Jackie Baker
Program Director

I joined the Classroom of Discovery family in 2002 where I have enjoyed serving as a preschool teacher and director for nineteen years. I have been an educator for over twenty-six years and also teach part-time as an ELL teacher for Loudoun County Public Schools.  My prior teaching experiences include teaching first grade for Alexandria City Public Schools, kindergarten for Northern Virginia Learning Academy, preschool for the Fairbanks Montessori school in Alaska, and substitute teaching in Belgium. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks with a concentration in Early Childhood Education, and a Master’s Degree in Education from George Mason University in Curriculum & Instruction–Multicultural/Multilingual Education. In 2019, I completed a Special Education graduate certificate in Specialized Reading Instruction also at George Mason University. I hold a Virginia teaching license (PreK through grade 8) and a National Director Credential through the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. I am a board member for The Reading League of Virginia and have experience working with children diagnosed with ADHD, autism, developmental delays, dyslexia, and dysgraphia.

I was born in Oregon, grew up in Alaska, and moved to Virginia in 1994. I live in the Sterling area with my husband and our three children. I am a voracious reader and spend much of my free time reading about health and reading education. My passion has led me to seek a second graduate degree in reading education starting this fall at the University of Virginia. I look forward to another year of learning at the Classroom of Discovery with our talented staff and our curious and creative preschoolers!

Melanie Coulter
3 Day Lead Teacher/ Assistant Director

  I joined the Classroom of Discovery family in 2019 and am the lead three-day teacher. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. I taught first grade for six years with the Department of Defense Education Activity both in Germany and North Carolina. My husband is in the Army and we have had the opportunity to live in many locations which has given our family various life experiences. We moved to Virginia in 2016 and with my husband retiring from the Army next year we get to stay. We have three boys ages 12, 9, and 7. My 7-year-old attended the Classroom of Discovery in the three-day program which is when I started substituting at the Classroom of Discovery. I became a lead teacher in 2019.  I thoroughly enjoy this stage of development as their eyes are wide open to discovering the world around them! I am thankful to be a part of the Classroom of Discovery family and look forward to the coming year.

Milagros Nagele
3 Day Co-Teacher

I have been teaching at the Classroom of Discovery since 2008. I was born and raised in Lima-Peru and my first language is Spanish. After I graduated from high school, I attended Law School at the University of San Marcos in Lima. I completed two years of studies to become a lawyer but realized that my career choice lacked the spiritual inspiration that I was seeking. I discovered my nurturing side and knew I wanted to work with children. I came to the United States in 1995 for what was supposed to be a short visit with my sister. Instead, I met my husband Paul, with whom I have two wonderful children. When my children were younger, I regularly volunteered in their classrooms, which has given me the opportunity to improve my understanding of early childhood development. I also worked as a part-time childcare provider at McLean Bible Church. After my daughter was born I became a stay-at-home mom and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It is an incredible privilege to see a child grow and develop. I have always enjoyed being around children and working with them. I sincerely look forward to seeing the children at the Classroom of Discovery grow and develop!

Alexis Gruehn
Conscious Discipline Consultant

I taught the three-day class for seven years and currently teach for the Classroom of Discovery and the Loudoun County Public School System. I am truly a local girl. I was born in Loudoun County, grew up in Great Falls, graduated from Langley High School, went to college in Charlottesville, and taught in Vienna for seven years. I now live in Sterling with my husband of ten years and two sons! As you can tell, I love Virginia and love teaching even more. I graduated from The University of Virginia where I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology and my Master’s in Teaching. I am currently certified to teach Elementary Education (grades K-8), however, I definitely consider myself an early education teacher. I was fortunate to teach at Wolftrap Elementary in Vienna, where I worked with some amazing teachers and students. I taught Kindergarten for two years and then taught second grade for the next five years. When I had my first son I “retired,” but always kept busy teaching in one way or another. I taught Kindermusik for several years and volunteered in our church’s religious education program as well as my son’s classroom. I look forward to bringing my experience, enthusiasm, and love of children to the Classroom of Discovery in my role as a Conscious Discipline Consultant.