Yaelle Stelmpfelet

Yaëlle completed a Master’s Degree at CIE in International Education focusing on the intersection of early childhood education and international development.  Her studies and research while at CIE helped solidify her commitment to holistic, culturally-relevant, and developmentally-appropriate early childhood education.


Before coming to CIE, Yaëlle spent over six years in Guatemala where she first managed the volunteer program of not-for-profit called Safe Passage which served children and families living around the Guatemala City garbage dump. She then taught in and ran a Montessori-inspired bilingual preschool in Antigua, Guatemala.


After finishing her degree, Yaëlle worked as a consultant for the International Rescue Committee on an Early Childhood Development project with responsibility for creating and delivering a Preschool Healing Classrooms (PHC) training and resource package for preschool teachers in Congolese refugee camps in Burundi and Tanzania. 


In 2015, Yaëlle joined Imagine Early Learning Centers as the Director of Vets Kids, a child care center in New York City. She was drawn to the program’s child-centered approach and focus on kindness, empathy, and development of global citizenship. As Director, she was responsible for the management of the early learning program which prioritizes enrollment for federal employees and veterans’ children. The center serves approximately 50 children ages two months to five years, is licensed by the Bureau of Child Care/NYC DOHMH and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). 


Yaëlle also continued her education and completed a dual Master's Degree in Early Childhood General and Special Education and received Professional Teaching Certifications in Early Childhood and Special Education (Birth through Second Grade) for New York State. 


After 5 years as Director of Vets Kids and as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, she took leave to care for her two young children. [4-21]


Then in early 2022, in order to do consulting work remotely, Yaelle and Stephen Richardson founded a consulting collaborative called the Wonder Lab that brings together collaborative teams from a network of trusted professionals to identify practical solutions to complex challenges rooted in diverse experiences. They describe the Lab as an approach that “is driven by curiosity and empathy. We work to ensure people’s voices are heard and treated with respect and dignity.”


A noteworthy recent example of their work is the youth needs assessment for and with Ukrainian youth residing in Romania and Moldova that they designed and conducted for the Norwegian Refugee Council. In summary, they found that hope keeps youth going despite the challenges they face. This hope helps youth persevere, but also creates a sense of uncertainty which affects how they navigate life as a refugee.


Yaëlle is now splitting her time between New York City and Antigua, Guatemala.[9-23]


Email: yaelle.stempfelet@gmail.com


Entrance Year: 
Graduation Year: 
5-year span: 
CIE Graduate