Our Staff

  • We are Kind, We are Passionate, We have Integrity, We are Progressive & We put our Communities and Families First

    Our staff has over 50 years of combined experience

    • Ben Poswalk
      Executive Director

      Ben Poswalk

      Executive Director
      Hello, I’m Ben Poswalk (a.k.a Mr. Ben), and have had the honor of serving as the Executive Director of Paradise Place Preschool since 2011.   Prior to becoming the director, I was a teacher in both our Doves and Whales classes for 3 years. I have BA in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA in Human Performance emphasis in Education K-12 from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Additionally I have earned my Director Qualification form Arapahoe College in Denver. When I’m not enjoying spending time with the children and families of Paradise Place; I like to spend it with my own family. We do our best to take advantage of the many opportunities that the Crested Butte Community has to offer like skiing, concerts, hiking, camping and so much more! I welcome the opportunity to get to know you and your family soon. It is a privilege to share in this wonderful time of growth and development in these little one’s lives. Mr. Ben
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Kinesiology and Applied Physiology; Human Performance
      • Title:
        Executive Director
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        10
      • My Hobby:
        Getting Outdoors: Skiing, Hiking, Camping…
    • Allison Poswalk
      Lambs Teacher

      Allison Poswalk

      Lambs Teacher

      Working with the families in this community has been such a rewarding career choice for me. After raising my two daughters as a stay at home Mom I have a unique perspective on the benefits of early childhood education. In fostering warm and loving relationships with the students and their families we are able to help nurture and support healthy social emotional development as well as form a solid foundation for academic success. It is amazing to watch the growth from the first day in the Lambs classroom to graduation in the Whales class. It brings such joy to watch the positive impact we can have through these relationships with our Crested Butte families. I truly believe in the positive impact of early childhood education and feel privileged to be a part of our Paradise Place community.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        7
      • Hobbies:
        Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing
    • Gwyn Grier
      Lions Teacher

      Gwyn Grier

      Lions Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is experiencing first hand young children’s joy of learning and their love for their peers and teachers.  Really, I love it all – even the hard stuff – there is never a dull day in preschool and the children always challenge me to be a better teacher and person.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise:
        10
      • My Hobbies:
        Teaching Aerial Dancing, Skiing, Climbing, Running
    • Stephanie Gautreaux
      Lambs Teacher

      Stephanie Gautreaux

      Lambs Teacher
      I have been working with children for 18 years. When a child bestows on me their cherished works of art, their wrapping arms or loving words my world gets a whole lot brighter. The best part of my day is when I see a child’s eyes light up when they learn something new. Nothing is as fulfilling as teaching your little ones!
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise:
        1
      • My Hobbies:
        Fitness and My Family
    • Leah Starinieri
      Lambs Teacher

      Leah Starinieri

      Lambs Teacher

      I am married with three children of my own. I have my Master’s degree in Education and my professional Elementary Teaching license. In the past I have taught at a variety of private and public schools. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and hiking.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Family, Reading, Hiking
    • Maggie Chlipala
      Doves Teacher

      Maggie Chlipala

      Doves Teacher

      I have known that I wanted to be a teacher ever since I asked my mom and dad for a whiteboard and dry erase markers at age 4. Everyday, walking into the classroom and seeing those smiling faces is priceless. I enjoy the ability to show children all the world has to offer while helping them foster and experience their creativity, imagination and power.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Elementary Education
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        3
      • My Hobby:
        Enjoying all that Crested Butte has to offer
    • Sarah Johnson
      Whales Teacher

      Sarah Johnson

      Whales Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is watching children develop their social skills: friendship skills, problem solving techniques, and regulating emotions. I love hearing preschooler’s quotes, as well as overhearing the kids explore life and the world through play and questioning. Engaging in play with 4 and 5 year olds make my day brighter and entertain me endlessly!
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Child Development
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise:
        3
      • My Hobbies:
        Biking, Hiking, Skiing
    • Suzanne Alioto
      Lions Teacher

      Suzanne Alioto

      Lions Teacher

      I have always known that I wanted to be a preschool teacher. I love that I have the opportunity to help children grow and feel comfortable moving forward in their educational life

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education and Psychology
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Reading, Hiking
    • Melody Barge
      Whales Teacher

      Melody Barge

      Whales Teacher

      I recently moved to CB in March from Colorado Springs. I am so happy to be here to spend more time with my son and family here. I have worked in early childhood education for 25 years. Seven of those in the Colorado Preschool Program for the District 11 School District.

