Meet the Staff

Sheryl Nelson

Director

Sheryl Nelson

Director

Welcome to City Kids School (CKS). Our school has been excelling in educating preschool age children since 1998; and since 2008, we have offered the same excellent education to students in kindergarten.

CKS considers the early years the most important period of development in a child’s life. A child’s work is their play, and therefore children learn best when they engage in activities that encourage choice making, exploration and discovery, hands-on experiences, and authentic learning opportunities. Within our educational structure is the framework to come alongside parents in their efforts to raise children of strong character who will become world-changing young people.

We invite you to join our school community; join us in a journey of excellence and virtue. For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact me by phone or e-mail. I look forward to meeting you!

 

Sheryl Nelson, MIT
School Director

(425) 739–1227
sheryl@citymin.org

Kristy Lara

Assistant Director & Preschool Lead Teacher

Kristy Lara

Assistant Director & Preschool Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Kristy Lara. I have an earned bachelor’s degree in Children’s studies from Eastern Washington as well as an earned CDA (Child Development Associates) and love to keep learning. I have a sense of humor, love to guide children to new discoveries, am teachable, enjoy interacting with parents, and love God with all my heart.

My classroom is colorful, fun, and safe for the inquisitive 2.5 – 3-year-olds. We have age-appropriate activities that invite a child to play and learn through hands-on activities.

One of the most exciting things in my classroom is watching children learn through play. It is not hard—it’s natural. I love to put a new activity out and watch as the children discover it, test it out, play with it, and get ahold of the “concept” without even trying.

My favorite verse is Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Malia Isenhart

Preschool Lead Teacher

Malia Isenhart

Preschool Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Malia Isenhart. Teaching young children is the most fun and fulfilling profession I can imagine for myself. I love what I get to do every day because it is always an adventure! I am a graduate of the University of Washington where I earned my Bachelor of Art degree in Sociology; and also a graduate of Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney Australia where I earned a certificate of Pastoral Leadership/Children’s Ministry. Most recently I got to use my passion and skill as a Children’s Pastor for five years.

There is nothing more thrilling than to walk beside children as they discover more about the incredible world around them. Learning should be an adventure filled with curiosity, playfulness, creativity, laughter, and music. My goal is to create a classroom environment where children will experience God’s unconditional love and develop a passion for learning at an early age.

Joining the outstanding team at City Kid’s School has been a dream come true! I love the community of staff and parents who I get to partner with in seeing children learn and grow in their gifts and become who God has made them to be.

One of my favorite scripture verses is Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG):

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

Mallory Edwards

Preschool Lead Teacher

Mallory Edwards

Preschool Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Mallory Edwards and I love being a teacher. I have an earned bachelor’s degree, double major, in Elementary Education and Spanish from Wake Forest University in 2005; my master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2011. I taught first grade for seven years before working as an Elementary Interventionist for two years. That brings me up to date and I am beyond excited to be working with the wonderful teaching team at City Kids School.

Teaching preschool is like planting seeds! In each child I hope to plant seeds of being a good friend, the love of learning and knowing the love of God. In my classroom I love getting messy with art projects, exploring with science, playing outside and encouraging children toward reading. I want all my students to develop a love for learning that carries them throughout their lives. I am passionate about guiding students to make connections and understand more about our amazing world through art, science, math and play. My prayer is for each child to feel safe, loved and excited to learn every day in our classroom.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Ashley Kelly

Preschool Lead Teacher

Ashley Kelly

Preschool Lead Teacher

Hello! My name is Ashley Kelly. I am honored to teach preschool at City Kids School. The joy and fun that fills each classroom as students learn and grow is absolutely lifegiving!

I am passionate about learning and I love school! I earned my Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies with a Minor in Urban Education from Santa Clara University in 2008. To pursue my teaching career, I went on to gain a multiple subject teaching credential in 2009 from San Diego State University and a Master of Education degree in Teacher Leadership from Seattle Pacific University in 2015. Prior to CKS, I taught second and third grade in the Lake Washington School District.

