Throughout her career, Elizabeth has had the good fortune to work with outstanding individuals and educators who share her experiential learning philosophy. These educators bring expertise to our programs in the fields of 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 the ability to create well-balanced, fun, and educational progams that support the individual needs and interests of our clients children and youth.
Elizabeth Bird, Family Biz Kids Founder and Executive Director
Elizabeth is a graduate of Pacific Oaks College with a Master of Arts in Human Development. She is the Founder and Executive Director 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, for many years, she was on the faculty and taught Parent Education classes at North Seattle College.
Elizabeth established Bird & Associates for undertaking research in the largely unexplored field of Family Generativity as it relates to family-owned business. She is a nationally 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 inherent stewardship and vision within multi-generational family businesses aligns with her core values and her work with families.
Greg Brazell, Curriculum Development Director
Greg is an educator in Washington State. He earned a Master of Curriculum Design from Lesley University and Bachelor of Art Degrees in both Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Central Washington University. Greg has served as the Dean of Business and Social Science and currently, as Director of the Center for Engagement and Learning at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington. 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 24 years. Family Biz Kids 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.
Shannon Boyington, Program Manager and Educator
Shannon graduated from Wheelock College with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development with a focus 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 in working with children and families, Shannon also 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 longest Family Biz Kids tenure and just celebrated her 25th year. In her personal life Shannon enjoys sports, reading and craft projects.
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 Bachelor’s Degrees in both Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. Shelly is a certified teacher in the state of Washington 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 her 10 years of tenure with Family Biz Kids, she has worked with all age groups, as well as in administrative capacities. Shelly also serves on the management team of Family Biz Kids. She is well informed on the developmental stages of children from infancy to young adults and brings her commitment to establishing strong relational development and academic acumen to her work with Family Biz Kids.
Jen Spanswick, Administrative Assistant and Educator
Jen is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Master of 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, several special education parent committees, and as a building Union Representative for the Seattle Public Schools. She has worked within the fields of education and childcare for the past 20 years; as a teacher, counselor, supervisor and administrative assistant. This is Jen's 15th year with Family Biz Kids.
Ken Nsimbi, Educator
Ken is a graduate from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and 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 a local Boys and Girls Club and most recently Drop-In and Outreach Manager at a 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.
Nicole Cantalupo, Educator
Nicole holds a Master of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University. As a native to San Diego, Nicole has become very involved in the local theatre community. She is a theatre education lecturer at San Diego State University, the Education Programs Manager at MOXIE Theatre, as well as a director at Center Stage Children's Theatre and T.Y.P.E., a program for high school students. Nicole has nine years' experience as a teaching artist and curriculum developer. She enjoys working with students of all ages.
In her free time Nicole loves to travel, play board games, and work on creative projects. This is Nicole's seventh year working with Family Biz Kids.
Maryalice DeAngelis, Educator
Maryalice maintains multiple certificates including a Masters in Science in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Science Education from SUNY Oneonta. Throughout the regular school year, she teaches Middle School Science at a public charter school in Tampa Bay, Florida. She specializes in bringing experiential education and powerful, relevant, and student-driven learning experiences to her 11- to 14-year old students.
Throughout her summers at various summer camp settings, Maryalice has served as a head counselor, program director, athletic director, medical director, environmental educator and a garden coordinator. Last year, Maryalice added Lifeguard Certification to her First Aid Certification, NAUI Scuba Certification, and volunteer firefighter and other waterfront experience. She is also committed to ongoing professional and community development in sustainability, citizen science, and policy change.
Her hobbies include playing and coaching floor hockey, traveling to visit friends and family, cooking, brewing, hiking, biking, and continuing her yoga practice. This is her third year 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’ experience as an educator in the outdoor industry, focusing primarily on youth leadership development. He has instructed students ages 6-13 on subjects such as ecology, gardening, and team cooperation, while encouraging healthy conflict resolution habits. Presently, Victor works for a conservation corps where he develops and implements trainings as well as facilitates team building exercises for participants ages 18-25.
When not at work, he enjoys cooking, hiking, time with friends and family, and making things out of wood. This is Victor’s fourth year with Family Biz Kids.
Jessica Bennet, Educator
Jessica holds a Master of Science from the University of Idaho, in Adult Organizational Learning and Leadership. Currently she is the Head Start Director at the North Idaho College Children's Center. In her spare time, Jessica volunteers as the Board President of the local SIDS organization. She enjoys the outdoors and coaching her children's football teams. In her eight years of tenure with Family Biz Kids, Jessica has directed local programs, worked with infants and toddlers, and provided parent education for the parents of children in her classes.
