Debi Kaufman is our Executive Director. Debi Kaufman is originally from Boston, Massachusetts. She moved out to California to attend The California Institute of the Arts where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. She spent a year abroad studying in Paris. Prior to entering the field of Early Childhood Development she was a graphic designer and Department Director.
An artist at heart, Debi found her true calling as an Early Childhood Educator. After becoming a mom, she got involved with her children’s preschool. Her involvement initiated a desire to help both parents and children and prompted her to go back to school where she studied Early Childhood Development and that action led her to be hired as the Director of the Studio City Co-op Preschool.
She has a rich background within developmental preschool environments, including experience at Adat Ari El’s Reggio Emilia Preschool as well as thirteen years at The Studio City Co-op Preschool, nine of those as its Director. During her tiime at SCCP, she was awarded “The Teacher of The Year Award” by The California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools. Debi has many years of experience and passion for play-based education, her involvement within, and assistance in building, community-rich environments.
Joyce Rose has been a part of the Nurtury since 1991 and was the Director of the school for many years. In 2015, Joyce retired but continued to be a part of the Nurtury Board as the Church Liaison. She is a Los Angeles native and has raised five children here in the Valley. She received her Child Development education from Los Angeles Mission College. She has sat on countless boards and committees over the years and is or has been involved in the California Early Childhood Mentor Program, NAEYC, The Director’s Rap, The Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce, and The Nurtury Board of Directors. She brings decades of knowledge in Early Childhood and is firmly dedicated to the developmental learning model and curriculum. She lives in Brentwood with her husband of 53 years, Bob Rose, and their dog Sophie. She enjoys her children and grandchildren and loves to travel the world! Although no longer serving at the Nurtury in an Official capacity, she is our “director emeritus,” and we often consult Joyce when we are in need of her sage advice!
Michelle Krehl is our Head Teacher and Assistant Director at The Nurtury. She is currently teaching in the Kindergarten classroom, and is firm believer in developmentally appropriate practice. She was excited to help develop the Kindergarten program at the Nurtury, and to be able to incorporate play as an integral part of the children’s day. She moved to Los Angeles from Wisconsin in 1989. She began teaching here as a substitute and part time teacher in 2001 and moved on to teaching full time in 2002. She attended the Milwaukee School of Business, and received an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising and minored in Interior Design, and later attended L.A. Mission College, earning her preschool certificate after taking 38 child development units and 23 general ed units for an AA equivalent in Early Childhood Education. She was the Los Angeles County Preschool Teacher of the year in 2011, and has made media and TV appearances discussing the importance of quality Early Childhood Education. She is on the Advisory Committees for Child Development at Los Angeles Mission College and Los Angeles Valley College. She is a mentor teacher in the California Early Childhood Mentor Program where she oversees student teachers from local colleges and universities. She lives in Van Nuys with her longtime boyfriend Chet. She has two adult children, Dylan and Nicole. She is also a doggy mom to her two terrier mix rescues Mindy and Max, and a feisty little maltipoo named Sloane. If Michelle was not a teacher she would be a dog trainer or have her own rescue.
Shelby Fine is one of our Kindergarten teachers. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary/Early Childhood education from Adelphi University in New York. Shelby moved to Los Angeles from New Jersey. She has ten years of experience in early childhood education and previously taught at Adat Ari El. She is a creative and dynamic teacher who is a proponent of project based learning and seeing the “whole child.” She was excited to join The Nurtury staff as a full time teacher, after subbing here frequently in previous years, and has been extremely instrumental in developing our fantastic Kindergarten program. Shelby enjoys physical fitness and working out, and spending time with her teenage sons Gabe and Brady, and resides in Woodland Hills.
Norma Montes began as a student teacher in 2013 and was hired as a full-time staff member in August 2014. She has completed 36 units of Child Development in addition to having a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from UCLA. Prior to her employment at The Nurtury, Norma worked at the nurse’s office at Oxnard Elementary, and volunteered at other LAUSD programs. She likes to do crafting in her spare time, and she also speaks and reads Portuguese.
Sophia Mosqueda has been a teacher at The Nurtury since 2004. She attended Los Angeles Mission College and has over 30 units of Child Development. She was named a Sherman Oaks Teacher of the Year in 2012. She loves to garden and often shares her beautiful roses with us on special occasions. She lives in Sylmar with her husband and 3 dogs. She has two grandsons. Sophia is very excited about becoming the permanent Crocodile teacher. She loves working with the youngest children at the school.
Connie Briceno Maldonado came to The Nurtury in 2006, and teaches in the preschool aged classroom. She is exceptionally creative, and her classroom always reflects that creativity. She was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. as a young child. She and her husband Gilberto have two young sons, Angel and Aaron. Miss Connie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks, with an early childhood education specialization, and an A.A. in Child Development from Los Angeles Mission College. In 2013 she was a Sherman Oaks Teacher of the Year. In her spare time, Miss Connie enjoys reading books by her favorite authors, Paolo Coehlo and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She likes outdoor activities and spending time with her family.
Flor Aragon recently became part of The Nurtury staff. She has been teaching for the past 5 years and received her certificate at LACC but plans on furthering her education. She has been a teacher for infants, toddlers and up to the age of 6 year’s old. She’s had the opportunity to be a teacher for all ages and love’s being able to be a part of a child’s learning experience. She is great at helping children get prepared for Kindergarten.
She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. In her spare time she loves being with her family, her dog Rollie Pollie and Luna who’s the newest addition to the family. She also enjoys taking pictures with her Canon Ae-1. Flor loves being an educator for children and looks forward to doing it for many years to come.
Peyton “Poom” Jitsopha is our regular Substitute Teacher. He was born in Bangkok, Thailand and moved here in 2004. He did his semester of student teaching here at The Nurtury under Miss Michelle in the fall of 2012. He received his Associates Degree in Child Development from Los Angeles Valley College in 2012 and was on the Dean’s List. He holds a California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Child Development Permit. He brings a fun and lively energy here for the kids. He speaks Thai and English. He subs for us when we need an extra hand, and the children love to have Poom here!