Faculty & Staff

Bunny Class – 3 1/2 to 6 years old

Bunny classroom

Ingrid Smith, Co-lead preschool teacher

“Little Earth School is unique. Children, families and staff come every day to a second home.”

“Being a preschool teacher is actually my second career. I came to the United States from Guatemala in 2002. My journey as an educator started as a volunteer for a Head Start Program called “La Comunidad de Los Niños.” Because my three-year-old daughter had two Individualized Education Plans for speech and physical therapy, I decided to get involved one hundred percent in my daughter’s education and support her every single day with the minimum skills that I had at that time. After seven months of volunteering, the director offered me a Teacher Assistant Position. There, I started working in a field different from what I had been doing for the last 15 years in finances.

I worked for Head Start for six and a half years. I was promoted to the position of Teacher after 2 years, and I gained experience working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers, as well as the aftercare program. In May 2010, I won the “Outstanding Performance Award.” In August 2013 I started working for Little Earth School.”

Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA), the most widely recognized credential in Early Childhood Education, an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Pen Foster College, Arizona and more than 800 hours of training in different early childhood education and developmental areas. She is looking forward to obtaining her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Laura McCloskey

Laura McCloskey, Kindergarten teacher/Co-lead preschool teacher

“I love coming into the homey atmosphere of Little Earth School every morning and wondering what new thing I will learn that day. I love art, nature and guiding young children.
At Little Earth I am surrounded by creativity. I am able to be outdoors and explore nature with the children for a significant portion of every school day. The children are motivated to learn, explore and experience the world in ways I have never imagined. These educational opportunities make me excited to teach and come to work with new ideas.
I love that I have never gotten the same response, reaction or product from the children over the twelve years I have worked at the school! I love that at Little Earth the staff is so dedicated to the spontaneity of learning, to guiding young children to be creative and to think outside the box, to be close to and respect nature, and to be respectful to themselves and others.”

I have been working at Little Earth School for 12 years.
BA in Studio Arts and Elementary Education, College of Santa Fe, 2003
State of New Mexico Elementary License K-8, 2004.

Anna Fonti-Connell, Co-lead preschool teacher

“Little Earth is a place with freedom in education that values the curiosity and wisdom each child brings to the school.”

“I am from Ticino, which is the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. After completing my Diploma in Secretarial Studies I studied English as a Second Language in London, UK where I also studied French Literature and European History for two years at the Hammersmith & West London College, UK.
Back in Switzerland I worked for four years as an administrative assistant at the Reception and Procedure Center of the Federal Office of Migration in Ticino. At the same time I attended the Liceo Linguistico in Como, Italy and obtained the Matura in Foreign Languages and Literature, French and English.
In 1992, I needed a change in my professional life, which brought me to discover Prof. Bernard Aucouturier’s theory and practice in early childhood education.
In 1996, I received my Diploma in PPA® after a three-year training at the accredited school in Milan, Italy (Centro Nazionale di Ricerca in Pratica Psicomotoria) under the direction and supervision of Prof. Grazia Cenerini and Prof. Bernard Aucouturier.
For about two years I worked in Torricella, Switzerland as an educator in training at the Waldorf School for children with special needs, working particularly with children with autism. In 2006, I brought PPA to the public schools (Kindergarten) in the town of Chiasso, Switzerland, which was the first implementation of this program in Switzerland. The project was very successful and also gave current PPA students apprenticeship opportunities.”

In 2009 I moved to Santa Fe with my husband. In September, 2009 I started working at Little Earth School as coordinator of the afterschool program; then in 2012, I worked full-time as an assistant teacher in the preschool classroom. Since 2013 I have been working as a co-lead teacher in the preschool. My mother tongue is Italian. I speak fluent French and English.

Black Bear Class – 6 to 8 years old

Linda Brody, Lead teacher

“I feel lucky to be at a school where I have the opportunity to continually create and refine a curriculum that is both exciting for me to teach and really addresses both the academic and developmental needs of each child in my class. When I come to school each day, I think not only about what I am going to teach, but what I am going to learn. At Little Earth, I am always learning along with my students and fellow teachers – we are a true community of learners and thinkers, and I feel this environment is so important to instilling a life long love of learning in our students.”

17th year at Little Earth School; B.A., German, University of Chicago, 1980; M.S.T., University of Chicago, 1982; Illinois Teacher Certification, 1992; New Mexico Department of Education Elementary License, K-8, 1994

Isidro Urtiaga, Assistant teacher

“ I wish I had the opportunity to go to Little Earth School when I was a child. The children at Little Earth are learning valuable skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Other schools often overlook these skills. Children at Little Earth are learning how to learn, not just memorizing and taking tests. I love teaching here because Little Earth is part of our community and has a history in Santa Fe. Little Earth provides learning experiences that parents and students will always remember, as will I!”

I have been working at Little Earth School for 11 years. I am studying towards an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education at Santa Fe Community College.

Ravens Class – 9 to 12 years old

Juli Curtis, Lead teacher

“At Little Earth, I have found my home within a family of educators committed to offering the best education that honors a child’s unique love of learning and fosters a connection to the natural world around us. I feel honored to come to work each day, eager to see what the day holds and what we will discover together, whether it be in the classroom, out in the yard or up a tree.”

3rd year at Little Earth School; I hold a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in the Sciences from SUNY Plattsburgh in New York State. I also studied Ecology and Environmental Technologies at Paul Smith’s College of the Adirondacks and have been an environmental/outdoor educator and trip leader for the past 15 years. I have been teaching upper elementary grades for the past 17 years and this is my fourth year at Little Earth School.