Roxy Magno, Educator
Roxy holds a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Washington. She works as a Family Support Specialist at Multicultural Child & Hope Center; a nonprofit, human service agency. Her work focuses on engaging with youth and families that are highly impacted by low-income, homelessness, and other traumas. She is driven by her passion to see families and individuals succeed and experience personal growth. Roxy is also the co-founder and Program Director of Krownless Kings; a free art, music, and entertainment after-school and community program. This is Roxy's fourth year with Family Biz Kids.
In the little free time that she has, Roxy loves to be with her family. She is a foster-mom and spends as much time with extended family as possible. Her favorite hobby is cooking, trying new foods, and of course eating!
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 a M.A. in United States History as well as a B.A. 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 where 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, that traveled to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria to study at Holocaust sites and learn from world renowned scholars.
In her personal time, Sarah enjoys travelling, running, and coaching track and field as well as her sons’ baseball teams. Born and raised in rural Vermont, she also loves the outdoors – hiking, exploring, paddle-boarding, and playing. This will be Sarah’s third year working with Family Biz Kids.
Annie Schott, Educator
Annie holds a Master of Education from Concordia University with an emphasis in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. She earned her BA and 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 currently teaches dual language (Spanish and English) upper elementary blended math classes and runs an after school all-girls engineering club. She has worked in a variety of capacities for Family Biz Kids over the last 17 years.
As a resident of Portland and big fan of the Timbers soccer team, Annie is very involved in the Timbers Army and helps to put together the huge stadium displays called “tifos” in her spare time.
Austin Ohm, Educator
Austin is a Washington 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, healing our community and healing our planet. Austin is an active member in the art community, continuing his own professional art career creating both painting and sculptures and has been consistently exhibiting his work for over 14 years.
When out of the classroom, Austin enjoys outdoor activities, working in the garden, cooking and eating delicious food with friends and family. Austin lives in Seattle with his wife Emily, Frida the dog and Saturn the cat. This is Austin's fourth year with Family Biz Kids.
EmilyRose Yanez, 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 as a fifth-grade teacher. She has experience in fifth through ninth grades having taught 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 third year with Family Biz Kids.
Rachel Hoey, Educator
Rachel holds a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Indiana University. She also earned a Master of Arts in Theatre from San Diego State University, where she has taught Creative Drama and Theatre for Young Audiences. Rachel has been an educator for years, along with working as a performer and director. Rachel has created curriculum and taught for La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Playwrights Project, Art for Learning SD, Childs Play Tempe and Scottsdale Arts. She has also trained with Second City West Hollywood and Steppenwolf West in improvisational acting. Rachel loves to bring those improvisation activities to surface and teach kids to create strong community bonds. Rachel is excited to join Family Biz Kids for her fourth year!
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 Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington, 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 past 10 years. This is her seventh year with Family Biz Kids. Shanna's favorite past time is traveling around the world.
Sean Carmichael, Educator
Sean attended John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Psychology. He currently teaches AP Psychology and a senior elective called Examining Race. He has organized and hosted several school events, including the Presidential Debate Series and the Hudson High School Race Summit, where neighboring schools are invited for a night of discussion on hot-button social issues. He founded the Lighthouse Society, a group of passionate teens and teachers interested in ending our national political divide. A frequent presenter at Hudson High School’s Leadership Conference, his sessions have included matching values and actions, navigating the world of love and marriage, exploring gender differences, and improving our emotional IQ. This is Sean's third year working with Family Biz Kids. With a very busy schedule, Sean relishes any time he can spend with his lovely wife, Nicole, and their two children, Olivia, and Patrick.
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 as well as 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 is the President of the Board of Directors. Katie also volunteers her time and expertise as a Safe Sleep Educator and Child Passenger Safety Technician. This is Katie’s fifth year working 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, 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 as well as 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 in the outdoors gardening and camping. This is Steve's third year 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 holds a position as the Senior Administrative Assistant at the North Idaho College Children's Center. She transitioned into this position after serving many years as a preschool teacher at the Children's Center in collaboration with Head Start.
Ashley is passionate about advocating for quality early learning environments and developmentally appropriate practices throughout her community. She has served on her local NAEYC board, volunteered for the Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation and is in the process of becoming an Idaho STARS approved trainer. She enjoys any opportunity to engage in fun, educational activities and experiences with young children. During her free time Ashley enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors with her husband and two children. This is Ashley's sixth year with Family Biz Kids.
