Teachers & Staff


Administrative staff and teachers



Geeta Vyas

Geeta has extensive experience working with diverse populations and has a proven track record of delivering instructional leadership and curriculum, enabling children under her care to excel during their primary school years. Geeta’s dedication and commitment to children earned her an Employee of the Year award for excellence in teaching at a previous school.

Geeta has over 25 years of experience in Early Childhood Education and holds an Associates of Arts in Early Childhood from Rancho Santiago College, and a Bachelors of Arts in Education from Maharaja Sayajirao University in India. Geeta also gained additional leadership experience serving as principal of an elementary school in India.

Geeta cherishes spending time with her two teenage daughters. She and her husband, Hemant, are very active within the Indian community on the Eastside. She enjoys reading, time with friends and family, and traveling.


Gail Domingos

Gail has 20 years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field. Gail’s experience working with children is diverse, from volunteering as a teacher with homeless children to interning as an Elementary School Principal within the Cambridge Public Schools system. She has worked as a Director in both small, sole-proprietorship and large corporate centers. At Cedar Crest Academy, Gail weaves together and implements the positive aspects of each of these endeavors.

Gail has an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood from Los Angeles Valley College; a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude,from UCLA; and Master of Education, Principal Certification Strand, from Harvard University.

Gail’s hobbies include tennis, cinema, model ship building, and cooking. Gail and her husband, Pedro, enjoy traveling and spending time with their son, Daniel.

Executive Director

Heather Carpenter

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. 



Jade Brodie

Jade graduated from Lake Washington Technical College with a Certificate and Associates of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood. She has also earned her Associates Degree in Child Development and she takes at least ten hours of continuing education in ECE each year. Jade believes that children have the potential to do something great and must be supported. Jade also believes children learn best in an environment of fun. This will be Jade’s 12th year with Cedar Crest Academy.


Preschool Teacher

Donna Skinner

Donna began her career in early childhood education at the early age of nineteen. She has fourteen years of experience working with toddlers to school aged children. She continues her professional development by attending trainings and workshops. Her greatest joy is teaching young children. Donna’s hobbies include painting, listening to music, and dancing! She loves spending time with her friends and family – especially her 2 ½-year-old son. This is her 3rd year at Cedar Crest Academy and she is looking forward to a great year of learning and making new friends!

Preschool Teacher

Stephanie Edwards

This is my 2nd year at Cedar Crest Academy and I am looking forward to teaching at such a fantastic school. I have worked with children ranging from ages 1-5 since 2008. In 2006, I earned a certificate in Childcare Management and in 2008, I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in English from Western Washington University. I love working with children because of how frequently they teach you things. Outside of work, I love spending time with my family, shopping, cooking, and watching the Seahawks. I recently took up painting and look forward to spending time developing this new skill.

Preschool Teacher

Julissa Lizaola

I have been working in the education field since 2004. I am passionate about teaching and everything else that comes with it. My favorite part about being a teacher is seeing the all of the social and emotional growth a child achieves within a year.  Before coming to Cedar Crest, I worked as an art specialist, a preschool teacher, and a pre-k teacher. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education from Bellevue College and I continue to take classes throughout the year to strengthen my knowledge. I have a beautiful family of seven. I have three sisters, one brother, and a loving husband. During my free time, I enjoy traveling, shopping, and spending time with my family.  I’m excited to start my eighth school year here at Cedar Crest and I look forward to working with new families.

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Mia Mian

Mia started her career in 2005 and over these 12years, has gained rich experience in Training and Development through multinational companies. She has around 4 years of experienced in educational institutions. Mia has grown as a Trainer and Mentor by coaching Corporate Professionals and budding fresher’s in ESL, Interpersonal skills and Power of Positivity. Mia has also trained and upskilled aspiring Trainers in the Corporate sector. She is passionate about teaching and believes that teaching is a calling and passion, not a profession. Mia’s hobbies include sketching and Painting. She is a talented singer and a good cook.

