Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher
Tatiana returns to the Seed as a Toddler 1s assistant after taking a year off for maternity leave. She was previously an assistant in PreK. Tatiana grew up in Mexico and moved to Phoenix twelve years ago after completing her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM). Tatiana and her husband Victor have three kids at the Seed, Nicolas in Becky’s 2nd grade, Sofia in Kerri’s K-1 and Isabel in Jenn’s Toddler 1s. This will be her family’s fifth year as part of the Seed community. She first heard of the Seed through friends and was attracted to the Seed’s nurturing and inclusive environment. Tatiana hopes to contribute to the Seed’s rich multicultural environment through her diverse background and experiences as a mother striving to raise positive bicultural and bilingual Seedlings. In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with her family.
Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher
This is Lesley’s first year as an assistant in the Toddler 1s room, and her fourth year as a Seed parent. Her daughter Berkeley (age 3) is thrilled to be entering Kaylee’s Preschool 3s class this year, while son Reese (age 5) attends kindergarten in their neighborhood. Lesley received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and her Masters degree in Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University. She taught fourth grade in a local school district for eight years and still holds a current Arizona state teaching certificate with an English as a Second Language endorsement. When not teaching, she enjoys photography, bike riding, reading, and spending time with her husband, Paul and their two children. She is excited for her new adventure at the Seed to begin!
Toddler 2s Assistant Teacher, Toddler After School Lead Teacher
Mindy was born and raised in Arizona and has always had a passion for working with children. At fifteen Mindy began assistant teaching at her family’s dance studio and by eighteen was teaching and choreographing for her own dance classes. In 2003, as a senior at Mountain Pointe High School, she volunteered her afternoons working in classrooms at an elementary school within the Kyrene School district. Over the next few years she worked with Lifetime Fitness to promote physical activity through youth fitness and sports classes, swim lessons and summer camps. From 2008 to July 2012, Mindy began working as a classroom assistant at The Chrysalis Academy, a private school for children with autism. In 2009, she became a certified yoga instructor through the Southwestern Institute of Healing Arts and early 2010 earned an additional certification in family yoga and kids yoga through Rainbow Kids Yoga. Mindy is extremely excited to be a full-time member of the Awakening Seed Staff and is looking forward to many new experiences!
Preschool 2.5/3s Assistant Teacher
Deana Hernandez is a former Seed student. This is her second year at the Seed. Last year she was the assistant in the PreK classroom. Deana graduated from McClintock High School in 2009. After graduating she lived in Guadalajara, Mexico for five months with her grandmother. Deana is married and has a two year old son, Sol, who is a student in the Toddler 2s class. Deana is taking online classes this year and is very excited to be working at the Seed again.
Preschool 3s Assistant Teacher
Saki is originally from Kumamoto, Japan. She came to the U.S. as a college student in 1998 and continued her studies in the Midwest before moving to Phoenix in 2005. Saki has an MA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Theology and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy. Saki unexpectedly fell in love with the world of early childhood education in 2005 during her internship at a transitional housing program offering music and movement classes to children affected by domestic violence. Her passion for sensibly nurturing young minds and souls has developed through teaching Terrific Twos and Thriving Threes in preschool classrooms prior to coming to the Seed. She has received extensive training in early childhood music education from Musikgarten and children’s yoga instruction from Desert Song. Offering piano lessons, practicing yoga, and spending quality time with her husband David are her daily energy boosters! Saki is delighted to find herself on the Seed campus this year as she looks forward to building meaningful relationships in the school community.
Preschool 4s Assistant Teacher
This is Billie’s fifth year working with Deb in the Preschool 4s class. Previous to working with Deb she spent 5 years working as the assistant in the PreK class. Billie has two sons; Matthew, age 15, and Ethan, age 13 who are both graduates of the Seed and currently attend Arizona School for the Arts. When Billie isn’t at school she enjoys taking her dog on walks, camping and traveling with the family.
PreK Assistant Teacher
This is Vicky’s first year at the Seed. She was born in Montreal, Canada and spent her childhood in Toronto, Texas and Colorado. She completed her BA in Linguistics in 2007, and some time afterwards headed down to Bolivia to teach English, where she met her husband. They settled down in Arizona and now have Enzo, who will be in the Preschool 2.5/3s room this year. She is currently studying (online) to be a Speech and Language Pathologist, is a native French speaker and fluent in Spanish. In her free time, she likes to listen to music and learn about different cultures, places and, of course, food! She’s really excited to work at the Seed, learn from everyone, and be around such wonderful human beings, young and ‘old’!
