Bellewood Staff

Administrative Staff

Spaetzel Danielle

Danielle Mauer
Director of Pre-primary

Danielle is very excited to start her fourth year at Cedar Crest Academy. She was a Pre-Kindergarten teacher before becoming the Director. Danielle graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  For Danielle, teaching is a lifelong process of learning new philosophies and new strategies, learning from parents and the community, learning from colleagues, and especially learning from the children. Children have taught her to open her mind and her heart to the joys, the innocence, and the diversity in the world.

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Danielle was in Ohio, and moved to Washington 3 years ago. She quickly fell in love with everything about the state. She enjoys being outdoors, hiking, and traveling. Danielle and her husband travel a few times a year. They love exploring and traveling the world together!


Bodwin AmandaAmanda Gratton
Director of Elementary

Amanda has been a part of the Cedar Crest Academy community since 2008 and is very excited to celebrate her tenth year! She started as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at the Kirkland campus and loved the children and families she worked with during that time. In 2011, Amanda began teaching First Grade and moved to the Bellewood campus once it was opened in 2013. Since that time she has been the First Grade Team Lead and has taken on other roles such as the Dance Club teacher and Events Coordinator.  She has such a close connection with the Founding Directors, students, families, and staff here at Cedar Crest and it truly feels like a second family to her. Amanda is thrilled to take on the Director of Elementary position and believes she has the insight, dedication, and enthusiasm to serve the school and families.

Amanda is originally from the Orange County area and is a proud Californian. She attended Chapman University where she received her B.A in Liberal Studies along with her Master’s Degree in Education and California State Teaching Credential from Pepperdine University. Her schooling provided her with a strong knowledge of effective education as well as valuable classroom experience in multiple grades. Amanda has achieved her Professional Teaching Certificate from Washington State and is currently completing the Doctoral program at Seattle Pacific University. She is a lifelong learner and enjoys researching and reading about new teaching strategies, practices to increase student achievement, and professional development for educators.

When away from her office and the library, Amanda can be found spending time with her husband, Matthew. Together they enjoy exploring the outdoors with their dogs, Winston and Vladimir, trying new restaurants, and going to sports games.


Anderson Julie

Julie Anderson
Office Administrator

Julie graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Childhood Education. She has always had a love for children and for four years she helped raise ten challenged foster teens along with raising her own two teens.

After spending the last several years on an adventure in Costa Rica volunteering in the well-known animal shelter there she returned to Seattle to be closer to her family of two children and five grandchildren. Prior to that Julie spent many years in property management and in thecustomer service industry. She is a published author and is currently working on a children’s book. Julie has always followed her heart and has had the wonderful opportunities to live in India, New York, and California during her life.



Preprimary Staff

Charlean Givan
Preschool Teacher

Ms. Charlean has been with the Cedar Crest family for three years. She started working with special needs kids in 2003, teaching kids from age 3 -17.  It was during this time when she discovered the beauty in give one’s life in order to help others. Ms. Charlean believes that every child has an immeasurable amount of potential and feels that it’s her duty to bring this to surface, while encouraging kids to excel.

Mrs. Charlean was born in Alabama, and has lived there all of her life until she moved to Washington 3 years, with her husband Blessings and two children,  Khloe and Caleb whom she adore. In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her family, cooking, watching movies and dancing.

Kellie Thornton
Young Preschool Teacher

Kellie is very excited to continue on at Cedar Crest family for her second year! This year, she will be moving on from Young Preschool and teaching Preschool. This makes her fourth year working with the preschool aged children. Kellie graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She learned so much about helping and teaching children and people of all ages.

When she is not working, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family. Kellie enjoys participating in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking or playing sports like soccer, volleyball and tennis. She sees herself as an active person. Kellie always tries to stay positive and always tries to find the best of any situation.

Jessica Ngar
Preschool Teacher

Jessica is excited to start her second year at Cedar Crest Academy. This school year, she will continue teaching Preschool after enjoying it so much last school year. She graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Psychology.  Jessica has always loved working with children. She loves the joy that children bring to the classroom each day, it has taught her unconditional love!

On her time off, she loves being in the outdoors with fiancé! She absolutely loves going on hikes. Jessica has hiked Mount Saint Helens, Swiss Alps, French Alps, and many other beautiful places. She enjoys reading books and driving to the coast!

