To enroll, call our leadership team at 571-347-1100 or email us at enroll@brynmorearlyed.com
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Lorton Team

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Rob Blakely

Executive Director, Lorton

Katie Blanco

Associate Educator

Donovan Byrdsong

Food Service and Facilities Team Lead

Giselle Cabrera

Associate Educator

Maura Cowden

Associate Educator

Genet Dubale

Associate Educator

Courtney Evans

Associate Educator

Kelly Fatherree

Educator Team Lead

Grace Faulkner

Associate Educator

Xavier Fraga

Associate Educator

Izzah Gilani

Early Childhood Educator

Hannah Hackelton

Early Childhood Educator

Shereen Hanna

Early Childhood Educator

Chenelle Haygood

Educator Team Lead

Michelle Hernandez-Larico

Early Childhood Educator

Kadiaja Jalloh

Associate Educator

Mitra Karimi

Educator Apprentice

Irene Kaulave

Early Childhood Educator

Alisha Kent

Early Childhood Educator

Shyann Kent

Educator Apprentice

Ashley Larkin

Early Childhood Educator

Zeinab Mohamed

Associate Educator

Eglena Panariti

Apprentice Educator

Yumi Primo

Associate Educator

Elizabeth Rawlings

Educator Team Lead

Estephani Romero

Educator Apprentice

Nika Savage

Receptionist and Operations Associate

Tiara Smith

Associate Educator

Ashton Stephenson

Associate Educator

Kadija Turay

Associate Educator

Gabriella Whited

Food Services and Facilities Associate

Rob Blakely

Executive Director, Lorton

Brynmor Early Education & Preschool is thrilled to announce our Brynmor Lorton’s first employee and Executive Director, Rob Blakely. Rob joins Brynmor after serving for the past seven years at the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington in Loudon County, Virginia. During his time with the YMCA, his roles included Senior Program Director and Associate Executive Director. In these roles he oversaw all youth development programs including early learning, school age and summer camps for the region as well as the complete oversight and management of all the business operations.

Rob’s life work is dedicated to young people and ensuring their healthy growth and development. His extensive leadership experience includes managing large scale programs, opening new early childhood centers and successfully leading teams in creating an inclusive environment for educators, children and families. He prides himself on his ability to create and cultivate a positive, nurturing and inclusive environment for staff, children and families alike. His passion for outreach and creating meaningful connections reaches further than his programs but to everyone in the community, creating relationships for the betterment of all involved. 

Rob holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Fredonia along with several certifications in the health, safety and development of young children. Rob loves to spend his free time playing & watching soccer, fishing, hiking and enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Caitlyn and their two children Rhett and Olivia. Brynmor is excited to have Rob leading our Lorton team.

Katie Blanco

Associate Educator

Katie has been in the early childhood education field since 2019 working with children ages six weeks through five years old. She has also been a nanny and has done a lot of babysitting. Katie is currently enrolled at NOVA pursuing her Associate’s degree in ECE and hopes to make a positive impact on children and families.

In her free time, Katie enjoys being outdoors for walks and exploring new terrain. She likes to experiment with make up and use her skills doing makeovers for friends and family. She is a proud first generation Salvadorian and loves Latin music. Living just outside of Ft. Belvoir, she shares her home with her family and many animal pets.

Seeing children accomplish milestones is rewarding for Katie. She is patient and loving and has a genuine passion for building strong partnerships with the families in her classroom. At Brynmor, Katie looks forward to learning from and fostering strong relationships with her peers.

Donovan Byrdsong

Food Service and Facilities Team Lead

Donovan comes to Brynmor with experience in the restaurant industry and brings high standards of food service to his role. He has a personal goal of putting a smile on the face of everyone he interacts with. Donovan is studying social sciences in college and plans to pursue a career in the education field. His mother’s career as an elementary school teacher has greatly influenced his professional aspirations.

Donovan has two older brothers and his father is in the Navy. This has allowed him to live in many different states including California, Hawaii, and Maryland before moving to Virginia. Outside of work, he enjoys graphic design and spending time at the gym.

Giselle Cabrera

Associate Educator

In her immediate and extended families, Giselle has been surrounded with young children who she has helped to take care of throughout her life. She was a lead teacher in a three year old classroom for almost two years when she lived in Florida. It is rewarding to Giselle when she is able to welcome children to her class and see them be excited to start a new day.

