Teachers & Support Staff
Asha Moore received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the Institute for Urban Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her Master’s degree in Administration from UMKC as well. Mrs. Moore has a passion for teaching and learning. She previously taught in the Hickman Mills School District for six years and has been at AFIA for the past three years. When Mrs. Moore is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her husband, son and daughter, playing games with family and friends and participating in service projects with her sorority.
Andrea Davis received her Bachelor’s degree from Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri and her Master’s in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University. Mrs. Davis has previously taught early childhood for three years and worked at the middle and elementary school level with the Hickman Mills School District for three years. Mrs. Davis is very passionate about educating students’. She believes in every child’s ability to learn and works hard to create a classroom that is fun and welcoming to students of all learning abilities. When Mrs. Davis is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her husband and golden doodle, Harley. She also loves singing, decorating, and traveling.
Keyonia Cobbins teaches fourth grade at AFIA. This is Ms. Cobbins’ tenth year teaching and eleventh year as an educator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Missouri Western State University and a Masters degree in Professional Teaching from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She enjoys singing and spending time with her son, daughter and husband.
Arica Miller is Family School Liaison at AFIA. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She has worked with Jackson County’s children’s services, and has much experience with connecting children, youth and families to services that are needed. Mrs. Miller enjoys gardening with her husband, and spending time with her family.
Vonnchet Clark teaches kindergarten. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from UMKC. She completed student teaching in the Kansas City, KS school district for a full year. After graduation, she worked in UMKC’s early childhood education school, Berkley. Ms. Clark is a youth counselor at the church she attends and is very passionate about the growth and development of youth. Some of her outside hobbies are singing and dancing. She sings at church and various other events and I’m a part of a Kansas City 2-step group called the Steppers of KC.
Krystian Swinton is an assistant teacher at AFIA and attends the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ms. Swinton received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree with a minor in Family Studies in May 2015 and plans to return to UMKC for her graduate studies. While attending UMKC, Ms. Swinton has been able to experience working with children in various districts such as KCKPS, KCMSD, and Hickman Mills School District. Outside of school, Ms.Swinton serves as a Sunday school teacher for 3-5 year olds at her church, enjoys dancing, and loves spending time with her family.
Tasha Williams received a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Central Missouri State University. Prior to college she worked at various KinderCare Preschools around the Kansas City area . After college she taught Pre-School and Kindergarten at a private school and has worked as a Title I support in the Hickman Mills School District. During the summers she is the Project Director with the Kansas City Freedom School’s Initiative. This is Ms. Williams’ second year here at AFIA. She believes that every child is able to learn with the support of caring adults. In her free time, Ms. Williams likes to spend time with her family, travel, read and cook.
Michael Carroll received his Bachelor’s degree in Science with an emphasis in Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree in Arts with an emphasis in Theatre from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mr. Mike has 13 years of experience in social work and has taught Theatre for children for over 20 years. This is his first year at AFIA. When Mr. Mike is not in the classroom he enjoys spending time with his husband and his dogs Baxter and Harvey. He also loves creating in his studio, reading, and anything with superheroes.
Miss Amber is eager to begin her 3rd year teaching at AFIA as one of the three PreK/Kindergarten teachers. Miss Amber has 6 years of teaching experience in Early Childhood, with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration, both from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Miss Amber has a passion for keeping her students active through music and movement in the classroom as well as engaging them in many creative, hands-on learning activities. In her free time you can find Miss Amber at the gym training with her boxing coach, playing and/or coaching basketball, or lifting weights and doing various other exercises. She also has a 9 ½ year old cockapoo named Mr. Big who is like a son to her!
Mrs. Dorothy Miller
Mrs. Dorothy Miller received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute with a focus in Fiber Arts and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction as well as Art Education Certification from The University of Missouri Kansas City. Over the past 10 years Mrs. Dorothy has had many wonderful opportunities to work with children and artists in a variety of settings including Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Border Star Montessori, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. She looks for the unique, beautiful, and artful qualities found in all aspects of life. When she is not teaching or creating art, Mrs. Dorothy enjoys being outdoors on bike rides, playing at the park, sewing, and spending time with her husband and son.
Angela Labrie Blackwell
Angela Labrie Blackwell received her doctorate in therapeutic science at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2015. She earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2003 and her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1997. In addition to working at AFIA, Dr. Blackwell teaches occupational therapy graduate students at the University of Kansas Medical Center and serves other community agencies as an occupational therapist. Her clinical experiences include pediatric hospitals and early intervention as well as school based-practice. Dr. Blackwell’s research interests include Response to Intervention (RtI), teacher-therapist collaboration, sensory processing, and self-regulation in the early childhood classroom. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, watching movies, and spending time with her family.
Laurie Bomba, Librarian
Laurie Bomba earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Boston University in 1990, and worked for four years as an advertising copywriter. She has enjoyed a lifelong passion for books and literacy. Before joining AFIA, she volunteered for ten years at her boys’ school and served as a reading tutor at Literacy Kansas City. Ms. Bomba is an avid reader of fiction, biography, science and psychology (and almost any other subject). When she’s not sharing her love of books with the scholars of AFIA, Ms. Bomba enjoys cooking and outdoor adventures with her husband and three grown boys.
Beth Sarver – Resilience Coordinator
Beth Sarver received her Bachelors in Fine Art with an emphasis in Sculpture and Arts Education from the University of Kansas. Beth is trained to deliver the Mindful Schools curriculum. Beth is also a certified leader of InterPlay; which is a pedagogy for cultivating mindfulness through creativity, performance and play. Beth is a regional leader and master trainer in Trauma Informed Care, Trauma Sensitive Schools and Building Resilience Culture.
