Nancy was born and raised in Mexico City and her first language is Spanish. While living in Mexico, she received a degree in Accounting and also studied Family Science. She has worked for over 18 years with children and teenagers in different circumstances. She led a youth group in Mexico that sang in a choir and participated in theater arts. At the same time, she worked for 7 years in a separate organization with children and youth facing various social problems, including drug and/or alcohol addiction, or with those who had alcohol and/or drug addicted parents. Nancy has always believed that there are not bad children, but children with different or few opportunities, or without love. She moved to Seattle about 10 years ago, and since then she has worked with children of all ages. Nancy is very excited to share her language, culture, experiences, enthusiasm, love and patience with our children. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, enjoys reading and is passionate about music and poetry, but what she enjoys most in life is being the mom of her two children.
Jarreau is a Registered Dietitian who completed her Dietetic Internship through Sea Mar Community Health Centers and obtained her Master's Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2005. She also obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington in 1999. She grew up in Seattle and attended a Montessori program up to 2nd grade. Her professional experience includes maternity and newborn nutrition education via the WIC & MSS programs, 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 also experienced with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), feeding difficulties, developmental delays, advanced learning, sensory processing disorders, and food allergies.
Elizabeth (Nana) is an Assistant Teacher and helps with our after school program. She 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, but are not limited to, 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 as her best friends.
Gabriel has worked with children of different ages for many years, and is excited to be teaching at the Root Academy. Prior to joining Root Academy, Gabriel has worked as a preschool teacher and tutor. Gabriel is also fluent in Spanish and has studied abroad in South America. He is passionate about teaching and hopes to help his students develop social skills, confidence and self sufficiency. Gabriel is excited to further his education as well, and looks forward to growing with his students this year and beyond. Outside of work, Gabriel enjoys making music, playing outside, and skateboarding.
Heather MacKenzie is a Japanese Latina writer and teacher from the Seattle area who spent many of her childhood years in Japan. MacKenzie began studying martial arts after her eldest son enrolled as a student at the age of nine. She trained for just 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. Almost all of MacKenzie's students at the martial arts school were children between the ages of 3 and 18, many of whom were challenged by special needs or behavioral difficulties. In addition to her martial arts teaching, MacKenzie has nearly twenty years of business management. She is the parent of three sons and finds a good challenge irresistible.