Fowzia Moalim
Preschool Teacher

This will be Fowzia’s second year working at Cedar Crest Academy. She couldn’t be happier to be a part of this great school. Fowzia is currently working on her bachelors in Early Childhood Education and a minor in child psychology. She started her education at Washington State University and is now continuing her degree through Eastern Washington University.  Fowzia has been working with children since she was a teenager (being the neighborhood babysitter), and quickly realized it was her passion. She is very excited to utilize all the techniques and teaching styles she has learned throughout the years.

Outside of the classroom, she tries not to study too hard as she finishes her last year of school. She loves and enjoys being with family and friends. Fowzia really enjoys reading and likes to read at least 2 books a month, non-school related. Dancing has been a hobby and a love of hers since she was a child. If you look closely, you might catch a glimpse of me dancing around her classroom. Traveling is one of her biggest passions. She travels back to Egypt and Somalia, at least once a year. Fowzia really enjoys getting to utilize the 4 languages she speaks when traveling!

Cortney Drew
Prekindergarten Teacher

Ms. Cortney has always known that working with children was her calling. She has been working with children since she was eleven years old. This is her third year with Cedar Crest Academy. She began teaching as a long term-sub in 5th grade. It was an interesting experience, but ideally knew she needed to work with younger children. She grew up in California, where she attended Fresno State’s Blended Liberal Studies Program, before coming to Washington. Upon leaving California she taught 1st grade at the elementary school she graduated from. Every year she loves to see the moment when everything she is teaching clicks inside a child. She knows this year will be a magical year of taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy!

Ms. Cortney visited Washington in the summer of 2015 and loved it so much she decided to stay! Even though it was hard to leave all her family in California, she was ready for a new adventure in the Evergreen State. In the last two years she has enjoyed exploring all the things Washington has to offer! In her free time; she enjoys spending time with friends, playing tennis, taking trips, and finding news places to go with her boyfriend and dog, Frank.

Rosalba Vizcarra
Prekindergarten Teacher

Ms. Rosy loves working with children and her priority is to make them feel secure and loved. She has been working at Cedar Crest Academy for three years but this will be her first year teaching. She is very excited for this opportunity and is expectant of what this school year will bring. Ms. Rosy looks forward to create as many memories as possible with everyone at CCA.

Ms. Rosy was born in Mexico and was nine years old when her parents migrated to the Untied States of America with her and her 3 siblings. Although she was just a kid, she still encountered challenges when she came here. Living in a different country, meant new home, new friends, new language and new culture. The hardest was going to school. Not being able to understand or speak any English felt like she did not belong here. She is now thankful for that life experience, since it helps her understand all those students whom their first language is not English. She treats everybody the same but can totally relate to all those families who come from a different country. Ms. Rosy has been happily married to her husband Gabriel for almost nine years and has two beautiful daughters Elisama and Zoe.

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family. Cooking with her kids and taking them to the park are her two favorite things to do. Ms. Rosy volunteered for two years teaching Sunday school at the church she attends and is currently one of the youth leaders along with her husband. Her all time dream is to make a difference in every student or person that comes to her life.

Dani Palunchuk
Prekindergarten Teacher 

Ms. Dani is thrilled to start her fourth year with Cedar Crest Academy. Ms. Dani graduated with a bachelors in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies from the University of Washington. Since then, she has been working with Preschool and Prekindergarten. Having moved to Washington from Europe, Ms. Dani grew up speaking three languages; Romanian, English, and French. Her passion for traveling began at a young age and she has since visited over 16 countries.

Ms. Dani has two chiweenies, Nikko and Rocco with whom she loves taking out for long walks. She also loves to drink coffee, explore cities, hike, and travel when she is not busy being a teacher.

Ms. Dani believes in a teaching style that is warm, nurturing, and inspires interest and curiosity in the students. Students are at the center of their learning and it is the responsibility of teachers to guide them, nurture them, and feed their curious minds.

Parul Purohit
Prekindergarten Teacher

Parul joined Cedar Crest Academy in May 2016 but has been involved with early childhood education since 2006. Prior to joining CCA, Parul has taught children from ages 2 months to 5 years old first as a Preschool teacher at River School and then later on as Assistant Teacher at a Charter school in NJ. Parul has a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from India. Parul is very passionate about working with young children and thoroughly enjoys watching them learn and grow.

