Meet The Staff - La Familia

Meet the Staff

stephane and hankName: Stephane Tillman, M. Ed
Title: Executive Director
TFC/LF Employee since 2000

Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program Certificate

Masters in Education Administration with a focus on Early Childhood Education

BS-Human Development and Family Studies

AA-Early Childhood Education

Family Development Certified

About Me: Stephane Tillman Has been with The Family Center/La Familia since 2000. Prior to becoming the The Family Center/La Familia’s Executive Director, Mrs. Tillman was Early Childhood Educator, Parent Educator,  supervision of the After School Tutoring/Youth Program/Volunteer Programs, and Director of the Early Childhood Education Program. She is particularly passionate about empowering parents and providers to be advocates for children because every child deserves the opportunity to grow up in a safe, diverse, developmentally appropriate, stimulating, and nurturing environment.  It is her desire that every child have the opportunity to grow up in such a setting within TFC/LF. Mrs. Tillman holds a Master’s in Education Administration with a concentration in early childhood education and is a graduate of the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program , the premier Graduate program  targeted to foster the skills of experienced and emerging leaders in early care and education settings. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of so many families’ lives.  If you would like to learn more about TFC/LF please call to set up a tour.

Susan PicName: Susan Krcmarik
Title: Director of Programs
TFC/LF Employee since January, 2015

Master of Science; Human Development and Family Studies

BA in Sociology/Preschool Education

ECE Coaching Coursework

CO State Board of Community Colleges Career & Technical Education Credential, Child Care Center Director Qualified

About Me:  I’m a Colorado native having grown up in Greeley, and lived in Glenwood Springs, Pueblo, Denver, and Fort Collins where my family moved so I could complete my Masters of Science in Human Development and Family Studies.  Family systems, both my own and in general, are what drive my interests and pursuits.  I have worked as a child care center director for a hospital, as a planner for Pueblo County, a home visitor for USDA Child and Family Food Program in Denver, a Child Care Home Trainer across Colorado, and as liaison to the CAEYC lobbyist while serving on their board.  More recently I was coordinator for Weld County United Way Family Support Network, Larimer County Bright By Three (Bright Beginnings), and throughout my other work, I taught administration and child development classes at Front Range Community College (Larimer, Westminster and Boulder campuses) in Early Childhood Education.  When I find time, I love to bake bread, ski, golf, walk and play with my dog, enjoy the glorious Colorado Mountains and travel with family.  I am both appreciative and proud to be affiliated with the great things being accomplished by the families, staff and board members of La Familia.

HERMANName: Herman Tearman
Title: Marketing and Development Associate
TFC/LF Employee since March 2013

Masters of Social Work – Colorado State University

Bachelors of Social Work.-Generalist

Larimer County caseworker with Juvenile Drug Court Program.

10 yrs. experience in community social work.

Co-founder and Executive director of Transitional Creative Arts Mentoring Program

Instructor for Improvisational comedy troop Clown box in the 2000-2005

Former Restorative Nursing manager and 10 years experience in Long-term care setting

About Me: I am a father of two and spend the majority of my time laughing and sharing with family and  friends. I enjoy people and have always been drawn towards  the service of others. I worked for 10 years in nursing home setting and was a restorative nursing manager linking nursing and therapy before returning to school. Throughout school and after graduation I work within the juvenile system, it is a passion of mine to help young adults navigate this difficult time frame of life and I continue to work with kids in my spare time doing workshops about improvisational theater and storytelling. I really believe that working with families is so important to helping children have the most opportunities in life and that is what brought me to the Family Center/ La Familia. I believe in the work  being done here and  I am blown away by the level of expertise and care demonstrated by the staff.  I know that the impacts of what is done here with families will be felt for generations to come.

CarlaName: Carla Dolan
Title: Administrative Assistant
TFC/LF Employee since February, 2006

AS-Medical Billing and Coding

Early Childhood Teacher Certified

About Me: I have been with The Family Center/La Familia since November 2006, I started as an intern while attending school and after graduation became employed by TFC/LF. I have an Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding from the Institute of Business and Medical Careers (IBMC) which I obtained in 2008. So you may ask, why I am here with more of a medical background. Well, because I fell in love with the great employees and mission of TFC/LF, and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. I am also married and have two lovely young girls. We all love to play games and watch movies together and cherish every moment. Working at TFC/LF has brought me many opportunities to learn and grow to become a better parent, spouse, co-worker and overall person.

