Staff

Director:
Stephanie Smith (Founder & school director, Co-teacher in the Sprouts Class, ages 3 & 4) spent the first half of her life in California, soaking in the farmlands, mountains and beaches of that state in all their minutia. Stephanie has worked with young children for over 20 years, both in California and northern New Mexico. She studied early childhood education at Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA, though she considers herself largely self-taught in the arena of education. She holds the National Administrators’ Credential for directors of preschool programs.Prior to co-founding Dragonfly with Nancy Woodward, Stephanie taught for seven years at Reach the Children School in Santa Fe where she was active in developing the preschool program and took on the role of acting preschool director.
Her expertise includes facilitating compassionate communication, implementing dramatic storytelling in the classroom and the teaching of phonemic awareness and other early literacy skills. Stephanie believes that young children learn best when their own ideas are given the space to flourish within a responsive, creative environment with adults who provide clear and consistent boundaries.
When not at school, Stephanie is most likely to be found tracking bugs and fostering plant life in her garden or creating utilitarian and beautiful objects out of recycled materials. Stephanie teaches in the Sprouts classroom in addition to her administrative role at Dragonfly.
Teachers:

kati kid2Kati Novak (Blossoms Class, ages 18 months-2 years) was born in Aspen, Colorado. She lived in a restored early 20th century schoolhouse on the mountain above El Jebel until she was seven.  Kati lived for the scrub-oak trees and cold irrigation ditches and helped care for an arrangement of farm animals. Her family eventually moved and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico when she was nine. At nearly nineteen, she left the desert for the rainy forests of the northwest and for almost 16 years lived on the Kitsap peninsula working first as a cook and being a young mother before finding her calling as a teacher.

She was a part of Boys & Girls Clubs of Seattle for eight years at the Bainbridge Island branch where she worked as program director, then ventured on to teach the toddler program at Building Block preschool for three years. During the last seven years in Washington State, she was also a shared nanny for three families. In 2013, she returned to Santa Fe to live and also to reunite with her sister and brother.  She continued to be a seasonal nanny and personal assistant until her sister (Glory, who also teaches at Dragonfly) introduced her to Dragonfly School in 2014.

Kati’s strengths include allowing children the space and time to accomplish their own goals, her playful, yet calm nature and inspiring inquisitiveness through asking pertinent questions.

 

 
Glory Auldon (Seeds Class, ages 2 &3) was born in a schoolhouse in the mountains of Colorado. When she was five years old, her family moved to Santa Fe, where she spent the majority of her childhood. She returned home to Santa Fe after having lived and worked in Colorado, California and Washington with several families and organizations to serve youth ranging from newborns through high school.
As a young adult Glory traveled to Guatemala, working with the local people to bring health care supplies as well as visiting the finca plantations with a nurse practitioner to assist in bring medications and health education to the people who lacked access to healthcare. She also traveled to England where she presented at an International Service Learning Seminar. In the more recent years she has traveled as a nanny with families throughout the US including Hawaii, as well as abroad in Italy.glory photo
Glory is mainly self-taught and has over 18 years of experience working with children, as a nanny, childcare provider and manager, program director and teaching life skills to homeless youth and parenting skills to teenage parents from a variety of different cultural backgrounds. She has been a preschool teacher for the aftercare program here at Dragonfly School beginning last fall.She feels blessed to have worked with so many amazing children and families as well as organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of America and Americorps. She earned her BA in Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington with honors and a focus on Education, Dance/Teaching Dance and Disability Studies.
Glory believes strongly in experiential learning and brings her love of play, dance and the outdoors through hiking, gardening and climbing to the children that she works with. Her love and advocacy for children’s personal, social and educational development is a strong component in her teaching methodology. Glory has worked at Dragonfly School since 2013.

Miraj Bukhari-Frayer (Sprouts Class, ages 3 & 4) was born in London, U.K and moved to New York in her teens. She studied Miraj (2)Illustration and Product Design for four years from the High School of Art & Design and went on to obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts & Sciences (Speech and Hearing) from the City University of New York with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education.

She has travelled globally in her youth over the winter and summer breaks exposing herself to a lot of the real world issues of poverty. She has continuously advocated for child development, literacy, and is sympathetic to the disadvantages and homelessness that afflict people in developed,as well as underdeveloped nations.Her experiences include feeding the New York’s homeless, working as a behavioral therapist for those with special needs, a Preschool teacher in Minnesota, a Volunteer Activity Art coordinator for a Science and Technology based school in Michigan for kids aged pre-K to 9th grades, a Child Life volunteer for Alexander Cohen’s Children’s Hospital, NY, and most recently coordinating the “Story Stretchers” program at the Santa Fe’s Children’s Museum.