Outside of the classroom, she enjoys reading, biking, hiking, and traveling to new places with her family. Parul has two wonderful children. One is 4 years old and the other is just a few weeks old.

Jacqueline Kier
Prekindergarten Teacher

Jackie is a Washington native and loves the state. She has been teaching in Washington for more than 15 years. Jackie enjoys seeing the look on a student’s faces when they finally grasp a concept. She began teaching after having her first son Jerome. Jackie wanted a career path that provided her the affordance of being with her son all the time, teaching provided me that affordance. She received a Montessori AA partnership Degree, from the University of Puget Sound in 2007.

In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, preparing new and exciting materials for the classroom, and antiquing. She is so happy and excited to be a part of the Cedar Crest Academy Family.


Elementary Staff

Erin Milligan
Kindergarten Teacher

Erin joined the Cedar Crest Academy staff in the Summer of 2014 teaching the summer camp. She has taught for three years in the Cedar Crest Kindergarten program and is excited to begin her fourth year. Erin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Inter-Disciplinary Studies from The Evergreen State College. She lived in France for two years where she taught English at the secondary and elementary levels. After living abroad, she returned to her studies to become a certified teacher, earning a post-baccalaureate Elementary Education degree with K-8 Washington State certification at Western Governors University. She completed her student teaching internship in Seattle Public Schools. She was a lead teacher in an arts-based preschool and taught French in an immersion Kindergarten program before coming to Cedar Crest Academy. Shes enjoys using hands-on and creative learning experiences to make learning meaningful for her students. Her goal is for her students to become life-long learners by asking questions, thinking creatively, and not giving up. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Arnaud, and their dog Zeke, cooking, travelling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Jaime Wilson
Kindergarten Teacher

Jaime attended Western Washington University where she obtained her Bachelors in Elementary Education with a focus was in human development. All of her experience in early elementary classrooms combined with her background knowledge in psychology has helped her develop and implement excellent classroom management and teaching strategies. Jaime is very excited continue teaching on the Kindergarten team at the Bellewood Campus for another year of great education within the Cedar Crest family. Jaime has spent many summers as a camp counselor, mentored fifth graders during college, been a nanny for multiple families over several years, and has taught pre-school and pre-k preceding her time in Kindergarten. Jaime cannot imagine doing anything besides working with children. She loves being in a classroom and fostering children’s growth both academically and socially. She believes that being an educator is more than being academically strong, knowing that focusing on the child as a whole is most important.

Julia Iyall

Kindergarten Teacher

Ever since Julia was 15 years old, she has had jobs that involved teaching children of all ages, and immediately knew she wanted to be a teacher. Julia is one of seven children and her family holds a strong value in her life. Julia has worked in many different types of teaching realms: from special education to volunteering in the public schools, to teaching English in Europe, to working in the private schools. She enjoys assisting families in their child’s education to grow a stronger family for the child.

In her free time, Julia enjoys swimming competitively, running, reading, spending time with her adorable nephews, and hanging out with her oldest brother that has Down Syndrome. In the fall and winter, Julia highly enjoys watching football or going to Seahawks games. Go Hawks! Lastly, she enjoys studying history (she is actually quite obsessed with history). Julia loves to travel and believes the best way to experience and understand history is by seeing where things took place.

Julia thoroughly believes in the Cedar Crest motto that “Learning Lasts a Lifetime;” She is always looking for ways to learn and apply learning to the classroom. She firmly believes we are always learning and hopes to instill her love of education into the hearts and minds of the children at Cedar Crest Academy.

Candice Metzger
Kindergarten Teacher

Candice has always loved school and hoped to pass her love of learning on to her children. She has been working with children since she was 15 and has been a certified teacher for 13 years; this is her 3rd year teaching for Cedar Crest Academy. Candice has taught preschool through 2nd grade, have worked in child care and was a school Director for 3 years. She holds a Professional Teaching Certificate and a BA in Elementary Education and Science Education from Central Washington University. Their inquisitive minds, excitement for learning and the individuality that blossoms over the year are just a few things that I love about children! Candice is very excited to use her knowledge base to help your children become lifelong learners.

