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.

Admin Team

Merryl brings a commitment to nurturing all children as caring, active citizens and empowered meaning-makers in her work at CCS.  Since co-founding CCS in 2010, her work with teachers, children and families has been rooted in building trusting relationships and an effort to bring best practices in field of early childhood education to life at school.  Merryl brings an expertise in curriculum development and extensive teaching experience to her role as director.  She earned her masters degree in education and literacy from Bank Street Graduate School of Education.  Not only has Merryl taught in schools near and far, from Philadelphia to Mumbai, but she has taught at all levels from PreK to high school. In all of these contexts, she holds the vision that how we learn impacts what we learn and that by cultivating students’ identity as thinkers, they are empowered to make our society better.  Merryl lives in west Philly with her husband Robbie and her two sons Silas and Ezra. Silas and Ezra, both alumni of CCS, now attend elementary schools in Philadelphia.  As a family, they do a whole lot of hanging out on their block and on the odd occasion when they can get the canoe onto the roof of their car, they love exploring the waterways in and around Philly.

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 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 has just started in the Redbud classroom.

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.

Tessa is a former high school English teacher and community organizer turned social work student. She is excited to be supporting the development of a culture of giving at CCS and working closely with staff, families and administration in the process. Tessa is passionate about social justice, loves to spend time in nature with her pets and loved ones, and wants to know everyone’s zodiac sign.

Redbud Team

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.  After a move to San Francisco, I worked in a school that drew inspiration from the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and had the opportunity to visit the schools of Reggio Emilia on a study tour in 2010.  I am continuously inspired by children’s innate curiosity and drive to learn about the world around them.  I enjoy creating a classroom environment rich in books, music, and responsive to the interests of the children. I’m excited to be returning to CCS.
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.
I am a mindful, embodied educator, dedicated to being a kind, compassionate, and happy human being. As a teacher, I believe that children learn more by how we engage with them than by what we tell them to do. It’s my goal to love children unconditionally, support them to express their unique gifts and talents, help them to be their best, and encourage them do those things for each other. I strive to create a learning environment that thrives in the intersection of art, music, play, movement, community building, self-cultivation, and social justice. There’s plenty of room for deep thoughts and feelings (happiness as well as sadness), hugs, smushiness, silliness, and creative expression. I grew up in Philadelphia, and love 90’s hip hop. I earned a BA from U of Penn in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in African American Studies and a Masters degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College. I have have been practicing meditation, yoga, and Reiki for more than 20 years. I co-founded, then directed, The Reiki School and Clinic in Philadelphia from 1999-2014, and I’ve also taught preschool (Old Pine), 1st and 2nd grades (McCall Elementary), and yoga/mindfulness for preschoolers and educators. I recently returned from two years in Taos, NM, love travel, singing, being with friends and family, spending time in nature, learning ways to bring mindfulness-based practices to the classroom, and studying Buddhist practice as a method to deconstruct and heal the colonial mindset.
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!

Oak Team

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 have always been passionate about working with young people, and started my early education career at University of Bridgeport where I earned my masters in elementary education. Since then I have taught in many schools—most recently the Little Green Schoolhouse in west Philadelphia. I am excited to join the staff at CCS, meet new students and families and reunite with prior LGSH kids! Having once been an outdoor educator I thoroughly enjoy being outside with my students and am so excited that the structure of my classroom this year facilitates that! Another focus of my teaching practice is encouraging the development of strong intra-personal and communication skills in my students. I enjoy creating a community of learners in which everyone is welcome and included with room to grow and explore. When I am not teaching I love to go for walks with my dog at Tinicum wildlife refuge, draw, and laugh with friends. Here’s to a great school year!

Francesca is Philadelphia-based teaching artist and theatre maker who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She graduated from Brown University in 2011 where she studied Theatre and Literary Arts and went on to complete an MFA in Devised Performance at The University of the Arts/Pig Iron School in 2016. In addition to making devised performance, she has been investigating the pedagogical power of theatre and play since co-founding Savvy Theatre Works (a process-based applied theatre program that ran from 2006-2012 in Bocas, Mexico). This interest led her to become the education intern at Trinity Repertory Company in 2011, and she has been working with students ever since. To further explore the ways that play can deepen learning beyond a theatrical approach, she became a MuseumCorps Educator at the Providence Children’s Museum in 2012. There, she became interested in inquiry-based approaches to learning and in Reggio Emilia pedagogy. She was instantly drawn to the Children’s Community School’s commitment to play, experimentation, and collaboration—and she is thrilled to be joining the team!

