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Meet the Team


Drs. Naveeda &
Tayya Athar

Drs. Naveeda and Tayya Athar are a mother-daughter duo like none other you’ve ever met. With a background in medicine, psychology and education, their love for children has blossomed into a passion. Combined, they have over 40 years of experience raising children.

Ms. Naveeda grew up in Pakistan and moved to the Chicago area in 1970. She completed her studies at Northern Illinois University with a Doctorate in Education. While raising her own children, she developed an awareness of the importance of child development and education. Her interests include a dynamic curriculum and assessment techniques. Her philosophy is one with a broad approach that includes, family, community and other providers. In her free time, Ms. Naveeda likes to stay active and loves to cook!

Ms. Tayya grew up just down the street from the center. She completed her studies here in Illinois and still lives in the area. Her background is in Biology and dentistry but she’s always had a love for children and pediatric development. Her philosophy on early childhood education includes learning while playing and a unique approach based on individual needs. Ms. Tayya loves to spend time with her dog, Buddy and volunteer in the community with friends and family.


Ms. Lindsay

My name is Lindsay Sarti, and I am proud to be a Stepping Stones Preschool teacher. I am from Guatemala City, I received my Early Child Education from Ashworth College. 

I have a true passion for working with our youngest learners!!...

Ms. Alyssa


Ms. Demi

I’ve been working in the field for three years. I am unmarried with no children, but I love working with kids. I enjoy playing with them. I also have two cats and a horse and take Tae Kwon Do. I hope to make a difference in children’s lives.


Ms. Jamese

Hello, my name is Mrs. Jamese Thomas. I have worked with all age groups. I earned my CDA in Early Childhood Education a few years back. I have been in the field of early childhood since 2004. I love my work. I have been with Stepping Stones since 2020 and I enjoy every moment here. I am married and I have a son who is a toddler. I believe in bringing dreams to reality and helping children grow to their fullest potential.


Ms. Aymara

My name is Aymara Urquiola. I was born in Cuba and I lived in Chile for twenty years, before moving to the United States. I´m married, and I have two male children, with whom I live joyfully. Despite being a Chemistry Analyst, I always desired to be a teacher...

Ms. Alyssa


Ms. Neena

Hi I am Nina Matthis. I have an Associates from College Of DuPage and a Bachelor's in psychology from Eastern Illinois University. I have been working with young children since I was 14. I have been working in this field for over 10+ years. I've worked with all ages...


Ms. Shazia

Hello! My name is Shazia Mannan and I am thrilled to be a part of the wonderful team of educators at Stepping Stones Learning Center. With 3 years of experience working with young children, I am dedicated to creating a nurturing and stimulating learning environment for every child in my care...


Ms. Hareem

Hello, I'm Hareem. Driven by a profound passion for childcare, I've devoted the past year to honing my skills in this rewarding field. As I continue my educational journey to broaden my expertise, my ultimate goal is to leverage my knowledge and expertise to become a director one day. With hands-on experience in caring for children of all ages, with a particular focus on preschoolers, I've augmented my practical skills with pertinent early childhood training certificates. It brings me immense joy to nurture young minds and play a role in shaping their promising futures.

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