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Southern Oregon University

Sara Stearns, Center Director
Sara earned a Bachelor's degree from SOU in 1983 in Elementary Education (with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education). She taught kindergarten for a year, as well as 1st and 2nd grade for a year, before focusing her attention on preschool programs. Sara has worked at both the Medford and Ashland YMCA's most recently as the Director at the Ashland location. Additionally, Sara worked as a parent educator for Community Works. She is currently working on a Master's degree in Education. Sara has been at SCC since 2006. 

Ellen Hoover, Cook
Ellen has over 20 years of cooking experience, including 12 years of home-style institutional cooking and 8 years in restaurants. She has a commitment to the children to keep them healthy and growing with proper nutrition. Ellen has been at SCC since 2000. 

Infants and Toddlers (6 weeks thru two years old)  

Schneider Children's Center has both an Infant Room (Pink Room), as well as a classroom of Toddlers & Two Year Olds (Green Room). The rooms share some play times inside and outside, and are separated by a small shared kitchen and toileting/diaper area. Typically, children remain in the same classroom with the same children and teachers all year. The infant group moves to the Toddler Room, along with staff, the following school year.

Nikki Heun, Head Teacher
In 2010, Nikki received a Graduate Certificate in Infant Toddler Mental Health from Portland State University. In addition, she has a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Arizona. Nikki began working in the field of Early Childhood Education in 1982. She also worked as a family advocate for SCC for four years, has been a volunteer for WinterSpring Centre for Living with Loss and Grief, and earned certification to teach infant massage. Nikki has been teaching at SCC since 1991 and is enrolled in the Oregon Childcare Registry through PSU.

 Melissa Stowe, Teacher

Pre-School (Ages 2.5-5 year olds)

There are two pre-school classrooms at Schneider Children's Center, the Blue Room and the Purple Room. Both classrooms are multi-age classrooms accepting children ages 2 1/2 to 5 years old. Several kindergarten aged children may also be enrolled for the afternoon session in either classroom. Though the classrooms are separate, they may be combined in the early morning and afternoon.

Joanie Keller-Hand, Head Teacher 
Joanie has a B.S. in Child and Family Services with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from the University of New Hampshire and a Masters in Management from Southern Oregon University. Joanieis enrolled in the Oregon Child Care Registry through PSU and has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1979. She has been teaching at SCC since 1993.Joanie has also worked for the Ashland School District, currently volunteers as an ASPIRE mentor at Ashland High School, and serves on the Sustainability Council at SOU.

Donna Jones, Head Teacher
Donna has earned a C.D.A. (Child Development Associate) from Rogue Community College, and is currently working on a Bachelor's degree in Family Services. Her experience working with children comes from a variety of settings including in-home child care, preschools and volunteer work. She also worked as a family advocate at SCC for four years. Donna has been teaching at SCC since 1994 and is enrolled in the Oregon Childcare Registry through PSU.

Jaimie Bernhagen, Teacher
Jaime has a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis. Jaimie began working with children (child care, volunteer work, and as a teacher's aide) in 1992, began teaching at SCC in 1998 and is enrolled in the Oregon Childcare Registry through PSU. Along with her work in early childhood education, Jaimie serves on the Board of Directors as an Executive Administrator for Natives of One Wind Indigenous Alliance, a nonprofit organization focusing on diversity education,youth and elders projects, community outreach and dismantling oppression/racism within marginalized indigenous minorities in Southern Oregon.

Kristin Tibbey, Teacher
Kristin has a B.A. in Social Science from Southern Oregon University.She is a member of the Oregon Association of the Education of Young Children and the Southern Oregon Alumni Association.She has been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1986.Kristin has been teaching at SCC since 2000 and is enrolled in the Oregon Childcare Registry through PSU. 

Julie Kasiah, Teacher
Julie has been involved with SCC since 2005 when she began working as a substitute in each of the classrooms.She continued as a sub for four years, until 2010 when she was hired as a teacher in the Purple Room. Julie is enrolled in the Oregon Childcare Registry through PSU, has volunteered as a member of the Open Enrollment Committee for the Ashland School District, and is on the Board of Directors of the AHS Water Polo Club.