Faculty & STAFF
Our teachers are experienced teachers, many with BA and MA degrees in early childhood education. They receive ongoing professional development through in-service training, on-site coaching, workshops, college classes, and conferences. Other professionals include our chef, kitchen assistant, and music teacher who provide healthy nourishment and program enrichment.
Julie Bisson, Director
I have been teaching and learning in the field of early childhood education for more than 35 years. Epiphany Early Learning is the fifth early learning program I’ve had the pleasure of directing. I love my job at EELP! It is a rare gift as a director to be able to co-create a program that embodies your vision by working alongside a dedicated and skillful staff that makes it so. I have an MA degree from Pacific Oaks College, I’m an author, and I provide consulting and training on a variety of educational topics. When not working I spend time with my husband and two growing children who are 12 and 17. I also love gardening, spending time outside, and hanging out with my two labradors, seven chickens, and three turkeys!
Alyssia Mochizuki, Operations Manager
I spent eight and a half years in Japan working with Preschoolers and Kindergarteners, first at a Reggio based pre-K and Kindergarten, and later at a large international school in Tokyo. Most of those years were spent as an Assistant Director and Administrator. I graduated in 2010 with a BA in Intercultural Studies/Cultural Anthropology. I love studying about culture and how culture shapes our vision of the world around us. I am particularly interested in Intercultural Communication and conflict resolution. I am very excited to be a part of the EELP community! I am passionate about helping to create an optimum environment for teachers and students to learn and explore together. When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and cat. We are both band new to Seattle. We love to camp and hike and are very excited to start exploring Washington! I also enjoy cooking and learning Computer Programming, specifically web development.
Esther Yi, Toddler Teacher
I was born and raised here in Washington and came to find my passion for working with children while interning at the YMCA as a coach for a program called Girls on the Run. I graduated with a Kinesiology degree at Western Washington University but decided to go into early childhood and served as a lead toddler teacher for over a year just prior to joining EELP. Seeing the children grow so quickly and learn so much in one year has made this field a heartwarming and rewarding one. I've become very passionate about working with children and want to continue to grow in this field while at EELP. I am so thrilled to get to know the children and families as well as the staff!
Belinda Berg, Toddler Teacher
I am so happy to be working with the children, families, and staff of EELP! I’m inspired by the shared commitment to living out values of respect and community. I’m originally from Washington DC. and years ago I moved to Seattle after getting my BA in English. Most of my work life has involved youth (preschoolers and teens) education, social justice, and supporting social-emotional health. Before coming to EELP I was a Teacher’s Assistant for 5 years in local preschools. I’m thrilled to be working with the EELP community to help children grow into their fullest selves as individuals, friends, and citizens who are creative and compassionate, reflective and resilient. When not at work I can often be found happily hanging out with my wife, Kat, our dog, and our two cats.
Helen Graham, Toddler Teacher
I am delighted to be joining the faculty at Epiphany Early Learning Preschool and I’m especially delighted to be working with toddlers! I’ve worked in the field of early childhood education off and on since 1984. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a MSW from Smith College. A Boston native, I have lived in Seattle since 1991 and currently live in the Seward Park neighborhood with my 17-year-old son, Jesse. Before coming to EELP, I worked for 5 years at the Stroum Jewish Community Centers Early Childhood School in both the 1s and 2s programs. Prior to working at SJCC, I taught for a year at the Central Branch Preschool, worked as a substitute teacher at Bertschi school, and maintained a private psychotherapy practice in Bellevue, Washington for 10 years. I have participated in numerous professional development courses in infant and early childhood mental health, attachment theory, and adoption. I am passionate about teaching very young children, but when I am not teaching I enjoy traveling; especially to the ocean, gardening, thrift shopping, singing and hanging out with dear friends and family here and in New England.
Rebecca Adrian, Salmonberry Teacher
I am a native of San Francisco, CA. After graduating with an M.S. of Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank St. College of Education in NYC, I worked in a toddler room, an afterschool program, several ESL Head Start programs, and subbed for the public schools before finding a wonderful educational "home" at Hilltop Children's Center, where I worked for 10 years. I left Hilltop in summer of 2008 to have my daughter Chantreya, who joined me here at Epiphany Early Learning for two years of preschool.
In my spare time I enjoy reading and belonging to a book club, doing pottery, painting, taking long walks to observe nature, and cooking. In addition to doing lots of art to help children express their ideas and interests, I also like to cook with kids and I enjoy doing drama with them too! I look forward to getting to know all of you and building a community of teachers, children, and parents.
Megan Arnim, Salmonberry & Mentor Teacher
My journey into the world of Early Childhood Education started way back in 1994, when I began working one-on-one with children with special needs. I loved that work so much that it inspired me to earn a Washington State Teaching Certificate with an Early Childhood endorsement through Pacific Oaks College. Right out of school I joined the staff of Hilltop Children’s Center, where I honed my craft for more than 16 years in a strong Reggio inspired program before joining Julie Bisson at the newly opening EELP.
