Krina Gobster

Toddler 1s Lead Teacher

KrinaThis is Krina’s third year as a lead teacher, this year in the Toddler 1s after two years in the Preschool 3s. Prior to teaching, she worked eight years as a lifeguard, five of which she spent teaching swimming lessons during the summers. From there she focused on graduating with her Early Childhood Education certificate from ASU in December of 2011. During that time she spent two years studying here at the Seed as an intern and student teacher in both the Preschool 3s and Kindergarten classes. After being hired as an additional part-time assistant and personal assistant in the Kindergarten class she became the assistant in the 1st/2nd grade class for one year.  When she’s not neck-deep in art projects with your children, she likes to be making a fun mess at home with her two kids. Both of her children attend the Seed. Her daughter, Georgia, is in 1st grade and her son, Jaxen, is in the Preschool 3s.  Krina and her fiancé, Chester, take the family to Missouri each summer to enjoy some country living before returning back to this amazing school and community.

Tatiana Vanegas

Toddler 2s Co-Lead Teacher

Tatiana grew up in Mexico and moved to Phoenix fourteen years ago after completing her degree in marketing from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM). Tatiana and her husband Victor have three kids: Nicolas, a 5th grader and Seed alum, Sofia, a Seed 3rd grader and Isabel, in the PreK.  This will be her 8th year as part of the Seed community and 5th year on staff. This is her third year as co-lead teacher in the Toddler 2s class. She was an assistant teacher in the Toddler 1s and PreK classes and taught Spanish in summer school, as well as Toddler 1s lead last year. 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.

Jenny Limburg

Toddler 2s Co-Lead Teacher

Jenny This will be Jenny’s eleventh year teaching preschool.  After graduating from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Child Development and Family Studies in 2004, she opened a preschool in her home in California.  A job opportunity brought her family to Phoenix in 2009 where she continued to teach preschool.  This will be Jenny’s third year teaching in the Toddler 2 classroom.   She loves the nurturing environment and creative atmosphere of the Seed.  Jenny and her husband, Daniel, have three children: Megan, Connor, and Mallory (who is currently a 4th grader at the Seed.)

Lyndsy Almeida

Early 3s Lead Teacher

Lyndsy12 The Seed has been Lyndsy’s home away from home since 2007 when she began her career here as an aide to a 4th grade student. She went on to assist in the Toddler 1s and Toddler 2s and has taught the Early 3s since the 2012-2013 school year, except for year in the middle where she and her husband lived in central Mexico.  Lyndsy graduated from ASU with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Human Development in May 2011. She has worked with children of all ages and abilities in various settings for twelve years and couldn’t imagine spending her days any other way. She’s found her home in the Early 3s class and couldn’t be happier to return to this magical age group! Her favorite thing about the Seed is our focus on educating children’s hearts as well as their minds.

Sarah Rieckhoff

Preschool 3s Lead Teacher

Sarah RieckhoffThis is Sarah Rieckhoff’s  first year as lead teacher in Preschool 3s and her third year working at Awakening Seed. She started in the after school program in January of 2013, then moved to the kindergarten assistant position the following school year where she worked for two years.  She went to college at Arizona State University and  graduated with a degree in Family and Human Development. Sarah grew up in Michigan where she lived until she was 18 and traveled out to Arizona for college. Her parents, as well as her three brothers and one sister still live there. Outside of working at the Seed, she enjoys playing with her two English bulldogs named Sandlot and Macaroni. She also enjoys traveling with her boyfriend Spencer and being outdoors.

Deb Hopkins

Preschool 4s Lead Teacher

This is Deb’s twelfth year at the Seed and her tenth year as lead teacher in the Preschool 4s class. Her career at the Seed began the winter of 2004 when she was persuaded to assist in Mary Glover’s 4th/5th grade class. Her life at the Seed began when her children were young. Her son Hayden (age 14) and daughter Hannah (age 16), both proud Seed graduates, first attended the toddler class at age two and now work at the Seed as summer interns. In her former life, she worked as curator for many years at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art where she planned, organized and curated exhibitions and wrote about art and contemporary artists such as James Turrell, Wolfgang Laib and others. Deb’s art background influences her multi-disciplinary approach to teaching, at times turning the classroom into an immersive experience. Over the years, the preschoolers have delved into an array of subjects including the Middle Ages, food and culture of the world, the Ice Age, Amazon rainforest, space and, most recently, Egypt. She earned her BFA in photography from the University of Arizona and has taught papermaking, book binding, and photography to children and adults. She has a passion for cooking, gardening, art, photography and yoga. The Seed is her family’s second home.

