Meet Our Instructors

Click on the instructor's name (below) to jump to their biography.

Hillary Bain / Jessica AbblittNicole KalitaSunny BennettLisa Richardson / Sarah-Jane Gilmour / Athena O'ConnorAshley Jones / Claudia Beck





Hillary Bain

Hillary Bain

Class taught:  Live & Learn with your Baby

Hillary was born in a small town in Vermont, and moved to the Willamette Valley when she was 10.  She has looked forward to being a mom for as long as she can remember and she decided that it was important to find a career that could be scheduled around her family time instead of the other way around.  In 2012 Hillary graduated from The Oregon School of Massage and opened her private practice in Corvallis.  In addition to running her massage practice, Hillary felt it was important to obtain her bachelors degree and graduated in 2016 from Oregon State University with a bachelors in Human Development and Family Sciences.

After moving to Philomath, Hillary began looking for interesting activities in the community to do with her toddler and found the Live and Learn classes.  She has been continually impressed with what the classes have to offer both in building relationships with other parents as well as between her daughter and other children.

Hillary loves spending her free time doing projects, reading, being outdoors, and doing anything and everything with her husband and daughter.  She is honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the Live and Learn community with the babies and families in the Philomath area.





Jessica Abblitt 

Jessica Abblitt

Class taught:  Live and Learn with your Wobbler

Jessica is a native Oregonian. She grew up in rural NW Oregon and has lived in the Willamette Valley since 1998. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University in Health Promotion and Education with an option in Community Health. Upon graduation, she joined the Corporation for National and Community Service and served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer in Corvallis at the nonprofit agency, Home Life, Inc. She continued to work for Home Life for 3 years before she moved on to work in the Financial Aid Office at Oregon State University.

Jessica has always had a passion for working with children. She has worked in kindergarten classrooms, at summer camps, and has been a care provider for young children. Now as a parent, she enjoys the science behind how parents help children develop into confident, compassionate, happy humans, while acknowledging and working with each child’s own temperament.

Jessica began taking the Live and Learn classes in 2014 when her daughter was just 5 months old. Over the next three years, she loved the classes so much that she took them from 4 different instructors and in both Albany and Corvallis simultaneously. Becoming a parent can be a big transition. The classes offered Jessica shared experiences with other parents, learning ways to be simple and creative at home, how to encourage and support her daughter through various phases, and most of all, it’s where she met her current network of friends that continues to go out for mom’s nights and play dates. When the opportunity arose to teach Live and Learn classes, she jumped at it, knowing how invaluable these classes had been to her and in hopes that she could create similar experiences for other parents and families. In addition to being a mom, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, good food, card games, traveling, reading, being outside, and gardening.




Nicole Kalita 

Nicole Kalita

Classes taught:  Live & Learn with your Baby, Live & Learn with your Wobbler, Live & Learn with your Toddler/Two-Year Old

Nicole has been teaching Live & Learn classes in Albany since 2008.  She has been working with children, adolescents, and families for over 15 years in homes, classrooms, and correctional facilities.  Nicole has a Bachelors degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from Oregon State University, and is currently working toward earning her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and Infant-Toddler Mental Health.  In addition to teaching Live & Learn classes, you can also find Nicole leading story time for 0-3 year olds at the Albany Public Library.

 Nicole started in the Live & Learn program as a parent when her oldest son was just 4 months old and quickly learned that the program is more than just parenting education: it's about community support and building the "tribe" that is going to be there to support and cheer your family on through the years.  When she is not teaching, Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys, volunteering in her boys' classrooms, gardening, camping (often with her Live & Learn "tribe"!), and staying active.




 Sunny Bennett

Sunny Bennett

Classes taught:  Live & Learn with your Toddler/Two-Year Old

Suzanna "Sunny" Bennett lived in California until she was 14, when her family relocated to Tillamook, Oregon.  After graduating from Tillamook High School, she obtained a BAS in Automated Manufacturing Technology from ITT Technical Institute.  While attending ITT, Sunny discovered that her true passion was teaching children and completed her education with a Master's Degree in teaching from George Fox University.  Sunny worked in Harrisburg for three years teaching kindergarten, and then a third/fourth grade combination class.

After her daughter was born in 2005 Sunny began the ultimate teaching job of raising children full-time.  The LBCC Parenting Education programs have been an integral part of that job and Sunny has attended every class offered with at least one of her three children.  She is honored to be a part of the Parenting Education team at LBCC, and is looking forward to sharing and learning with all of the parents and children attending classes with her.




 Lisa Richardson


Lisa Richardson

Classes taught: Live & Learn with your Toddler/Two-Year Old, Together

Lisa grew up in Southern California and received her B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University.  She worked with children and families in San Diego, overseeing childcare provider homes and monitoring "at risk" families.  Lisa and her husband resettled in the Willamette Valley in 1990, looking for a family-friendly place to raise their children.

Looking for fun things to do with her toddler, Lisa attended a Live and Learn class and loved the idea of meeting new moms while bonding with her daughter.  After attending a few classes, Lisa decided it would be wonderful to be a part of the LBCC Parenting Education program and was later offered a job teaching a Live and Learn class.

Lisa says, "It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with so many amazing parents and children over the years and know that I'm helping families grow and bond together.  It's been a really rewarding experience in so many ways."  Lisa received the "Teacher of the Year" award from LBCC's Family Resources and Education Center in 1995 and 2006.

Lisa has a daughter and a son, and credits them with helping her learn about parenting in her "in-home lab".  She also enjoys spending time with her family and pets, photography, traveling, and gardening.




 Sarah Jane Gilmour

Sarah-Jane Gilmour

Classes taught:  Live & Learn with your Two-Year Old, Creative Development

Sarah is originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK.  After graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree from The University of Manchester, she attended The University of Leicester and obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

Sarah has had the privilege of teaching and working with children for most of her life.  From babysitting and leading summer day camps to working for 20 years as a Primary school teacher in the UK, teaching children from 4-11 years of age, and for one year in the US as part of the Fulbright teacher exchange program.

After moving with her family to Corvallis in 2010, Sarah and her youngest son benefitted from being part of the LBCC Preschool program.  Most of Sarah's spare time is spent with her two children, ages 12 and 8.  She also enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling, reading, playing board games, studying, volunteering, skiing (badly!), trying new experiences and hanging out with family and friends.




Athena O'Connor 

Athena O'Connor

Classes taught:  Live & Learn with your Baby, Live & Learn with your Wobbler

Athena grew up here in the Willamette Valley.  After graduating from high school, she attended Whitman College in Washington where she earned her BA in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology.  Since her lifelong plan was to go into the medical field, Athena returned home and began working as a medical assistant.  It wasn't long before she packed her bags for an east coast graduate school experience at Boston College where she earned her Masters of Science in Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialty.

Having fallen in love with Boston (and her husband), Athena decided to stay.  She spent the next six years working in internal medicine, urgent care, and college health as a nurse practitioner.  Ready to start a family in a slower paced environment, and missing Oregon, Athena and her husband decided to move back home to the Willamette Valley.

Shortly after moving to Corvallis, Athena had her daughter.  Instead of returning to work immediately, she decided to stay home and enjoy time with her baby.  To meet other new mothers, make friends in her new town, and provide different stimuli for her daughter, Athena signed up for Live and Learn classes at the Benton Center.  Participating in these classes played an integral part in her transition into motherhood and helped build her support system.  Athena had such a wonderful experience that she became passionate about working with families with young children.  When the opportunity arose to teach Live and Learn classes, she jumped at it in hopes of providing to other parents what the courses had provided for her.

The vast majority of her time is spent with her young daughter, playing and learning about the world.  In her few moments of spare time, Athena enjoys working on crafts, experimenting with recipes, and going for long walks with her family.  At the end of the day, she also loves a good snuggle with her dog and cats.

 Ashley Jones

Ashley Jones

Class taught:  Live & Learn with your Toddler


Claudia Beck 2

Claudia Beck

Classes taught:  Juntos, Padres Y Niños Pequeños

Claudia was born in Mexico and moved to Washington State as a small child where she grew up. At the age of 11 Claudia started to babysit, and right away she knew she enjoyed working with children. Their development and behavior was what fascinated her and since then she has not stopped learning and researching on how she can meet the child’s needs.

When Claudia was in high school she became involved in a program called “Careers in Education”. This program gave her the opportunity to explore the field of education. She loved it so much that she was the first student to repeat the course and volunteered her time with elementary and middle school children through the program. Claudia is still involved with the Seattle School districthelping young people in their search of a career path in education.

In 2006 Claudia attended the Montessori Institute of the Pacific Northwest to obtain her Primary Montessori Certification. Claudia truly cared and loved working with the primary age group; however, she was asked on multiple occasions to help bridge the gap between the toddlers and the preschoolers. Through this she learned that she enjoyed working with this age as much as she did with the primary age. Thus, encouraging her to pursue for her second certification as an Infant/ Toddler Montessori teacher. To obtain her credentials she went back to the Montessori Institute of the Pacific Northwest in 2011.

She has taught in a classroom and has been a private Spanish teacher for over 10 years.

Most of Claudia’s free time is spent with her husband, daughter, and two dogs traveling, exploring the outdoors, cooking, relaxing at home where she enjoys DIY projects. She feels honored to be part of the Live and Learn community. Claudia looks forward to sharing her vast knowledge and experience in child education with this community.



Claudia naci? en Mexico y se mud? a el estado de Washington de niña en donde creci?. A la edad de 11 años empez? a cuidar niños e inmediatamente supo que ella disfrutaba trabajar con ellos. El desarrollo y comportamiento de los niños era lo que mas le fascinaba y desde entonces ella no ha parado de aprender y de investigar que puede hacer para satisfacer las necesidades de ellos.

Cuando Claudia estuvo en la Preparatoria ella se involucr? en un programa llamado “Careers in Education”. Este programa le di? la oportunidad de explorar el campo de la educaci?n. A ella le gusto tanto que ella fue la primer estudiante en repetir el curso y en donar su tiempo como voluntaria con niños de primaria y secundaria durante este programa. Claudia todavia esta involucrada con el distrito escolar de Seattle ayudando a la gente joven en su busqueda por una carrera en la educaci?n .

En el 2006 Claudia estudi? en el “Montessori Institute of the Pacific Northwest” para conseguir el certificado Montessori como maestra para edades de 3 a 6 años. A Claudia en verdad le interesa y le encanta trabajar con niños de edad de 3 a 6 años; sin embargo, en muchas ocasiones se le pidi? ayudar a cubrir entre los grupos 0 a 3 años. Por esta raz?n ella aprendi? que ella disfrutaba tanto trabajar con niños de esta edad como con los de 3 a 6 años. Esto la alent? a conseguir su Segundo Certificado como maestra de edades de 0 a 3 años. Para obtener este certificado ella regres? en el 2011 al “Montessori Institute of the Pacific Northwest”.

Ella ha enseñado en escuelas y como maestro particular por más de 10 años.

Claudia pasa la mayoría de su tiempo libre con su esposo, su hija y sus dos perros viajando, explorando la naturaleza, cocinando o relajandose en casa donde disfruta hacer manualidades. Ella se siente honrada de ser parte de la comunidad de “Live and Learn” “Vive y Aprende”. Claudia desea compartir su amplio conocimiento y experiencia en la educaci?n infantil con esta comunidad.