Elizabeth has had the good fortune to work with outstanding individuals and educators who share her experiential learning philosophy throughout her career. These educators bring expertise to our programs in education, curriculum design, human development, parenting, family business consulting, financial well-being and literacy, visual and performing arts, coaching, outdoor recreation, leadership training, and working with diverse age groups. Their skills culminate in creating well-balanced, fun, and educational programs that support the individual needs and interests of our client's children and youth.
Elizabeth Bird, Family Biz Kids Founder and Executive Director
Elizabeth graduated from Pacific Oaks College with a Master of Arts in Human Development. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Family Biz Kids. Elizabeth has worked with families in varying capacities: family business advisor, presenter, administrator of early learning programs, trainer, author, and parent educator. She is a nationally recognized speaker and expert on family business generative programs. In addition to consulting, designing, and directing Family Biz Kids programs, she was on the faculty and taught Parent Education classes at North Seattle College for many years.
Elizabeth previously served on several Seattle College District's nonprofit school boards and the United Way's "Success by Six" community board that addressed early learning readiness and outreach policies. She was a founding member and instrumental in developing the Washington State Early Childhood Staff Professional Development Standards and State Training and Registry System (STARS).
Elizabeth grew up in a fourth-generation farming family in rural Eastern Washington state. She knows first-hand the challenges of succession in family enterprises. The inherent stewardship and vision within multi-generational family businesses align with her core values and her work with families.
Elizabeth and her husband live in the Seattle area and enjoy traveling, wine collecting, and spending time with friends and family.
Greg Brazell, Curriculum Development Director
Greg earned a Master of Curriculum Design from Lesley University and dual Bachelor of Art Degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Central Washington University. Greg has held several positions at Pierce College in Lakewood, WA, and currently serves as the Director of P-12 Partnerships. He previously served as the Dean of Business and Social Science and Director of Employee Learning and Development.
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. He 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 27 years. Family Biz Kids allows him to promote his passion for learning, relationship building, and family connections. Being an outdoor enthusiast, Greg can be found hiking, biking, and kayaking.
Shannon Boyington, Program Manager and Educator
Shannon graduated from Wheelock College with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development focused on Early Childhood Education. Shannon has been a program manager, assistant director, lead toddler teacher, camp counselor for infants to 6-year-olds, and a nanny. In addition to her enthusiasm and experience working with children and families, Shannon has considerable experience in management and administration and founded her own consulting business. Family Biz Kids combines both skill sets by allowing Shannon to plan and coordinate the program, create fun, developmentally appropriate activities for the children, and interact with the families.
Shannon holds the record for the longest Family Biz Kids tenure and just celebrated her 28th year. She enjoys sports, reading, and craft projects.
Amber Baillon, Special Projects Development Director
Amber earned a Master of Science in higher education administration from Miami University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from St. Norbert College. Amber is passionate about developing people. She has more than 15 years of experience in project planning and program management centered on people - their learning, their onboarding, and their experiences with processes and systems. Amber gets excited about process improvement, especially people-first improvements that increase transparency and accessibility. Amber previously worked in higher education as a student affairs administrator, a professor, and an employee learning and development leader. Amber currently serves as the Professional Development Training Officer for Heritage Bank NW.
Amber enjoys interior design and home organization projects, word games (especially the NYT Spelling Bee!), traveling with family and friends, baking, and yoga. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and two young children. This is Amber's first year with Family Biz Kids.
Shelly Watson, Program Director and Educator
Shelly holds a Master of Educational Technology from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. She is also a graduate of Central Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and Elementary Education. Shelly is a certified teacher in Washington State and currently teaches fourth 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.
During Shelly's fourteen years of tenure with Family Biz Kids, she has worked with all age groups and in administrative capacities. Shelly also serves on the executive management team of Family Biz Kids. She is well-informed on the developmental stages of children from infancy to young adulthood. Shelly brings her commitment to establishing strong relational development and academic acumen to her work with Family Biz Kids.
Jessica Geiger, Program Director and Educator
Jessica holds a Master of Science in Adult Organizational Learning and Leadership from the University of Idaho and a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Development. She is the Health Services Manager for North Idado College Head Start, focusing on education and social work. Jessica volunteers as a safe sleep educator, child passenger safety technician, and Medical Corp Reservist with her local health district in her spare time.
In her twelve years of tenure with Family Biz Kids, Jessica has directed programs, served on the executive management team, worked with infants and toddlers, and provided parent education for the parents of children in her classes. In her personal time, she enjoys the outdoors and live music.
Grace Crowley, Educator and Special Projects
Grace graduated with a Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum Design and Instruction from the University of Washington and holds a Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Leadership from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Human Development from the University of Washington, teaches at Edmonds College, and supports adults with disabilities in achieving their goals and dreams.
