Our Staff

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.

Kay Redfield Jamison, Contemporary American professor of psychiatry

LA Casita Preschool Teachers Believe:

  • All children have the potential to learn
  • Children learn naturally by interacting with people and objects in their environment
  • Children learn best when learning is personally meaningful and interesting
  • Children learn best when they make their own choices
  • Children have their own individual learning pace and style
  • Children have their individual emotional needs within a group. Some children will find a different way of doing a routine
  • When children are learning a new skill, they tend to repeat the skill until it is mastered
  • Always let a child do for himself what he or she can do before doing it for them
  • A good question is better than a good answer
  • Instead of asking “What color is the sky?” (A question which has only one answer), ask “I wonder why the sky is blue?” or “What do you see?” (A question that promotes thinking and reasoning, and has no wrong answers.)

Our Directors:

Branwyn Iverson

Program Director

Branwyn Iverson is a mother of three and longtime proponent of Early Childhood Education. She attained her A.A. in Business Administration from the Santa Fe Community College and has spent the last decade working for and with Santa Fe schools…

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Jeffrey Clough

ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR

La Casita preschool is near and dear to Jeffrey as this was his toddler’s first school. His son, often a shy guy, came out of his shell due to the nurturing environment at La Casita. Motivated by his positive experience…

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Our Teachers:

Well-trained and experienced teachers compose the teaching staff at La Casita.

Philomena Salem

Afternoon Teacher

Philomena Dominique Salem is a multi-medium artist, educator, freelance face-painter, and active advocate of child well-being. Philomena studied Media Technology at Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas and earned her BA in Moving Image Arts from the College of…

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Sheridan Barnes

Morning Teacher

Sheridan Barnes graduated from Miami University with a BA in Sociology and worked in Cincinnati as a social worker for 30 years, often in jobs serving children and families. She has been working as an Early Childhood Educator since moving…

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Alison Cullen

Curriculum Teacher

Alison Harvey Cullen earned a Masters in Fine Arts in dance from Meadows School of the Arts. She danced professionally in Texas, California, and in New Mexico.  Alison became co-coordinator and teacher of the Art in the School program () at Wood Gormley Elementary School…

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Helen McDonald 

Curriculum Teacher

Helen McDonald received her B.A. in Studio Art and Psychology, with a concentration in Art Therapy. She graduated Suma Cum Laude from the College of Santa Fe. While in college, Helen studied Art Therapy and worked with at-risk children in…

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Anya Eckert 

Lead Teacher

Anya Eckert has been working with children for many years. She has taught in the private school setting, worked as a nanny, and been trained and worked as a peer counselor. She has also trained as a caregiver for children…

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Our Founder:

Lynn Kelly 

Founder of La Casita and Consultant

Lynn earned a B.A. in English and Psychology from Cornell University. She also completed Education and Child Development courses at State University of New York and at The College of Santa Fe. Lynn graduated from UNM with distinction with a…

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