Leadership & Staff


Claire Bainer and Liisa Hale have been Co-Directors of BlueSkies since 1995 and jointly authored Second Home; A Day in the Life of a Model Early Childhood Program, 2007, Redleaf Press.

IMG_8805 Claire holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and has taught in pre-school classrooms and at the college level for 30 years. Her years of classroom experience strongly influence her adult teaching, as she has a clear understanding of classroom and family dynamics as well as academic theories that pertain to work with young children. In 2003 Claire was awarded a fellowship with Eureka Communities (now known as LeaderSpring), during which time she focused her study trip on learning and visiting programs where grass roots training programs like ours in ECE were being successfully implemented and influencing the early childhood community. Claire has a special interest in translating mental health practice into childcare settings. Claire has also co-authored and created several BlueSkies teacher training videos and is involved in advocacy for the field of Early Childhood.
Liisa Liisa holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education, served as the Program Director for toddler programs at BlueSkies for several years prior to becoming Co-Director, and has taught in and managed Infant Toddler programs for over 25 years. She also served as a California State Director Mentor for three years and was a Mentor in the Every Director Counts project of Alameda County First 5, serving as a mentor and coach for directors in other schools through an intensive 18 month training cohort. Prior to her career in ECE, Liisa administered a college financial aid program, which makes her one of the few people with strong administrative experience providing leadership to an early childhood program.

Staff Leaders

Ameena Muhammed Ameena Muhammed
Hedco Infant Toddler Center Program Director
Ameena is both the Hedco Program Director and Wobbly Walkers morning Head Teacher. She has been at BlueSkies since 1989, teaching in the Wobbly Walkers since 1993. Ameena grew up in Nigeria and came to the United States after completing an M.A. in Educational Administration at the University of Jos.
Janice Janice Haywood
Ellen Sherwood Nursery School Program Manager
Janice Haywood is both the Ellen Sherwood Nursery School Program Manager and the Playroom Head Teacher. Janice has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from Iowa State University and over 30 years experience working with children. Janice started at BlueSkies in 1991, took a leave of absence and returned in 1997 as the Playroom Head Teacher.

Board of Directors & Advisory Council


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