Amazing balance

    Cedar Crest is a great place when it comes to the balance of academics, social and emotional development and character building. No other preschool that we know of has this kind of amazing balance! We love it!

    Preschool Parent
    Park Highlands campus


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Kirkland Staff

Administrative Staff

Tomlinson Lauren Staff

Lauren Tomlinson

Lauren has been working with children for over 12 years, 9 of which has been with Cedar Crest Academy. She began her teaching career with preschoolers while pursuing her Early Childhood Education Degree, once she moved up into administration she found her love for Business. She has an AA in Business Management and is currently attending Eastern Washington University for her Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management. Education has always been a core aspect to Lauren; she hopes to achieve post-bac degrees in both Marketing Management as well as Communications after her graduation, followed by her MBA.

Lauren started with Cedar Crest in 2008 at the Park Highland Campus. After a few years she was asked to split her time between Kirkland Campus and Park Highland working in both the office and helping out around the schools. Lauren was transferred to the Redmond Campus when it opened in 2011, in 2013 she moved to Bellewood to help establish the new campus and is now back at Kirkland for her 3rd year.


Flores Amanda Staff

Amanda Flores
Office Manager

Amanda graduated in 2015 from Clackamas Community College with an Associates in Accounting and an Associates in Business Management. She joined Cedar Crest at the end of the 2015-16 school year as our Office Manager. Having worked as a classified substitute and helping run an after school program at a middle school, she decided that she wanted to go back to school and get her teaching degree. She is excited to be in a program at University of Washington to obtain her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. With her background in business and the love of teaching, the office manager position is the perfect fit for her!

Preprimary Staff

Betsy Walker
Preschool Teacher

Betsy graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and completed her Montessori certification with North American Montessori Center (NAMC). She worked as an assistant teacher in a Montessori classroom for three years prior to receiving in-house training to become a teacher, and have been a lead Montessori teacher for eight years. Betsy loves the excitement children have for learning. Children see the world beautifully, and in such a positive way. This is Betsy’s 3rd year with Cedar Crest Academy and is excited to begin another school year

Kelly Cavanaugh
Preschool Lead Teacher

Kelly recently moved to Washington from New Mexico. She has been working with children for over 13 years.  She loves watching them reach such amazing milestones in the classroom and in everyday life. She has worked with children as young as 6 weeks old to children with special needs.   Kelly has attended many teaching conferences and completed early childhood development courses in college.

Heather McClain
Preschool Lead Teacher

Ms. Heather joined the Cedar Crest staff in 2008, following the opening of the Kirkland campus and it quickly became clear that she had found her calling. Over the years, she has attended many classes and workshops which have furthered her education in the field of Early Childhood. Heather believes that teaching is a lifelong process which includes learning about new philosophies & teaching strategies, learning from the parents, community and colleagues, and most importantly from the children. Children have taught her to open her mind and heart to the joys, the innocence, and the diversity of ideas in the world. Because of this, Heather feels that she will never forget how to smile with the new, cherish the old, and laugh with every child she’s lucky enough to call one of her students.

In 2011, Heather had the opportunity to co-create our preschool curriculum, Cedar Crest Press. She continues in her role as the Lead Curriculum Supervisor for Preschool, providing a consistent curriculum across all campuses, as well as training new preschool teachers by providing them with the tools they’ll need to successfully implement the curriculum.

This year, Heather is returning to the Kirkland campus, after two years of teaching preschool at Cedar Crest’s newest and largest campus in Bellewood with Ms. Ashwini. While at Bellewood, she learned a lot about our elementary program. It was a great experience, but she missed the small, homey feel of the Kirkland campus. She is very excited to be coming home to her old classroom, but even more excited she is able to bring the peanut butter to her jelly, Ms. Ashwini, along with her.