      I love hiking and the outdoors so I know I have moved to the perfect place. I look forward to making a difference in your child’s life and getting to know the amazing families here in Crested Butte.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Hiking and the outdoors
    • Dillan Espeset
      Lions Teacher

      Dillan Espeset

      Lions Teacher

      Working with children is so rewarding to me. I love helping children learn and grow both in their education and with their emotional skills. I always have a smile on my face at the end of the day. Each child has something unique to share with the world, and I’m excited to walk with them through their journey.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Agricultural Engineering
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        2
      • My Hobby:
        Running, Hiking, Yoga, Baking
    • Kathryn Snyder
      Doves Teacher

      Kathryn Snyder

      Doves Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood education is the joy and excitement in each classroom. I love helping to make a positive impact on the children, especially at this age. Along with this I truly enjoy making a connection with each child and family, especially in such a special community as Crested Butte.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Human Development and Family Studies
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise:
        2
      • My Hobbies:
        Ice Skating, Hiking, and Skiing
    • Mallory Zimmerman
      Whales Teacher

      Mallory Zimmerman

      Whales Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is witnessing the children’s development day by day and laughing with them.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Child Development
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise:
        1
      • My Hobbies:
        Hiking, and Skiing
    • Jesse Lynn Buchanan
      Lions Teacher

      Jesse Lynn Buchanan

      Lions Teacher

      My favorite thing about early childhood education is getting to witness so many firsts in the children. First words, first friends, first time spelling their name, the list is endless! She especially enjoys how excited children at the preschool level are to be at school. It is part of the reason she went in to early childhood.

       

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Fine Arts and Early Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        3
      • My Hobby:
        Dance
    • Carie Mitchell
      Child Find Coordinator

      Carie Mitchell

      Child Find Coordinator

      Carie is the Child Find Coordinator and early childhood special educator for the Gunnison Watershed School District.  She has recently completed her Pyramid Plus trainer certification and is also a Pyramid Plus coach.  Carie works in Crested Butte coaching teachers in social-emotional development.  

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Childhood Childhood Special Education
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        4
      • My Hobby:
        Hiking, Biking, Skiing

       

    • Megan Wilson
      Lambs Teacher

      Megan Wilson

      Lambs Teacher

      I am passionate about caring for children & being able to help them learn & grow!

      My husband and I moved to CB in November of 2018. I feel very grateful to live, work, and play in this beautiful valley!

      When I am not at Paradise Place you can find me hiking, paddle boarding, camping, skiing, and ice skating. We have three furry four-legged children named Peanut, Oliver, and Pearl who love the mountains just as much as we do!

      I am looking forward to making a positive impact in our community and in the lives of the children here in CB for many years to come!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        hiking, paddle boarding, camping, skiing, and ice skating
    • Madison Merydith
      Doves Teacher

      Madison Merydith

      Doves Teacher

      I am working on my degree in early childhood education! The only game I played with my sister was teacher and I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I remember. It is so important to build a long lasting relationship with each child. I believe that a strong education from day one is important. My fiancé and I moved to Gunnison in April and have been enjoying all that Gunnison and Crested Butte has to offer! Ich lerne Deutsch, or I am learning German. Traveling is my favorite part of life! Germany is my country of choice and I am teaching myself German to enjoy the country more. Learning German has sharpened my mind and kept me busy in my down time. We have a golden retriever named Mabel and she is the light of our life. I am so excited to be a part of Paradise Place!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Education
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        2
      • My Hobby:
        Traveling
    • Annalisa Dietz
      Lions Teacher

      Annalisa Dietz

      Lions Teacher

      I am originally from Minnesota and received a Bachelors in psychology with a minor in American Sign Language. I feel lucky to have called Crested Butte home for three years now! When I originally moved to the valley I worked for the Adaptive Sports Center and found a passion for working with people of all ages and all abilities. I am so excited to join the Paradise family this summer as well!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Psychology
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
    • Courtney Grivas
      Doves Teacher

      Courtney Grivas

      Doves Teacher

      I grew up in the Chicago area. I always had a love for the mountains so I moved to Fort Collins, CO where I got my degree in Health and Exercise Science at CSU. After graduating, I moved to Breckenridge. I worked there as a preschool teacher for three years until August when I left to travel for the last 6 months.