Juneberry Team

The Juneberry class serves 13 children ages 3 through 5 each morning.

I have been teaching at CCS for 5 years and I’ve worked in almost every classroom! I love being outside with kids and exploring our natural surroundings.  I am a visual and performance artist.  I am an advocate for racial and social justice and I love talking about my mixed identity and family! I also love playing guitar, baking, and exploring nature.

I am a Puerto Rican dance artist and educator. I love moving and dancing with children throughout the day as we stomp and jump away hard and quiet when we are angry, rock our body weight as in the ocean to center ourselves for story time, observe pictures while upside down and feel the roundness of our bones as we roll on the ground or over play dough. I focus on supporting their growing skills and body awareness when taking physical risks and following their curiosity while navigating space. At CCS I have been a Redbud teacher and continue to specialize as a Movement and Spanish language teacher as I share with children my cultural experiences.

Magnolia Team

The Magnolia class serves 18 children ages 4 and 5 each morning.

Jordan is originally from Houston, Texas. She attained her BA in photography from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and moved to Philadelphia to continue to work as a photographer. Jordan began teaching art in the after school program at a Philadelphia area private school where she discovered her love for working with children. She continued to teach, wearing many hats in the early childhood department while completing her Masters Degree in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum from Drexel University. After four wonderful years she decided to find a school that best fit her teaching philosophies. She immediately fell in love with CCS and the loving environment that is created for the students. She loves watching children grow through art, movement, and music, and she believes helping young students explore the world around them is the best job in the world. Jordan currently lives in South Philadelphia with her partner, Lucas, and their dog Tuesday. She loves riding bikes, practicing yoga, and spending time in her garden where she pretends to have a green thumb.

Laura started working with children as a volunteer counselor at a municipal summer camp for children with a wide spectrum of special needs in her hometown near Boston. She was bit by the education bug, and spent her summers during college working at a nonprofit that provided globally-focused professional development for K-12 teachers. She studied music at Tufts University, then did college access work as an AmeriCorps volunteer in both Austin and Boston before going back to school for an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before moving to Philadelphia in 2015, she was teaching in the 5- and 6-year-old classroom at a school in Atlanta for students with language-based learning disabilities. When she’s not in the classroom she enjoys reading, playing the banjo, exploring Philadelphia, and being outside, especially in Vermont.

Forest Friends Team

The Forest Friends serve approximately 30 children ages 18 months through 8 years each afternoon.

I was born in California, and when I was three years old my family moved to Tehran, Iran. From my early years I’ve been interested in what connects people from around the world regardless of their race, religion and nationality.  I earned my B.A. in Psychology while teaching English as a foreign language to children ages 3 to 15. For more than five years I sucessfully taught in variety of schools, including preschool, elementary school, and foreign language institutions. In my free time I enjoy photography, playing the piano, hiking and rock climbing. I’m very grateful to be joining the Children’s Community School, where I can bring my culture into the classroom and build meaningful and trusting relationships with children of different ages.

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 grew up outside of New York City and came to Philly to attend Swarthmore College, where I studied Education and Sociology. I love working with young people, and have worked as an educator in a variety of settings, including as a creative writing instructor in a local Philly school, as a nature educator in the woods of Connecticut, teaching 9 year olds about Judaism and social justice at Kol Tzedek synagogue, and volunteering with Philly Childcare Collective. I really enjoyed getting to meet and work with CCS families and kids in aftercare this past year, and am excited to return as a full-time staff member on this year’s aftercare team. When I’m not teaching, I spend time organizing around Palestinian solidarity, reading, and slowly teaching myself to play guitar. I think caring for young people and respecting their feelings and ideas is an essential part of building the world I want to live in, and I’m grateful to get to spend time learning and playing with CCS kiddos.

I have just recently moved to Philadelphia from Brooklyn, NY, where I was working as a Kindergarten Teaching Assistant at a public school for the past two years.  Before that I worked at a YMCA sleep away camp in upstate New York for about five summers.  Over the course of my time there I worked as a counselor, and then later on as a director of a program for children and young adults with special needs. I have always been fascinated by people and how they think, so I obtained by B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of Vermont in 2013.  In my free time I enjoy taking road trips when I can, bike riding, and spending time with friends and family.

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.

(Photo coming soon!)


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.