Staff / Personnel

The staff at LFS is one of our most important assets. Our Lead Teachers have degrees and experience in early childhood education, and many of our staff stay with us in the long-term. Lead teachers develop and implement daily lesson plans to engage and support the children, and often work collaboratively with an assistant teacher. Assistant Teachers have ongoing education in early child development and work closely with lead teachers to maintain a positive classroom environment.

The school is administered by a Director, with oversight from the Board of Directors, the governing body of the school. Parents are encouraged to become involved by joining the board or attending the monthly meetings.

Assitan Sylla Traore


LFS is pleased to welcome a new Director as of April 2016! Assa is a native French speaker and brings experience in nonprofit management as well as a love of children and early childhood education to our school. Bienvenue Assa! 

I was born and raised in Mali in an extended family. I have always loved children. Growing up my favorite thing to do was to role play teacher/students interaction in the classroom. 

I have a Masters degree in Linguistics / language teaching from Moscow Linguistic University, a Masters in International Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon.

Before joining LFS, I worked for 17 years in Mali in diplomacy and government, first, as the Special Assistant to 8 Ambassadors of Nigeria to Mali and as a Special Assistant in Mali Prime Minister office.

I also worked as the Africa Program Director at Instove, a nonprofit located in Cottage Grove manufacturing big cooking stoves for school feeding programs and hospitals in countries where people still rely on woods for cooking and heating.

I have 4 children all raised bilingual. I love cooking and watching movies in my free time. I am honored to be part of the Little French School community.

Barbara Walraet

Teacher, La Moyenne Section

I am a Native French Speaker, raised in a bilingual home speaking French and Dutch. My upbringing gave me a strong interest in foreign languages. In High School, I chose to apply myself to a literature and language degree, studying German, English, and Russian. I married a German citizen and I now have two wonderful children who attended the French immersion program at South Eugene High School. They are both trilingual. They speak German with their father, English to their friends and pets, and French with me! It is such a wonderful experience to see how much my children did benefit from the exposure of different languages and cultures. The learning of a foreign language is a life-long skill that leads to a better understanding and acceptance of the diversity in our world. I am very excited to teach my students a little bit of that magic and to take them on a wonderful journey…

I have a Master’s degree in Foreign Affairs and Languages and the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in Education. I taught French at Lane Community College in Eugene for 2 years, while working as an Assistant in the Preschool at The Little French School. I then taught 2 years in a French-German Immersion school in Germany. After our stay in Germany, we returned to Eugene and I spent five amazing years at The Little French School as a Preschool Teacher. I later returned to teach the Pre-K, where I have been since 2011. I enjoy every minute I spend with the children in the classroom. Their smiles are priceless, their curiosity and imagination are inspiring, and their love is unconditional.

I am an avid patissière. I have learned that teaching is like a good dessert. First, you learn the basic techniques. The more often you make it, the more fun you have, and the more proficient you get. You start to be creative and you try many new things out until it becomes a daily craving and you realize that you cannot go too long without it. I found the perfect dessert: Teaching! It boosts my energy and elevates my spirit. I can have it every day and it helps me stay happy, healthy, and fulfilled.

Christiane Hougardy

Teacher, La Petite Section, Preschool

I am a native of Austria (fluent in German) and studied French in middle school, high school and college. During my last summer in high school, I spent three months in France as a nanny caring for four children between the ages of one and eight.

In 1992, I came to the US to follow my sense of adventure. Since then, I have worked as an au -pair, a program manager in the tech industry, and as a classroom assistant in various preschools and elementary schools. While working full-time I also earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. I have been working as an Assistant Teacher at The Little French School since 2014 and love to see the kids thrive and grow.

When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, our dog, two cats, and four chickens, as well as hiking, camping, backpacking, traveling, and reading.

Elisia Rose

Teacher, Toute Petite Section / Toddler

Coming Soon

Abigail Jost (Abbey) 

Teacher, After School Care

I grew up here in Eugene and I'm currently a senior at the University of Oregon in the Education Studies program. I started taking child development classes at Lane Community College while I was still in high school and then I started working in the on-site preschool. This is my fifth year teaching preschool and I love what I do! 

When I'm not working or studying, I enjoy walking my dog, riding my bike, and eating really good food. Traveling is also one of my favorite activities. I love trying new things and seeing new places. Most recently I traveled to El Salvador, Maui, and Japan. Some of my favorite activities were snorkeling with turtles in Maui, getting lost and exploring Tokyo, and reading in the hammocks over the ocean in El Salvador. My next trip will be to Roatán, off the coast of Honduras. Last year I became scuba certified and Roatán is supposed to have some of the most beautiful underwater adventures in the world. 

I am excited to be a part of the Little French School. My time with the children is always the best part of my day. 

Ariel Kiyabu 

Assistant Teacher, Moyenne Section, PreK


My name is Ariel, I am the assistant teacher in Pre-K. I have had the pleasure of assisting Barbara since 2016.

I am a fluent French speaker. I began learning French when I was 5 years old at the Ecole Française de Nairobi and continued at the Lycée Français de Vienne and the Vienna International School. Growing up in Austria, I learned German as well. I have studied Spanish, and did an intensive scholarship semester learning Mandarin followed by a semester abroad in Beijing at BFSU. I have experienced first hand how language enables a deeper understanding of people and cultures, and the interconnectedness of the world we live in. 

I met my husband while living in Hawai'i and we moved to Oregon in 2009. Both of our children attended the Little French School and are now continuing in the French immersion program in Eugene.

I am currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at LCC. Early childhood language immersion is fascinating to me.  Children are such little sponges. It is gratifying to watch them learning French along with the other skills they need to successfully navigate the world around them.

It is a joy and a privilege to teach children. I am grateful to be a part of the Little French School community.

Katrina Escher

Assistant Teacher, Petite Section , Preschool

Bio coming soon!

Mikhara Saikin

Adminstrative Assistant / Substitute Teacher

Bio coming soon!

Madison Hoover

Assistant Teacher, Toute Petite Section, Toddler

Bio coming soon!

Houda Miled

Assistant Teacher, After School Care

Bio coming soon!

Barbara Hiller

Senior Administrative Assistant / Substitute Teacher

Bio coming soon!

Haley Sherman

Administrative Assistant & Substitute Teacher

I am an Oregon native with a European family background. In high school, I took French classes and enjoyed them. I continued my French studies in college, but lost the language due to lack of practice. I'm excited to be around French speakers - both fluent and learning - and hope to pick the language up once more.

I have been with the Little French School as an Administrative Assistant since February of 2020 and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I love that my position has unique childcare and administrative aspects.

When I have free time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family.