Grace's pedagogy centers around experiential education and using outdoor and service learning activities as opportunities to expand, reflect, and grow. She has taught service learning courses through the University of Washington's Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity and the Community Education and Leadership Empowerment Center, where she supported undergraduate volunteers as they tutored across Title I schools. She regularly utilizes volunteer projects in the community as an opportunity for her students to engage in self-advocacy and workplace readiness skills.
As a dedicated outdoor educator, Grace has obtained certifications such as Wilderness First Responder, Lifeguard, Wilderness Water Safety, and Leave No Trace. Grace is certified in conflict resolution, group process, and Youth mental Health First Aid. She completed an Outward Bound Instructor Course focusing on teaching backpacking, whitewater canoeing, and rock climbing.
Grace joined Family Biz Kids in 2014. In her free time, she can be found in her garden, at a community event, or caring for her two-year-old.
Kathy Schott, Assistant Program Director
Kathy is a certified teacher and a graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned degrees in speech pathology and elementary education. Until recently, Kathy served on the administrative team of an independent school on Bainbridge Island, where she taught their nationally acclaimed kindergarten. Developing curriculum, supervising staff, community outreach, and serving on accreditation teams for the Northwest Association of Independent Schools contributed to her professional growth. Kathy is well-informed on the developmental stages of children from infancy to young adulthood. She brings her commitment to establishing strong relational development to her work with Family Biz Kids.
For over 25 years, Kathy has worked with Family Biz Kids and the multi-generational Family Businesses they serve. During her tenure, she has worked with teens, 3 to 5-year-olds, infants, and 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.
Cassidy Gatz, Educator and Administrative Assistant
Cassidy earned an Associate of Art in Early Childhood Education from Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington. She was previously the Lead Preschool Teacher at Milgard Child Development Center in Tacoma, WA. Cassidy is a frequent professional development presenter and has led workshops at various Early Childhood conferences around Washington state. This is Cassidy's seventh year with Family Biz Kids. Cassidy has varied responsibilities within the Family Biz Kids organization. She is a Lead Educator, Administrative Assistant, and executive management team member.
When Cassidy is not working with young children, she loves to spend time at home, go on road trips, crochet, and spend quality time with her husband, friends, and family.
Cody Angeles, Educator and Lifeguard
Cody holds a Master of Arts in teaching from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Bachelor of Arts in Medical Anthropology from California State University San Marcos. He is a credentialed special education teacher for students with mild to moderate disabilities in the middle and high school settings. He has experience working with and supporting students with Autism, learning disabilities, attention disorders, and other health impairments.
Born in San Diego, Cody loves the beach, surfing, and freediving. During the summer, Cody works as an EMT beach lifeguard while pursuing his love for ocean safety and drowning prevention. He has a passion for outdoor education with previous experience, including a marine naturalist aboard catamaran sailing excursions in Maui, surf camp director, and after-school recreation programs.
Cody's educational philosophy is creating a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students, emphasizing equity and inclusion, and developing mindfulness and critical thinking. This is Cody's second year with Family Biz Kids.
Maryalice DeAngelis, Educator
Maryalice maintains multiple certificates, including a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Science Education from SUNY Oneonta. Maryalice currently teaches upper elementary students in Colorado. She specializes in bringing experiential education and powerful, relevant, and student-driven learning experiences to her 10- to 12-year-old students.
Maryalice is lifeguard and scuba certified. Throughout her summers at various summer camp settings, she has served as a head counselor, program director, athletic director, medical director, environmental educator, and garden coordinator. Maryalice is an animal lover and enjoys quality time with the horses, cats, and dogs on the family farm. She and her dachshund are becoming avid hikers as well. Maryalice's other hobbies include biking, baking, traveling, and yoga. This is her eighth year working with Family Biz Kids.
Annie Schott, Educator
Annie holds a Master of Education from Concordia University, emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. She earned her BA and a teaching degree from the University of San Diego. She has taught in Hillsboro, Oregon, for over 16 years at high-needs, dual-language elementary schools. She teaches dual language (Spanish and English) upper elementary blended math classes and runs an after-school all-girls engineering club. This is Annie's 18th year with Family Biz Kids.
As a resident of Portland and a big fan of the Timbers soccer team, Annie is very involved in the Timbers Army and sits on their Board of Directors. As a board member, her duties include supporting the planning and execution of the enormous stadium displays called “tifos”.
Austin Ohm, Art Specialist
Austin is a Washington State-certified teacher and has been teaching for over 10 years. He holds a Master of Arts in Creativity Studies with a focus on the connection between creativity and wellbeing from Union Institute and University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Peck School of the Arts at UW-Milwaukee, and a PK-12 Art Education Certificate from UW-Madison. Creative, confident, and in control - Austin enjoys working with people of all ages and ability levels. Austin is particularly interested in the power of art for healing; healing yourself, our community, and the planet. Austin is an active art community member, continuing his own professional art career by creating both paintings and sculptures. Austin has consistently exhibited his work for over 14 years.
