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

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

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.

Jenine Stocke

Teacher, Moyenne Section / Grande Section

My name is Jenine (the children are welcome to call me just Jenine or maîtresse, meaning "teacher" in French), and this will be my sixth year teaching at The Little French School. Last year I ventured off to teach a small Kindergarten/1st Grade class at a local private school. While I’m sad that this private school closed for the 2020-2021 academic year, I’m thankful and happy to be back at The Little French School with its wonderful community of teachers, students and their families for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Prior to moving to Eugene in 2014, I lived nearly 20 years in France where I spent the last 6 years working as a classroom & instructional assistant in a small village school in Southern Burgundy, mainly in the maternelle (petite, moyenne & grande section), but also in the elementary school (1st-5th grade), focusing on math and reading remediation. Prior to moving to the French countryside, I lived over a decade in Lyon where I also had a great opportunity to teach one year of moyenne section (pre-K) in an English-immersion school! I began studying French late in high school in Canby, Oregon and continued a few years in college. However, I attribute my knowledge of French mostly to immersion beginning in the early 90s and strongly feel it's the best and most interesting way to learn a language!

When I’m not teaching or hanging out with my sons, I love to spend my time in nature hiking, biking, jogging, reading and meditating.

Ariel Kiyabu

Assistant Teacher, Moyenne Section


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.

Savannah Slayden

Assistant Teacher, Petite Section

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.

Stephanie Schiffgens


I am a native French speaker from the South West of France where I grew up on our family farm. I was educated in the city of Bordeaux at the University of Bordeaux III. I have a degree in social work with an emphasis on education. I have 3 children, all of them were raised bilingual and with a strong sense of the French culture.

I have worked for the Little French school for the last 25 years (with a couple of years off after our youngest son Peter was born). I worked as an assistant, as a teacher and as an administrator. The range of positions I have filled at the school and the many years of service to the school have allowed me a wide and rounded understanding of the school itself and early childhood education.

My passion lays in working with children and teaching them the simple things in life: growing food, raising animals, caring for friends, family and the animals we live with, making art with nature and what the land provides, pairing good food with the perfect tea or smoothy, being together, working together, liking each other.

When I am not at school, you can find me on the farm working in the garden or with our animals. Our family raises a small flock of Gotland sheep, that I absolutely adore.

It has been a pleasure to be back at The LFS, working with Assa in the office.