Teaching Staff

Location: All | Diamond Village | Lake Alice | Newell Drive

Becky Ames

Lake Alice

Teacher

Becky joined Baby Gator in August 2014. She holds an Associate Degree in Elementary Education. Becky has worked with children of all ages from infancy to second grade for the past 20 years. She is most passionate about helping children learn and grow in an independent environment, focusing on their social and emotional skills.

Lauren Dillingham

Diamond Village

Teacher

Lauren recently moved back to Florida from Chicago with her teenage son. She started her teaching journey in 2010 and she holds a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Arizona Global Campus in early childhood education. She has worked with infants through 3rd graders as an assistant, lead, and co-teacher. She loves the 3-5 year old age group and seeing them have those “ah-ha” moments. She also loves letting their creative juices flow through the arts.

Amanda Dong

Newell Drive

Teacher

Amanda has been working in a preschool childcare setting for over nine and a half years. She has her Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education, and is completing her Bachelor of Science in summer of 2022. She also has her Director’s Credential, Staffing Credential, VPK certification and is First Aid / CPR certified. When not at work you can find Amanda helping out at Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation educating visitors about the animals there.

Austi Farley

Newell Drive

Teacher

AJ joined Baby Gator in March 2020. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. AJ has worked with infant to 4 year-old children for six years in home care, private daycare, and as a lead teacher in a childcare facility. She is inspired by seeing kids accomplish things that once didn’t seem possible. Knowing that learning itself is a skill and that play makes it possible to learn creates a passion for creative lessons. AJ loves playing with children and encouraging them to use manners and imagination in every phase of their day. A combination of structure and compassion allows children to grow into who they desire to be.

A Gowens

Lake Alice

Teacher

Gowens joined Baby Gator in August 2019. They hold a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Gowens has worked with children ranging from infancy to fourth grade for the last four years through volunteering with elementary schools, teaching Sunday school, and working in preschool settings. They love to incorporate music and movement throughout the day to support early development in all domains. Gowens is passionate about teaching independence, problem solving, and a love for reading.

Katie Greeley

Newell Drive

Teacher

Katie joined Baby Gator in June 2015. She holds an Associate of Science in Elementary Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Katie has worked with one to four year olds at A Child’s Academy and at Baby Gator. She is passionate about watching children learn and grow daily and seeing their progressions throughout the year.

Ariadna Guerra

Diamond Village

Teacher

Ari joined Baby Gator in September of 2011 as a full time teacher.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunications from the University of Florida.  As a undergraduate student at UF, Ari volunteered at Baby Gator and later became a substitute.  Over the years, she has gained experience taking care of young children and providing a loving and learning environment.

Ari Brings her love of music and dancing into the classroom.  She also enjoys integrating Spanish and other cultures into the lesson plans.  In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, creative photography, boating and spending time with her family and friends.

Lisa Gurule

Lake Alice

Teacher

Lisa joined Baby Gator in October 2009. She holds a CDEA degree. Lisa has worked with infants and one year-olds for over 15 years. She is passionate about the children learning to talk, use silverware, and become independent.

Hope Guzman

Lake Alice

Teacher

Hope joined Baby Gator in August 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University. She has over 20 years of experience in childcare, teaching music to children between the ages of 3 and 12 and teaching Early Childhood Education to children between 2 and 4 years old. Hope enjoys creating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math centers to engage the natural curiosity in science and nature that appears evident in preschoolers.

 

 

Caylynn Howard

Newell Drive

Teacher

Caylynn joined Baby Gator in October 2020. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Caylynn has worked with infants to 4 years olds for 7 years in a preschool setting. She is passionate about helping children grow in a safe and loving environment. She believes the most important aspect of teaching is allowing the children to teach us as well.

Tiffany Hughes

Lake Alice

Team Teacher

Tiffany joined Baby Gator September 2017. She holds a Child Development Associate Credential. Tiffany has worked with a variety of ages in the past 4 years. She is passionate about encouraging each child to embrace their personality and creativity through art and play. With her patience, love, and understanding of how the young mind works, it is her hope to bring out each child’s greatest attributes.

Cherish Jackson

Newell Drive

Teacher

Cherish joined Baby Gator in may 2018. She is currently working towards completing her Associates of Arts degree in Elementary Education. Cherish has worked with children from infants up to 8 years of age. She is passionate about teaching and helping children mature. Nothing makes her happier than knowing she is making a positive impact in a child’s life.

Ariana Jones

Diamond Village

Teacher

Ariana Jones joined Baby Gator in December 2020. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Ariana has 15 years of experience working with children 4-12 years of age. She is passionate about making their first experience the best of many more to come their way.

