Helene "Elle" Harvey - Teacher, Founder, Director
Welcome to A new Leaf! This journey began when I was working on my third degree in biology at the University of Arizona and developing science inquiry at the K-12 levels working with teachers in their classrooms. I loved my work, yet I could not find a good school experience for my 2 year old son. It was such a relief when we moved to Austin Texas and we discovered the All Austin Cooperative Nursery School. I fell in love with the Reggio way of teaching. Not only Cato thrived, but I found out how much I loved working with younger students. The rest is history. Each opportunity that we have to train with the Italians and American Reggio inspired educators makes us want more. We bound in companionship with others who feel strongly about providing children with opportunities to develop hundreds of languages of expression and be the protagonists of their learning journey. I also advocate and support the Project Approach at MNPS where I worked on several PTO boards and represented schools as Parent Advisory Council Representative for the Hillwood cluster.
Misha Davydov - Teacher
After spending two years teaching kindergarten and elementary school in Japan, Misha moved to Nashville and joined A New Leaf. His work with the Musoan Nature Partnership cultivated in him a love of fishing, farming, building, exploring, and cooking gourmet meals in the great outdoors. He inspires wonder and appreciation for nature in his students. Misha believes that for true learning to occur, instructors and students must both learn and teach together, so the Reggio approach is a great fit for him. He also firmly believes that nature isn’t a museum of dead things; the Great Outdoors provide the ideal context to engage all of the senses, especially touch, smell and taste. In his spare time, Misha loves to cook, build toys, translate literature and poetry, and beatbox. He is currently doing an M.Ed. with a dual specialization in Early Childhood Ed and Environmental Education. He has a curious, strong-willed two-year-old daughter named Yvie. Misha speaks English, Russian, and Japanese and loves to tell matching cultural tales.
Maria TeSelle - Teacher
Maria has an M.Ed in Early Childhood Education and fifteen years’ experience teaching preschool. Maria combines her knowledge of young children and how they learn with a lifelong love for the natural world. She values A New Leaf’s collaborative environment and using the Reggio way to bring all students at A New Leaf in closer communion with the world around them.
Ericka Ward - Teacher
Ericka fell in love with early childhood education as an undergraduate student at New York University while working at a preschool in NYC with AmeriCorps' Jumpstart program. This program offered her an opportunity to see the importance of early childhood education and how it impacts the larger educational experience and outcomes in a community. From there, Ericka focused her undergraduate studies on the research of democratic education with a special concentration on Reggio-inspired schools. She has worked at Reggio-inspired schools in NYC and Singapore. She also spent a year teaching English through play at a kindergarten in South Korea. Ericka is passionate about re-imagining schools as spaces of beloved community.
Amanda Reschke - Teacher
Amanda brings many strengths as an educator. She is passionate about outdoor education and this is why. Amanda was born and raised in Wisconsin. Where she spent her childhood in the north woods riding horses, camping, fishing, and building forts while role playing elaborate storylines that carried on for months. She moved to Nashville with her husband in 2007 and has a young son.
“I have been teaching in the classroom for over eight years and I’m excited to be a part of A New Leaf and the Reggio way. In the time I’ve been here I have gained some deep insight on new ways to learn, first and foremost, that children have some pretty amazing things to teach me about our shared world. One must have a seat at their table, enjoy some chocolate mud cake and bog water tea and listen.”
Shaylee Walsh - Camp Counselor and Substitute Teacher
Shaylee grew up in Minnesota where she obtained a Bachelors of Social Work and extensive training in ABA Therapy. She gained years of experience working with children in after-school care programs and nurseries. Shaylee also specialized in Special Education and in working with children with behavioral disorders in positions as a Highschool Paraprofessional, an In-Home Care Specialist, as well as an ABA Therapist at a center for autism.
Shaylee lived in Austin, TX after graduating college and completed a term working with underserved populations as an AmeriCorps Counselor in Communities in Schools. After the AmeriCorps program, she decided on a career change and began to work as a full-time musician. Shaylee moved to Nashville to continue the pursuit of music and has been nationally touring with local bands for the past three years as a drummer.
Aside from music, she has always been passionate about nature and Wilderness Education and Therapy. She spent months backpacking in mountains around the country and values the importance of access to wilderness for all children. Shaylee loves being part of the New Leaf Team because she is able to combine her passions for the outdoors, arts and children all into one place with wonderful families and co-educators!! She recently completed a training program to become a Certified Music Together teacher and is very excited to pursue more experience integrating music into the field of child development.
Cecile Gresard-Pachelli - French Teacher
Cecile was born in France and moved to Los Angeles in her 20s to study psychology. She obtained a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and worked as a behavior specialist and a school counselor in special education for 5 years with children K through 12. She spent the next few years working in the addiction field. When she became a mother, she worked as a childcare provider to bring her son along.
She enjoys working with preschool children. Besides the fact that they all look adorable, she loves their constant sense of wonder and how they live in the now. She was fascinated by watching her son's personality unfold when he developed an intense interest in bugs. She used his fascination to teach him math and reading skills. She now have an extensive (and accidental) knowledge of beetles she surprises even herself with. She loves the Reggio pedagogy for the way it engages children in exploring and active learning. After her son attended summer camp at A New Leaf, he developed new interests and still wants to learn more about botany and robotics. She believes that watching children blossom and acquire new skills every day is so gratifying. She enjoys teaching French at A New Leaf and through her program French in the Park .
Kathryn Lewis - Atelierista Consultant
Kathryn moved from Chattanooga to the Nashville area this summer with her husband and four children. She is just getting started at A New Leaf, but she worked as an Atelierista at another wonderful Reggio-inspired preschool where she enjoyed the opportunity to practice her ideal version of art education. Allowing children to direct the inquiry and construct their own knowledge and truly collaborating, reflecting, and learning alongside the other teachers and the children are some of her favorite aspects of the Reggio way of teaching. Kathryn Lewis received her BA in Art from Millsaps College where she studied black and white photography and French. While pursuing her MA in Art Education from the University of Alabama, she focused on ceramic and steel sculpture. She also earned a PhD in Art Education from the Pennsylvania State University where she researched museum education and its impact on the classroom.