Meet The Staff

 

Infant Teaching Team (Birth-12 Months)

Maribel Rodriguez, Infant Lead Teacher

A founding staff member of The Village, Ms. Maribel has been caring for Village infants for almost twenty years. Many sibling groups have been nurtured by Ms. Maribel. Her wealth of knowledge and commitment to quality make her a valuable asset of The Village teaching team. Ms. Maribel enjoys singing and speaking to infants in English and Spanish, providing expert care to the youngest Village students, and supporting parents of young children. We congratulate Ms. Maribel on the birth of her first grandchild!

 

 

 

Damaris Romero, Infant Teacher

Village ELC infants receive consistent, loving care from Ms. Damaris. A veteran infant and toddler teacher of more than 13 years, Ms. Damaris has earned a National CDA. She is bilingual (English/Spanish) and uses her language skills to enhance the brain development of the youngest students in the school. Ms. Damaris delights in the achievements of each of the young learners and communicates with parents of students in her care as part of a learning partnership.

 

 

 

Mercedes Rodriguez, Aide

Ms. Mercedes is a vital member of the Infant team. A native of Puerto Rico, Ms. Mercedes works with the teachers in the infant classroom to provide a clean, safe, efficient, and educational environment optimal for learning and development. We love to hear her speaking and singing to the babies in Spanish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toddler Teaching Team (12-24 Months)

Kayla Omoregie, Toddler Lead Teacher

Ms. Kayla is among the most versatile teachers at The Village ELC. Currently the Lead Teacher for the Toddler team, Ms. Kayla has taught at every level during her tenure of more than five years at The Village. Ms. Kayla is pursuing a bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education, specializing in Early Intervention, at Florida State College. She enjoys planning creative and developmentally appropriate lessons, mentoring new teachers, and assisting parents with understanding and responding to the challenges and rewards that come with raising toddlers.

 

 

 

Lauren McRae, Toddler Teacher

Ms. Lauren is a Missouri native and has lived in Florida for more than three years. She has an associate’s degree and is continually seeking opportunities to expand her knowledge and experience in the field of early childhood education. Ms. Lauren has a bearded dragon as a pet and enjoys sharing her love of nature and living things with her students. She believes that strength is found in diversity, and she strives to provide an environment that is welcoming and beneficial to all.

 

 

 

Miranda Pages, Toddler Teacher

Ms. Miranda has more than 12 years of experience in early childhood education, with her most recent five at The Village ELC. Now a Toddler Teacher, Ms. Miranda has also nurtured and cared for students in the Twos classroom. Ms. Miranda has one son and has been married for more than seven years. She enjoys crafting, shopping, beaches, and spending time with family.

 

 

 

Michelle JnoBaptiste, Toddler Aide

Born and raised in Dominica, Ms. Michelle moved to Antigua, where she lived throughout her teens. Upon graduation from high school, Ms. Michelle used her certification in early childhood education as an asset as she taught for eight years in Antigua.In 2016, Ms. Michelle moved to the U.S., where she earned an associate’s degree in health and human services. Ms. Michelle loves sharing stories and cultural artifacts with students in the Toddler classroom.

 

 

 

Mercy DelVescovo, Toddler Aide

Ms. Mercy has been nurturing and educating young children for two decades. Her friendly attitude and loving demeanor endear her to children, parents, and coworkers alike. Ms. Mercy is the mother of two daughters, one who also chose to become a teacher, and one who is a student at Florida State University. She has been married for 26 years.

 

 

 

Twos Teaching Team (24-36 Months)

 

Navannah Peterson, Twos Teacher, Twos Team Lead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renee Love, Twos Teacher

Originally from New York, Ms. Renee also lived in Maine before moving to Florida. Ms. Renee draws on almost 30 years experience in early childhood education as she teaches in the Twos classroom. Ms. Renee is married and the mother of three children. She is a Jeep enthusiast and loves spending time at the beach with her family.