Ashwini Gupte
Preschool Assistant Teacher

Ashwini graduated with a Masters in Zoology and Masters in Business Management from Mumbai University (in India). After relocating to Seattle, she volunteered and then worked as an assistant in a Montessori School for 3 years where she had an opportunity to work with children of all ages ranging from 2 to 6 year olds. Ashwini is really excited to begin her second year at CCA She believes learning should be fun and interactive for children. Also each child is unique not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding.

Joshua Carpenter
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Joshua graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College Seattle with an Associate of Theology Degree where he studied the Bible & practical Christian ministry. Upon graduating in 2010 he served as a youth pastor for two years at Calvary Chapel Monroe teaching and mentoring middle school & high school students. After youth pastoring he went on to teach and serve at his alma mater Calvary Chapel Bible College Seattle from 2012 to 2014. There he was responsible for the development of a specialized practical Christian ministry curriculum that organized college student’s efforts to serve in both their local churches and community. He is currently in his third year of teaching Pre-Kindergarten at Cedar Crest Academy.

Judy Sangder
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Judy is excited to be continuing with the team at Cedar Crest Academy as has been working in childcare since 1990. She started as a cook’s assistant and quickly decided to pursue teaching as a career. She graduated from Renton Technical College where she received her Certificate in Early Childhood Development. She has had the opportunity to work with children of all ages from 2 years to 10 years old. She was the supervisor for the school age before and after care program, the pre-kindergarten class and taught kindergarten for 3 years in private school.  This October Judy received her CDA (Child Development Associate Credential). She believes that learning should be fun and that children thrive in an environment of love, acceptance and laughter. She infuses her circle times with music and games. Her favorite subjects to teach are art, science and math.

Phoebe Witzaney
Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Phoebe graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. She has been working with children for ten years and knew this was her passion when she started babysitting the neighborhood kids. Throughout the years, Phoebe has enjoyed working in a variety of settings: school districts, daycares, summer camps, and youth clubs. She’s taught Preschool through 4th grade. Last year, she had the opportunity to teach Kindergarten in Australia. Phoebe came to Cedar Crest to continue her love of teaching the Pre-K age group! Phoebe believes that by making learning engaging and hands-on, children will want to be lifelong learners. She thinks nothing is more magical than seeing a child light up when they learn something new. Phoebe adores the preschool/ early grades because she loves how you can never predict what those bright young minds will say!

Evelyn Mullins
Pre-Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Evelyn is a mother to her nineteen-year-old daughter. She has been a preschool and/or a pre-kindergarten teacher for 15 plus years.  She has worked as a science teacher for Kindergarten through 2nd grade at Discovery Lab in Bellevue, Washington. Evelyn has a history in credit and accounting, but when her daughter was born she started taking her to parenting classes through Bellevue College.  When her daughter was three, Bellevue College offered her a teaching job.  She worked for the parent education program for fourteen plus years and then moved on to a private school in Kirkland, Washington and then to Cedar Crest Academy. While teaching at Bellevue College, she has been working toward a degree in Early Childhood Education.  That degree has been in the making for a long time, but should be completed this school year.

Alex Hwong
Pre-Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Alex grew up in Beijing, China. Having gone to an international school, he knows the importance of accepting different cultures and respecting them. Alex received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Seattle University. He realized his passion for teaching when he began teaching his younger cousins and friends and loves to see when the light bulb clicks in their heads. This is Alex’s 4 year at Cedar Crest. This will be his third in Pre-K. Alex also has experience tutoring higher level math (up to 8th grade) and working at a Montessori school with young students.

Elementary Staff

Tracey Carpenter
Kindergarten Teacher

Tracey is very excited to be a part of Cedar Crest Academy this year.  She earned her BA in Business Administration from Western Washington University and a Masters in Teaching from City University. She has been teaching for over 12 years in public and private school settings.  She has taught a range of students from Kindergarten to twelfth grade.  Tracey loves teaching and enjoys observing students make new discoveries and connections while learning new concepts and ideas. She considers herself a life-long learner by continuously taking classes to benefit her students in their learning.


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.

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.