Shannon Gardner (Head Teacher) — Shannon Gardner has a real passion for building relationships with families and working as a team to nurture children and help them develop a love of learning. She graduated from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Elementary Education with a concentration in psychology. She then moved to Seattle where she worked at a large, NAEYC accredited child care center for nearly 18 years. While at the center she worked with all the age groups, infants thru Pre-K, spending the majority of her time working with the two year olds. She held various positions while there, including assistant and lead teacher, program supervisor, and assistant director. While not developing the minds of the young children she teaches, Shannon enjoys traveling, knitting, reading, playing games and spending time with friends.


Linda Barber has been a parent educator with Madison Park for five years. Her own children and her three grandchildren were all co-op kids. Linda most enjoys working with families, watching the tots and twos develop, and getting to know the many wonderful parents.

Linda received a B.A. in Education from Pacific Lutheran University and a M.Ed. from City University with am emphasis in family counseling. Previously, she spent twelve years with the Raising Healthy Children project at the University of Washington, where she worked with 135 families as their children were growing—all the way through seniors in high school. She currently instructs two SCCC affiliated preschools, Madison Park and Queen Anne.

Melissa Benaroya, MSW, LICSW, Certified Gottman Educator is a licensed clinical social worker with 16 years of experience working with children and families. Melissa has a Masters degree in Social Work, is a Credentialed School Counselor and is trained in Positive Discipline. She is also a Certified Gottman Educator offering the Bringing Baby Home Program for families with young children and workshops on Emotion Coaching. Melissa practices as a parenting consultant, coach and speaker to groups and individuals by blending her clinical training with her knowledge of child development and discipline. She co-authored the book The Childproof Parent in 2011.

She is the co-founder Grow Parenting and of Mommy Matters Seattle, a workshop series for mothers of toddlers and preschoolers seeking support from peers and professional advice. Melissa is also the founder of Green Lake Moms, a 3700+ member neighborhood web group dedicated to sharing resources, offering support, and making connections for local area moms. Melissa lives in Seattle with her husband and two children and keeps her sanity with an active lifestyle of running and Crossfit!

“Finding a high-quality preschool for my daughter is extremely important to me. After a friend recommended Madison Park Cooperative Preschool, I observed a class one morning. I immediately felt a sense of comfort throughout the room, from the fun-loving teachers to the spacious, child-centered layout of the classroom.

The dedication and compassion our teacher has toward the preschool is evident in the detailed lesson plans; which are emailed to every parent weekly. She always remembers to keep the interests of the children at the center of everything they do.

Being in a cooperative preschool enables me serve on the board and to parent aide in the classroom. I treasure each opportunity I get to experience a typical preschool day with my daughter. I am proud to be a part of a school that values the collaboration of teachers, parents and children in order to create an extraordinary learning environment.”

“Teacher Shannon is amazing. She is effective, adaptable, and organized. Shannon works well with each child and has great ideas for circle and play activities. The children bond well because the environment is made comfortable and warm with Shannon's attitude. Shannon is great!”

“I love watching teacher Shannon develop relationships with each child. As [my daughter] said "she is really good at playing with me." She does a fabulous job of talking with each child and getting them to engage in play or take it to the next level.”