It is the philosophy of Lakewood Avenue Children’s School to recruit and hire an extremely well-qualified teaching staff and provide them with the highest level of compensation possible. Accordingly, our staff is of exceptional quality, and is devoted to our school.
Lakewood teachers have B.S. degrees in early childhood education/child development (or its equivalent) and have completed a lengthy application and interview process, including working interviews in the classrooms. In addition, all teachers must be members of NAEYC.
Teachers receive salaries and benefits in excess of those at other early childhood centers, and numerous professional development opportunities. As a result, Lakewood teachers typically stay with the School for three to five years, far longer than teachers in most early childhood programs. The professionalism and continuity that the teaching staff brings to the School’s children and families provide the cornerstone of Lakewood’s program.
Marcia Brooks started teaching at Lakewood in 1991. After several years in the preschool room, Marcia earned certification in art education and spent two years teaching K-5 art while starting a family. When her own two children came to Lakewood, Marcia was an active parent and a graduate student, using our environment for her studies. She earned her Master’s degree in Industrial Design (2004) at the NCSU College of Design with her thesis in Early Childhood Environmental Design. After many years as a Lakewood teacher, parent, and volunteer with our founding director as her mentor, Marcia became the School’s director in 2007. She has a BFA in Drawing (1984) from the University of New Hampshire, and has exceeded requirements in child development and early childhood education coursework, earning the NC Early Childhood Teaching Credential, The NC Early Educator Certificate, and the NC Early Childhood Administration Credential.
Natasha Anderson is a preschool teacher. She started working at Lakewood after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Child Development. Tasha is very athletic and sometimes shares all of her sports balls with the children. She loves the rich sense of community fostered at Lakewood.
Sarah Friedman has taught at Lakewood since the summer of 2107. She is a teacher in our middler room. Sarah earned her B.S. in Psychology in 2014 at Appalachian State University, and has since completed additional coursework in Child Development. Sarah especially enjoys outside time with the middlers, and helping them explore the natural world.
Jasmine Cradle joined us in the spring of 2018 as a student teacher in our preschool room. As soon as she earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Durham Technical Community College, she joined our staff as a full time flex teacher. Jasmine works in all the classrooms, and enjoys exploring art materials with children of all ages.
Vanessa Hernandez is a teacher in our preschool room. Vanessa loves to do art and gardening projects with the preschoolers, and really enjoys building relationships with all the Lakewood children and their families. Vanessa graduated from University of Central Florida in 2008 with a BA in Psychology, and started at Lakewood in 2012. When she’s not working at Lakewood, Vanessa carves spoons from wood.
Tylasha Jones earned her B.S. in Child Development in 2011 at Winston Salem State University. Tylasha also earned her Birth-Kindergarten License. She joined our staff as a preschool teacher in the summer of 2018 having spent several years as a lead teacher in a local Head Start program. Tylasha enjoys the freedom the children have at Lakewood, and loves helping the preschoolers explore our big backyard.
Alison Clay Smith is a teacher in our toddler room. She graduated from Meredith College in 2013 with a B.S. in Child Development. She started teaching at Lakewood in 2015, and is now a mentor teacher to Meredith students. Alison shares her great joy at working with toddlers, and especially loves that you can actually see them learning new things every minute!
Jillian Stein has been teaching in our toddler room since 2017. She loves helping our toddlers discover the world, and enjoys every little conversation she has with each child. Jillian graduated from UNC-Greensboro in 2012 with a B.S. in Child Development.
Caitlyn White is a teacher in our middler room. Caitlyn came to Lakewood as a student teacher, and never left! She started right after her graduation from Meredith College with a B.S. in Child Development in 2016. Caitlyn enjoys our cozy, homelike environment, and our low ratios which give her the opportunity to really know every child.
Margaret Edwards (1944-2010) founded Lakewood Avenue Children’s School in 1986, and served as its inspirational director for the School’s first 20 years. Under her leadership, Lakewood became known across the state and the nation for providing exemplary early childhood education.
Since Margaret’s retirement in 2007 the School continues to strive for her ideal — providing the highest quality early childhood education in a warm homelike environment.