Meet the Teachers
Degrees and Certifications:
Cristine Chiasson & Malia Kelly
Cristine Chiasson - Preschool Teacher
Christine has lived in Aspen for 9 years and this is her 4th year at The Cottage. She firmly believes that each child has endless potential and as a teacher it is her job to nurture their curiosity and support them as they begin their journey into lifelong learning. Cristine tries to bring patience, a person love of learning, kindness and compassion with her to work everyday. She wants her students in her classroom to feel comfortable and safe in their environment so they can learn and experiment on their own terms without fear of ridicule or judgement. Cristine likes to spend time with family, ski, read, bike and travel when not at school teaching.
Natasha Thomas - Preschool Teacher
Natasha has been living in the valley for over 20 years. She holds a current Colorado Professional Teaching License. Before having two daughters, she taught fifth and second grade in Boulder and then second and third grade at AES. After taking 13 years off, she returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher. Last year she realized that preschool was her all time favorite! After working part time in both preschool rooms, she decided to extend her hours to be with the precious and hilarious preschoolers full time. She does the job because it brings her so much joy and she has a plethora of love to share. She also adores her colleagues who inspire her and who eagerly share their own love of learning and positive outlooks of life.
When Natasha is not at school, she is home with her amazing husband of 20 years, a local attorney, and her two teen daughters. She loves reading, puzzles, taking hikes with her dog Huckleberry, and laughing with her family.
Malia Kelly- Preschool Teacher
This will be Malia's 10th year teaching at The Cottage. She loves working with preschool children because of their curiosity and natural love for learning, exploring and their incredible sense of humor. Malia believes in building a solid social-emotional foundation and growth mindset, developing "out of the box thinkers" and leaders. Malia is also The Colorado Preschool Program Coordinator for Pitkin County. She has a passion for ensuring that every child has the opportunity to attend a high quality early childhood program.
Malia is a mother of two children; Briana, who is in fifth grade, and Paulie, who is in second grade. In her spare time Malia enjoys spending time with her children and her two puppies, hiking, trail running, skiing, (really anything outside!), cooking, laughing and reading. She also has a secret love for pizza and sweet treats!
"I call my students "My Kids" because in our year together they aren't just kids in my class, they become a part of my heart."
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