Our staff collectively has over 50 years of experience teaching young children and there is nothing they love more than exploring the natural world alongside their students and families. Having the opportunity to view nature through the eyes of young children and witness the awe and excitement they feel is a true joy.
Stephanie Bozzo, Founding Director
Stephanie holds a B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech with a concentration of her coursework in child development. She also holds a certificate in early childhood education and is a certified mindfulness educator. Stephanie has extensive experience, creating and implementing programs as well as providing leadership for children and staff. Connecting children to nature and finding the wonder in every moment is her life’s passion. Stephanie lives in North Bethesda with her husband, Tom and their four sons and puppy. Stephanie loves hiking, biking, cooking and baking, traveling, seeing live music, and spending time with family and friends.
Amelia McLaughlin, Saplings Teacher
Amelia, a Takoma Park native and graduate of Sandy Spring Friends School, holds a B.A. in history and political science from Guildford College and a teaching certificate in early childhood education from Montgomery College. She last spent the last seventeen summers at a play-based outdoor summer camp, first as a camper, then a counselor and finally as a co-director for five summers. Amelia continues to serve for her camp’s board, doing equity and anti-racist research and lesson planning for their youth programs. Amelia completed the 200 hour Radiant Child Yoga Teacher certification. This is Amelia’s seventh year as a Saplings teacher at ANP. Amelia enjoys exploring museums, doing yoga, watching documentaries and finding new spots to hike in the DMV!
Kristin Horneffer, Saplings Teacher
Kristin holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Yale and a M.A. in Special Education from American University. A native of Virginia, Kristin spent her childhood outdoors, camping in the fall, skiing in the winter, and canoeing in the spring on the weekends in nearby West Virginia. Kristin has taught in a variety of different schools, nonprofits, and summer camps and believes the most important learning takes place outdoors in nature. Most recently, she created and led her own nature exploration programs in Rock Creek Park through her business called Owl Mind Resources. In her free time, Kristin loves drawing, playing guitar, hiking, and foraging for mushrooms. This is Kristin’s first year teaching at the Audubon Nature Preschool and is very much looking forward to the upcoming year of outdoor exploration!
Julie Walkup, Oaks Teacher
Julie holds an MS in Early Childhood Education from Towson University, an MA in Sign Language Interpretation from Gallaudet University, and a BS in Psychology from Duke University. She comes to us with a wealth of experience teaching kindergarten and first grade in MCPS for the last 5 years. She also has a background in environmental education, and enjoys sharing her love of nature with children. Before teaching, Julie worked as a sign language interpreter. Julie lives in Rockville with her husband, 3 kids and their goldendoodle. She enjoys nature, arts and crafts, and spending time with family and friends.
Mary Franklin, Oaks Teacher
Mary is excited to return to her native suburban Maryland home after some time traveling and teaching most recently in the Pacific Northwest. She holds a BA in American Studies from Muhlenberg College and is certified in Elementary Education, and holds a MLS from the University of Maryland where she focused on children’s literature. Mary previously taught and was on the administrative team at a play-based preschool in Northern Virginia for 10 years, and most recently worked at Fidalgo Nature School in Deception Pass State Park in Washington state, before joining the ANP team. Mary is excited to return to the DC area and the many trails, museums, music venues and parks she loves, along with her friends and family. She loves travel, cooking, reading, and of course the outdoors.
Jaala Shaw, Acorns Teacher
Jaala holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education, an M.A. in TESOL, and a B.A. in Political Science and Education. For the last two decades she has been teaching all over the world. Her experience includes teaching as a Peace Corps Volunteer in China and the Federated States of Micronesia, an Instructor at the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Colorado Boulder, and training teachers in Afghanistan and Jordan. As Jaala worked with refugees in war zones, she realized that children are the people who will change our world, so she returned to the United States to begin her preschool teaching career. This will be her third year teaching preschool-aged children, and her first year as the Acorns teacher. Besides teaching, Jaala and her husband Larry, along with their dog Carmen love to do ultra-endurance events, summit big mountains, and rock climb. Jaala also loves to read and writes freelance for various organizations.