 

 

 

 

Jasmine White, Twos Teacher

A Chicago native, Ms. Jasmine loves working with children. She is currently working on an associate’s degree in early childhood education. Ms. Jasmine’s hobbies include travel and going to the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Anton, Twos Assistant Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preschool Teaching Team

 

Claudia Leyva, Preschool Teacher, Preschool ABC Team Lead

 

 

 

 

 

Darinka Saveva, Preschool Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karsyn Doiron, Preschool Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romina Wirz, Preschool Teacher Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LeighAnn Landers, Preschool Teacher, Young Preschool Team Lead

Ms. Leighann has worked in several different classrooms during her first five years at The Village. Currently a Preschool teacher, Ms. Leighann is known for her abilities with other age groups, including toddlers and twos, as well. Ms. Leighann has been instrumental in raising funds as part of the annual Village ELC Costume Crusade for Cure SMA, and she is recognized as a “techie” resource when teachers need to better understand how to use technology tools within the school. Ms. Leighann has a staff credential and an associate’s degree. She is currently working on a bachelors degree in early childhood education.

 

 

 

 

Perla Morales, Preschool Teacher

Ms. Perla has been a staff member at The Village for more than six years. A long-time Preschool team member, Ms. Perla has a firm and loving teaching style that inspires students to become the best that they can be. Ms. Perla has a bachelors degree. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Puerto Rico, Ms. Perla is a resident of Riverview. She enjoys home decor, restaurants, and travel.

 

 

 

 

 

Lyndsie Ellis, Young Preschool Teacher

Ms. Lyndsie has nurtured three and four year olds at The Village for four years. Currently a teacher of Young Preschoolers, Ms. Lyndsie also has experience teaching VPK. Ms. Lyndsie has a bachelors degree and is currently working on a masters degree in Educational Leadership. She is married and has a dog named Riley.

 

 

 

 

 

Kecia Lucas, Young Preschool Teacher Assistant

With more than nineteen years of experience in early childhood education, Ms. Kecia has been an asset to The Village for more than 14 years. Ms. Kecia has earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts and a CDA (Child Development Associate) degree. She has worked with children at all levels, from toddlers to school age. Her love for all things creative led her to spend a summer teaching art to school age students at the YMCA. Ms. Kecia has strong classroom management skills and enjoys mentoring teachers who seek to develop skills in this area. Before moving to Florida, Ms. Kecia lived in New York. She is the mother of three children and a resident of Gibsonton.

 

 

 

 

 

Rajaa Eloifi, Young Preschool Teacher Assistant

Ms. Rajaa grew up in a family of teachers. Through the example of her parents, aunts, and brother, Ms. Rajaa recognized early in her life that she wanted to pursue a career in teaching.  After graduating from university in Morocco in 2010, Ms. Rajaa moved to the U.S. where she earned a staff credential and entered the early childhood profession. Ms. Rajaa is the mother of three daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Kindergarten Teaching Team

Jo-Ann Navarro, VPK Program Coordinator

Originally from Hawaii, Ms. Navarro has lived in Florida since 2000. A Village teacher since 2001, Ms. Navarro is the VPK Team Lead. She holds a National Early Childhood Credential (NECC). Ms. Navarro has mentored many VPK teachers over almost two decades, and she takes great care in preparing children to be lifelong learners. She is married with two children.

 

 

 

 

 

Christina Smith, VPK Teacher

Ms. Smith has been in early childhood education for five years, two of which have been at The Village Early Learning Center. Ms. Smith has a bachelors degree and is currently pursuing a Masters of Education with a concentration in early childhood education. She especially loves the opportunity to work alongside families. Before entering the early childhood field, Ms. Smith interned at the World Health Organization supporting families with issues related to public health. While in Peru, Ms. Smith met her husband, and started a family. She is the mother of two children.

