Meet Our Teachers

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, working as a realtor for John L Scott, or sitting with her Girl Scout troop around a campfire.


Marcia Palk – Turtles class

Marcia was raised on Mercer Island and currently resides in Bellevue with her husband and three children.  She has a B.A. degree in Business Administration and will complete an AA in Early Childhood Education this year and plans to continue her education.  Marcia has always had a passion for teaching and engaging with children and has volunteered in two local preschools, teaching in various youth sports, and served on the Lake Heights YMCA parent advisory board.  She joined EDS 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 exploring with her children, hiking and traveling with the family.


Susi Busey – Turtles class

Susi is a 35 year resident of Mercer Island. Her sons attended Emmanuel Day School in the mid seventies! She attended Lakeside in Seattle and Ryder University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She has volunteered many hours in the school district as well as the Boys and Girls Club. Susi has worked with an Island psychologist doing home visits and helped develop treatment plans for families with children who have behavioral issues. Many Island children know her as “The Nanny” because of all her years of caring for them.


Becky Borda – Sea Stars class

Becky has lived on Mercer Island with her husband and six children for the past 20 eds-1-of-4-2plus years. All of her children have attended Emmanuel Day School. Becky has an AA in Early Childhood Education along with an AA in Science. She has spent her time volunteering at St. Monica’s teaching 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and Kindergarten students about their faith for the past 10 plus years. She has also volunteered up at Lakeridge and as a Girl Scout leader when her girls were little. Becky enjoys working at Emmanuel Day school with the children and seeing their faces light up when they understand a new concept or idea. For her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family – camping, playing games (board and computer), reading and taking walks with her husband and new puppy.


Amber Gribble – Sea Stars class

Amber graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in sociology andamber-1-of-1 psychology. After working with adults, adolescents, and children in a counseling center, she knew that she loved working with people but new 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, 3 children and 3 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.


Sonja Logan – Sea Stars class

Sonja was born and raised in Melbourne Australia, completing a diploma in children’s EDS (2 of 4)-2.jpgservices and worked in a childcare/preschool for 10 years.

She has two girls 7  & 5, and moved to Mercer Island in 2012 where her husband got contracted to PSE for 16 months before returning back to Australia for 2 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 her daughter attended the Sea Stars class last year and is now in kindergarten and decided that EDS 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


Cathy Anderson – Dolphins class

Cathy has a passion for nurturing young children as they develop a love of learning. She eds-4-of-4has taught preschool since 1999 and strives to create a caring and joyful learning environment that sparks curiosity and builds self-confidence. Cathy graduated from WSU with a BA in Communications and a minor in Business, and she earned additional credits in Early Childhood Education. Cathy is a mom of three young-adult children and one Golden Retriever. She and her husband live in Issaquah. One of Cathy’s favorite quotes is “Children see magic because they look for it” (C. Moore). She is grateful for the countless ‘magical’ moments she and her students share together.


Laurie Stegman – Dolphins class

Laurie was born and raised in the Seattle area and lives in Bellevue with her husband and 3 EDS L (1 of 1) (1).jpgchildren.   She’s worked the past 6 years in the special education department for the Bellevue School District.  Prior to that, she was a teacher at Newport Covenant Preschool in the young 3s class and also the Camp Friday program.  Laurie enjoys traveling with her family and reading a good book.  One of her favorite quotes: The more you read, the more your know.  The more you know, the smarter you grow.  The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, when speaking your mind or making your choice.


Annie Averett – Dolphins class & Spanish

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.


Our Parent Board

EDS is governed by an active Parent Board, divided into committees and responsible for various needs of the preschool – social, safety, room parent, fundraising, etc. The Board plans many activities for our families throughout the school year – back to school / parent education night, welcome coffees, a pumpkin carving social, Italian Dinner night, Bingo / Ice Cream Social, evening parent socials, and our graduation potluck. We love to have fresh voices participating. Learn more about our parent board.

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