Karen Vegors — Children’s Teacher
Karen has been interested in teaching since she was a child, and it was after being a co-op parent for 5 years with her two children that she stepped into her “perfect-for-her” career. She’s been teaching in co-ops since then, having completed her Early Childhood Education certificate. She believes strongly in the co-op model where parents learn alongside their children, and that co-op schools empower the whole community. In the classroom she derives great joy from watching children discover new things, and challenging them to try, grow, and explore. The classroom may look messy when kids are actively learning; Karen believes this whole-bodied investigation invites collaborative, fun play, and fosters a love of learning that lasts. Each child’s individual interests will be acknowledged and honored, often guiding some of the learning projects. She keeps safety concerns uppermost, and teaches classroom safety as a responsibility of children and adults. Parents will be guided to assist in classroom activities so that each day is valuable to child and adult alike. Karen lives in West Seattle with her husband and two children, and finds time to be a Girl Scout leader and summer camp counselor.
Laura Mattson — Assistant Children’s Teacher
Laura is a Seattle area native who earned her Business Management degree from Brigham Young University. She was a stay-at-home Mom while her four daughters were young. In addition to learning from her experiences as a Mom to her own children and as an Aunt to her 13 nieces and nephews, Laura spent years running the Children’s Sunday School program at her church. This program included almost 100 children between 18 months and 12 years of age. During this time, Laura discovered how much she loves teaching children and watching them grow. Preschool age children, she says, are especially eager to learn and so full of wonder! This is why she has decided to work with our children at Sunrise Co-op Preschool now that her youngest daughter has started elementary school. When she is not in our classroom, Laura volunteers in her daughters’ classrooms and assists with planning events for the teenage girls at her church. When she finds spare time, Laura enjoys reading, jogging, hiking, and watching her daughters ballroom dance.
Kristina Wendorf – Parent Education Instructor
Kristina and her husband are the parents of four children, one girl and three boys all with dramatic flair and individualism. She was a Sunrise Co-op parent for two years with her youngest two children. Kristina earned her BA in Elementary Education and was involved within the public school system (including Seattle Public Schools) for seven years. She works with WA State Hands and Voices Guide by Your Side Program providing support and resources to families of children with hearing loss. Kristina is also a trained Positive Discipline Facilitator. Through her journey with her own children, Kristina has learned the value of community and the necessity of resources–she is passionate about guiding other parents to find what is essential to them in their own parenting journeys. When she is not at work, Kristina enjoys reading, baking, and cheering on her children in their various activities.
Jennifer Watanabe – Parent Education Instructor
Jennifer Watanabe has been teaching parenting classes at Bellevue College since 1997. She is a certified Positive Discipline parenting educator. She has vast experience teaching classes based upon research-based information on child development, temperament, emotion management, and the Positive Discipline curriculum. She earned her parent coaching certification in 2007 from Seattle Pacific University’s Parent Coaching Institute. This coaching approach influences her teaching style: class content is presented in a way that helps parents successfully use the positive parenting strategies they have learned. She is passionate about families, including her own. She and her husband are the parents of two young adult sons, who are 24 and 20 years of age. They all enjoy traveling and exploring Washington State.
Stephanie Sloan – Parent Education Instructor
Stephanie Sloan is an experienced instructor in Parent Education and Early Childhood Education at Bellevue College since 1987, and is currently full-time faculty and program chair for Early Learning and Teacher Education. Stephanie has her M. Ed. from the University of Washington, and a BFA in Modern Dance. Before becoming an instructor, Stephanie was a toddler and preschool children’s teacher in the BC Parent Education Program. She loves to see children and parents learning together, and being a part of that journey in our parent education classes. Stephanie has two young-adult sons who both attended BC toddler classes and co-op preschools. She likes to keep active with yoga and aerobics classes, as well as kayaking and biking with her husband. She also loves to take photos, make photo books, and knit.