Toddler 1s Lead Teacher
Jenn joined the staff at the Seed in 1998 when she was hired as the P.E. specialist. In the five years that followed, she also worked as an assistant in several classrooms and taught a parent/tot music and movement program. Jenn took a break from Seed employment after her youngest son was born in 2003, moved to the Netherlands and then to St. Louis, Missouri and finally back to Arizona and the Seed in 2011. This is her second year as lead teacher in the Toddler 1s classroom. Jenn holds a BA in Early Childhood Education and has been teaching, in one form or another, for 32 years. Jenn is married and has three children (two Seed alumni and one current Seed). She loves to read, write, take photographs, hang with her family and snuggle with her dog.
Toddler 2s Co-Lead Teacher
Tatiana grew up in Mexico and moved to Phoenix 12 years ago after completing her degree in marketing from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM). Tatiana and her husband Victor have three kids at the Seed: Nicolas is in the 3rd grade, Sofia is in 1st grade and Isabel is in the Preschool 2.5/3s. This will be her 6th year as part of the Seed community and 4th year on staff. She was an assistant teacher in the Toddler 1s and PreK classes and taught Spanish in summer school. 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 2s Co-Lead Teacher
This will be Jenny’s 10th 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 and her family to Phoenix in 2009. For the last two years she worked at Ahwatukee Preschool as a lead teacher and started subbing at the Seed on her days off. She loves the nurturing environment and creative atmosphere of the Seed and was thrilled when a full-time position opened up. Jenny and her husband, Daniel, have three children: Megan, Connor, and Mallory who have loved spending this summer at the Seed.
Preschool 2.5/3s Lead Teacher
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 she worked with Lifetime Fitness and from 2008 to July 2012, Mindy was a classroom assistant at The Chrysalis Academy, a private school for children with autism. In 2009, she became a certified yoga instructor. Later that year, Mindy started her journey at the Seed teaching P.E. She was the assistant in the Toddler 2s classroom last year and is currently the lead teacher in the Preschool 2.5/3s. She is living a dream and feels honored to have been given such a wonderful opportunity. Mindy is working on completing certifications in Early Childhood Development through the Care Courses program.
Preschool 3s Lead Teacher
This will be Krina’s first year in a lead position, yet it is far from her first experience working alongside young children. 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. The following January she was hired as an additional part-time assistant and personal assistant in the Kindergarden class. She then stuck around as the full-time assistant in the 1st/2nd grade class last year. She is overjoyed to say that she now gets the opportunity to work with Saki in the Preschool 3s! 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. She and her fiancé, Chester, have a daughter named Georgia who is 4 and will be in the PreK class and a son, Jaxen, who is 1 and will be attending the Toddler 1s class.
Preschool 4s Lead Teacher
This is Deb’s tenth year at the Seed and her eighth 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 12) and daughter Hannah (age 14), 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, Deb worked as curator for many years at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. She has published numerous essays on art including catalog essays on contemporary artists such as James Turrell, Howard Ben Tre and others. 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.
PreK Lead Teacher
This is Emily’s sixth year at the Seed, and her third as a lead teacher in the PreK class. She spent three years as the assistant in the Preschool 3s. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Arizona State University, she married a Seed alum and traveled with him through fourteen countries over three years. While traveling, she rediscovered her desire to teach, and has since finished a post-bachelor program, receiving her certification in early childhood development at Rio Salado. Emily was born and raised in Wisconsin and first moved to Tempe thirteen years ago. She now lives in downtown Phoenix with her husband, Ryan, who is in his fourth year of school studying osteopathic medicine, and her daugther Quinn who is in the Toddler 1s class. In her spare time, Emily enjoys cooking, camping, gardening, and visiting the farmers’ market in Phoenix.
K-1 Lead Teacher
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 enjoys art and children’s literature. She also loves to draw and create crafts, as well as camp, canoe, hike, bike and travel with her boys and their beagles, Dunkin’ and Daisy. 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, purposeful experiences and strong social connections to their peers and teachers.
1st/2nd Grade Lead Teacher
Becky Lewis spent her childhood in small upstate towns of New York. She began teaching in 1969. She taught first grade for one year, and second grade for fourteen years at a school on Long Island, New York. Becky started working at Awakening Seed in 1987. She worked two years as an aide to further her understanding of education, and one of those years was with Mary Glover in a first grade class. This is Becky’s 26th year of teaching at the Seed. Becky has her Masters degree in Elementary Education from Adelphi University in New York. She is here because the school community is so supportive and nurturing. Becky never stops learning here. She has a passion for gardening and she enjoys helping her students grow vegetables that they eat for snack. Swiss chard and peas have been favorite ones. Her primary interest is for children to love learning and her main focus is for her children to love to read.
3rd/4th Grade Lead Teacher
Prior to teaching 3rd/4th grade at the Seed, Lesley was an assistant to our littlest friends in the Toddler 1s room. This is also her fifth year as a Seed parent. Her daughter Berkeley (age 4) is in the PreK class, while son Reese (age 6) is a first-grader in their neighborhood school. 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 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.
Stephanie Peyton has worked at the Seed for thirteen years. Stephanie has been our Resource Coordinator for five 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. Stephanie has several additional trainings and certifications that enhance the school’s resource program. She also serves on the board for the Foundation for Blind Children. Stephanie and her husband, Justin, have two daughters. Sarah Beth, their oldest, attends Hopi Elementary in the Kindergarten Life Skills Program and Hillary is in the Toddler 1s classroom at the Seed.
After School Toddler Lead Teacher
This is Adriana’s first year with the Seed. She moved to Arizona from Detroit, Michigan two years ago with her partner Nick, and her daughter, Natalia. A year after their move, they had their second child, Leo. Adriana graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a major in Early Childhood Education and minor in Math and ESL. For three years, she worked as an assistant teacher at a Head Start and did her Early Childhood Internship at a Reggio Emilia-inspired school. She believes that children have great potential and powerful competence that should be deeply appreciated and noticed. Adriana feels fortunate to work at the Seed where children are valued for their ideas and respected as human beings.