Mindy Bender

PreK Lead Teacher

IMG_0051 Mindy, a native Arizonan, and has always had a passion for working with children. At fifteen, she was an assistant teacher 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. Over the next few years Mindy  continued her hands-on training as a classroom assistant at The Chrysalis Academy, a private school for children with autism. In 2009, she became a certified yoga instructor and in 2010 started her journey at the Seed teaching P.E.  She has since been the toddler after school lead, assistant in the Toddler 2s, Preschool 2.5/3s lead and is now the PreK lead teacher.  Mindy is in the process of completing her Child Development Associate credential through the Care Courses program.

Kerri Tornow

K-1 Lead Teacher

Kerri Kerri Tornow is the K-1 teacher. She has been part of the Seed staff since 1984. She grew up in Michigan and is married to Roger. They have two sons, Andrew and Aaron. Andrew graduated from the graphic design program at ASU and Aaron is studying kinesiology as a Barrett honors student at ASU.   Both boys started their educations as Seed preschoolers. Kerri graduated from ASU with a degree in art education and has an elementary certification and an early childhood endorsement. Kerri has many years of experience working with preschoolers through 2nd graders at the Seed. She also teaches art with the older Seed students in the summer program.  Kerri enjoys art and children’s literature. She also loves to draw and create crafts, as well as camp, canoe, hike, and travel with her boys and their dogs.  Her focus is on providing a safe, happy classroom environment in which young children can explore their world and influence their own learning with rich oral expression, creative opportunities, purposeful experiences and strong social connections to their peers and teachers.

Brenda Montgomery

1st/2nd Grade Lead Teacher

BrendaThis is Brenda’s first year as the lead in the 1st/2nd grade class. She has her BA in Elementary Education from Arizona State University.  After graduation, Brenda began her teaching career at the Seed.  After six years of teaching, she decided to try corporate life. She came back to the Seed three years ago as a parent when she enrolled her son in the Toddler 2s class.  Brenda is happy to be a part of the Seed Family as both staff and parent. Growing up in the Colorado mountains has fostered her love for the outdoors. She also enjoys cooking, hiking, gardening, riding her horses, and spending time with friends and family.

Lesley Chamberlain

3rd/4th Grade Lead Teacher

This is Lesley’s third year teaching the 3rd/4th grade class at the Seed and seventh year as a Seed parent.  Her daughter is in Brenda’s 1st/2nd class, while her son, a former Seedling, attends their neighborhood school.  Lesley received her Masters degree in Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University and her B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University.  Prior to joining the Seed, she taught fourth grade in a local school district for several years.  She holds a 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.

Stephanie Peyton

Resource Coordinator

Stephanie Peyton has worked at the Seed for fifteen years. Stephanie has been the Resource Coordinator for seven years. She also has a wide range of experience teaching in almost all of our grade levels.  She has a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters degree in Education.  Outside of school, Stephanie has done extensive work with special needs children, especially those with autism spectrum disorders and visual impairment. She has presented her classroom model at several conferences sponsored by the Arizona Department of Education and works with the Seed teachers to support classroom management. She has taught special education classes at ASU for pre-service teachers.  She also serves on the board for the Foundation for Blind Children.  Stephanie and her husband, Justin, have three daughters. Sarah Beth, their oldest, is in the second grade at Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center in the Life Skills Program and Hillary is in the Preschool 4s classroom at the Seed.  Their third child, Catherine, is a future Seed.

Victoria Hopkins

After School Toddler Lead Teacher

Victoria Victoria was born in Colorado and raised in Chandler, Arizona with one sister and seven step-brothers. She currently lives in Mesa, Arizona and has two Chihuahuas named Rocky and Diesel. She loves hiking and being outdoors, listening to music, eating Italian cuisine (or any food, really) and is a huge fan of anything Disney. Victoria received her BA in Psychology and is currently pursuing a MEd in Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University.  She is very passionate about young children receiving the best possible education in an encouraging and nurturing environment. This passion has molded her teaching philosophy into one that focuses on children as individuals, each with different learning styles, skills and techniques. Learning should be challenging, yet fun! Victoria is interested in making a difference in her students’ education, expanding their knowledge, and hopes to inspire each and every one in the realm of academia.