Our Teachers

Bird’s Nest, Younger Infants

Lead Teacher, Dana Christmas(she/her)

Full-Time Associate Teacher, Katherin Martinez (she/her)

Part-Time Assistant Teacher

Lion’s Den, Older Infants

Lead Teacher, Elizabeth Callaway

Hello all! :call_me_hand::skin-tone-4:  I’m Elizabeth Callaway! Your lead teacher of the Lion’s Den! I’m 30 years young, born and raised in St. Rose, Louisiana. I’ve moved a lot throughout my years to other areas in Louisiana, to Ohio (after Katrina), and Iowa, and attended school in Nebraska. I moved back home to Louisiana about 8 years ago. I have a BA in elementary education, minor in athletic training, and an endorsement in coaching! I am a mother of three beautiful babies: Emory 7, Jaxson 4, and Harper 1. They are the light of my world and I love them so. I’m so happy to be a part of this community and so very blessed to find a workplace that I can call home. I am so in love with the teachings and the way that Abeona House goes about teaching our young souls. I stay very busy, if not working out then I’m taking care of my babies, working here at this wonderful place, or cutting grass for my side job. Though I may be busy 90% of the time, I am always down to help families in need of a babysitter because I know we adults love our time as well. But all in all I am an adventurous Virgo, who loves the outdoors and saving the planet! On top of organic way of life!!

Full-Time Associate Teacher, Alexus Phillip (she/her)

Hey guys, I’m Lex! I’m a Louisiana native from a small town about 30 minutes away from NOLA, named Laplace. I graduated high school in 2019 and spent some time at XULA studying chemistry until I realized I had an interest in childcare. I’m now a HealthCare Management Major at UNO, hoping to use my degree to work in a clinical pediatric setting, overseeing the facility. 

Growing up I always had an interest in younger children, mostly babies. Once I got to the age of 16 my cousin had the first Baby in the family (since me, lol) and I was able to get a first-hand experience that soon I fell in love with. After graduating high school, I took more pride in what I love, and began to babysit as a side job while I was in college. I began my first job in a Child Care Facility in 2021, and I grew from there. I’m so excited to be at Abeona House, and I love the family I’ve created! 

Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Stella Stanley

Bear Cave, Younger One Year Olds

Lead Teacher, Shannon Connolly (they/them)

My name is Shannon (they/them). This is my second year at Abeona House and my first year as a lead teacher in the Bear Cave, and I absolutely love it! I had always wanted to be a teacher as I always found myself taking on that caregiving role naturally. I love watching children discover the world, and I love being a part of their early years as they grow into the people they are going to be. When I’m not at school running around with the kids I’m either home relaxing and talking to my plants, or out with my friends. 

Full-Time Associate Teacher, Cha’on Jones

Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Rachel Martin

Beehive, Older One Year Olds

Lead Teacher, Kirstie Johnson (she/her)

Hello, families! My name is Kirstie Alley Johnson, and I am so excited to begin my first school year at Abeona House Child Discovery Child Center. Over the last 12 years, I’ve worked at summer camps, daycares, & a pediatric daycare center. I received my CDA in infant and toddler care in 2020. I LOVE working with young children. Watching them grow and learn brings me joy each day. One of my favorite things to do with the children is art! I also enjoy getting to learn about all of the children’s different families, backgrounds, and cultures. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, singing, and taking care of my nieces.


Full-Time Associate Teacher, Katie Jones

Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Seion Batiste

Hello Friends & Families! My name is Seion Batiste. I am an enthusiastic, loving, very silly college student. Currently majoring in Early Childhood Education hoping to take my career into special education. I was born and raised in New Orleans with my mom and three siblings. In middle school, I knew my future career was going to deal with children. I went from wanting to be a pediatrician * my stomach is too weak for that * to now wanting to be an elementary teacher! Every year I volunteer at a camp for children with Pulmonary disorders for a week in Anacoco, Louisiana. This is my first time working at a daycare and working with a diverse staff and meeting different parents from all different kinds of backgrounds brings me an abundance of joy! Abeona House has completely confirmed me that I am on the right path for my future! This is the place to be and if you’re reading this I hope to see you soon! ❤

Lily Pad, Looping Room

Lead Teacher, Emily Schumacher (she/they)

Emily Schumacher is a lifelong New Orleanian and studied Early Childhood Education at the University of New Orleans. Growing up as the oldest of five and the child of a teacher and a librarian, she has loved teaching for as long as she can remember. She’s taught in local preschools for the past 8 years and is constantly impressed and inspired by the natural curiosity and learning capabilities of young children.  In her spare time she enjoys nature walks (she is training as a Louisiana Master Naturalist), creating art and costumes, and collecting and selling rare used books. Emily is excited to begin her time at Abeona House this year and very pleased to be a part of this inclusive community!

