LEDS Leadership Team
+ Adminstration

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Christi taught elementary school for seven years, beginning in 2010. Before that, she earned her undergraduate degree at Marietta College in Early Childhood Education. She went on to obtain her master's degree in special education at the University of Mary Washington. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Josh, and two sons, Canyon and Corbin, as well as playing soccer, staying active, reading and being outdoors.  

Christi Gillette
Executive Director
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Kate is the Director of LEDS North. She has been with Little Explorers as a teacher from the very beginning, and has naturally moved into this leadership role. Kate studied English at East Carolina University and moved to the Charlottesville area soon after. After having her first daughter, she suddenly fell in love with childcare and education. Kate is inspired by creative learning through art and music. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and husband, exploring the outdoors, and staying active.

Kate Brown
Operating Director
of LEDS North
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Alannah has been with Little Explorers since the very beginning! We're so excited to have her this year as our Operating Co-Director of LEDS South. Alannah has spent time in many classrooms at Little Explorers, and comes from a background filled with diverse childhood education and support experiences. Her grounded, connected, and engaged presence with the kids makes her a beloved member of our community, both for students and colleagues.

Alannah Walker
Operating Co-Director
of LEDS South 
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Prior to joining Little Explorers in 2020, Josh worked for 11 years in the public schools as a first grade and a third grade teacher. He graduated from James Madison University in 2009 with his master's degree in education. He's also our handyman - building all of the natural equipment for the playgrounds, and using his carpentry and renovation skills to support our teachers with all of our innovative classroom dreams! Josh enjoys spending time with his wife, Christi, and his two sons, Canyon and Corbin, as well as walking in the woods, reading and being outdoors.

Josh Gillette
Operating Co- Director
of LEDS South 
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Kelsey Fatsi
Art Therapist
Community Wellness Director

Kelsey is our resident Art Therapist and Community Wellness Director. She holds a Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Art Therapy from Naropa University. Kelsey has worked with children and adolescents for most of her life as a preschool teacher, art teacher, art therapist, and mother. She is passionate about weaving mental health support into a school-based setting, and is so excited to be on this journey at LEDS. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys creating with any and all art materials, baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and working to bring as much color as she can into her purple house that she shares with her handyman/techie husband, her 3 feisty girls, and her 2 dogs, 2 cats, 10 chickens, and lone turtle.

 

For a more in depth look into the aspects of art therapy that she's bringing to our school, check out our "About Us" tab and look for "Art Therapy at LEDS".

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Rita joined the LEDS team in 2019. She has 16+ years of experience in childcare. This year, she'll be assisting in all of the class at LEDS North and South. Rita is also the Aftercare Manager. She enjoys spending time with the children, helping with the logistics of the days, and engaging in creative new ways of reaching the needs of the children. Rita is beloved by all her students and coworkers. We're lucky to have her on our team!

Rita Baron
Afternoon Logistics Manager
Floating Support Teacher
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Jess Eustace
Communications and Engagement Manager

Jess is the Communications and Engagement Manager at Little Explorers and is so excited to join the team. She studied political science at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where she did an internship at a local nonprofit and fell in love with public service. Jess has since worked in communications, event planning, and engagement for various nonprofits including a homeless shelter, the creation of a giving program for social services in Denver, CO, Habitat for Humanity in Charlottesville, and most recently in the higher education world for the UVA School of Nursing. She is thrilled to be on this journey at LEDS.


In her free time, Jess loves exploring Crozet with her husband, their two children Caroline and Theo (both Little Explorers students!), and their dog Abby. She loves exercise, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

LEDS North
5804 St George Avenue, Crozet, VA 22932

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Sabrina is our Trailblazers Teacher. Sabrina began her childhood career in 2010, and received her Bachelors degree in early childhood education in 2015. She has worked with children from ages six months to six years, but her passion is with a 3 to 5 year olds. Sabrina was born and raised in Germany but moved to be closer to her family in Georgia in 2019. Just before the pandemic in 2020, she moved to the Harrisonburg area in VA. Sabrina shares, "I'm really excited for my journey here at the Little Explorers Discovery School and can’t wait to work with all your amazing kiddos and families." 

