BIOGRAPHIES

 

 

ELIZABETH BIRD, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 

 

Elizabeth is a graduate of Pacific Oaks College with a Masters of Arts in Human Development. She is the founder of Family Biz Kids and has worked with families in varying capacities: family business advisor, administrator of early learning programs, trainer, author, and parent educator. In addition to her consulting, designing and directing Family Biz Kids programs, she is on the faculty and teaches Parent Education classes at North Seattle College. Elizabeth also established Bird & Associates for undertaking research in the largely unexplored field of Family Generativity as it relates to multi-generational family-owned businesses. She is a recognized speaker on parenting and leading authority on family business generative programs.

 

Elizabeth grew up in a 4th generation farming family in rural eastern Washington State. She knows first-hand the challenges of succession in family enterprises. The concepts of stewardship and passing the torch from one generation to the next are core values within her family. 20 years ago, Family Biz Kids became a reality for Elizabeth as her work as an Early Learning Program Administrator left her seeking a deeper connection with families. Multi- generational family businesses offered the perfect opportunity. The inherent stewardship and vision within family businesses aligns with the work she does with families and makes a significant impact on generations to come.

 

In her career as a college instructor, administrator and trainer Elizabeth has had the good fortune to work with outstanding individuals and educators who share her experiential learning philosophy. These educators have varying specializations in outdoor leadership, dramatic arts, educational leadership, communication, program management, curriculum design, technology,counseling, physical education, human development and working with diverse age groups. Their skills culminate in the ability to create well-balanced, fun and educational programs that meet the individual needs and interests of Family Biz Kids children and youth.

 

GREG BRAZELL

 

 

Greg is an educator in Washington State.  He earned his Master’s in Curriculum Design from Lesley University and Bachelor’s Degrees in both Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Central Washington University.  Most recently, he served as the Dean of Business and Social Science at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington. He is the assessment lead, Institutional Effectiveness member, priority chair member of Achieving the Dream and leads prior learning and competency based learning efforts at the college. Greg has been recognized as the Pierce County Early Childhood Teacher of the Year, National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development faculty member of the Year, Pierce County Vocational Education Teacher of the Year, and Pierce College Distinguished Alumnus. 

 

Greg is a lifelong learner and strives to promote quality educational experiences for all ages. Greg has been a part of the Family Biz Kids team for the past 19 years.  FBK allows Greg the opportunity to promote his passion for learning,relationship building and family connections. Being an outdoor enthusiast, Greg can be found hiking, biking and kayaking.

 

KATHY SCHOTT

 

Kathy is a certified teacher in the state of Washington and a graduate of the University of Washington where she earned degrees in speech pathology and elementary education.   Kathy currently serves on the administrative team of an independent school on Bainbridge Island and teaches kindergarten.  Developing curriculum, supervising staff, community out-reach and serving on accreditation teams for the Northwest Association of Independent Schools are projects that contribute to her on-going professional growth.  Kathy is well informed on the developmental stages of children from infancy to young adults and brings her commitment to establishing strong relational development to her work with Family Biz Kids. For 19 years, Kathy has worked with FBK and multi-generational family businesses.  During her tenure, she has worked with teens, 3-5 year olds, and infants, as well as in administrative capacities. Kathy’s established leadership builds relationships of cooperation and trust between staff, parents and the children as they learn, work and play together.

 

 

Katie is an early childhood professional in Idaho. She earned her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. Katie began working with children at an early age through 4-H and developed this enthusiasm for education as she moved into teaching infants-preschoolers as well as educating families within her community.

KATIE BROWN

Katie is passionate about early learning, quality education, and community involvement. She advocates for these causes through her volunteer work with the Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation as well as the North Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children. This will be Katie’s second year working with Family Biz Kids.

 

 

SHELLY WATSON

 

 

Shelly is a certified teacher in the state of Washington and a graduate of Central Washington University where she earned  Master's and Bachelor’s Degrees in both Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education.  Shelly currently teaches second grade for the Tacoma Public Schools.  Before her current position as a classroom teacher, Shelly was the director of a preschool program that she developed for a large accredited private school in Tacoma, Washington.

Family Biz Kids not only permits Shelly to utilize her skills as an educator, but her positions as Program Director and Head Counselor allow her to showcase her desire to bring kids together and connect play with learning while building positive relationships. This is her fifth year with Family Biz Kids. Shelly appreciates nature and spending time with family. 

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JEN SPANSWICK

 

 

 

Jen is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Master’s in Education and endorsements in special education, math and science. She is currently working within the Seattle Public Schools as a high school teacher, with a focus on supporting students on the Autism Spectrum in general education environments. She is actively involved in Special Olympics Project Unity, and sits on several special education parent committees. She has worked within the fields of education and childcare for the past 18 years; as a teacher, counselor, supervisor and administrative assistant. She returns to Family Biz Kids for her 14th year; fourth year as a program administration assistant.

 

SHANNON BOYINGTON

 

 

 

Shannon graduated from Wheelock College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development with a focus on Early Childhood Education. Shannon has been a program manager, lead toddler teacher, a camp counselor for infants-6 year olds, and a nanny. In addition to her enthusiasm and experience in working with children and families, Shannon also has experience in management and administration and founded her own consulting business. Family Biz Kids combines both of these skill sets by allowing Shannon to plan and coordinate programs, create fun, developmentally appropriate activities for the children, and interact with the families.

Shannon holds the record for longest Family Biz Kids tenure and just celebrated her 20th year. In her personal life Shannon enjoys sports, and reading and craft projects.

 

CHRISTI CRUZ

 

 

Christi graduated from the University of Washington majoring in Drama and Spanish.  She is the Founder and Co-Director of Wedgwood Drama Studio and has over 15 years’ experience working as an Arts Educator and Actor, working in theater, voiceovers, films, and TV.   In addition, she has worked with North Seattle Community College as a Cooperative Preschool Teacher since 2008 and is a Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator.  Christi has worked and performed with organizations like Seattle Children's Theater, Living Voices, 14/48, A Contemporary Theater, Ese Teatro, SIS Productions, and is currently working on producing her own work.  In her spare time, she is a mom of 3. :) This is Christi's 7th year with Family Biz Kids.  

MICHAEL CRUZ

 

 

Michael holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts from the University of San Diego. With over 15 years’ experience working with young people, Michael has  taught in public, private and independent schools, designed and implemented teacher training programs, arts residencies, summer programs for youth, and most recently established a 5th-12th grade Theatre program for a Seattle area independent school. Michael is founder and co-director of Wedgwood Drama Studio that offers after school drama programs, community classes and summer camps in northeast Seattle.  This is Michael’s fourthyear with Family Biz Kids. Michael lives in Kenmore, WA with his husband Jason.

SHANNA CROOKES

 

 

Shanna earned her M.Ed. in School Counseling at Central Washington University and a BS in Child and Family Studies from Portland State University. She is a Graduation Support Specialist at Arlington High School and has extensive experience working with adolescents in both social service and educational environments. A Washington State Certified school counselor, Shanna has made summer camp an extension of her career in education, working at different summer camps throughout the country for the last 10 years. For the past 4 years Shanna has had the pleasure of working with Family Biz Kid’s. Shanna’s favorite pastime is traveling around the world. She recently spent time volunteering with elephants in Thailand and children in Guatemala.

SUZANNE SUMI

 

 

 

Suzanne has over 25 years of experience as a cooperative preschool and toddler teacher in the Seattle College District. She is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and teaches parents the art of infant massage. Suzanne is a member of the National Association of Young Children and an acclaimed early learning workshop presenter. Her area of expertise includes music and toddler development. Suzanne has worked with preschool children in Family Biz Kids programs for the past 14 years. She enjoys reading, knitting, gardening and practicing her banjo. Her favorite pastime is to spend time with her husband Chris, and two sons Douglas and Michael.