Full-Time Associate Teacher, Nakia Patterson (she/her)

Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Erin Hill

Duck Pond, Looping Room

Co-Lead Teacher, Carmen Lasagna (she/her)

Carmen Lasagna was born in Providence, Rhode Island and grew up mostly in Southern Maine. She has been fascinated with caring for young children from an early age and started babysitting when she was twelve. Later, while in high school, this interest led to working in the children’s section of her town’s public library and holding numerous volunteer positions helping children from Maine’s Somali refugee community practice English. After attending college at Bard in New York, where she pursued E.L.L. (English language learners) teaching, Carmen moved to her favorite city she’s ever been to, New Orleans, in 2012. She began nannying full-time immediately upon moving to the south. Through nannying, Carmen got connected to the magical and inspiring community that is Abeona House. Since living in New Orleans, Carmen has also dedicated much time to helping provide free childcare for the weekly meetings of social justice organizations in town through the Crescent City Childcare Collective, both as a volunteer and a core organizer of the collective. She is passionate about seeing that children without privilege receive the quality care that all kids deserve and that loving support is available for parents in need. Carmen loves her neighborhood in the 7th ward where she lives with her best friend and a very special cat named Witchy. She loves to ride her bike and find new nature spots to explore!

Co-Lead Teacher, Clove Valentine (he/they)

Spider Web, Younger Two Year Olds

Interim Lead Teacher, Sheneka Johnson (she/her)

Full-Time Associate Teacher, Solange Boissiere (she/her)

 Rabbit Burrow, Older Two Year Olds

Interim Lead Teacher, Chris Schulz (they/them)

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have a BA in International Studies. I started working with young people in 2015, and I have experience working in forest camps and foster care visitation as well as early learning. I love the natural world, and in the evenings I experiment with music and visual art.

Interim Associate Teacher, Savannah Stanley (she/her)

Hey there, my name is Savannah! I started my childcare experience working in an after school care program, nursery, and camp counselor after high school. Over the years I was an Aupair in Australia and nannied for families with children under the age of 4 specifically building bonds and helping them in their early stages of life. I also worked in another school in a similar environment. I’m studying psychology at the moment and early childhood development. I love learning about how little minds work and sculpt them into the people of our future. I’m a New Orleans native but have roamed around and made my way back here! I live uptown with my little dog named Jacques (him having a French name was a must)! I love spending time with friends or just chilling at home reading a book. 

Fish Cove, Three Year Olds

Co-Lead Teacher, Emma Goldman (she/her)

Hi everyone! My name is Emma. I have lived in New Orleans for almost 7 years now, and I grew up in New Jersey. I have always loved teaching, whether it be for adults or for children. Throughout college I taught ESL (English as a second language) to a nighttime adult class. When COVID hit, I started doing some at home tutoring for different families. I have worked at the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and now The Abeona House! Throughout the years I have managed a few restaurants, but I am super excited to focus on my passion for teaching.  I love to travel and explore new places, though my favorite place is the beach. I enjoy cooking, painting, and all sorts of arts and crafts. I love animals, and I feed a lot of the cats in my neighborhood. I love being outside, and I spend a lot of my free time gardening and bike riding. I am excited to get to know everybody!

Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Ily Rae (she/they)

Garden Room, Three and Four Year Olds

Co-Lead Teacher, Vesper Harrington (he/they)

Co-Lead Teacher, K Barattini (they/them)

Hi Abeona families! My name is K, pronouns they/them. I am so happy to be returning to the Garden room, this year as co-lead! 2019-2020 I worked in the Garden room as the assistant teacher. During quarantine, I left teaching to become a first responder during the pandemic in urgent cares. After doing that for some time, I really missed teaching… so I came back! I am thrilled to be back at Abeona doing what I love. I believe that children should be given the space and safety to explore the world on their terms. It is my passion to bring unconditional love and support to the classroom, and to facilitate the curiosity of little minds! In my spare time I like to sing karaoke with friends, play guitar, and hang out with my dogs and my life partner. I am so excited to learn and grow with my awesome Garden room friends!

Part-Time Assistant, Reinero De Valois (he/they)

Reinero, better known to most as Nero, is native to Arkansas and moved to New Orleans in 2019 after a chaotic few years in Texas. He is non-binary trans- masculine and will answer to he/him or they/them pronouns.

He has a double major in political science and international studies from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is currently pursuing an online Master of Divinity degree at Chicago Theological Seminary. He comes from a family of educators back in Arkansas and after substitute teaching in Orleans and Jefferson Parish, specifically after hitting it off with the kids at Morris Jeff Elementary School, is seeking to combine his long term goal of public service chaplaincy and community service with education.

Full-Time Floater, Johné Williams (she/her)

Hello Families of Abeona!!! My name is Johné (John-a) Williams, but you can call me Ms.Nae & Fun Fact about me is my name is French if you didn’t know “LOL.” So a little about me I am 28 years old I was born & raised in New Orleans,Louisiana & I am a mother of two beautiful kids myself ages 6 & 8. In 2017 my love for children began where I worked with infants to 6 month old babies. During my 1st year working with children I decided to earn my CDA in 2018 & since then I have been teaching for 7 years. I’m 2018 I also attended some college courses at Delgado Community College in “Early Childhood Education” and I Looove what I do I wouldn’t trade this profession for anything, children are my happy and safe place they bring joy to my soul everyday with their smiles and bubbly personalities. Also in my spare time I enjoy spending time with my kids/family & taking mini vacations.

Jenna Grant, Floater (she/they)

Jenna has been caretaking for young children since she was ten years old, volunteering at her grandmother’s HeadStart center. Jenna is grateful for the opportunity to help kiddos learn and play. They love the joy and sweetness that little one’s share so openly. Outside of Abeona House, Jenna enjoys sewing clothes, taking long walks with her rambunctious pup, Louis, and traveling with the people she loves.

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