Meet the Staff
Our Early Childhood staff consists of degreed professionals and experienced caregivers. Each team member completes 20+ hours of professional development each year and some present at local conferences throughout the metro-Indianapolis area. We hold professional memberships to the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC.) Additionally, many of our staff participate in the Indy Reggio Inspired Educators Cohort (IRIE) and the Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative as well as hold leadership positions with Pop Up Play Indy.
Mrs. Ashley Flaumenhaft, Early Childhood Director
I wear many hats but when at home, I am mother to 3 boys, Sammy, Aden, Liam and a dog named Stormy that keep me on my toes! I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Music Therapy and emphasis on Early Childhood. I am currently studying to receive a Master's degree in Non-Profit Management at IUPUI. I have been with HHAI since 2011 and have enjoyed working both in and outside of the classroom. In addition to being the Early Childhood Director, I also teach music to the younger students in our program and lead the Indy Reggio inspired Educators Cohort and North-Side Early Childhood Ministry Director's group. In 2018, I traveled with INAEYC to study the Reggio philosophy in Reggio Emilia, Italy. This life changing experience inspired many of our program's creative play spaces. When not working, I am an avid baker and enjoy singing. I look forward to welcoming you and your child to our Giving Tree Early Learning family.
Ms. Dawn Johnson, Maon Lead Teacher
I live in Indianapolis with my cat, Chloe. In addition to teaching, I volunteer with several local animal rescues and contribute partially by teaching fundraising yoga classes. I love practicing yoga outside and continuing my yoga studies in different environments including with the children. Mindfulness practices are important at every stage of life and can have a big impact on even the youngest of learners as they begin to self-regulate and grow. I hold a degree from Purdue University in Early Childhood Education. I have focused my career on working with infants and toddlers as well as coaching and mentoring teachers. I am very happy to be a part of an early childhood team that believes in collaboration as I firmly believe we are stronger together.
Mrs. Georgia Pappas, Maon Assistant Teacher
I am best described as having a strong love of life- not only do I love cooking and gardening, but more importantly, I love to share that joy with the children. Each day I focus on finding moments of connection and lots and lots of whole hearted laughter with the children. My family includes my wonderful husband, John, and our four fabulous children. My children and the children I teach, have inspired me to share these joys with other people. Reading stories to the children and watching their faces light up with joy, is one of my favorite parts of the day. You can often find me giving hugs and love to each and every child every day as they are what make life worth living.
Mrs. Batya Kogan, Peuton Lead Teacher
Born, raised, and educated in Israel, I am able to bring an authentic teaching style from over 30 years of teaching experiences in both Israel and the US. Coming to the United States with my husband and 2 children in 1992, I began teaching early childhood development at Moriah Child Care Center of Deerfield, IL. For over 26 years with Moriah, I was able to be a part of each child’s development and growth while creating lifelong bonds and connecting with each family. I recently moved to Indiana to be closer to my grandchildren. I am pleased to find a community such as HHAI for me to share my knowledge and joy with.
Mrs. Nicole Mahern, Ganon Lead Teacher
I am the proud mom to Madeline and wife to Shawn. I graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, I began a preschool teaching job and was instantly in love with the world of early childhood education. I have continued to study and work in the lovely world of early childhood for the majority of my 25+ years of teaching. In our classroom, we find inspiration in the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy allowing for each child to share their voice and to take ownership in their learning. In 2018, I traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy to study the philosophy first hand visiting various centers and ateliers throughout the city. As the Reggio Lead for Giving Tree Early Learning, I continue to help inspire our program's journey into the Reggio philosophy each year. I completed my graduate degree in elementary education with a focus on elementary education and early childhood administration in 2020.
Mrs. Marina Levin, Ganon Assistant Teacher
I have been teaching at HHAI for 16 years and have worked in various classrooms. I am from Russia and will share stories and phrases in Russian with the children. I have three big babies in my house (twin boys in college and a husband). I graduated from a university in Russia with a degree in chemical engineering. My favorite times of the day are when the children and I are outside exploring in rain or shine. I look forward to working with your children this year.
Ms. Lauren Schwartz, AfterCare Lead Teacher
I am originally from Flint, Michigan. My family moved to Indiana in 2011 and I attended HHAI from 5th-8th grade. Fast forward to 2021 and I now study Health and Human Science for Speech Therapy at IUPUI downtown. I am one of five children and have a twin brother who is 9 minutes older than me. My younger siblings still attend HHAI. We also have a German Shepard named Thor. Our Aftercare classroom is made up of children 3 to 5 years old, creating a place where all of the kids can play and have fun together. The best part of my day is getting to interact with the children in conversation. I am always amazed and inspired by their creative thinking and story telling.