Vrinda McGinnis received a Master of Education degree, with an emphasis on Special Education, from San Jose State University. She has over 19 years of experience working within the Applied Behavior Analysis field, working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s, PDD-NOS, and a variety of other cognitive and physical diagnoses.
Vrinda has worked as a behavior therapist for over fourteen years within the Bay Area of California. For eight plus years, she managed programs for dozens of children, of all ages. She also created an ABA-embedded preschool program for San Jose Unified School District. An integral portion of this program was its parent training component, which Vrinda designed and implemented. She also spent time in a position being the on-site behaviorist and supervisor for a Non-Public School for individuals with Autism, and other neurological and developmental delays.
Upon relocating to Colorado 9 years ago, Vrinda saw the need for a quality preschool program to meet the ever-growing needs of Boulder County. After sharing this information with the owner of Creative Learning Center-Foothill Preschool, Lafayette's Foothill Preschool location was formed.
Over the past 15 years, Vrinda has obtained multiple professional certifications, including SCERTS and Teaching to Individuals with English as a Second Language, and has also received trainings in Floortime, Pivotal Response Training, PEC’s, and Assistive and Augmentative Communication (AAC). A special interest of Vrinda’s is Sensory Integration, having done a research thesis on the topic.
Vrinda has three children with her husband, Bryan: Emily, Madeline, and Jacob. When she is not at the preschool, she can be found spending time with her family, gardening, or baking.
Lead Teacher/Assistant Director
I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, but have always had a love for Colorado. I graduated with my BA in Education and History from Denison University in 2016, and immediately moved to Denver. I worked at the Denver Waldorf school when I first arrived, and then taught 4th and 5th grade math in Westminster, before finding my passion for early childhood education through teaching at The Wonder Academy. I have been teaching preschool for the past three years, and have absolutely fallen in love with the field. So much so that I am currently pursuing my masters and teaching license through the Boulder Journey School Teacher Education program. The program is a Reggio focused early childhood teacher education program, focusing on social and emotional development while taking a curricular approach based on research and brain science. I also have found a love for the Forest School Movement, and incorporate that into my teaching style as well.
Outside of the classroom I love to be outside and enjoy everything Colorado has to offer. My grandparents lived in Estes Park until last April, and every summer I would spend a couple weeks out here with them and sparked my love for the outdoors.
I live in Denver with my dog Theo, and most weekends we are hiking or exploring somewhere in the mountains. In the winter I love to ski and snowshoe, and in the summers I am usually camping, seeing live music or backpacking.
Maria comes from a rich cultural background and is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. She was born in Madrid, Spain where she spent her childhood years, and then at 9 moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil. At 19, she decided to move to Miami, USA to get her degree in Marketing. Maria quickly realized that Marketing was not for her and found her passion for working with children when she moved to San Francisco. There, she was a Special Education Paraprofessional, assisting children with IEP’s, and also helping lead teachers with all classroom management and needs. Maria moved back to Florida where she obtained a temporary teaching certificate from Florida Department of Education and taught a K/1 classroom at Pompano Beach Elementary. She wanted to explore working 1:1 with children, so after teaching a full classroom, she decided to tutor children with learning disabilities. She joined a tutoring system where she learned the sensory-cognitive instruction model Lindamood-Bell, and also instructional strategies related to phonetic processing with Orton-Gillingham techniques.
Maria is passionate and enthusiastic about working with children. She is all about teamwork and communication and is able to relate well to her co-workers and student's parents. She truly values her student relationships and diversity in a community. In her spare time, Maria loves to cook vegan meals, garden, and be outdoors as much as possible, skiing and hiking with her dogs.
Registered Behavior Technician
Shayla Honkanen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biology, and is also a Registered Behavior Technician, as well as Foothill Preschool's Lead ABA Therapist. She is focused on working with children with disabilities. Her passion is to help children overcome obstacles and to help them better their day to day lives. She is a behavioral therapist that works one-on-one with children during the school days, as well as doing in-home therapy.
Shayla is attending graduate school to become either a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or a Special Education Teacher. Her hope is to own her own clinic for children that need extra assistance with Behaviors, Speech, and Occupational Therapy.
Courtney received her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy from Ohio State University in May of 2020. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science with a minor in Disability Studies. She recently joined Creative Learning Center/Foothill Preschool, after completing multiple fieldwork experiences in the preschool classroom as well as at two different outpatient pediatric offices.
Courtney knew right away that she wanted to spend her time working with children. "Their imaginations, sense of wonder and fun personalities make everyday an adventure!"
Prior to graduation, Courtney completed a thesis on community integration for transitional age individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. She focuses a lot of her treatment and research on creating goals for children that will allow them to become their most independent selves!
She recently moved to Colorado from Ohio with her best friend, Owen. They enjoy spending all their free time on hikes and trying to ski! She loves any activity that involves being outdoors, cooking, and reading.
Speech Language Pathologist
Ali received her Master's of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from New York University in May of 2015. Since that time, she has worked with children of all ages, from infancy through adolescence. She has worked in schools, clinics, and the home health setting. Ali has worked with children and their families to address a variety of communication needs including language development, articulations difficulties, apraxia, and ASD.
Ali joined Foothill Preschool Educational and Behavioral Services after moving from New York back to Colorado where she was born and raised. In her spare time, she enjoys running, biking, reading, and spending time with her husband, Andrew, and new puppy, Rigatoni.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst