Takoma Children's School prides itself on its exceptionally talented staff. A school is only as good as the staff and teachers it hires. At TCS, we treasure our staff and teachers and value the role they play in our community. We offer competitive salaries and good benefits. Through participation in professional development, each staff member continues to add to his or her experience, skills, and knowledge of early childhood education. Fairly unique to other full-day preschools, teachers are given weekly time to plan with their colleagues to create a child-centered curriculum. It is our goal to retain our outstanding staff and teachers for as long as possible.
Our wise and wonderful teachers serve as facilitators to the children in their care, and as resources to their parents. In addition to many years of experience educating young children, most of our teachers have a Bachelor's degree while some have a Master's degree. TCS teachers also have skills and expertise in fields outside of early childhood education, and they share those talents with your children, which include music, art, drama, dance, yoga, Spanish, gardening, cooking, photography, film, writing, storytelling and environmental education.
Executive Director: Cassandra Hostetler, M. Ed, Tufts University. Cassandra has 25 years of teaching and management experience in a variety of early childhood settings working with children from infancy through school-age. Outside of work her passion is gardening, especially creating a garden with native plants that supports butterflies and birds. She enjoys sharing this passion with the children of TCS; they hope their newly planted milkweed will entice monarch butterflies to lay eggs in the school's garden this summer!
The Bluebirds Team:
Rebecca Wadler is ein her first year at TCS. She has a BA from Hamilton College and an MA in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. Previously, Rebecca was Lead Teacher at Shaare Torah Early Education Center in Gaithersburg. Rebecca also teaches preschool classes at the National Zoo on the weekends and has taught environmental education both in the US and abroad. Rebecca has extensive experience in nature education and created a nature preschool program at a local nature center which she ran for 2 years. In addition, she spent 6 years in the Indonesian rainforest studying orangutans and other wildlife. Rebecca is excited to bring her love of nature play and exploration to TCS and share her passion for nature and wildlife with all the Bluebirds.
Samantha Benjamin (Sam) is from England and moved to the States two years ago. Sam has enjoyed teaching preschool children for more than twelve years, two of which are at Takoma Children’s School. “I love seeing children develop, and have three children of my own whom I’ve watched and guided through their childhood, and they, along with the preschool children I’ve taught, have been my biggest achievement thus far.”
Ruth Sauls is in her second year at TCS with four previous years of experience working with 2 year olds at a different program. She enjoys learning about the chcildren, learning their strengths and building on those strengths. She believes that a child's play is their work and their foundation for learning and exploring. She is currently pursuing a B.S in Early Childhood Education.
Briana Taylor is in her third year at TCS after earning her B.S. in Child and Adolescent Studies from Bowie State University and working at a different program for two years. Some of her favorite times with young children are seeing them begin to build friendships with each other; marveling at their creativity and hard work; and simply enjoying their play.
The Stars Team:
Cathie Barret is originally from the UK but moved here 22 years ago with her husband and three children after living and teaching English in France for 12 years. Cathie joined TCS in August 2018 and is very excited to put into practice the philosophy of the schools of Reggio Emilia. She has worked with children for over 25 years in the UK and the US and recently graduated with a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Towson. She has a particular interest in the importance of child-led exploration and play in early education, process art and the benefits of outdoor experiences and nature education.
Jill Telford is an educator, artist and avid reader. She has an MA in Literacy Studies. She has been serving children and families for many years. Being one of many educators in our field, I am honored and thankful to be able to play a small part in keeping play, creativity, metacognition, make believe, story telling, and the arts alive for children each and every day.
Patricia (Pat) Schreiber has a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education from University of Maryland. She recently joined TCS after a career with experience across various types of early childhood education programs including Greenbelt Cooperative Nursery School, the University of Maryland's Lab School, and most recently at a downtown law firm's onsite program. She has taught children from 2 to 5 years of age.
Darnica Crawford has been at TCS for nine years and has taught in all three classrooms during that time. Her favorite part of working with children is helping them develop by teaching them new things and having fun while doing it. Outside of TCS she enjoys being a mom, cooking, drawing and playing basketball.
The Rainbows Team:
Morgan Powell, is a native Washingtonian with a passion for serving youth, especially in her hometown. This is her third year at TCS. She has been in the early childhood education field in different capacities for almost a decade, including having worked as a preschool teacher on Capitol Hill for 5 years. Morgan is looking forward to the adventures she will embark upon, and the experiences that will turn into lifelong memories, with this year’s Rainbows class.
Alla Stellakis is in her second year at TCS. She has her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Temple University. Before making her way down to the Capital she taught PreK for two years at The Meadowbrook School located in Philadelphia. Alla is passionate about art and enjoys bringing that creative side into the classroom.
Zina Foston is also in her second year at TCS. Before that, she was teaching dance and sports classes to children in Virginia and spin classes to adults. With over seven years of childcare/teaching experience and a B.S. from Howard University in Human Development, she has found her home away from home in the classroom. Zina is an artist at heart who brings her creative outlook on life to the classroom.
Marsha Obusek, Yoga Instructor and Substitute teacher