Ted & Colleen Kohnen, 


Why did you choose to make a philanthropic commitment to the Step Two project?

From what we have seen, what children get at this school is unique. There’s such an emphasis on community here and we think that’s so important. We see children caring for their friends, getting education that’s personal and emotional. We’ve seen the result with our granddaughter: that she wants to continually learn and sees learning not as something to dread, but something to enjoy. It’s the best foundation she could possibly have.

Why did you choose to give although your grandchild is no longer at the school?

This is where you want to start. Early childhood is where you can do the most good, if you want kids to have equal opportunity. Step One gives kids the love of learning and the confidence they need to succeed in the 21st century. The world is being stratified between the haves and the have-nots and our granddaughters have to live in the world. If we allow that gap to grow, what will their life be like? We want to pay it forward so that other children have the same opportunities our grandchildren have had.

Priscilla Myrick
& Tom Cutillo,

Why did you choose to make a philanthropic commitment to the Step Two project?

Tom and I have had a long-term relationship with Step One because our kids had such a tremendously positive experience there. I’m not even sure I totally appreciated what an amazing place Step One is at the time. We were young, we had our kids, we were rushing. It was easy to just say, “Great, Step One’s great” and not think about it deeply. But in hindsight, we realized how rare it is to have the focus on children in such a positive, creative, fun, and warm way. Step One is a truly loving environment that lets kids be who they are and nurtures them to be the very best versions of themselves. We saw so much love, caring, and respect at the school: modeling of inclusive behavior and teaching children to get along. The teachers were all so skilled, and the continuity of Step One’s teaching staff over time is extraordinary. It has produced a shared value-system, so that you know that any time children attend Step One, they are getting personal, respectful, loving connections with their teachers.


Why did you choose to give although your child is no longer at the school?

Because Step One school embodies values that are important to our family, and it embodies them over time. Step One has a philosophy that has withstood the test of time. I want to support the continuing of early education that has Step One’s goals and values, because the children coming through our educational system are the kids who are going to be in this world and shape it for the future.

Aaron Calvert
Step One School

What most excites you about the Step Two Campaign?

I've been here for 17 years. This is a place I want to be for 25 more. We're lucky in that the guts of this school are really solid. But Step Two is looking at what the teachers and families need for this place to be an institution, to last, and to affect lives for the better. Really what I think this is about is not having to rely on make-shift solutions that break down over time. I'm fine with our teacher break room, we've made it work, but this is our chance to build solutions that work for the long-term.

Zeena Cameron
Step One School

What most excites you about the Step Two Campaign?

I'm excited for the multi-purpose room as a space for collaborative work. It'll be great to do long-lasting projects without having to clean them up and to have more communal space for art and movement. For so many of us, Step One is our home away from home. This is making our home better. We've all had ideas about what we want to do here. We know how to make it better, and now we are doing it!

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499 Spruce Street

Berkeley CA 94708



Step One staff are in the office and available on weekdays. Or send us an email anytime!


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