Staff
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CHRISTINA YEW

Teacher

I grew up in Canoga Park where I lived until going to UC Santa Barbara. Summers I always came home and worked at a preschool near my house, and I worked on and off at the university’s childcare center. After earning a BA in literature, I moved home to attend UCLA where I earned a teaching credential and master’s in education. I taught at a couple of small schools before settling into Glendale Unified School District where I taught (mostly first grade) for a decade.

My husband and I married in 1999 and have lived near Hollywood ever since. After my son was born (2004), I worked for about a year and a half and then decided to stay home with him full time. My daughter was born the next year (2007). I am extremely grateful that I was able to have that time with my children. We had so many great adventures discovering the city together and spending time with friends. There were plenty of tantrums and tears along the way, but it is by far my greatest joy.

While I was home with my children, I participated in a group for moms at a church. Eventually I co-lead the group and started another group for mothers and daughters that we enjoyed for many years. I have also led a mentorship program for high school students, worked as a nanny and currently homeschool my daughter. 

Since joining the Parent Ed team in 2017, I have taught Infant III, multi-age, and the threes. This is such a special place. I love the opportunity to come along side families with encouragement, creativity, compassion and joy.

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DEANNA JENNINGS

Teacher

I’ve lived in Burbank most of my life. I attended Edison and Emerson Elementary Schools, John Muir Junior High and Burbank High School. After high school, I went to the University of Redlands, where I received my elementary teaching credential. I also met my husband Don there. After graduating and getting married, we moved to Connecticut for two years while Don worked on his Masters. We moved back to Burbank where we raised our sons, Matthew and Brendan and attended the Burbank Parent Education program.

I first started teaching at the Burbank United Methodist Church Nursery School. I taught four and five year old children three days a week for 32 years before moving on to the Burbank Parent Education Program. I started teaching the two year old class two days a week in our Parent Education program about 25 years ago and later took over the former Daddy and Me class that met one Saturday a month. I currently teach a two year old class three days a week and a toddler class two days a week.  I really enjoy my time with the parents, grandparents, and children in my classes.

 

In my spare time I enjoy taking yoga classes (now on Zoom), reading, walking for exercise, attending musicals at the Ahmanson Theater with my son, Brendan, and going to show choir competitions and performances. Brendan is the vocal music director of the John Burroughs High School Show Choirs. I also like going to movies and out to dinner with my husband. I love to travel and always want to do more.

 

My son, Matthew, and his wife, Sandee, live in Dallas, Texas and have two daughters, Charlotte and Lily, who are in elementary school. My granddaughters are the joy of my life! I just wish they lived closer to us so I could see them more often.

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LINDA MATSUMOTO

Teacher

I am from Burbank, went to Stevenson Elementary, Jordan Junior High School, John Burroughs High School, and all three of my children went to the same schools! I attended the University of Redlands where I received my BA and my teaching credential. I taught second grade before I began teaching at the Burbank Adult School.

 

I joined the Parent Ed program when my daughter was two years old. A friend and I heard about the program through an ad in the city water bill. I came to class with my daughter, Amiko, and later with my twin sons, Michael and Paul. So I came to parent ed and never left! When my twins started kindergarten, I started teaching an infant class, and since then I have taught every class.  I became the Resource Teacher in charge of the Parent Education Department about 20 years ago and retired 5 years ago. I still teach the school age classes.

 

I have seen a lot of changes in Parent Ed over the years, but the core values of the program have remained the same. When I started we had Father’s Day once a semester on a Saturday for the dads to come to class. I think the biggest change has been the number of father’s attending class on a regular basis. It’s wonderful to see both parents being involved in the program with their children. What I usually tell parents who are thinking about attending class or want to know about it is this, “come for a visit to see what we are all about.” Once you are in class you will find that you can make the most wonderful, longtime friendships that can last a lifetime. My sons were in a two year old class with another set of twin boys. They are now 47 years old and are still friends and their mother and I have remained friends since we met in class. I have seen friendships bloom over and over again.

 

Lastly, I am the mother of three and the grandmother of four grandchildren. Parent Ed has always been and will continue to be a big part of my life.

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TEKLA ACKELSON-WRIGHT

Teacher's Aide

Hi, I’m Tekla Ackelson-Wright. I work as an Teacher’s Aide every day of the week with all of the different age levels. I’ve taught at BAS Parent Education for the past six years.   I love the variety of different teachers, classrooms, parents and kids each day. As a former student of our parent ed. program, My family has benefited from it first-hand, My daughter is now 15. My husband, Bruce, and our daughter, Geneva enjoy spending time together (Although her friends come first these days!) We like to go to Disneyland (Bruce is an animator at Disney), see live theatre or movies, and play with our pets (a cat and a puppy).   When we travel, we hit the big cities like New York, Boston, London, Edinburgh and Tokyo. I like to check out bookstores and bakeries. Sometimes we go to Yellowstone Park with my national park-loving sister and brother in-law. It’s wonderful to see all the animals there. I have a couple of groups of close friends (most of whom I met when our kids were small. Hold on to the people you meet at mommy and me!)

I’ve worked with teachers, parents and children in a variety of settings: Performing Tree, the California Arts Project, Stop-Gap Theatre, and the Child Development Center on the campus of CSU Long Beach.   I was co-producer/director for Bread and Jam Children’s Theater. In addition, I’ve worked as an adult E.S.L. Instructor.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on psychology and child development from CSU Long Beach. I have a Master’s Degree in theatre for young audiences from Cal State Northridge.

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HEIDI BIRKER

Substitute Teacher’s Aide

I grew up in Palo Alto and my family moved to Burbank when I was 14 years old.  I attended Burbank High, then got my B.A. in English/Theater Arts at Occidental College.

I worked in law firm administration for a number of years, then got burned out on that (too may crazy lawyers, even though I married one) and as a lark worked as a Tour Guide at Universal Studios.  When I became pregnant with twin boys, my doctor said no more tram rides through “Earthquake”, so I became a stay at home wife, then mom.

I started at Parent Ed when my twins were six months old.  What a life saver! I still have friends from this program to this day, and my kids do too. Besides my twins, Dan and Chris, I also have a daughter, Carly.  I’ve been with the program as a parent, I served on the board doing the Preschool Press, and then president for one year. Then Helen needed a teacher aide, so I’ve been here since 1990.

Besides being a substitute teacher aide, I volunteer at the LA Zoo, enjoy gardening, cooking, reading and doing crossword puzzles. I enjoy being with all the kids and parents in the program, and hope to continue to contribute as an aide for as long as I can.

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ALLISON BAER

Teacher’s Aide

I was born in Ithaca, NY and grew up in Chapel Hill, NC. I have a degree in English from Emory University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Washington.

 

I like art! and reading! and nature! and I really, really like kids! We live in Burbank with our quickly emptying nest. All that’s left these days is me, my husband, two dogs, three chickens and 13-year-old Calvin.  Boo! I miss my girls (Elizabeth 25 and Lucy 22).  I’ve been teaching at Burbank Adult School for four years. Before that I stayed home with the kids for 25 years, so I depend on Parent Ed to get my kid fix (particularly sweet during Covid — seeing all those little faces (even masked) has felt very life affirming). Looking forward to another great year!

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HERMINAH

Teacher’s Aide

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