The Roaring Mouse Teaching Team

Lassie Webster, founder and director of Roaring Mouse, has devoted her life to working with people of all ages in the creative arts. In addition to developing and implementing several programs in the arts in Seattle and California, Lassie has acted as a consultant to parents, teachers, counselors, and school districts for her expertise in the creative arts and social emotional development. Lassie received her training at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where she studied with Anna Deveare Smith. She went on to study the visual arts, music, dance, and childhood development and has her B.A. in Arts and Literature from Antioch University. Lassie has been nominated for several awards, including the Washington State Golden Apple Awards. In addition to her role as Director at Roaring Mouse and teaching the Awakening Artemis class, Lassie is once again offering her services as a consultant to parents, counselors and teachers.


Cheryl Carder has spent her years at Roaring Mouse developing and refining the early childhood classes, (Creative Arts & Preschool) creating a comprehensive program that is both supportive and exciting to her young students. She is one of those rare teachers who magically creates a learning environment that fosters a sense of adventure, cooperation, love and creativity. In recent years, Cheryl has turned her attention to developing new classes for older students, all with the same thoughtful approach. Like her early childhood art classes, these classes give her students an opportunity to continue to explore and develop their creative interests. This year, Cheryl is adding a new class to her repertoire, Open Studio. In addition to her work at Roaring Mouse, Cheryl has spent several years studying the Montessori philosophy, as well as emergent curriculum at North Seattle Community College. She has focused her studies on building communication skills and teaching art and drama to young children. Cheryl is the mother of one inspiring daughter, Ellie. Being at Roaring Mouse has opened up another form of facilitating children’s needs and skill building for Cheryl and she looks forward to continuing to provide a valuable, growing experience for all.

Kristy Carlile has a lifelong love for children, art, learning and creative expression. When her own children were young, she eagerly embraced parenthood and enrolled in Early Childhood Education classes at North Seattle Community College so she could learn more about childhood development. Her natural abilities led her to teach Cooperative Preschool classes through NSCC, where she worked for eight years. There she developed emergent, playful, experiences for the children and participated in the parent education component designed to strengthen parent child relationships. Kristy is passionate about developmentally appropriate and individualized education. As the mother of a child with special needs she instinctively creates an inclusive, developmentally sensitive learning environment. As a teacher, Kristy creates nurturing, warm and positive relationships in a playful, consistent and secure environment. She firmly believes that these experiences will foster a love of learning and a foundation for compassion, cooperation and kindness. She has found these to be powerful tools for reaching a young child’s mind and heart. Art also holds an intimate place in Kristy’s life and continues to inspire her. In addition to running her own art business specializing in mosaics, she has taught art classes in elementary schools and volunteered in the arts throughout her community. In 2003, Kristy came to Roaring Mouse, where she has been able to integrate all of her skills and experience. Since arriving, Kristy has co-created our Preschool and Artist of the Heart programs, and collaborated on a new design for our Creative Arts classes. Bringing her humor and wise, intuitive skills as a teacher, artist and parent educator, Kristy has provided Roaring Mouse families with the profound experience of feeling understood, valued and supported as they journey through the magical and sometimes challenging years of childhood together.

Ellie Cross recently returned to Seattle after spending three years in Mumbai, India, where she worked as the Arts Specialist at Ascend International School.   Born in Seattle, Ellie has had a lifelong love of the arts, including years as a student and a teacher at Roaring Mouse.  She graduated from Scripps College with a B.A. in Studio Art, and pursued a keen interest in using art as a problem-solving tool to create a more just world.  She has painted murals designed to raise environmental consciousness in Malaysia, Thailand, Guatemala, and the U.S., and has done research on art activism and education in Ghana and Tibetan exile communities in Nepal, India, and Tibet.  Ellie has taught art to children in several countries, including Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and India.  All of us at Roaring Mouse are thrilled to have Ellie back with us, and can’t wait to see the magic, fun and learning she will bring to her classes.

