Our Staff

As a staff, we thank you for entrusting your children to us, and we want you to know without any doubt that we take that privilege seriously. We consider it an honor and a blessing from God, and we are excited to have your family as part of Little LIFE Academy.

The desire of our hearts is to serve the Lord through serving the children and families of LLA, and we strive to do so with the utmost excellence. Please do not ever hesitate to let us know how we may support and pray for your family.

In anticipation of a wonderful year together,

Little Life Academy



Ellen Solbakken/Sahirah Nash

Ellen Solbakken (Director):

Mrs. Ellen grew up in Cornelius and has worked in the field of education for over 35 years. Her background includes work teaching high school, preschool and transitional kindergarten as well as serving as a child care administrator. She has a B.A. degree in Spanish from UNC-Greensboro as well as college level training in Child Care Administration. Mrs. Ellen has served as a workshop leader/teacher trainer, focusing on incorporating faith throughout the preschool day and on Making Great Readers. Mrs. Ellen has a heart for faith-based ministry to children and families and is grateful that God has allowed her to serve here at LLA. She and her husband Steve are active at LIFE Fellowship and have two sons (Jon and Jimmy) as well as two grandsons (Caleb and Silas) who live in the area. She lives in Kannapolis with her husband and their dog Chief.

Sahirah Nash (Assistant Director):

Ms. Sahirah is originally from Michigan but currently resides in Huntersville.  She is a mom of four and her employment background is in the medical field, working as a certified nurse’s assistant and phlebotomist for twelve years.  She left nursing to become a stay-at-home mom.  She has served as a KidLIFE volunteer and teacher at LIFE Fellowship as well as working as Childcare Coordinator for women’s events and for the Mothers of Preschoolers ministry.  Ms. Sahirah joined LLA in January of 2018, just a few months after our opening, originally serving here as a teacher for two-year-olds.  She has a deep belief in starting discipleship at as young an age as possible by teaching children how much Jesus loves them.   She sees it as a blessing to be able to be part of a team that is dedicated to showing the love of Christ to the children of LLA.  

2-year-old Team

Chris Christine / Deb Greco


Angie Putnam / Amy Cianci


3-year-old Team

Julie Forest / Stacy Carlen


Martie Anibaldi / Klarissa Carlen


4-year-old Team

  Gloria Eskridge/ Lorraine Conklin / Jenny Hatfield/ Cat Robertson


TK Team

Clorinda Gaillardetz / Haleigh Patterson



Katie Burrell / Maryann Wabalas / Rose Schwiebert