Our Team

Where the Passion Begins

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Lia D. Johnson

Founder, Director, Lead Educator

Lia originally hails from the beautiful country of Argentina, where she learned to appreciate nature and care for the environment from a young age. She studied Fine Arts and Political Science at the university level for three years, and in 1989 she left Argentina to travel the world with her husband George.


During her travels, she studied Fine Arts and Early Childhood Education in Germany, at Central Texas College, and the Delaware College of Art and Design (which was part of the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC). She also raised three wonderful children of her own during this time who now help her at Little Tree Huggers today.

With a combined twenty-six years of training* in fine arts and early childhood education, Lia has settled in Leesburg, Virginia where she founded and directs Little Tree Huggers Preschool and continues to devote herself to early childhood education. She is passionate about the arts, embracing all cultures, and taking care of our planet.​

*Click the link for more about Lia's credentials!

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Glenda Guzman


A fluent Spanish speaker, originally from El Salvador. Glenda studied Vocational Technical Accounting but also has three years of Child Care experience. After working with children she discovered a passion in healthcare and wants to become a pediatrician. She believes in helping children realize their potential and finding joy in life. She loves playing sports with her family, traveling, listening to music, and reading. ​


Sarina Ylitalo


Sarina has been pursuing her passion for early childhood education since 2012.  Originally hailing from Minnesota, Sarina received a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, with a Minor Degree in Spanish from South Dakota State University. Sarina's passion is to shower a love of life on those around her and she has done this since day one at LTH!  When not at work, she's at home mothering the world's most anxious dog-like cat and in her spare time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, or touring.