Our Folsom Preschool Staff
Zach & Lisa Hansen- Owners
Zach and Lisa Hansen, started Growing Brilliant in 2013 with their Rocklin location. Lisa is a credentialed elementary school teacher and also has experience as a preschool teacher and reading specialist. Lisa holds a master’s degree in education and is currently working on her doctoral dissertation at the University of San Francisco. Through her research, Lisa has learned that early experiences are directly linked to academic achievement later in life. She has a passion for early childhood development and believes in promoting lifelong learning.
Zach graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with a degree in business and marketing. His main focus is on the operations side of our schools. This allows Lisa to focus on creating exceptional classroom experiences and curriculum with our amazing staff!
“Our favorite part about Growing Brilliant is knowing that our daughter (and her classmates!) have the best possible early learning experiences. We absolutely love taking her to our Preschool Academy and Parent Participation classes. We feel blessed that we can share Growing Brilliant with so many other parents!”
Ms. Stephanie- Program Director
Hello, my name is Stephanie! I have a bachelor’s degree in education studies with an emphasis on English language learners. I also hold a degree in early childhood education. I have taught children of all ages in both preschool and parent participation settings. I have had the pleasure of being the director of Growing Brilliant in Rocklin for my first year, and now I have spent a year at our Folsom location. I have two children of my own who I love dearly and enjoy spending time with on my days off. We love to play games, go on adventures, or just hang out! I love being creative both at home and at school. I always love creating fun art projects, DIY projects, and learning new crafts.
Ms. Kerra- Admissions Director
Hi there! My name is Kerra and I have been so excited to join the Growing Brilliant leadership team. I first started working as a preschool teacher in 2011, and have worked in many different programs including home-based, private Reggio Emilia-inspired, Head Start, and even abroad in Japan. I received my BA in Child Development from Sacramento State, and am currently working on my Master’s degree in the same program. In my free time, I love to practice yoga, cook, spend time with my family, and travel.
Ms. Lynn- Brilliant Babies
Hello! My name is Lynn and I am an infant teacher in Brilliant Babies at Growing Brilliant Folsom. I am so thankful and excited to be a part of the Growing Brilliant team. From a very young age I have always known that I wanted to work with children. My experience with children includes babysitting, volunteer work in my church nursery, after school care teacher, lead infant teacher, and most recently, stay-at-home mom to my three children for 8 years. I obtained my A.A degree in Child Development from Bakersfield College in 2002 and my B.A. in Child, Adolescent and Family Studies from CSU, Bakersfield in 2005.
I absolutely love children! A child’s energy, passion for life and endless desire to explore, is what drives my passion to love and teach children. I strive to be a teacher who helps direct their energy, passions and exploration towards a love of learning and an overall love of life. My philosophy, especially in regards to infant development, is that trust is the foundation upon which all other areas of development rely on. If an infant trusts that I’m going to meet their needs then they will trust me, have a healthy attachment, and feel safe enough to explore their world freely.
Parent/teacher communication is a high priority to me. I hope to always be a teacher who is approachable and reachable. I am approachable when I’m sure to greet parents with a smile and show respect and understanding of their needs and concerns. I am reachable when I make myself available either through e-mail or face-to-face to address any concerns or needs they may have. Personally, my faith, family and friends are most important to me. I am married with 3 children- two boys and a girl. They keep me busy! Being a mom gives me first hand knowledge of what is important to parents when it comes to the care of their child. I truly aspire to love and care for children as if they were my own- with all of the love, attention and respect that they deserve.
Aside from career and family, my other passions include photography, writing, baking, and simply getting outdoors to enjoy all of the beauty in and around Sacramento County, which includes beautiful Folsom. Long walks, bike rides and river fun are all ways I enjoy the outdoors. It is my hope to never stop learning or growing in the Early Childhood Education field. I look forward to the countless memories, laughter and fun that lie ahead during my time at Growing Brilliant. Thank you for trusting me with your most precious children!
Ms. Shamari- Brilliant Babies
Hello, my name is Shamari and I am an infant teacher in the Brilliant Babies program! I grew up in the Bay Area with my mother. Soon after graduating high school, I left home to attend CSU Chico. In May of 2014, I received my Bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Child Development.
