Lia Lane Staff

Director:  Heather Ashton Black

I am honored and excited to be a part of Mixed Greens, a real-life dream come true, and a place of love, peace, and learning for children and grown-ups alike!  To learn more about me and our beginnings, please visit the Director tab in the About menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site Supervisor & Flowers Teacher: J.J. Johnson

My name is J.J. and I am incredibly grateful to be a part of the Mixed Greens community! My love for working with children began in high school, when I started teaching dance classes to some aspiring ballerinas who, little did they know, were really the ones inspiring me. Motivated to continue down the path of teaching, I found myself in the Early Childhood Studies program at Sonoma State University.  I was quickly drawn to the professional field of Early Childhood, and am continually inspired by the individuals who make up this valuable community. Working in various classrooms throughout my time at SSU allowed my appreciation and passion to grow even more. After receiving my Bachelors in Early Childhood Studies in 2017, I spent a year teaching at My Gym Children’s Fitness Center here in Santa Rosa. I loved being able to help provide a place where children and families could play, learn, and grow together. I believe the value of play should take an active role in children’s learning and that education should emerge from children’s own interests.

When being introduced to Mixed Greens, I immediately knew I had found a community that shares my values and beliefs. It is important to me to create an environment where every child feels safe and supported. I believe it is only then that we can teach the whole child and help shape them to be life long learners. It is with so much joy that I get to be here at Mixed Greens and I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprouts Teacher: Katia Filatov

Hi, my name is Katia Filatov and I am so excited to be a part of the Mixed Greens community! I earned my Bachelor’s in Psychology with an emphasis in Developmental Psychology from UC Davis. To complete the emphasis, I enjoyed coursework on infant development, including physical, social/emotional, and memory development in infants and toddlers. I transferred to UC Davis from SRJC, and I’m happy to be back home in Sonoma County! 

My passion for child development began when I was still a kid—at 13 years old! Throughout the years I’ve worked with children in various ways. I’ve been a babysitter, nanny, tennis coach, camp counselor, after-school teacher, and a preschool teacher. During my two years at UC Davis, I worked at a local preschool as the afternoon teacher in the Toddler Room. 

It is so incredibly rewarding to be a part of your little ones’ lives and watch them grow. Early childhood is a very special and important part of life, both from developmental and creative perspectives. It is a time of wonder, magic, curiosity, exploration, and friendship. When I first visited Mixed Greens, I saw an environment that fostered all those wonderful traits of early childhood, and shared them between children, parents and families, teachers, and nature.

Outside of teaching, I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, and spending lots of time with my family and friends. I also love hanging out with with my three guinea pigs: Nilla, Chai, and Toffee, who also enjoy visiting Mixed Greens! I am so grateful that I get the chance to be a part of this community!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seedlings Teacher: Elizabeth Espinosa-Ouks (Lizzie)

Hi y’all! My name is Elizabeth (but you can call me Lizzie) and I am so very excited to grow with the Mixed Greens family as the Seedlings teacher! I am in the final semester of my Child Development degree at Santa Rosa Junior College and my dream is to one day open up my very own daycare/preschool! 
Kiddos have been running around and drooling on me for as long as I can remember. Being the oldest of four children has taught me a lot and has definitely contributed to my love for this work (and for children)! I have been a professional nanny for a few years now, but have been babysitting for family members since middle school. It wasn’t until I changed my major a bunch of times that I knew how passionate I truly am about children and healthy development! I loved my childhood and I wish nothing more than to make sure all children love their childhood as well! That is why being a teacher means so much to me!
Here are some fun facts about me! 🙂 I LOVE nature and I’ve been getting a hang of this gardening thing as well! (Quarantine things, am I right?) Succulents and Cacti are my favorite at the moment! I love doing hair on the side: braiding, twisting, curling, you name it! I love getting creative in the kitchen as well! I also like to paint, ride my bike, watch movies, listen to Korean pop music and bake! I am so looking forward to dominating 2021 with the Mixed Greens family and your kiddos! Nothing but fun paint messes and blessings this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atelierista: Lauren Wiseman

