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Natalie

Owner
I grew up in Minsk, Belarus and moved to the US with my family when I was 8. Although I didn't have many Russian-speaking friends, I retained my Russian language by speaking with my family. My husband actually learned Russian in school so he wouldn't feel left out at family functions. I didn't realize how important the Russian language was to me until I had my two children and wanted them to speak it. While my education and background are in finance and fashion, I am so happy to trade it in for spending time with kids and being part of their preschool experience.

I came up with the concept of Birch Tree Academy when I realized how important both academic and social development was for my own children. After I was not able to find that combination in any schools I visited, I decided to create it. I really wanted a community of families that value education and a place where kids can feel welcome and make life-long friends. I was so excited when I realized other parents were looking for the same thing, and our preschool was born!

Although my main job is handling daily operations, I love getting to know all of the kids and playing with them during their outside breaks.

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Jess

Director, Bothell
Born and raised in Ballard, I am a Seattle native. I grew up loving the outdoors. I spent my summers backpacking, camping, and playing in the great Pacific North West!

I have 13 years of experience working with children. I’ve done everything from teaching Kindergarten Enrichment to running summer camps at the YMCA. I also recently spent a summer teaching English to orphans at Samuel House Academy in Udaipur, India. During this experience I realized that I wanted to make educating and loving children my lifelong mission!

In my spare time I travel, snowboard, play video games, hike, and play with my corgi puppy Luna.

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Cassandra

Co-Director, Lake Hills and Bothell
I was born and raised in Washington. I have four siblings and I helped raise my two youngest sisters. I have always wanted to become a maternity nurse, but once I started working with children my goal has changed to someday opening my own preschool. I have been working with kids for almost 3 years and I am so happy to get to do what I love every day! I especially love watching kids develop their interests and unique personalities. I believe that hands-on learning is very important and beneficial because it helps students better understand and learn the world around them, and am so excited to implement STEM curriculum at Birch Tree Academy.

In my free time I like to hang out with family and friends. I also love everything outdoors an traveling to different places.

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Anna

Office Manager, Bothell
I was born in Ukraine and moved to the U.S. 2 years ago. Back home, I graduated in The Architecture Academy. I have worked as an architect part-time, as well as a nanny to several families. I have been at Birch Tree since the beginning of 2018. I love children helping them grow and develop. I enjoy doing art and projects with them.

In my free time, I like to get together with friends, drink coffee and travel. I have enjoyed my time with both students and staff here at Birch Tree and look forward to another great school year!

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Kati

Starfish Class
Lead Teacher
I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada (trust me, not as exciting as it sounds!). When I was 3, my family moved to Arizona where we lived for 9 years. When I was 12, my family moved up to Shoreline where we lived for 4 years. Half way through high school (go Shorewood!) we moved to Sacramento where I finished high school and started studying early childhood development. When I was done with the heat of California I moved back to Seattle and have been loving it ever since! I have 2 older brothers and 1 older sister, all of whom are married. Between them, I have 6 nieces and nephews. My favorite thing to do is to spend time with them!
Professionally, I have worked in day cares and as a private nanny for 6 years. I have studied early childhood development and I am planning on going back to school to finish my degree. Working with children is all I have ever wanted to do. I love watching kids learn new things. At first you see them struggle, but the moment they figure it out is priceless. Seeing children grow is the greatest joy of my life.

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Britnee

Starfish Class
Assistant Teacher

My first job in high school was a nursery attendant at a church. I enjoyed playing with the kiddos! I have also worked in a home daycare. I have experience in pediatric dentistry, and working with autistic patients. My favorite thing about children is their creativity! Attributes that describe me is patient and empathetic. My main priorities are keeping your little loves safe while being a supportive figure in their life. I believe that childhood affects adulthood, therefore, I will do my best to help them have a positive self esteem that will follow for a lifetime.

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Viki

Seahorses Class
Co-Teacher
I was born in Ukraine, in Gorlovka city. I moved to America a year ago with my parents. I love everything that is connected with creativity - doing origami, singing, dancing, drawing and my favorite sports: hockey and basketball. I love working with children and have always helped my sister and friends take care of their children; now it has become my profession. I worked as a nanny and a tutor in a kindergarten with infants to age 5.
I am excited to work with the toddlers at Birch Tree Academy for yet another year, and love the natural atmosphere and our wonderful team!

