Our Teachers

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I forget. involve me and I learn. ” - Ben Franklin
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Our Team

Leyla Khater, Founder and Director

Leyla founded Red Wagon Learning Center following an extensive career in private and public early childhood education and in business. Fluent in three language – English, Turkish, and Arabic – she is passionate about language and learning.  

After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bogazici University in Turkey, she began her career teaching kindergarten at the University child development center. She then taught English as a second language at several private elementary schools before moving to Vancouver, Canada to attend the University of British Columbia, where she obtained a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

She moved to Northern Virginia in 2010 where she taught at Bright Horizons family solutions before being recruited by The Learning Care Group Company, parent company of La Petite Academy, to serve as Assistant Director.  As she started her family, she taught early childhood education and curriculum development at Columbia College and opened and operated a successful Tropical Smoothie franchise.

As her daughter approached school-age, she leveraged her entrepreneurial spirit, love of learning and unique understanding of private childcare to launch The Red Wagon Learning Center, a project-based learning approach to before and after school childcare.


Lauren Avila, Co-Owner/Assistant Director

Lauren brings a wealth of expertise to the leadership team. She began her career at Dale City Elementary in Prince William County teaching first and second grade for several years. Having previously taught abroad briefly in Rome, Italy and Nairobi, Kenya, she returned to international teaching, serving at the Qatar Academy Al Wakra in Doha, Qatar, a bilingual school that follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) inquiry-based teaching approach.

Lauren holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, with a Minor in Elementary Education and a Concentration in Math, Science, and Technology, both from James Madison University.

Our Teachers

Our team is comprised of future and former educators – those aspiring to become teachers and others that join us following a teaching career.

Our teachers are screened to ensure they share our passion for caring, protecting, and communicating with children. We are proud of our team and their dedication to our mission and our students’ success.


What Our Families are Saying

We have so many positive points to share about Red Wagon, it is hard to know where to begin. Red Wagon is a top notch program, be it for before/after school care, school breaks or summer camp, or facilitated virtual learning in these unusual times. Red Wagon is a community, where the teachers truly know and care about the children. We also love the extracurricular programs such as STEM and Chef’s Club. As working parents, we do not know how we would manage without the Red Wagon team! - Marisa & Brian 

Great and safe environment for children to learn, engage, and have fun!!! Thanks Red Wagon for helping us transition to the area. - Gabriel S. 

We watched the Red Wagon kids at the playground and liked how Leyla looked after the kids! She was/is so good with all of them! Now, we’re so excited...our son will be joining the Red Wagon. - Debbie P.

Our kids LOVE Red Wagon - and we do too! Fantastic teachers and fantastic environment for before and after-school care with an emphasis on fun learning. Our kids get upset if we try to pick them up too early!  - Kelly K. 

My daughter has been really happy at Red Wagon. They are always kind, helpful and responsive. They way they've changed their business model to support parents and kids throughout COVID has been amazing! - Christina B. 

My son loves this place for all the varied, creative and engaging activities they offer! Activities range the full gamut from building to cooking to outdoor play. - Debbie P