Teaching Staff

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

Taniesha Alexander

Diamond Village

Teacher

Taniesha joined Baby Gator in February 2010. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida. Taniesha has worked with infants and children up to the age of 18 as a volunteer at the Child Advocacy Center, as a substitute teacher, and now as a full-time teacher at Baby Gator. She is passionate about helping children develop into life-long learners.

Angela Ankrom

Newell Drive

Teacher

Angela joined Baby Gator in March of 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Angela has taught children ranging from one to five-years-old for over 20 years in a preschool setting. She held the administrative role of Lead Teacher for nine years. She is passionate about fostering the development and success of young children and enjoys meeting children and their families.

Ludine Augustin

Lake Alice

Teacher

Ludine joined Baby Gator in February 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences. Ludine has worked with children from infant to nine year-olds for 8 years as a teacher, substitute and babysitter. She enjoys being part of children’s growth and development and is passionate about making learning fun.

Angie Avelino

Newell Drive

Teacher

Angie joined Baby Gator in May 2011. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in History. Angie has worked with ones, twos and threes as a teacher for three and a half years, as well as volunteer work with elementary aged children and high schoolers with special needs. She loves watching the children’s personalities develop and enjoys helping them process and enjoy all their new emotions and experiences.

Dewaynique Barton

Lake Alice

Teacher

Dee joined Baby Gator in March 2015. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Dee has worked with ages birth through five-year-olds for 10 years as a classroom teacher and afterschool aide. She loves how children are carefree.

Courtney Beuning

Lake Alice

Teacher

Courtney joined Baby Gator in January 2017. She is currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education and is graduating in spring of 2017. Courtney has worked with children 4 months to 15 years for 10 years in a variety of settings including preschool, elementary, after school programs, and as a nanny. She is passionate about working with children with disabilities and finding alternative ways of helping children learn.

Tamika Bright

Newell Drive

Teacher

Miss Tamika Bright joined Baby Gator in March 2016. She holds a Degree from UCF in interdisciplinary Education and Psychology as well as a separate art degree from Santa Fe College. Tamika has worked as a volunteer babysitter and nursery helper since 2008. She has worked with all ages professionally for 5 years, and specifically early childhood as an assistant and full time teacher for 3 years. Before working at Baby Gator, Tamika was a VPK teacher in Orlando. Tamika uses her free time to seek out new adventures every day. She has a passion for art and music, exploring new artistic mediums, and teaching others the joys of art. Tamika loves children because they remind her of the simple things in life that we often forget about as adult. She loves how a child will marvel at how a tree grows big and strong or how a mixture of colors in a sunset makes them feel.

Onecia Burton

Newell Drive

Team Teacher

Onecia joined Baby Gator in January 2017. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies. Onecia has worked with children with infants to five for two and a half years in a preschool setting. She is inspired by seeing how much each child develops over time.

Symoine Butler

Lake Alice

Teacher

Symoine joined Baby Gator in May of 2011. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science with a concentration in Rehabilitative Services. Symoine has worked with infants to eleven year-olds for over five years in a classroom and school setting, as a babysitter and as a tutor. She is passionate about helping children to reach their full potential.

Latanya Carter

Newell Drive

Teacher

Latanya joined Baby Gator in August of 2011. She holds an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Latanya has worked with infants to 12 year-olds for over 15 years in a classroom and administrative setting. She is passionate about helping children to develop their social and emotional skills.

Anna Cesarotti

Newell Drive

Teacher

Anna joined the Baby Gator family in April 2017. She has a Sustainability Studies degree from UF with minors in Sociology as well as Agriculture and Natural Resource Ethics and Policy. She’s worked with children under five since she began to teach dance and swim lessons in her teenage years. She enjoys being in nature and scuba diving when she’s not teaching. She’s passionate about helping kids connect to the Great Outdoors, and hopes to promote environmental stewardship from young ages.