I have always had a desire to work with children. I began babysitting at the age of 11 for friends, family, and around the neighborhood. My first official job was as a mother’s helper when I was in middle school. I had several other similar jobs in high school. After graduating college, I began working at a Montessori academy as an infant and preschool teacher. I worked there for almost 2 years before I found Growing Brilliant Folsom. The atmosphere at this school is absolutely amazing! I fell in love the minute I saw the campus and met all of the staff and students. Parents have also been very welcoming and I appreciate the hospitality. I am so excited to be welcomed into the Growing Brilliant family!
Ms. Kellie- Brilliant Babies
Hello, my name is Kellie and I am so excited to have the privilege of spending my days with all of our incredible Brilliant Babies. I took my first teaching position working with two-year-olds, back in 1999 and over the past 17 years I have worked with every age group. However, my passion is working with the youngest learners. I have A.A. degrees in both Psychology and Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education. I am CPR and first aid certified. I am also trained in ABA (applied behavior analysis).
I am a mother to 4 amazing kids, one of which is already an adult! I have learned so much from my own children over the years and know first hand how unique each child is. Being a mom, I try to see things from the perspective of a parent and treat each child as if they were my own. I look forward to building relationships with the babies and families at Growing Brilliant!
Ms. Colette- Early Explorers I
My name is Colette and I’m excited to be the Early Explorers I teacher! A little about myself, I was born in Pretoria, South Africa and moved to the United States when I was 9. I attend elementary, junior high, and high school in Davis, graduating in 2003. I received my Associates of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education in 2009 and have been a nanny and preschool teacher for over 10 years.
I am responsible, patient, kind, and I love children. Living in South Africa, I became multi-lingual and learned three languages before the age of 3, English, Afrikaans and Flemish. My hobbies are reading, swimming, and scrap-booking! I am also athletic and enjoy working out. I love frogs and anything green!
Ms. Julie- Early Explorers I
Hi, my name is Julie and I’ve been working with children in a variety of settings for over 25 years! Most of my experience has been with the preschool ages, so I am so excited to join the Early Explorers I classroom here at Growing Brilliant. I find that working with toddlers helps me to see the world differently, which is so refreshing!
I’m currently continuing my education at Folsom Lake College and will receive my AA in Early Childhood Development next year. I’d like to transfer to Sacramento State, and eventually, earn my teaching credential.
My family and I live in El Dorado Hills. I have 2 children, a 13-year-old girl, and 8-year-old boy. We love spending time together every day, doing a variety of activities. We look forward to a nice long vacation every summer as well!
Joining the Growing Brilliant family has been the best decision. I’m so happy to be a part of this wonderful team and Folsom community!
Ms. Mary- Early Explorers II
Hi! My name is Mary and I work in Early Explorers 2, the Fireflies classroom. Born and raised in the Bay Area, I started working with children straight out of high school at a home daycare facility in Santa Cruz. I then moved to San Jose and started at San Jose City College to obtain Early Childhood Education credits, while working for an after-school program. A few years later I had my one and only child, Joey. After Joey was born, I went back to school at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo A.A. in Early Childhood Education and General Studies.
While attending school I started working in the Children’s Center at Cuesta as an aide. I then worked my way up to Head Toddler Teacher. During the summers I worked for the San Luis Obispo County Y.M.C.A. as a Camp Counselor, then as the Administrative Director. In June 2007 I was promoted at the Y.M.C.A to a position writing and implementing grants for after-school programs. After working for the grant program for a few months, I had to put my career on hold in order to become a full time caretaker for my grandparents. In 2008 my whole family moved to Folsom. Last year my Grandfather passed away, which has brought me back to my career with children. I am so excited to be working at Growing Brilliant and with the age group I love so much……. toddlers!!!!
Ms. Amber- Early Explorers II
Hello, my name is Amber and I am so excited to be working with the toddlers in Early Explorers II! I have worked with children for more than 6 years and have experience with all ages. Most recently, I was a registered behavior technician working with children that have been diagnosed with Autism and Down syndrome. I love teaching preschool because it is so rewarding to be involved in a child’s education.
