Lead Teacher, Adriana Klassen
Adriana (or “Audge”) has been a member of the Abeona teaching team since 2012. Previously in the Beehive, Burrow and Garden rooms, this is her third year in the Bird’s Nest, and her first year as a lead teacher. Audge grew up in Southwestern Ontario, Canada and majored in Social Justice and Peace studies at King’s University College in London. She moved to New Orleans in 2011, and left for a year and a half to live at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri, returning in 2014. Audge believes that early childhood education is incredibly important. It lays the groundwork for how a child understands and interacts with the world in which they live.
Full-Time Assistant Teacher, Phichamon “June” Youmphai
Hello, my name is Phichamon or June. I love being a teacher but the most important thing for me is to be the best teacher possible for the young children I teach.
I was born in Thailand; my mother has been an elementary school teacher for over thirty years. My older sister has a PhD in Early Childhood education is a Professor of Early Childhood education on the University level. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood education and Master’s degree in the Psychology of Human Development from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.
All the employment I have had and volunteer work I have performed centered on working with children on the early childhood level or working with children with special educational needs. I have worked as a kindergarten teacher and a nanny for a special needs child. I also volunteered as an intervention volunteer for special needs children in a hospital.
After completing my Bachelor’s degree and while pursing my graduated degree, I worked as an assistant teacher in an international kindergarten in Thailand. As a part of the Master’s program, I had the opportunity to complete several internships involving work with Autistic children, children with Dow’s Syndrome, and those having problems with speech development. While working and pursuing my Master’s degree, I began to realize that in Thailand, there were limited educational opportunities and also a limited number of expert teachers in early childhood education and the need of special education children which are the two areas I wish to pursue.
I then decided that I needed additional opportunities to explore other philosophies and practices in the two fields I wished to pursue. I decided to explore the educational intervention practices and adaptations used in other countries. Now, I received my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education in May 2015 and graduated with Honors. I am planning on attending UNO for Master in Special Education. My goal now is to have various teaching experiences and see in practice the various methodologies used in my field.
Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Amelia Singleton
Amelia Singleton grew up in Destrehan, Louisiana. She is currently working on obtaining her Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). In January, she plans to continue her studies at UNO, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She has worked at Abeona House as an assistant teacher since May 2012. The eldest of four children, she is also a fifth-generation teacher in her family. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I am very passionate about making a difference in children’s lives. I believe that every moment is a teachable moment. Children learn so much through imaginary play, and I am so lucky to be a part of that every day.” One of Amelia’s favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Amelia has an amazing knack for giving the best presents, and she really knows how to bring an event together and make it special.
Lead Teacher, Jamilah Pelrean
Jamilah was born and raised in the boot! Children are her passion and she has been working in the education field since 2002. She vividly recalls telling her cousins what to do and what not to do as a child and loved the feeling of them responding to her. She joined the Abeona team back in 2011, but left at the end of 2013 to pursue the opportunity as director at another local facility. She reunited with her Abeona family in July 2016.
Prior to joining Abeona, Jamilah was the owner/operator of her in-home child care center for three years where she cared for 6 beautiful babies until the birth of her own daughter. She and her husband were very excited to welcome this new addition to their family and vowed to be the best parents they could to Denim. “I really love the relationships I develop with my babies. It gives my heart great pleasure to know that I am an influence to so many early lives. I firmly believe in establishing routines, which fosters the expectancy of what to look for in the classroom.”
Jamilah is very anxious to graduate in December with her Associate’s degree from Delgado Community College and is anticipating enrollment at SUNO to obtain her Bachelor’s in Child Development and Family Services. In the meantime, she is equipped with 14 years of experience, a Child Development Associate, a National Administrator’s Certificate and a whole lot of love to give to all of the children she encounters.
