Tahnthawan M Coffin, Director E-mail
Cell Phone: (207) 607-0544
Classroom Phone: (207) 833-5102
Tahnthawan is in her 8th year as a preschool parent at HCNS, taught the Time for Twos program, and served for 2.5 years on the HCNS Advisory Committee, before taking on the role of Director. Prior to her days with HCNS, Tahnthawan spent a number of years living abroad, and worked for ten years as a teacher of English Literature in both the U.K. and Switzerland. Her first years out of college were spent living and working as a teacher of English Language in Bangkok, Thailand, where she first discovered her love of teaching. Tahnthawan began her studies in the fields of Early and Secondary Education as an undergraduate student at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, where she also certified as a teacher of English as a Second/Foreign language. During these years in Vermont, Tahnthawan enjoyed working for her college as a guide for week-long, hiking and kayaking trips on the Long Trail and on Lake Champlain, and indulged in a semester of studies and hiking in New Zealand.
Tahnthawan lives in her hometown (Brunswick) with her three active sons and a husband whom she convinced to move to Maine from England. She can often be found sneaking in a long run during the early hours of the morning, or exploring the beaches and islands of Casco Bay.
Debra Norton, Teacher
Debra has been teaching at HCNS since 2011 and specializes in use of “Loose Parts” for classroom activities and experiments; she is able to upcycle just about anything into something useful and interesting. Deb’s natural curiosity about the world inspires children to think, question, and explore, and under her guidance, children learn the true skill of investigation. Deb is passionate about dramatic storytelling, imaginative play, and getting children to laugh. Her love of art extends beyond the preschool classrooms, and she regularly offers a mixed-media weekend art class to children in the local community. Debra grew up in Harpswell and attended the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a BA in Liberal Arts, with a double minor in Medieval History and Geography. She worked at the Child Development Center at the Brunswick Naval Air Station, serving as an Assistant Teacher then Lead Teacher with pre-schoolers and toddlers, and earning her early childhood credentials. Debra lives in Cundy’s Harbor with her parents, and has two fantastic children who live, study and work in Portland, Maine.
Lauren Watkinson, Teacher
Lauren is an experienced print-maker who turned her passion for art and children to a career in preschool education. She brings creativity and energy to everything she does and specializes in guiding children in process-driven art projects. Lauren is able get classes geared up and excited for outdoor adventures, in any type of weather, and recently introduced snowshoeing to HCNS programming. Lauren grew-up in Topsham and attended Keene State College, graduating with a BA in Graphic Design and Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking. She began her career working in Boston for the children’s non-profit MSPCC (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) before returning to Maine to start her family with her husband Chris. Lauren spent the next three years working as an assistant teacher at the Children’s Garden Preschool in Topsham. After the birth of her first son she went on to run a custom design studio for the next 7 years. In 2013 Lauren began hand-making and selling baby toys through her online business Bird & Bear Design Boutique which continues to grow. In her spare time, Lauren loves coaching youth soccer, volunteering in her children’s classrooms, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. Lauren lives in Brunswick with her husband and their four children.
Denise Perry, Teacher
Denise believes wholeheartedly in the benefits of sensory exploration for young children, and effortlessly weaves these experiences into her teaching each school day. Denise loves to sing, and has a unique gift for framing feelings, tasks, or situations into memorable and catchy songs for children. With over 28 years of teaching in early childhood education and a deep connection to HCNS and the Harpswell community, Denise shares with classes an innate appreciation of the natural world. Children are drawn to Denise’s love of creative play, sensory-rich learning, and use of song in her teaching and routines.