Tracy Melger, Educator
Tracy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. and an Education Certificate from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI. She has over 10 years of experience teaching in the Arts Education Department within the Milwaukee Public Schools. Tracy is a certified teacher in the state of Washington currently teaching in the Renton School District for the past 3 years and is currently part of the social emotional learning team, working primarily on art intervention. She believes that the arts are valuable in child development and also a huge part of helping students build relationships with their peers and their community.
With passions in nature, gardening and floral design, Tracy can be found spending time teaching floral design classes and working on wedding and special events out of her home studio. In addition to floral design, Tracy loves traveling, camping, knitting and spending time with her husband Eric & their 3 cats, Ebi, Mika & Rex. This is Tracy’s second year with Family Biz Kids.
Kathy Schott, Educator
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. 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 were projects that contributed 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 over 20 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, 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.
Chris Sumi, Lifeguard and Educator
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 of 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 14 years and enjoys his role as a lifeguard.
Kristen Rau, Educator
Kristen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in theatre from Southern Oregon University. She is a writer, producer, improviser, teaching artist and actor living in Chicago. Currently, Kristen teaches drama and improvisation in Chicago public schools with Lil’ Buds Theatre, The Emerald City Children’s Theatre and The McKaw Theatre. Kristen additionally, participates in the community outreach program called Funny Bones Improv, for young inpatient audiences in Chicago area hospitals. For several years she taught preschool children in Seattle and spent two years touring Italy with the Children’s Theatre Company Theatrino, teaching the English language through theatre. Kristen is dedicated to using theatre to foster self-esteem and independence in young children. Kristen's favorite color is turqoise, and she enjoys playing the ukelele. This is Kristen's third year with Family Biz Kids.
Cassidy Gatz, Educator
Cassidy earned an Associate of Art in Early Childhood Education from Pierce College in Lakewood, WA. She is currently the Lead Preschool Teacher at Milgard Child Development Center in Tacoma, WA. Cassidy is a frequent professional development presenter and has lead workshops at various Early Childhood conferences around Washington state. This is Cassidy's fourth year with Family Biz Kids. When she is not at work she loves to spend time at home on Alki Beach in Seattle, go on road trips, crochet and spend quality time with her husband, friends and family.
Michael Cruz, Educator
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. Michael lives in Kenmore, WA with his husband Jason and 11 year-old son Riley.
Amy Murdoch, Educator
Amy graduated from Carleton College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Cognitive Science and attended graduate school at National-Louis University in Elementary Education. Amy has a career background in museum education and has facilitated and developed educational programming at the Museum of Science and Industry and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Presently, Amy works as a STEM educator in Seattle. When she isn't engaging with learners about terminal velocity and air resistance, she enjoys hiking with her dog and on those particularly rainy days, arts and crafts. This is Amy's third year with Family Biz Kids.
Christi Cruz, Educator
Christi graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Education and a minor in Spanish. She is the Founder and Co-Director of Wedgwood Drama Studio in Seattle, WA, and has over 15 years of experience working as an Art Educator and Actor, working in theater, voiceovers, films, and TV. Christi has worked with 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. Christi has taught both parent education and cooperative preschool classes at North Seattle College since 2008. She also holds a Positive Discipline Parenting certification. In her spare time, she is a mother of three. This is Christi's tenth year working with Family Biz Kids.
Chelsea Wilson, Educator
Chelsea is a graduate of Texas A&M, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences and Accelerated Teacher certification. She currently teaches aerobics, dance and nutrition classes for the Hotel Del Coronado, in Coronado, CA. Chelsea enjoys teaching, and especially her experiences as a camp counselor. She has worked with Family Biz Kids for the past 10 years. Family Biz Kids gives her the opportunity 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, writing a children’s cookbook, health promotion, reading, surfing and meeting new people!
Jan Dillingham, Educator
Jan is a certified teacher in the state of New Mexico. She holds a PhD 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 carerr 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. Recently, she started a program where students grow food throughout the year to learn how to improve their nutritional awareness, experience and appreciate nature, the science of growing food, and how all of these life skills can be used to improve their families and communities. This is Jan's 20th year with Family Biz Kids.
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 a surf and swim team coach at Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad. This is Duane’s seventh year with Family Biz Kids.
Nicole Carmichael, Educator
Nicole holds a Masters of Education in School Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from John Carroll University in Cleveland. She has taught secondary English for several years and is currently a High School Guidance Counselor. When she is not at school, she and her husband love cheering on their daughter and son at their sporting events and activities. This is Nicole’s second year with Family Biz Kids.