Faculty and Staff

Our staff is carefully selected for warmth, understanding, and the ability to work for the best interests of children and parents.  Creating a classroom in which play leads to learning requires special skills on a teacher’s part.  Our teachers not only help children do things, but also guide them to use their own resources and abilities.

Several of our educators have a personal connection to Spring-Mar, originally joining the community as parents and continuing on because the Spring-Mar experience ignited or reinforced a love of working in early childhood education.

All of our teachers truly appreciate their important role in teaching children to love learning and creating an environment where kids look forward to going to school each day.

Our staff

arrow-H3Director

arrow-H3Explorers Teachers – 2 year olds

arrow-H3Pioneers Teacher – 3 year olds

arrow-H3Navigators Teachers – 3 and 4 year olds

arrow-H3Inventors Teachers – PreK

arrow-H3Art Teachers

arrow-H3Music Teacher

arrow-H3Movement Teacher

arrow-H3Aides

 

Director

Lubna Farid:

I have been with Spring-Mar since 2005, as a parent, a board member, an aide,  a teacher, and now as school Director.  My undergraduate degree is in Studio Art from Williams College and my master’s degree is in Art Therapy from George Washington University.

Spring-Mar’s excellent tradition of valuing children, acknowledging their individual needs, and providing rich experiential learning opportunities was what initially drew me to the school as a parent. I have always been interested in how children learn and the staff and I strive to incorporate best practices for early childhood learning as we continue and expand on Spring-Mar’s wonderful educational tradition.

 

 

Explorers – 2 year olds

Dolly Bhasin:
I became a part of Spring-Mar in 2019 as a teacher for the Explorers class. Ever since then, it has been a very fulfilling experience for me. Like most others at Spring-Mar, I too started as a parent volunteer, just not at Spring-Mar. I quickly realized that this was my true calling. Spring-Mar just reinforced that feeling for me.

I firmly believe in Spring-Mar’s philosophy of Learn through Play. It is a simple yet powerful method to engage all five senses and the importance of that cannot be overstated for a growing child. As a teacher who is also a parent, my most important concern is always keeping safety first and foremost. I am looking forward to carrying Spring-Mar’s mission forward every day in the class. Once done with school, I like spending time with my family, cooking and being active outdoors.

 

Pioneers – 3 year olds & Navigators – 3 and 4 year olds

Alison Heald-Webb:

We joined Spring-Mar in 2018 when our oldest started in Pioneers, and we knew right away we had found our community.  I was thrilled to join the staff as an aide in 2019, and I’m even more excited to be teaching the Pioneers class this year. I’m also starting my second year as co-chair of the hospitality committee.

I’ve been working with children in many ways for much of my adult life: as a Gymboree music and art teacher, an instructional aide with FCPS, a nanny, and as a volunteer in my mom’s first grade classroom. Spring-Mar’s philosophy of play based learning has worked well for our family, and I am excited to share it with other families in our community.

I grew up in Burke, and now live in Fairfax City with my husband and two boys, Charlie (6) and Liam (4). I studied opera performance in college and still love to make music, although it’s more “Wheels on the Bus” than “Magic Flute” these days. In my free time I like to embroider, play the ukulele, buy way too many children’s books, and go camping with my family.

 

Navigators – 3 and 4 year olds

Claire Read:

My family has been a part of the Spring-Mar community since 2008 when my oldest son started in the 2’s class. Both my sons spent three fun years each at Spring-Mar. I enjoyed co-oping in their classrooms and being part of the Board of Directors. Since 2015, I have been a classroom aide and substitute. I love watching children grow and develop new skills. I’m thrilled to be the Navigators A teacher this school year.

I am a native of the DC area. I have a B.S. in Biology from Towson University and my early career was spent doing research in the biotechnology field. I have also worked as an administrative assistant at a Montessori school and at a university. I am an avid runner who also loves to do crafts and attend my boys’ sporting events.

 

Inventors – PreK

Sarah Abernathy:

I have been a part of the Spring-Mar family since 2013 when my oldest daughter started in Playschool. We immediately fell in love with the Spring-Mar community and could not have asked for a better place for our daughters to learn and grow. I served on the board for many years including being president for our last three years.

I was thrilled to join the Spring-Mar staff last year and to help with our virtual learning programs. This year, I am excited to be back in-person and teaching our Inventors A students. I have a background in speech-language pathology working with preschoolers and elementary school students. So I’m thrilled to combine my love of working with children with the wonderful Spring-Mar community.

 

Michelle Brenner:

My family has been with Spring-Mar since 2017 from Playschool to Pre K. I started teaching the Playschool class when my second son was young and I have fallen in love with teaching at Spring-Mar ever since. This is my first year as a Navigators teacher. It is so exciting every day to see what these curious children discover in their world. Learning through play makes so many connections in their minds about what they are learning, their current experience, and the world around them.

I grew up in Fairfax Station and still live there now. I have a Masters in Education from George Mason University. For 6 years I worked with FCPS as a second grade teacher and an advanced academic resource teacher. In college, I taught pre ballet, tap, and tumbling to preschoolers. I love to dance, exercise, enjoy outings with my family, and I am looking forward to traveling again!

 

Art Teacher & Aide

Patti Barber:

I’m excited and proud to be a part of Spring Mar Cooperative Preschool. I have been an Art Teacher at Spring-Mar since 2005. I love watching the children grow and learn through play and art. In the Art Room we provide lots of creative, artistic activities to enrich the kids’ lives with learning while having fun. Preschoolers are so unique, and I love getting to know each of them. Not only are the children amazing at Spring-Mar, the staff is also great to work alongside. Each day, I look forward to making wonderful art projects and memories with the children and parents of Spring-Mar.

 

Music Teacher

cooperLinda Cooper:

In 1991, I was the parent helper in the block room one rainy day. I un-taped the “do not play” signs on the school’s piano and did some nursery rhyme singing with the kids. Director Maureen Wersinger came in and suggested I try out for the newly created music teacher’s job. Maureen and Spring-Mar changed my life.

My three children, Rob, Matt and Stephanie all are Spring-Mar alumni; now two engineers and the other a doctor. The block room and doctor week may have started those careers. Matt and his wife, Jennifer, have 5 children. I have a Master’s degree in Neurophysiology, but love my career changes to music teacher and quilter. I also volunteer my music in Head Start and Special Ed classes in the county.

I love the interaction between the parents, teachers and children. I’ve seen the almost magic way music can introduce language and joy and satisfaction in the kids.

 

Aide

Liza Strydom:

I have been part of Spring-Mar since 2011. I started as a parent and board member, then I joined the Spring-Mar staff as a teacher, and now I am ready for my new role as an aide.

Both my husband and I were born and raised in South-Africa. We immigrated to America in 2003. We have two children that grow like weeds and a dog that believes he rules the house. I have the US equivalence of a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Industrial Psychology and Relations. My hobbies are gardening, yoga, reading books, crochet, needlework and art projects.

I love being part of the Spring-Mar family, working with small children and meeting amazing new people. I am looking forward to another great year.

 

Office Aide

Safiya Farid:

Coming soon!

 

 

 

Meet our Member Leaders

The operation of our school is possible not only because of our talented staff, but also because of our dedicated Board of Directors.  Read more about the Board here.up

 

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