Preschool: Teachers & Staff

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Davis Studio was founded in 2003 by director, Teresa Davis. We are committed to creating an atmosphere that fosters the imagination and nurtures creativity. Each student is respected as an artist with his or her own unique style and unlimited potential.

A wide range of classes and camps are offered for students to explore artistic possibilities. We offer a selection of after school and Saturday classes throughout the school year. Additionally, classes are held during weekdays for adults, homeschooled students and preschool families. Camps take place during the summer as well as during school vacations, including Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation and February and April school breaks.

Becky CookBecky Cook, Preschool Director & Teacher 
Becky has cared for, nurtured, taught, and encouraged people for most of her life, from infants to sixth-graders, senior citizens, and even professional athletes. She received a BS in Athletic Training from Russell Sage College and a MEd in Elementary Education from the College of St. Joseph, and holds a Vermont license in Elementary Education. After leaving the teaching profession to stay at home with her two boys, she returned to teach preschool in 2013. She feeds her need for songs, movement and silliness with her students, and her wonder for the world remains and grows with every new discovery made by a preschooler. And, they think her jokes are funny.

Andy MurphyAndy Murphy, Teacher
Andy received a B.A in English from Saint Michael's College. He has cultivated his gift for teaching preschool and elementary aged children for the past 20 years. His first dozen years of teaching were at Bellwether School in Williston, during which time he taught kindergarten through 6th grade, mentored fellow teachers, and served on the school's Board of Directors. Following his tenure at Bellwether, Andy opened a registered in-home preschool where his passion for supporting the social-emotional growth of young children was solidified. Andy has a knack for creating positive and dynamic learning environments and establishing a sense of community within his classroom. He enthusiastically shares his lifelong love of music with his students through his guitar playing and singing.

Nicole ChristmanNicole Christman, Teacher
Nicole has a BA in visual art as well as a Vermont Art Teaching License (Pre-K through 12). She loves working with young children and their families and has directed the preschool art classes at Davis Studio for the past two years. She is passionate about supporting children and helping them grow as creative thinkers. Nicole is a versatile artist in her own right, practicing everything from painting, illustration and graphic design, to pottery, papermaking and book arts. She is thrilled to be sharing her artistic expertise and her joy of learning with our preschool students.

Holly Beckert Holly Beckert, Licensed Teacher
Holly brings with her twelve years of teaching experience from Stepping Stones Children Center. She has her degree in Early and Elementary Education from Champlain College. She has always felt that working with children was a lifelong calling and passion of hers. She is dedicated to diving deep into curriculum with children by following their individual interests, asking investigative questions, revisiting and reflecting upon previous long-term projects, and learning right alongside children. Understanding the importance of attachment and relationship-building with the children, Holly is particularly interested in social/emotional development and empathy building. She is inspired by the Reggio-Emilia approach and loves everything about play-based learning. Through intentional practices of observation, documentation, and reflection Holly is interested in providing meaningful and purposeful learning for the children. Some interests of hers include sewing, dancing, yoga, loose-parts exploration, dramatic play, investigating, observing, inventing, creating, storytelling, making open-ended art, and getting messy! Holly lives with her husband, three children, and a cat named Lettuce in the old north end of Burlington

Tiffany TillmanTiffany Tillman, Teacher
Tiffany received a BA in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University in 1998 and has been working with children of all ages in a variety of settings ever since. After running after school programs and summer camps, Tiffany delved into environmental education and wilderness therapy, traveling from PA to NH and UT to develop and implement environmental and wilderness programs.  Shortly after moving to VT in 2001, Tiffany worked for 10 years with preschoolers through adults as Shelburne Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project as an Educator, Curriculum Developer and Healthy Neighborhoods & Healthy Kids Project Coordinator.  She also helped launch the Education for Sustainability Preschool Curriculum guide.   In addition to working at Davis Studio Preschool, Tiffany is currently the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington.  She loves working with children of all ages and meeting each of them where they are on their journey.  Getting messy, outside, creative and fired up about most anything with children is what drives the learning environments she creates.  Oh, and she absolutely loves to read with kids.