Full-Time Assistant Teacher, Nandi Mosley
Nandi is a native New Orleanian, who has enjoyed living “Da Parish” life for the last 3 years. She graduated from Warren Easton and attended the University of New Orleans for 2 years. After completing her sophomore year, she was still undecided as to what to declare for her major. She experienced a life changing moment when her now husband, John, was in an accident and needed personal assistance. She decided to take some time off to aid in his recovery. She would use this time to get life experience and discover her passion. Since then, Nandi has earned her certification in Medical Assistance as well as becoming a mother to John, who’s best known as LJ, 4 and Nalani who was welcomed into the world this past March. She has always enjoyed caring for children and has been doing so since her youth, volunteering with her church’s child care class at New Home Ministries. She is excited to work in the Bird’s Nest as the newest team member! She has personally seen how much critical growth happens in the first year and is grateful to stimulate all the new minds entering Abeona House for the first time! She also plans to obtain her CDA by Fall of 2017. She decided that a major in college isn’t as important as she first anticipated. She is passionate at whatever she does so she is looking forward to returning to university for her Bachelor’s degree as her 5 year goal.
Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Nery “July (pronounced Julie)” Cano
I was born in Honduras and have lived in Metairie Louisiana for three years. I grew up with a loving and caring family in my homeland and am the second of 4 children. I would love to obtain my CDA and later attend University for a career in child care. I enjoy spending time with children. I was a babysitter for some time here and it made me decide that I wanted to make a career out of it. I am now part of the family here at Abeona House and feel more motivated to complete my dreams and spend my time teaching and learning with the children and teachers.
I’m very passionate about art in every way. In my spare time I love to draw, paint, and practice piano. I love to share art with kids because art opens a world of creativity and imagination.
Lead Teacher, Erin Regan
Erin is a local hailing from Metairie. She has been a member of the Abeona family since June of 2013. She is an enthusiastic piece of the Rabbit Burrow team, and loves mess and music! Before she was hired aboard the Abeona crew, Erin worked at a traditional daycare center for 3 years. Since being at Abeona, she has reshaped her view of the child, and continues to grow and cherish the great joy of practicing the very rewarding Reggio Emilia approach. “The first thing I noticed about Abeona House, from the second I walked in that gate, was how happy the children were; and I never looked back. It’s so great to be a small part of the strong root of that impacting happiness.” Erin enjoys playing guitar and singing, and her little friends enjoy mini-concerts from her alter-ego, Mavis the Space Cat.
Full-Time Assistant Teacher, Angie Nikolovski
All the way from Empire, Louisiana (A.K.A. down the road), Angie is the only one in her family that was born in the U.S. Her mother (Marija), father (Zoran), and sister (Lorita) came here from Croatia in the early eighties and moved to the small fishing community. Her dad worked as an oyster fisherman and her mom stayed home and took care of the family.
Angie attended and graduated from Buras High School. Afterwards she attended Nunez Community College where she received her Associates Degree in Care and Development of Young Children. After working at a traditional school for 6 years, she decided it was time for a change and came to Abeona House in 2014. She joined the Fish Cove as part time assistant and is now the full time assistant in the Rabbit Burrow.
“Children have always been my passion. Spending time with children makes me happy, but nothing makes me happier than being a part of their lives, and most importantly, their learning . I believe that children learn through play and have the power to brighten up your day.”
Angie enjoys spending her free time with her family, Elmer and Binta, and also her fur babies Mimi, Ali, and Lil Boy.
Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Justine Woods
Justine Woods was born in New Jersey, but raised in South Carolina. She attended College of Charleston for a few years but could not decide on a major, so she chose to take some time off of school. After leaving Charleston, Justine traveled around the Gulf Coast for six months working with AmeriCorps and several other non profits. After those six months, she knew what her passion was… Helping others! Since then, she has spent time working construction and doing farm work, but working with children has always been her favorite! Justine is currently in school, striving for a degree in Social Work. Her goal is to work with children who have incarcerated parents, to help them process and also to support and strengthen their relationship with the parent.
Lead Teacher, Jonte’ Wilson
Jonte’ Wilson is a local resident from Marrero, Louisiana, currently residing in New Orleans. She grew up in a loving and very family- oriented environment. Jonte’ is the youngest of 4 children, two older brothers and one older sister. She has two nephews and one niece, whom she loves and cares for deeply. Her mother is a woman she looks up to and still to this day strives to be like. Working at Abeona House has changed her view on child development. “Every day I am happy to walk in and see what the day holds for me; it is a learning experience, not just for the children but for me as well.
