Our Teachers


Michelle Edgecumbe

Director and AM Teacher

Michelle came to Cupertino Co-op Nursery School in 1995 as a participating parent. CCNS offered her the opportunity to be part of her children’s first school experience. “As a very inexperienced parent, CCNS provided the guidance and support I needed to make me feel like a successful parent.” CCNS has also provided the opportunity to make and maintain wonderful friendships that will last a lifetime.  

Coming back with her last child Michelle was offered the opportunity to become the Director and AM teacher. “How lucky I am to be back in an environment that allows me to share the joys of childhood with so many wonderful and gifted individuals.”  

Michelle grew up in Los Altos, attended local schools and received a degree in Education as well as a teaching credential from California State University at Fresno. Michelle has taught Kindergarten and First Grade in the Santa Clara Unified School District for eight years. She is currently serving as the President of the California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools.   Michelle and husband Eric have 3 children.


Jennie Ivazian

AM Teacher

Jennie first came to Cupertino Co-op as a work parent in the program in 2010. Both of her daughters have attended CCNS’s AM and PM programs. Jennie found the community that Cupertino Co-op provided for both her and her children to be invaluable. Being involved in her children’s school experiences from a young age has proven to be rewarding and enriching as both a mom and an educator. It is for this reason that  Having taught kindergarten through second grade and also 7th grade, Jennie is excited to enter the world of preschool as a teacher. Jennie jumped at the chance to join the wonderful teaching staff at CCNS. She is also currently serving the California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools in the position of Finance North.  

Jennie was born and raised in Fresno and lived in San Luis Obispo, Goleta and Ventura before settling in Sunnyvale with her husband. She considers the bay area an amazing place to live and raise a family with so many wonderful places nearby.  When she’s not volunteering in her children’s elementary classrooms she enjoys gardening (perfecting the art of not overwatering), scrapbooking, endlessly rearranging the furniture in her house, and spending lazy days with her husband and two daughters on the beach in Capitola.   


Monica McCabe

PM Teacher

Monica is a parent alumna of the school. Her 3 children all attended CCNS. Monica and her husband, Larry, both really valued and enjoyed the CCNS preschool experience. They both served on the board of CCNS for 3 years. Monica graduated from Santa Clara University. She has continued to be active in her children's education: volunteering in the classroom as a school art docent, serving as PTA president, and being a Brownie Girl Scout co-leader. "Returning to teach at CCNS is a dream come true." She and her husband are both native San Franciscans, and have been married for 19 years.


Calla Trofatter

PM Teacher 

Calla joined the CCNS community as a parent in 2017, served on the board in 2018, and is returning as the new PM teacher in 2019. Her professional motivation has always been to understand how people learn, and to use that understanding to help people along their journeys.


She has a BA in Biology/Neuroscience and an MA in Developmental Psychology, both from the University of Chicago. She has continued her training beyond her degrees with coursework in birth and postpartum doula support, childbirth and parent education, and early childhood education. She is passionate about the benefits of CCNS's community-based model of preschool, and strongly believes that the most effective way to learn (at every age!) is to play. 

Calla was born in Ohio, raised in Kansas, and schooled in Chicago -- a Midwestern girl at heart. Transplanted to California 3 months before her first child was born, she sent down roots in Sunnyvale where she lives today with her husband (since 2005), her son (born in 2013), and her daughter (born in 2014). Calla spends her personal time in voracious engagement with any and all fiber arts, cooking, amateur photography, reading, writing, playing piano, and yoga.


Dawnmarie Steichen

Big Trees Teacher 

Dawnmarie is a parent alumna of CCNS where she enjoyed two enriching years with her youngest of four children. Prior to becoming a teacher for the Big Trees Nature Program, Dawn attended San Francisco State University where she majored in Mass Communications, then later pursued a career in nursing. Until recently, she worked as a school nurse at the Menlo Park City School District which served as a catalyst for her profound interest in early childhood development. 

In her personal life, Dawn is an outdoorsmom and conservationist, but mostly a passionate advocate of the benefits of play and the outdoors for both children and adults. Dawn is a lifelong learner and is currently pursuing a degree in Natural Sciences while becoming a Certified California Naturalist. 


Kate Williams

2s Teacher 

Kate joined CCNS as a working parent in 2017 and served on the CCNS board in 2018-2019.  She loved the supportive community and profoundly child-centered program that had her daughter begging to go to preschool every day.  She is joining CCNS to start up the new 2s program. 

Kate grew up in south Louisiana and trained as a marine scientist in Florida and then in environmental government at Indiana University before working in air quality planning with the State of Texas for many years.  During that time her goal of saving the world shifted to a more personal scale, so she trained as a mental health counselor with St. Edwards University in Austin. A sudden move to California and the birth of her special needs daughter again shifted her path unexpectedly.  When her daughter was ready for preschool she sought out a play-based co-op school and ended up teaching there for 6 months before joining the CCNS community the next fall.

As a teacher, Kate uses a lot of her counseling training, skills, and lessons to help her students build the foundations of the resilient, secure, creative, and confident adults they can become one day. You know, once they learn to pee in the toilet and wash their hands afterwards.  And dry their hands.  And put the used paper in the trash can.  Kate’s counseling training focused on attachment, resiliency building and trauma recovery, neurobiology and self regulation, and generally helping adults recover from the things that went awry in their childhoods.   

Kate, her husband of more than 20 years, her precocious daughter, and their charming albeit grumpy dog call Sunnyvale home.