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 (she/her) 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.
Betsy Ferney (she/her) began teaching at Lakewood in 2008. She taught in the toddler room for several years before leaving to start a family. She returned to LACS in 2019 when her second child started school. Betsy earned a B.A. in mathematics (2002) from Linfield College and has exceeded requirements in additional early childhood education coursework including the NC Early Educator Certificate, NC Infants, Toddlers and Twos Certificate, and the NC Early Childhood Administration Credential. She is currently working towards a Master’s in Innovative Early Childhood Education through UC Denver in partnership with Boulder Journey School.
Vanessa Hernandez (she/they) leads Lakewood’s Outdoor Learning Initiative. Vanessa loves to do art and gardening projects, 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.
Sarah Friedman (she/her) has taught at Lakewood since the summer of 2017. She is a teacher in our mixed-age preschool 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 children, and helping them explore the natural world.
DaJae English (she/her) began teaching in the Preschool room in 2020 after working as an ABA technician, instructional assistant, and soccer coach. She has a Bachelor’s in Movement Science from Delaware State University.
Caitlyn White (she/her) 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.
Sarah Marshall (she/her) joined the Lakewood community in 2019 as a support teacher and continues to support the community in multiple ways. She graduated from Meredith College in 2016 with a B.A. in English and has spent time teaching in Halifax and Wake County before moving to Durham, NC. She enjoys sharing her love of literature through storytelling.
Francesca Camassa-Mahoney (she/her) has always loved working with children! She started nannying when she was thirteen to a very special family, that will always have a place in her heart, in Italy! Her favorite thing about working with children is to see them smile when they realize they can do something all by themselves! Francesca was born in Texas but spent a lot of her life in North Carolina, New Mexico, and Italy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in fashion and textile design with a small specialization in classic art, and is taking classes in early childhood education. Francesca is a teacher in our Toddler room.
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.