Faculty Bios

Karen attended the University of Southern Maine where she received a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She holds Maine state teacher certification in Elementary Education and as well as in French and Early Childhood Education.

While raising her family, Karen recognized the need for an early childhood program that embraced and celebrated the varied learning styles of children and helped prepare them for the educational climate of the 21st century...and so Tender Years Learning Center was born.

As owner and founding Director, Karen believes that all children must be regarded as individual learners, capable of thinking, learning, and doing in their own time and in their own way. A child's ability to be a self-motivated learner hinges upon the belief in oneself and one's abilities. It is her goal to have each child leave Tender Years and enter kindergarten feeling confident, not only in what he can do and in what he knows, but in himself as a person.

Her passion for advocacy extends beyond the Tender Years' walls.  Karen is an active participant and member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and our local Maine affiliate (MeAEYC).  She has served as a member of the MSAD #51 Strategic Planning Committee as well as the Public Pre-Kindergarten Task Force and has built relationships, through her affiliation with MeAEYC, with local legislators to promote and advocate for quality Early Care and Education in Maine.

Karen's love for nature and the outdoors is incorporated in the curriculum at Tender Years where children are provided many opportunities to actively engage with nature. She is a member of the Monarch Teacher Network and has hosting trainings on Monarch butterflies and habitat conservation for local educators and the community members interested in learning how to rear these important pollinators.  Each year, the children of Tender Years are involved in rearing dozens of butterflies from eggs harvested in her own garden and are tagged and released for migratory tracking through MonarchWatch.org.

Karen believes that it is important for our children as "Digital World Natives" to remain connected to the "Real" world.  As a lifelong "citizen-scientist" Karen is actively pursuing certification as a State of Maine Master Naturalist and uses her passion for the outdoors to inspire children.  At Tender Years, children engage with nature and learn about the world around them using things often over looked; caterpillars, animal tracks, leaves, sticks, stones, colors, patterns, sounds and much more providing the children, real-life opportunities to experience the world at their feet.

  • B.S. Elementary Education from University of Southern Maine (Summa Cum Laude)
  • Post-graduate studies in Montessori Education
  • Maine Roads to Quality Leadership Institutes I, II, III (90 hours)
  • Applicant for State of Maine Director Credential
  • State of Maine Teaching certification (K-8) with conditional certification in Early Childhood Education and French
  • Member Phi Sigma Iota, (International Foreign Language honor society)
  • Maine Roads to Quality Level 7 Center Based Direct Care Professional
  • Professional Member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and local affiliate (MeAEYC)
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Kristi attended Bryant College in Rhode Island where she received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. After receiving her degree, Kristi worked at the American Red Cross where she worked in Community Outreach Programs which often involved working with children in classroom settings.

While raising her family, Kristi spent countless hours volunteering in a local preschool during the six years before her own three children went off to public school. It was only a month after her youngest began first grade that her need to be among children in a preschool setting brought her to Tender Years Learning Center in 2012.

Kristi has an additional decade of volunteering experience in the elementary classrooms of MSAD#51 and five years volunteering as Troop Leader for with the Girls Scouts of Maine.

Kristi believes that it's a privilege to witness and nurture the growth and education of each individual child through curiosity, creativity and play and feels honored to be a witness to their growth and development. She lives with her husband and three children in Cumberland. In her free time Kristi enjoys gardening and spending time adventuring and exploring the outdoors with family and friends.

  • B.S. in Business Administration
  • Member Maine Roads to Quality Center Based Professional
  • Professional Member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Maine affiliate (MeAYEC)
  • Continuing education studies in preschool learning and development. (40 hours per year)
  • Currently pursuing a C.D.A credential through the Council for Professional Recognition

Angie is a native of Yarmouth where she lives with her husband and their two sons. From a young age, Angie dreamed of becoming a teacher. After many years in the banking industry, followed by years as a stay-at-home mom, her dream seemed within reach. While her youngest attended his first year of preschool at Tender Years, Angie began as a substitute teacher. Her ability to instantly connect with children and families made it obvious that she would be a perfect fit and allowed for her to become a full time 3-4 year old teacher making her dreams became a reality.