She continues to enjoy art as a mixed media artist, loves creative story telling, gardening, dabbling in vegetarian cuisine, and exploring the mountains of New Mexico while dedicating the rest of her time to family, community, caring for a pair of love birds, named Paco and Pico, and being grateful for the inspiration she receives daily from children and their ability to live in the present and dream of tomorrow.

andrea photoAndrea Ullom (Saplings class, ages 4 & 5) grew up in Massachusetts. She was fond of roller skates and satin. In high school field hockey, track and working in restaurants  filled her time. She received her B.A in education from Providence College and spent her twenties teaching, snowboarding, playing in a band and waitressing. Andrea moved to Santa Fe in 1998 to attend massage school. After graduating, she moved to the beautiful Espanola Valley with her future husband, Adam Ullom.
She worked as an instructor in massage schools for eight years teaching ethics, anatomy, physiology and massage. She has also worked and taught with children ages two through middle school.
Andrea is now married with two sons, Addison (10) and Asher (6). They live on a small farm with chickens, ducks, goats, dogs and a cat.

 

Eve Apodaca ( Saplings class, ages 4 & 5 ) grew up in Portales New Mexico, next door to her grandparents. She spent a lot of time watching her grandmother sew and design clothing. That’s where she developed a love for fabric, buttons and patterns. She holds a B.S in Family and Consumer Science from Eastern New Mexico University. In college she studied ethnic dance and yoga. In 2001, she had the opportunity to travel to India to study yoga and Bharatam dance. This first international trip inspired a great love for traveling and learning more about people and their cultures.

Eve came to us with over 10 years experience working with infants to middle school aged children, in both public and private schools.  She worked at Alta Vista Middle School in Carlsbad New Mexico for 3 years teaching Family and Consumer Science. In 2009, she moved to New York City. The 6 years she lived there she worked as a preschool teacher and nanny.  She worked at Preschool of America in the infant room and also with the young 2’s. At Beginnings Nursery, a Reggio inspired school, she worked with 4’s & 5’s.

On recent trips to Peru and Turkey she was able to observe classrooms, and was delighted to meet teachers and students. Eve moved to Santa Fe in August with her husband Mark who has also at Dragonfly. They are excited to be closer to Eve’s family and to explore New Mexico. Eves interests are sewing, batiking, cooking, and reading.

 

Heather Gonzales  ( Saplings class, ages 4 & 5 & Aftercare ) is one of the founding staff members of Dragonfly School and helped Dragonfly create methodologies still in place today. She has had thirteen amazing years of working with young people in the field of early childhood education and has worked at several private schools in Santa Fe besides Dragonfly, including Reach the Children, Playschool of the Arts and Santa Fe Sprouts.  Her teaching career led to operating a small but fun and loving toddler program in her home, with several of her students continuing on to attend Dragonfly.

She then took a break from teaching and began training as an EMT and firefighter. She experienced an exciting few years working for the Santa Fe County Fire Department. Heather is currently studying towards a degree in the field of Physical Therapy. She is very grateful to her daughter Raven,18, and her son Paz, 15, for being so supportive of her many endeavors.

Heather offers young children an environment in which they simultaneously feel safe and have the opportunities to test boundaries and be creative.  Her open and inquisitive form of communication  plays an important part in Heather’s natural teaching style. She enjoys creating safe and interesting learning environments that encourage children to explore and develop their own interests and create loving relationships with their peers and teachers.

Teaching Assistants:
Lee Walters (Sprouts Class, ages 3 & 4) retired in 2015 and moved to Santa Fe to be near her son. She discovered Dragonfly School  while walking in the neighborhood.  Her path to Dragonfly School meandered through years of teaching in California, Georgia, Virginia and most recently in Lumberton, New Mexico (pretty much a ghost town just outside the Jicarilla Nation near Dulce).  For much of her adult life her family lived and worked with adults with special needs in a wonderful community called Innisfree, on a 400 acre farm at the foot of the Shenandoah Mountains.  She likes to garden, to sew, knit and weave and to read, to sing and to spend time with young children.  
Support Staff:
Nancy Woodward (Founder, substitute and curriculum support) has taught in both public and private schools in Santa Fe, and has developed successful, hands-on science programs receiving national recognition for her educational garden at Sweeney Elementary School. Nancy received her teaching license through the Teaching Intern Program at the University of New Mexico. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Liberal Arts from the University of Texas. Nancy developed her appreciation of inquiry education when she worked for Outward Bound schools which led to her volunteer work in the founding of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and Monte del Sol Charter School.
Nancy has been a guiding force in our elementary school programs as well as the science teacher and director for that part of the school. She supports science learning in our preschool classrooms by teaching cooking weekly in each class and acting as a resource to the classroom teachers.
In her spare time, Nancy gardens at school and at home, and most summers will find her on a white water rafting trip somewhere in the western US. She also serves on the board of directors of the Ocamora Retreat Center where she volunteers time supporting the work of the center. She has 2 sons: Chris, a junior at UNM, and Andrew, a graduate of Denver University and father of James, her year old grandson who she is dotty about.
Ingrid Hurlen (movement specialist) is a master teacher of creative dance and movement for children and adults with over 25 years of experience. Based on the Brain Dance, developed by Anne Green Gilbert, Ingrid’s classes are fun, stimulating and provide creative learning experiences for all ages. Her careful attention to diversity, literacy and earth stewardship has earned her warm praises from both parents and teachers. She is also a UNM Continuing Education Trainer with a focus on Movement and Music for Early Childhood Education. Ingrid has also been a performer since 1988 with the Tickle Tune Typhoon, a nationally award-winning music and dance performance company for the whole family. Ingrid offers movement class to every student at Dragonfly weekly.