Claudia Allard, Director

Claudia has lived on Mercer Island with her husband and two daughters, Anneka and Ava, for the past 17 years. Claudia received her BA from Columbia University in NYC and then her JD from the Washington College of Law at the American University in Washington DC. She has worked as a healthcare consultant and then as the Science Friday Teacher at Lakeridge Elementary School on Mercer Island and also as a 3’s teacher at Emmanuel Day School. With her husband James, they founded Blue C Sushi and Boom Noodle Restaurants and most recently created Elemental Wood Fired Pizza in University Village and downtown Tacoma. When not at EDS, Teacher Claudia can be found at a dog park with her two dogs Scout and Sophie, at Preston Fields watching soccer, or sitting with her Girl Scout troop around a campfire.

Amber Hughes, Turtles Class Teacher

Amber spent ten years as a substitute special education teacher and sub. She was a toddler teacher at Patti’s Play Center before joining Emmanuel Day School as a teacher in the Turtles classroom.

She loves to spend her free time with her two kids, going to weekly movie nights, family dinners, and hiking with her two dogs. Her hobbies include crocheting and petting every dog she sees.

Amber Gribble, Turtles Class Teacher

Amber graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in sociology and psychology. After working with adults, adolescents and children in a counseling center, she knew that she loved working with people but that her passion was working with children. She began working at Emmanuel Day School in the 3’s (now Turtles) class in 2010 and loved working in the classroom with the children, interacting with families and being part of the EDS family.

After becoming pregnant with her twins, she decided to leave EDS and stay home with her growing family but always knew she wanted to come back to EDS. She currently lives on Mercer Island with her husband, three children and three dogs. She loves spending free time with her family and friends, running, working in her yard and being a volunteer at her children’s schools.

Marcia Palk, Sea Stars Class Teacher

Marcia was raised on Mercer Island and currently resides in Bellevue with her husband and three children. She has an AA degree in Early Childhood Education and a BA in Business Administration. Marcia has always had a passion for teaching and engaging with children. She currently works with another Island preschool in the afternoons and in the past volunteered teaching Sunday school, YMCA t-ball and soccer youth sports, and served on the Lake Heights YMCA parent advisory board.  She joined Emmanuel Day School in 2012 and loves being involved with preschoolers, supporting them as they learn and grow independently and socially through fun and positive experiences. In her spare time, Marcia enjoys adventures with her children, volunteering at church, hiking and traveling with the family.

Laura Tomaselli, Sea Stars Class Teacher

Laura completed her teaching degree in Australia and has worked in education for over 20 years. During that time she worked with both middle and high school children but has also worked with preschool aged kids both at Sunday school and in the district. Since she moved to Seattle nearly five years ago, she has done a lot of work within the district and in the last few years especially, she has done a lot of work in the elementary schools. She has really come to enjoy working with young children and is very excited to be joining the wonderful team at Emmanuel Day School this year.

She lives on the Island and has three children, two of whom go to school there. Her oldest son is returning to Australia next year to pursue university study there. She also has a Sophomore boy and a 6th Grade girl.

Courtney Cordero, Sea Stars Class Teacher

Courtney grew up on Mercer Island and she and her husband moved back to the Island right before their wedding. She has two daughters who currently attend West Mercer. It was when they both attended Emmanuel Day School that she fell in love with the school and community and always subbed when their was an opening.

While Courtney got her degree in Business from City University, she always knew that she wanted to work with children. From a young age she enjoyed babysitting, which turned into full-time nannying during college and now is pursuing early childhood courses at Seattle Central.

Sonja Logan, Dolphins Class Teacher

Sonja was born and raised in Melbourne Australia, completing a diploma in children’s services and worked in a childcare/preschool for ten years. She has two girls, seven and five, and moved to Mercer Island in 2012 where her husband got contracted to PSE for 16 months before returning back to Australia for two years. She returned to Mercer Island again in February 2015 as a job opening for her husband became available and decided to relocate again.

She has always enjoyed working with children and after her daughter attended the Sea Stars class decided that Emmanuel Day School was a great place to work. She loves spending time with family and friends and getting in the great outdoors kayaking and hiking and loves to travel.

Laura Schaps, Dolphins Class Teacher

Laura has been a member of the Mercer Island community since 2011. She has had two out of her three children attend Emmanuel Day School. Although her husband grew up on Mercer Island, Laura was born and raised in Northern California. In addition to spending time with her family she enjoys hot yoga, cooking, photography, stand-up paddle boarding and traveling to warm places.

Laura has been a teacher in the Turtles and Dolphins classes here at EDS and enjoys getting to know each child and family. She loves preschool art and the endless imagination that the kids in her class have.

Annie Averett, Dolphins Class &

Spanish Teacher

Señora Averett is a lifelong language learner and began her pursuit of fluency in Spanish within the Mercer Island School District. Her international business studies at the University of Washington gave her the opportunity to enroll at the Universidad de Granada in Spain. After completion of her degree, she traveled throughout Latin America conducting business in Spanish and spending half her time in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and the other half here in Seattle. Along the way she has consistently taught children and adults alike, in group and individual settings. She is passionate about helping students of all ages expand their language abilities in a safe and fun environment. She looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for the Spanish-speaking world with the Emmanuel Day School community.