Family Strengthening Services

ADRIANAName: Adriana Quintero
Title: Family Advocate
TFC/LF Employee since 2004

Director of Large Child Care Facility Certified

Parents As Teachers Certified (0 to 5 years)

Associates degree in Childhood Development from Community College of Denver and FRCC

Family Development Certified

About Me: I was born in Mexico and have lived in Fort Collins for many years now. My passion is to work with families and help families in need. I have been working with families and individuals for many years now, and enjoy seeing families work toward their goals. I am still in school, as I am always striving to continue my education and improve my English language skills. I am a mother of 3 beautiful and mischievous children. One is in college, one in high school, and one in middle school. Bailey is also my princess. She is an 11 year old pug. I love to do all kinds of exercise. I also enjoy spending time with my family.

LORENAName: Lorena Mendoza
Title: Family Advocate
TFC/LF Employee since April, 2011

Pediatric Nurse’s Aid

Parents As Teachers Certified (0 to 5 years)

Family Development Certified

 About Me: I was born in Chihuahua México, where I graduated from nursing  school and worked in our family-owned restaurant. I moved to Fort Collins in 1997 and before starting work at The Family Center in 2011 I managed a local hotel for 12 years. I’m the mother of a beautiful 8 1/2 year old daughter and my husband and I love going to the park with her, cooking and many other activities. I enjoy my job at The Family Center and helping families achieve their objectives.

Staff Bio Pic MendozaName: Mariah Kennell Mendoza

Title: Family Engagement Advocate

TFC/LF Employee since: March 2016

Educational information and certifications:Returned Mennonite Central Committee VolunteerFinishing Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Non-profit Organizations

About Me: I am a Fort Collins native, but have spent the last several years of my life living and working in both Managua, Nicaragua at a Deaf school as a preschool teacher, high school English teacher, and a social worker, and Ostional, Nicaragua working with extremely rural coastal villages and their schools to ensure they had the supplies that the teachers and students needed. These phenomenal experiences brought me back to the US with a completely changed world view as well as fluent in both Spanish and Nicaraguan Sign Language.  I was also lucky enough to meet the man who later became my husband in Nicaragua.  I want to spend my life working in non-profits and serving others, learning and laughing, and soaking up all of the amazing experiences that life has to offer.  I am very excited to be a part of the wonderful staff here at The Family Center/La Familia and all of the amazing things that they do!

web site pic
Name: Julianna Jenkins
Title: Adult Education/ESL Coordinator
TCF/LF Employee since July,
2016Bachelor of Family and Human ServicesTESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) CertifiedAbout me:  I was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador as a third culture kid. I got my B.S. in Family and Human Services and my TESOL certificate at John Brown University in Arkansas. I recently got married and moved to Fort Collins, and so far my husband and I love it here. Some of my hobbies include running, hiking, camping, cooking, and hanging out with family and friends. I have a passion to help people take steps to reach their goals and dreams for themselves and their families. I believe that Adult Education and ESL classes can be extremely beneficial in doing that. Through my job here, I not only get to combine the skills that I acquired through both my major and minor, but I get to do it all while using both my English and Spanish. I am very excited to be a part of the team here at The Family Center/La Familia!




TFC/LF employee since
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Healthy Living Programs







Title Volunteer Coordinator






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Title: Administrative Assistant



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peter 3Name: Peter Wawro

Title: Health Advocate

TFC/LF Employee since: Hire Date March 28, 2016

Educational information and certifications:

B.A. Spanish B.A. International Studies Minor: History Certificate of Latin American Studies

About Me: My main interest in life is to see how much time I can spend outside. I greatly enjoy riding my bike, hiking the mountains, swimming the river and sitting in the sun.  My goal here is fill kids in on the wide variety of environments and activities that exist right outside our doors.  Being active does not specifically mean playing sports.  It’s mostly just moving off of the couch. Be it gardening, summer activities camps or cooking/ nutrition classes we guide kids towards healthy habits that will stick for life.  A healthy kid is a critical part to having a healthy family.



HildaName: Hilda Yanez
Title: Family Development Coordinator
TFC/LF Employee since May, 2013
Educational information and certifications:

About Me: My husband and I moved to Fort Collins six years ago, looking for a peaceful place to rise our child. It has been a great time since then! I began working in a restaurant as a waitress, gaining high experience in the customer service field. In 2013 I started my journey at The Family Center/La Familia and have enjoyed working with such great people and being around all the wonderful kids in El Nidito is priceless, especially having a 1 year old myself and being able to have him in daycare is amazing. I look forward to many years with The Family Center/La Familia working together to serve our families in the community.




