Bios

Lia Thompson-Clark
Director

Lia has served as the Director of The Children’s School since 1997. Lia is an alumna of SSU, with a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology. She attained her elementary teaching credential at the University of London. During Lia’s extensive experience as a director of multiple schools across the country, she has developed a unique theoretical approach to teaching young children and has developed her philosophy at The Gazebo School Park with school sites both the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California and Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

Lia has served as a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 1983, served as the co-president of the Sonoma County Association for the Education of Young Children (SCAEYC) for many years and now serves as Accreditation Chair. She has made presentations at national, state, and local conferences of the organization. During the 2010-2011 academic year, Lia participated in the Center for Ecoliteracy’s Leadership Academy. Lia is an active member in both the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers and the Council of CSU Children’s Centers. On the SSU campus, Lia is adjunct faculty and serves on the advisory committees for both Human Development and Early Childhood Education faculty.

Tarik Kanaana
Health and Nutrition Coordinator

Tarik started working as head chef and our health and nutrition coordinator in 2009. He came to work at the Children’s School from the SSU Dining Services. Tarik has extensive experience in different restaurant kitchens and before his culinary career he studied at Michigan Tech, where he received a B.S. in Mathematics. Tarik’s son, Omar attended The Children’s School and is now in seventh grade. Tarik is first aid and CPR-certified.

 

Jess Truttman
Master Teacher, Poppy Classroom

Jess began teaching at The Children’s School in fall of 2010 in the Rosebud classroom. Just two short years later, her daughter Sawyer joined the Rosebuds. Excited to experience her daughter’s growing abilities in school, Jess followed her daughter to the Dandelions where she has been teaching since fall 2013. She has taught in the school setting since 2001, working with children ranging from six weeks to sixth grade. Jess earned her A.A. in Early Childhood Education from Santa Rosa Junior College, working at their Child Development Center as both a student assistant and student teacher. After a few years teaching at local preschool, Jess returned to school and completed her B.A. in Human Development from Sonoma State University. Jess is first aid and CPR-certified. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as an active member in our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC.

Lynne Lyle
Master Teacher, Garden Classroom

Lynne Lyle has been at the Children’s School as a parent, as a student, and as a Master Teacher.  Lynne’s son Ben attended the school as a four year old in the late 1990’s.  As an MA student in Early Education, Lynne observed children at the school while working on her thesis focusing on how media impacts the play of young children.  Lynne has taught child development courses at local community colleges and at SSU.  Lynne was awarded the Circle of Excellence in Education award, and has completed the Program for Infant Toddler Care. Lynne is first aid and CPR-certified. Lynne has been a long time member of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as co-president of our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC. She has made presentations at national and state conferences, and was instrumental in organizing and making presentations at the annual SCAEYC mini-conferences.

Bethany Lybeck
Teacher,, Rosebud Classroom

Bethany began teaching at the Children’s School in July 2016 in the Rosebud classroom. Previous to that she worked as the lead teacher of the infant classroom at Sonshine Kids School in Santa Rosa, CA. She also worked as a student assistant teacher at the UCLA Megan E. Daly Infant Development Program. Bethany has been working in professional settings with children ages three months to sixteen years since 2006. Bethany has her B.S. from UCLA in Psychobiology with a minor in Developmental Psychology. She is working on completing her M.A. from Sonoma State University in Early Childhood Education with a focus on Child Life in Hospitals and children with special medical needs. Bethany is first aid and CPR certified and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

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Melissa Nelson
Master Teacher, Dandelion Classroom

Melissa has worked at The Children’s School since August of 2007, when she began as a student assistant. Previous to that that, she worked with children with developmental disabilities in the after-school program at Lattice Educational Services in Santa Rosa, CA. Melissa has her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. in Early Childhood Education both from Sonoma State University. While completing her graduate studies Melissa focused on the importance of quality outdoor environments and experiences for children of all ages. Melissa is first aid and CPR-certified. Melissa became a Master Teacher in the Poppies classroom in the Fall of 2009 and then in the Rosebud classroom in July 2013. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as an active member in our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC.