Our Team

Lia Thompson-Clark
Director

Lia has served as the Director of The Children's School since 1997. Lia is an alumna of SSU, with a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology. She attained her elementary teaching credential at the University of London. During Lia's extensive experience as a director of multiple schools across the country, she has developed a unique theoretical approach to teaching young children and has developed her philosophy at The Gazebo School Park with school sites both the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California and Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

Lia has served as a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 1983 and currently serves as the co-president of the Sonoma County Association for the Education of Young Children (SCAEYC). She has made presentations at national, state, and local conferences of the organization. During the 2010-2011 school year, Lia participated in the Center for Ecoliteracy's Leadership Academy.

Lia is an active member in both the National Coalition for Campus Children's Centers and the Council of CSU Children's Centers. On the SSU campus, Lia is adjunct faculty and serves on the advisory committees for both Human Development and Early Childhood Education faculty.

Tarik Kanaana
Health and Nutrition Coordinator

Tarik started working as head chef and our health and nutrition coordinator in 2009. He came
to work at the Children's School from the SSU Dining Services. Tarik has extensive experience in different restaurant kitchens and before his culinary career he studied at Michigan Tech, where he received a B.S. in Mathematics. Tarik's son, Omar attended The Children's School and is now in fourth grade. Tarik is first aid and CPR-certified.

Ashley Murray
Master Teacher, Rosebuds Classroom

Ashley has been at The Children's School since 2006, when she began working as a student assistant while finishing her B.A. in Sociology at SSU. In 2008 she became the Associate Teacher and in 2010 became the Master Teacher in the Rosebuds classroom and completed her M.A. in Early Childhood Education. Ashley's cognate project explored the role of technology and social networking in communicating young children's learning with families. Ashley is first aid and CPR-certified. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as an active member in our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC.

Jess Truttman
Associate Teacher, Rosebuds Classroom

Jess joined the Rosebuds classroom in fall of 2010. She has taught in the school setting since 2001, working with children ranging from six weeks to sixth grade. Jess earned her A.A. in Early Childhood Education from Santa Rosa Junior College and her B.A. in Human Development from SSU. Jess is first aid and CPR-certified. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as an active member in our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC.

Melissa Johnston
Master Teacher, Poppies Classroom

Melissa has been at The Children's School since August of 2007, when she began as a student assistant. Previous to that that, she worked with children with developmental disabilities in the after-school program at Lattice Educational Services in Santa Rosa, CA. Melissa became a Master Teacher in the Poppies classroom in the Fall of 2009. Melissa has her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Sonoma State University. While completing her graduate studies Melissa focused on the importance of quality outdoor environments and experiences for children of all ages. Melissa is first aid and CPR-certified. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as an active member in our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC.

Lynne Lyle
Master Teacher, Dandelion Classroom

Lynne Lyle has been at the Children's School as a parent, as a student, and as a Master Teacher. Lynne's son Ben attended the school as a four year old in the late 1990's. As an MA student in Early Education, Lynne observed children at the school while working on her thesis focusing on how media impacts the play of young children. Lynne has taught child development courses at local community colleges and at SSU. Lynne was awarded the Circle of Excellence in Education award, and has completed the Program for Infant Toddler Care. Lynne is first aid and CPR-certified. Lynne has been a long time member of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as co-president of our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC. She has made presentations at national and state conferences, and was instrumental in organizing and making presentations at the annual SCAEYC mini-conferences.

Kristina Sisseck
Associate Teacher, Dandelion Classroom

Kristina started teaching at The Children's School in fall of 2011 as an Associate Teacher in the Dandelion's classroom. Previous to that, she worked for University of Merced Early Childhood Education Center as a founding teacher. Before that, she worked with Merced County Head Start in an inclusion classroom and was named PreK Teacher of the Year for Merced County in 2009. She has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for the past six years. Kristina earned her B.A. in Child Development and Family Studies from California State University, Long Beach and taught at their Child and Family Center for two years. She earned her M.A. in Leadership in Early Childhood Education from Chapman University in fall 2011. Kristina is first aid and CPR-certified. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the California AEYC as well as an active member in our local affiliate, Sonoma County AEYC.