Nichole Chardain

Diamond Village

Teacher

Nichole joined Baby Gator in November of 2016. She holds an Associates Degree in English. Nichole has worked with infants to elementary school age children for seven years, primarily as an after-school and VPK assistant teacher. She is passionate about literacy and reading and loves instilling that same passion into the children she cares for.

Amanda Charley

Lake Alice

Teacher

Amanda Charley joined Baby in October 2014. She holds a degree in Family Youth and Community Sciences with a minor in Humanitarian Assistances and International Development. Amanda has worked with infants to children 13 years of age for six years in a professional capacity and ten years in informal capacity. She enjoys watching children learn, develop and grow. She loves seeing them smile, interact, reach their goals and achieve their dreams. She is inspired by children everyday and hopes to continue working with children in the future.

Dagmarie Colon

Newell Drive

Teacher

Dagmarie joined Baby Gator in October of 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Dagmarie has worked with Preschool to 12 years-old for the past 10 years. She enjoys being a part of the children’s education and loves to help them with their development in all areas.

LaQuanda Coney

Lake Alice

Teacher

LaQuanda joined Baby Gator in October 2014. LaQuanda has worked with VPK aged children for 12 years. She is passionate about inspiring children to be the best they can be. She loves seeing the children master concepts and enjoys when parents are surprised by what their children can do.

Venisher Edwards

Newell Drive

Teacher

Venisher joined Baby Gator in February 2016. She is currently working on a CDA. Venisher has worked with children from 6 months to 3 years for over six years. She is passionate about teaching children in various capacities.

Ronnie Francois

Lake Alice

Teacher

Ronnie joined Baby Gator in May of 2013.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion. Ronnie has worked with children ages two years-old for less than a year as a teacher. She is passionate about being a part of the developmental milestones and educational process of young children.

Dina Gelep

Lake Alice

Teacher

Dina joined Baby Gator in April 2017. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with minors in Classics and Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. Dina has worked with typically and atypically developed children ranging from preschool to middle school for the last eight years as a camp counselor, volunteer, and babysitter. She is inspired by how resilient and driven children are when it comes to achieving their goals, no matter how small or big they may be.

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.

Haley Halstead

Newell Drive

Teacher

Haley Halstead joined Baby Gator in February 2017. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Haley has worked with a variety of different ages since she was in high school. She became a nanny in high school and cared for a family of children ranging from 2 month to 8 years for the past six years. She also has interned for preschool and kindergarten classes throughout her college career. She is inspired by watching children grow and develop and getting to be a part of the milestones they reach each and everyday!

Debra Havlik

Diamond Village

Teacher

Debbie joined Baby Gator in July of 2012.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Debbie has worked with children infants through school age for over 25 years as a teacher, summer camp counselor, a TSS (therapeutic staff) art teacher, and as a after school counselor. She is passionate about the childhood years and feels that the learning that occurs during this time should be a positive and fun experience.

Jessica Hunt

Newell Drive

Teacher

Jessica joined Baby Gator in May of 2017. She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. Jessica has worked with children ages 15 months to 5 years for the past year during her college research and internships. She is passionate about drawing out each child’s unique talents and fostering their healthy development. Most of all, she finds joy in each day she sees her students smiling while they’re learning something new.

Lily Hutchinson

Newell Drive

Teacher

Lily joined Baby Gator in the December of 2014. She hold B.A., B.Ed., M.A., degrees and pursuing M.Ed. Lily has worked with Elementary and Middle School children for over 12 years, as a lead and as subject teacher. She is very passionate about building a positive attitude in her students and inspire them to become life-long learners.

Todd Ireland

Diamond Village

Teacher

Todd joined Baby Gator in March of 2015. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Justice Studies and Early Childhood Education. Todd has worked with children aging from four to five-years-old for 8 years as an environmental educator, park ranger, and substitute teacher. He is passionate about allowing children to be creative, think for themselves, and introducing children to the outdoor environment and science.

