Olga Webstad, Program Manager
I started my career at Tacoma Community College in September 1990 where I spent my first nine years in several different classrooms as a preschool teacher of young children from the ages of 18 months to 5 years. With my previous experience as the Assistant Director for a private center before coming to TCC, and nine years as a preschool teacher, I gained the experience and knowledge needed to fill the position of the Center Director of the TCC Early Learning Center in 1999.
I am a Pierce College alumni where I earned my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. My Bachelor’s degree is from Ashford University and is in Early Childhood Education and Administration. My Master’s degree is also from Ashford University, it is in Education, with a specialty in Early Childhood Education.
After twenty five years I still I find that the greatest joys of my job is to watch parent’s succeed as they receive a degree or the skills to be successful in their careers and in their lives. And importantly, knowing that each child entering our center will have wonderful memories of their childhood which will influence them to someday grow to be capable, and happy people in our society and who will strive to make great things happen for our community and the world.
Elizabeth Golen-Johnson, Assistant Program Manager
My name is Elizabeth Golen-Johnson and I have been the Assistant Director here at the Early Learning Center since December, 2015. Before that, I worked at TCC in the Early Childhood Education Program as an Adjunct Professor and Instructional Designer for seven years. Before beginning at TCC, I had the pleasure of working with diverse populations of both children and adults for many years, within many different socioeconomic situations and communities. I have experience with children who are typically progressing and those who have special needs within child care, early intervention, special education, and general education classrooms. I have mentored and teamed with professionals in all of these fields to meet their program’s goals and help them to be successful teachers and administrators. I have also partnered with families to meet the developmental and educational goals of their children. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Northern Illinois University and a Masters of Education in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education at National-Louis University (in Illinois). Along with my Masters, I am also a certificated teacher in General Education, Special Education, and Early Childhood Special Education. Just in case my education and experience didn't clearly state my goals, rest assured my passion lies in helping children, their families, and the teachers who dedicate their lives to guiding them. I am truly grateful for this opportunity!
Angela Wheeler, Program Assistant
I enrolled at TCC in Sept of 1996. I began working at TCC in January 1997 as a work study student, and I did that for a year and a half, and then I was a part time worker for a year and a half. In the summer of 2000, I became a full time Classified Worker. I left school for a few years, but went back nights in 2006-2007 and earned by Associates Degree. I am married to Jon (my High School sweetheart) and we have two children, Zoey is nearly 22 and finishing her Teaching Certificate and Gage is 8 and will be in 3rd grade this year!
Christine Caro, Family Support Specialist (EHS/ECEAP)
I am the Family Support Specialist for the ECEAP preschool and Early Head Start. I started working at TCC in 2013 but have been working in education for over 15 years. I received my Associate's degree right here at TCC, my Bachelor's in Social Sciences with concentrations in Psychology, Sociology, and Human Development from Washington State University, and my Master's Degree in Psychology from Grand Canyon University. I am passionate about educating and assisting families using a strength based approach to help reach personal and family goals.
|Catepillars' Room (birth to 1 year)|
Kristen Pleasant, Lead Teacher
I have worked in Early Childhood Education since 2004. I received initial training in Early Childhood Education from McChord Child Development Center through Clover Park Technical College. I receive ongoing child development training through the Early Achievers program, Bates Technical College and Puget Sound Education Service District. I became an employee at TCC’s Early Learning Center in 2008 and currently serve as the lead teacher in the infant classroom. I also work with children in my local and state church organization. My goal is to provide young children with great care and a safe environment.
Tamara Tyrsina, Assistant Teacher
I have worked at Tacoma Community College Early Learning Center since 2010; first, as a volunteer, then work-study, and now employee. I worked previously in Russia at a daycare facility as an assistant teacher with children of different ages. I also have over 10 years of experience volunteering at different Summer Camps and Children’s Educational programs. Recently, I have received a Certificate in Early Childhood Education: Special Needs here at TCC. Currently I am working toward achieving my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education and I am a few steps away from it. I enjoy working with children and value every child as an individual with his or her specific needs and abilities.
|Busy Bees (1 year to 2 years)|
Kaisha VonNagel, Lead Teacher
I am the Lead teacher for the 1-2 year old Busy Bee classroom here at Tacoma Community College’s Early Learning Center. I have worked with young children professionally for 16 years and have worked here at the ELC for 8 of those wonderful years. I am also a proud alumnus of TCC. I achieved my AA degree with emphasis in early childhood education in 2010. It is my absolute pleasure and honor to partner with parents to help cultivate and guide the development of their young children.
Sierra Jones, Assistant Teacher
I am the full time assistant teacher in the Busy Bees Classroom. Prior to TCC’s Early Learning Center I worked for 4 years at my church’s nursery where we attended to children ages 6 months to 6 years old. I spent one summer working as an assistant teacher in the infant room at a Montessori school at the University of Washington in Seattle. I also volunteered for a program called Jumpstart, which is a program where college students volunteer in low income preschools. My main purpose was to help provide the preschoolers (many of whom were English language learners) with the tools needed to prepare them for success in kindergarten. I am currently pursuing my Bachelors in Early Childhood and Family Studies at the University of Washington. Upon graduating this year I hope to apply for the Masters of Social Welfare program there.
|Butterflies' Room (2 years to 3 years)|
Kathryn Malgren, Lead Teacher
I have been teaching here at the Early Learning Center for three years and have worked with young children for the past nine years in settings such as preschools, early childhood centers, private programs, and abroad in Bolivia.