K-1 Assistant Teacher, After School
Melissa Savage is a new addition to Awakening Seed this year. She grew up in the Detroit metropolitan area. She moved to Phoenix in 2008 and loves it here! Past experiences consist of several years in teaching in traditional and Montessori classrooms. Her previous jobs include leading before and after school programs, assisting head teachers, working as a summer park leader, and providing child care to countless children including those of many different cultures and special needs. Her education includes five years of college education with majors in Elementary Education and Montessori teaching. Melissa’s hobbies include listening and dancing to music, helping people, photography, and watching movies based on true events. She also loves staying in touch with distant relatives, including her twin sister Jessica. Her favorite color is purple and favorite foods are pizza and dark chocolate. One of her goals is to learn and speak Spanish fluently.
1st/2nd Grade Assistant Teacher
Krina graduated from ASU in 2011 with an Early Childhood Education degree and began working in the kindergarten class here at the Seed. She is excited to have moved up with the students into the 1st/2nd grade class this year! Krina grew up in Chandler and has lived in Arizona her whole life. She taught swim lessons as a lifeguard for eight years and is enjoying the transition into the classroom. Outside of the classroom she cares for her three-year-old daughter, Georgia, her infant son, Jaxen, and her fiancé, Chester.
3rd/4th Grade Assistant Teacher, After School
Nancy has lived in the valley for a few years. She was raised in Nogales, Arizona. When possible she likes to travel and from the many places she has been, she would like to finish her education in Hawaii. She lived in Hawaii for a year where she took classes and fell in love with its culture. Currently she is taking a variety of courses at a local community college. Her interests vary from music and the arts to the sciences. She believes that “Knowledge is power.” Nancy has more than 13 years experience working with kids of different ages, where she has learned as much from them as the kids have learned from her. Nancy is excited for her third year here at Awakening Seed.
After School Assistant Teacher, Substitute
Sarah is new to Awakening Seed this year. She was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan. She comes from a family of five children, having three brothers and one sister. She moved to Arizona when she was eighteen to attend ASU. She will be graduating this May with an undergraduate degree of Family and Human Development. She plans on obtaining her Masters while getting a teacher certification. This is Sarah’s first time working within a school setting and is excited and can’t wait to learn from the staff and students. Outside of school, Sarah enjoys being active, such as climbing Camelback Mountain, and taking care of her English bulldog puppy.
Priscilla Bendorovicz is a native Arizonan. She has an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts from Mesa Community College. She is an artist and is currently obtaining her B.A. in Art Education at Arizona State University, specializing in portrait painting. In her free time she likes to bake, garden, go to the movies, and travel. Priscilla loves gaining experience working with children at the Seed. It brings her joy to watch them play and share her art expertise with them through projects. Her future plans are to teach secondary art.
Toddler After School Assistant Teacher, Substitute
Nayeli was born in border state Sonora, Mexico. She moved to Phoenix with her family at the age of thirteen. Her first language is Spanish and she is the oldest of four kids. In 2009 she graduated from Central High School. After graduation she attended Phoenix Community College for two years as a part time student pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. Nayeli is a new addition to the Seed working with the toddlers and the after school program. Before working at the Seed, Nayeli was a full time volunteer at Valley View Elementary as a kindergarten teacher assistant for about two years. This summer she will be attending South Mountain Community College to continue her education. Outside of the Seed she enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies (mainly cartoons), eating, listening to music and doing outdoor activities. Nayeli has always felt she is meant to be a teacher and work with kids. She is very happy and excited about being part of the Seed!
Classroom Substitute Teacher
This is Christine’s second year of teaching at the Seed. Christine is a 1994 graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Science and a 2009 graduate of Gateway Community College Associate in Applied Science Nursing. Her background includes working as a early childhood developmental specialist with children with special needs age birth to three. Christine has also contracted out to local school districts as a speech language therapist assistant. When Christine is not at the Seed she works as a developmental home register nurse with foster and adoptive families. Christine is the floating substitute teacher this year at the Seed. She is very excited about working in the various classroom environments. Christine is married to the music teacher Jay. Together they share three children and one grandson.