CHRIS SUMI

  

 

Chris holds an MBA from the University of Washington.  He has been a Parks and Recreation administrator for many years. He also has extensive experience lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons and coaching swimming for multiple organizations.  He is currently the administrator at the Mary Wayte Pool for Olympic Cascade Aquatics on Mercer Island, Washington.  In his spare time he enjoys bicycling, fly fishing, and spending time with his wife Suzanne and their boys Douglas and Michael. Chris has worked with Family Biz Kids for the past 10 years and enjoys his role as a counselor and lifeguard. 

 

KEN NSIMBI

 

 

 

Ken is a graduate from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Services.  He also has over 15 years of experience working with young people. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Ken’s experience as a man of color and first generation immigrant is his driving force to serving populations whose voices have been muted by society. Ken has had many roles in the community as a youth advocate, including serving on the Seattle Human Rights Commission and is adept at forming partnerships with other community leaders to support youth and young adults. He has worked as a youth leader in his home country, lead counselor at the Ballard Boys and Girls Club and most recently Drop-In and Outreach Manager at New Horizon youth and young adult homeless shelter.  Family Biz Kids is the perfect place for Ken to promote his passion for relationship building, family connections, learning and adventure.

 

When he is not chasing lions in the Maasai Mara, he is busy choreographing dances, teaching drum lessons, travelling and playing with his band all over Washington and most importantly on a cruise to some romantic destination with his beautiful wife.

 

ZOE CHAMBERS

 

 

Zoe is currently pursuing a Child Development Associate through the Council for Professional Recognition.  She has over 10 years’ experience as a nanny and teacher’s assistant in early childhood and classrooms. Zoe’s teaching has provided her with an array of experiences with children of varying ages. Currently she is the Lead Early Learning Teacher in a private preschool in Edmonds, WA where she designs and implements age-appropriate and engaging curriculum for 16 children ages 3-5. Zoe greatly enjoys the variety of activities this age group enjoys and loves how much fun she has interacting with them.  This is Zoe’s first year working with Family Biz Kids. She is excited to be working as a Head Counselor and can’t wait to share her love of teaching with preschoolers and their parents. In Zoe’s free time she likes to go camping and hiking with her boyfriend and spend time with her large family. 

 

 

Courtney graduated from Johns Hopkins University with her Master’s in Education with a focus on secondary mathematics. Courtney graduated from the University of Oregon with her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and a minor in Special Education. After college Courtney joined Teach for America which is a non-profit organization that promotes education for all children. She worked as a Special Education Mathematics teacher in Hawaii.

Courtney currently works at the Nike Child Development COURTNEY PELSTER                       Center with children ages infants through 6-year-olds. At Nike, she implements developmentally appropriate activities for these age groups and helps children within the domains of social emotional skills and cognitive skills. In her free time, Courtney likes to run, read and drink coffee.Courtney currently lives in Vancouver, WA. This is Courtney’s second year with Family Biz Kids.

 

 

 

 

MATT KREITER

 

Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in genetics and cell biology from Washington State University and an Elementary Education Certification through Western Washington University.  He currently teaches fifth grade in the Seattle school district and has eight years’ experience in early childhood education as the head teacher in the North Seattle College Cooperative Preschool System.  He has been a steady volunteer in his local elementary school as a PTSA president, science mentor and classroom tutor.  Matt has over fifteen years’ experience as a head coach of multiple soccer and softball teams with children of all ages.  Matt has been with Family Biz Kids for the past six years. 

SARA CUNNINGHAM

 

 

Sara holds associate degrees in Early Childhood Education and Child Development.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in progress in Early Childhood Education through the University of Washington.  Sara has previously owned and directed a Seattle early learning center.  She is also a recognized Professional Development Specialist for the Child Development Council and trainer for the Washington State Department of Learning.  This is also Sara’s eighth year working in Family Biz Kids programs.  In her spare time, she loves going to sporting events, especially baseball.



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