Adrian Klempert

Lake Alice

Teacher

Adrian Klempert joined Baby Gator on February 16, 2022. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early childhood Education, and a Master’s Degree in Education with a Concentration on Instructional Leadership. Adrian has worked with ages ranging from infants to 14 years of age for 10 years. She is passionate about early childhood education. During her free time, she enjoys gardening and spending time with family. When it comes to children, she enjoys watching them master new skills and bring their imaginations to life through play and the arts.

Jamie Krasnow

Newell Drive

Teacher

Jamie joined Baby Gator in December 2018. She holds an Associate Degree in psychology. Jamie has worked with toddlers for four years, and has worked with preschool children of all age groups for six years. She is most passionate about helping young children blossom into the distinctive individuals that they are, as well as allowing them to each positively express themselves and share their feelings in their own unique way.

Julia Luscar

Diamond Village

Teacher

Julia Luscar joined Baby Gator in October 2021. She holds a Bachelors degree in Exceptional Student Education with Reading and an ESOL Endorsement. Julia has over 10 years of experience cultivating safe, engaging, nurturing, and educational environments for children of all skill levels. Her passion is lifelong long learning through positive reinforcement.

Lynn Macha

Diamond Village

Teacher

Lynn joined Baby Gator in September 2020. She holds a Child Development Associates Credential and has worked with infants to 5 year old’s for 17 years. She is passionate about using encouragement, and inspirations to instill love of learning in children.

Jennifer Matias

Diamond Village

Teacher

Jennifer joined Baby Gator in January 2018. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Santa Fe College. Before becoming a teacher, Jenn worked as a substitute teacher at Baby Gator in every class-from infants to VPK. Prior to joining the Baby Gator team, most of her experience comes from volunteering for many years in VPK and Pre-K ESE in Marion County Public Schools. Jennifer loves creating a positive environment where children feel comfortable and providing children with a love for school and learning. Her favorite thing is giving children the foundation they need to continue to grow into the little person they are meant to become.

Irma Morales

Newell Drive

Teacher

Irma joined Baby Gator in May 2017. She holds a CDA and is now going to start on her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. She has worked with children ranging from birth to 5 years old, children with special needs and as a homeschool teacher for about 10 years. She loves working with children because they are enthusiastic, loving and bring something new to her everyday. In the end, the children are the ones who inspire her.

Fariha Munshi

Lake Alice

Teacher

Fariha joined Baby Gator in August 2016. She is an AMS and NCME certified Montessori teacher and is in the process of continuing her education. She has worked with children aged 3 to 6 in Montessori schools in NJ and has been teaching overall for the last 11 years. Fariha is passionate about teaching because she believes it is her calling. She believes in the children’s individual potential and believes that children see the world through a lens that adults cannot. She believes that every child’s truth is their reality and she loves that she gets to be a part of that reality as an educator.

 

Haley Noel

Newell Drive

Teacher

Haley joined Baby Gator in August 2020. She has an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Haley has worked with all ages of children for 3 years. She is passionate about teaching, enjoys spending time with her family, and is inspired by kids having their lightbulb moments.

Kayla Pennington

Diamond Village

Teacher

Kayla Pennington joined Baby Gator in November 2021. She holds an Associate’s Degree and has worked with infants to kindergarten aged children for 8 years in childcare facilities. She is inspired by teaching children new skills on a daily basis and being a part of their lives as they grow up.

Maria Ramos

Newell Drive

Teacher

Maria Fernanda joined Baby Gator in November 2017. She is working on finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Maria has worked with 2 and 3 year olds as a full-time teacher in a preschool setting for the last two years. She loves teaching children new experiences in a fun and educational manner and enjoys hearing their contagious laughs, Maria also finds joy in being a reliable person that children can trust.

Sydney Ray

Newell Drive

Teacher

Sydney Ray joined Baby Gator March of 2021. She will be completing her Associates of Arts Degree in the summer term of 2021. Sydney has worked with children from ages 2 months to 5 years for the past three years, working mostly with 2-year-olds. She is inspired everyday by the joy and imagination of the kids she works with.

Cathy Reedy

Lake Alice

Teacher

Cathy joined Baby Gator in May of 2013. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, director credential, and has worked with young children and families for over 20 years. Some of her favorite things to do with children are encouraging an interest in the natural world, helping them learn to navigate their emotions, and engaging in meaningful play experiences. Outside of the classroom she spends time with her husband, preferably at Disney. She is also very passionate about supporting and advocating for foster/adoptive families. A few of her favorite hobbies are also reading and crocheting.