Beth has over 13 years of experience as an artist educator in a wide variety of non-traditional settings including: juvenile detention centers, foster care group homes and fine art studios of all kinds. For two years she was the Lead Artist for Accessible Arts’ Discovery Trails Trip, where she designed program curriculum of integrated arts instruction paired with a historical service learning adventure on the Oregon and California Trails with visually impaired teens from all over the USA! Beth is also an award winning Youth Mentor for the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration of Seattle, WA. Whether she is teaching a parent-child play group or a resilience training for KC Metro first-responders, Beth brings a grounded creative spirit to all of her teaching.
In her free time, Beth loves to practice mindfulness, dance, garden, read about the resilient nature of the brain, play with her 7 year old sidekick.
Charles Burt is an Assistant Teacher at AFIA. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education – Language Arts. Charles is from Saint Louis, Missouri and is a proud product of the Saint Louis Public School District. His passion for education stems from his own experiences as a student and desire to give all kids the same privileged education he was afforded. A kid at heart, Charles loves having fun, sleeping, traveling, laughing, and being a couch potato.
Haley Hurst is a 1st Grade teacher at AFIA. She received her undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and her Masters in Education from the University of Missouri – Saint Louis. Haley has worked in education for 6 years as both a classroom teacher and instructional coach. She is passionate about creating educational equity through a constructivist teaching model. When she is not teaching, you can find her eating Tex-Mex, watching her favorite sports teams, and spending time with the people she loves.
Brenna Hart is an assistant teacher in Pre-K/Kindergarten. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at UMKC, she served as a supplemental instruction leader and discovered a love of teaching. She began volunteering at AFIA in the spring of 2016 and now works at AFIA full-time. She loves working in the pre-k/kindergarten classroom and watching scholars embrace wonder. When not teaching, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends.
Hellen Osei teaches third grade at AFIA. This is her third year teaching but she has been an educator for four years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). She is originally from Ghana, West-Africa but has been living in the United States for almost eleven years. When Miss Osei is not in the classroom she enjoys spending time with her family both extended/nuclear doing outdoor activities and traveling.
Taylor Salle is a 1st grade teacher at AFIA. She received her undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri Kansas City. She worked in the Kansas City, Kansas school district for three years before moving to AFIA. She is excited to be teaching at AFIA for her second year and proud to be part of a community that values student led-learning, mindfulness & the arts. She loves making art, music, cooking, nature, & spending time with loved ones.
Patti Wetzel is beginning her second year as a special education teacher for AFIA. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Western Michigan University and a Master’s degree in Behavioral Science from the University of Houston. Patti previously taught special education in Houston, Texas (9 years) and special education in the Kansas City Charter school system (6years). Patti enjoys exercising, gardening and spending quality time with her family and new puppy, Remi.
Gwen Marberry Van Asselt
Gwen Marberry Van Asselt earned her undergraduate degrees at University of Missouri-Columbia. She received a Master of Science-Curriculum and Instruction degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland and a Master of Education-Consulting Teacher of Reading degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Over the last twenty years, Ms. Gwen has worked as a classroom teacher, reading interventionist, university instructor, and instructional coach on a variety of projects designed to improve student learning. Ms. Gwen is deeply committed to helping students effectively use reading, writing, listening, and speaking to become excellent problem solvers. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her husband and three children.
Megan Mills is an Assistant Teacher at AFIA. This is her second year at AFIA, last year being her student teaching year. She graduated from UMKC with her undergraduate degree in elementary education and is currently working on her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Megan is very excited to be back at AFIA and is looking forward to working with the staff and students. Outside of school time, Megan is finishing her final year of athletic eligibility at UMKC on the cross country and track team.
Kathryn Farkas is an Instructor in 3rd grade. This is her first year with AFIA. She received her BA in English from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois and a MA in Art Education from The University of Texas, Austin. For the past eight years, she has worked as an educator in a variety of community and school settings in Japan, South Korea, Hungary, Texas, and Missouri. When Kathryn is not at AFIA, she likes to ride her bicycle, spend time with her family, play trivia and board games, create art, read, and travel.
Allison Doerr is a first grade teacher at AFIA. She has received a Bachelor’s degree in both Elementary Education and Theatre, and has taught music and theatre at TRYPS Institute in Columbia, Missouri. Allison is thrilled to be working at a school that combines her passion for art and teaching. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, travel, sing, dance, act, and read!
Pamela Westvold-Justus received her Bachelors in Elementary Education with an emphasis in reading from Iowa State University. She received her MA in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Urban Education from UMKC. She has taught most grades K-8, been an instructional coach, worked at UMKC SOE for 10 years in a variety of roles, and most recently was a behavior interventionist with an emphasis on trauma informed care. While Pamela’s list of learning experiences are long, the greatest of them all is the learning from her middle child. He is a powerful teacher and his lessons helped her to better advocate for him and others – especially when grace is wearing thin. Pamela lives love, loves her people, swinging in the front yard, music, flowers, hummingbirds, and creating.
Erica Stevens teaches PreK-Kindergarten. Erica was born and raised in Kansas City. She also lived in Orlando, Florida for a few years. Erica has a degree in Theatre and Video Production and studied Early Childhood Education at UMKC. During her free time she likes to read, go see movies, watch TV, see theatre productions (especially musicals), and spend time with family and friends.