Great Starts Instructors

As independent educators, we are able to teach you what research tells us is best practices for maternity care, rather than being limited (as many hospital-based classes are) to covering only the options available at one institution.

We hire and train Certified Childbirth Educators, lactation educators, CPR instructors, and other specialty instructors such as IBCLC certified lactation consultants. All our teachers have professional backgrounds and have received additional specialized training in our field of expertise. We also require annual continuing education and ongoing evaluations for all of our instructors. The curriculum is also updated and evaluated regularly by our 9-person Education Committee, ensuring the latest evidence-based information is used, and that the content is balanced.

The majority of our instructors have worked with families in labor, either as a nurse or as a doula, other work with families after the birth in their specialty areas. Almost all of our instructors are parents themselves, and have personal experience with birth and parenting. Some instructors are also grandparents, giving added depth and value to their multigenerational experiences.

Ashley Sirls

Ashley Sirls
Classes Taught: Childbirth Preparation Series Background: I taught in the Seattle Public School system for seven years before a desire to reach families earlier led me to pursue a career...

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Barb Decker

Barb Decker
Classes Taught: HypnoBirthing® Background: Barb has been a Childbirth Educator for 38 years. For her first birth 41 years ago, she had no classes. For the second birth she had classes...

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Cate Sturtevant, CLE

Cate Sturtevant, CLE
Classes Taught Childbirth Preparation Series Breastfeeding Newborn Care Background I have a Bachelors of Art in Anthropology from Whitman College.  During my undergraduate study I learned about the exciting world...

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Chevy Geach

Chevy Geach
Classes Taught: Great Starts Series Labor & Birth Background: Chevy is a Great Starts™ Certified Childbirth Educator. Philosophy: I’m passionate about helping families through this transformative period in their lives, giving...

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Cindy Langdon, CCBE, Postpartum Doula

Cindy Langdon, CCBE, Postpartum Doula
Classes Taught: Childbirth Preparation Series (3- or 6-week) Babysafe/Infant CPR Newborn Care Background: I have a degree in Elementary Education and taught for 8 years. I was home full time...

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Crystal Munson

Crystal Munson
Classes Taught: Childbirth Preparation Series Background: Crystal is a Great Starts™ Certified Childbirth Educator. She has Birth Assistant training for out of hospital births, and has worked as an administrator...

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Erin Brolley

Erin Brolley
Classes Taught: Full Great Starts Birth Series Breastfeeding Newborn Care Background: I have a Bachelors of Social Work from James Madison University and have worked in the field of mental...

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Ildi Sebestyen, CD(DONA,PALS)

Ildi Sebestyen, CD(DONA,PALS)
Classes Taught: Full Great Starts Birth Series Newborn Care Background: Following the experience of my own pregnancy and birth of my daughter in 2012, I have been inspired to pursue...

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Janelle Durham, MSW, LCCE

Janelle Durham, MSW, LCCE
Co-author: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn Classes Taught: Professional Childbirth Educator Training Better Birth Refresher Breastfeeding Newborn Care Life with Baby   Background: Master’s in Social Work. Trained as labor...

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Jenny Harvey, BA, CPST

Jenny Harvey, BA, CPST
Classes taught: Babysafe/Infant CPR Background : Jenny has a background in family support and health education, specializing in infant and child health promotion and injury prevention, and has worked with...

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Kathy Wilson

Kathy Wilson
Classes Taught: Full series Labor & birth miniseries Newborn care Breastfeeding Babysafe CPR Becoming Parents Program Background: My professional background was in retail and banking. While my children were growing...

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Katie Lindberg, LCCE, CD(PALS)

Katie Lindberg, LCCE, CD(PALS)
Classes Taught Childbirth Preparation Series (3- or 6-week) Newborn Care Background I am a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) who has been working for Great Starts since May of 2015....

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Katie Rohs, CD(DONA), LCCE

Katie Rohs, CD(DONA), LCCE
I am a Lamaze® certified childbirth educator and DONA certified Birth Doula. I’ve also been trained in disability advocacy by the ARC of King County, and am a Finding Your...

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Kim James, BA, CD(DONA), CD(PALS), ICCE, LCCE, BDT(DONA)

Kim James, BA, CD(DONA), CD(PALS), ICCE, LCCE, BDT(DONA)
Classes Taught: Lamaze® Full series Labor & birth miniseries Newborn care Background: Kim James owns and operates www.DoulaMatch.net and is a DONA International and PALS Doulas certified birth doula as...

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Mallory Emerson

Mallory Emerson
Classes Taught: Great Starts Birth series Newborn care Background: Mallory is an educator with a strong commitment to children and families.

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Penny Simkin, PT, CD (DONA) CCE

Penny Simkin, PT, CD (DONA) CCE
Classes Taught: Childbirth Preparation Series (8 week) Sibling Preparation for Kids Background: BA (English Literature); Physical Therapy certificate; 49 years teaching; author of books, journal, and magazine articles; Birth doula...

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Rebekah Gilley, CD (PALS)

Rebekah Gilley, CD (PALS)
Classes Taught: Childbirth Preparation Series Background: I have been surrounded by teachers all my life. My mom taught high school before homeschooling my sisters and me, and my grandma taught...

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Sarah Stempski

Sarah Stempski
Classes Taught: Babysafe Infant CPR Background: Sarah has a background in public health and education. She provides family support and health education in community, health care, and in-home settings. Philosophy: I...

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Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE

Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Sharon Muza has been the consulting instructor at Parent Trust since April 2013, honored to be working with our fantastic team of educators. Sharon has been an active childbirth professional...

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Sheila Kandeler, MSW, CD(DONA), CBE

Sheila Kandeler, MSW, CD(DONA), CBE
Background:  I trained as a birth doula and a childbirth educator at Bastyr University Simkin Center for Allied Birth Professions.  This training coupled with a master’s degree in social work,...

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Sheryl Rasmussen, MN, RN

Sheryl Rasmussen, MN, RN
I have been a nurse since graduating from UW School of Nursing in 1990. My nursing specialty has been OB/Maternity nursing at UW Medical Center and I have worked at...

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Tracy McPhillips

Tracy McPhillips
Classes Taught Childbirth Preparation Series ( 1, 3- or 6-week) Newborn Care Background: I attended Washington State University and majored in Psychology with emphasis in Child and Family Studies. After...

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