Enrichment & Experts

Our Enrichment Specialists support the work of the classroom teachers. Their work utilizes their individual expertise to provide and enrich learning of both the children and adults.  In some cases, the Specialists may work with an individual teacher, a group of teachers, a whole class, or a small group of children.  The skills of each Specialist were carefully chosen to round out the overall experience for children and families. 


Inclusion Support

Dr. Doyna Illmer, Ph.D. - Inclusion Support Specialist

Dr. Doyna Illmer holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Early Childhood (The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC – USA), and a strong focus on children’s learning and development. Until recently, Dr. Illmer was the Director of the Early Childhood Education Teacher Training Program at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, a leading research university in Chile. Her bilingualism, international background, and vast experience working with children, teachers and teacher candidates put her in a unique position to support inclusive practices at Columbia.

Outdoor Classroom and Movement

Marvelous things happen in a child’s development when thy engage with the natural world. The Outdoor Classroom includes our playgrounds and all of our outdoor space. The Outdoor Classroom team seeks to improve the quantity and quality of children’s engagement with the natural world. They support and document children’s short and long term investigations of natural phenomena. They also seek to identify ways to bring nature inside and do all they can to encourage children to go outside, even when it rains and even in winter!

Chris Tietjen - Outdoor Classroom Coordinator and Movement Specialist

Chris Tietjen, has been teaching at Columbia for 11 years. As the Movement Specialist he merges his passion for early childhood education and his skills as a fitness trainer. Chris works with groups of children, supporting their physical development through a wide range of movement activities (yoga, obstacle courses, throwing and catching etc.) Chris supports our teaching teams’ knowledge of how to foster children’s motor development and muscle control throughout the day.

Jason Parr - Outdoor Classroom Coordinator

Jason Parr has been teaching at Columbia for 10 years. He earned his degree from Slippery Rock University in Recreation Management. Jason loves being outside and is excited to continue developing our outdoor space.


Michele Lifshen - Studio Artist (Atelierista) Specialist

The Studio Artist acts as an art facilitator, inspiring, encouraging and celebrating creativity and art making. Michele works closely with classroom teachers, collaborating with them to introduce art materials and tools to our young artists. She works with teachers to construct documentation displays of children's art pieces. In the studio, Michele works with small groups of children on child inspired projects, using high quality art materials and tools. As a professional artist, Michele's own pieces serve as inspiration for our community. Michele has designed curricula and taught art to young children for over 8 years. Michele graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and also earned a Master’s degree from New York University in interactive design and communications.


Jeanette King - Music Specialist

For the past 20 years, Jeanette King has worked with children, teenagers and adults in developing a solid foundation of vocal technique, which enables a vocalist to sing a wide-ranging repertoire of musical selections. Furthermore, several of her students have competed and won scholarship money for college. Along with her experience in the studio, she has actively participated in the life of the church by leading children’s choir programs ranging in all sizes from 20 to 250 students per semester. As the Music Specialist for Columbia’s Child DevelopmentCenter, her passion is to introduce our children to the exciting world of music and all of the different sounds associated with it through both the child’s voice and an array of instruments. She graduated from Southern Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education with a four-year concentration in vocal performance.


Andrea Ceballos – Full Day Program Spanish Specialist

Mrs. Andrea or Mrs. Andreia (as the kids call her) is from Cordoba, Argentina and moved to the USA with her family 20 years ago.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Universidad Nacional de Cordoba and countless hours of county official training in different areas of the education field (administrative, early childhood, special education and management).  She has taught ESL and Spanish in Arlington County and several other private schools to all ages (2-adult).She has been a member of Columbia Baptist Church for 20 years, a Columbia staff member for 10 and CDC staff for the last 5 years. At CDC, she started as the 4 s Bilingual Class Lead Teacher in 2013 when the Program first initiated as well as the Specialist Spanish Teacher for the Full Day Program since then.  In 2016 she had the privilege of stepping up as the Director for the Bilingual Program. She loves working in a team, being with children, being a witness of their growth and development and being able to share the love of God with them.  She is grateful for the opportunity to be of positive impact to young children and their families and one of the building blocks in their formation years.

Stephanie Hernandez – Half Day Program Spanish Specialist

Stephanie Hernández has a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus. As the Half Day program Spanish Specialist, she visits the children in their classroom to help them learn Spanish by building their vocabulary. While in the classroom, Stephanie incorporates educational tools and activities to create an encouraging and enthusiastic attitude towards the learning of another language. She applies games, music, and literature to engage children’s attention and guide them through their exploration of the Spanish language.