 

 

 

 

 

Krystahl Parker, VPK Teacher

Ms. Parker loves preparing students for kindergarten! A member of The Village teaching team for three years, Ms. Parker has worked in the Toddlers, Twos, and Pre-Kindergarten. Ms. Parker has an associate’s degree and a bachelors degree in early childhood education. She enjoys helping students develop self-help skills and social-emotional strategies that will help them be successful at the “big school” and beyond. Ms. Parker is married and is the mother of a toddler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raquel Garcia, VPK Teacher

Ms. Raquel Garcia has been a member of The Village teaching team for eight years. In addition to teaching VPK, she has a CDL and drives the morning and afternoon buses. Her strong track record with the education of school-age students is an asset as she prepares young children for kindergarten. Ms. Garcia is pursuing an associate’s degree in elementary education. She is a mother and grandmother, and she enjoys family time at the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

Erika Garcia, VPK Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marlena Beamer, VPK Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magda Garcia, VPK Teacher

Ms. Magda Garcia has worked in early childhood education for almost two decades, with the most recent fourteen at The Village ELC. She has worked at all levels at The Village, including six years as Director. She says she finds teaching children and mentoring teachers to be the most rewarding and fulfilling part of her career. Ms. Garcia is currently pursuing a bachelors degree and has many certifications and credentials in the field of early childhood education. She is married, has four children, and is in the process of adopting two more children. Ms. Garcia is very active in the community and actively participates in service opportunities in the Brandon and Wimauma communities.

 

 

Yasanthi Thambugala, VPK Teacher

Ms. Thambugala (“Ms. T”) has more than 13 years of experience teaching VPK. Born in Sri Lanka, Ms. T has lived in the U.S. since 2003. Ms. T has earned diplomas in child psychology, primary level education, and AMI Montessori education. She holds a director credential and a staff credential, and she is currently working on an associate’s in early childhood management. Ms. T is fluent in Sinhala and English, and her hobbies include helping people learn how to practice mindfulness meditation. She is the mother of two sons.

 

Jacqui Soto, VPK Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lupe Velazquez, VPK Assistant Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure Club Teaching Team

Debbie Garrigues, School Age Program Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natasha Bowman, Coach (Owls)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antonio Alvarez, Coach (Owls)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arianna Rodriguez, Coach (Peacocks)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isabel Shaw, Coach (Peacocks)

Coach Isabel first discovered her love for working with children when she was 16. A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, she has experience as an architect that informs and augments her role as an Adventure Club coach. Coach Isabel designs and delivers science and technology activities as part of a comprehensive STEAM program at The Village. With Coach Isabel’s help, students discover the properties of matter, how forces act upon each other, principles of design, and experimental methodology. Coach Isabel has been a part of the Village teaching team for three years.

 

 

 

 

 

Wanda Richardson, Coach (Blue Jays)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lupe Velazquez, Coach (Blue Jays)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roshana Collins, Coach (Eagles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enrichment and Support

Lindsey Solots, Atelierista

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lori Forbush, Student Nutrition

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Meyer, Aide and Substitute Teacher

Ms. Emily joined The Village teaching team after high school, where she participated in an early childhood education program. A versatile member of The Village teaching support team, Ms. Emily has experience with various ages and developmental levels, which makes her a great substitute when the regular teacher is not available and a wonderful aide in any classroom. Ms. Emily has a CDA (Child Development Associate) degree.

 

 

 

 

 

Amber Jenkins, Aide

A former Village student herself, Ms. Amber began working at The Village while she was in high school and continued after graduation. Ms. Amber has worked as an afternoon closer, an Adventure Club coach, and an aide with Toddlers, Twos, and Preschool. Ms. Amber enjoys the challenges and flexibility that come with her role as an aide, and she seeks opportunities to develop her knowledge and skills as she works with children at The Village.

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Team

Jacqui Soto, Professional Development Specialist, Trainer/Mentor, AA in Early Childhood Education, Staff Credential

 

 

 

 

 

Tami Howell, Coordinator of Community Life, BS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Garrigues, Director,  School Age Program Manager, NCDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe and Susan Miller, Owners and Operators