Giselle lived in Mineola, NY until she was 13 years old and then moved to West Palm Beach, FL where she lived for 11 years. Now that she’s in Virginia, she lives with her aunt. Giselle is very thankful to her aunt and her parents in Florida for all of their support. Her family is originally from El Salvador. She has three sisters and one brother. Traveling is a passion for Giselle – whether that means a car trip or somewhere further.

One of her goals at Brynmor is to be a great partner for children as well as their parents. Giselle wants to be the person that children see as soon as they get to the Center and are excited to spend their day learning with her. It is so fun for her to see their huge smiles when they are able to accomplish a milestone and receive reassurance from her, their trusted adult.

Maura Cowden

Associate Educator

Maura is studying at NOVA to be a teacher and is excited to be learning with the children and educators at Brynmor. She loves how children have open minds and are always interested in exploring new things. The moment when their eyes light up upon finding a topic that interests them or when they ask tons of questions about something they are learning is rewarding to Maura.

Growing up in Brunswick, Georgia, she moved to Virginia when she was ten. Her father was in the Coast Guard, so they moved quite a bit. Maura is the middle child between three sisters and one brother. She loves her mini Dachshund Bmo and her bearded dragon Mango. In her free time, she likes to craft and paint, but her main hobby right now is building miniatures.

At Brynmor, Maura hopes to learn about different styles of teaching to help her develop her own methods. She will foster great learning moments for the children in her care and will strive to encourage their growth and development.

Genet Dubale

Associate Educator

Genet comes to Brynmor with an 18-year career in our field, including over 15 years at the Fort Myer Child Development Center where she worked with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. She wants to care for children because it is her calling to be a part of a child’s development and answer their every day questions with love.

Born in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, she grew up with one sister and one brother. Genet attended the University of Addis Ababa and graduated with a degree in accounting. She was an accountant for more than ten years. In 2002, she came to the United States in the diversity visa lottery and soon after that pursued her Child Development Associate credential while at Fort Myers. She is married and has two sons. Creative pursuits like drama, music, dance, and arts and crafts occupy her free time.

Genet is committed to the goals and ideals of Brynmor and is proud to contribute her abilities and knowledge to helping our young children learn and grow.

Courtney Evans

Associate Educator

Courtney is attending Liberty University pursuing her degree in elementary education. Growing up, she volunteered in the infant and toddler rooms at her church whenever she could. During her senior year of high school, she had an internship in an elementary classroom, where her plans to be a teacher were solidified.

The opportunity to see firsthand the development that takes place in the beginning years of life is something that amazes and inspires Courtney. She is motivated to serve others and she hopes to be a positive and impactful person in every child’s life while contributing to Brynmor’s mission of helping every child meet his or her full potential. Further, she hopes that every child feels loved and valued in her care and that they develop into lifelong learners.

Courtney’s family consists of her three sisters and parents. She played soccer in college and enjoys staying active and working out regularly. Her mom and dad also played soccer in college, so she grew up in a competitive household. Outside of the classroom, Courtney plans on becoming a personal trainer, with a focus on elderly clients. She enjoys baking and spending time with friends. Her dog Dash is a lab and golden retriever mix, so probably the friendliest dog ever!

Kelly Fatherree

Educator Team Lead

Kelly has been in the early childhood education profession for over 26 years and started out when she was a teenager working as a summer camp counselor. From there, she moved on to being a co and lead teacher in toddlers and began working with school age children as well. She held roles in administration for after school care and day camps.

Motivated by giving support and encouragement to her fellow teachers, Kelly strives to guide and help teachers as well as students. Being the person that provides extra support and love to her teaching team is at the heart of her commitment to educators. As a Team Lead, she wants her team to know that they are valued and respected, and that she will always be there to assist.

Kelly is from Great Falls, Virginia where she grew up and lived for most of her life. She just recently moved to Fairfax Corner and is loving the area where she can walk to restaurants and shops. She had a beautiful Pomeranian dog of 16 years who passed away recently. Her dog went everywhere with her and is dearly missed. In her free time, she loves being with family and friends. She also fosters kittens and puppies through rescues. Kelly enjoys outdoor activities, baking gluten free and vegan, and going to the beach during the summer.

Grace Faulkner

Associate Educator

Witnessing her mother’s teaching career as a young child had a profound impact on Grace’s decision to pursue a career in early childhood education. Over the course of a 30-year career, Grace observed her mom’s ability to connect with children, inspire their curiosity, and nurture their growth and this left a lasting impression on her. Grace has been in the education field since 2019 and is currently pursuing her  Associate’s degree in ECE at the University of DC. Knowing the significant role that educators play in shaping the future, she has a passion for fostering a love of learning during children’s formative years.

