Allegra Jabo, Founder
Ms. Allegra was not a fan of science until high school, when one teacher changed her outlook. A new-found lover of science, she received her B.S. in Biology from Mary Washington College and M.S. in Coral Geochemistry from the University of Maryland. Throughout the years she has tutored in math and science, including SAT prep. She also spent time teaching marine science to elementary students in the Florida Keys and as a Teaching Assistant to undergrads in Environmental Geology at UMD. While teaching at UMD, she won several teaching awards, including the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001. The first decade of her career she has been involved in marine and environmental research at the Smithsonian Institution’s Marine Systems Lab and Paleobiology Department.
In 2004, Ms. Allegra took a break from research to stay home with her daughter, who was followed by a baby sister in 2005. When her eldest daughter entered preschool in 2007, she wanted her to have a positive first experience to start her love of science early. Ms. Allegra started teaching science to her daughter’s preschool class and the birth of The Science Seed™ concept began.
Ms. Vesta has been teaching children from preschool to middle school since 1996. She received her BS in Elementary/Early Childhood at Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pa. While attending Kutztown University, she played field hockey and volunteered at a juvenile detention center. She enjoyed helping children and decided to become a teacher. After graduating, she moved to Virginia to live closer to her family and to start teaching. Her first job was a first grade teacher in Prince George’s County, MD. In 2000, Ms. Vesta moved to Maryland and starting teaching in Virginia. That’s where her love for teaching science began. She became the Visiting Science Teacher for three schools in Alexandria City Public Schools. She taught students from preschool through sixth grade hands-on science experiments using the scientific method. She also loves to spend time with her nieces and nephews from Pennsylvania and Texas and has enjoyed teaching for The Science Seed for several years.
Alison studied Speech & Language Pathology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earning her Master’s Degree. She worked for four years with Prince George’s County Public Schools as an SLP and then earned her Post-Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership at The George Washington University in Washington, DC which allowed her to serve as an Autism Specialist for PGCPS for another two years. She worked for one year with the District of Columbia Public Schools as a Master Educator and then moved to Costa Rica for two years where she worked as a General and Special Education Teacher at SEAS International School. Upon returning to the United States, she worked for two years as the Special Education Coordinator at Briya Public Charter School in Washington, DC. She now stays home full-time with her two baby girls and is delighted to be able to continue working with young children with The Science Seed.
Ms. Suzette has taught children of all ages from preschool to middle school as well as adults since 1995. After graduating from James Madison University with a BS in Psychology and a Middle Grades Education certification, her first job was teaching sixth grade in Fairfax County Public Schools. She took a break from teaching kids to be a technical trainer and train adults in the government. Ultimately she missed working with children as well as their natural curiosity and inquisitive nature and returned to teaching once again in Fairfax County Public Schools; this time teaching grades ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade. Her favorite subject to teach during this time was science because it was always exciting to do hands on lessons and watch her student make discoveries and connections about the world around them. When her youngest daughter was born in 2010, she left the classroom to focus on spending time with her own children. It wasn’t long before the itch to teach came back, this time working at her daughter’s preschool. Even more exciting, she’s thrilled to be part of The Science Seed and has enjoyed inspiring more young learners with fascinating discoveries and experiments and watch their love of science bloom.
Originally from New Hampshire, Debbie McCrery graduated from American University with an elementary education degree in 1992 and has been working in the education field ever since. She taught Kindergarten for 3 years in Arizona before returning the DC area, then taught Kindergarten and second grade at Arlington Science Focus School for 7 years. While at ASFS,not only was she facilitating students in the hands on, science-infused curriculum, she was also the math lead teacher and instructed science workshops to other Arlington Kindergarten teachers. Pausing her career for a few years when her 3 children were born, Debbie returned to teaching more recently as the lead teacher for the 5 day 4’s program at Westover Baptist Preschool. Finding more of a balance between her family and teaching opportunities, Debbie currently substitutes in Arlington Public Schools, Westover Baptist preschool and now is one of the new instructors with The Science Seed. Whether at home or in the classroom, Debbie has found the excitement working with children with hands on science experiences. The journey while discovering scientific topics is truly a joy for her and she has enjoyed the adventures with The Science Seed students.
Jen loves making discoveries and getting messy with young children! She received a BS in Geology with a Minor in Environmental Studies from James Madison University and enjoyed a career in the field of environmental consulting before taking time off to raise her two children. While her children were in preschool, Jen began to develop a deep interest in early childhood development. She began teaching preschool music classes across the Northern Virginia area in 2001 and then moved into the classroom where she has worked as a lead preschool teacher since 2011. Now that her own children are all grown up, she is enjoying the opportunity to enrich her days further by sharing her love of science with children through The Science Seed program.
Ms. Megan comes from a family of teachers. From a young age, she knew she would follow in her grandfather and mother’s footsteps. She earned a BS in Elementary Education from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. While teaching 5th grade in Loudoun County, she earned her Masters in Instructional Technology from George Mason University. Then her husband’s career took the family to Beijing, China for three years where Ms. Megan worked as an event planner at the US Embassy. She then had the opportunity to teach 5th grade at Hong Kong International School for two years. While she misses living overseas, she is happy to be back in Virginia and raising her two young sons close to their cousins and grandparents. Ms. Megan is thrilled to be teaching with The Science Seed as she enjoys watching children discover and learn about their world!
