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Meet Our Team

At School of Enrichment, we are fortunate to have a group of amazing educators who not only bestow their considerable knowledge onto their students, but also every day show deep compassion, caring and enthusiasm for each and every single one of the children in their care.

Marcee Zendejas, AAECE

Director

Marcee and her family moved to Bend from Southern California in 2004. She brings over 30 years of experience to School of Enrichment working with children of all ages. Her career began as owner and director of an after school children’s program in California for school age children. She volunteered in a Children’s Musical Theater program for several years and loved it! As her children completed preschool, she realized her passion for early childhood education. Marcee then began teaching Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten.

Katie Brandow, LCSW

Founder/Owner

Katie has been involved with School of Enrichment prior to opening its doors in 2007. Her passion is supporting parents in finding trusted care with enriching experiences so that parents can maintain a healthy life balance and feel in their core being that their kids are safe and enriched. Katie is mom to two daughters and genuinely trusts that early childhood experiences in a supportive environment teach socialization, problem-solving and coping skills that create equipped children and eventually adults who are ready to take on the world productively, healthfully, and positively. 

Sage Reed Henderson, BA

Teacher

Sage graduated from OSU Cascades with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development and Education. Her internship brought her to School of Enrichment which quickly lead to an undeniable organic connection between Sage and her students. She truly wants to see them succeed and we see this daily in her role as a dedicated teacher. Sage continuously brings fresh knowledge and new ideas to our school family.

Kara Bernhardt, BS

Teacher

At three years old, Kara told her family that she was going to be a teacher when she grew up. Her path never changed, and she graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with a focus on Childhood Development. She was involved with many programs that included different aged children, and through these, she found her passion in Early Childhood Education. She found the youngest minds to be most interesting.

Kendal Sweeney, BS

Teacher

Kendal graduated from Stetson University with a B.S. in Integrative Health Science and a minor in Spanish. The degree is based on a holistic health approach focusing on emotional, physical, and spiritual components. Her original plan was to go back to school and become a pediatric nutritionist. However, after college she landed a position at a children’s fitness center. She quickly realized her love for early childhood development. She is now currently taking classes to receive her Masters in Education.

Kendal spent five years as the director of the fitness center before she and her fiancé took a year off to hike the Appalachian Trail. It was a life changing experience, but Kendal always knew she wanted to return to the education field. When Kendal is not working, she is very active outdoors. She loves skiing, biking, and running!

Kendal has been in preschool classrooms since 2017 and shares this love for children at School of Enrichment. Kendal has a respectful and kind approach to connecting with children and is dedicated to supporting each child educationally, physically, and emotionally.

DJ Whitworth, AA

Teacher

DJ is a Bend native who attended Bend High and later received her Associates of Arts in Early Childhood Education from COCC. DJ attends OSU online and will complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Services in the spring of 2024. From a very young age, DJ knew that she wanted to be a teacher and work with kids. She explored the idea of a few different career paths but has always found that her heart is with children and teaching. DJ teaches in our Pre-K class and specializes in classroom management and design, lesson planning and implementation, and most importantly, teaching a love of learning! In her spare time, she loves to travel and spend time with her friends and family. 

Ashley Prevost, AA

Teacher

Ashley moved to Central Oregon from Northern California, which was a long-term goal she proudly achieved. Ashley studied Human Development and received an Associates of Arts degree in Human Development and went on to teach preschool at Head Start for seven years. Ashley loves to teach music and movement and use nature as her classroom. Ashley builds strong relationships with her students and families and rejoices in the small moments when students grasp a new concept or learn a new skill. When Ashley isn’t in the classroom, you’ll find her spending time outdoors with her dogs, Sam & Luna, or going to the bookstore. 

Heather Sanders, MA Education

Substitute Teacher

Heather has had the privilege to work with kids for over 25 years. Heather has experience working in camps, running programs, has substitute taught elementary in public schools and has nannied. Most recently, Heather has fallen in love with early childhood. Working with this age group brings Heather joy and we all need that! Kids are so pure in heart, fun, and interested in all that life has to offer and Heather really wants to be a part of that.

Heather has her BA from University of North Texas. Heather has early-childhood and elementary teaching credentials from Western State College in Colorado. Heather also has a Masters of Arts in Education with an endorsement in Special Education from Lewis and Clark College.

Heather and her husband are also parents three amazing kids. Heather’s very favorite activities are camping and exploring and she believes she  would be a perfect candidate to live on the road in an RV someday! Heather also enjoys walking, reading, and playing yard games.