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Sara Cruz

Sara has worked with children since she was 18-years-old, and it’s her heart and passion. She graduated from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in Children Studies and minor in Sociology as well as having her Associate’s degree in Arts. Sara has worked as an infant lead teacher, a toddler lead teacher, a preschool lead teacher, a Pre-K lead teacher, and a school-age lead teacher. This is her second year at Cedar Crest Academy, and she’s beyond grateful to be a part of this wonderful team as well as the children’s daily lives. She’s excited to work and help build a trusting and strong relationship with the students as well as their parents. Sara hopes that she can make a difference in the life of each child in her class.



Gilberto Guillen

Gilberto was born and raised in Lima, Peru. He studied Industrial Relations at the Pacific University in Lima. He then worked in the Jorge Chavez International Airport in the position of Communicator for 25 years. Gilberto has been in the United States for over 13 years, including 6 years in New Jersey and the past 8 years in Washington. During his time in the states he has also worked as a machine operator and then found his love for the kitchen at a local hotel working as a line cook.  This is Gilberto’s 7th year at Cedar Crest Academy and enjoys interacting with all the children, families, and staff.


Director of Pre-primary

Danielle Mauer

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!

Director of Elementary

Amanda Gratton, M.Ed.

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.

Office Administrator

Julie Anderson

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 the customer 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.


Preschool Teacher

Charlean Givan

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 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.

Preschool Teacher

Kellie Thornton

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.

Preschool Teacher

Jessica Ngar

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!

Preschool Teacher

Fowzia Moalim

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!

Prekindergarten Teacher

Rosalba Vizcarra

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 creating 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 United 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.

Prekindergarten Teacher

Dani Palunchuk

Ms. Dani is thrilled to start her fourth year with Cedar Crest Academy. Ms. Dani graduated with a bachelor 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.

PreKindergarten Teacher

Natascha Simauw

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.

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Michelle Hernandez

Mrs. Michelle first gained an interest in teaching serving as a Preschool volunteer in high school. Following that, she earned  a degree in Early Childhood Education and began teaching in a Pre-Kindergarten classroom. Since then, she has gained 10+ years experience teaching in both preprimary and K-2nd grade classrooms.

Mrs. Michelle believes a child’s education is the most valuable thing in the world.  “Throughout my life, I have dedicated a lot of my time to teach, learn and grow to accommodate their needs.  I enjoy every aspect of teaching and have realized in my years that they can teach us as much as we teach them. ”

Mrs. Michelle is excited to join Cedar Crest Academy and looks forward to the opportunity to watch her students learn and grow together.


Kindergarten Teacher

Erin Milligan

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, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Kindergarten Teacher

Jaime Wilson

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 to 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.

Kindergarten Teacher

Julia Iyall

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.

Kindergarten Teacher

Candice Metzger

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 childcare 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!

Assistant Kindergarten Teacher

Evelyn Mullins

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.

First Grade Teacher

Laura Mercier

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.

First Grade Teacher

Vinu Vijay

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.

First Grade Teacher

Linda Ream

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.


First/Second Grade Teacher

Cynthia Hirst

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!

Third Grade Teacher

Anna Kathmann

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.

Fourth Grade Teacher

Nathanael Fatula

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!


P.E Teacher

Dave Sauter

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.

Library and Media Specialist

Christian Nelson

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 many IT support related tasks. Entering his fourth year, he is excited to be teaching library and technology classes.



Lauren Tomlinson

Lauren has been working with children for over ten years, nine of which have been with Cedar Crest Academy. She began as a nanny for two families, one with eleven-month-old triplets and another family with a six-year-old. Being a nanny lead Lauren to discover her love for children. She continued to work with children by tutoring an eight and a thirteen-year-old for two years. She also volunteered with youth groups through her church and other organizations. Lauren began her teaching career with preschoolers while pursuing her degree.

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 now, has finally settled at the Kirkland Campus.

Although Lauren started out in Early Childhood Education, she found her passion in Business when she moved up into Administration. She has earned her Associates from Bellevue College in Business Administration and is currently attending Eastern Washington University, earning her Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management. She hopes to get her Masters within the next few years.

Office Manager

Amanda Flores

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 the 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!