      I grew up babysitting and nannying and my job in Breckenridge fueled my
      passion for early childhood education. Children are so competent, creative, and resilient. They are the real teachers in the classroom!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Health and Exercise Science
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Outdoors
    • Ben Poswalk
      Executive Director

      Ben Poswalk

      Executive Director

      Hello, I’m Ben Poswalk (a.k.a Mr. Ben), and have had the honor of serving as the Executive Director of Paradise Place Preschool since 2011.   Prior to becoming the director, I was a teacher in both our Doves and Whales classes for 3 years. I have BA in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA in Human Performance emphasis in Education K-12 from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Additionally I have earned my Director Qualification form Arapahoe College in Denver. When I’m not enjoying spending time with the children and families of Paradise Place; I like to spend it with my own family. We do our best to take advantage of the many opportunities that the Crested Butte Community has to offer like skiing, concerts, hiking, camping and so much more! I welcome the opportunity to get to know you and your family soon. It is a privilege to share in this wonderful time of growth and development in these little one’s lives.

      Mr. Ben

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Kinesiology and Applied Physiology; Human Performance
      • Title:
        Executive Director
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        10
      • My Hobby:
        Getting Outdoors: Skiing, Hiking, Camping…
    • Allison Poswalk
      Lambs Teacher

      Allison Poswalk

      Lambs Teacher

      Working with the families in this community has been such a rewarding career choice for me. After raising my two daughters as a stay at home Mom I have a unique perspective on the benefits of early childhood education. In fostering warm and loving relationships with the students and their families we are able to help nurture and support healthy social emotional development as well as form a solid foundation for academic success. It is amazing to watch the growth from the first day in the Lambs classroom to graduation in the Whales class. It brings such joy to watch the positive impact we can have through these relationships with our Crested Butte families. I truly believe in the positive impact of early childhood education and feel privileged to be a part of our Paradise Place community.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        7
      • Hobbies:
        Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing
    • Gwyn Grier
      Lions Teacher

      Gwyn Grier

      Lions Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is experiencing first hand young children’s joy of learning and their love for their peers and teachers.  Really, I love it all – even the hard stuff – there is never a dull day in preschool and the children always challenge me to be a better teacher and person.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise:
        10
      • My Hobbies:
        Teaching Aerial Dancing, Skiing, Climbing, Running
    • Stephanie Gautreaux
      Lambs Teacher

      Stephanie Gautreaux

      Lambs Teacher
      I have been working with children for 18 years. When a child bestows on me their cherished works of art, their wrapping arms or loving words my world gets a whole lot brighter. The best part of my day is when I see a child’s eyes light up when they learn something new. Nothing is as fulfilling as teaching your little ones!
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise:
        1
      • My Hobbies:
        Fitness and My Family
    • Leah Starinieri
      Lambs Teacher

      Leah Starinieri

      Lambs Teacher

      I am married with three children of my own. I have my Master’s degree in Education and my professional Elementary Teaching license. In the past I have taught at a variety of private and public schools. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and hiking.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Family, Reading, Hiking
    • Maggie Chlipala
      Doves Teacher

      Maggie Chlipala

      Doves Teacher

      I have known that I wanted to be a teacher ever since I asked my mom and dad for a whiteboard and dry erase markers at age 4. Everyday, walking into the classroom and seeing those smiling faces is priceless. I enjoy the ability to show children all the world has to offer while helping them foster and experience their creativity, imagination and power.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Elementary Education
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        3
      • My Hobby:
        Enjoying all that Crested Butte has to offer
    • Sarah Johnson
      Whales Teacher

      Sarah Johnson

      Whales Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is watching children develop their social skills: friendship skills, problem solving techniques, and regulating emotions. I love hearing preschooler’s quotes, as well as overhearing the kids explore life and the world through play and questioning. Engaging in play with 4 and 5 year olds make my day brighter and entertain me endlessly!
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Child Development
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise:
        3
      • My Hobbies:
        Biking, Hiking, Skiing
    • Suzanne Alioto
      Lions Teacher

      Suzanne Alioto

      Lions Teacher

      I have always known that I wanted to be a preschool teacher. I love that I have the opportunity to help children grow and feel comfortable moving forward in their educational life

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education and Psychology
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Reading, Hiking
    • Melody Barge
      Whales Teacher

      Melody Barge

      Whales Teacher

      I recently moved to CB in March from Colorado Springs. I am so happy to be here to spend more time with my son and family here. I have worked in early childhood education for 25 years. Seven of those in the Colorado Preschool Program for the District 11 School District.

