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.

Direction (Office Staff)

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 wood for cooking and heating.

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

Barbara Hiller

Senior Administrative Assistant / Substitute Teacher

My name is Barbara, and I am the Senior Administrative Assistant at the Little French School. I am originally from Arkansas but moved around the United States as a child. I moved to Oregon in 2009 and a year later started school at the University of Oregon. I graduated with a BA in English Literature. 

My husband and I  bought a house by the river in Creswell and live there with 4 kids, 1 who we have recently adopted, 2 blue heelers, and 1 fish. 

In my free time you can find me hiking, rafting, fishing, and playing in the garden. 

Brianna Escobedo

Toddler 2 Teacher /Aftercare 

Bio coming soon

La Moyenne Section ( Pre-K)

Barbara Walraet

Lead Teacher, La Moyenne Section, PreK

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.

Ariel Kiyabu 

Assistant Teacher,  La 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.

La Petite Section ( Preschool)

Christiane Hougardy

Lead 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.

Sophia Whitacre 

Assistant Teacher, Petite Section , Preschool, Extended Care

I am from the midwest of America, but my family moved to the Oregon coast for more than five years. I have made my way over to Eugene to continue my education at Lane Community College in hopes of eventually having my associate's degree in early childhood education. 


I have a deep passion for helping children grow. My love started when I was younger, helping my mom in her classroom and volunteering yearly at our local kids' Special Olympics. I am happily now a part of the little French school's family. I have had the opportunity to work at one other center before and believe the way they do things here at the little French school gives the children open-ended space to grow and flourish.

When I am not working or studying for classes, some of my hobbies include gardening and reading, and I LOVE creation from art or music. I also enjoy exploring nature; I love learning more and diving into quantum botanicals (the science behind plant life).

Thank you, parents, for this possibility to help your little one grow!

La Toute Petite Section ( Toddler)

Elisia Rose

Lead Teacher, Toute Petite Section / Toddler-1


My name is Elisia and I am the lead teacher in the "Les abeilles" toddler classroom.  I have an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and have been working in the field for the past 8 years. Pre covid, I was living in Ireland where I was an au pair for a French speaking family. When I came back to the United States I found myself interested in becoming more fluent in my French but wanted to continue teaching in early childhood education. The Little French School checked both of these boxes, and so here I am today! 

This will be my third year with the Little French school and I am so happy to be a part of such an amazing team of teachers! 

Outside of school I enjoy camping with my dog, supporting families as a birth doula, sewing and traveling the world as much as I can.

Tory Heldt 

Assistant  Teacher, Toute Petite Section / Toddler-1

My name is Tory Heldt, and I am the Assistant teacher in the Toddler 1 (Les Abeilles) classroom. 

I grew up in Eugene, attending Spencer Butte Middle School and South Eugene High School. 

I majored in Romance Languages and Literature (focusing on French and Spanish) at the University of Chicago, where I also studied Italian, film photography, computer science, and art history. 

I worked in Chicago and Atlanta during my first career as a tech consultant and project manager.  I moved back home to Oregon in 2018, and I now live in Springfield with my partner and our two cats, two dogs, and small flock of backyard chickens. 

I have worked with young children throughout my life, and I am so excited and grateful to be a part of the Little French School team now that I am focusing full time on early childhood education!

Madison Hoover

Teacher, Toute Petite Section, Toddler-2

My name is Miss Madison, and I am the teacher in the second toddler classroom. I am so excited to be leading a classroom this year and look forward to getting to know each of your children. Our classroom is called "Les chatons" meaning kittens.

A little about me:

 I have been teaching for three years and this will be my fourth! I graduated from LCC with honors and completed my Associate degree in Early Childhood Education. I know the basics in French and will introduce small basic words that will be taught everyday (greetings, colors, numbers). As the children get more confident we will progress with more French language. 

I have worked at the ILP foster care youth center before I began teaching. I have a deep passion for helping children and am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of your children's lives. I am here to guide, nurture and help your child to grow in a safe and fun environment. The schedule, and curriculum will be the same in both of the toddler classrooms. As well as having a combined recess and nap as needed.

Some of my favorite things include my two cats who are both seven years old. I love anything outdoors: hiking, snowboarding, boating, etc. 

 L'après-midi (Extended Care)

Ryan Wozniak

Teacher, After School Care/Float

Hello everyone! My name is Ryan Wozniak. I am the new float teacher and the new after-school care teacher at the Little French School. Being a part of this staff and the community is a pleasure.

I have been living in Eugene for two years. I grew up in Missoula, Montana, and went to school there having earned my bachelor's in Japanese. I taught English in Japan for over three years, before returning to the States and completing my master's in Language Teaching Studies at the University of Oregon. 

I have taught English at different elementary and junior high schools for most of my stay in Japan, having also worked at preschool/pre-k schools and daycares there and in Oregon with Eugene Creative Care and Unity School.

When I am not working, I like to enjoy my time cooking and meal-prepping with my partner, binge-watching series, dramas, and anime, staying active by going on walks and working out at home, and reading extensive amounts of fiction and fantasy novels, Japanese culture and history books, and manga. I plan to visit Japan soon and embrace some of my favorite moments with my partner.

I look forward to teaching and helping your children as we grow and learn together.

Britney Lampert 

Teacher, After School Care/Float

Comin soon.....

Savannah Slayden

On-Call Substitute Teacher

Coming soon.....

Abigail Jost (Abbey) 

On-Call Substitute Teacher

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