Young Preschool Teacher

Nicola Beard

Nicola graduated from Southern New Hampshire University in May with her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Her experience working with young children began in 2014, when she volunteered in a therapeutic classroom for vulnerable and at-risk children. Since then, Nicola has worked in early learning centers teaching and caring for toddler and preschool aged children. She has also had experience assisting teachers in public school classrooms, and student taught in a Kindergarten classroom for four months. Nicola recently moved back to the Seattle area after living in New Hampshire for the past three years. She is thrilled to be a part of the Cedar Crest Academy family, and looks forward to her first year of teaching!


Young Preschool Teacher

Janelle Ramirez

Janelle graduated from Central Washington University in 2015 with her BA in Psychology. She has been a tutor for children in Middle and Elementary school and she has been a private nanny for several families. Upon graduating she moved to Wenatchee, WA where she worked one-on-one with Autistic children for a year and a half. She made the decision of moving to the Seattle area this summer. She is very excited to work her first year here at Cedar Crest Academy. One of her joys is being able to help children grow and learn new things every day.

Preschool Teacher

Heather McClain

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.

Preschool Teacher

Anna Dartnall

Ms. Anna has been involved in early-childhood education since 2002. She started out teaching and directing the children’s program at her local church. During her time as a children’s program director, she also worked with special needs high school students and began volunteering at Seattle Children’s Hospital for eight years where she had the privilege to invest her time, love, and bring comfort to many kids of all ages and walks of life. In between these responsibilities, she also worked closely with kids in their homes as a nanny and tutor for many families. She has worked as a pre-primary teacher for the last five years, and this will be her fourth academic year with Cedar Crest Academy. She is excited to have the opportunity to invest in your child’s education and early development this school year!


Preschool Assistant Teacher

Ashwini Gupte

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.

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Joshua Carpenter

Joshua graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College Seattle in 2010 with an Associate of Theology Degree. It was there he studied the Bible and was responsible for the development of a specialized practical Christian ministry curriculum that organized student’s efforts to serve in both their local churches and community. He is currently working as the youth pastor for Calvary Chapel Monroe where he mentors middle school & high school students. Aside from youth pastoring he also teaches at Calvary Chapel Bible College Seattle as an instructor of Christian Apologetics. He is currently in his fourth year of teaching Pre-Kindergarten at Cedar Crest Academy.

Since 2014 Joshua has enjoyed gleaning a great amount of wisdom and experience in early childhood development and education through Cedar Crest Academy. Joshua has since been able to come into his own as an early learning instructor and has stepped into a lead teaching position for Pre-Kindergarten. He continues to foster an environment of love, learning, and personal growth for all his students.

PreKindergarten Teacher

Judy Sangder

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).

Judy 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.

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Taira

Taira has over 12 years of experience teaching children of various ages and backgrounds. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Education, an Associate’s Degree in Childhood Development, as well as an Early Childhood Teaching Certificate. She has a passion for nature education and inquiry-based learning. She believes her role as an educator is to engage children in the learning process and develop lifelong learners.

Pre-Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Alex Hwong

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.


Kindergarten Teacher

Tracey Carpenter

Mrs. Carpenter 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.


P.E Teacher

Dave Sauter

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.



Linda Thelin

Linda grew up in Northern Ireland and went to University in Stirling, Scotland where she received a B.Sc. Hons in Psychology. She is married with two boys, now in their 20’s. She initially worked as a Social worker for adults with learning disabilities and then having completed a management certification went on to manage a Drop-In Center for the Elderly in England. When she and her family immigrated to the USA in 2003 she worked as a teacher for preschoolers with Autism in LWSD for 5 years and subsequently as a Prek lead at Timberlake Christian Preschool for 3 years. She started working for Cedar Crest Academy in 2014 first as a Preschool teacher and then a year later as Director – a job she loves!

Office Manager

Monae Drouillard

Monae was born in Michigan and raised in Indiana. She attended college at Indiana University from 2010 – 2014 graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Special Education with a concentration in psychology. Throughout college Monae was on the cheerleading squad as well as held a full-time job. She worked closely with families and behavior therapists as a direct support professional for adults with special needs. Monae moved to Washington in December 2015 and joined the Cedar Crest Academy family in January of 2017 and has been working hard to make the school bright and cheery ever since!