Youth Programs

WendyName: Wendy Warford
Title: Youth Program Coordinator


TFC/LF Employee since:  Dec. 2008
Educational information and certifications:
Early childhood lead teacher qualified. Currently taking college courses to achieve my goal of Director Certification.


About Me: I became a part of The Family Center/La Familia team as a teacher 8 years ago. My main job is to care for and support children on their path to learning as individuals, and preparing for their future. I have had the joy of being in each classroom and seen children grow and move onto their elementary school years. Currently I have become our school age program coordinator, therefore, in this position I am able to support children after school with homework needs, as they are arrive each day. During school out days or during the summers we offer care to children ages 5 to 13 years of age. Often times we will explore nature in our wonderful backyard location, attend the local areas on field trips, and join in helping with the community garden. I have seen families being supported in many ways, from advice on bathroom training to getting help filling out applications. Many families take part in learning new languages or learning to eat healthy. Our goals are to become a community. The support I have seen within our center to families, children, and community makes me feel proud. We care about who you are and where you are going! The Family Center/La Familia has grown and continues to support and expand. Our future looks bright and I am proud to be a part of it.

Early Childhood Education

JoeName: Joseph Ziegler
Title: TFC/LF Early Childhood Education Director
TFC/LF Employee since January 2008

M.A. Education Administration with concentration in Early Childhood Education

B.A. Sociology with Spanish Minor

Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program Certificate

Colorado Large Childcare Center Director Qualified

Colorado Early Childhood Teacher Qualified

About Me: I have been working in the field of Early Care and Education in one capacity or another for the better part of the past decade. I graduated from Fort Hays State University in my hometown of Hays, Kansas in 2003 with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Spanish. In 2011, I was accepted into the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation’s Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program in Denver, Colorado. After completing the Buell program I continued on to receive my MA in Education Administration and Policy Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from the University of Denver in the summer of 2013.

Though originally from Kansas, my wife and I moved to Fort Collins in 2007. I began working at The Family Center/La Familia in January of 2008 and our children have also attended care at the center since they were infants. We really feel like part of the family! In my free time I enjoy relaxing and spending time with family and friends, watching movies, playing trivia, and doing other nerdy kinds of things!

I truly believe that quality early education has the power to change lives and that all children deserve positive early life experiences. I am grateful for the opportunity that The Family Center/La Familia has given me to collaborate with our families, our center community, and our children, as together we set the stage for a lifetime of exploration and learning.

jordan 2Name: Jordan Sloat
Title: Preschool Teacher/Otter Room CPP
TFC/LF Employee since: January 2016

Educational information and certifications:

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on Early Childhood Education as well as a Minor in Business (Colorado State University)

Lead Early Childhood Teacher Qualified

About Me:

I’m originally from Boulder Colorado, but I moved to Fort Collins in 2012 to attend Colorado State University where I studied Childhood Education and graduated in December 2015. I believe that childhood education with a wide number of dimensions is vital for children to flourish and grow. I also aim to provide children a secure environment in order to explore their interests and develop autonomy for themselves. Some of my hobbies include rock climbing, hiking, cooking, reading and playing guitar. A fun fact about myself is that I was an all conference football player in high school and played football for Fort Lewis College for a year.



loisName: Lois Vargas
Title: Early Childhood Educator
TFC/LF Employee since February 2008

M.A. in Special education

Early Childhood Education Early Childhood Teacher Certified

About Me: Hi my name is Lois Vargas and boy “do I love Kids”.  I grew up in a family of teachers in Iowa my education consists of degrees in Early Childhood Special Education and Physical Education.  I am currently retired, and have substituted extensively at La Familia for the past two and a half years. I am bilingual, learning Spanish in the Peace Corps while living in Costa Rica for three and a half years.   My love for Spanish has taking me to Panama, Colombia, Mexico and visiting my extended family in Costa Rica. There is no better place to continue my love for working with Spanish speaking families and children than by being a part of the integrated programs at La Familia.  This is truly my “dream job” found after teaching for 30 years.  It is my pleasure to work with you and your children.





