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Our Staff

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Michele Saunders

Lead Teacher

2018 MIPA Exceptional Educator

Michele attended Western Washington University where she acquired a BA in Interdisciplinary Child Development with a minor in Psychology as well as her teaching certification.


Michele has taught at Sunnybeam since 2014. Additionally she has taught age groups varying from Pre-K through 2nd grade for over 20 years. Upon first visiting Sunnybeam and seeing the beauty in the space, the warmth of the families, the community of the teachers and the passion in the children she was delighted to have found her new home. 

David Weston

Lead Science Room Teacher

2012 MIPA Exceptional Educator

David studied Geology at the University of Washington. 

He has taught at Sunnybeam since 2001. His compassion and love for children is well known in the Sunnybeam community.  

David recognizes what a special time preschool is in a child's life and enjoys seeing and fostering new challenges and discoveries for them each day. He loves sharing in their accomplishments and helping them problem solve and experience successes on their own.


Laura Tomaselli


Laura moved to Mercer Island ten years ago from Australia and has come to enjoy everything the PNW has to offer. She and her husband have three children. Her oldest son has moved to Sydney where he recently started his graduate job. Her second child is doing his third year at university in Melbourne and her youngest is a junior at MIHS


Laura has always worked in education. She worked at Emmanuel Day School for four years. She loves working with young children and watching them develop in all areas of social, emotional and academic growth over the course of the school year. 


In her spare time, Laura loves to play tennis, ski, travel and her new found love is pickleball.


Nicole Whitenight


Over the course of the last ten years Nicole has donned many hats as a teacher, performer, caregiver and most recently a traveling au pair that took her across Europe and Puerto Rico last school year.


Working in early childhood education became a passion while living and working in Southern California as a Teacher’s Assistant and Party Princess! She found a calling connecting with little ones and which led her back to Seattle.


Creating, exploring the outdoors and finding the magic and silliness in learning are a few of Nicole's favorite things. She looks forward to learning and growing alongside all the Sunnybeam students this summer and into the new school year come fall!

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Jessica Moch

Enrichment Teacher

Jessica is a Midwest native with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from DePauw University. After relocating to Seattle and teaching 5 years at Childhaven, Jessica returned to school at the University of Washington for a master's degree in Social Work. Following her master's degree, she spent two years working as a child and family therapist. 


Jessica loves the joy and creativity of a preschool classroom. She enjoys watching children express themselves and grow through art, building, and imaginative play. 


Jessica is also a former Sunnybeam board member and mom to two very active boys. In her free time, she enjoys baking, painting, gardening, and travelling. 


Jen Alam

Special Guest Teacher

Jen has been with Sunnybeam since 2018 and will continue to be involved as our amazing guest teacher, filling in when needed.

Jen lives on Mercer Island where she and husband have raised their three boys (one still in High School). She grew up in Minnesota and studied geography and international relations at the University of Minnesota. Jen loves reading, hiking with my pup, cooking and experimenting with all types of art mediums. 


Jen believes the Sunnybeam community is special and always enjoys re-connecting and/or meeting all the families!

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Liz Carson


Liz joined Sunnybeam in a new position as Director in 2016. 


Liz's three children all went through Sunnybeam and she was on the Board for four years as Registrar, Vice President and President. Sunnybeam is much a part of her life and she loves being in the schoolhouse. She graduated from Bucknell University with a BA in English & Art History and from University of Washington with an MBA.  


She loves visiting the classroom to see all the wonderful Sunnybeam students and their families. 

President:  Emily Vavrichek

Secretary: Alexandra Sage

Treasurer: Whitney Farsai

Communications:  Lyndsey Gillis & Kaylee Prior

Special Events, Caterpillars:  Caitlin Harris

Special Events, Butterflies:  Katrina Spaunhurst

Fundraising: Bryn Morse & Taylor Beeninga

Capital Improvements:  Emily Krohus

Grounds/Building Maintenance: Julie Day

Registrars: OPEN

Webmaster: Lili Barbour

Board Member at Large: Taylor Beeninga

Please contact the President if you are interested in a volunteer or board position. 

Parent Board

A volunteer Parent Board of Directors help run Sunnybeam in conjunction with the Director. The Board's purpose is to hire the teachers and oversee the operation of the school while preserving the building in its historic state. Fundraising activities and continued community involvement provide the financial and moral support for this ongoing effort.

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