DEBBIE BROWN, Director (and alum parent!)
I am thrilled to return to Sleepy Hollow Preschool as Director!! It is exciting to be part of a program that since 1949 has committed itself to learning through play and spending part of every day outside!
I came to SHPS as a new parent of a 3 year old, Emily, and then brought Rebecca. I worked as a co-op parent and Board member. When I was offered a teaching position I delighted in teaching 3′s, working with parents and collaborating with peers. My studies in early childhood and psychology prepared me well for the work I found to be my calling.
Through its years Sleepy Hollow has stayed committed to knowing young children learn best through play. It continues to improve, implementing best teaching practices while providing children exciting, meaningful experiences and individual support as they grow. By welcoming all children into our inclusive program and respecting individual learning styles, we support children’s development and ensure their readiness both emotionally and intellectually for success in big school and in life. Our outstanding, knowledgeable and experienced staff is passionately committed to incorporating new knowledge about how young children grow best and nurturing their natural excitement and love for learning! Parents find like-minded parents who want to be involved in their children’s first school experiences, enhance their parenting skills, and learn to advocate for best settings for their children in the years ahead. The contributions of SHPS parents are core to Sleepy Hollow Preschool’s identity and make our amazing program possible!
Our daughters are adults now living full lives and contributing to the world through their work as parent, emergency room nurse, and health policy analyst. My husband, Edgar, has become an accomplished photographer since his retirement from the Department of Justice, enjoying writing short stories, music, and cycling. My children by marriage, our daughters, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews love to gather to laugh, walk, listen to music, and make merry together – preferably at the eastern shore!
I look forward to getting to know your children and you this year as we work together. Please know you are welcome here! Karibu!
NICOLE ARMSTRONG, Administrator (and alum parent!)
I am thankful to be working with such a dedicated group of educators on behalf of the wonderful children who join us to learn through play each day.
My husband and I were both born and raised in Fairfax County. After college, I worked for a number of years in the mortgage industry and in real estate database management. When our twins, Olivia and Trevor, were born in 2000, I became active in our community and in their schools. I’ve been a civic association treasurer, substitute teacher, PTA president, a PTA webmaster & database manager, and the treasurer of our neighborhood swim club. My own twins attended SHPS and we had three wonderful years of ‘learning through play’ ourselves.
As my children grew older, I realized that I missed the nurturing atmosphere that Sleepy Hollow Preschool provided, so I returned to SHPS when the Administrator position came open in 2010. My most rewarding job thus far, despite all the other rewarding community endeavors (and other than being a mom), has been as Administrator for this amazing school.
SUSAN BUDNEY, 2′s and 3′s Lead Teacher
I was very excited to re-join the Sleepy Hollow Preschool Family. I was the Dolphin Teacher from 2007-2010, but then my family moved to Maryland where I continued teaching pre-school. However, when an opportunity to teach 3′s came up at SHPS I couldn’t resist returning to this unique and exceptional play school. I am thrilled to be returning to a co-operative preschool setting and learning all about your children and their families.
All of my adult life I have been involved in educating children, from 3 year-olds to 2nd grade. I graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland with a B.S. in Elementary Education and later received my M.A. in Elementary Education from the College of William & Mary.
My family and I have lived all over the world as my husband, Michael, was a Navy submarine captain. As a result we lived in eight different east coast states plus California and overseas in Scotland, Japan and Italy. We now live in Davidsonville, MD, with our Shetland Sheepdogs, Lizzie and Mac. Our older daughter, Christa, is a federal employee and lives in Alexandria. Our youngest, Kaitlyn, attends Gettysburg College.
JENNIFER HEALEY, 2′s and 3’s Lead Teacher (and alum parent!)
I’ve been a part of this wonderful Sleepy Hollow Preschool community since 2000. Both of my children are proud SHPS alums. Now that they’re “big kids,” they love coming back as staff assistants during Summer Fun. Over the years I have enjoyed several different roles here. I have been a co-oping parent, music teacher, and assistant teacher as well as lead teacher for 2′s and 3′s. I have also worked as a preschool music teacher in the Northern Virginia community, and I have worked with an all-day, mixed-age early childhood program in Alexandria.
I’m originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and received a Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University. I have found my passion working with young children, and I’m grateful to be able to work so closely with parents and fellow staff in this warm, cooperative setting to support families and children during these very special preschool years. I enjoy being outdoors, and the practice of fostering connections with the natural world is one of the many things I love about Sleepy Hollow. I enjoy reading, creating, and getting messy with my little friends, and I absolutely adore singing, dancing, and making music together!
PAMELA HOLRAN, 4’s Lead Teacher (and alum parent!)
I have been working at SHPS since 2008. It truly has been a wonderful experience working at this unique and very positive play school. I am a believer in the “Sleepy Hollow way” and hope that I can add to your child’s experience as they grow in confidence, skill, and understanding of themselves and others. I love working in a cooperative environment. I find the daily interactions with the parents to be invaluable in helping to create a truly meaningful emergent curriculum for their children.
Prior to becoming a staff member at SHPS, I was a parent. I have two teenage children, Carolyn and Gaarison, who both went to SHPS. Before, SHPS and before children, I practiced law and worked for a number of years in a law firm specializing in wireless telecommunications law.
QUINN McCANN-LATTIG, 4′s Lead Teacher (and alum parent!)
I am excited to be teaching again at Sleepy Hollow Preschool, this time as the 4′s Frog Teacher. I was fortunate to have my 3rd child in Sleepy Hollow Preschool as a Ladybug and a Frog. I was the Dolphin Teacher for one memorable year but then moved overseas for 6 years. I was reluctant to leave SHPS but I carried the Sleepy Hollow way with me as I went. As a parent and a teacher, I appreciated the emergent emphasis, the team approach and the flexibility provided the children. Sleepy Hollow children learn to give and receive respect, to make choices, to plan, problem solve and reflect. The community and environment of Sleepy Hollow Preschool honors the children by recognizing their need at this early age to play as a method of self-discovery and age appropriate development.