Full-Time Assistant, Patrice Battiste
Patrice was born in New Orleans and absolutely loves it here. She grew up with her father, two sisters, and a brother. Her mother died from cancer when Patrice was 13. She was blessed years later with three beautiful children to take the pain away from losing her. Her son Tyren is 13, her daughter Destiny is 6, and son Clarence is 2. She proudly attended L. E. Rabouin Career Magnet, majoring in Nursing for her high school, graduating in 2002. She has completed her Child Development Associate as well. Patrice has worked happily at Abeona House since 2013. Before working at Abeona, she worked for other centers gaining an impressive amount of experience. She loves her career path and sees herself doing nothing else but working with children. She chose to work with children because it is a fun way to learn about them and help them at the same time. “I absolutely love the feeling I get when I am the one who teaches them something new. Kids give me a sense of pride and accomplishment.” Patrice loves to laugh, and she is an excellent cook (as Abeona potluck attendees can attest to).
Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Carmen Lasagna
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 a 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, where she is now the part-time assistant in the Fish Cove. “I am so moved by the level of respect and caring that is ever-present in every interaction here at Abeona. I have always been attracted to approaches in childcare that focus on patience, love and high regard for the importance of children’s feelings and perspectives. And this is exactly the type of environment I have been lucky enough to find myself in here!” 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!
Lead Teacher, Caitlin Cleveland
Caitlin Cleveland grew up in Kenner, attended Mt. Carmel Academy for high school, and then graduated from LSU with a degree in Family & Child Studies. Now back in New Orleans, she’s enjoying getting to know the city she proclaimed as home but rarely explored. As the youngest of six girls, Caitlin has been surrounded by nieces and nephews for as long as she can remember. Her time at Abeona House has opened her eyes to the richness of the child’s world, thanks to its unbelievably supportive community. Practicing what she preaches in the preschool classroom has made her a happier, more fulfilled, and kinder person. Favorite subject area: Science!
Lead Teacher, Rosie Krieger
Rosie is thrilled to be a part of the Garden Room team and the Abeona community! She grew up in Los Angeles, California and spent the last 10 years living in Northern California (with a brief stint studying abroad in the stunning country of Ghana). She attended UC Santa Cruz for college where she studied African and U.S. History and Education, then moved to Oakland for her first teaching position with AmeriCorps. She has been teaching in a wide-range of learning environments for the last 6 years! From public to private schools, preschool to 4th grade, Rosie values her time spent in diverse school settings. For the last 2 years, Rosie was a 1st Grade teaching assistant while attending graduate school to gain her Masters in Education and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. While she plans to one day be an elementary school teacher, her heart truly lies in the magical world of preschool! Having worked in a Reggio Emilia inspired school in Oakland, Rosie jumped at the opportunity to teach at Abeona, a school that draws from the child-centered and dreamy Reggio approach.
Rosie and her boyfriend, Mike, and their little chiweenie dog Sunny, recently packed up everything and moved to this vibrant city. Having fallen in love with New Orleans during their first visit in 2012, Rosie and Mike decided to see what the world outside of California was like! She is enjoying getting to know her neighborhood of Bayou St. John and tasting all of the incredible food that New Orleans has to offer. Rosie is excited to continue to build bonds with the Abeona House community!
Part-Time Assistant Teacher, Shannon Yancone
Shannon grew up in Upstate, New York. Being the oldest child and cousin she naturally become the babysitter for the whole family, and eventually the neighborhood. Nannying and babysitting has always been in her life even throughout her moving around. Residing for a few years in Tallahassee, she graduated from Florida State University with a BA in Recreation, Leisure and Service Administration. She developed a side passion for Events and Music Event Production. Living in New Orleans for now 7 years, she worked, and still works, at some festivals around the city; for example curating and running the Kids Stage at the Bayou Boogaloo. Although she still loves music and events, she decided that her passion was with assisting day to day with the social, physical and cognitive development of children. This made her the happiest and gave her a true sense of real worth in this crazy “thing” we call life. This is her first year working with Abeona House, as the Assistant Teacher in the Garden Room. She is thrilled and so excited to be a part of this loving team, and looking forward to helping spread love, light and positive growth to the little people of the big loving home, Abeona House!!
Our Substitute Teachers