In my free time, I love listening to music, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with my family and friends. I love working in Folsom because the culture here is so friendly and welcoming, and the proximity to the river is great! Thank you so much for welcoming me into the classroom, I can’t wait to work with you and your children!
Ms. Jennifer- Little Learners I
My name is Jennifer, and I am a teacher in Little Learners I. I have been in the Early Childhood Education field for over 25 years. In that time, I have worked with almost every age group. However, my true passion lies in working with two-year-olds! I love it so much because they are just getting excited about learning and they are able to discover so much. Guiding them along the way is such a joy!
I am so excited to be working here at Growing Brilliant in Folsom. I love the family atmosphere that is part of our daily lives here and I truly enjoy getting to know each and every family in my classroom. I feel that by building a strong relationship with each child and their family, we can truly become partners in the education and growth of the children! I am so excited for what this year has in store for us!
Ms. Courtney- Little Learners I
My name is Courtney and I’ve been teaching preschool for a little over five years. I’ve mostly worked with Pre-K students, but have decided to branch out and explore the younger classrooms, such as toddlers. I have an Early Childhood Development certificate, I am CPR/First Aid certified, and I plan to continue my education to receive my associates in early childhood education. A goal of mine is to become an assistant director of a preschool one day. I’ve always enjoyed teaching children/students of any age and have a passion for helping others.
I believe in creating a fun, creative, and safe environment for children to learn and grow! I recently moved from Virginia with my husband to Folsom and am enjoying the new scenery and adventures that we are embarking on! I love spending time with my husband and our cat, Napoleon. I enjoy shopping, reading and exploring new places. Folsom has a very home-like feel and I have enjoyed our time here so far. It feels a lot like where I grew up in southern VA! I’m enjoying working with the team at Growing Brilliant Folsom and I look forward to working with your child!
Ms. Allyssa- Little Learners I
Hello! My name is Allyssa and I am so excited to be in Little Learners 1! I grew up in a small town called Madera Ranchos, were everyone knew everyone. I moved to Bass Lake CA, just below Yosemite, before finally moving to the Sacramento area to be closer to family. I love to travel, swim, and play with my dogs.
I worked as a nanny for more than six years before deciding to make the move to teaching preschool this year. I have 12 units in early childhood education, as well as a medical background as an E.M.T.. I have always loved working with kids, they bring so much joy and spontaneity to everyday! I love to watch them grow and learn new things. Working with 2-3 year-olds is a blast because everyday is a new experience for them. I love nature and music, and hope to bring more of those elements into the classroom with me. I am so excited to be a part of the Growing Brilliant Folsom team!
Ms. Liz- Little Learners II Teacher
Hi, my name is Liz and I am so excited to be part of the Growing Brilliant team! I currently hold an AA degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on nutrition, cultural diversity, and children’s literature. I have been working with children professionally since 2008 and it is my passion! I love to help children grow and learn about themselves and the world around them. Everything is new and exciting, and I love to experience it with them.
In my free time, I love to be outdoors. You can often find me fishing and hiking with my husband and dog Brucie. If we are outside, we are happy! One reason why I love working in Folsom is the beautiful scenery; Lake Natoma is right in our backyard! I love working at the Folsom location because the families and children are so welcoming and friendly. I’m so glad to be a part of this community.
Ms.Terri- Kindergarten Readiness I
Hi my name is Ms. Terri and I’m the proud parent of two grown children. I started my journey working with children over twenty-five years ago. I have been so lucky to be apart of so many amazing children and their families. After taking Early Childhood Education classes I had the opportunity to be a teacher, infant/toddler teacher to director. I had worked with infant/toddlers for over eleven years. I’m proud to say I’m very excited to join the Growing Brilliant team with the amazing staff and a class full of eager learners. Thank you families for letting me be a part of your precious child’s life.