Title: Preschool Teacher/Otter Room CPP



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ellinorName: Ellenor Moore
Title: Early Childhood Educator (Panda’s)
TFC/LF Employee since February 2010

B.A. in Elementary  Education

Early Childhood Teacher Certified

About Me: I am originally from a small town in South Western Virginia but have called Fort Collins my home for the past three years.  I have been in the field of early education for the past eight years.  I have worked with children from birth to sixth grade, but mainly focusing on birth to three.  In addition to caring for other people’s children, I have two wonderful children of my own.



bristol 2Name: Emilee Bristol
Title: Toddler Teacher/ Dinosaurs
TFC/LF Employee since: November 2015
Qualifications: Currently taking courses to achieve a Lead Early Childhood Teacher position

About Me: I have lived in Fort Collins almost my entire life. Growing up I babysat frequently and was constantly surrounded by children. Having grown up in a big family, I have learned to highly value strong relationships and community. I have dreamt of working with children since I was young and I feel very fortunate to have my job at The Family Center. I’ve learned so much every day I’ve been here and I am very excited to grow even more from my courses as I work to achieve a Lead Teacher position. Outside of work, I enjoy fashion, reading, writing, biking, and spending time with my sister.





RitaName: Rita Rivera
Title: Nutrition Coordinator TFC/LF Employee since February 2008

Director of Large Child Care Facility Certified

Early Childhood Teacher Certified

About Me:

I truly believe that quality early education has the power to change lives and that all children deserve positive early life experiences. I am grateful for the opportunity that The Family Center/La Familia has given me to collaborate with our families, our center community, and our children, as together we set the stage for a lifetime of exploration and learning.



nursery KristenName: Christine Van Velzen

Title: Infant Nursery Supervisor

TFC/LF Employee since:  June 1, 2015

Educational information and certifications: I received an AA degree in Fine Art at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. I also received a certification for Early Childhood Education while attending Saddleback College. I came to Fort Collins in Spring 2007 and have taught several age groups from infants to school age. I received my infant/toddler theory certification from Ellen Crocker at the Early Childhood Center in Fort Collins.




About Me:

I have enjoyed so much living in Fort Collins over the past 9 years. I love the great outdoors and have explored several hikes in Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park, Breckenridge and Winter Park. Music is also a love of mine and have been quite impressed with the local talent here in Fort Collins. My family and I love swimming at the local pools or taking a dip in the Horsetooth Reservoir. We also enjoy camping and canoeing in Frisco. I love the community events where families come and enjoy a special event together. The Family Center has been a true family to me and I feel so blessed to be their infant nursery supervisor. I enjoy the families and their children at the Family Center and love being a loving nurturing teacher to the children in my care and throughout the center. I look forward to several years ahead working for The Family Center because they stand behind their name and mission and I feel honored to be a part of their team.

Kaylee picName: Kylee Bristol

Title: Infant Teacher/Panda & Duckling

TFC/LF Employee since:  Oct. 2014

Qualifications: Lead Early Childhood Teacher Qualified

About Me: I moved to Fort Collins when I was six years old, and I’ve been here ever since. My four siblings and I were raised in a homeschooled environment all throughout middle school and high school. I started babysitting with my two younger siblings. And because I was homeschooled, I had a lot of time, so I was a full time nanny for a lot of my high school years. When I got hired at The Family Center, it felt like a dream come true. I still cannot believe how fortunate I am to work here. I love my job at La Familia. I love waking up and knowing that I get to work here every day. I love the relationships with families, the connection with the kids, and the growth that happens within the building every single day.  Outside of work, I love to read and write and draw. I enjoy sitting with friends over coffee, taking walks, and taking care of all of my succulents.

Title: Preschool Teacher/Otter Room/ Penguin room/  CPP
TFC/LF Employee since

About Me:




web pengiun teacherName: Vraja Priya Johnson
Title: Preschool Teacher/Otter Room CPP
About Me: My name is Vraja Priya Johnson and I was born and raised in West Virginia. From the time I could remember, I was responsible for watching my two younger brothers. By eleven years old, I made money working as a babysitter in my neighborhood until I graduated from high school. My greatest learning in early education came when I became a parent in December of 2003 to our beautiful daughter Gracie (She is an alumni of The Family Center). I have been employed/volunteered with The Family Center since June 2007.  I graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies.My favorite things to do outside of work and domestics is dancing, photography, gardening, and absolutely adore being on a bike, skates, or snowboard. I have a Girl Scout troop that I have been co-leading for 5 years and we are actively involved in community service projects and volunteering to help make our world/community a better place for our future. One thing that makes me unique is that I was raised as a vegetarian and have never eaten meat, fish, or eggs!