Marisa Dillard joined Roaring Mouse in 2015 as a fabulous weekend party hostess! Since then she began training as a teacher alongside Cheryl Carder, working in Creative Arts and subbing for preschool classes. Marisa has already been a part of the Roaring Mouse family as a mom for several years. Her two children have attended Creative Arts, Preschool, Artist of the Heart, Holiday Gift Making and summer camps. Her children’s enthusiasm for the programs and their continuing interest in art has inspired her to take on this new challenge. Marisa is thrilled to be learning alongside the studio’s skilled and dedicated teachers. She has a passion for families and is prepared to make each Roaring Mouse experience a unique and lasting experience. We are thrilled that Marisa will now be joining our teaching team as co-teacher in both the Creative Arts and the Morning Preschool classes.

Keely Kelley joined us in 2014 as co-teacher with Cheryl in the morning preschool and creative arts classes. In 2015 she began teaching monthly Saturday classes Mouse Play House and Kids Night Out. Keely comes with a wealth of experience in early childhood education, with an emphasis on Reggio inspired/emergent curriculum, music, art and documentation of children’s work. She has a warm and enthusiastic personality, and a hearty love for children. Keely strongly believes in validating children’s feelings and works to coach children to express those feelings in a safe and appropriate manner. In the classroom and art studio, Keely pays close attention to the interests the children are expressing and follows their lead by adding materials to challenge and provoke learning and creativity. When away from Roaring Mouse, Keely enjoys creating her own art in mixed media, paper crafting, scrap booking, and art journaling. Keely is a mom to a full of life elementary age son and truly understands the challenges and joys of raising a spirited child. She is currently taking courses through Arizona State University’s online Family and Human Development Program.

Madeline McCarthy grew up in Seattle with a lot of creative opportunities and artistic influence. She was fortunate to have wonderful parents and a unique school curriculum that supported the arts and helped motivate her to be creative and artistic. She graduated from Washington State University with a double-major in Psychology and Fine Art. Madeline spends her time outside of Roaring Mouse as a volunteer art teacher for autistic students. She is also an artist, her medium is oil on canvas and sometimes acrylic. Her passion is art and education. She loves children and has an endless amount of fun, positive energy.

Ellie Carder-Landers has been a part of the Roaring Mouse Family since she was a preschooler herself. She has assisted in several of the camps and classes that Roaring Mouse has offered over the years, training with one of the best, her mom, Cheryl Carder. Ellie has been a co-teacher in the Creative Arts classes and the Afternoon Preschool class. In addition to running the birthday parties on the weekends, she assists in several other classes as well. She has a lot of fun working at the “Mouse” and thinks it’s really cool getting to work with kids and art at the same time, which are two things she loves! Ellie is also currently a student at Shoreline Community College.

Roaring Mouse Staff

Karen Knutson: I’ve been the Business Manager/Registrar for Roaring Mouse since 1999. Connecting children and families with our teachers and programs has been a wonderful, enriching part of my life, and since I live just a few blocks from the studio, Roaring Mouse is also part of my community. I’ve worked part time for many years at Sacajawea Elementary School (also down the street from me in the other direction!), where my current position is Office Assistant. I grew up in Tacoma and studied English Literature at the University of Washington. I am married to Mike and we have two beautiful daughters who are in graduate school. Being part of the Roaring Mouse community has encouraged me to remain creative: I make semi-precious stone jewelry and sell it to friends and at local craft fairs.

Olivia Webster has been a part of Roaring Mouses since its creation. As a daughter of Lassie, she has been involved on many levels of RMCAS programming as a camp counselor, art teacher, preschool teacher and now a web designer. She has a passion for the arts, and is a painter, which is an integral part of her professional life. She also loves being active in the outdoors, running, biking, kayaking, gardening, hiking, playing and loves helping kids to establish their own connection with the earth and with the arts.