Originally a native of Wisconsin, I have worked with young children and their families for over 20 years in a number of ways, including work as a preschool & toddler teacher, an atelierista or studio teacher and as a Curriculum Coordinator for The Clifton School. I have been inspired by the educators of Reggio Emilia, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others, who saw education as a fundamental right as well as a catalyst for social change.
I have credits towards my Master’s in Early Childhood Education at Pacific Oaks College. I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from Georgia State University, which includes an endorsement in special education, as well as an Associate in Early Childhood Education from Chattahoochee Technical College with a specialization in Program Administration. I have helped to forge an on-going collaboration with Emory University and Georgia State University, researching the rights of young children and the cultural context of Development Appropriate Practices. I have a unique interest in reflective practices especially as it relates to curriculum planning for young children, the role of documentation in early child care centers, building partnerships with families, creating engaging learning environments and using materials as thinking tools. I’m deeply committed to improving the quality of education accessible to all children and creating a program that is innovative and cultivates a community full of inquiry.
Hello my name is LaTisha Flowers-Atelierista. I was born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Lithonia, Georgia. I am a wife and mother to three young boys. I have been working with children since 1998 in a preschool setting. I have my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Piedmont Technical College.
While working on my early childhood education degree, I started my journey at The Clifton School. During my time at Clifton I had several job titles: Assistant Teacher, Lead Teacher, Atelierista (Studio Teacher) and Mentor Teacher. I am inspired by the schools in Reggio Emilia, Itlay and Auckland, New Zealand.
My passion and interests are creating magical environments for children, exploring and using materials as thinking tools, reflective practices for young children, and building partnerships with families.
I love to travel and see other schools that are inspired by the Reggio Philosophy. I have visited several different school’s across the country and I had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand. Most of all I’m a proficient photographer and love taking photos of my family, children, and things in nature.
My name is Stephanie Sutton. I was born and raised in Kansas City MO. I earned my BA in fine arts at Spelman College with a focus in drawing. After graduating, I decided to remain in Atlanta to pursue my dreams in the arts. In the interim, I learned from a friend about a program called the United Way Substitute Teaching Program where I earned a certificate to substitute teach in early childcare centers/ institutions in December of 2013. I began teaching at the Highlander school in 2014. During the end of summer that year, I was offered a permanent position as a supporting staff member at the Highlander School. Additionally, I am currently a competitive dancer in Atlanta. I am seeking to make a difference in the lives of others, particularly those in my community. I continue to support the arts community and aspire to become an illustrator one day. I have volunteered with the Living Walls Mural Arts Organization to help paint a mural in the Edgewood area, amongst working with other volunteer groups. My goal is to continue to educate youth in the arts, create art, travel, grow, learn, and continue to be an active dancer in Atlanta.
Hello, my name is Tara J. Blassingame. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a daughter of librarians, I’ve always placed a high regard on education. I graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, which was one of the top three high schools in the city. Directly after, I attended Pennsylvania State University where I studied Theatre and English.
Throughout my life, I have always believed in the power of education through creative means and the lifelong impact that it can have upon the student. I did not expect that passion to lead me to the amazing path that I find myself on now! From the ages of 11-16 years old I volunteered as a Jr. Camp Counselor and Jr. Dance Instructor at Caanan Institute of the Arts in Philadelphia. Soon after, as friends and family began to expand or start their families, I consequently began my babysitting career. In college, while working and attending classes, I still thought it was important to “pour into young people” and therefore volunteered as Assistant Counselor at the Park Forest Baptist Church Club for Girls. This was my first time having the chance to gather with a team of people to imagine and design the best and most creative ways to teach our students; both the process and outcome were very intriguing. As a theatre student I played a vital role in organizing the production and performance of two major Penn. State University children’s theater productions – The Big Friendly Giant by Roald Dahl and The Island of Anyplace by Charles Marz.
All of this training came to a culminating point when I became a Part-Time Daycare Assistant at Blueprint Church in Atlanta, GA in Fall 2011 where I worked with children from the stages of infancy up to 6 years old. Here I also had the chance to help develop and implement policies, systems, and creative lesson plans. Above all, I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the academic and social advancement of the children while learning to incorporate lessons purposed for positive character development. I believe that life is full of teachable moments – moments that can be used to enrich the lives of young learners – be they inside or outside of the classroom.
In September 2013 I attended and graduated from an Early Learning Substitute Teacher Program provided by the United Way of Greater Atlanta, and approved by Bright From the Start: Georgia Department of Early Learning. Through this program, I was soon connected to The Highlander School.