When out of the classroom, Austin enjoys outdoor activities, gardening, cooking, and eating delicious food with friends and family. Austin lives in Seattle with his wife Emily, Frida the dog, and Sevilla the cat. This is Austin's seventh year with Family Biz Kids.
Shanna Crookes, Educator
Shanna earned her M.Ed. in School Counseling at Central Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies at Portland State University. She is a Graduation Support Specialist at a Washington State High School and has extensive experience working with adolescents in 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 past several years. This is her eleventh year with Family Biz Kids.
Shanna is an avid outdoor enthusiast, and her favorite pastime is traveling around the world. Her adventures include a Kumano Kodo pilgrimage and trekking the Santiago.
Nicole Cantalupo, Educator
Nicole holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University. She is a certified teacher, teaches high school Humanities, and is the department chair. as well as teaching credentials in English, Social Science, and College & Career Technical Education: Arts, Media, and Entertainment. She currently teaches theatre and technical theatre for grades 9-12. As a native of San Diego, Nicole has become very involved in the local theatre community. She has fourteen years of experience as a teaching artist and curriculum developer, working with Diversionary Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, MOXIE Theatre, and Center Stage Children's Theatre, as well as various schools throughout San Diego County. Nicole specializes in devising new work with high school students, focusing on verbatim theatre and performance for social change.
Nicole loves to travel, play board games, and work on creative projects in her free time. This is Nicole's ninth year working with Family Biz Kids.
Ashley Crosby, Educator
Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Idaho. She currently has a position as the Senior Administrative Assistant at the North Idaho College Children's Center. After serving many years as a preschool teacher at the Children's Center, she transitioned into her current role. Ashley is passionate about advocating for quality early learning environments and developmentally appropriate practices throughout her community. She has served on her local National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) board, volunteers for Safe Start, and is currently a certified car seat safety technician. She enjoys engaging in fun, educational activities and experiences with young children.
Ashley loves spending time outdoors with her husband and two children during her free time. This is Ashley's eighth year with Family Biz Kids.
Katie Brown, Educator
Katie holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. She is currently an Early Childhood Professional serving families across Northern Idaho. Katie began working with children at an early age through 4-H. She developed an enthusiasm for education as she transitioned into teaching in early childhood educational settings and working with the families of very young children within her community. Katie is passionate about early learning, high-quality education, and community involvement. She advocates for these causes through her volunteer work with Safe Start and the Northwest Infant Survival and SIDS Alliance, where she served five years as the President of the Board of Directors. Katie also volunteers her time and expertise as a Safe Sleep Educator and Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor. This is Katie’s seventh year working with Family Biz Kids.
Rachel Hoey, Educator
Rachel holds a Master of Arts in Theatre from San Diego State University, where she has taught Creative Drama and Theatre for Young Audiences as a lecturer. Rachel earned her Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Indiana University and was an adjunct professor of acting and directing. Rachel is currently a visiting assistant professor of acting and directing at Allegheny College. She has trained at Second City West Hollywood, Steppenwolf West, and the British American Drama Academy.
Rachel has several years of experience as a K-12 performing teacher, directing musicals/plays and developing arts-integrated STEAM lessons for companies like La Jolla Playhouse, Playwrights Project, and Arts for Lawrence. She loves to bring those creative activities to the surface and teach kids to create strong community bonds through experiential activities! For the past eight years, Rachel has used her theater background and experience with children in varying roles within Family Biz Kids programs.
Lizz Zitron, Educator
Lizz holds a Master in Library Science (MLIS) from the University of Illinois and a Master of Art in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She loves working with youth, and much of her career has focused on this passion and purpose. Lizz was a librarian for ten years, focused on instruction, children's and young adult literature, and creative programming for ages 0-18. She has lived all over the US and held various jobs ranging from zoo educator to ropes course facilitator to cookbook publicist to dancer to others (just ask!) Lizz decided exploration would be her life's path when she was six years old and inspired by the greater world she saw in books. She is now happily settled as a professor in the higher education world, focused on helping students transition to college and explore their passions and purpose.
Lizz is a single mom to a young child who keeps her on her toes. In her free time, Lizz loves laughing with her son, backpacking, hiking, taking her Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) out on the water, reading, and traveling. Lizz challenges herself to grow and learn from all she does. She loves helping youth find their passions and purpose through play, discovery, and community-building. This is Lizz's second year with Family Biz Kids.