Outside of teaching, my life is filled with my husband Erick and our two beautiful daughters, Elizabeth and Amelia. We make our home “up north” in Lynnwood, where we fill our time with friends, pets, music and dance lessons!
I love this work so much! At EELP I am both a classroom teacher and a mentor teacher and I love the chance this gives me to collaborate with both the amazing children who make up my classroom community, and the amazing teachers who make up the EELP staff. I feel truly blessed to be able to come to a place every day where I get to intentionally advocate for children and families and practice the values I hold most dear to my heart. I so look forward to meeting you and I know that together we’ll build the kind of strong, loving community where children thrive!
Aaron Carasco, Salmonberry Teacher
I am excited to join you all as we learn through play together! As we kick off the new school year, here's a little about me. I grew up outside Portland, OR. Being smack dab in the middle of 28 cousins, I always say my first teaching experience started with helping to raise the little ones. I moved to Seattle to start coursework in Microbiology. After taking a part-time position at Seattle Symphony's Education Department, I quickly learned my passion was in Early Childhood. Boy, was that a big change! I haven't looked back since. I finished with a degree in Early Childhood and Family Studies with a minor in music. I bring quite a bit of early childhood music to my teaching, so look forward to lots of singing and dancing in Huckleberry! Outside of teaching I sing and dance with the Seattle Men's Chorus. I also love community involvement, live music, and travel! I'll leave you with a quote from my teacher role model, Fred Rodgers. "Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people." Matthew Lawrence, Blackberry Teacher
Originally from Santa Clarita, California, I am very excited to be joining the teaching team here at Epiphany Early Learning. I have over ten years of teaching experience in the early childhood field, and more than half of that time has been spent teaching here in the Seattle community. I have taught for the Village Theater Kidstage program and Performing Arts Preschool, as well as the Stroum Jewish Community Center's early childhood program. I am currently finishing my BA degree in early childhood and family studies at the University of Washington. In addition, I hold an artist diploma from the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts. I'm really looking forward to meeting all of the wonderful families and joining in collaboration with all of the other teachers at EELP.
Sandra Floyd, Blackberry & Mentor Teacher
I have been in the early childhood education field for more than 15 years and have worked within many different settings and philosophies. I am currently both a preschool teacher and a mentor teacher at EELP. I truly love working with children and feel blessed that I have found my passion. In the last ten years I have expanded my work in the field by lecturing on the Reggio Emilia philosophy, mentoring teachers, designing preschool classrooms and art studios and contributing to publications and training DVDs. At the heart of my teaching is the belief that teaching and learning happens within relationship. I also believe that the combination of play and critical thinking is how children learn best.
When I am not working I am most likely spending time with my friends and family, who all live in the area. Having my family in the Seattle area has kept me living here the majority of my adult life; going from elementary school all the way through the University of Washington. The lack of sunshine has been a constant struggle for me, but is alleviated by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Another passion of mine is traveling the world. In the past few years I have been able to visit and even work in a few childcare centers in different parts of the globe. I love to expand my knowledge of what quality early education looks like.
Jen Van, Blackberry Teacher
I recently moved to the beautiful Seattle area from Northern California with my partner. I received my B.A. in Child Development from Humboldt State University in 2014. I truly believe that we have much to learn from young children -- to never stop being curious about life and the world around us, to always be fully in the present moment, and to experience all the joys and occasional pains that life has to offer. For the past 8 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with children and families in various settings, with 5 years in the Early Childhood Education field. The best part of being in this field is the unique relationships that I get to build and experience with the families and children. I look forward to getting to know and grow alongside all the children, families, and teachers here at EELP!
Kayla stejskal, Blackberry and Salmonberry Teacher
I am so excited to be joining everyone here at Epiphany! I recently graduated from Western Washington University with a BAE in Early Childhood Special Education, so working here feels like a perfect fit. During my time in school, I worked and volunteered in a variety of preschool and elementary settings, but spent the majority of my time as a teacher for the early learning program at the local YMCA. I got to watch the children in each classroom learn and grow over the years, which is a pleasure I hope to experience here as well. I devote the majority of my time to working with children, but outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, going for walks and hikes, cooking/eating new foods, reading, drawing, playing games, and snuggling with my two cats, Moose and Smokey.
Alea fry, Blackberry Teacher
Alea Fry has been teaching at EELP since 2014. She lived in Ellensburg, Olympia and Seattle previously. She has a BA and is currently working on a Masters in School Counseling. Alea currently lives in north Seattle near Green Lake and loves the park.