My education and training was originally Mathematics with a Teaching Emphasis for Middle and High School received at University of Montana. I have taught this age but fell in love with the early ages while experiencing my first child’s early development. In the six years that I was absent from Sleepy Hollow Preschool, I managed and directed a preschool and daycare on the US Embassy Moscow compound. I co-founded a wonderful international preschool in Tbilisi, Georgia, called the Picasso Place Preschool. I had the good fortune to attend the Reggio Emilia Spring Conference in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 2013, furthering my own education regarding emergent methodology and philosophy. I also received my Yoga Kids certification by Sun Yoga and taught this class weekly. I look forward to continuing my early childhood experience at Sleepy Hollow Preschool and working within the wonderfully rich community of parents, teachers, and children.
DANA CRAFT, 3’s Assistant Teacher
When I began at Sleepy Hollow in 2008, little did I realize that this was to become my true passion. I have always enjoyed teaching young children new things, but since I started as a preschool teacher; I have discovered how rewarding it is to be such an influential figure in their day-to-day lives.
I enjoy expanding the children’s minds and helping them learn while having fun; and watching them grow through the year is inspirational. The days are well-balanced between the playground, open centers, and classroom time. It is also very enjoyable working in a cooperative preschool and getting to know the parents.
BETH ANDREWS, 4′s Assistant Teacher
I started at Sleepy Hollow as a volunteer and substitute assistant teacher in the 2014-15 school year. After a lovely experience with the Bluefish 2′s, I was thrilled to take on the 4-year-old Frogs assisting Quinn McCann-Lattig.
I have always enjoyed encouraging children to discover the world around them; as an assistant art teacher and library assistant I was able to get more deeply involved with providing opportunities for young children to learn and create. I am continually inspired and fulfilled by my involvement in the learning process as an assistant teacher, and I feel motivated and encouraged by the staff I work alongside. Getting to know each child’s family through Sleepy Hollow’s cooperative program has been a wonderful and valuable experience. I love the rich curriculum the school provides through activities that draw from the materials in the classroom as well as outdoors. I am proud to be part of a school that offers a safe and loving environment where children can learn, practice, feel supported and be joyful.
CLEMENTINA “TINA” MORA-CASTRO, 2′s Assistant Teacher and Open Center Float
I am excited to join the SHPS staff this year as the Redfish Assistant Teacher and Open Center Float. I have three boys of my own. Two of them are grown and one is in middle school. I have my Associate’s Degree in Tourism and Hospitality. I am bilingual, fluent in English and Spanish.
I spent several years working with children in FCPS as a Teacher Assistant. Working with kindergarteners, I saw how important a good foundation is for success in kindergarten and beyond. I look forward to working with the preschool children at Sleepy Hollow to help them build the skills they will need to develop that strong foundation, especially including their social and emotional skills. School is about much more than learning the ABC’s! I like to read with children, especially the Dr. Seuss books, which I read with my own boys. I also like to play and to listen to children and watch them gain confidence in themselves. I’m looking forward to a rewarding year!
JULIANA TEIXEIRA, 2′s and 3′s Assistant Teacher
There is a book titled “Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” I don’t believe that for a minute. I believe that along with the family’s teaching and support, preschool helps create the foundation for what the child will become.
I joined the Sleepy Hollow Preschool staff in the fall of 2014. My interest in preschool comes directly from my love and passion for working with children. I am musical, playing guitar and singing, and I enjoy getting the children excited about music too. I am happy to get dirty with them as we play in the different elements that nature provides. And I can communicate using American Sign Language, which might come in handy. I am looking forward to a fun and enjoyable year helping the children learn and grow!
COREE YOUNGBLOOD, 4’s Assistant Teacher
I am really excited to be a part of the Sleepy Hollow staff once again. I love working with the 4 year-old children and learning new skills from the teaching staff. Sleepy Hollow is a unique program and I am grateful to learn and help children develop the social skills needed to move on to kindergarten. I also enjoy working with parents who take such an interest in their children’s education. I like the concept of full immersion program and the opportunities it offers to the children. I look forward to a full year and the changes that the students will make through this year.
SPECIAL CLASSES TEACHERS
GENIA KENSCHAFT, Science Teacher (and alum parent!)
I have a Master’s in Education from Georgia College and State University and I have taught nearly every grade from preschool through college.
I truly believe that children learn through play and that our school supports this goal. I also believe that it is crucial for a child’s well-being for their families to be involved in their education. Sleepy Hollow accomplishes both of these goals.
However, aside from believing in these goals, I just plain love learning and playing and exploring with children. I look forward to meeting you and your child and helping them learn and develop through play.
ERIC KELLER, Music Teacher (and current/alum parent!)
I am very happy to be continuing as the Music Teacher at Sleepy Hollow Preschool this year! I have been a co-oping parent with my son Asa from his Rainbowfish days through his time as a Dolphin. My son Elliot has graduated from the 3’s to 4’s and is currently a Frog.
I am honored to be among the staff, and I am looking forward to teaching fun and engaging music classes. My wife, Emily, and I met at Appalachian State University, where I graduated in 2001 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. We then moved to Washington State, where I was a Field Science Educator at the Olympic Park Institute. I designed and taught K-12 inquiry-based curriculum that fostered environmental stewardship. We then moved to Virginia, where I have been a private music instructor to kids of all ages for the last decade. I am passionate about guiding my students towards a deep and lifelong connection to music, and I am very excited for the new school year teaching at Sleepy Hollow!