Originally from Washington, DC, Grace now calls Maryland home. Her family is comprised of her mother, three sisters, two brothers, and a dog named Jackson. In her free time, she likes to walk trails with her sister and build Legos with her nephew Ryan. As a full time student, she balances work and school and enjoys learning about new programs and teaching methods.

At Brynmor, Grace hopes to create a nurturing and welcoming environment for children where they can learn and thrive. Seeing their eyes light up with curiosity as they discover new concepts, form friendships, and engage in meaningful play highlights the transformative power of education. Grace is committed to the professional development that Brynmor encourages, and she hopes to learn lots of insightful skills and practices that she can utilize in the classroom.

Xavier Fraga

Associate Educator

Xavier has worked with children in pre-k and second grade classrooms and has greatly enjoyed learning about the foundational stages of child development and education. He is inspired by the opportunity to help shape young minds during their most formative years and wants to contribute to their growth and development. With a degree in social sciences, he finds satisfaction in helping to build environments where children can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

The oldest of three children, Xavier was born in Lincoln, Nebraska but grew up in Northern Virginia. He is a voracious reader, enjoying fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and non-fiction history or sociology books. Xavier is an avid football and basketball fan – go Dolphins and Celtics! He is also the proud cat dad of two kittens, Zoro and Nico.

At Brynmor, Xavier will strive to implement innovative teaching methods, foster strong relationships with students and their families, and collaborate with colleagues to continuously enhance the quality of education and care provided. His goal is to leave a lasting positive impact on the lives of children and the Brynmor community as a whole.

Izzah Gilani

Early Childhood Educator

Izzah has been working in childcare since 2013. She has her BS in Psychology, M.Sc. in Psychology, and also a diploma in Child Psychology from an institute in the UK. Additionally, she has worked with children in early age groups in both England and Pakistan. As a psychology professional, Izzah feels that it is fascinating to work with little human beings and their curious minds. It is rewarding when young learners make positive and meaningful relationships and when her work reflects on their continuous learning.

Izzah feels that she belongs to Pakistan. She was born in Islamabad, which is a beautiful city in Pakistan, and she is the mother of a lovely boy. Her favorite place to live was in Richmond in London where she spent a fulfilling part of her life. She likes yoga and believes in positivity.

Spending time with children and learning from them about life in general is a great opportunity. She would like to contribute creating a nurturing environment for children, fostering social emotional growth, and encouraging curiosity and exploration through play. Izzah would like to promote cognitive development, help enhance creativity and imagination, and encourage children to learn and respect each other.

Hannah Hackelton

Early Childhood Educator

With over six years of experience in the early childhood education field, Hannah feels blessed to have worked with such amazing families and children. She has not only been an educator, but also a tutor, friend, and mentor to children with autism as she helped them expand and grow their abilities and cultivate kindness and love for one another. Hannah has her Associate’s degree in ECE from Johnson University.

Growing up in a military family, Hannah has lived in many states and appreciates their uniqueness and charm. She has two wonderful children who also attend Brynmor. Reading and spending time outside are favorite pastimes of hers and you will often find her with her children at the Zoo, the Aquarium, the National Mall, or the Children’s Museum.

Seeing the joy and love for learning in the world of children is an amazing and rewarding feeling for Hannah. She values knowing that she helped cultivate that joy and love. At Brynmor, she hopes to lead children to create, grow, and blossom as makers, doers, and changers of their world. A favorite quote of Dr. Suess inspires her – “Today you are you, that’s truer than True! There is no one alive who is you’er than you.”

Shereen Hanna

Early Childhood Educator

Shea has been a member of the early childhood profession for 16 years. She got her start babysitting and as a Sunday School teacher at her local church. Her career progressed to being a nanny, working in after school care, and eventually becoming a preschool teacher. Shea loves seeing children grow and learn and observing how they see their world. Her experiences have shown her that children are great teachers of life.

Born and raised in Virginia, Shea lives with her father, brother, sister, and grandparents. Her family is from Egypt, Greece, and Sudan. In her spare time, she loves to babysit, color, and go to the movies.

Shea’s goals for her time at Brynmor is to help her students form social bonds and grow in their independence and self-confidence. She is deeply passionate about ensuring children’s well-being and helping them get the right start in life, while supporting strong, healthy families.

Chenelle Haygood

Educator Team Lead

Chenelle has been in early childhood education for more than 20 years. She is a Registered Behavioral Therapist and has worked extensively supporting children with special needs and their families. She has worked with children for as long as she can remember, including babysitting when she was younger.

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Psychology, Chenelle immediately moved into a toddler educator role. Over the years, she has taught children from toddlers to ten-year-olds. She decided to make a change from her nine-year career in the world of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) to join Brynmor. At Brynmor, she is excited to utilize her background to make all children feel welcomed and cared for on their educational journey.

Chenelle is the mother of a two-year-old little girl and a four-year-old little boy. They have a five-year-old puppy named Niko. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching YouTube and crocheting.

Michelle Hernandez-Larico

Early Childhood Educator

Michelle has been in the early childhood education field for over eight years and is drawn to this work because she wants to be a voice for children to ensure that their words are heard. The most satisfying part of her job is being able to play and connect with these marvelous children, and she feels so fortunate to learn more from them every single day.

Michelle was born in Falls Church, Virginia but her father is from El Salvador and her mother is from Bolivia. She currently resides in Dumfries, Virginia. Michelle is the oldest of her siblings and has a younger brother named Christopher and a younger sister named Lizeth. She has a one year old puppy named Toby Benito. In her free time, she loves to binge watch shows on Netflix and spend time with her family.

Kadiaja Jalloh

Associate Educator

Kay has worked with children since she was a teenager and has enjoyed her twelve years in the field. She grew up in a big family and always helped take care of her two younger siblings which started her love for this work. Knowing that she has made a positive impact on a child’s development is the most satisfying part of her job.

Having an ethnic background from Sierra Leone and Lebanon, Kay feels pride in her heritage. She has older and younger brothers and a younger step-sister. She also counts a mini Golden Doodle Lucki as a member of her family. Going on hikes, trying different foods, and working out all occupy Kay’s free time.

At Brynmor, Kay would like to further her career and continue to grow as an educator. In addition to being a strong team player, she hopes to contribute
positive energy to her classroom and the school as a whole.

Mitra Karimi

Educator Apprentice

Mitra has experience working with children in a preschool setting and loves this age group. She is originally from Afghanistan and worked in a preschool there and also in Albany, New York. She has her Bachelor’s degree in English literature. Mitra is rewarded by seeing children grow in a safe and loving environment.

The oldest of five children, Mitra has two younger brothers and two younger sisters. She lives in Lorton and likes to go shopping and spend time with friends in her spare time. Mitra practices make up skills as a hobby and also likes fish. Her favorite authors are William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen.

In working with children by helping them develop their creative sides and through singing with them, Mitra finds great enjoyment. She wants to be a positive role model at Brynmor and be a great partner to all of her peers.

Irene Kaulave

Early Childhood Educator

Irene has been in the early childhood education field for the past ten years and calls this time period the best of her professional career. In high school, she was an assistant teacher in a kindergarten classroom and that’s when her interest in child development began. When she became the mother of twins, she realized that thier best learning happened through play.

Believing that a hands on, positive and curious mindset is critical in our field, Irene gains satisfaction from knowing that she is a part of a loving, healthy, and safe environment where all children can explore and use their imaginations to learn about the world around them. Her goal as an Educator at Brynmor is to create lifelong relationships with the children and families that she serves. She will encourage curiosity, and self-expression which will allow each child to discover their unique personalities.

Irene is a proud Hispanic and was born in Massachusetts. She’s been married for 29 years. Both of her sons serve in the military and Irene is looking forward to having grandbabies. In 2019, she completed her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Virginia Community College.

Alisha Kent

Early Childhood Educator

Alisha has been in the field of early childhood education for the last 25 years and was drawn to this work to elevate the level of early childhood educators. She derives great satisfaction from seeing the growth and development of children through their early years. Alisha is committed to providing high quality education for every child and family at Brynmor. She hopes to help families understand what their children need and deserve in these critical developmental years.

Alisha is from Washington, D.C. and is happily married to her husband of 18 years. They have 4 children and 4 (almost 5) grandchildren. Alisha has a turtle name Tyrone, and during her free time, you’ll find her with her family, enjoying time outdoors, going to the movies, and creating DIY projects.

Shyann Kent

Educator Apprentice

Shyann has spent the last two years of her career in the field of early childhood education. She strives to ensure that children have the best care and are in a loving environment by making sure that they know how valuable they are to her.

When she was a small child, she would ask her parents to give her dolls so she could pretend to run her own childcare center. Growing up in Woodbridge, VA, she has two sisters and one brother plus two nieces and one nephew.