Sabrina Mullner
 Explorers Lead Teacher
Basement Manager
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Marlyn Cruz
Wayfarers Lead Teacher

Ms. Marlyn is so excited to get to work with your child this upcoming year. She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She has also lived in New York for 10 years, and moved down to Virginia in September 2016. 

Our Reggio Emilia model curriculum will focus on social collaboration, encouraging children to work in groups and develop knowledge through communicating with others. Our classroom  environment is also their teacher. A child learns just as much from the environment they are in as they do from their parents and teachers 

 

As a child growing up in a family of educators, she knew at a young age that  teaching  was her passion. She has been working in early childhood education for over 10 years and is extremely excited for this upcoming school year.

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Ellen joins LEDS this year as the Assistant Teacher in the Wayfarers class. Ellen graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Kinesiology. She loves to use her knowledge of movement science to help children explore their emotions and personalities through movement. Ellen recently relocated to Crozet and is enjoying exploring the area with her family. Her daughter Violet will also be joining the LEDS family in our Explorers class.

Ellen Graham
Wayfarers Assistant Teacher
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Kelley Lewis
Explorers Lead Teacher

Kelley began teaching preschool while in college.  She finished a BA in English from Kenyon College and her MS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank St. College of Education simultaneously. 

After teaching and leading childcare centers/ preschools and having her own two children, she decided to move up through the grades.  She taught grades one through five in Waldorf Schools in Maine, MA, and VA for a dozen years, and received a Waldorf grade school teaching certificate from Antioch New England Graduate School before returning to Early Childhood Education.

Kelley has worked in Parent Teacher Co-ops and Reggio schools too.  She was just excited to find LEDS, a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool and join the his community.

Outside of school, she is a Maker: fiber arts, food, playful collections and messes! She also loves nature and reading.

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Lauren is our Pathfinders Lead Teacher. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Elementary Education. Lauren taught Kindergarten for 10 years before stepping away from the classroom after her second son was born. Lauren has spent the last 6 years at home with her boys, but is excited to venture back into the classroom with us this Fall!

Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband, Brian, and her two sons, Ben and Wyatt, as well as running, reading, and staying active with her boys.

Lauren Werner
Adventurers Lead Teacher
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Lainey Williams
Adventurers Lead Teacher
Trailblazers Teacher

Lainey is currently helping in multiple classes at LEDS, as well as being an aftercare teacher. After she has completed her CDA course, (Child Development Associate), she will move on to being a lead teacher. Her passion has been working with children since a young age, as she volunteered to help in her mother’s Kindergarten class multiple years. This is Lainey’s first year at Little Explorers, and she is so excited to be a part of our school!

 

Lainey is a Crozet area native. She has been a nanny for over eight years, and has worked with ages ranging from infant to tweens. Lainey’s hobbies include hiking with her dogs, spending time with her family and pets, babysitting, and anything to do with plants! 

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Jennifer has been with Little Explorers since December 2019. She has been the Pathfinders teacher for our 2-3 year olds since the summer of 2021. Before fully diving in as a Lead Teacher, Jennifer previously led our Let's Explore Together class for children ages 0-24 months and was substitute at LEDS. Jennifer spent eight years as a nanny before earning an undergraduate and master's degree in Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management. She was in charge of the programming at Little Planets Playroom and leads Hike it Baby Charlottesville. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking, and cooking with her husband and two kids.

Jennifer Iyengar
Pathfinders Lead Teacher
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Hannah is currently a 4th year student at the University of Virginia studying Psychology, American Sign Language and Deaf culture.  After graduation, she plans to attend Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. to pursue a Master’s of Social Work.  She has worked with kids for many years in a variety of different capacities and is exciting to continue that work at LEDS!

