Helene "Elle" Harvey - Teacher, Founder, Director
Welcome to A new Leaf as we embark on our 12th year of growth to serve children and their families. It has been an amazing journey, and it is with great passion that I maintain my involvement as both the director and teacher. It all began when I was working on my third degree in biology, 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 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, 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.
Ghenet Lee Yong - Teacher, Assistant Director
Ghenet brings 16 years of experience teaching in infant, toddler, and preschool classrooms. She confides with a smile that “Once you begin working in the Reggio philosophy, it nurtures you so, and you can never go back.” She enjoys engaging with students in critical thinking, ingenuity, inventiveness, problem solving, empathy and fluid thinking in the prepared environment to develop multiple interests. Neuroscience has shown that interest is a key factor in learning, favoring cognitive pathways and connections with long-term memory. Ghenet graduates in January 2016 with a Bachelors in Cognitive Studies from Ashford University. After her commencement walk in San Diego, she will join East Tennessee State University online for a Masters in Early Childhood Education and Emergent Curriculum, studying under the mentorship of Jane Broderick. Ghenet loves to read and enjoys nature walks. She is fluent in American Sign Language. Celebrating 11 years of marriage in November, she has two children attending Gower Elementary.
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. Each and every day is filled with new learning opportunities for him and his students. In his spare time, Misha loves to cook, build toys, translate literature and poetry, and beatbox. He studies child psychology and history in his spare time and plans to begin a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. Misha speaks English, Russian, and Japanese.
Maria TeSelle - Teacher
Maria is one of the newest members of our A New Leaf crew. She comes to us with an M.Ed in Early childhood Education and twelve years’ experience in a traditional NAEYC accredited preschool. Maria combines her knowledge of young children and how they learn with a lifelong love for the natural world. She is thrilled to be here in collaboration with the teachers at a New Leaf. She is committed to developing her skills in teaching in the Reggio way and bringing all students at New Leaf in closer communion with the world around them.
Cecile Gresard-Pachelli - Teacher
Cecile Gresard-Pachelli 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.
Erica Hunt - Atelierista
Erica was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and lived there her whole life up until moving to Nashville in August. She has been loving everything so far; the people, food, exploration of all things new! She received her Bachelors of Science with a focus in Art Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. After graduating, she worked at an adult day facility as a Vision Rehab/Art Therapist with the blind and disabled population. A few years later and up until this recent move, she worked as a manager/painting instructor and a local painting studio, where she taught classes of adults and children how to use different techniques to create acrylic works of art.
In her spare time she loves to be outdoors, thrift shop and search for antique treasures, and find crafty projects to complete. She has taken many studio courses over the course of her studies, but Fibers art and Photography became her favorites, so whenever she has the chance she likes to get out her 35mm or Nikon and take some photos. She also loves cooking as an art form, and is always experimenting in the kitchen.
She is enjoying learning and being a part of teaching the Reggio approach. She appreciates that it does not hold a limit to the children's expression of self and allows for exploration of ideas with others and creates a union between the students, teachers, families and community.
Kathryn Lewis - Atelierista
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.