Our Teachers

Sunnymont-Westside teachers have extensive education and training in teaching young children and in providing parent education to their parents. But most importantly, our teachers have passion about children's learning and about childhood.

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Justine Saffir is our Director and teaches the 3 Day Class. Justine has been teaching at Sunnymont-Westside for over 20 years, and brings to the classroom her love of expanded curriculum. She's the one who dumps brightly colored fall leaves inside the school each fall. She's also the one who brought in not only smelly fish, but also life-sized pictures of plankton, a herring, octopus, a tuna, a great white shark, and yes even an orca whale for the children to decorate during an exploration of the food chain from the Slippery Fish song. Justine has a passion for understanding children's individual temperament and needs, and for spreading positive discipline skills to the entire world. Justine has a degree in psychology, a teaching credential, and is the mom of 3 children who went through co-op schools, and grandmama of one of our current students. 

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Lisa So co-teaches the 4 Day PreK Class with Saundra. Lisa has been at Sunnymont-Westside as a staff member for 8 years, and was a Westside parent for 4 years before that. Lisa treasures the effort our entire school community puts into cultivating children's growth in a positive and nurturing environment, and brings her open-mindedness and can-do attitude with her in all her work. Lisa rarely says no to any idea that the children, their parents, or her co-teachers bring to her, which is how she found herself leading our outdoor Nature Day this year.  Lisa has plunged into developing curriculum to help our children connect to nature once a week as easily as she plunges into the brook with them. Lisa has a master's degree in Social Work, a teaching credential, and has worked at various nonprofit agencies as a social worker, program manager, and volunteer trainer before turning her talents to teaching. She's the mom of two children who are attended or are attending co-op schools.

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Debbie Barnes teaches the 1 day Toddler and 2 Day Classes. This is Debbie’s 16th year at Sunnymont-Westside. Debbie is the drama whiz, who brings in compelling props, and whose impromptu group dramatizations of The "Three Little Pigs"-- pig and wolf hats included of course--are legendary. Debbie also has a knack for using familiar curriculum in new ways, bringing new dimensions to the children's learning, and leaving her colleagues saying, “Whoa, I never thought of that!” A preschool student recently wrote "I love Debbie because she's always happy to see me!" Debbie has a master's degree in early childhood education, a teaching credential, and is mom to a blended family of five children who have all attended or are attending co-op schools. 

 

Saundra Fischer is in her second year at Sunnymont-Westside as our 4 Day PreK teacher. Saundra realized while her children were attending co-op nursery school that this was where she was meant to be, and we’re thrilled she chose Sunnymont-Westside to launch her teaching career. Saundra is passionate about letting the children lead, and is excited to be in an environment where her deep belief in child-centered curriculum can be expressed. Saundra is known for her dedication, professional integrity, peaceful upbeat nature, and passion for bringing meaningful curriculum to our children, and her colleagues value her easy, supportive nature. Saundra is mom to two children who are attending co-op schools.