Julie Johnston

Newell Drive

Teacher

Julie joined Baby Gator in December of 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies with a concentration in Psychology and a CDA. Julie has over 25 years of experience working with many age groups from infants through adolescence, and with adults as a parent educator in classroom and administrative settings.  She is passionate about helping children develop early literacy skills and supporting parents in their role as their child’s first teacher.

KyungAe Kim

Lake Alice

Teacher

KyungAe (who goes by her last name Kim) joined Baby Gator in August 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree, a CDA, and a Director’s Credential. She has worked with many age groups from infants through college students in the United States and overseas for more than 25 years. She is passionate about building a stable, positive, creative atmosphere for children and excite them about learning.

 

Kaitlyn Koch

Newell Drive

Teacher

Kaitlyn joined Baby Gator in March of 2017. She has worked with children 6 weeks to 9 years old for the last five years. She is passionate about helping children embrace their differences and growing together. She especially loves spending quality time with children to get to know them on a deeper, more personal level. She really enjoys small group and one-on-one time because it allows her to build a stronger, more comfortable relationship with each child. She is looking forward to continuing her education as a teacher.

Irma Morales

Newell Drive

Teacher

Irma joined Baby Gator in May 2017. She holds a CDA National and is going to start on her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked with children from birth to 5 years old for about 10 years. She loves working with children because they are the ones that end up inspiring her.

Lorene Morgan

Diamond Village

Cook

Lorene joined Baby Gator in September of 2014. Before joining Baby Gator, Lorene was a cook for 11 years at Idylwild Elementary School, Joseph Williams Elementary School, and Eastside High School. Lorene has worked with children ages 3 to 15 for the past 15 years and she herself is a mother of 10. She is passionate about her job as a cook because she loves the relationships she builds with people. Lorene loves smiling and making people’s day. She loves when the children look forward to seeing her or tell her they miss her when she is out.  She is fascinated by the languages that the children speak and would love to learn more about it. In her leisure time, Lorene enjoys fishing, going to church, and giving back to the needy.

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.

 

Kathleen Placke

Diamond Village

Teacher

Katie joined Baby Gator in February 2015. She holds a CDA. Katie has worked with infants through 12 year-olds for over five years as a teacher. She enjoys working with children of all ages and their families. Katie loves to help build a strong foundation within each child with her fun and interactive teaching style to encourage the children to have a lifetime love of learning.

Latasia Polk

Newell Drive

Teacher

Latasia joined Baby Gator in August 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a regional focus on Africa. Latasia has worked with children from 1 to 5 years old for three years and is currently a one year old teacher. She enjoys watching the children explore the world around them as they develop new skills everyday.

Roselyn Rasonable

Lake Alice

Cook

Roselyn joined Baby Gator April 2016. She has had a passion for cooking since she was six years old. Professionally, she has catering since 2011. Roselyn enjoys cooking because she gets to experiment with spices and she loves exploring different cultures through their cuisine. She also loves when the children try new foods and learn to like the different things they try.

Marlana Rawls

Lake Alice

Teacher

Marlana joined Baby Gator in November of 2011.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences and is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Marlana has worked with infants to five year-olds for the past few years as a teacher, volunteer, and substitute. She enjoys building a nurturing bond with children as well as witnessing their social and emotional development.

Cathy Reedy

Lake Alice

Teacher

Cathy joined Baby Gator in May of 2013. She holds an Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education, is working towards a Bachelor’s, and has a Director’s Credential. Cathy has worked with infants to six year-olds for most of the last 20 years as a teacher or nanny. She loves sparking and encouraging interests in science but finds it most rewarding to help children learn about their emotions and how to appropriately deal with them. In her spare time she can be found at Disney World with her husband or feeding her space/astronaut passion.

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

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.

 

Rene Rybacek

Newell Drive

Teacher

Rene joined Baby Gator in September of 2004. She has an AA degree and a CDA .She has worked for more than 20 years with children as a teacher and preschool director. She likes watching infants learn about the world around them.