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Mandy

Puffins Class
Lead Teacher
I was born and raised in a small town in the middle of Germany called Willingen. In 2014, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Evangelische Hochschule Darmstadt. Upon graduating, I spent a year working in the Seattle area as an Au Pair. I took care of two preschool boys and fell in love with the city while I was living there. When I returned to Germany, I continued my career by working in preschools. This was the beginning of my passion to teach younger children, since before I taught mostly kindergarten kids. I have worked with children for 8 years, and I intend to grow my career in early childhood education for many years more.
I moved to Seattle permanently at the beginning of this year, and cannot wait to continue my career as a Lead Toddler Teacher with Birch Tree Academy. I am excited to work with the two to three-year-olds, and to come along with them while they grow older and develop their unique personalities. My goal is to create a safe and nurturing environment so that they can explore the world around them through play.
In my spare time, I like to read books, do yoga, go for hikes in our beautiful mountains, and play board games.

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Inna

Penguins Class
Co-Teacher

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Grace

Penguins Class
Co-Teacher

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Karolina

Otters Class
Co-Teacher
I grew up in Ukraine, in the very beautiful city of Odessa on the Black Sea coast. I graduated from University KNU Taras Schvchenko Kiev, Ukraine and have experience in the field of development of young children. I have a diploma in fashion. For 9 years I worked as an office manager in the marine company SGS Group Corporation.

In 2007 I married a great man and father of 3 daughters and moved to the US. We have 2 more kids born and now we have a very friendly and large family. I love teaching as much as I love learning. I love my family and enjoy all the moments of my happy life. I also teach language courses at a local church I am completely dedicated to every child I have the honor to teach, and it is a great honor for me to join the team of The Birch Tree Academy.

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Kami

Seals Class
Lead Teacher

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Courtney

Sea Turtles Class
Lead Teacher

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Rochelle

Sea Turtles Class
Assistant Teacher

Rochelle Putnam is Mom to two preschool aged daughters. She has loved working with children since her teen years. As a teenager in the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra, Rochelle was honored with a Leadership Award for her enthusiastic work with younger participants. She also was a frequent volunteer in church nurseries and Sunday Schools. From age 17-20 Rochelle worked in instruction and management of young children at Peaceful Conqueror Hapkido martial arts in Bellevue. Over the years she has been a caring volunteer at Special Olympics. Rochelle loves to help kids play well together and enjoy learning!

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Tatiana

Narwhals Class
Co-Teacher
I was born and raised in Chisinau, Moldova. I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology and experience in early childhood development field. I absolutely love to work with kids and I am very happy to see that kids love me too.
In 2016 I moved to the United States with my husband and our two kids. Here I met my new friends and together we organized a co-op preschool for our children . It was a great time for all of us, full of fun and amazing experiences.
This year I am very excited to have the opportunity to join The Birch Tree Academy and return to my career as a preschool teacher!
In my free time I like to read, cook and explore new places with my family. Also, I am very passionate in Photography and Interior Design fields.

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Teigan

Narwhals Class
Co-Teacher
I was born and raised here in Washington state. When I was younger, I moved around frequently between Bellingham and around the Bothell area. When I was in middle school, I took my first mission trip to Mexico and fell in love with kids since that trip. While in high school I took a course called teaching academy and fell in love with the idea of teaching. Since graduating high school, I have had a desire to work with children and pursue it as a career. I have worked in two Preschools being a floater aid, assistant teacher and lead. I’m excited to work at Birch tree and continue to help children grow through hands on learning and using stem. In my free time I enjoy hiking, traveling and trying out new coffee shops.

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Taisha

Orcas Class
Co-Teacher
I was born and raised in Central Washington where I enjoyed all four seasons filled with as many outdoor activities as possible. Many winters spent on the ski slopes and summers spent soaking up the sun at a near by lake or river. I come from a very large close knit family who my husband and I spend a lot of our free time with. When I'm not adventuring with my family I enjoy spending time with my husband traveling (Las Vegas is our favorite!), trying different breweries and beer festivals, reading a good book, doing dinner/game nights with our friends, and spending time in the sunshine wherever I can find it.
I've been a proud part of the birch tree team for going on 2 years now and I am excited to be taking on the role of English lead in Pre-K this coming fall! I also currently attend school full time where I am working towards my teaching degree (Elementary education) and look forward to continuing my passion of teaching young minds. I have been teaching children for the past 12 years and its true what they say, time does fly when you're having fun!

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Nataliya

Orcas Class
Co-Teacher
I have two children and now my first grandbaby! I love kids! When first becoming a teacher in 1990 I knew I found my life’s passion. I’ve taught kids of all ages and including some high school grades. I love teaching as much as I love learning, and I have been teaching non-stop since obtaining my teaching certificate. I am fully dedicated to each child that I am privilaged to teach, and am honored to have been selected as Teacher Of The Year several times in Ukraine. I also lead language classes at a local church.

In my space time I enjoy reading, researching, knitting and gardening.