Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher, After School Staff
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. This year, Nayeli will be working with the Toddler 1s and the after school program. Before working at the Seed, Nayeli was a full time volunteer kindergarten assistant for two years at Valley View Elementary. She is currently attending South Mountain Community College to continue her education. Outside of the Seed she enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, 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!
Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher
This is Lyndsy’s sixth year at the Seed. Lyndsy came to the Seed in 2007 as an aide to a fourth grade student. She went on to assist in the Toddler 1s and Toddler 2s and was the lead teacher in the Preschool 2.5/3s class last year. She has worked with children of all ages and abilities in various settings for ten years. She graduated from ASU with a degree in Family and Human Development in May of 2011. Her favorite thing about the Seed is how we focus on the whole child. When she’s not working she’s reading, hiking, cooking, spending time with loved ones. She was recently married during the summer of 2013.
Preschool 2.5/3s Assistant Teacher
This is Vicky’s second 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 3s room this year. She is currently studying 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!
Preschool 3s Assistant Teacher
Saki is originally from Kumamoto, Japan. She came to the U.S. in 1998 and spent her college years 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 during her 12-month internship 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 as a preschool teacher prior to coming to the Seed in 2012. She has received extensive training 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! This is Saki’s second year at the Seed and she anticipates lots of fun learning and amazing discoveries with Krina and all the friends in Pre3 this year!
Preschool 4s Assistant Teacher
This is Billie’s sixth year working with Deb in the Preschool 4s class. Previous to working with Deb she spent six years working as the assistant in the PreK class. Billie has two sons; Matthew, age 16, and Ethan, age 14 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
Deana Hernandez is a former Seed student. This is her third year at the Seed. She has been the assistant in both the Preschool 2.5/3s and PreK classrooms prior to this year. 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 three-year-old son, Sol, who is a student in the Preschool 3s class. Deana is continuing her online studies this year and is very excited to be working at the Seed again.
K-1 Assistant Teacher, After School Staff
Sarah Rieckhoff is originally from Dearborn, Michigan and comes from a family of five children. Having three brothers and one sister, she is right in the middle. Sarah graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Family and Human Development. She will be pursuing a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education while obtaining her teaching certification. She started at Awakening Seed back in January working in the after school program. Sarah is excited to be a part of Awakening Seed School to teach and learn from the students. She enjoys traveling as well as taking care of her English bulldog, Sandlot. She enjoys being outdoors and active.
1st/2nd Grade Assistant Teacher
Brenda has her BA in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. Once she graduated, Brenda began her teaching career at the Seed. After six years, Brenda decided to try corporate life and worked for an educational company for seven years. She came back to the Seed last year as a parent when she enrolled her son in the Toddler 2s class. This year, Brenda is happy to be at the Seed again as both staff and parent. She enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time with friends and family.
3rd/4th Grade Assistant Teacher, After School Staff
Nancy has lived in the valley for several 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 14 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 fourth year here at Awakening Seed.
After School Staff
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 creating art with the kids in after school. 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 and/or teach privately.
After School Staff
This is Ian’s first year working after school at The Awakening Seed. He is a former Seed student and is currently attending Arizona State University studying for a degree in Criminal Justice. In his free time he likes to go out to the movies, and play video games. He is very excited to be a part of the Seed family this year, and looks forward to lots of good times with the children after school.