In her free time she works as an actor, singer, director and she is an avid Disney fan. Candice is Winnie the Pooh’s number one fan and she adores the color orange! Her all-time favorite things to do are act in musical theater and teach drama classes. She belongs to a theater company called “Auburn Avenue Theater” where she was honored to play my dream role ‘Glinda the Good Witch’ in “The Wizard of Oz.” She most recently gave a vocal performance for the grand opening of the Federal Way Performing Arts Center. Candice enjoys traveling with her husband (especially to Disneyland), spending time with her two stepchildren and our husky Kaya!

Evelyn Mullins
Assistant Kindergarten Teacher

Evelyn is one of eight children.  When she was eleven she became an aunt for the first time.  Evelyn enjoys being around her nephew so much and each niece and nephew that followed she experienced the same joy of watching them grow and learn.

Out of high school, she started college in an early education program.  She stayed one year then went to work at a large corporation working credit and finance. Later on, she was fortunate to be a stay at home mom.  Her daughter started a program at Bellevue College through kindergarten and Evelyn volunteered. She then began to work for the parent education department as a teacher.  Fifteen years later, she is working for Cedar Crest for her third year. She is finally finishing off her two year degree in early childhood education.

Laura Mercier
First Grade Teacher

Laura is very excited to start her fourth year teaching at Cedar Crest Academy and her third year as a first grade teacher.  Laura has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education along with a K- 8th grade endorsement in 2009.  She has also completed her Masters in Teaching degree in 2012.  She earned both degrees from Northwest University.  Following her passion for teaching, Laura has taught various age groups starting from preschool through third grade.  Laura firmly believes in teaching the whole child.  Her goal is to create a learning environment that nurtures children intellectually, emotionally, and socially.  She believes by creating a healthy environment children will find the joy of learning and become lifelong learners.

Laura is a Washington State native.  She loves to take advantage the various outdoor activities the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  Along with spending time in the great outdoors, Laura enjoys various hobbies such as sewing, yoga, and reading.  On the weekends you can find Laura spending time with family and friends, enjoying a good movie or concert, and hanging out with her tuxedo cat, Gandolf.

Vinu Vijay
First Grade Teacher

Vinu attended University of Toronto, in Canada, and received an Honors in Bachelor of Science. After a few years of working as a Project Manager at a medical research facility, she received her Bachelor of Education from University of Ottawa, also in Canada. Vinu is currently working on her Master’s in Education at the University of Washington, specializing in Instructional Leadership. She started as a High-School Science teacher, and has taught middle school, pre-primary and elementary during her many years of experiences. She has taught in Cedar Crest for three years and she looks forward to moving from being a 3rd grade teacher to 1st grade this year. She strongly encourages the use of STEAM, and has always believed in building on and encouraging the unique abilities of the children in her classroom.

Linda Ream
First Grade Teacher

Linda joined the Cedar Crest Academy staff in the summer of 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities for Teaching at Seattle University. After several months teaching in Zambia, and working with children diagnosed with Autism, she returned to school at Seattle University earning a Master’s in Teaching with a K-8 Washington State certification in 2015. Linda has taught as a student teacher in the Seattle School District, and as a 2nd grade teacher in the Highline School district. In her spare time, she enjoys eating delicious Indian food, finding cute coffee shops, playing soccer, and gardening. She enjoys reading, and often finds fun books at Half-Price Books to share with her Kindergartners. She uses games and songs to engage students and enhance their learning.

Cynthia Hirst
First/Second Grade Teacher

Mrs. Hirst has loved school her whole life- the best day of the year is the first day of school!  She graduated from Centennial Senior High School in Coquitlam, B.C., where she earned a swimming scholarship to Simon Fraser University.  There she minored in Kinesiology and Learning Disabilities while swimming on the record-setting varsity swim team.  She even held two individual collegiate records: one in the 100 yd. freestyle and one in the 100 yd. backstroke.  She was named an All-American athlete in multiple events all four years.  During her fifth year, she completed the Teacher Development Program, and was the assistant head varsity swim coach.  Her first year of teaching was in Jakarta, Indonesia at the International School, along with coaching the school swim team.  Mrs. Hirst has taught for over 25 years in British Columbia and Washington state, including as the owner/director of a music school (The Musik Place), where she taught families how to play musically together, and she continues to teach piano today.  Over the course of her teaching career, Mrs. Hirst has taught all grade levels (K-12), and such subject areas as English, ELL, biology, US history, French, physical education, and of course, music!