      I love hiking and the outdoors so I know I have moved to the perfect place. I look forward to making a difference in your child’s life and getting to know the amazing families here in Crested Butte.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Hiking and the outdoors
    • Dillan Espeset
      Lions Teacher

      Dillan Espeset

      Lions Teacher

      Working with children is so rewarding to me. I love helping children learn and grow both in their education and with their emotional skills. I always have a smile on my face at the end of the day. Each child has something unique to share with the world, and I’m excited to walk with them through their journey.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Agricultural Engineering
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        2
      • My Hobby:
        Running, Hiking, Yoga, Baking
    • Kathryn Snyder
      Doves Teacher

      Kathryn Snyder

      Doves Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood education is the joy and excitement in each classroom. I love helping to make a positive impact on the children, especially at this age. Along with this I truly enjoy making a connection with each child and family, especially in such a special community as Crested Butte.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Human Development and Family Studies
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise:
        2
      • My Hobbies:
        Ice Skating, Hiking, and Skiing
    • Mallory Zimmerman
      Whales Teacher

      Mallory Zimmerman

      Whales Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is witnessing the children’s development day by day and laughing with them.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Child Development
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise:
        1
      • My Hobbies:
        Hiking, and Skiing
    • Jesse Lynn Buchanan
      Lions Teacher

      Jesse Lynn Buchanan

      Lions Teacher

      My favorite thing about early childhood education is getting to witness so many firsts in the children. First words, first friends, first time spelling their name, the list is endless! She especially enjoys how excited children at the preschool level are to be at school. It is part of the reason she went in to early childhood.

       

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Fine Arts and Early Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        3
      • My Hobby:
        Dance
    • Carie Mitchell
      Child Find Coordinator

      Carie Mitchell

      Child Find Coordinator

      Carie is the Child Find Coordinator and early childhood special educator for the Gunnison Watershed School District.  She has recently completed her Pyramid Plus trainer certification and is also a Pyramid Plus coach.  Carie works in Crested Butte coaching teachers in social-emotional development.  

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Childhood Childhood Special Education
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        4
      • My Hobby:
        Hiking, Biking, Skiing

       

    • Megan Wilson
      Lambs Teacher

      Megan Wilson

      Lambs Teacher

      I am passionate about caring for children & being able to help them learn & grow!

      My husband and I moved to CB in November of 2018. I feel very grateful to live, work, and play in this beautiful valley!

      When I am not at Paradise Place you can find me hiking, paddle boarding, camping, skiing, and ice skating. We have three furry four-legged children named Peanut, Oliver, and Pearl who love the mountains just as much as we do!

      I am looking forward to making a positive impact in our community and in the lives of the children here in CB for many years to come!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        hiking, paddle boarding, camping, skiing, and ice skating
    • Madison Merydith
      Doves Teacher

      Madison Merydith

      Doves Teacher

      I am working on my degree in early childhood education! The only game I played with my sister was teacher and I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I remember. It is so important to build a long lasting relationship with each child. I believe that a strong education from day one is important. My fiancé and I moved to Gunnison in April and have been enjoying all that Gunnison and Crested Butte has to offer! Ich lerne Deutsch, or I am learning German. Traveling is my favorite part of life! Germany is my country of choice and I am teaching myself German to enjoy the country more. Learning German has sharpened my mind and kept me busy in my down time. We have a golden retriever named Mabel and she is the light of our life. I am so excited to be a part of Paradise Place!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Education
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        2
      • My Hobby:
        Traveling
    • Annalisa Dietz
      Lions Teacher

      Annalisa Dietz

      Lions Teacher

      I am originally from Minnesota and received a Bachelors in psychology with a minor in American Sign Language. I feel lucky to have called Crested Butte home for three years now! When I originally moved to the valley I worked for the Adaptive Sports Center and found a passion for working with people of all ages and all abilities. I am so excited to join the Paradise family this summer as well!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Psychology
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
    • Courtney Grivas
      Doves Teacher

      Courtney Grivas

      Doves Teacher

      I grew up in the Chicago area. I always had a love for the mountains so I moved to Fort Collins, CO where I got my degree in Health and Exercise Science at CSU. After graduating, I moved to Breckenridge. I worked there as a preschool teacher for three years until August when I left to travel for the last 6 months.

