Meet the faculty & staff at awakening seed school
Edie Michelena | Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher, Classroom Substitute
About Edie: Edie was born in Phoenix and raised in Tempe. She married her high school sweetheart, and they have two wonderful boys, 15 and 19. She was able to spend thirteen years at home with her boys running an in-home day care. They always had activities going on: tie-dye day, days at the park or zoo, and arts and crafts. She and her husband have always been very active in extracurricular activities, helping to coach t-ball and soccer. When the opportunity came for Edie to come on board at Awakening Seed, she couldn’t say no.
Education: Tempe High School.
Free time: In her spare time, Edia and her family love to connect and be together outdoors. They seize every chance they get to hit a dirt road wherever they are.
Emma Sar | Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher
Alex Zapien | Toddler 2s Assistant Teacher, After School
Bryce Gerrich | Early 3s Assistant Teacher, After School
Emilie Ramirez | Preschool 3s Assistant Teacher
Saki Nabeshima | Preschool 4s Assistant Teacher
About Saki: Saki unexpectedly fell in love with the world of early childhood education during a 12-month internship at a transitional housing program, offering preschool music and movement classes. Her passion for sensibly nurturing young minds and souls has developed through teaching in early childhood classrooms since 2006. This is Saki’s eighth year at the Seed.
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.
Free time: Saki finds balance in life through yoga, essential oils, and spending quality time with her husband, David.
Nicole Plehn | PreK Assistant Teacher
Cylie Krenkel | After School Coordinator, Kindergarten 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 fifth year at the Seed as the Kindergarten assistant and after school staff member. Cylie served as the interim after school director during summers 2017 and 2018, and the 2017-2018 school year. She is looking forward to spending time laughing and learning with the students, and leading the after school program. 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 will eventually pursue a degree in education, 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.
Hannah Laugharn | 1st/2nd Grade Assistant Teacher, After School
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. The Awakening Seed taught her to be kind and compassionate. She is still friends with many of her Seed classmates.
Education: Hannah is attending South Mountain Community College working towards a psychology degree.
Free time: Hannah likes to spend time with friends, making art, and cooking.
Makenna McMillan | 3rd/4th Grade Assistant Teacher
Emily Richeal | Classroom Assistant Teacher
About Emily: Emily attended the Seed from time she was 18 months old through 5th grade. Emily was one of the original toddlers in the Seed’s toddler program, taught by her mom, Sarah Balluff, and Kerri Tornow. She is the first second generation alum to be on the Seed staff. The most important thing that Awakening Seed brought her is friendships and how to be respectful. Emily is still friends with some of her classmates from the Seed. She likes working at the Seed because everyone is really friendly and exciting to be around.
Education: Emily is a 2017 high school graduate. She is currently a student at Mesa Community College, studying graphic design.
Free Time: In her free time Emily likes to be with friends, go on hikes, and eat food.