Hello, my name is Deborah Reid. I am the proud mother of five, two sons and three daughters ages 19 to 35. I also have six grandsons and one granddaughter each hold my heart in their hands. I began my 30+ year journey of loving and caring for children; especially preschoolers after the birth of my first son and I’m known as Mama Deb for many more.
My love for working with children has grown and I vowed to love, educate and protect not just my own children but others in my care. I’ve worked in church programs, private and public owned preschools, recreation and learning center in North Carolina.
Upon moving to Georgia in 1998, I have continued teaching preschoolers for the past 15 years to the present. I started at LaPetite Academy, where I was a lead infant, toddler, and preschool teacher, but also a pre-k/wrap and after school
teacher during the afternoon for over 4 1⁄2 years. While working at Children’s World Learning Center, I was lead teacher for the 3 and 4 yr. olds as well as the Educational Coordinator for 2 yrs. before opening my own in-home center, “ASHANTI’S KIDZ KONNECTION” from January 2004- August 2010 as I prepared to enter Georgia Piedmont College (formerly DeKalb Tech) in October 2010, majoring in Early Childhood Education. While I continued to gain new knowledge, I also began working at Lisa Little Angels in March of 2011 up till the July 2013, where I worked with mixed age groups (4months-4yrs) in an in-home setting also having the pleasure of working more closely with children with special needs (also at College Heights), working with their parents and therapists has taught me new understandings of how to learn more about the child and not just their differences and how to meet their needs. While including them into everyday classroom activities as much as possible to help them feel comfortable and welcomed. But upon receiving my Associates in Early Childhood in June, I am now looking forward to my adventures at “THE HIGHLANDER SCHOOL.”
During my journey through college I obtained my Child Development Specialist TCC and Infant Toddler/Child Care Specialist TCC, which also allowed me to enjoy learning about the Reggio inspired learning that incorporates my strong beliefs that children learn more when they are comfortable and feel that someone not only cares but listens to them. To me everything is a lesson of some sort and when you allow them to wonder and explore their own curiosity and perspectives, through play, reading/being read to, a child can explore the world past and present and I love to take them there making it educational with new experiences is the best parts of it. My belief is “SHARING KNOWLEDGE IS GREAT BUT CARING MAKES IT EVERYTHING”. So, I am not afraid to share more, I give big hugs as we explore together.
I also know, believe and understand that having qualified teachers for your child is incredibly important and appreciate the opportunities you are giving me to make such an
impact on not just their lives but yours as well. I look forward to working together with you to offer your child and you the best of home, school and community. Families that I‘ve care for in the past we’re not just friends but we became Family that works together. Thank You, for taking the time to read my intro hopefully it allowed you to see a little bit of who I am and where my heart is. I continue to care for children because I love what I do and it’s what I’ve done most of my life.
Hi! My name is Tracy Hill. I was born in Queens NY, but raised in Atlanta, Ga. I have loved children since I was one myself. I recall memories of ‘playing school’ in my driveway on many occasions! I also started baby-sitting when I was 13. As I progressed through life my love for children and music grew. I went on to major in Elementary Education at The University of Tampa. I noticed the lack of a level playing field for under-privileged children and decided to go back to the system that educated me, The Atlanta Public School System. My first year I was assigned 3rd grade, a benchmark year for CRCT (standardized testing, ewwwwww!) I was absolutely sure children learned in a better method than the one I was being forced to comply with. I taught in the Dekalb County School System as well.
Having a more nurturing and creative mind, my philosophies didn’t really match with what I was teaching. I left public schools and began teaching at a private pre-school that was Reggio inspired. I really appreciated this philosophy and was glad to be lead to it, as it was not a part of my college teachings! Having the freedom to observe and document younger minds made me want to really study early childhood development (0-5). I felt like a researcher and an auntie!
In the meanwhile and in between while, my music career begin to development. I began writing songs, expressive dance, playing the violin and singing all around 3rd grade. I was always in a singing group; from quartets to jazz bands and chorales. I was fortunate enough to travel to Czech Republic, England, France, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Egypt, France, Kenya and Germany all because music chose music! I was even able to work with children through orphanages and schools overseas. What wonderful and free beings children are, worldwide! I executive produced and released my debut album, ‘Tracy’s Tiers’ last year and I travel & perform with my band ‘Passion Moon’ and a corporate band, ‘Ascension’.
I enjoy loving relationships, music, working with children, cooking (and eating:), hiking, researching, dancing, playing scrabble, meditating, traveling, writing and making people happy! I am so elated to be working with Rukia and The Highlander School Family. I am excited to offer our little ones an environment of belonging, support, awesome materials and the freedom to explore. I have learned so much and can’t wait for this beautiful exchange to commence!