Mrs. Hirst has been married for 29 years, and has two grown sons, Malcolm and Andrew.  She lives in Redmond with her husband, and an orange cat named Pumpkin!

Anna Kathmann
Third Grade Teacher

Anna is excited to be entering her sixth year teaching at Cedar Crest Academy. She has taught Pre-K, first grade, and is looking forward to being back in a third grade classroom this year!

Anna graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Education, and her teaching certificate. While enrolled at Western, Anna attended the Woodring College of Education and majored in Human Development. Her passion for teaching extends beyond the classroom as she has experience coaching, tutoring, and nannying. Anna believes that children thrive in an environment where they feel respected, challenged, and confident. It is her goal to get to know each child as a learner and individual to give them the best tools to succeed.

Outside of school Anna enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and dog. Her other interests include hiking, cheering on the Seahawks, listening to music, and spending time with friends.

Nathanael Fatula

Fourth Grade Teacher

Nathanael graduated from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas with a BFA in Art and a BS in Teaching. While in college he took a year off to travel to Africa to work as a volunteer teacher at the Village of Hope Orphanage. Upon moving to the Seattle area in 2013 he worked a special education teacher for 3 years. He also volunteers in King County Juvenile Detention Center as a mentor and teacher. Over the years of various teaching experience, Nathanael has learned how to teach from different cultural perspectives and differentiate learning to meet the needs of each individual student. Nathanael hopes to never stop learning, traveling, and serving children from all walks of life. To recharge he loves camping, backpacking, road-tripping, and cooking for his friends!

Natascha Simauw
Teacher Assistant

Natascha always loves working with children and this is her exciting second year joining Cedar Crest Academy.   She is very excited to deliver her passion in teaching various ages students. Prior to working with Cedar Crest she worked for various ages group from pre-primary to elementary. She worked before as a preschool teacher in a child care and also in Indonesia as a preschool, elementary and bilingual language teacher for international school. Natascha believes that learning is a lifetime process for everyone but most important and exciting part of learning is the journey itself. Each student is unique with a natural born talent of learning, when they are encouraged using this capacity along the journey eventually they will develop a positive lifetime result. Natascha earned BA in Law from University of Atma Jaya Indonesia then she continued to get TESOL Diploma and TEFL certificate for teaching young learner from Vancouver College Canada. After graduating until now she has always worked for education and teaching.




Dave Sauter
P.E Teacher

Dave graduated from the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, and obtained his teaching license from the State of North Dakota. He’s worked with several school districts, one being Medina school district in North Dakota. He developed a new K-12 physical education program while he was there. He’s taught from elementary through High School students. Dave is the P.E specialist for all 4 of Cedar Crest’s campuses and is excited to be a part of a school that gives their students the opportunity to be involved in high quality physical education classes. His ultimate goal is to help all kids stay active and healthy for the rest of their lives.

Christian Nelson
Library and Media Specialist

Christian graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in History . Prior to joining Cedar Crest, he worked 8 years as a residential youth counselor, assisting at-risk youth in the midst of familial crises. He’s also worked in after school programs, provided tutoring assistance and served as a youth mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound. Over his first two years at Cedar Crest Academy, Christian worked as an office administrator, taking on may IT support related tasks. Entering his third year, he is excited to be teaching library and technology classes.

Heather Carpenter
Executive Director

Heather brings close to twenty years of experience in private school elementary education, where she has served as a teacher, principal, mentor, trainer, and regional director.  Heather joined Cedar Crest Academy in 2013 as the Director of Curriculum Development.  As Director of Curriculum Development, Heather helped restructure Cedar Crest Academy’s elementary program to make certain Cedar Crest Academy’s students are achieving academic excellence through an individualized, academically rigorous program and are able to compete on an international level.      

As Cedar Crest Academy’s Executive Director, in addition to overseeing the elementary program, Heather will visit all campuses on a weekly basis, ensuring consistency and quality in curriculum implementation and that all preprimary programs are adhering to Cedar Crest Academy’s standard of excellence.  Heather will continue to hone in on Cedar Crest Academy’s Core Values and Mission, ensuring Cedar Crest Academy exceeds standards, individualizes programs, develops and embraces the whole child, and challenges students to believe in themselves and their limitless potential.      

Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Curriculum from the University of Victoria.  She adores spending time with her family and being active with her two children.  Skiing, cooking, and reading are just a few of her pastimes.