Joyce Jackson, Huckleberry Teacher
I’m a wife, a mother of three, and a Grandmother of ten. I’ve been working in the Early Childhood Education field for over 20 years. I really enjoy working with young children. Our children’s first years are their most impressive! Having such an important role in the early education of our future is very, very rewarding. Last but not least, working with children gives me a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside and that’s always a good thing!
Veronica Reynoso, Huckleberry Teacher
I was born and raised in Chicago, and moved out to Seattle four years ago. Previously, I worked for three years as a teacher at Velma Thomas, which is a Reggio-inspired early childhood education center in Chicago. I obtained my bachelors in early childhood education at Columbia College, which followed the principles of the Reggio approach as well. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn about an approach which mirrors my thoughts as to how children learn; I believe in teaching the child as a whole. I believe it is important to learn with the children and take their lead to help them explore the world around them. I am excited to get to know the children, staff, and families of Epiphany Early Learning. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, hiking, cooking, and exploring Seattle.
Olivia Wycoff, Huckleberry Teacher
I am a Northern California native excited to have recently moved to Seattle and joined the fantastic team at Epiphany Early Learning Preschool. I graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in Child Development and Women’s and Gender Studies. While there, I had the pleasure of working on research teams exploring early childhood education and equity, and deepening my joy for working with young children. I am very passionate about giving kids opportunities to grow, engage, and develop in loving and equitable environments. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, yoga, food, and connecting with nature. I can’t wait to explore the PNW and join EELP’s community!”
When I was just a wee lass my mom taught me to follow my passions and trust they would lead me to where I was meant to be. So far they’ve lead me to Washington State University where I majored in Psychology with a minor in English and Human Development. While attending WSU it became very clear working with children was a passion of mine so I began gobbling up any courses that would fuel my new self-discovery. After WSU I followed my passion to a preschool in Edmonds where I fell in love with teaching. Everyday I get to spend helping children find their passions and see where it leads them is an honor and a good day in my book. When I am not with my huckleberry friends I can be found fueling my reading addiction at local bookstores, going on hiking adventures, traveling and exploring this beautiful planet, and spending time with my friends and family.
Other wonderful staff you’ll meet:
julia ahmadi, Chef
Hello there! My name is Julia Ahmadi and I am incredibly thrilled to be a part of Epiphany Early Learning Preschool. Born with the hospitality gene, I come from a family of cooks and I am the fourth of five siblings to have attended culinary school. After culinary school I moved from Southern California to Seattle, where I received my BS in Nutrition at Bastyr University. With my combined education and kitchen experience, I am excited to enter into my community and find ways to connect with others through cooking and nutrition education. I value the sense of togetherness that can be experienced when sitting down at a table to share a meal and hope to bring this same sentiment to Epiphany. When I am not in the kitchen, I can be found reading cookbooks, on a nature walk, in a thrift store, or in a yoga studio. I look forward to getting to know you all!
Kacie Grice, Assistant Chef
I have lived in Seattle for about 11 years and am deeply in love with the PNW. I grew up in the Midwest and went college in Chicago (my second favorite city) before heading out west. While in Seattle, I've worked a variety of jobs, but in the last few years, they've centered around kids and health, and most recently, baking in a coffee shop/café. Through these jobs, I discovered that I don't do well at a desk for very long, but I do enjoy creating (food, art, etc), as well as teaching/coaching and training. So I'm super excited that this very unique position exists at EELP that seems to wrap all of these things together!
I love being outside and given the choice, would rather do anything outside versus inside. I currently have 8 housemates, yes, I'm serious. I really want a dog and very much look forward to the day when I can have one. I like doing crosswords, but rarely finish them (I think they're a great partner activity). If I could do one physical activity for the rest of my life it would be rock climbing. It's like physical problem-solving and is a nice balance of challenging and rewarding. I don't consider myself an artist, but an art appreciator and a creative dabbler. I'm pretty bad at favorites, but I can usually give you a top five. I like the idea of shoes more than actually wearing them. I love puns, nachos, craft beer and anything purple.
Jana Vitols, Music Teacher
Jana Vitols is an early childhood music educator and vocalist accompanying her classes on ukulele, banjo, violin and guitar. Since 1998, she has had the joy of sharing music with infants, toddlers and preschoolers at a variety of early learning centers, libraries, developmental preschools, family resource centers, shelters, and music schools.
Jana’s music curriculum is influenced by her degree in Dance Movement Therapy (Naropa University) with additional studies in Dalcroze/Eurhythmics, a pedagogy that aligns music with movement. Drawing from classical, folk, world and improvisational music and movement traditions she creates opportunities for children to learn music fundamentals, while disguising her teaching methods in a costume of play.
As founder and director of Music for Everyone, an independent music program that supports families learning music together, she was awarded Parent Map’s Golden Teddy Award for “Best Toddler Class.”
When she’s not in the classroom or performing, Jana enjoys growing and arranging flowers, volunteering at Amara and Familyworks and spending time with her family.