Jordan Sandberg

Lake Alice

Teacher

Jordan Sandberg joined Baby Gator in April 2017.She holds an Associates Degree in Engineering. After taking a gap year to serve with Appalachia Service Project (a home repair ministry in Central Appalachia) she came back to Gainesville and decided to continue her education in UF’s Family, Youth, and Community Services program. Jordan has worked with children of all ages, from newborn to 18, through church ministry programs for over 10 years. She feels called to foster healthy growth and development of all children, but she is particularly inspired by the carefree and excitable spirit of the children at Baby Gator.

Laura Savio-Odriozola

Newell Drive

Teacher

Laura joined Baby Gator in February 2017. She holds a CDA. Laura has worked with all age groups for over a year as a teacher. She is inspired by children’s everyday curiosity.

Lois Schwartz

Newell Drive

Teacher

Lois joined Baby Gator in March 2017. She holds a CDA and has taught toddlers for three years. She is inspired by fun and nerdiness.

Laura Shack

Lake Alice

Teacher

Laura joined Baby Gator in November 2016. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Psychology, has her CDA, and is working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development. Laura has worked with children ranging in ages from infancy to early elementary as a preschool teacher and nanny for over 10 years. She enjoys teaching young children because it is exciting and extremely dynamic. She loves the opportunity to be creative, play, and enrich young children’s lives. In her spare time, she also enjoys playing with her dogs, cooking, reading, listening to music, exploring nature, and playing disc golf.

Raven Simmons

Newell Drive

Teacher

Raven joined Baby Gator in March 2017. She holds a CDA and has worked with children 10 months old for two years as a teacher. She loves spending time with children and cherishes the opportunity she has as a teacher to nurture their development.

Maris Smith

Lake Alice

Teacher

Maris Smith joined Baby Gator in August 2015. Maris has worked with children from infant to 5 year old and currently works with the younger one year olds as a teacher. She loves watching them grow and develop into unique individuals.

Lyric Spoonamore

Newell Drive

Teacher

Lyric joined Baby Gator in February 2017. She holds a CDA and has worked with children of all ages for seven years as a teacher and volunteer. She is passionate about helping children learn and grow to their full capacity.

Katie Stanley

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.

Cheryl Suarez

Newell Drive

Teacher

Cheryl joined Baby Gator in July 2011.  She brings with her over 40 years of child care experience working with children of all ages.  She holds and Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashworth University.  What Cheryl offers to the Growing Gator team is a love for teaching, enthusiasm for learning, and sharing with the children the importance of exploring different experiences.  In her free time, Cheryl enjoys spending time with her family, riding her bicycle, and walking.

Shy Thony

Lake Alice

Teacher

Shy joined Baby Gator in July 2014. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Shy has worked with ages birth through ten-year-olds for four years as a classroom teacher and afterschool aide. She enjoys children’s vibrant personalities and innocent spirits.

Becky Venditti

Newell Drive

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.

Tina Vilca

Newell Drive

Teacher

Tina Vilca joined Baby Gator in October 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Tina has worked with toddlers to five year-olds for more than 10 years in a classroom. She loves being part of children’s growth and development as they move through different stages and is passionate about making learning the most fun experience.

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.

Jessica Williams

Lake Alice

Teacher

Jessica joined Baby Gator in October of 2015. Jessica has worked with children from birth through five-year-olds for over five years as a classroom teacher and teacher assistant. She loves working with children of all ages and simply enjoys discovering new ideas to help them grow and reach their potential.

Karen Wilson

Lake Alice

Teacher

Karen Wilson joined Baby Gator in February 2015. She holds a Master’s Degree in Literacy and Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development/Education. She has 25 years of experience teaching, mostly in early elementary education. Karen enjoys working with children because they are so open to learning almost anything!  She hopes to provide a good base for their future and encourage them to be inquisitive about all things.

Madelyn Yurko

Lake Alice

Teacher

Madelyn joined Baby Gator in November of 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Education. She has worked with preschool children for the past 16 years as a teacher. She loves working with children of all ages and especially enjoys discovering new ideas to help them grow and reach their potential.