head Counselor for the 5-8 year old campers the first year of summer camp and they have been subbing ever since. They are thrilled to return to CCS as a Forest Friends teacher! Outside of childcare, Eliza is an artist, performer and sometimes comedian. They enjoy art-making, playing games, making people laugh and creating moments of joy, and are excited to share their passions with the kids.
Jarrod has worked in early childhood education for over a dozen years. He has a passion for helping young children develop the social and emotional skills that are the foundation of lifelong learning and success. In addition to working as a preschool teacher for seven years, Jarrod has consulted privately with the families of young children, taught early childhood education classes at several community colleges, and led workshops at national early childhood conferences. He’s published several articles in national journals, and his book I’m Okay: Building Resilience in Young Children is available on Amazon. He holds a master’s degree in early childhood education from San Francisco State University. You can find more about his early childhood pursuits at jarrodgreen.net. He lives with his wife Amelia and his son Henry in west Philly where they sing in a choir and host sing-alongs, cook fancy foods, play board games, and take walks in the woods with their dog Watson. Henry is in his second year at CCS, in the Oak room.
Stephanie has worked in early childhood education and finance since graduating from the University of Texas in 2008. Originally from Central Texas, Stephanie joined the CCS team after moving to Philadelphia in 2013. Her experience ranges from teaching infants and toddlers to bookkeeping for non-profits. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys gardening, music-making and photography.
Carrie has worked in early childhood education for over fourteen years in Philadelphia and San Francisco. She has taught preschool through first grade in both mainstream and special education classrooms. Carrie is passionate about creating curriculum cooperatively with young children that nurtures their cognitive, physical and social-emotional growth. Carrie comes to us most recently from The Philadelphia School, where she spent eight years serving as both a classroom teacher and the Social-Emotional Learning Specialist. She has led workshops for Philadelphia-area independent schools focusing on emergent curriculum, mathematics and social-emotional development in the early years. Carrie holds a master’s degree in education from the University of California at Berkeley, where she conducted her thesis research on teaching algebraic concepts in the early childhood classroom. She lives in West Philadelphia with her husband Aaron and her children Calvin and Idgie, who both attend CCS.
Marcy Morgan: Literacy (Magnolia class)
As a retired teacher who has lived in West Philly since 1970, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to teach two mornings a week at CCS, to get to know new families and young children, and this year to have my grandson with me in the Magnolia class. During my 45 years of teaching I taught nursery school, earned my masters degree in reading at Penn, and taught kindergarten and first grade in both public and private schools. I still love to work with young children as they begin the empowering process of learning to read and write. I am also active in our local community garden and teach classes in Re-evaluation Counseling, an organization that uses listening partnerships to assist people to transform our lives, build a diverse community, and create a more just and sustainable society.
Board of Directors
Our 2020 Board of Directors:
- Naima Brown—human resources committee
- Dan Burke—finance committee
- Lea Deutsch
- Lucas Drecksage
- Mike Dunn
- Miranda Featherstone
- Rachel Ford
- Jarrod Green, Executive Director
- Liv Gusmano, Secretary—finance committee, executive board
- Zhenja La Rosa—executive board
- Octavia Lewis
- Rowan Machalow, Treasurer—finance committee, executive board
- Alisha Nash
- Rachel Profeta
- Erin Rooney—human resources committee
- Laura Rup
- Nikki Silla
- Janae Silver—2019-20 Fox Board Fellow
- Duwayne Terry, President—governance committee, executive board
- Becca Zinn, Vice President—development committee, executive board