Board of Directors

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Naazneen Barma


Naaz is a political science professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. She lives in Santa Cruz with her spouse (a healthcare provider) and two small children — one a graduate and one a current denizen of the Toddler Center. All of their lives have been truly touched by the education and community afforded to them by the Toddler Center. Otherwise, they muddle through, with the help of music, good food, sunshine, and laughter. Naaz has served on the board since 2014.


Jenny Scala


Jenny is a Senior Researcher at the American Institutes for Research where she supports states, districts and schools to support high school students to be ready for post-secondary plans. Her professional work continually reaffirms the great work of the Toddler Center. In her spare time, Jenny is often out in the Monterey Bay sea kayaking or stand up paddling.


Jessie Durant


Jessie is a mother of three and the archivist for the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. She and her husband, Tom, love raising their girls in Santa Cruz and credit the Toddler Center with building a solid social and emotional foundation for all three. Prior to having children, Jessie studied Early Childhood Education and worked as a childcare provider locally. She enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends, running, playing soccer and cooking. Jessie has served on the board since 2018.

Ali Chapin Kele


Bio coming

Jennifer Sparber


Jennifer is a social worker for the Department of Veterans Affairs where she provides connection to resources for veterans who are experiencing homelessness. Previously, Jennifer practiced individual and group therapy as well as case management with children and families in San Jose at various elementary schools. She also enjoyed working as a site director for a local after school program for 7 years. Jennifer moved here in 2001 to attend UCSC, fell in love with Santa Cruz, and never left.  She attends a wide variety of music shows in town and loves hiking and biking with her husband and daughter. 

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Nora Caruso

Program Director

Nora has been working with children and their families for over 30 years, and as Program Director at the Toddler Center since 2006. Nora deeply believes that young children are competent individuals, and that respect for children builds respectful children. She has been recognized by Exchange Magazine as a Master Leader and as a Community Hero through the United Way. A long time Santa Cruz resident, her two grown children were born and raised here. In her spare time, she can be found riding her bike on the beautiful Santa Cruz coast line and spending time with her friends and family.


Lesley Crable

Staff Representative

Bio coming