Steve Swortz, Educator
Steve Swortz has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and K-8 Elementary School Education from Central Washington University. He also has a Special Education Endorsement from Pacific Lutheran University. He has been working with children for 12 years. Currently, Steve is a certified teacher in Washington State and works in the Clover Park School District. He has taught Kindergarten, Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies, and Special Education, worked as a reading and writing interventionist, and is currently a high school special education teacher at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, Washington. Steve is a soccer and tennis coach at the middle school level and a certified Professional Ski Instructor at Crystal Mountain in Washington State.
Steve has been married to his wife Brandi for 24 years and has two children, Riley and Reagan. In his spare time, he likes to spend time outdoors gardening and camping. This is Steve's fifth year with Family Biz Kids.
EmilyRose Sherman, Educator
EmilyRose is a Central Washington University graduate and holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on middle-level mathematics. She previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a Reading Literacy Endorsement. Currently, EmilyRose is a certified teacher in Washington State and works in the Clover Park School District. She has experience in fifth through ninth grades teaching middle school mathematics and science. She also works as an adjunct professor for Central Washington University in their Education department.
As a life-long learner, EmilyRose enjoys gaining new knowledge and experiences through teaching, reading, traveling, and working with others. This is EmilyRose's fifth year with Family Biz Kids.
Briana Bremer, Educator
Briana earned a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Idaho. She has over 22 years of experience with several age groups and finds joy in working with children from infancy through preschool. Briana has been a team coordinator, lead teacher at Head Start, and a classroom teacher at the local high school childcare, where she supported teen moms as they finished school. Presently, Briana is a lead teacher at North Idaho College Children's Center. She has also volunteered for the Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation. Briana believes early childhood education sets the groundwork for children's growth and development. She embraces the crucial role of play, the lens through which children are constantly learning, asking questions, experimenting, and being hands-on in their environment.
During her free time, Briana enjoys being with her children and enjoying the outdoors by the water. She also loves golfing and watching football and college basketball. This is Briana's seventh year with Family Biz Kids.
Sarah Twardy, Educator
Sarah Twardy is a graduate of the University at Albany in NY, where she was a Division I track and field athlete and holds an MA in United States History and a BA in Social Studies Education. She has been a high school teacher of United States History, Government, and Economics for 13 years and recently moved to Florida. She has also been teaching Advanced Placement classes at her local high school. In 2006, Sarah was among 26 educators from around the country chosen to participate in a three-week Holocaust Studies trip led by the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC and Holocaust survivors who traveled to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria to study at Holocaust sites and learn from world-renowned scholars.
Sarah enjoys traveling, running, and coaching track and field and her sons’ baseball teams in her time. Born and raised in rural Vermont, she loves the outdoors – hiking, exploring, paddleboarding, and playing. This will be Sarah’s fifth year working with Family Biz Kids.
Victor Chandler-Cremades, Educator
Victor graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He has 10 years of experience as an educator in the outdoor industry, focusing primarily on youth leadership development. He has instructed students ages 6-13 on ecology, gardening, and team cooperation while encouraging healthy conflict-resolution habits. Presently, Victor works for a conservation corps where he develops and implements training and facilitates team-building exercises for participants ages 18-25.
Victor enjoys cooking, hiking, time with friends and family, and making things out of wood when not at work. This is his fourth year with Family Biz Kids.
Chelsea Wilson, Educator and Specialist
Chelsea is a graduate of Texas A&M and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences and Accelerated Teacher certification. She is a trauma-informed Yoga instructor. In addition to her Yoga classes, Chelsea teaches aerobics, dance, and nutrition classes in Coronado, CA. Chelsea enjoys teaching, especially her experiences as a camp counselor. She has worked with Family Biz Kids for the past 13 years. Family Biz Kids allows her to utilize her nutrition, education, dance, and fitness background to motivate kids to seek an increased quality of living in a fun and safe environment!
Chelsea’s interests include fitness, yoga, nutrition, authoring children’s cookbooks, health promotion, reading, surfing, and meeting new people!
Duane DeStefani, Educator
Duane holds a Master of Science in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Physical Education from the University of La Verne. Duane was a High School Career and Guidance Counselor in the Poway California School District for many years. He has experience working at summer camps as well as teaching and coaching several sports. Recently, Duane was the waterfront director and lifeguard for several San Diego summer camps and surf and swim team coach at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad. This is Duane’s eighth year with Family Biz Kids.
Jan Dillingham, Educator
Jan is a certified teacher in the state of New Mexico. She holds a Ph.D. and Master of Science in Physical Education and Education/Athletic Administration from the University of New Mexico. Jan also earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Colorado State University. Jan taught science and health at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center for the Albuquerque Public Schools. During her teaching career, she was fortunate to work with students from elementary to young adults. Jan has been involved with several programs to improve science education in the state. She started a program where students grow food throughout the year to improve their nutritional awareness, experience and appreciate nature, the science of growing food, and gain life skills to improve their families and communities. This is Jan's 20th year with Family Biz Kids.