STAFF

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Jill Jones

Interim Director, Discovery Room (2 & 3 year olds)

Miss Jill’s son graduated from ANS in 2011, and it was his journey that sparked her passion for connecting with and, ultimately, teaching young children. She and her husband Alan were active and thoughtful participants in the school community, and, by the time her son graduated, she was hooked. She enrolled in UCLA’s Early Childhood Education program and came back to ANS to teach full-time.


Miss Jill is a kind and patient guide to the children as they make their way through the world of ANS. She considers their time together an extraordinary adventure, and her enthusiasm is contagious.

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Stefanie Zieger

Interim Director, Discovery Room (2 & 3 year olds)

The beauty of the co-op model is that parents become so involved with the day-to-day activities of the school. It was by working alongside her two daughters while they were at ANS that Miss Stefanie realized how passionate she felt about being involved in teaching the very young. The experience was life changing, and she soon began her education toward becoming a teacher. In her words, “I just couldn’t get enough of ANS!” Each year at the school, she learns from the children, the families, and her colleagues, which in turn enriches her teaching. She is an immensely fun and creative presence in the classroom.

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Melissa Hall-Sahand

Art Room (3 & 4 year olds)

Miss Melissa teaches by the motto that’s been instilled in her by Miss Milly: “At Altadena Nursery School, we respect children.” This sense of respect and generosity indeed permeates her classroom. Though most of her formal experience has been teaching elementary school children in both English and Spanish, having kids of her own (both ANS kids) inspired her to turn her career toward educating the little ones. She completed a master’s degree in Human Development at Pacific Oaks College, and has brought this wealth of experience to ANS. As she put it, “I have worked in numerous educational establishments and have never before come across a community that is so dedicated to the development of each and every child.”

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Niamh Murphy

Art Room (3 & 4 year olds)

Like many on our staff, Miss Niamh was drawn to the world of teaching after her participation as a parent at ANS. Her warm nature, ability to connect with children, and passion for developing thoughtful curriculum have made Miss Niamh a wonderful addition to the ANS team. Originally from Ireland, Miss Niamh came to Los Angeles in the 90s and worked as a textile artist in the entertainment industry before turning her interest toward teaching. Her children helped inspire Miss Niamh to enroll in UCLA’s Early Childhood Education program and later reconnect with ANS, first as a sub and now as a teacher. On any given day, Miss Niamh can be found prepping her latest playdough project, engaging the children in dramatic play, or helping students search for butterfly eggs on the milkweed plants in the yard. Miss Niamh’s dedication to the children is unmistakable and her love of teaching runs deep.

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Mary Molnar

Block Room (4 & 5 year olds)

Miss Mary joined the ANS teaching team in January 2021. Both of her children began their education through Pasadena City College’s parent education program and at Cottage Co-op Nursery School. Mary and her husband, Andy, are continually inspired by school models that respect the child and offer hands-on educational opportunities for parents. Through her years as a parent and as a teacher at Cottage, and now as a member of the ANS community, Mary feels enormously grateful for the extended and supportive family that the co-op model provides.

Her career in education began in 2003 as a public high school instructor. She earned her MA in Education while teaching at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles. In 2011, she began teaching as a CAPPA Certified Childbirth Educator, preparing expectant parents through her BirthWell Class. Miss Mary finds joy in creating collaborative and fun learning experiences for students of all ages.

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Basia Countway

Block Room (4 & 5 year olds)

It is with great pleasure that Miss Basia is going to begin a new adventure as a Block Room Teacher alongside Miss Mary at ANS! Miss Basia grew up in Poland, where she studied Music Education and Music Therapy. She relocated to Los Angeles in 1999 and shortly thereafter was introduced to a very special preschool called All Children Great and Small. This magical play-based school inspired her to pursue education in early childhood development. She was very fortunate to teach at All Children for four years. Miss Basia lives in Altadena, has been married for over 20 years to her husband Jack, and has two children who are both teenagers. Miss Basia enjoys travel, hiking, swimming, and has been in a choir group for the last 5 years.

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Camille Kuritani

Aide

Camille and her husband Kevin were parents at ANS for 11 years 2005-2016! She is blessed with

four boys who all are ANS alums. She's excited to be around “littles” once again and is looking forward to a great year! ANS holds a very special place in her heart.

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Liz Ableson

Aide

Liz is thrilled to be back at ANS this year! Her two daughters graduated from Altadena Nursery School, and her family absolutely LOVES it here! Prior to being a stay-at-home mom, Liz worked with her husband, Brad, on “The Simpsons” as the Production Manager for 16 seasons. When she is not driving her girls to and from their various activities, she enjoys yoga, reading, organizing, trips to Disneyland and doing things together as a family. She is so happy to be a part of the ANS community. Looking forward to another exciting and wonderful year!

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Jen Wang

Administrative Assistant

Jen Wang is a seventh-year ANS parent, and excited to be working in the office this year! At ANS, she’s been Orange Sale chair, parent education chair, and publicity chair, and is looking forward to a new role. ANS has been a huge part of her growing into parenthood, and she loves the community here. Jen composes classical(ish) music, sings with the Pasadena Chorale, and plays banjo and viola da gamba (badly). She loves all things fiber arts (knitting, weaving, spinning, and dyeing) and also codes for fun (projects include the ANS Orange Sale site). With her fabulous wife, Siobhán, she’s raising three chaotic, joyful kids.