Michelle GMichelle Guthrie, Director of Operations

Michelle has worked for Growing Places since 1996, where she began as a Toddler Teacher. She soon moved into an administrative position, and has worked as an educator, Program Director and the Director of Operations in the past decade.  In June 2017 she stepped into the role of Pinkham Road’s Program Director and knew the opportunity would allow her to continue her work with children and families as well as nourish the organization on a larger scale.

From the moment Michelle joined Growing Places she knew in her heart that this is where she was meant to be.  She loves working for an organization whose value for children is so congruent with her own. She takes pride in creating an open and trusting environment for staff and families. Her strength is in helping to build a strong sense of community that is inclusive of diverse children, families and staff.

Michelle graduated from Plymouth State University in 1990 with a BA in Psychology/Child Development.

Katie Gray, Infant Teacher

Katie began working at Growing Places as a full time Teacher Aide in January 2015. When a teaching position opened up shortly after, she knew this was an opportunity she could not pass up.  Katie has always had a passion for teaching and working with young children. She fell in love with the Growing Places philosophy after being here a short time and is a huge advocate for the importance of outdoor play and exploration.

Outside of work, Katie enjoys hiking, traveling, four wheeling, reading and spending time with her friends and family. She is a major animal lover and enjoys spending time with her “fur children”. Katie has her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Great Bay Community College.





Julie Scadova, Toddler Teacher

Julie started at Growing Places in May 2012.  She has 7 years experience working with children of all ages, mainly with preschool and toddlers.  She had been a Growing Places parent since 2007 and is happy to be a part of a team where everyone has such a positive attitude and works together to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment.

Julie grew up in Madbury and has lived in New Hampshire all of her life.  She lives in Madbury with
her husband, Andrew and two children, Caleb and Sarah.  She enjoys doing outdoor actives with her family
such as walking, biking, swimming, camping and snowshoeing.

Julie has her teaching certificate from Granite State College and is currently taking courses in early childhood education at Great Bay Community College.

Tara Connolly, Toddler Teacher

Tara started working for Growing Places part time as a Teacher’s Aide in 2016, after graduating from UNH she became a full time Teacher’s Aide/Float for a year before joining the professional staff at Pinkham Road as an Infant/Toddler Teacher in June 2017. Tara enjoys working with the younger children as they learn and explore in their new world.

Tara lives in Atkinson, NH. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family and friends, music, going to the beach, and painting.

Tara received her BS in Family Studies with a concentration in Child Development from the University of New Hampshire.



Lauren Clarke
Lauren Clarke-Stirling, Preschool Teacher

Lauren began working at Growing Places as a Preschool Teacher in October 2018. She has a real passion for teaching in nature with nature; getting messy, making mud pies and building forts. Every day is a new adventure teaching small humans. She loves the preschool age and all the little wonders as they grow and develop navigating the world around them. Lauren is so excited to be part of the Growing Places family.

Lauren lives in Wolfeboro, NH. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, working on her art, camping, skiing, and trips to the beach.

Lauren has her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and Teachers Certificate from Red Rocks Community College.


ShaneManningShane Manning, Preschool Teacher

Shane began working at Growing Places as a Teacher Aide in the fall of 2015 while he was attending the University of New Hampshire.   When he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies in 2017 he took the position of Preschool Teacher that fall.  Shane enjoys working in the preschool classroom because it gives him the opportunity to teach young minds and watch them grow. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing guitar, and going camping.

Shane has his bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of New Hampshire.



melissaMelissa Parsell, Pre-K Teacher

Melissa initially came to Growing Places in 2001 as a Preschool Teacher Assistant while finishing her degree at UNH. She has been working in Early Childhood Education ever since! Melissa is passionate about preparing children for Kindergarten and therefore is thrilled to be teaching in the Pre-K class at Pinkham Road.

Melissa lives on the Seacoast with her 9 year old son and enjoys listening to music, going to the beach and gardening!