Hannah Mollin
Floating Support Teacher

LEDS South
5762 Tabor Street, Crozet, VA 22932

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Sarah Craven
Trailblazers Lead Teacher

Sarah started working at LEDs in 2020. She has a BS in Elementary Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Sarah has always worked with children. Her experience ranges from babysitting as a young girl, to working in the public school system, to working with children who have disabilities. Her time at LEDS began as the Lead Teacher for our K-5 Virtual Class during the pandemic and teaching for our Aftercare Program. Sarah has been in every morning and afternoon classroom at LEDS in some capacity (including the nursery!). She is currently bringing her expertise as the Lead Teacher for the Trailblazers. We're so grateful for her flexibility and confidence with any age group.

Sarah has been married to her husband, Andrew, since 2009 and they have two wonderful children. Garett is a 7th grader at Henely and Clare is in Kindergarten at Crozet Elementary. Their two fur babies are Jeb and Rosie. In her free time she lives to read, crochet, garden, and spend time outdoors.

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Torry is one of our Trailblazers teachers at LEDS. She earned her undergraduate degree at Bridgewater College in sociology, and her master's degree in Early Childhood Education at JMU. Her background in education includes working as an elementary teacher for Rockingham Public Schools, a summer reading teacher for the Boys and Girls Club, and a lead preschool teacher at Barrett Early Learning Center. In her free time, Torry loves spending time with her family and friends, sketching and painting, and playing outside with her dog, Aloe!

Torry Piper
Trailblazers Lead Teacher
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Jen is a lead teacher in the Explorers class. She studied English at William and Mary and earned her Masters in Teaching from UVA.  After teaching middle school English for ten years, Jen became fascinated by the psychology and pedagogy of early childhood when her own children were born. She spent time teaching in a two's classroom before the start of the pandemic, when she decided to stay home with her two children, Jay and Annie. Jen lives in Crozet with her family, and they are all so excited to be a part of the LEDS family this year!

Jen Buckett
Explorers Lead Teacher
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Kate Staley is our Adventurers teacher at LEDS South! This will be her first year teacher at Little Explorer’s Discovery School. Kate has 10 years teaching experience, and absolutely adores being an educator. She loves art and science, and encouraging children to use their imaginations and explore new ideas and concepts. Kate is beyond thrilled to work at LEDS, and can’t wait to get started.

Kate Staley
Adventurers Lead Teacher
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Laura has been working with children professionally since she was 15. She is currently a freshman at PVCC with the hopes of going to UVA to become a flight nurse. She supports teachers, has a natural way with children, and helps with the logistics of the day to day at Little Explorers. Her hobbies include babysitting, reading and anything crafty. She is currently signed up to start running with the rescue squad!
Laura Rubendall 
Adventurers Assistant Teacher
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Cortney is the lead teacher for the Wanderers classroom. She graduated from Arizona State with her Bachelor’s in English and discovered a love for education and went on to get her Master’s in Teaching at Mary Baldwin. Cortney has taught students of all ages from 24 months to 18 years old. Her hobbies include reading, knitting, and spending time with friends and family.

Cortney Persson
Wanderers Lead Teacher
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Emy Turner
Wanderers Lead Teacher

Emy is one of the  teachers  for our Wanderers infant/toddler class. Emy graduated from University of South Carolina with a degree in retail & fashion merchandising, and has also taken graduate courses in elementary education. She has previously worked with various age groups from Kindergarten to 3rd grade, as well as been a nanny. She has one daughter who graduated from LEDS  last Spring, and a baby boy on the way. She writes, "Working with the curiosity of the little ones is my favorite! I spend my free time with my daughter and husband, connecting with friends, and staying active through running or biking."

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Rekha can be seen in all classrooms at LEDS South! We count on Rekha for extra support throughout our days. She is in her freshman year at PVCC and is working towards her Early Childhood Education Certificate. She is looking forward to pursuing a career involving children. Rekha loves to read, swim, and be outdoors.

Rekha Wright
Floating Assistant Teacher
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Hannah is currently a 4th year student at the University of Virginia studying Psychology, American Sign Language and Deaf culture.  After graduation, she plans to attend Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. to pursue a Master’s of Social Work.  She has worked with kids for many years in a variety of different capacities and is exciting to continue that work at LEDS!

Hannah Mollin
Aftercare Lead Teacher + Floating Support Teacher