Shyann is the proud mom of a one-year-old daughter. Some of her hobbies are cheerleading, softball, shopping with her mom and watching movies with her family. Shyann plans to get a degree in early childhood education and eventually move to the social services field to help families that may be in need. At Brynmor, she hopes to contribute her patience, experiences and love towards making this the best environment for children to grow and learn.

Ashley Larkin

Early Childhood Educator

Ashley has been in the field of early childhood education for the past three years. Her passion for nurturing young minds motivated her to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Diverse Learners at George Mason University. She is drawn to this profession for the opportunity it offers to be a part of young learners’ journeys as they navigate and discover their identities. Witnessing them overcome challenges, celebrate successes, and grow both academically and personally is incredibly fulfilling to Ashley.

Originally from North Dakota, Ashley is married to a Virginia native, and they have two children, Olivia and Charlie. Their family is completed by two adorable dogs, Ella who is a Shorkie and Daisy who is an Aussiedoodle. During her free time, she loves to spend time outdoors and enjoys baking and playing fun games with her children.

At Brynmor, Ashley hopes to foster strong, nurturing relationships with both students and their families, recognizing the profound influence of these connections on a child’s growth and development. She aims to further enrich these relationships, ensuring a supportive and inclusive environment that promotes learning and wellbeing. Ashley also prioritizes working closely with her teammates at Brynmor. She hopes to contribute to a cohesive and thriving educational community.

Zeinab Mohamed

Associate Educator

Zeinab comes to Brynmor with experience working with children with special needs, as well as leading before and after school care for older students. She is currently pursuing her Associate’s degree in psychology from NOVA. Being a part of how young children learn and seeing them accomplish their goals is very motivating for her.

Originally from Alexandria, Egypt, Zeinab speaks Arabic which is the native language of Egypt. She has three cats and enjoys movies, watching the sun set and trying different foods. She used to be a swimming coach and still enjoys the sport. Traveling and discovering new places and different cultures is a passion for Zeinab.

At Brynmor, Zeinab hopes to develop strong bonds with the children and see that they are excited to learn with her. She wants to be a role model to them and help them explore and be themselves.

Eglena Panariti

Apprentice Educator

Eglena has been in education for the past nine years. As part of her experience, she taught the Italian language to elementary aged students. She also worked in schools in her community with infants and preschoolers. One of her beliefs is that seeing the pure nature of children helps to bring out the best in ourselves.

Eglena is from Albania, which is located between Greece and Montenegro and across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. In addition to her husband, her family includes her two daughters and her son. Eglena is devoted to her family and enjoys walks outside in nature. In her free time, she also enjoys music, dancing, her pets, and flowers.

Building strong bonds with the children in her classroom is rewarding for her and she enjoys how loving they are. She admires how children are not afraid to express their feelings. At Brynmor, Eglena is committed to our Vision and Misson to bring high quality childcare to the families we serve.

Yumi Primo

Associate Educator

Yumi has been in the early childhood education field for 18 plus years and finds it so rewarding. She believes that all successful careers are the product of great early learning. The most satisfying part of her work is building relationships with students and families. Yumi looks forward to strong partnerships with her team as well.

Yumi is from Pohnpei State in Micronesia. She moved to Virginia to help take care of her granddaughter, Ilana. Yumi has three children, Ginette, Ginero and Graven. In her free time, she likes to visit with friends and family.

Elizabeth Rawlings

Educator Team Lead

Liz has been in early childhood education for 16 years, most recently helping children as a family support specialist. She has her associate’s degree and is pursing her bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent psychology. Liz values being a trusted caregiver to support children’s developmental journeys. Accessibility is very important to her, and she is committed to allowing families to experience early childhood development at Brynmor.


After her time as a Family Support Worker for DC families and children, Liz
transitioned to a role as a Child Find outreach specialist for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in DC. She worked with families throughout the District by assessing child development and providing developmental and inclusivity training to childcare centers. Liz established strong partnerships with community-based organizations and medical facilities in DC that support families with infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities.


As a Team Lead, Liz is committed to supporting her fellow educators to achieve the goal of providing high quality care to early learners. Liz’s son Adrian is a toddler and brings constant joy to her life. During her free time, she enjoys spas, reading, and writing.

Estephani Romero

Educator Apprentice

Estephani has been in the early childhood education field for over seven years and has worked with many ages. She feels she has learned the most from infants and toddlers so far. Nurturing children and building bonds with them and their families is the most rewarding aspect of her work.

