Stephanie Smith 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 the founding of Dragonfly, 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 non-violent 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 is the lead teacher in our Seeds preschool class in addition to her administrative role at Dragonfly.
Nancy Woodward 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 is the 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.
Stephanie Smith(Seeds Class, ages 3 & 4) is the lead teacher in our Seeds preschool class in addition to her administrative role as preschool director of Dragonfly.
Ann Gomez (Sprouts Class, ages 4 & 5) came to us with over ten years
of experience teaching young children and is in her fourth year with Dragonfly School. Ann earned her BA in Art Education with a focus on Early Childhood Education from Southern Illinois University, then proceeded to graduate with an AA in Hotel and Restaurant Management /Chef School from San Francisco College in California.
Ann has been an active volunteer in the Santa Fe community for 17 years, including work in the Santa Fe Public Schools and the Santa Fe Animal Shelter an
d with the Girl Scouts and Kitchen Angels. When not helping other people and their families, Ann is usually spending quality time with her own two teenagers and her husband, Camilo.
Ann’s strengths include constantly extending the learning possibilities in the classroom and knowing a song appropriate to every occasion.
Beverley Anderson Crane (Saplings Class, ages 5 & 6) brings her experience, humor and love of learning to the classroom at Dragonfly. She has been a certified elementary teacher K-8th grade for fifteen years with a visual art endorsement. A native of Roswell, New Mexico, Beverley completed both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Studio Art from New Mexico State University as well as a Bachelors degree in Education from the College of Santa Fe. She taught a variety of subjects at Reach the Children School including Math, Science, Art and Language Arts for ten years and has been a part of the Dragonfly staff since 2008.
Beverley’s experience spans teaching Pre-K through 6th grade, as well as being a painting mentor in the Monte Del Sol Charter School Mentorship Program for high school students. She has also taught Art at Children’s Adventure Company Summer Camp and after school program.
Beverley blends the seeing and doing of language, math and science with art. “If I can get my students to learn with enthusiasm and take risks as they learn, if the kids can develop confidence in their own abilities to create and invent, to tap into my belief that we wired to be problem solvers, that mistakes are always opportunities, then I am doing my job well.” Beverly’s favorite activities are hiking with her husband and dogs, traveling with family, especially her kids, Emma and Will, learning as much as she can about animals and plants, and is currently in school taking creative writing courses. Beverley completes her school days at Dragonfly in her other role as our elementary school art teacher.
Sally Tavassoli (Aspens Class, ages 7 & 8) was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. at the age of three with her parents. She has since lived in Houston, California and most recently the Midwest. She moved to Santa Fe this year with her husband who works as an ICU doctor and her three-year-old son. Sally loves being around kids and finds that her personality allows her to tap into her own childlike nature while around them. She is a curious person, filled with questions and a drive toward creativity.
A natural caregiver, Sally has spent a number of years in the medical field working as an advocate for patients with chronic diseases. She worked at a children’s library in St, Louis, where she led the third-grade book club and received a grant for early reading interventions. Her work at the Center for Diversity at the University of Missouri included teaching at-risk children, aged 3-9, life skills, college/career planning, sociology and science. Her love of kids and knowledge led her back to school, where she obtained a BS in Middle School Science and student taught eighth grade science. Sally has also worked with toddlers and preschoolers as a substitute teacher and as a storyteller.
Sally’s interests are: teaching literacy, biology, reading, writing, singing, hiking, rollerblading and spending time with her family. She looks forward to re-teaching herself to ski this winter!
Andrea Ullom (Aspens Class, ages 7 & 8) 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.
Andrea is now married with two sons, Addison (7) and Asher (3). They live on a small farm with chickens, ducks, goats, dogs and a cat.
Nazca Warren (Sprouts Class, ages 4 & 5) was born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and is half-Swiss, but her early childhood years were spent in downtown and Hyde Park, Chicago. From taking long walks to interesting parks, restaurants and gardens, going to one of Chicago’s many wonderful museums at least once a week, to learning to swim on Lake Michigan’s isolated beaches (they exist, they’re just hidden) where fish touched her toes and making “Lake Michigan spirits” out of rocks and sticks, growing up in Chicago was a magical time that instilled an early love of nature.
After moving to Las Cruces at the age of 6, she spent many years getting to know the Chihuahuan desert through hiking and camping excursions with friends and family. She graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print and Photo Journalism and also spent some time travelling in Europe and attended The University of Fribourg, Switzerland for a study abroad semester. Some of her favorite jobs as a journalist have been as an arts reporter and local community reporter for an NPR affiliate radio station. She moved to Santa Fe four years ago to be an assistant editor for Enchantment Magazine, but realized one day after staring at the computer all day and having stressful deadlines, that she would be more content with work that more intimately involved people. In addition to being a supervisor at Santa Fe’s seasonal homeless shelter and doing volunteer work, she found it was a great fit. She is currently working towards the courses and experiences necessary to apply for a Masters in Art Therapy program. She is in her third year here at Dragonfly.
Nazca has always enjoyed spending time with children, she started babysitting at age 12 and has been a regular nanny and substitute teacher as well as working at Golden Slipper Summer Sport’s Camp in Stroudsburgh, PA in the Pocono’s for several summers. Nazca’s passions include vegan cooking, gardening, trying to learn every type of artistic craft making-most recently painting, and taking long walks while collecting stones and leaves in interesting places with her fiancé Phil and pup Azul.
Margaret Riquelmy (Seeds Class, Ages 3 & 4) grew up in the open spaces of rural west Texas where she worked on her family’s cattle ranch and was valedictorian of her high school class. Margaret studied early childhood education and art history at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas.
She is in her third year at Dragonfly bringing with her a variety of skills and experiences with children, including long-term substitute positions teaching both preschool and high school students. Her experience with children centers on her interest in art, teaching arts and crafts to 3-11 year-olds in a summer camp setting each summer for a stretch of 14 years and volunteering as the debate and drama coach for the Crockett County School District in her hometown of Ozona, TX.
When not at school, you will find Margaret actively engaged in art endeavors or entertaining friends and family at her home, where she is constantly working on improvements.
Hannah Kleese (Sprouts Class, Ages 3 & 4 and Aftercare Program) grew up on a hobby farm in Northfield, MN. She was home schooled 1st-12th grade while taking some classes through the public school in high school. She attended The Minneapolis College of Art and Design and majored in printmaking, papermaking, and book making. During this time, she worked in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area during the summers as a family camp counselor and folk arts coordinator. She also worked as a nanny.
After college, she worked as a youth counselor at The YWCA in Minneapolis for two years teaching leadership development, comprehensive sexual health, and economic literacy for Girls Inc. Hannah moved to Santa fe last August to begin her masters degree at Southwestern College in art therapy and counseling. She loves hiking, camping, fiber arts, board games, her family and hanging out with three and four year olds