Preschool Staff

Sherry Helde (Preschool director)

Sherry admits that she loved the atmosphere at Loving Space so much that she spent 6 months lobbying to get a job here. She thinks they finally hired her because she said she would always answer the phones, which seemed to ring constantly whenever she came by. She’s been at the school since 2000 and believes that along with understanding and compassion, she brings a nice sense of balance to her work. “Some teachers have their niches, but I get to do a little of everything,” she says, “and I like that.”

Sherry spent 7 years teaching swimming before she came to Loving Space, and she still likes to swim in her off time, as well as go for walks and just hang out with her friends and family. Her favorite part about being at the school is arriving to all the kids’ enthusiastic welcomes. “Their love is just so pure and real,” she says. “The honesty of their emotions is really joyful – whether they’re happy or sad.”


Rosie Gehring (Preschool teacher)

Rosie has been presiding over the quiet room at Loving Space Preschool since 1999, sharing her nurturing presence, gentle sense of humor, and especially her love of books. She feels she gets as much from her kids as they get from her. “I have a long commute to school,” she says, “so sometimes I’m in a bit of a stressed out mood when I get here. Even so, it never takes long before all the love and laughter from the kids turns me right around.”

Rosie’s favorite part of working with the children at Loving Space is seeing them beginning to reflect behaviors and values that she’s modeled for them. “When you see something, some lesson, that you’ve taught them starting to come back – that you’ve touched their life in some way – there’s a lot of joy in that.”

Someday Rosie would like to retire and live near Tenaskit, WA, in the north Cascades. “I’d like to just live on the land – it’s so beautiful up there,” she says. Rosie’s favorite quote is from William Blake: “No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.”

Kristan Brennan (Preschool teacher)

Kristan joined Loving Space in 2006 after her son attended preschool and kindergarten there, and then shared that experience with her second son. She explains why the school is so special. “We give them space to practice their life skills, to learn to get along. Loving Space kids really benefit from the open, accepting, and loving environment here.” Watching the kids develop is one of her favorite things about working at Loving Space. She loves seeing the change in them and hearing the funny things they say.

Kristan likes to cook and bake (over 25 wedding cakes to date!) and brings her skills to work, where she cooks with the kids and lets them help at snack time. She likes the way it gives them that “Hey, I can do that!” feeling. Fittingly, her favorite book is “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. “That’s my motto,” she laughs. “Try it and you’ll like it!”

Fall is Kristan’s favorite time of year. She loves welcoming the returning students and getting to know the new ones. She loves listening to her son play the cello and her husband play the guitar. She enjoys knitting, felting, traveling (favorite place: the beach), biking, snowboarding, and hanging out with her family and dogs.

Emily Katzenberg (Preschool teacher)

Emily has worked at Loving Space since 2005, but the term “the Loving Space family” has a literal meaning for her since her brother-in-law worked here for years and her nephews and niece all attended school here over the past decade. Emily likes everything about her job, especially the people she works with. She particularly enjoys being creative: “I love making art with the kids – that’s my thing.” Fall is her favorite season of the school year because she says it has the very best crafts.

When she’s not making art, Emily loves making soup, drinking coffee, and playing cards. She’s fond of White Russian ice cream from Mallard. She also loves movies, especially those from Wes Anderson or the Coen brothers. Her favorite children’s books are those by Roald Dahl.

On a day off, you’ll find Emily with her toddler son out walking their dogs around the neighborhood. She also enjoys traveling to beaches and cities. Her motto is: “Be excellent to each other and party on!” –Bill and Ted

Ciaran Seward (Preschool teacher)

Getting a job at Loving Space was a matter of serendipity for Ciaran, who was looking for work at a preschool in 2011 and happened upon an opening at Loving Space. She’s so happy to have ended up here. “Loving Space focuses on the things I value,” she says. “And I love the kids!” Ciaran has always enjoyed being around children: “I started babysitting when I was twelve,” she says. “I even went to a babysitter school.”

Her favorite time of the school year is Spring! It feels like we’re about to stretch our wings because we’ve gotten comfortable as a group and are able to take the fun outside.”

Baking and bicycling are a couple of her hobbies. She also likes to garden, swim, bike, craft (she’s working on an old T-shirt rug using a hula hoop she made into a loom), and spend time with people she loves. Her favorite ice cream changes weekly but at interview time, she was into Honey Assam.

She loves to sing and dance, and just began taking bass guitar and drum lessons. A Bellingham native, her favorite places to visit are Larrabee State Park, Pixie Falls, anywhere her mom is, and any place new!

Iris Dunaway (Preschool teacher)

Iris first discovered the joys of Loving Space as a parent when she brought her son to school here in 2011. “I’m just excited to be here! It’s like a dream come true. I’m super lucky to get to do this,” she says. She loves getting down and dirty with the kids, especially in the sand area.

Iris enjoys getting dirty outside work too! She likes doing messy preschool crafts and tent camping with her husband and two sons. She also enjoys time with friends and practicing being in the moment. She likes to ride her bike, sew, knit, is working on a novel, and plays drums in a rock’n’roll band called the Dick and Janes. Her favorite songs are the ones her kids make up!

Iris loves Mallard Blueberry Ice Cream, visiting the Oregon coast, and dreams of visiting the southwest. She loves all of the seasons here at Loving Space and says each has its own slice of magic!

Lauren Lane (Preschool teacher)

Lauren Lane or Lala as she’s known at Loving Space, joined the teaching team in the fall of 2015. Lauren grew up south of Bellingham on Samish Island and lived down the street from Loving Space when she first moved to Bellingham in 2011. She remembers being instantly drawn to the school’s fun atmosphere. Lala first discovered her interest in early childhood education as a swim instructor for babies and kids. She is “just thrilled” to be working at Loving Space and describes it as a wonderland for kids. She entered the doors first as a nanny and was inspired by the school’s philosophies and saw the benefits of what she calls “the Loving Space way” in all her interactions with children. Lala has a love of children’s literature and enjoys reading Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales and is even working on her own tale called The Lost Princess, inspired by stories told to the girls she nannied for. In her spare time Lala is a blues dancer and even sometimes works as a script supervisor on independent films in California. Her favorite ice creams are blackberry and vanilla. She loves the energy and the happenings of the Big Room and brings great heart and joy into the classroom.