Meet the faculty & staff at awakening seed school
Denyse Carrillo | Toddler 1s, Assistant Teacher
Alex Zapien | Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher, After School
Saki Nabeshima | Toddler 2s Assistant Teacher
About Saki: Saki was born and raised in Kumamoto, Japan. Her childhood memories are filled with nature play surrounded by rice fields, flowing rivers, and green mountains. She spends summers in rainy Japan visiting her family and being an aunt to four nieces who all call her “Saki-neichan),” which means “Big Sister Saki.”
Saki came into the world of early childhood education during her internship at a transitional housing program, offering music and movement classes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in 2005. Saki has enjoyed the supporting role of an assistant teacher for the three and four years olds at the Seed since 2012. Saki is thrilled to be teaming up with Emily Cleaveland and working side by side with all the families to celebrate the children’s play and learning in Toddler Twos this year!
Education: Saki received her master’s degree in theology from Valparaiso University in 2005 and her bachelor’s degree in music from Hastings College in 2002. She has received extensive training in early childhood music education from Musikgarten, 95-hour children’s yoga teacher training, and 200-hr yoga teacher training from Desert Song Healing Arts Center.
Free time: Saki finds balance in life through yoga and Qi Gong, playing in a guitar ensemble, and spending quality time with her husband, David.
Anyssa Saenz | Early 3s, Assistant Teacher, After School
About Anyssa: Anyssa is a native of Arizona. One fun fact about her is that she grew up on one of the small farms down the street from the Seed. She is also a Seed alum. She has been fortunate to remain close friends with families from the Seed and they have become like a second family to her. Anyssa loves children and loves to spend time watching and playing with her baby cousins.
Education: Anyssa loves learning. She graduated from Moutain Pointe High in 2021, and then continued her education by becoming a licensed yoga instructor.
Free time: Her hobbies are practicing and teaching yoga, helping her grandparents with their animals, carefully tending her plant babies, roller skating, spending time with her doggies, and exploring Arizona and its beautiful sights (she especially loves Sedona and the Rim country). Anyssa is happiest when she is spending time and making memories with her family and friends.
Cylie Krenkel | Preschool 3s Assistant Teacher
About Cylie: Cylie is the second oldest of nine kids, six boys and three girls. Cylie has worked with children as a daycare assistant, a nanny, and as a teacher’s assistant in a special needs classroom. This is Cylie’s seventh year at the Seed, serving as the assistant in Kindergarten, Preschool 4s, and after school staff member. Cylie served as the interim after school director during summers 2017 and 2018, and was the after school coordinator from 2017-2023. She is looking forward to assisting in the Preschool 3s class full time this year. She is a hands-on learner who is always willing to take on anything new. She enjoys teaching children as well as learning from them.
Education: Cylie is currently pursuing her Child Development Associate credential, as she wants to become a teacher one day herself.
Free Time: In her free time Cylie enjoys camping, hiking, fishing, and spending time with family and her husband, Josh, and daughter, Kelsea. She is happy that her daughter Kelsea is now a full time Seed in the Toddler 2s class.
Lilian Treacy | Preschool 4s Assistant Teacher, After School
About Lilian: Lilian was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Arizona when she was four. She began kindergarten at the Seed and stayed here until 3rd grade. She is still friends with many of her Seed friends and is very excited to be back as an assistant teacher in the Preschool 4s class.
Education: Lilian graduated from Corona del Sol High School in 2016. In 2021 she completed her bachelors degree in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She is currently persuing her masters in Library and Information Sciences at The University of Arizona.
Free Time: Lilian loves to write, and can always be found reading a book. She also likes to hike, paint, and spend time with her dogs, Naya and Millie.
Karysa Horst | PreK Assistant Teacher, Toddler After School Lead
About Karysa: Karysa is an Arizona native who recently relocated back home from Michigan in October. She has extensive experience working with children from diverse backgrounds and age groups. In her previous position, she was an art teacher responsible for instructing students ranging from kindergarten to 9th grade. In addition, She has experience working as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional. In 2019, she worked at the Seed in the Toddler 1s room until the pandemic hit. She is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of the young minds she engages with and looks forward to helping students reach their full potential. This year she will be the PreK assistant.
Education: Karysa graduated from Arizona State University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. She’s currently enrolled in Arizona Teachers of Tomorrow program to obtain a Standard Arizona Teaching Certificate. Her ultimate career objective is to establish a nonprofit organization focused on assisting those in need, particularly in third-world countries and dogs.
Free time: She loves spending time with her three dogs (Olivia, Nala, and Milo), or any furry friend for that matter, as she is a huge animal lover. She also enjoys embarking on adventures, playing board games, and spending quality time with friends/family.
Peyton Gibbons | Kindergarten Classroom Assistant
About Peyton: Peyton is joining us from Southern California where she grew up! Ten years ago she decided to attend the University of Arizona and never went back to California. She graduated from the U of A with a degree in Elementary Education. Since then, she taught for five years, as a 5th grade and 2nd grade teacher, before coming to the Seed. Peyton has always wanted to teach at the Kindergarten level, and she is now in her third year as the assistant and substitute lead teacher in the kindergarten class. She couldn’t be more excited!
Bryce Gerrich | 1st Grade Assistant Teacher, PE, After School
Hannah Laugharn | After School Coordinator, 1st Grade Assistant Teacher
About Hannah: Hannah graduated from Horizon Honors High School in 2017. She attended the Seed from the age of two through fifth grade, and interned in the Preschool 4s class for many years after she left. Hannah worked in the after school program at Horizon for a year and a half, and started subbing and working in the Seed’s after school program in 2017. Hannah has been the assistant in the 1st/2nd grade class for the last several years, and this year steps into a new position as the after school coordinator. Additionally, she’ll assist in the 1st grade on Mondays. The Awakening Seed taught her to be kind and compassionate. She is still friends with many of her Seed classmates.
Education: Hannah is working on a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health services at Northern Arizona University.
Free time: Hannah likes to spend time with friends, making art, and cooking.
Julian Jacobs | Classroom Assistant Teacher, After School
About Julian: Julian moved from upstate New York to Phoenix two years ago, braced for the desert heat. For five years, he worked as a summer lifeguard, supervising children of various ages. This is Julian’s third year as an assistant teacher and he is excited to get to know all the students in his capacity as the Seed’s floating sub and working in the after school program.
Education: Julian is a graduate from Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Bachelor of Music in Jazz Drums Performance.
Free Time: Julian enjoys running, skiing, and traveling, and is always on a quest for the best coffee shop in Phoenix.