Meet the faculty & staff at awakening seed school
Karysa Horst | Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher, After School
About: Karysa Horst was born and raised in Arizona. In the summer of 2015, she volunteered in Thailand for seven weeks teaching English to 4th graders. That experience changed her perspective on everything. When she came back to America in August of 2015, she was on a mission to give back to the kids she taught in Thailand. She started a successful clothing drive fundraiser, then decided to personally deliver the clothes to the kids in January 2016. Her trip inspired her to one day start her own nonprofit organization, helping those who can’t help themselves. Karysa has experience working with children prior to volunteering in Thailand. She was a daycare provider at Gold’s Gym and also worked as a private tutor at Club Z In-Home Tutoring. One of her favorite experiences was being a respite and habilitation provider for an autistic boy.
Education: Karysa graduated from Mesa Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in May 2014. After visiting Thailand, she decided to go to school for Nonprofit Management. She moved to Winston- Salem, North Carolina in August 2016 and studied at Salem College for a year. Karysa is currently a senior at Arizona State University and will be graduating in May with her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. Her career goal is to start a nonprofit organization helping those in need, with a focus on third world countries and dogs.
Free Time: Although most of Karysa’s time is spent at school or work, in her free time she’s usually at the library or at home with her pups.She’s a dog mom to two pups, Olivia and Nala. Karysa enjoys traveling and exploring new cultures as well as spending time with her family. She’s super excited to be working at the Seed where her sister Gabbi works. She looks forward to learning the Seed’s innovative approaches and growing as a person and teacher assistant.
Courtney Calhoun | PE Teacher, Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher
About Courtney: Courtney is in her second year of teaching P.E. at the Seed and her first year assisting the the Toddler 1s class. She is also a Seed parent with a son in the Preschool 4s class. Courtney was a former gymnast and volleyball player and has coached various sports throughout her life. She loves to be energetic and fun while teaching children how to be active and healthy. She’s originally from the Chicago area and a huge Chicago sports fan.
Education: Courtney graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s in family & human development with an emphasis on child life. She has worked in the non-profit sector in the community and in social services with youth and families. She is currently pursuing a masters in science of healthcare delivery from University of Arizona.
Free time: In her free time, she enjoys reading, play dates, watching and playing sports (football and gymnastics especially), time with friends and family, and eating delicious new foods (particularly sushi). Family time consists of the family dog, 4-year-old son Connor, and husband Shawn.
Edie Michelena | Toddler 1s Assistant Teacher, After School
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-die 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.
Alex Zapien | Toddler 2s Assistant Teacher, After School
Shannon Binder | Early 3s Assistant Teacher, After School Toddler Lead Teacher
Chelsea Rusing | Preschool 3s Assistant Teacher, After School
About Chelsea: This is Chelsea’s second year at the Seed, and she is looking forward to spreading her roots to the Preschool 3s and bringing her magic to the school. She is an Arizona native, growing up in Scottsdale, as a tree climbing, fort building, big sister, animal loving, free spirit. She has always loved children, the arts, adventure, nature, exploration, and finding the best way to build a fort. Chelsea was the director of a Phoenix art gallery and has fifteen years experience as a nanny.
Education: Chelsea has a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Arizona State University.
Free Time: Chelsea loves hiking, camping, the great outdoors, creating art, reading, adventures, journaling, healthy cooking, traveling, playing games and all types of sports…..all with her fiancé and best friend, Scott! They have two furry side kicks, Pete and Moose.
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, K-1 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 fourth year at the Seed as the K-1 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.
Amy Butcher | K-1 Assistant Teacher
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.