When school isn’t in session Monae, is passionate about exploring nature by going on hikes and paddle boarding! She continues to study nutrition and fitness ♥



Preschool Teacher

Keri Belanger

Keri was born and raised in Washington, growing up in Bothell/Woodinville area. Although she is not a fan of cold weather, she is a big coffee lover! Keri graduated from Central Washington University in 2008, receiving her Elementary Education Degree and has been teaching ever since in both private and public schools. She has taught across grades from Preschool to 3rd Grade. Keri joined our Cedar Crest Academy family in 2013. She loves teaching Preschool and the unpredictability of each day keeps her on her toes. Keri is the Lead Preschool Teacher for the Redmond campus and works closely with the curriculum and fellow teachers across all four campuses.

Outside of the classroom, Keri loves to travel the world and experience new adventures. She is a risk teacher and enjoys the thrill of trying something new! Keri is very family orientated and loves spending time being social. She is also an animal lover and shares her home with 2 cats, Piccadilly and Winston, as well as a chinchilla, Bambique.

Assistant Preschool Teacher

Cherisse Pratt

Cherisse graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development. During her schooling, she had the opportunity to participate in a preschool practicum that she helped set up at her university, along with an interactive internship at a preschool in Woodinville, WA where she learned the ins and outs of how to set up and run a preschool. She has always loved being around and working with children, especially the early development ages. In her free time, Cherisse loves to spend time with her husband, travel, be outdoors and knit and crochet. Cherisse joined Cedar Crest Academy in 2016 and looks forward to the years ahead!

PreKindergarten Teacher

Alyce Partch

Alyce holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis on children and education; she also has taken many childhood development courses. Alyce has over 20 years of experience teaching. These experiences include preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten, preschool director, homeschool co-op teacher and homeschool educator. Alyce has two children, Meghan and Noah, who are in high school.  Alyce enjoys hiking, biking, the beach, photography, music, reading, laughing, collecting vinyl and spending time with her kids.  She believes it is important to teach children a love of learning from an early age. Alyce joined the Cedar Crest family in 2015 and is looking forward to a great school year!

PreKindergarten Teacher

Brittany Bumpus

Brittany is a second-year Pre-K teacher at Cedar Crest Academy. In the past few years she has graduated from Central Washington University with a double bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. Her teaching philosophy is not to just teach the students the curriculum, but to also allow them the opportunity to experience activities that grasp their interests and encourage a love for learning. Outside of school, Brittany loves spending time with her family and friends in her hometown or getting cozy with a good book. Ms. Brittany has a vibrant personality and tries her very best to make the students smile and enjoy their time here at Cedar Crest Academy. In the future she hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in either Education or Child Psychology.


Preschool Teacher

Courtney Thoreson

Courtney graduated a very long time ago from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences. Since she really wanted to work with deaf children, she continued at UW for a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Deaf Education. Since then she has worked in Chehalis, WA., Sunnyvale, CA., for Bellevue Christian School and for the Northshore School District, teaching mostly special education classes but also some general education classes. She believes that giving children an excitement about school at an early age will help them become life-long learners! Courtney joined Cedar Crest Academy in 2015.

Courtney has twin sons in college and she enjoys skiing, hiking church activities, and puttering in her garden in Woodinville.

PreKindergarten Teacher

Hawa Aden

Miss Hawa moved to WA state from Minnesota after she got married! She has really been enjoying living here, and the WINTERS have been really good to her.

Hawa joined Cedar Crest Academy in 2017 and so excited to be part of the team, but most importantly she is so happy to be teaching Pre-K this year! She has been working with children for 8 years in Washington, Minnesota, and Malaysia where she lived for two years after high school. Her passion for education and working with young children has motivated her to obtain her B.A. in early childhood education at Bellevue college.  During her years in early education field in Metro state university in Minnesota and Bellevue College now she’s gained a lot of useful knowledge. Working in the ECE field has helped her gain a ton of experiences that have allowed her to grow as a person and teacher. She so excited in getting to know your children, their families, and embarking on a fun and adventurous school year.

