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Staff

Our staff is an affectionate, experienced, responsible, and talented group of people. We are a mature teaching staff, able to collaborate, solve problems, and implement ideas. We are always aware that we are role models for your children.

Teacher/ Director BETSY NACHMAN apprenticed with Elinor Griffin for five years in the 1980s and 1990s before assuming directorship in 1996. She received an MS in Teacher Education/ Early Childhood in 2015 and hopes to supplement her work at Griffin by teaching teachers and/or writing about teaching in the years to come. She considers Griffin Nursery School her home and loves providing a haven for children, parents, and colleagues.
Teacher CHRIS TAAFFE has been in early childhood education for over thirty-five years. Besides teaching continuously, Chris has helped launch new programs, taught teachers and parents, interim-directed, and authored articles and newsletters. Chris has an MA in Teacher Education/ Early Childhood from SFSU. His style with the children is even-keeled, egalitarian, and adventuresome. All our children feel seen and heard by Chris.
Janitor/ handyman/ gardener/ life-experience-trained counsellor/ computer support person DAVE MITCHELL previously played some of the same roles in a punk rock club. Dave is the very life blood of our school community.
We can’t do it without you, Dave!
Teacher HARNAAM KAUR came to Griffin in September 2010. Harnaam is also a massage therapist and a children’s yoga teacher. She helps very young children access their innate powers of self-care and healing through breathing techniques and sensorimotor activities during group times. All our children gravitate to her wisdom, affection, compassion, aesthetic, and sense of fun. Harnaam helps every room feel comfortable.
Teacher HELENE COPPERMAN has worked for decades as a preschool teacher and a family day care operator. Helene has a strong understanding that young children must feel useful and important in their families and communities. To this end she teaches them the  home economics skills of cooking, sewing, gardening, and carpentry. She connects children to their neighborhoods through acts of giving, like donating extra baby blankets they sew to the nearby hospital and inviting neighbors to tea.
Teacher MARTI MOGENSEN is an Early Childhood veteran. Until Marti acame to us three years ago, she had been teaching kindergarten and first grade since the 1990s; and she directed preschools for eight years in the 1970s and 1980s. She got her MA in Early Childhood Education at University of Wisconsin/ La Crosse in 1981. Marti is a respectful, funloving facilitator in groups of children, she challenges children’s cognitive and fine motor skills, and she is very intuitive and easygoing in her one-on-one relationships, which she is careful to cultivate.
Teacher SHAY WILLIAMS is relatively new to the field of Early Childhood Education, but she is such a natural and so mature that her colleagues have already come to rely heavily on her to help make the school a good place for young children and their parents. She treats everyone with the utmost dignity and respect; she is extraordinarily insightful and inventive; and she is deeply devoted to our families and her own family.