      I grew up babysitting and nannying and my job in Breckenridge fueled my
      passion for early childhood education. Children are so competent, creative, and resilient. They are the real teachers in the classroom!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Health and Exercise Science
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Outdoors
    • Ben Poswalk
      Executive Director

      Ben Poswalk

      Executive Director

      Hello, I’m Ben Poswalk (a.k.a Mr. Ben), and have had the honor of serving as the Executive Director of Paradise Place Preschool since 2011.   Prior to becoming the director, I was a teacher in both our Doves and Whales classes for 3 years. I have BA in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA in Human Performance emphasis in Education K-12 from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Additionally I have earned my Director Qualification form Arapahoe College in Denver. When I’m not enjoying spending time with the children and families of Paradise Place; I like to spend it with my own family. We do our best to take advantage of the many opportunities that the Crested Butte Community has to offer like skiing, concerts, hiking, camping and so much more! I welcome the opportunity to get to know you and your family soon. It is a privilege to share in this wonderful time of growth and development in these little one’s lives.

      Mr. Ben

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Kinesiology and Applied Physiology; Human Performance
      • Title:
        Executive Director
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        10
      • My Hobby:
        Getting Outdoors: Skiing, Hiking, Camping…
    • Allison Poswalk
      Lambs Teacher

      Allison Poswalk

      Lambs Teacher

      Working with the families in this community has been such a rewarding career choice for me. After raising my two daughters as a stay at home Mom I have a unique perspective on the benefits of early childhood education. In fostering warm and loving relationships with the students and their families we are able to help nurture and support healthy social emotional development as well as form a solid foundation for academic success. It is amazing to watch the growth from the first day in the Lambs classroom to graduation in the Whales class. It brings such joy to watch the positive impact we can have through these relationships with our Crested Butte families. I truly believe in the positive impact of early childhood education and feel privileged to be a part of our Paradise Place community.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        7
      • Hobbies:
        Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing
    • Gwyn Grier
      Lions Teacher

      Gwyn Grier

      Lions Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is experiencing first hand young children’s joy of learning and their love for their peers and teachers.  Really, I love it all – even the hard stuff – there is never a dull day in preschool and the children always challenge me to be a better teacher and person.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise:
        10
      • My Hobbies:
        Teaching Aerial Dancing, Skiing, Climbing, Running
    • Stephanie Gautreaux
      Lambs Teacher

      Stephanie Gautreaux

      Lambs Teacher
      I have been working with children for 18 years. When a child bestows on me their cherished works of art, their wrapping arms or loving words my world gets a whole lot brighter. The best part of my day is when I see a child’s eyes light up when they learn something new. Nothing is as fulfilling as teaching your little ones!
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Childhood Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise:
        1
      • My Hobbies:
        Fitness and My Family
    • Leah Starinieri
      Lambs Teacher

      Leah Starinieri

      Lambs Teacher

      I am married with three children of my own. I have my Master’s degree in Education and my professional Elementary Teaching license. In the past I have taught at a variety of private and public schools. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and hiking.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Family, Reading, Hiking
    • Maggie Chlipala
      Doves Teacher

      Maggie Chlipala

      Doves Teacher

      I have known that I wanted to be a teacher ever since I asked my mom and dad for a whiteboard and dry erase markers at age 4. Everyday, walking into the classroom and seeing those smiling faces is priceless. I enjoy the ability to show children all the world has to offer while helping them foster and experience their creativity, imagination and power.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Elementary Education
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        3
      • My Hobby:
        Enjoying all that Crested Butte has to offer
    • Sarah Johnson
      Whales Teacher

      Sarah Johnson

      Whales Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is watching children develop their social skills: friendship skills, problem solving techniques, and regulating emotions. I love hearing preschooler’s quotes, as well as overhearing the kids explore life and the world through play and questioning. Engaging in play with 4 and 5 year olds make my day brighter and entertain me endlessly!
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Child Development
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise:
        3
      • My Hobbies:
        Biking, Hiking, Skiing
    • Suzanne Alioto
      Lions Teacher

      Suzanne Alioto

      Lions Teacher

      I have always known that I wanted to be a preschool teacher. I love that I have the opportunity to help children grow and feel comfortable moving forward in their educational life

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education and Psychology
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Reading, Hiking
    • Melody Barge
      Whales Teacher

      Melody Barge

      Whales Teacher

      I recently moved to CB in March from Colorado Springs. I am so happy to be here to spend more time with my son and family here. I have worked in early childhood education for 25 years. Seven of those in the Colorado Preschool Program for the District 11 School District.