Sarah traces her love of science and nature back to her earliest days of childhood, where she felt most at home in the woods, examining insects, frogs or leaves, or with her hands in the dirt. After graduating from James Madison University with a BS in Biology, she earned her MS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Biology from the Medical University of South Carolina and College of Charleston (joint MS program). Sarah discovered a love of teaching while in graduate school, where for two years, she taught biology laboratories covering a wide range of general biology topics to freshmen students at the College of Charleston. Following graduate school, she moved to the DC area to work as an Environmental Scientist for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Here, her consulting work focused on the field of global climate change and carbon sequestration. After seven years working as a consultant, Sarah became a mom to two girls (now ages 10 and 13) and decided to leave the workplace to devote her time to raising her daughters. Science was never far from the picture however, as the hours at home were filled with countless creative science experiments, nature walks and outdoor biology lessons. Sarah also devoted much of this time to volunteering in her daughters’ preschool and elementary classrooms, Girl Scout troops, and Sunday school classes. Teaching for The Science Seed feels like coming full circle, and she is delighted to work with children, inspiring wonder and igniting a desire to fully engage with and care for the natural world.
Ms. Amanda always knew she wanted to teach. As a little girl, she gathered her stuffed animals and played “school” in her bedroom. Since that time, she graduated with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and a certification in Inclusion/Autism Therapies. Ms. Amanda was a Lead Preschool Inclusion Teacher at Head Start in Philadelphia for several years. She then operated her own preschool co-op in Mt. Vernon and had great flexibility to build a nature – based curriculum. Ms. Amanda’s extended family is Native American and she recently helped their small museum in Southern Maryland expand public programming for children. Ms. Amanda is currently a Preschool Supervisor at a co-op in Arlington and has the daily opportunity to facilitate science explorations through play. When she is not getting messy or silly in the classroom, Ms. Amanda likes to go kayaking or hiking with her therapy dog, Makwa. She is a certified caterer and possibly one of the coolest aunts around. She is excited to bring a dose of fun to The Science Seed students.
Ms Alyssa is first came in contact with The Science Seed at the preschool where she is a Teachers’ Aide for the past 3 years. She witnessed the young scientists (and the teachers, too!) get excited by learning about science and taking part in the experiments. She didn’t always work in the education field. After earning her BS in Fashion Merchandising/Business at Virginia Tech, Ms Alyssa worked for Hecht’s for 15 years first in stores then in the central offices. When she had the opportunity to “retire” and stay home with her three kids, she started selling (and continues to do so) Pampered Chef. She learned about an opening at the preschool that her son attended, and decided to give it a try, and now she’s hooked. She loves working with all of the classes at the preschool, and seeing the kids grow and flourish.
A native of Brazil, Ms Calli moved to the United States at a young age, where she pursued her love of science. She earned Bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry from North Carolina State University, with Minors in Genetics and Psychology, and began her science career at RTI International in the Research Triangle Park. While working for RTI, Ms Calli continued her education, ultimately obtaining a Master’s degree in Biochemistry. She moved to California in 2003, conducting research in the Nutrition Department at the University of California, Davis. After her two daughters were born, the Harris family decided to return to the East Coast. Ms Calli focused on raising her daughters, volunteering in their schools, and giving language lessons to small children. Ms Calli’s home is filled with science books and projects for the whole family, and teaching with The Science Seed is a natural – and exciting – extension of that.
Ms Amanda studied occupational therapy at The University of Scranton and has enjoyed working as an occupational therapist in Delaware for the past 19 years. While she initially specialized in adult acute care and outpatient brain injury, her true passion has always been working with children, which started as a swim coach/instructor. This love resulted in a career specialization in pediatric occupational therapy. She has worked with all ages, across many settings, including the neonatal intensive care unit, outpatient clinics, various hospitals, daycares/homes, and state eligibility assessment clinics. She recently moved from Avondale, Pennsylvania to Arlington, Virginia and has been enjoying time at home with her four year old daughter. She does continue to work per diem as an occupational therapist in Delaware but is excited to also work more locally with the preschoolers, enhancing their natural love for science through The Science Seed program.
Ms. Julia was first introduced to The Science Seed when her son took the class with Arlington County about 4 years ago. After every class she and her son would have so many fascinating topics to discuss; which she and her son would supplement by getting more books from the library. Since then, her son has become enthralled with all things science, especially zoology. Ms. Julia completely credits The Science Seed for this early intervention and introduction. Ms. Julia couldn’t wait until her daughter could start her own classes with The Science Seed and also have her little scientist awakened within. Ms. Julia has a BS in Computer Information Systems, which she has been fortunate enough to use throughout her professional life, but has discovered a knack for working with children and has enjoyed being a preschool substitute teacher for her children’s school. Her passion for children and love for science have found a home as a teacher at The Science Seed.
Ms. Michelle started out in the medical industry but always wanted to be a teacher, and her mother had always told her to pursue teaching. She completed her Master’s in Elementary Education in 2001 right before she had her first child. Ms. Michelle taught briefly in Fairfax County before having her second child in 2004. With 2 children at home she decided to take time off from working outside the home and concentrate on being a mother. Once her 3rd child started Kindergarten, she took a teaching job at their preschool and has loved working with the children there. She is looking forward to this journey of visiting other schools and teaching science with The Science Seed!
Ms. Minnick was trained as a historian and archivist, earning a BA from George Washington University and an MA/MLS from the University of Maryland. She worked for 15 years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where her two oldest children were fortunate to attend a preschool program that drew on the outstanding science resources of the Smithsonian, including hands-on study of fossilized dinosaur poop, and sleepovers in the Insect Zoo! After the birth of her fourth child, she took a right turn to children’s librarianship, where she discovered the joy of presenting early literacy programs to preschoolers. That decision led her to Pinecrest School in Annandale, where she worked as both school librarian and preschool teacher for many years. Ms. Minnick believes children are natural-born scientists, with inquiring minds and a passion for discovery and experimentation. Currently living in Port St Joe, Florida, Ms. Minnick is planting The Science Seed in the hearts and minds of your young scientists along The Forgotten Coast! More Information on The Forgotten Coast program.