Mr. Samuel- Kindergarten Readiness I
Hello Families! My name is Samuel and I teach in the Kindergarten Readiness class here at Growing Brilliant Folsom. I have been in the ECE field for over 10 years and have worked with all ages, as well as been a Center Director. I love working with children and helping them become well-rounded, independent people. I am a huge proponent of being true to yourself, and I bring that mentality into the classroom culture. I believe in encouraging the children to be anything they want to be! I like to make the classroom fun and exciting with lots of art, science, and cooking activities. I’m so excited to be working here at Growing Brilliant and can’t wait to watch the children grow and learn. Thank you for the honor of watching your children flourish!
Ms. Becky- Kindergarten Readiness II (Transitional Kindergarten)
My name is Ms. Rebecca and I’m so excited to be part of the Growing Brilliant team. For as long as I can remember, I have loved children and wanted to be a teacher. I want to be a part of children’s learning and growing experience. It’s just so amazing to me to watch the light bulb go off in a child’s head when he/she has learned something new. I cannot even explain the way it makes me feel inside. I guess you could call it passion and teaching is my true passion in life. My goal in life is to eventually own my own school!
A little about my education and experience…It was thrilling for me to start college because I knew exactly what field I wanted to have my career in. I first started at Sierra College to obtain my associate’s degree in Liberal Studies. From there I transferred to Sacramento State to acquire my bachelor’s degree in Child Development. Lastly, I received my teaching credentials from Western Governor’s University. During college and for the past eight years, I have worked with children as either a preschool teacher or nanny. Children are what I know and what I love. I have worked with newborns all the way up to elementary students, but my heart lies in preschool.
Ms. Lisa- Kindergarten Readiness II (Transitional Kindergarten)
Hi, my name is Ms. Lisa and I’m so happy to be a part of this wonderful Growing Brilliant family! I have been a teacher for over 20 years and have worked with infants through TK. I was also a PE teacher, and have taught school-age children and summer camps. Most recently, I have taught TK for 4 years. I have a passion for volunteering with children as well. I’m a winter basketball coach for inner-city youth teams and a photographer for children with special needs.
I have earned a degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as many certificates. I also have a 2-year degree in ASL. I consider myself a very enthusiastic, energetic, and passionate teacher. I believe strongly that children learn through play and opportunities for guided exploration. I’m also a big believer in structure and consistency, to allow children freedom, but still provide clear expectations and a feeling of safety.
I am a mom to 4 amazing kids. They are 6, 7, 11, and 16 years old, 2 girls and 2 boys. My oldest son has autism and is succeeding as a sophomore in high school due to early intervention. I love spending time with my family, as well as travel and go camping with them. My other passions include running marathons, practicing taekwondo, and caring for animals.
Thank you for making me feel so welcome. I will always be open and honest with each one of our amazing families!
Ms. Courtney- Floating Teacher
Hi, my name is Courtney! I have over 15 years of experience working with children of all ages, but primarily with infants and toddlers. I have worked with Growing Brilliant for 4 years as a nanny, and love their passion and philosophy of early childhood education. I love to watch children’s faces light up from learning something new, and the confidence boost they get from sharing their new skill!
I was born and raised in Roseville, and I love living in California. I became a first-time mommy one year ago to a little boy named Gianni and have loved being at home with him. He now attends the Folsom school in the Early Explorers room. In our spare time, we love to go to the park, go on walks, dance to music, and bake!
I’m so excited to be a teacher at the Folsom location! I love the small-town feel of Folsom and being so close to the river. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of your child’s life!
Ms. Sarah- Cook/Floating Teacher
Hello Folsom families! I am so excited to see your kids’ smiling faces every day! I have loved working with children for as long as I can remember. I am currently finishing up my associate’s degree right now and hope to transfer to Sacramento State in the fall to pursue my BS in Liberal Arts and Child Development. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my own kids and my 3 dogs! I live in Cameron Park and have grown up in this area. I love the family-oriented environment of Folsom! I look forward to meeting you all and getting to know each and every child here at Growing Brilliant Folsom.
Ms. Georgette- Floating Teacher/Sub
Hello everyone, I am Ms. Georgette, but I go by Ms. Gette (Jet) for short. I have over ten years experience in the early childhood field. I have found teaching to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Alongside my early childhood courses, I also hold an associates degree in psychology and social and behavioral sciences.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my God-child, Sunnie, and my husband. We can usually be found in the garage working on an automotive project together.