Specialty Teachers

Patricia De Dios, Spanish Literacy Teacher

“Little Earth School is a warm womb that nurtures
with tenderness each child’s soul.”

“I have been a bilingual teacher for the Santa Fe Public Schools since 2008 and this is my first year at Little Earth School. I hold a degree in International Business and a New Mexico Teaching License for grades K-8 with a Bilingual Endorsement. I recently completed my TESOL Endorsement in Oaxaca, Mexico and am currently working on my Early Childhood Certification.

My background in education has been in Dual Language programs for the Santa Fe Public Schools, tutoring children ages 3 to 12 and adults. I have also been a mentor for Inspire Santa Fe and I work as a translator for the Santa Fe New Mexican, Santa Fe Public Schools, the Santa Fe County Department of Health and The Academy for the Love of Learning.

My first language is Spanish and I grew up in a Mexican border city with a bilingual curriculum at school embracing the differences and similarities of both cultures in a social and academic setting. For me a language is just another means to communicate feelings, goals, hopes and love in this world.”

The child´s brain and heart flourish when exposed to another language, allowing them to connect and explore other ways of living with the community around them.
¡Bienvenidos a esta travesía!

New Mexico Teaching License in Grades K-8 with Bilingual Endorsement and TESOL Endorsements.
B.A. International Business, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
Certified Guided Language Acquisition Design (G.L.A.D.)

Jillian Mazure, Art Teacher

“Little Earth School is community.”

“I love to share my passion for art and art history with children by breaking down complex topics into age appropriate lessons. I feel that given the right materials and support young minds can do amazing things.
My passions outside of school are painting, hiking and traveling. I’m a classically trained, realist painter currently focusing on portraits and landscapes. I’ve traveled to many European countries, most recently spending a month in Argeton-Chateau, France for a painting workshop.”

Over eight years of teaching experience with children ranging from age 2 – 12th grade. Three years as a full-time preschool teacher, five years as a full-time art teacher (ages 2 – 18), including experience as a substitute teacher, summer camp administrator and art teacher for at risk youth programs throughout.

Bachelors of Fine Arts, focus in painting, and art education certification for Pre-K through 12, West Virginia University, 2008.

Andy Mason, Music teacher

“Little Earth is musical, chocolaty, and bright.”

I have over 25 years of experience working with children in various settings. I have worked previously for Head Start, Portales Public Schools, Roswell Public Schools, Eastern New Mexico University and numerous other child-centered organizations like summer camps and day cares.

For the last ten years I have been a self -employed musician, specializing in children’s and family-friendly music. I speak and sing in Spanish and outside of school I love to spend time with my young children, play hockey, ride my bike, travel and visit new restaurants.”

Andy has a degree in English, with a Minor in Spanish (ENMU 2004) and a New Mexico Teacher’s License with endorsements in Fine Arts, ESL and Performance Arts.

Marika Lowe, Dance teacher

Marika’s love for creative expression has led her to pursue a very varied artistic path.Preceding her BFA, with emphasis on performance art, at UNM, she explored the different inner rhythms of the human body starting early on with vocal experimentation and traveling with a German Choir to different parts of Europe. Later she worked in the Cranio Sacral, somatic and energetic realm as well as studied the pulse of flamenco dance, modern, ballroom, folk dance and improv.
She is thrilled to be part of the children’s exploration of their own unique expression here at Little Earth

Marika received training with Matilde Coral, Pilar, Concha Vargas and others in Seville, Spain, studied in Germany, Miami and New Mexico.
Currently Marika is part of the practitioners program for Wisdom Healing Qi Gong and staying connected in the 5Rhythms dance space.
This is her first year at Little Earth.

Administrative Staff

Carolyn Brandi, Administrative Assistant

“I love working at Little Earth because I believe in the quality of education that we are providing. I love being a part of the process that enables children to obtain the gift of a love for learning that they will carry with them on their journey through life.”

8th year at Little Earth School as Administrative Assistant.
Was a Little Earth Parent for 12 years. 16 years Administrative office experience.

Ellen Souberman, Director

“Little Earth School is every educator’s and every child’s dream come true. I feel honored to work with teachers who are so dedicated to their profession, who understand so well what the true education of young children requires, and are willing to work hard to achieve it for the benefit of every child in their classrooms. I know that children at Little Earth will acquire the academic skills they need to succeed. But equally important to their success as individuals, I know that each child at Little Earth, whatever their culture, ethnicity or economic status, is recognized and respected for who s/he is and encouraged to pursue his/her interests. I know that children at Little Earth are encouraged to question, to think, to feel, to be curious and creative. I know that children at Little Earth are taught to be comfortable with, and interested in, diversity; to listen attentively and respectfully to the opinions of others; to directly experience the natural world and be stewards of the earth; to problem-solve and resolve conflicts non-violently; and to stand up for what they believe in and for the rights of others. I know that children at Little Earth are encouraged to play, and to experience and celebrate life with all their five senses. I know that with this kind of education, a better world must be possible.”

B.A., Psychology, Rutgers University, 1969; J.D., University of New Mexico School of Law, 1976; legal practice focusing on education, family and adoption law, 1976-1987. Co-edited with Michael Cole, Vera John-Steiner and Sylvia Scribner, Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, by L.S. Vygotsky, Harvard University Press, 1978.
Director of Little Earth School for 30 years.