Dawn IrwinDawn Irwin, Teacher
Dawn has been an early childhood educator for ten years and is extremely excited to be joining the Davis Studio Preschool Team. She has an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Studies, as well as a Child Development Associate Degree. She is currently a student at Lyndon State College set to graduate next spring with a Bachelor’s Degree and a Teaching License in Early Childhood Education. Dawn began her career as an infant teacher, but fell in love with the Reggio-Emilia approach to learning when she became a preschool teacher six years ago. She is passionate about play-based, child led learning and the incredible impact it has on a child’s growth and development. She believes in honoring each individual child and celebrating the uniqueness each person brings to the classroom. Through observation, documentation, and reflection, Dawn uses children’s strengths as a springboard to encourage deep and meaningful learning. Because of the important role of social and emotional development in the early years, Dawn loves fostering opportunities for peer mentorship and building strong relationships between students, teachers, and families. When Dawn isn’t playing or studying, she loves running, hiking, camping, reading, hanging out with friends, watching movies, and spending time with her husband, Dave, two year old son, Lincoln, her two dogs, Rocco and Toby, and her cat, Luna.

Elsa Levy Elsa Levy, Davis Studio Preschool Director & Teacher, Fall 2017
Elsa is excited to join the Davis Studio Team and brings with her eight years of experience as an educator. She recently moved back from Denver, Colorado to enjoy life here in Vermont. She earned her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Champlain College after receiving her Child Development Associate degree, as well as a bachelor's in Sociology and minor in studio art from UVM. She believes in teaching to individual children's strengths and encouraging their own inquiry to inspire learning. She is well versed in effective documentation in order to scaffold meaningful learning for children. By using emergent curriculum inspired by Reggio Emilia and the arts she cultivates a joyous environment for learning and sees children's self esteem and love of learning soar. She loves working with preschoolers and believes passionately in the mission of high quality Early Childhood Education. In her free time she loves traveling, playing outside, creating art, and spending time with her future husband, Dan and their 105 lb. bloodhound named Walter.

  Support Staff

Teresa Davis Teresa Davis - Davis Studio Director,
Teresa has worked for over thirty years with children from preschool to high school, supporting creativity through both visual and theater arts. She has several years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher and an art instructor. Prior to opening Davis Studio, Teresa taught second and third grade in Pasadena, California. She was also a preschool teacher and director in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has traveled extensively and spent a year teaching children in Amman, Jordan. Teresa founded Davis Studio in 2003 and loves being surrounded with the energy and creativity of all of our amazing students.

Renée Compagna Renée Compagna, Employee Experience Manager/Art Instructor     A native Vermonter, Renée received her BA in History from Johnson State College. For the last 15 years, as coordinator of family programs at Shelburne Museum, she has focused her talents on event planning, art making and working with children & families. Through event planning and program management, Renée successfully executed over 125 events, serving audiences ranging in size from 20 to over 4,000. In her work with children and families, Renée conceived and developed over 180 different art making activities, serving 20,000+ individuals. Renée believes that the arts and PLAY are essential to all and loves sharing those ideas with others. In addition to her love of art, Renée is an accomplished photographer and loves travel, organizing and experiencing her next adventure. She knows a little bit about a lot of different things which is why you will see her tackling a variety of tasks at Davis Studio. 

Alane McNamaraAlane McNamara - Davis Studio Office Manager
Alane brings many years of experience in organizing and planning systems to keep an office running smoothly. She fields calls, emails, and registrations and works with billing and receipt of payment. She feeds her creative side too, embracing the arts as a student herself. This has renewed her love of learning and passion for creating. Alane enjoys watching all of our students be celebrated and given the power to unwrap the creative gifts they have within.