Christie Robertson, PHD
business manager, financial aid
Arianne Fowler
family relations, daily operations
Heather MacKenzie Graham
PrincipAl and Co-Founder 
vice-PrincipAL, Co-Founder

Jarreau is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University (2005). Her Bachelor's Degree was completed in Civil Engineering at the University of Washington in 1999. Her professional experience includes maternity and newborn nutrition education, nutrition counseling with a focus on emotional health and self-awareness, and program administration in a healthcare setting. As the mom of two young boys with special needs, she is experienced in autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), feeding difficulties, developmental delays, advanced learning, sensory processing disorders, and food allergies.

Arianne grew up in Oklahoma, but has lived in Seattle for over twenty years. She attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA but moved to Seattle to be in a bigger city. Arianne graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in Exercise Physiology. She worked in Sports Medicine in a private clinic before moving on to Boeing, where she worked in the corporate fitness facility.  Arianne is a Special Needs Advocate and is very active in the Seattle special needs community. She is on the board of the Seattle Public Schools Special Education PTSA, and works as an advocate with the nonprofit, Special Families of Puget Sound. She is a mom of a special needs child and is driven by her passion to support other special needs families.

Faculty & Staff

Elizabeth (Nana) has a long history of both working directly with children and being instrumental in advocating for their health and well-being. As a teen, she was drawn to work with children with special needs and continued that work when she moved to Washington in the late 60s. In the 70s, she teamed up with other professionals to create Country Doctor Community Clinic on Capitol Hill. Her accomplishments include developing and implementing pediatric, obstetric, patient advocate and outreach programs, and creating the Community Obstetric Referral Program (CORP), which grew to include pediatric, special needs, and HIV/AIDS referrals. While she "retired" in 2000,  she has continued working with children, which is her passion.

Celena was raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, and while there she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Education and her Teaching License in 1999. Celina has nearly 20 years of experience working with children, and has lived in Seattle since 2000. She believes in educating the whole child, both academically and emotionally. Celena is a calm and pleasant educator, and it is evident that the children love working with her. She has three children, and they keep her very busy outside of work. When she is not working, her favorite thing to do is spend time with her children, who she refers to as her best friends.

elizabeth nucci
substitute teacher, special projects

Christie grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and received her undergraduate degree in 1994 from Macalester College in Minnesota. She moved to Seattle for graduate school and completed her PhD in Neuroscience in 2002, with a focus on the development of the brain and spinal cord. Post-graduation, Christie managed a software development team working on database creation for genome sequencing labs. As a special needs parent, she is knowledgeable in the areas of autism, advanced learning, and sensory integration.  

MacKenzie began studying martial arts (Oom Yung Doe) after her eldest son enrolled as a student at the age of nine. She trained for four years to earn a third-degree black belt in 2010, became a head instructor in 2011, and ran her own school for five years. MacKenzie was inspired to find a way to integrate martial arts with academics while teaching martial arts in 2012.  She observed that children who maintained their training over longer periods of time benefited with confidence, enhanced physical ability, a calm sense of self, and greater respect for themselves and the people in their lives.  Even children struggling with physical, mental, emotional challenges showed marked improvement in their ability to work in a group, academic work, and demonstrate empathy for others. Root Academy was born from the idea that if traditional martial arts were integrated into academic learning, then the consistency of training could more effectively impact the student's life.

Mr. Harniss (Tag) is originally from Utah and received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska. Tag has experience teaching Kindergarten and Third grade. He also worked with multiple ages of students, when he was the Education Director at the Boys and Girls Club. After working for many years in elementary education, Tag returned to school and obtained his Masters of Education in 2006, with an emphasis on Special Education, so that he could more effectively reach all types of students. Tag is excited to be a part of the Root Academy community and help grow our program.

celina moreno
Assistant teacher
taggert harniss, M.Ed.
Lead teacher