 

 

Yecenia Rincon

Diamond Village

Teacher

Yecenia joined Baby Gator in September 2013. She has a BS in Industrial Engineering and a Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credential. She started working with children four and five years old as a VPK teacher since 2004. Yecenia is fluent in Spanish and she likes to incorporate the language into her lessons. Yecenia feels a strong commitment to her students, preparing them for all the challenges that they will have to face in the future. Her strongest motivation is to learn and remain updated about the culture, habits, and the educational system in USA.

Anne Roberts

Newell Drive

Music Coordinator

Anne joined Baby Gator in May of 2000. She holds a B.A. in Child Development. Anne has worked with children ages six weeks to 11 years-old for 33 years as a music teacher and Prekindergarten teacher. Anne is passionate about sharing her love of music and literacy with children and helping them to develop their own styles of creative expression.

 

Angela Ruiz

Lake Alice

Teacher

Angela joined Baby Gator in July 2019. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from City College of New York. For the past 15 years Angela has worked with young children, as a caregiver, a teaching assistant, and a teacher of children ranging from infants to early elementary. She is passionate about early childhood education and encouraging children to explore their creativity and curiosity for the arts. Angela strives to work with each child to enhance their motor skills and language development in both English and Spanish. In her free time, Angela enjoys photography, riding her bike, going to the beach, and most of all spending time with her family.

Abby Shaw

Lake Alice

Teacher

Abby Shaw joined Baby Gator in November 2021. She holds a Child Development Associate Credential and has over 30 years of experience. In those 30 years of experience Abby has worked with a variety of age groups. She is passionate about the growth of children and loves helping them succeed with their development. With 5 older children and 6 grandchildren of her own, being surrounded by children is a true joy to her.

Maris Smith

Newell Drive

Teacher

Maris Smith joined Baby Gator in August 2015. Maris has worked with children from infants to 5 year olds and currently works with the younger one year olds as a teacher. She loves watching them grow and enjoys developing them into unique individuals. Additionally, Maris enjoys witnessing the interaction of the children with their diverse backgrounds and their involvement with their classmates. Maris came to the United States from Cebu Philippines in 2008. She presently is working on her National certificate. As a mom of a Baby Gator graduate, she feels her child was greatly influenced by the wonderful atmosphere of Baby Gator.

Shari Smith

Diamond Village

Teacher

Shari Smith joined Baby Gator in October of 2021. She holds a B.A in Elementary Education, and a Professional Educator Certificate in the State of Florida for grades 1-6. Shari has worked with children, ages 5-10 for over 22 years as a classroom teacher in the Marion County public school system. She is passionate about reading, which is her favorite past time, and encourages children of all ages to read, read, read. The thing that inspires Shari the most is watching the faces of children light up when they have an “A-HA” moment, even if she touches one child’s life, everything else doesn’t matter.

Danisha Smith

Newell Drive

Teacher

Danisha Smith was a previous Baby Gator employee back in 2016, and has been recently reinstated this past April of 2021. She currently holds a Child Development Associates and has been working with infants to 2 year old’s for over 6 years. Her teaching style is that of nurturing, caring, and loving children as if they were her own. In her spare time she enjoys shopping, eating, and sleeping. One of her favorite places is the beach. Getting to see each child’s development, and learning first hand as they grown and flourish under her care is what in spires her to go to work everyday.

Savannah Thomas

Lake Alice

Team Teacher

Savannah joined Baby Gator in June 2015. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Special Education. Savannah has worked with infants through fifth graders over the past five years through various internships and through being a substitute at Baby Gator. She loves the challenge of developing new ways to inspire a love of learning and emotional growth in children.

Maria Torres

Diamond Village

Teacher

Maria Torres joined Baby Gator in October 2021. She has an Associate’s degree in early childhood education. Maria has worked with preschoolers for over 15 years, helping her students acquire the skills they need to be successful in the future. Maria is very passionate about helping her young students master their academic and social skills. Her student’s energy and determination inspires her. Maria is aware that early childhood education is the cornerstone for future success and is more than happy to be there for her students as they overcome challenges and barriers.

Vanessa Villavicencio

Newell Drive

Teacher

Vanessa joined Baby Gator in July 2015. She is close to completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Vanessa has worked with children from 1 to 4 years of age as a teacher. She is inspired by the children’s imagination and their power to teach her as much as she teaches them.

Sharon Williams

Lake Alice

Teacher

Sharon joined Baby Gator in June 2015. She holds an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a graduate degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Penn State University. Sharon has worked with children from infant – high school seniors for more than 20 years. She likes to partner with parents in providing a great foundation for the children with an emphasis on supporting children’s motivation to learn and helping them develop positive attitudes towards learning.