PreKindergarten Assistant Teacher

Amy Kim

Amy was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. Amy has a BA in Chemistry and Education from Hankook University of Foreign Studies in Korea and MA in International Studies. She was an exchange student at the University of Washington Jackson School after she moved to Seattle. Amy was an International Volunteer Science teacher in Sri Lanka and China for 4 years prior to coming to Seattle. Through this various experience she got into teaching preschoolers. Amy loves to travel all around the world and enjoys outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking. Amy started teaching at Cedar Crest Academy in 2016.

PreKindergarten Teacher

Jackie Groves

Jackie Groves has been following her passion for teaching for over twenty years. Some highlights of her career include teaching children with special needs, working in one of the first integrative classrooms for children with autism in North Carolina. In 2008 she moved to Beijing, where she lived for six years and co-founded a language learning academy. Unfortunately, her Mandarin is still 还行, 哈哈. She has worked for both Houghton Mifflin and McGraw-Hill as a curriculum designer and has recently discovered a deep love for Pre-K curriculum design. Miss Jackie attended Yale University, where she studied public speaking. She graduated from UNC-Charlotte with degrees in Psychology and Religious Studies. Jackied joined Cedar Crest Academy in 2017 and is excited for a great year ahead!

When Miss Jackie is not teaching, her hobbies include playing video games, going hiking, and experimenting in the kitchen with cooking and baking!

PreKindergarten Teacher

Angela Chun

Angela graduated from Seoul Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea where she received a degree in Child Studies. Her teaching credentials and skills led her into teaching, creating curricula, and supervising at English immersion schools for 5 years. She earned a certification in Nonprofit Management and has spent a great deal of time volunteering with organizations such as Make-a-Wish Korea, Kids’ Quest Museum, and the Pacific Science Center. When she is not teaching children, she enjoys reading, cooking, watching Disney movies, and hiking. Angela loves to travel the world and is enjoying exploring her new surroundings in the Pacific Northwest. Angela joined the CCA family in 2015.

Preschool Teacher

Tia Jerome

Tia started teaching children, when she was 18 years old as a preschool teachers assistant/floater at a Montessori school. From there she went to a couple of schools to explore my career as a toddler teacher. She’s been teaching preschool age children for several years, as it is her passion. She loves seeing children grow and develop daily life skills, as they learn every day.

In Tia’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Hiking and photography are a few of her hobbies. She has a cat named Meeko and a bunny named BUN BUNS as well as a boyfriend. Tia joined CCA in 2017.


Kindergarten Teacher

Sarah Rogers

Sarah was born and raised in Washington State. She has worked with children for over 20 years. Her education background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a K-8 teacher cirtification. She knew she wanted to be a teacher as a child when she always pretended to be a teacher.

Sarah has worked as a Preschool teacher and a Pre-K teacher for 7 years, driven a school bus, and worked with before and after school-age children for 7 years. She was also a nanny for 13 years for one family. This is Sarah’s 4th year at Cedar Crest Academy. While not at CCA, Sarah enjoys watching sports (Go Seahawks!), going to the beach, riding bicycles, knitting, and watching or going to the movies.

Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Diane Paynton

In 2013 Diane joined our Cedar Crest Academy family in the Young Preschool Class. January 2016 she moved to the Redmond Campus and became our fantastic Kindergarten Assistant.

Diane was born here in Washington. She is married to her husband Matt and has raised two wonderful boys, Robert and Chance. In 2012 she became a grandmother to Nicholas. Diane enjoys boating, white water rafting, Pokémon Go!, and spending time with family and friends.

In 2008 Diane battled breast cancer (winning!). It was then she realized she wanted to do something more to make a difference in the lives of others She walked away from her corporate career and started her search. This brought her to us at Cedar Crest Academy. Her goal is to teach our children in a positive, loving, and safe environment.



Christian Hernandez

Christian comes to our school with a variety of backgrounds working in culinary. He spent many years working in restaurants and loves being here at Cedar Crest to help serve our students. He is passionate about working in the kitchen and even more so seeing the faces of the kids every day. This will be Christian’s 3rd year with Cedar Crest and he is very excited to meet the new students in the fall.


P.E Teacher

Dave Sauter

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.


Our teachers work to create and sustain an atmosphere of exciting and innovative teaching techniques.


Now enrolling young Preschool for 2017-2018 at our Park Highland and Kirkland campuses!