      I love hiking and the outdoors so I know I have moved to the perfect place. I look forward to making a difference in your child’s life and getting to know the amazing families here in Crested Butte.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Education
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Hiking and the outdoors
    • Dillan Espeset
      Lions Teacher

      Dillan Espeset

      Lions Teacher

      Working with children is so rewarding to me. I love helping children learn and grow both in their education and with their emotional skills. I always have a smile on my face at the end of the day. Each child has something unique to share with the world, and I’m excited to walk with them through their journey.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Agricultural Engineering
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        2
      • My Hobby:
        Running, Hiking, Yoga, Baking
    • Kathryn Snyder
      Doves Teacher

      Kathryn Snyder

      Doves Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood education is the joy and excitement in each classroom. I love helping to make a positive impact on the children, especially at this age. Along with this I truly enjoy making a connection with each child and family, especially in such a special community as Crested Butte.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Human Development and Family Studies
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise:
        2
      • My Hobbies:
        Ice Skating, Hiking, and Skiing
    • Mallory Zimmerman
      Whales Teacher

      Mallory Zimmerman

      Whales Teacher
      My favorite thing about early childhood is witnessing the children’s development day by day and laughing with them.
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Child Development
      • Class Educator:
        Whales
      • Years at Paradise:
        1
      • My Hobbies:
        Hiking, and Skiing
    • Jesse Lynn Buchanan
      Lions Teacher

      Jesse Lynn Buchanan

      Lions Teacher

      My favorite thing about early childhood education is getting to witness so many firsts in the children. First words, first friends, first time spelling their name, the list is endless! She especially enjoys how excited children at the preschool level are to be at school. It is part of the reason she went in to early childhood.

       

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Fine Arts and Early Education
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        3
      • My Hobby:
        Dance
    • Carie Mitchell
      Child Find Coordinator

      Carie Mitchell

      Child Find Coordinator

      Carie is the Child Find Coordinator and early childhood special educator for the Gunnison Watershed School District.  She has recently completed her Pyramid Plus trainer certification and is also a Pyramid Plus coach.  Carie works in Crested Butte coaching teachers in social-emotional development.  

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Childhood Childhood Special Education
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        4
      • My Hobby:
        Hiking, Biking, Skiing

       

    • Megan Wilson
      Lambs Teacher

      Megan Wilson

      Lambs Teacher

      I am passionate about caring for children & being able to help them learn & grow!

      My husband and I moved to CB in November of 2018. I feel very grateful to live, work, and play in this beautiful valley!

      When I am not at Paradise Place you can find me hiking, paddle boarding, camping, skiing, and ice skating. We have three furry four-legged children named Peanut, Oliver, and Pearl who love the mountains just as much as we do!

      I am looking forward to making a positive impact in our community and in the lives of the children here in CB for many years to come!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
      • Class Educator:
        Lambs
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        hiking, paddle boarding, camping, skiing, and ice skating
    • Madison Merydith
      Doves Teacher

      Madison Merydith

      Doves Teacher

      I am working on my degree in early childhood education! The only game I played with my sister was teacher and I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I remember. It is so important to build a long lasting relationship with each child. I believe that a strong education from day one is important. My fiancé and I moved to Gunnison in April and have been enjoying all that Gunnison and Crested Butte has to offer! Ich lerne Deutsch, or I am learning German. Traveling is my favorite part of life! Germany is my country of choice and I am teaching myself German to enjoy the country more. Learning German has sharpened my mind and kept me busy in my down time. We have a golden retriever named Mabel and she is the light of our life. I am so excited to be a part of Paradise Place!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Early Education
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        2
      • My Hobby:
        Traveling
    • Annalisa Dietz
      Lions Teacher

      Annalisa Dietz

      Lions Teacher

      I am originally from Minnesota and received a Bachelors in psychology with a minor in American Sign Language. I feel lucky to have called Crested Butte home for three years now! When I originally moved to the valley I worked for the Adaptive Sports Center and found a passion for working with people of all ages and all abilities. I am so excited to join the Paradise family this summer as well!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Psychology
      • Class Educator:
        Lions
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
    • Courtney Grivas
      Doves Teacher

      Courtney Grivas

      Doves Teacher

      I grew up in the Chicago area. I always had a love for the mountains so I moved to Fort Collins, CO where I got my degree in Health and Exercise Science at CSU. After graduating, I moved to Breckenridge. I worked there as a preschool teacher for three years until August when I left to travel for the last 6 months.

      I grew up babysitting and nannying and my job in Breckenridge fueled my
      passion for early childhood education. Children are so competent, creative, and resilient. They are the real teachers in the classroom!

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        Health and Exercise Science
      • Class Educator:
        Doves
      • Years at Paradise Place:
        1
      • My Hobby:
        Outdoors