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 were pleased to have Cass Attaway-Krueger return to AACNS to teach the younger 2’s and 3’s classes. 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 Center of Austin preschool, and then taught at the Co-op for 23 years!
Kerry Drake, Atelierista, and Director’s Assistant
Kerry has a dual role at the Co-op: she is the assistant to the Director and the school’s Atelierista. In our adaptation of the Reggio Emilia approach, Kerry works with small groups of children of all ages, using a variety of materials to help them express their ideas. Collaboration with teachers, observing and documenting the children’s learning process, and sharing that with parents informs Kerry’s work. Kerry can also be found in the office continuing to support parents, teachers, and the director. 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. She teaches our younger 2-year-old class. 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
We are excited to welcome back Melissa Waelchi who will be teaching the Older 3’s class. Melissa 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, she moved to Austin and began working with abused, abandoned and neglected children at the Austin Children’s Shelter. 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. When not in the classroom she enjoys adventuring outdoors with her family, biking (indoors and out), running, yoga, swimming and going to the beach.
Kelly Savedra, Support Teacher
We are pleased to welcome back Kelly Savedra as our assistant teacher. Kelly graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from The University of Texas, concentrating on painting and photography. Kelly feels the Co-op philosophy mirrors her own. Most recently she has been caring for small groups of Co-op children while their older siblings were at school. It is obvious that the children and their parents have truly enjoyed this time. Kelly looks forward to working with all of the teachers and her patient, intuitive nature will be 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 her son’s elementary school and admiring animals on land and sea.