betsy tfcName: Betsy Welk
Title: TFC/LF Early Childhood Educator(Dino Teacher)
TFC/LF Employee since October 2014•
Bachelor’s degree Fish, Conservation, & Wildlife Management
Colorado Early Childhood Teacher Qualified

About me:

Having grown up in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia and living on acres of forested land, I learned to cherish the outdoors and all of the science of the land and critters that makes nature so mesmerizing.  I moved to Colorado to attend CSU’s program on Fish, Conservation, & Wildlife Management.  After receiving my degree and becoming engaged, it became apparent that the travel required for this field was not in line with starting a family of my own in the near future.  My mother was a special education teacher and I enjoyed watching her work as I grew up.  I decided to try working with children and ended up loving it.  The Family Center gave me the chance to become ECT certified and I am now working with two-year olds in the Dino classroom.  I love seeing all of the different personalities evolve in our room, as they start to speak more and truly develop into their own unique person.  The kids are a constant source of love and comedy.  I never imagined the bonds that could form from being a teacher, but I cherish every single one of them.  In addition, seeing the family bonds and having the ability to interact with entire families has been nothing but encouraging from numerous aspects.  I also love that we get to do nature walks together, have Madagascar hissing cockroaches as classroom pets, do basic science activities involving things like weather and animal life histories, and we even have a bird feeder outside of the classroom window.  Some children can even now name a few species of birds and mimic their calls.  I love having the chance to share my passions with the evolving minds of the kids I spend every day with. 

lexiName: Alexa Christensen Title: Infant Nursery Supervisor TFC/LF Employee since: September 2015

Educational information and certifications:  Bachelor Degree in Human Development and Family Studies , Minor in Criminal Justice, Safe Sleep Trained, First Aid, Universal Precautions, Infant CPR

About Me:

Short information about your interests and hobbies as well as your understanding of our mission and your feelings about the importance of the work we are doing

After graduating from Colorado State University, I decided to stay in Colorado for the beautiful weather, amazing scenery, and great people. My favorite part of Fort Collins is the supporting the local music and arts scene. Being an infant teacher at The Family Center has been the most rewarding experience of my life. It has opened my eyes to how much I am capable of giving to another human, and how much a child is capable of teaching me, even at such a young age. It is so exciting to watch them grow emotionally, physically, and cognitively every day. My coteacher Christine and I support the development of our infants by forming close relationships with parents so there is an open line of communication regarding their progress. I feel privileged to be a part of these children’s lives and I look forward to coming to work every day. I see how much the Family Center has given to parents and students who are truly deserving, and am grateful to be a part of such a benevolent organization.

chelseaName:  Chelsea King
Title: TFC/LF Early Childhood Teacher (Dinosaur Classroom)
TFC/LF Employee since: Hire Date  January 2015

Educational information and certifications: Early Childhood Teacher Certified , Early Childhood Education Director Certified , Infant Nursery Supervisor , Working towards B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies – Colorado State University (Concentration in Early Childhood Professions)

About Me: I was born and raised in Colorado. I love working with children and I enjoy watching them develop and grow. I believe that children learn through experiences and that they need a supporting and positive relationship with trusted adults. In the classroom, I focus on social-emotional development with the children because I believe that this is the foundation for both academic and life success. I currently am a teacher in the Dinosaur classroom (ages 2-3 years old). I love this age group. I like seeing the progress of development of the children from when they started in the classroom to when they are ready to transition to the next classroom. 

As for my interests, I absolutely love fish. I am scuba certified and I love being able to observe fish and their environment around them. I have been on many different scuba diving expeditions and couldn’t imagine not being certified. I love to travel. I have been to many different areas around the world and love to see and experience new things. I recently got engaged to my fiance in Mexico and plan to get married in Spring 2017. Along with this bought a house in January 2015. Needless to say my life is busy. I am attending Colorado State University to finish up my B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies. 

Martha GironName: Martha Girón Correa
Title: TFC/LF Early Childhood Teacher (Bumble Bee classroom)
TFC/LF Employee since October 2014

Administrative Assistant Technical Studies

Early Childhood Teacher Certified

About Me:

I am originally from Colombia. I studied Administrative Assistant Technical Studies and lived in Spain for more than 20 years. When I came to the USA, I got the opportunity to work at La Familia and that is when I got my certification for Teacher Level 1. I love working with my little bees and I feel like every day I learn something new from them. Some of my hobbies are traveling, poetry, dancing and getting to know new cultures. I am also a very happy and spontaneous person that likes to be adventurous and love to be around people. It is such a pleasure working at La Familia.