I am passionate about teaching infants and toddlers and I love to re-experience the wonder of seeing and learning new concepts for the first time as I get to watch the children I work with learn and grow.
Charlene Dudley, Assistant Teacher
I have been working in this field for just over 20 years. I graduated from Pierce College with a Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1996. I worked at Pierce College for 17 years. I started at TCC ELC in Oct. 2012, left for family reasons, but returned in Jan. 2016 as part time in the Butterfly room. I am back full time the Butterfly room.
|Friendly Frogs' Room (3 years to 4 years)|
Caryn Nelson, Lead Teacher
I have been working at TCC Early Learning Center since March 2009 and am currently working on attaining a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Development from Ashford University. In 2002, I graduated from Pierce Community College with an Associates in Arts and Science as well as an Associates in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching preschool for 15 years ranging from ages 2 years to 12 years old. My passion and love for early childhood education inspires me each and every day to be an advocate for all children that walk through my classroom door.
One of my favorite quotes states: “To the world you are one person but to one person you are the world.” I strive to be that person for your child while they are in my care.
Allison Southard-Hood, Assistant Teacher
I am first off, a mother to my wonderful son, Oliver, who is a young preschooler here at TCCs ELC. He is such a blessing, and I love watching him learn and grow daily. One of my biggest passions in life has been working with children. Some of my many jobs include camp counselor for school agers, being a nanny during the summer months, and even coaching a high school Junior Varsity Volleyball team for 3 years. I absolutely love to play and watch sports. When I’m not teaching, I enjoy anything that makes me laugh. Spending time with friends and family are very important to me, and I love building relationships with people! So come say hi!
I started here at TCC studying early childhood development and couldn’t be more thrilled about it. I have been at TCC’s Early Learning Center since September of 2009 and have been fortunate enough to learn and work alongside of some of the best teachers! My future plans are to continue my education with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. I am excited to get to know your children and families, and see what each New Year brings!
|Dragonflies' Room (4 years to 5 years)|
Tammy Davis, Lead Teacher
I have worked with children in this center since 1991 in various positions. I have two wonderful girls of my own and I enjoy working with young children. This is and always will be my passion, as well as the Sea Hawks.
Shana Harvey, Assistant Teacher
I started my training in ECE in 1976. I received my degree in 1981 from Edmond Community College. I have been working in the field ever since. My strong points are in Science and Art. I joined TCC in 1993 and if you add that up I have been at TCC going on 23 years and 40 years in ECE. I love to garden, do crafts, home improvements, and raising kittens. All this I bring to the children I work with.
|Owls' Room (4 years to 5 years)|
Tabitha Curtis, Lead Teacher
I am the lead teacher in our 4-5 year old Owl’s classroom at the Tacoma Community College Early Learning Center. I have enjoyed educating and supporting the development of young children for 16 years; and have been a proud member of the TCC ELC for the last 8. I enjoy all aspects of education and currently attend Ashford University completing my bachelors in psychology. It is my privilege to collaborate with you to foster an excitement and passion for learning that will last a life time.
Elena Banfield, Assistant Teacher
I am from one of the republics in Russia called Mari El. I have been in the U.S. since 2001. I graduated from TCC in 2006 with an Associate in Early Childhood Education. My experience working with children started in 2003 and it still continues. It is amazing how much they teach us . I encourage children to be brave and make steps that are not quite comfortable, so they can realize that their feelings can change about things that they were afraid of or things that they did not like before. I want to trust them in guiding me how to teach them just like some of my great teachers trusted me in doing what I do. Trust is an important value in life.
My name is Tatiana Moraru and I am from Moldova. I have worked at the TCC Early Learning Center as a part-time teacher since November 2014. I graduated from TCC with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2013. From September 2007 to March 2013, I worked at the TCC Early Learning Center as a work study. I love kids and enjoy working with them.
I was born in Saigon City, South Vietnam. I have worked as an Early Childhood Educator for children of 18 month and 10 years of age in Vietnam for more than 6 years. My work was not only described as a nutritionist, but also as a teacher and caretaker. My vocation then led me to apply for a job as a teacher focusing on street children from infant to 13 years of age.
After graduation in 2005 with the degree of Associated in Applied Science from Tacoma Community College, along with a certificate in Paraeducator, Early childhood Emphasis, I have been working as an Early Childhood Educator and the Nutrition Specialist at TCC for over 10 years.
I have been an assistant teacher at the Early Learning Center since September 2015. Before I started working at the ELC, I worked as a volunteer for almost 10 months. I started at TCC studying Early Childhood Education, and I got my certificate Child Care Specialist, and my goal for the future is to continue my education to develop my knowledge and get more teaching skills.
One of my biggest passions in life has been working with children; I love watching them learn and grow daily. I love my family and friends, and spending time with them is important to me. I love to go hiking, camping, and watching movies, also I love reading books, especially historic books. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to work at the ELC with the best friends and amazing children.