Laurie Smith opened The Secret Garden Preschool in 1998. She is the Director, as well as a teacher, at The Secret Garden. Laurie has a BS in Zoology, both an MS and a PhD in Microbiology and received her teaching certificate from the University of Washington as well. Because of her science background, Laurie loves working with the kids on science projects and introducing them to some basic scientific concepts.

Laurie loves her work at the The Secret Garden and finds that the children are still able to teach her new things after all these years. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Greg, and her three children: Gemma, Max and Emily.


Debbie taught at The Secret Garden since 2008 and has now taken on the duties of admissions director. She has been a part of the school, as a parent, since its beginning. She has worked with children in a variety of roles including as an assistant teacher for a Pre-K school and as a reading advocate for a Capitol Hill K-12 school. Debbie's experience as a teacher and parent make her a valued resource to the school.

Debbie has a BA from the University of Florida and lives in Seattle with her husband, Bob, their three children Shannon, Connor and Tierney and their dog, Jack.


Teacher Amy brings with her a love of both art and literature. She worked in architecture before her children were born and then joined forces in her husband’s freelance video business once she became a mother. She brings years of volunteer experience at her daughters’ schools as well as experience as an assistant to the art and library teachers at a local elementary school.

Amy lives in Seattle with her husband Kevin and their two daughters, Sylvia and Lydia. She started teaching at The Secret Garden in 2009.


Emily has a B.S. in Psychology and Family Studies and a M.Ed with an emphasis on School Counseling.  She has worked at Childhaven, a day treatment center for abused and neglected children.  Her Secret Garden journey started with being the nanny for the Smith family.  She was their nanny for three years and slowly worked her way into the preschool.  She taught for 3 years from 2002-2005.  After that she took some time off to start her own family.  She never went far and was happy to come in and observe children and help where needed. Emily returned to the Secret Garden as a full time teacher in 2014.

When not teaching Emily is a taxi service for her three children to all of their activities and social obligations. Occasionally she sneaks away to the soccer field.


Teacher Emiko has over 13 years of experience in early childhood education.  She has worked as a teacher, program supervisor, and assistant director at different schools.  Her experience working with children who have disabilities and behavioral problems is especially a valuable asset for her while working with young children. 

Emiko focuses on hands on and personalized learning with children based on a child’s personality and interest.  Her educational philosophy is that learning is most effective when it comes spontaneously from children’s interests and ideas, and each mind is very special.  Emiko’s goal is to support her students’ unique ways of thinking and to bring joy to the learning process. 

Emiko has a BA in English and Education.  Emiko grew up in Japan and has enjoyed exploring Seattle for 20 years. She began teaching at the Secret Garden in 2011.