Pat Sefton, Director
Pat joined the Co-op in 2007. She comes to us after a devoted 22-year stint as Director at University United Methodist’s preschool. She is a recipient of AAEYC’s Mabel Pitts Award in recognition of her contributions to the lives of young children and families. Pat received a Bachelor of Science in Education at University of Texas Youth and Family Services. Pat radiates patience, dedication, openness, joy, humor, and a leadership style that fits the Co-op.
Cass Attaway-Krueger, Teacher
We are pleased to have Cass Attaway-Krueger teaching the older 2’s and younger 3’s classes this year. Cass has a B.S. in Education from the University of Texas at Austin, with a concentration in Creative Dramatics. She taught from 1979 to 1988 at the Jewish Community Council of Austin preschool and has taught at the Co-op for 24 years. Cass and her husband, Glen have a grown daughter, Carrie, who lives in Austin and 2 grandchildren.
Kerry Drake, Atelierista, and Director’s Assistant
We are happy to have Kerry Drake return in her dual role as Assistant to the Director and school Atelierista, and, this year, as the teacher in Maaike’s class every Wednesday. In our adaptation of the Reggio approach, Kerry works with small groups of children from each class in the studio, using a variety of materials to help them express their ideas. Collaborating with teachers, observing and documenting the children’s learning process, and sharing with parents informs Kerry’s work. In addition, you will find Kerry in the office continuing to support parents, teachers, and the director. Kerry and her woodworking husband, Mike, are parents to two Co-op alum children: Willis (20) and daughter Piper (16). Kerry has been a dedicated staff member since 2001.
Nadia Traietti, Teacher
Nadia has been with the Co-op since 2005. She teaches one of our 4/5-year-old classes. Nadia grew up in Massachusetts. Upon graduating high school she worked in the Boston area with neglected or abused children who had been placed in residential care. Nadia specialized in Early Childhood Development for her undergraduate degree. She also holds a Master’s in Elementary Education from Texas State University. Before coming to the Co-op Nadia taught at Child’s Day, the ACC lab school, Habibi’s Hutch Preschool and third grade in AISD. Nadia enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, camping, listening to and participating in music making.
Emily Vorspan, Teacher
Emily has been with the Co-op since 1995. Emily teaches our Together Time class for children who are eligible to attend the two year old classes in the fall. Emily grew up in New York and graduated from George Washington University in Washington D.C. where she receive a Bachelor of Science in Education. Her teaching background includes work with children in special education settings, conducting Music Together classes and teaching dance to children and adults.
Maaike Worde, Teacher
Maaike teaches one of our 4/5-year-old classes. Born and educated in the Netherlands, Maaike is a certified preschool and kindergarten teacher. She has worked as a teacher in Holland and as a teacher, administrator and social worker in Botswana, Africa. She assisted villagers in starting educational programs for young children. She also served on a government committee working to develop national childcare policies for Botswana. Maaike has been with the Co-op since 1995.
Melissa Waelchli, Teacher
Melissa Waelchli teaches the Older 3’s class on M/W/F and will work with all of the age groups in the role of support teacher on Tuesday and Thursdays. She grew up on Long Island, NY and has a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in child development from Boston University. Shortly after graduation in 2000, she moved to Austin for a change of scenery and to say good-bye to cold and snowy winters. A good friend convinced her that she would love it here and she was quite correct! After her arrival in Austin, she began working directly with abused, abandoned, and neglected children at the Austin Children’s Shelter. It was during that time that she realized her passion for being “in the field” with the kids. Since then, she has had the privilege to work with children of all ages and skill levels, including those with special needs, and particularly those on the Autism spectrum. She and her husband, Victor, have two daughters, Alayna (10) and Kaylee (7, a Co-op alumni). When not in the classroom she enjoys adventuring outdoors with her family, biking (indoors and out), running, Yoga, swimming, and going to the beach. She is very much looking forward to starting her third year teaching at the Co-op!
Kelly Savedra, Support Teacher
We are pleased to welcome Kelly Savedra back and share with her the excitement of becoming the teacher of the young two’s on Tuesday and Thursdays. She will continue as support teacher working with all age groups on M/W/F. She has 2 children who attended the Co-op, Brendan (10) and Cricket (6, a recent Co-op alum). She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Texas, concentrating in painting and photography. Kelly feels like the Co-op philosophy mirrors her own. Before coming to the Co-op, she cared for small groups of Co-op children while their older siblings were at school. Kelly has truly enjoyed working with all of the teachers on a regular basis, and her patient, intuitive nature has been appreciated by the teachers as well. In addition to working with children Kelly loves to be outdoors and in nature. She enjoys hiking in Big Bend, gardening at home or at her children’s elementary school, and admiring animals on land and at sea. She is looking forward to another wonderful year of discovery at the Co-op, full of adventures with every single class.