She is so so grateful for the opportunity to work at School of Enrichment because as she says, “It makes me a better person!”

Sarah Holmes

Teaching Assistant

Sarah joined the School of Enrichment team in the Spring of 2019 as a teaching assistant and helped operate our then after school program. Sarah has lived in Central Oregon for 32 years, is a mother of four, and a grandma to three adorable grandchildren. Her passion for working with children started back in the 90’s, when she first volunteered at the Alyce Hatch Preschool, and was subsequently hired as a teaching assistant. There, she grew to love working with kids, both those with special needs and typically developing children alike. Sarah worked with Alyce Hatch as their program was integrated with the Head Start program, as well. After raising her two youngest children and starting a baking company with her husband, she returned to the field of children once again. She worked for both Deschutes County Developmental Disability Services and the Oregon Dept of Human Services/CIIS Division as a Personal Support Worker to families with special needs children. As a personal support worker, she learned to care for children with such disabilities as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Autism, to name a few. At School of Enrichment, she thoroughly loves working with all of our fun and spirited students and being a support to our amazing teachers! In her spare time, Sarah is a musician and performs in an Irish band with her husband, son, and friends.

Janine Higgins

Teaching Assistant

Janine has been a substitute teacher at School of Enrichment since the fall of 2014. Janine spent the last 15 years raising her two daughters who are now teenagers. Janine is excited to have the opportunity to spend more time supporting at School of Enrichment now that her girls are older! Janine is flexible and calm in her nature and students and staff enjoy spending time with Janine. Janine has regularly volunteered in both of her daughter’s classes since they were in kindergarten and this is where she found her passion of working with children. Janine has a presence that we all appreciate and students bond with her quickly. Janine’s favorite part of working in early childhood education is watching them grow and learn. Janine is flexible in her nature and in the classroom giving her the ability to work with a variety of personalities, she is cheerful and friendly and children are naturally drawn to her. We are so grateful to have her at School of Enrichment each day!

Kayla McCarthy

Teaching Assistant

Kayla is a current student at OSU Cascades majoring in Outdoor Education. She is learning to teach and guide people of all ages through different adventure pursuits. Kayla is originally from California but is loving everything Oregon has to offer. In her spare time, she can be found kayaking, rock climbing, or hiking around the local areas with her three-year-old Goldendoodle “Hope.”

Kayla has been working with kids for what seems her whole life. She started out by working in her mom’s kindergarten class; her mom would pick her up after school and have her prepare and write lesson plans. In high school, she took over the role of teaching assistant. When Kayla graduated high school she received her career technical education certificate in Child Development and Childhood Education. She gained even more experience with children through coaching sports, nannying, and Girl Scouts; where she received her Girl Scout gold award for renovating a playground and developing an outdoor education program to encourage kids to learn and play outside. This passion for teaching and the outdoors led to her current endeavor of majoring in Outdoor Education.

Alyssa Erickson

Teaching Assistant

Alyssa was born and raised in Minnesota and moved to Central Oregon in 2015. The journey west was filled with a multitude of adventures, but the most important experience was beginning a career in early childhood development. At a young age, Alyssa knew she wanted to work with children and began by volunteering and babysitting. Alyssa has worked with children ages birth through 6 years old and brings a lot of passion and warmth to our program. You’ll often find her sitting on the floor singing “the itsy bitsy spider” with a group of engaged and excited students!

Alyssa is grateful to have the opportunity to experience meaningful and simple events alongside her students each day. One of her favorite parts of working with children is watching them learn new things through the eyes of a child. Alyssa’s cup is filled with her student’s bright smiles, hugs, silly statements, and their loving hearts.

When Alyssa is not working, she is either playing outside biking, hiking and fishing or spending time with her family enjoying Central Oregon!

Mira Serrato, BA

Teaching Assistant

Mira was born and raised in sunny Los Angeles and has recently settled into life in Bend. She graduated from Gonzaga University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Business. When studying abroad in Florence, Italy, Mira interned at a local school where she taught 3rd-year students English. Here, she quickly discovered her love for working with children. Post-graduation, Mira spent time volunteering at the preschool she once attended! She hopes to use her knowledge of our beloved natural spaces, precious resources, and beautiful creatures to educate the next generation of environmental stewards. 

 When she isn’t working, Mira loves to be outside and enjoys long, scenic bike rides with friends. She learned to ski at the ripe age of 3 and can be found on the local hill most winter weekends. She loves to hike with good company and has gotten into backpacking in recent years.  Mira is extremely excited to join the School of Enrichment community and is looking forward to what the school year will bring!