Angie's lifelong love for children paired with her passion for nature and adventure align perfectly with Tender Years' mission. For many years, Angie has been very involved in Yarmouth Cub Scouting. She has held the position of Den Leader for 3 years and continues to be the Committee Chair while guiding her sons through the scouting ranks. Her experiences in Scouting have taught her that children learn best through hands-on experiences, play and adventure.

Angie enjoys giving back to her community and supports her children with fundraising efforts for causes that are close to their hearts. You may even find her and her family walking in the annual Clam Festival Parade. Angie continues to further her education in early childhood education and preschool learning and development locally through Maine Roads to Quality and nationally through the Council for Professional Recognition.

  • Member Maine Roads to Quality Center Based Professional
  • Continuing education studies in preschool learning and development. (40 hours per year)
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Rachel is a Maine native from the Cape Elizabeth area. Prior to her move back to Maine, Rachel spent seven years in Colorado where she graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor's degree in Sociology in 2013. After graduating, she worked for a progressive non-profit organization and then moved to a small mountain town to teach skiing to 2-7 years old children. It was through this experience that Rachel's passion for teaching blossomed. She has always loved working with children, especially young children during these important, formative years. Rachel believes that education's primary role is to teach to the whole child--which includes the heart and body just as much as the mind-- and in doing so, must provide direct instruction on how to be empathetic, understanding, and kind, in order to foster the social development of the future citizens of the world.

Rachel has a passion and enthusiasm for nature and outdoor experiences. She is over the moon to be teaching back in her home state. She is constantly inspired by her environment and is always creating opportunities to share her inspiration in the classroom. Rachel continues to further her education in early childhood and continuing education studies in preschool learning and development. She has taken postgraduate courses through Antioch University that focus on Nature Based learning in early childhood classrooms.

  • Member Maine Roads to Quality Center Based Professional
  • Education Technician III, State of Maine Certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified
  • Continuing education studies in preschool learning and development. (40 hours per year)

Pauline Wood is a native to Maine and currently lives in Freeport with her husband and two college age children. Pauli's educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Naropa University in Buddhist and Western Psychology and an Master of Arts degree in Holistic Health and Wellness Counseling from Boulder Graduate School. Both are located in Boulder, Colorado. After completing her degrees, and an eight week camping trip up the west coast, she moved back to Maine and worked for a few years doing nutritional work in a holistic health office. After having her two children, Pauli completed training in Montessori Education from the Maine Montessori Institute and began teaching preschool and kindergarten aged children. Having taught since 2001, she brings experience from a few different types of integrated holistic classrooms to her teaching repertoire.

Pauli loves supporting children in hands-on educational experiences, especially nature-based learning adventures and exploration, developing positive social interactions, and having fun with stories, songs and creativity. Working with this age group helps Pauli remember that each moment is fresh and can be enjoyed to the fullest extent. The learning opportunities for us all are abundant when we are present for them!

Pauli enjoys lots of the great outdoor activities that Maine has to offer such as gardening, hiking, camping, dancing, yoga and movement, and spending time with family.

  • B.A. in Buddist and Western Psychology
  • M.A. in Holistic Health
  • Montessori Early Childhood Education Certificate
  • Maine Roads to Quality Center Based Professional
  • Member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Continuing Education in studies in preschool learning and development (40 hours)

Karin, a native of the Mid-West, has lived all over but Maine is the first place she has truly called home. After graduating in 2012 from Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin with a degree in Communication and minor in Anthropology, Karin moved to Portland. She completed two AmeriCorps VISTA ((Volunteers in Service to America) terms where she embraced and enjoyed her work helping others in need.

Karin discovered her love for teaching when she began working as an academic coach for high school students through the 'Make it Happen" program.  Through this program Karin worked with multilingual students from all over the globe to develop college readiness skills. Following her role with the "Make It Happen" program, she accepted a role overseas and was off to Japan. This experience was to spark her interest in early childhood education.  In a student-centered school just north of Tokyo, Karin spent a year teaching English to toddlers and preschoolers. It was here that she fell in love with the curiosity, enthusiasm and love (including the hugs) of her young students and decided to keep teaching when state-side.

While not in the classroom Karin can be found cooking, reading or enjoying photography.