With a goal of creating a classroom environment where children can explore, grow, learn, and be themselves, Estephani loves to celebrate the little success that happen each day. The children in her care help bring out her creativity to approach learning in multiple ways for each child.

Originally from Mexico, Estephani moved to VA when she was seven years old. She lives with her husband and two fur babies, Jacob and Arlo. In her free time, she likes to go hiking and play video games.

Nika Savage

Receptionist and Operations Associate

Nika has been in the early childhood education field for more than 16 years. She started her professional life in retail management and initially joined the ECE profession for a change. Soon after, Nika realized that she had found her passion in a career that allowed her to watch children learn and grow. She has experience helping centers with the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accreditation process.

The most satisfying part of her job is to watch children be their authentic selves. At school, they can be bold, quiet, adventurous, shy, messy, artistic, and so may other combinations. Nika likes getting to know children and catering her teaching to meet their specific needs. She thrives on meeting each child where they are and watching them blossom.

Nika is originally from North Carolina, though she was raised in Northern Virginia. Her daughter Samia is 21 and in her senior year at Howard University, where she works with special needs children. Her son Sam is 13 and goes to Lake Braddock. He plays AAU basketball. The family has a bulldog Rayne. In their free time, they love to hike, watch movies, visit new places and enjoy time with their loved ones.

Tiara Smith

Associate Educator

In her family, Tiara is the Auntie who watches all of the kiddos, which grew her love for children. After 15 years in the early childhood education field working with children from the ages of six weeks to 5 years old, she especially loves to witness children grow and develop. She thrives on building strong bonds with her families and fellow teammates.

Born in DC but raised in Maryland, Tiara moved to Virginia in 2021. She has a six- year-old son Aiden who is her best friend. Some of her hobbies are creating art, dancing, and singing.

Tiara wants to bring fresh and creative ways that children can learn to Brynmor. She can’t wait to see her students learn, grow, and develop their individual personalities. She looks forward to building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with her children, families and colleagues.

Ashton Stephenson

Associate Educator

In addition to lots of babysitting, Ashton grew up working in her church’s nursery for ten years. She also was a nanny and house manager for a family for seven years. Because her degree is in Social Sciences with a concentration in Psychology and Anthropology, she understands the importance of social and emotional development. Ashton believes in approaching each child where they are as an individual.

Born and raised in Fairfax, VA, she spent the past eight years in Florida. Ashton has two fur babies at home and has a passion for nature, nutrition, and neuroscience. Some of her hobbies are hiking, ice skating, photography, and working out.

At Brynmor, Ashton is excited to help create environments where children feel safe, welcome, cared for, and prioritized. She would like to make a positive impact on every child that she interacts with and feels lucky to be able to help them become the person that they have the potential to be.

Kadija Turay

Associate Educator

Kadija has been in the early childhood education field since 2010 at child care centers and also with the DC Public School system. She has worked with children of all abilities in toddler and preschool age groups. Believing that helping to develop children is the best way to make  the world a better place, she has always been drawn to educational roles.

Kadija was born in West Africa in Sierra Leone and moved to the Alexandria area when she was four. She has a teenage daughter Kyleeia and a son Karsino who attends Brynmor. She loves cooking for her kids and playing games with them. Other hobbies include puzzles, coloring, word searches, and jamming out to some 90’s R&B.

Building a strong, loving connection with the children in her care is Kadija’s goal. She strives to mold as many bright young minds as she can and she feels honored to witness their learning and growth. Everyone benefits from the family inspired environment that Kadija creates.

Gabriella Whited

Food Services and Facilities Associate

Gabby joins Brynmor with a work history in restaurants and customer service where she prioritized accuracy and timelines. Her mother was a substitute teacher and also worked in a preschool. Gabby volunteered at this preschool after her school day ended. She loved seeing the children and their parents as well as seeing what fun activities that had completed that day.

A part of a military family, Gabby was born in Colorado, but moved to Canada when her father was assigned there. They then moved back to Colorado and then settled in Virginia. Her brother is a middle school teacher in Pennsylvania. Gabby has a daughter and also shares her love with two Saint Bernard/Poodle mixed dogs. In her free time, she likes to garden and read. One of her goals for the next couple of years is to go back to school for her Cosmetology license.

At Brynmor, Gabby hopes to develop a better understanding of childhood milestones and development while providing and serving great food that puts a smile on the children’s faces.