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. Celeste- Admissions Director
Hi, my name is Celeste! I am so excited to be a part of the Growing Brilliant leadership team. I have over 10 years of experience working with children and families in a child care setting. Starting my career in Early Childhood Education, I began working as a preschool teacher. Then went on to teach and manage at a large preschool center for 8 years. I received my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2009 from American River College. I am currently working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from National University.
I absolutely love children! I knew from a young age that I wanted to work with children. I am passionate about creating a safe, loving, and exciting environment for children to grow and learn. I look forward to building wonderful relationships with every family that I meet!
I am married and have a little girl named Mckenzie. I love spending time with my family! In my spare time, I enjoy working on DIY projects, event planning for family and friends, and traveling with my family.
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, passion, 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 for 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 always fun, 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. Rebecca- Brilliant Babies
Hello! My name is Rebecca and I am so excited to be part of the Folsom Growing Brilliant Family. I absolutely love The Brilliant Babies classroom! I currently have 18 units in Early Childhood Education and plan on returning to school so that I can work towards my AA in ECE.
I have been working with children since I was 16, which includes babysitting my niece and working in the church daycare, I now have over 10 years of experience with children. Once I became a preschool teacher I really enjoyed my day to day activities. The youngest I have cared for was 6 weeks old, and the oldest I taught was school age. As part of the educating team, safety, communication, and working as a team, are very important to me. The children are my number one priority and I always make sure that they are safe, cared for and given lots of love!!!
My husband and I just moved up from the Bay Area so that he can attend Sacramento State’s BSN program. We have two daughters ages 6 and 2 as well as two fur babies (dogs) named Keagan and Yennefer. Family is so important to me, and now being a part of the Growing Brilliant family, I feel I have been given such a wonderful opportunity! I look forward to getting to know all of the families.
Ms. Georgette- Early Explorers I
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.
Ms. Jade- Early Explorers I
Hi, my name is Jade, and I am so excited to join the Growing Brilliant team as a toddler teacher. I have worked with children from infants through age 19 for over 6 years now! I love being able to help children with all aspects of learning and personal growth. I take pride in helping them through their journey.
I was recently a nanny for a wonderful family, but I missed the classroom and felt that it was time to return to preschool. I’m so excited to join the Growing Brilliant team and look forward to everything this school year will bring!
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. Karina- Little Learners I
Hello, my name is Karina and I love being a teacher in Little Learners I! I have been working with children for over 6 years and will finish my Associate’s degree in Child Development this fall. I just moved from Half Moon Bay to Gold River this year. In my spare time, I love to practice yoga and spend time with my puppy. I’m so excited to get to know everyone at Growing Brilliant!
Ms. Cierra- Little Learners I
Hello, my name is Ms. Cierra! I’m so excited to be one of the Little Learners I teachers this school year! Many of the students I will have this year were my students while I was teaching in Early Explorers! I took some time off from teaching, but am happy to be back at Growing Brilliant this year, as I have realized that my passion lies with teaching little ones!
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and family. Thank you for trusting your children with us each day! I’m looking forward to all that the coming school year will bring!
Ms. Liz- Little Learners II
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. Courtney- Little Learners II
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. Lisa- Kindergarten Readiness I
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 Pre-K. I was also a PE teacher, and have taught school-age children and summer camps. Most recently, I have taught Pre-K 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. Sarah- Kindergarten Readiness I
Hello, Folsom families! I am so excited to see your kids’ smiling faces in the KGR class 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 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. Julie- Kindergarten Readinesss II (Transitional Kindergarten)
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 lead the TK classroom here at Growing Brilliant. I find that working with children 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. I plan 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. Tiffani- Kindergarten Readiness II (Transitional Kindergarten)
Hello! My name is Ms. Tiffani and I am a teacher in the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classroom here at Growing Brilliant, Folsom.
I was born and raised in Southern California (where my love for the ocean comes from) until the 6th grade when my family moved to Northern California. After graduating from high school I volunteered to serve in the United States Army where I completed a tour in South Korea as well as the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm.
I am a proud mommy of three beautiful children and recently became a Nonni. I have always found myself to be surrounded by children. From a young age playing with my little cousins, babysitting as a teenager, helping children while stationed in South Korea and the Middle East, to raising my own, and working in the field of education.
I recently earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science, and I am currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Education.
Although I am qualified to substitute teach grades k-12, my heart and passions are with serving the younger munchkins. I feel very grateful to be part of the team here at Growing Brilliant and to spend time loving on your children!