Hello! My name is Lauren Wiseman and I am so excited to join the Farmstead crew as the Atelierista, after having so much fun at the OG campus last year!  I was born in Ottawa Kansas in 1992, and I’m “definitely not in Kansas anymore”. I am currently the Teacher’s Assistant for Adam Wolpert at Esalen Institute for the biannual “Painting the Outer and Inner Landscape” workshops. I studied painting and art history in Florence Italy in 2013, earned a BS in 2015 from Baker University, emphasizing Ecology and Studio Art, and spent two years studying the figure at the University of Kansas with Judith McCrea. I took a leap of faith and made my journey out to California in 2018, explored the infinite beauty of Big Sur, and showed work in Monterey, Walnut Creek, and Seaside, CA. During my time in Los Angeles, I worked at the Natural History Museum, and it was my greatest joy to work with our youth visitors, full to bursting with questions about native tribes, snakes, gemstones, and the colossal giants that used to rule the earth. I seek to combine that inherent curiosity and passion for the natural world with our practices in the atelier. My journey has brought me to the beautiful Sonoma County, and I could not be more excited to explore this new world and get to know my Santa Rosa community.   

I am so looking forward to continuing my ECE journey with Mixed Greens. I am deeply inspired by positive human interaction with nature and believe that those key experiences encourage us to become better stewards of our world. In our Atelier, we will be experiencing the languages of expression, the bounty of nature, and beginning to articulate the most important lifelong question: “Who am I?” I enjoy utilizing the Reggio Emilia approach, and cannot wait to show you what magic we can create with a scoop of art fundamentals, a spoonful of deep respect for the natural world, and a heaping cup of imagination and ingenuity from our Mixed Greens students! What a winning combination!  

To learn more about my practice, upcoming shows, or my work visit www.laurenwiseman.com. I can’t wait to meet everyone! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organic Gardening Teacher: Courtney Hunter

Hi everyone, I’m Courtney Hunter, and I’m very excited to continue my journey with the Mixed Greens team! I’ve been working with kids for the past 15 years as a preschool teacher, nanny, summer camp counselor, field trip teacher, and Camp Ever Greens Counselor. In 2008 I received my AA in Child Development at the SRJC right here in Sonoma County, where I was born and raised.

Being a part of a young child’s learning experience is an incredible gift and learning lesson for all involved! Taking time to slow down and explore our curiosity about the natural world, figure out how things work and experiment with creative expression through art/movement/music/building/language are things that I love to encourage in children at any age (including us “grown ups”)!

Besides teaching, some of my other passions include gardening, creating visual art + music, traveling as much of the globe as possible, and volunteering in my community.  I look forward to meeting you all and continuing this learning journey together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmentalism Teacher: Emily Sims

Hi everyone, my name is Emily and I’m really excited to be a part of Mixed Greens! I’ve always loved playing with kids and I care so much about preserving our environment. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Theater from Cal Poly Pomona. I spent several years working at both Disneyland and Disneyworld, where I got to engage kids in storytelling and make-believe every day. I also volunteered at the Aquarium of the Pacific and taught kids about animals and ocean conservation. Last summer I spent 5 months hiking 1200 miles along the Appalachian trail, which inspired me to learn more about sustainability. Next summer, I look forward to tacking the PCT!  I recently became certified as an EMT, and I’m currently studying Sustainability.
I’ve always loved kids. I babysat a lot in high school, and most of my jobs since then have involved some element of play. At Disney parks I liked making up games and stories. The aquarium was especially exciting because I got to teach them about animals, conservation, and watch them meet strange new animals.
During quarantine I’ve been learning to grow my own food, practicing yoga, and playing with my dog. I love hiking, biking, surfing and most anything outside! And as soon as it’s safe I’m excited to be able to travel around again, especially to South America and Africa to practice my Spanish and Swahili!  I look forward to meeting everyone and learning with your kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher:  Lauren Johnson

Hi, my name is Lauren Johnson and I am so happy to have been a part of the Mixed Greens Family for a few years now! I’m currently completing my Early Childhood Education training at the SRJC and have been taking care of children and infants for over five years. I grew up as the oldest of five children in my family, so I love being around young, imaginative minds. I’ve always wanted to work with children, helping them grow into loving and respectful members of the community and now I get to live my dream. 

Coming from a very artistic family, I love helping children discover their creative side. I have loved music all my life and enjoy playing ukulele and guitar in my free time. On top of that, I enjoy the creative and therapeutic benefits of painting and other mixed media art forms. I consider it a wonderful opportunity to be able to share these passions of mine with children of all ages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher:  Joe James

Hello everyone! My name is Joe James and I am extremely excited for my first year at Mixed Greens. I can’t wait to learn more about your children’s interests and passions to better help them learn and discover the world around us. To get a better sense of me, some of my hobbies and passions include basketball, music, food, cooking, swimming, board games, my three guinea pigs, and much more.

For the past six years I have been working with kids in elementary after-school programs and summer camps in Marin county. There, I created a curriculum and activities, led small adult teams, and helped maintain a safe environment. Currently I am a senior at Sonoma State University studying Early Childhood Education. I plan on continuing my education after graduating and obtaining a teaching credential for elementary school. 

I have had the opportunity to visit Mixed Greens multiple times, and am very excited to have the opportunity to teach within the environment. The outdoor space and caring nature of all who are a part of it brings a welcoming and open space to learn and grow. I’m really excited to join such a great team of wonderful teachers and be a part of such an awesome community. Hope to meet you all soon! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substitute Teacher: Mahagony Walker (Mo)

Greetings friends! Everyone knows me as Miss Mo but my grown up name is Mahagony. I’m a returning Mixed Greener (was part of the opening crew of Lia Lane) and am thrilled to be back in the fam! After an escape to So Cal a year ago and a maternity leave, the universe has brought me and my new son Amonte back this community to continue building connections with these awesome families. I have 6 years of experience working with tiny humans from infancy through school age, but early childhood is where my heart lies. 
My education thus far comes from Santa Rosa Junior College, and my love for children began with raising my niece. I enjoy being a positive influence in children’s lives and take pride in sharing my culture, values, and interests with them. I believe that all children are capable and competent enough to make responsible decisions for themselves, and my job as a teacher is to be there to facilitate, challenge, and expand on their thoughts while making sure they execute their plans safely and with fun, of course!
When I’m not with children, I spend my time working on my personal training and online accessory business. I also enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and his Chihuahua, doing anything outdoors. I love a good read, farmers markets, avocados, cold beer, local wine, and new beauty products. Thank you for reading, I’m really looking forward to learning more about all the new and returning families this upcoming school year, and until then I send big hugs, a lot of love, and positive vibes to all!
Substitute Teacher: Rosabella Perez
Hello Everyone!  My name is Rosabella, and I am currently a third year student at Sonoma State University, majoring in Early Childhood Education.  I’m extremely grateful and excited to begin my first year here at Mixed Greens and I can’t wait to meet you all!  One of my great passions is cheerleading.  Although I don’t do it anymore, it is still very dear to my heart after doing it for 14 years and I look forward to keeping that fun spirit alive through my work with children!

Substitute Teacher: Mollye Field

Hey friends, I’m Mollye! I am thrilled to be joining the Mixed Greens family as the Atelierista at the Hoen campus, and helping out sometimes at Lia. Art has always been a significant part of my life, and I strive to add creativity wherever I can. When I was young, I took every opportunity to turn an assignment into an art project. I took photography classes in high school and college and earned an AA in Art History in 2019.  I’ve walked many paths in life and have acquired skills in various subjects and mediums along the way.

From 2012 to 2013, I studied theater arts, with an emphasis on makeup design and application. I received a Makeup Arts Certificate and designed the hair and makeup for a few shows, including Beauty and the Beast, Legally Blonde, and Les Misérables, for which I won an award. Theater brought me to cosmetology school, where I trained in esthetics and became licensed in 2016. Between 2014 and 2017, I worked at Disneyland and the Disney Store, where I interacted with children and made their days more magical. In 2018 I was the front desk associate and a Certified Tourism Ambassador for the Charles Schulz Museum. I volunteered at the Sonoma County Museum in 2019, assisting a local artist in making alebrijes with children and teens for a Día de Los Muertos exhibit. During this time, I discovered my love of working with and teaching children.

I’ve been working with children in an ECE environment since 2019 and believe I have finally found my true calling in life. I am currently finishing my degree in Child Development at the JC before I transfer to SSU to continue my Child Development and Psychology studies. My goals as a teacher are to encourage children to try new things and not be afraid of failing or making mistakes. I want to inspire creativity and
curiosity. Let’s have fun, make messes, and ask questions! I’m looking forward to meeting your children and helping them learn, grow, and become the best they can be!
PS: I’ll be the one with the pink hair. =)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substitute Teacher: Tyrrell Salath

Howdy folks! My name’s Tyrrell and I’m super duper excited to be a part of the community here at Mixed Greens. I’m currently enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College and working on getting my credentials. My experience working with children has been an adventure. Every party and event I’ve attended, children seem to gravitate towards me like how I seem to always gravitate towards the all-you-can-eat buffet tables. I also worked in another preschool two years ago, and worked for an after school program for an elementary school. Being around all the kids I’ve come across in my life has helped me gain a lot of knowledge and also feed my spark of passion to work with kids. One of my memorable moments working with kids was when one of the kids who was considered difficult by other staff members told me that I was his favorite teacher because I know how to talk to him unlike everybody else. 

Some of my passions are singing, playing chess, and taking care of my frog. For me, singing is a way to express myself…especially when I’m happy. I enjoy playing chess because I tend to think a lot so I like to use my thinking brain on the board instead of getting lost in my thoughts. Frogs are my favorite animal. I feel they have a good representation on how people are. Frogs start off as eggs and hatch into tadpoles then evolve into adult frogs and they are capable of adapting into almost any environment they’re in just like how people evolve and adapt from situations they are given or thrown into. I have a Pikachu Pacman frog named Jiraiya aka Young Thunder. I look forward to being a part of the Mixed Greens family and getting to know every child as an individual and their families. See y’all soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Ever Greens Counselor / Substitute Teacher : Raynee Jervan

Hello! My name is Raynee Jervan and I am very excited about taking this next step and adventure in my life with Mixed Greens. I come from a large family that has strong roots here in Sonoma County. From the time I was born, my parents and family have engulfed me with love & support, have taught me to believe in myself, appropriately express my feelings,  and experience every new day as an adventure in life that helps mold you as a person & create endless possibilities. I look forward to sharing those same loving qualities with the children I am blessed to be around here at Mixed Greens. I believe that children should observe nature and not only build and find the beauty in it, but also learn valuable loving qualities that they can imitate as they grow up and become respectful members of the community. I love teaching kids new things & having fun with them. I love being a part of a child’s development and I hope that I can make a positive impact on the kids that I am entrusted with daily. I’m very grateful to be working here at Mixed Greens so I can learn from the kids & they can learn from me. 

I’m currently working as an Electrician’s Apprentice with my Father who has been an Electrician in the Bay Area for over 30 years and I am striving to be more & more skilled in this trade. It has been a privilege to help the fire victims in Sonoma County rebuild their homes and see their smiling faces when they move back into their homes and put their lives back to the Sonoma County normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Ever Greens Counselor /  Substitute Teacher : Cole Brady

Howdy! My name’s Cole Brady, and I’m very much looking forward to continuing my time at Camp Ever Greens and Mixed Greens! I’m currently working my way through college to become a music teacher/working musician. I have a passion for playing the drums, I’ve been playing them for about eight and a half years without an end in sight.  You may have seen me and my band playing at Mixed Greens Art from the Start! I have been babysitting 3 kids (10 and under) of a family friend for the past few years, and have spent a whole lot of time with them. Whenever I see them, we spend our time together doing anything outdoors. From playing tag to jumping on a trampoline… sometimes a music lesson sneaks in too; whatever we decide to do it’s guaranteed fun! My mom is an elementary school teacher, and from a young age I frequently helped her out in the classroom. It has sparked my interest in teaching and getting to know more about kids and how they see the world. In the future, I hope to combine my passion for music and education/creativity to enhance my skills for a career in teaching. I’m excited for another year at Camp Ever Greens & Mixed Greens…I have nothing but high hopes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substitute Teacher / Handy Woman:  Sunee Lewitzky

Hi there!  I am a Mixed Greens mom who has been the handywoman fixer upper around the school, attending to any needed repairs, and have also been your preschool portrait photographer for the last few years. I really love all that we’re doing at the Farmstead and wanted to become more involved! I have a background in early childhood education (ECE credits), studied fine art and photography at the San Francisco Art Institute, and am currently enrolled in a graduate program to become a licensed MFT and Art Therapist. 

The love of nature, art, and fostering creativity is something I feel is very important to nurture in our children, which is why I love being a part of the Mixed Greens family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Teacher:  Maestra Ofelia (program on hold due to Covid)

Ofelia is originally from Nicaragua and arrived in Sonoma County in 2018, where she is journeying through the adventure of raising a bilingual family with young children. Through Colors of Spanish, and as a provider of Preschool Spanish to a number of Santa Rosa preschools, she is enjoying the sharing of Latin American culture and history to the next generation of multi-cultural and bilingual Californians. You can often find her at local Spanish Story Times – either as a provider or participant as she further develops her skills as a language leading instructor and mother.