My classroom is full of hands on, purposeful play. Students will be loved and celebrated for being uniquely created by God. One of my favorite parts of teaching is learning how each child is unique, so I can better serve their interests and growth as a learner. My hope and intention is to facilitate a classroom environment that inspires curiosity, exploration, friendship and authentic learning. I want your child to be excited to enter the classroom each day because of all the fun he/she is having!

One of my favorite scriptures is:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Dina Pan

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Dina Pan

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Hello my name is Dina Pan and I teach one of our amazing Pre-K classes! I am a graduate of the University of Washington where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences with an emphasis on Culture, Literature, and the Arts. I also earned a Washington State Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education. Prior to coming to City Kids School I taught in the Northshore School District and at Bright Horizons.

From an early age I wanted to be a teacher. I grew up with parents who were both educators and their love for teaching inspired me. Now I feel so privileged to be teaching at City Kids School and working with such an amazing teaching team.

My goal for students is to make learning fun. I love to teach using songs, movement, repetition, and creative activities. One of the most rewarding things about teaching is watching a child have his/her “aha” moment. When a child finds understanding or accomplishes a task that they have been working diligently on such as writing a letter or number correctly I love to see the “aha” moment and this without doubt brings joy to my heart.

One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13:

“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

Melody Lynch

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Melody Lynch

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Melody Lynch. I am passionate about early learning and sharing God’s Word. I believe building a strong foundation in young children is critical to a successful future. While tailoring the teaching and curriculum to meet the needs of each individual child, it is awesome to have a front row seat as they grow, develop and learn!

I have an Associate of Christian Education Degree. Prior to coming to City Kids School, I had the privilege of teaching for 8 years in a quality preschool in Mill Creek, WA. I also served as a Co-Director within their music instruction program. I have many fun ideas to share and I look forward to being a part of each child’s time at City Kids School.

I teach with enthusiasm and creativity! I enjoy relationships with both the student and their family. I love learning how each boy and girl is individually special and unique! My goal is that each new little friend will love to come to preschool because it is a fun, safe and a happy place to learn!

One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 3:18:

“May you be able to feel and understand how long, how wide, how deep and how high God’s love really is…for you!”

Melanie Hoyden

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Melanie Hoyden

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Melanie Hoyden. I feel absolutely blessed to be a part of the teaching team at City Kids School! I graduated with an earned Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington and have been teaching preschool for 4 years. This will be my second year at City Kids School!

My passion is to guide children in a creative and uplifting environment as they explore the world around them. I believe I was created to be a teacher and find joy in instilling the love of Jesus into the everyday activities of my classroom. My hope is that when a child walks into my classroom they feel encouraged to try new things, make new friends and have the best time learning.

A favorite verse of mine and I reflect on daily is:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37-39 ESV

Cody Hamar

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Cody Hamar

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Cody Hamar. I have an earned bachelor’s degree from Northwest University with a BA in Elementary Education with minors in Christian Education and Business Administration (2007). In 2008 I earned my Masters In Teaching degree. I also have an Early Childhood Generalist National Board Certification.

Prior to joining the City Kids team, I taught in the Riverview School District for a little over eight years. Seven of those years I had the pleasure of teaching Kindergarten and I loved it! Kindergarten is my favorite! 🙂

In our Kindergarten classroom you will see a community of learners who are engaged in a variety of hands-on learning experiences. Lessons and activities are designed to incorporate opportunities for every type of learner. Together we focus on problem solving, creative thinking, independence, as well as social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Our classroom environment is warm, caring, and students (and their families) know they are loved and treasured as individuals who have infinite value before God!

In addition to teaching, I love spending time with my friends and family! My awesome husband Kyle and I have been married for 8 years and we have one sweet (and spunky) daughter, Ava! As a family we love to travel, explore the outdoors, and laugh! I also enjoy anything creative, listening to audiobooks, milk chocolate (yum!), and learning about Jesus!

One of my favorite verses is:

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own, in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9A