NSP Teacher Bios 2019-2020 School Year

The goal of Natural Start Preschool’s teachers and staff is to create a warm, nurturing learning environment that offers young children daily opportunities to explore nature and provides them with a unique, hands-on learning program designed to build a solid foundation for future school experiences. Our staff are certified in First Aid and CPR and have passed a Washington State background check. Our student/teacher ratios are typically 1:7 and never less than 1:10.

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Amy Buerman, Assistant Teacher (T/Th), Junior Explorers Classroom

  Amy was raised on a farm in Nebraska and then attended the University of Minnesota. She graduated with a degree in Psychology with a focus in Child Psychology. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Amy worked as a college enrollment trainer and manager at a university. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time reading, playing, and exploring the great outdoors with preschoolers. She is a born nature lover and spends time hiking, backpacking, camping, and exploring our beautiful mountains with her family. She also enjoys running, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends.  

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Jenny Chandra, Lead Teacher (M/W/F), Explorers Classroom

 Jenny is a certified Elementary Education teacher with a background in primary education. She has worked with children, as both a teacher and a nanny, for the past fourteen years. Jenny is passionate about age-appropriate teaching practices that meet children where they are. Reading stories, playing outside, and getting hugs are her favorite parts of teaching preschool. Jenny lives in Redmond with her husband Jon, son Henry (4), and her very lazy cat, Mazie (11). In her spare time she loves spending time with her family and friends, cooking, creating, and camping. 

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Sandra Dash, Assistant Teacher (M-F), Explorers Classroom

Sandra was born and raised in Bellevue. She has two children, Breanna (age 13) and Braeden (age 10). Sandra has worked with young children for many years and has completed coursework in Early Childhood Education. She is certified in First Aid and CPR. Sandra is passionate about health, nutrition, and leading a healthy lifestyle. Her favorite pastimes include music, running, hiking, CrossFit, swimming, biking, gardening, and playing outdoors with her children. 

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Karin Filipsson Lead Teacher (T/Th), Explorers Classroom

 Karin grew up in Sweden, where she learned to love nature and the outdoors from an early age. She spent her childhood skiing, ice-skating, hiking, and picking blueberries with her family. She has a Master’s Degree in Education and has taught students from preschool through high school, in both Sweden and in the United States. Karin lives in Bellevue with her husband and four children. She is a certified swim instructor and she loves skiing, paddle-boarding, hiking, yoga, cooking, and reading.  

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Margaret Hartman Assistant Teacher (M/W/F), Explorers Classroom

Margaret received her B.S. in Human Development from Brigham Young University. She moved to Bellevue from Texas and has enjoyed exploring the Pacific Northwest for the past 13 years. She loves adventuring with her three children, ages 9, 7, and 4. Her favorite season is summer, when she and her kids enjoy exploring the low tides, hiking, picking berries, playing at beach parks, and taking road trip to different areas of Washington State. Margaret has spent the past twelve years working with children as a volunteer Sunday school teacher. In her spare time, she likes to watch baking shows and listen to audiobooks. 

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Stephanie Hoener, Preschool Director and Co-Founder, Classroom Teacher

Stephanie is a Naturopathic Physician specializing in pediatrics and family medicine. She graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle and has spent the past 21 years working with children and teaching families about good health and nutrition. As one of the co-founders of Natural Start Preschool, Stephanie is passionate about fostering young children's learning and development through age-appropriate curriculum, outdoor exploration and play, and daily interactions with the natural world. She considers it an immense privilege to be able to experience each child's innate sense of wonder and curiosity come alive as they explore the forests and meadow surrounding our preschool, learn about insects and animals, plant seeds in the garden, and discover the other natural habitats of our preschool home. Stephanie lives in Bellevue (where she also grew up!) and has a 14-year-old son with whom she enjoys playing football, traveling, going on long drives, and sharing a variety of outdoor adventures. In her spare time she love to work in her garden, read, knit, cook healthy meals, spend time with family and friends, and go on long nature walks. 

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Sneha Jain Assistant Teacher (M-F), Junior Explorers Classroom

  Sneha joined Natural Start Preschool in the fall of 2019, after being a stay-at-home mom raising her three wonderful children. She grew up in India, where she earned her degree in child development, and has been working with children ever since her college days. Sneha has always enjoyed being around kids – keeping them engaged in activities, working on their fine motor skills, and fostering their social and emotional development. She runs a variety of summer programs out of her home, including a Kids' Camp, arts & crafts classes, DIY projects, and educational classes that encourage young minds to explore. Sneha also enjoys interacting with other moms and dads to share ideas on parenting and keeping kids engaged. Her pastimes include biking, spending time outdoors, traveling, learning about different cultures, and – most importantly – keeping her kids away from electronics. 

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Brit Mann Assistant Teacher (M/W/F), Junior Explorers Classroom

 Brit was born and raised in San Diego and has three children, ages 9, 7, and 4. Their family just moved to Bellevue after living in the Dominican Republic for the past 3 years while Brit's husband worked with the US Embassy. She says, "Living in a developing nation was challenging, but the beauty of the Caribbean and the good friends we had there made it an incredible experience." Before becoming a stay-at-home-mom, Brit worked as a portrait and lifestyle photographer for almost 10 years. She loved combining her skills in the creative arts with her ability to connect with children. Brit has also enjoyed volunteering at her church as a teacher for young children over the past 8 years, and she worked previously as an assistant preschool teacher. Her passion for all things nature-related was cultivated during a lifetime of living only blocks away from the Pacific Ocean amidst the big cities of Southern California. Brit is excited to share her enthusiasm for learning and the outdoors with our students, and to encourage in them a lifelong connection to the natural world. Her pastimes include running, baking, hiking, reading, exploring whatever area her family is currently living in, and all water-centric activities.

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Mirsa Perez Lead Teacher (M-F), Junior Explorers Classroom

Mirsa received her Bachelor's Degree (Cum Laude) in Early Childhood Education at Trinity Lutheran College. Her work with young children has included volunteering at V.I.B.E.S., Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church preschool, Acorn Learning Center (an urban nature school), and Mary Queen of Peace. Mirsa loves spending time with children because of their curiosity and their unique perspective on the world. Because her father took their family out every week, Mirsa grew up exploring and playing in different natural environments that helped foster her love for nature. She currently lives in Bellevue with her husband and two children, Danny (age 7) and Ahri (age 2) with whom she enjoys playing and exploring the outdoors. Some of their favorite activities are creating "mud kitchens", watching the stars and clouds, rolling down hills, gardening, looking for "beautiful" rocks, playing in the rain, and jumping in puddles! When not playing, Mirsa enjoys reading, singing, listening to rock, hiking, wrestling, skateboarding, plucking her violin, and knitting.

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Victoria Remer Lead Teacher (M/W/F), Explorers Classroom

Victoria grew up in Michigan, where she developed an appreciation for the outdoors throughout the four seasons. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and has teaching experience from preschool up through the middle school level. This is Victoria’s seventh year at NSP and she feels fortunate to be able to share the wonders of the outdoors with her preschoolers. When she’s not teaching preschool, Victoria enjoys volunteering, hiking, traveling, gardening, and strumming the guitar. Victoria lives in Issaquah with her husband David, teenage sons David and Dane, and rescue lab-mix Loki.

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Sarah Stevens, Assistant Teacher (T/Th), Explorers Classroom

Sarah graduated from William Jewell College with a B.S. in Nursing. As a Pediatric Nurse, she has worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, summer camps, and as a traveling nurse in 7 states. She was an elementary school nurse at her children’s school for 2 years in Kansas. When her family moved to Washington in August of 2017, Sarah felt ready for a new type of career adventure. Her life experiences and passion for working with children have influenced the decision to be both a preschool teacher and stay-at-home mom. Growing up in Missouri, she loved spending summers at the lake, helping in her mom’s classroom, and playing outside on the farm. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, crafting with paper and recycled materials, hiking and camping. When exploring nature, her favorite spots are the mountains, beach, lake, and forest, just to name a few! Sarah lives in Bellevue with her husband Scotty, two children Lillian (11) and Fisher (9), and guinea pig S'morey.

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Iris Yamamoto Assistant Teacher (M/W/F), Explorers Classroom

 Iris graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She then went on to pursue a career in information technology and, soon after, she took on the ultimate challenge of being a stay-at-home mom. Parenting her two children helped Iris understand the values of guiding young minds while learning the intricacies of various conditions such as ADHD. Born and raised on the island of Kauai, she traded sunshine and beaches for the beautiful seasons and lush greenery that Washington state has to offer. Spending time with her family is truly a blessing and is Iris's favorite activity (aside from sleeping).

"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives."

-Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth