Albina Allen has been with the LCFCC Preschool since the fall of 2002. She loves working with preschool-age children, especially 3-year olds because they are so genuine and sweet. She earned her Early Childhood Development credits through UCLA Extension classes. Albina is married to Steve and they have sons Aaron and Kevin. She loves working outside in her yard and going on long walks with her dog.
Alison McQuay is happy to join the preschool this year as a floater. She has a B.A. in Spanish from Colorado College, and an MBA from USC. Alison has spent many hours volunteering in the classrooms at Palm Crest Elementary over the past several years. Her husband and two teenage daughters keep her very busy.
Amanda Balcazar joined the Community Center as its Program Director in August 2012. Previously, she had worked at the Community Center as the Volunteer Coordinator assisting with volunteer recruitment and fundraising events. She has extensive experience in developing social media campaigns and will bring that expertise to the Community Center as we launch new programs. She has attended Pierce College, Los Angeles Valley College, and Pasadena City College.
Annette Shafrazian teaches ceramics at the Community Center. She is a potter who sees and feels different aspects of the world around her and she folds these perceptions into her work. She works in two different temperatures: high-fire, which is stoneware and porcelain, which is low-fire. she moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and worked as a fashion designer for 12 years.
Aracely Orellana was born in El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America. She comes from a hard working family and is the only girl in a family of five boys. She attended EVANS Community Adult School where she took ESL classes and got her high school diploma. She then transferred to Pasadena City College where she took Child Development classes. She loves teaching but what she enjoys the most is working with young children. She's been working with preschoolers most of her life, such as when she taught Sunday School for preschoolers at her church. She's been teaching at the Community Center Preschool for the past ten years. In her spare time she likes to garden, bake, spend time with her family and play with her two dogs Diego and Flaky. She loves to travel to different countries, cities and national parks.
Cheryl Fazzi is beginning her 5th year teaching at the Preschool. Cheryl graduated from Pacific Oaks College with a BA degree in Human Development with a specialization in the early years. She brings her passion for cooking, science, literature and expressive art into the classroom on a daily basis. Her philosophy is to honor each unique child as she fosters community building as well as individual learning. With love and laughter being at the core. Outside of the classroom, Cheryl enjoys spending time with her three children, baking, cake decorating, reading, yoga, and relaxing with friends.
Danielle Caputo came to the LCFCC Preschool in September, 1996 as the Assistant Director and preschool teacher under the direction of Pam Stephens. When Pam retired in 2004, Danielle excitedly stepped in as the Preschool Director. She graduated from California State University, Northridge in 1988 where she received her degree in Child Development. Danielle grew up in Glendale, CA where she attended Glendale High School. She has two sons, William and Zane who got their start here at the preschool and are now students in Eagle Rock Elementary School and Eagle Rock Senior High School. Danielle is also the proud step mom of 4 adult children and grandmother to 5. She considers her family as her proudest accomplishment.
Jean Taylor was born in Chingford, Essex, England. She went to college in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating with a teaching degree in 1947, L.G.S.M. (ELOC). This led to working as a Studio Manager at the B.B.C. till 1956 when she married a Canadian from Montreal. Living there in January, 1958 she joined a Potter’s Club and discovered clay! The following year her husband, as a Diplomat for the Canadian Government was posted to Johannesburg, South Africa. In the 3 1/2 years spent there she completed her ceramic training with a British potter, John Edwards. A second posting brought them, with their two children to Los Angeles, and Jean continued her studies at Pasadena City College. In 1966, her husband was again reposted, but Jean elected to stay here with her two children. In June 1966 Jean began, what was to become her life’s work, at the Community Center, known in those days as the Youth House. As Director she began to build the Ceramics department teaching all the classes, including also some cooking classes, and in the summer, Archaeology for the Science Camp. She also taught art and clay up at the Community Center’s Preschool. In 2006 after 40 years as Director she resigned, but continues to teach once a week. Her passions? She used to garden, which is of the earth, from whence comes the clay that makes our pots, and into which goes the produce which is required for the recipes which she endlessly researches. A wonderfully creative cycle which we can all embrace (along with our loved ones) together, as a ceramic family.
Jane Shirk joined LCFCC Preschool in 2007. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in English Literature and completed her child development units at UCLA. Jane loves teaching, volunteering with the "Reading to Kids" organization, hiking, movies, and spending time with her family.
Kelly Cook came to the Community Center in 1999 after graduating from California State University, Northridge where she received her degree in Child Development. She grew up in La Crescenta where she attended Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. She and her husband have a young daughter and reside in nearby South Pasadena. She has a unique long-term association with the Community Center of La Canada in that the flagpole has a memorial plaque, which was dedicated to her grandmother, Ida Glynn, for her service to the Community Center. She enjoys traveling to Hawaii with her family, going to the beach and working out.
Kristen Erickson is a Los Angeles based ceramic artist whose thrown and handbuilt stoneware pieces focus on the exploration of color, texture, and form while vacillating between being functional and nonfunctional. The aesthetics of Kristen’s current body of work can be described as modern and surprising. One collection of pieces takes the form of a group of simple freeform bottles, while her jewelry, wall pieces, and slab sculptures challenge the role of clay as a material. Kristen grew up with a traditional pottery education, having taken her first class at the age of twelve at an Illinois community center and continued to build on her ceramic skill set well past high school. An interest in larger scales of functional design motivated her to apprentice under a woodworker for two years, and later to pursue an education in architecture, which temporarily took her out of the ceramic studio. In 2003 she received a BFA in Environmental Art from Otis College of Art and Design, after which she worked with a variety of Los Angeles architecture firms on both residential and commercial projects. It was not until 2010 that she returned to working with clay. As a result of this varied background in making and designing, Kristen’s ceramic pieces are well crafted in the traditional sense as well as explorative and inventive. Recently, Kristen received an award from the American Ceramic Society Design Chapter of Southern California for her aforementioned bottle forms. In November of 2013, she relocated with her husband to the city of Pomona, where she is currently focused on setting up her private studio. She has also accepted a position as an instructor at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge teaching ceramic handbuilding techniques.
Kristin Nagasawa has been working with children for over 16 years. She has a bachelor's degree in Child Development from California State University, Northridge and began teaching preschool in 2003. She took a short break after having her daughter and is so excited to be back in the classroom again. She fell in love with LCFCC Preschool when her own daughter attended the school a few years ago. Her favorite part of teaching is watching the children grow and blossom into healthy, happy, and confident learners! In her spare time she likes to volunteer in her daughter's classroom, learn to speak Japanese, watch movies, and spend time with her husband, her daughter, and her friends.
Liz came to the Community Center in 2012 to work on the Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive. She has joined the office as an Administrative Assistant. she lives in Altadena with her husband and is a member of the Assistance League of Pasadena. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, walks with her dogs and spending time with family and friends.
Marissa Canche is happy to be part of the preschool this year and begin her journey in early childhood education! She will be assisting Miss Miriam in the Green Door and Miss Erin in the Blue Door on Monday's and Wednesday's. Marissa received her bachelors degree in Liberal Studies from California State University, Los Angeles in 2002 and is currently taking Child Development courses at Glendale Community College. She is a mom of two and has witnessed first hand how incredible the preschool truly is when her daughter enrolled in the Blue Door last year! In her spare time, Marissa enjoys crafting, photography and date nights with her husband!
Miriam Allcroft has been teaching at the preschool for one year. She is the lead teacher for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday four-year-old class, and an assistant Teacher in Miss Jennyʼs Pre-K class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Miriam has a Bachelorʼs Degree in Early Childhood Education and is near completion of her Masters in Education. She loves every minute of her day as a preschool teacher, and especially loves to get messy! In her free time, Miriam enjoys long-distance running, singing, and going on hikes with her husband.
Miriam Balcazar is the director of the Community Center's Ceramics Department. She started her ceramics instruction, like so many of the Center's staff, in an after-school program when she was 10. She has oved clay since day one! She continued a career in the textile world but came back to ceramics in 1990. She Studied ceramics at The Valley College under the instruction of Dale Fulkerson and after that she achieved a Ceramics Certificate from Glendale College where she received instruction from Rob Kibler, Mark Poore, Ed O'Reilly, Richard McCall, Roger Porter and Biliana Popova. She participated in several student and faculty ceramic shows at AMOCA and has participated in several shows at Mc Groarty Arts Center receiving awards from the Ceramics Society of Southern California. She has been the Director of the ceramics department since 2003. The department continues to expand and grow, adding classes and specialty workshops keeping our participants engaged and learning. She loves seeing the studio full of participants enjoying themselves and seeing how they advance in their skills.
Nicole Collier has been working in a preschool setting since 2011. Nicole grew up in Costa Mesa, Ca. She attended Orange Coast College where she did her Early Childhood units. She has lived in La Crescenta since 2000. She is the mother of 5 great kids, Bryce, Isaac, Mikie, Morgan, and Christian! Her family is the greatest joy in her life!
Sara is one of the Community Center's ceramics instructors. She has had an on-going love affair with clay since her teens, and has been teaching ceramics for the past 12 years. She believe in the power of clay – anyone can play, explore, and expand their creativity in this wonderfully malleable medium. Her job as a teacher is to support and guide the student, no matter their age or experience, in their creative journey
Susan Rendina is a preschool teacher. Since August 2008, Susan Rendina has worn many hats at the LCFCC Preschool, including assistant teacher, teacher, substitute and floater. She simply loves kids and families. She has a Master's Degree in Social Work with a child-welfare specialization from Arizona State University. Susan stays busy with her husband Ron, very social teenage twin daughters, and her beloved scruffy mutt Bella.
Tom began teaching children’s and adult ceramic classes at CCLCF in 2008. His ceramic journey began at Everywoman’s Village in Van Nuys in the early 1990s, and by 2005, he’d moved on to the ceramics program at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. While volunteering as an assistant in the Art department, he developed his love for firing kilns. Tom’s ceramics have been included in exhibitions at the American Museum of Ceramic Arts in Pomona, and the California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Arts in Davis. His background is in costume design and construction. He earned his BFA and MA at the University of Arizona, where he was also a teaching assistant while doing his graduate work. For 24 years before he began working with ceramics full-time, he worked in wardrobe on the set of “The Young and the Restless.” Tom says, “I love to help people, both the young and the not-so-young, find their inner potters. Hopefully, I provide some inspiration for their individual creativity.”
Valerie Westerholm has been with the LCFCC Preschool for three years. She is an assistant in the green and red door classrooms. Valerie completed her Child Development units at Glendale Community College. In her free time, Valerie likes to play softball, go hiking with her husband and dog, ride her bike, and read.