LeafSpring School at Virginia Beach

Meet Our Staff

Monica Jennings Yellow Room Assistant
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Monica Jennings
Monica Jennings
Yellow Room Assistant

My name is Monica Jennings and I lived up in Virginia my whole life. I just graduated from Tidewater Community College with my Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and I went to Green Run High School. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher my whole life. I started out babysitting for mom’s friends and I even helped my father coach rec basketball while I was in high school. I started working in a child care center two years ago and fell even more in love with helping the children grow.

What inspired me is knowing that I am helping the children to grow and learn everyday. I really love when I see that a child has remember or learn something that we have taught them.
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Danielle Brown Purple Room Lead Teacher
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Danielle Brown
Danielle Brown
Purple Room Lead Teacher

My name is Danielle Brown (Ms. Brown). I have an amazingly adventurous son who keeps me on my toes. I enjoy crocheting, crafting, and helping others. I’ve been teaching for 6 years and would like to further my career to open my own child development center one day. I look forward to growing and learning at LeafSpring Preschool.

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Ashley Butts Infant Room Assistant Teacher
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Ashley Butts
Ashley Butts
Infant Room Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Ashley, and I’m so excited to be joining the infant room as a Teacher Assistant. I can’t wait to learn all about you but first I’ll tell you all about me. I’ve been working and volunteering in the childcare field for over 10years. I’m currently working on my degree in nursing. I grew up in the Great Bridge of Chesapeake. I am the mommy to a very busy two year old whom name is Aiden. In my spare time I enjoy arts and crafts, baking, traveling and spending time with my family and friends

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Phoebe Padilla Preschool Float
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Phoebe Padilla
Phoebe Padilla
Preschool Float

I’m looking into studying Early Childhood Development at TCC. I love kids! I’ve been around kids as long as I can remember. In my free time, I love going to the beach and being out in the sun during the summer. I love the color pink and chocolate.

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Kiara Durrett Satellite Nursery Teacher
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Kiara Durrett
Kiara Durrett
Satellite Nursery Teacher

Hey I’m Kiara! I am 22, grew up in Colorado and moved to Virginia Beach in 2015. I then met and married Marvin, my Navy Rescue Swimmer in 2017. I am the oldest of 7 siblings who live in 3 states now that a few of us are in college. I love mint chocolate chip ice cream and traveling pretty much anywhere and anytime i have the money to do so! That’s one thing I love about LeafSpring is the culture mixture! I have been nannying for the last few years as I am slowly working on my degree in Psychology. I’m new at LeafSpring School as an Assistant Teacher and have been so loved on by the staff and kids…I will definitely be sticking around!

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Brittany Clark Administrative Assistant
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Brittany Clark
Brittany Clark
Administrative Assistant

 

Hello! My name is Brittany Clark. I was born and raised in Hampton, VA. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Human Services Counseling: Psychology from Liberty University. While at Liberty, I was on the cheerleading team for four years.  After college, I taught first grade for four years in Newport News, VA. I have experience with coaching. I’ve coach gymnastics for four years.  I enjoy working with children of all ages. I love to see them grow and learn. In my free time, I love reading, shopping, and hanging out with family. I am excited to be a part of the LeafSpring family.

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Tori McAnally School-wide Float
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Tori McAnally
Tori McAnally
School-wide Float

Hello, my name is Victoria but, you can call me Tori. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I moved to Virginia Beach in 2017 after I got married to my husband who was in the Navy. My position at LeafSpring School is an Assistant Teacher/ Floater. I have experience in teaching all age groups but majority of my positions were in preschool and up. I am one course away from completing my bachelor’s degree in Administration and Leadership with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. I am looking forward to seeing and meeting every single one of you at LeafSpring School. When I was young, I always had a desire to help others and wanted to put a smile on peoples faces. One of my favorite quotes regarding teaching is “to teach is to touch a life forever”. I believe that creating a relationship with both the child and family is important for development throughout childhood. When I am not at work you may find me at a swimming pool teaching children proper water safety skill or at Mount Trashmore Park walking our dog.

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Kim Powers Yellow Room Lead Teacher
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Kim Powers
Kim Powers
Yellow Room Lead Teacher

Hi, I’m Kim Powers. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Millersville University. I have spent the last three years teaching Kindergarten and before that, I enjoyed working with Preschoolers. I believe very strongly in living life “scientifically” meaning that every opportunity is a learning experience, a chance to ask questions, and of course, to look at challenges as a chance to improve and grow. I bring my personal philosophy of living scientifically to teaching by aiding students in finding their passion and exploring the world around them. Nothing is more satisfying than watching a child explore their passions through discovery, challenging themselves, and with some hard work and determination; achieve their goal! A smile on the face of a young scientist as they reach the “AH HA!” moment is the root of learning and the joy of any teacher. My dream is help each child I teach, find their passion. Outside of work, I am an avid reader, an enthusiastic, if not over-ambitious gardener, an artist and amazingly, a mother. I enjoy spending time watching movies with my family, curling up with my cats to read a good book, and being outside in nature. I am currently Lead Teacher in Yellow Room.

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Alia Williams Recreational Counselor
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Alia Williams
Alia Williams
Recreational Counselor

Hello, my name is Alia Williams! I have lived in Virginia Beach for a large chunk of my life, but I am originally from Waterbury, Connecticut. I graduated from Green Run Collegiate’s inaugural class in June of 2017. In school, my passions were science, history, and cosmetology. Currently, I attend Tidewater Community College where I am studying to get my associates in Early Childhood Education. Some things that I enjoy doing in my free time are reading random articles and teaching myself new information, cooking and learning new recipes, watching horror movies, and painting. When it comes to working with children, I like working with all age groups. They all offer something different and a new way of viewing obstacles or situations. What I enjoy the most about working with children is that they are very inquisitive and any moment for them could be a teachable moment. If I had to describe myself using 4 words, I would say that I am observant, quiet, resourceful, and motivating. A quote that I live by everyday is, “Work for a cause, not applause. Live life to express, not impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, but make your absence felt,” by Dr.Sebi. to me this quote means that I should wake up everyday and live my life for me and not the people around me and that I should always do my best even if it goes unnoticed.

 

I am inspired by Steve Carrell. He is the number one person who inspires me. When he first started out, he didn’t have a lot of money and sometimes he had to work 3 jobs at a time just to stay above water. Today, he has played some of the most remarkably funny characters such as Brick Tamland in Anchorman and Michael Scott in The Office. A Role he did not land until he was in his 40’s.

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Brooke Dederer Red Co-Lead Teacher, Toddlers
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Brooke Dederer
Brooke Dederer
Red Co-Lead Teacher, Toddlers

My name is Brooke and I recently moved from San Diego – but I’m originally from Connecticut. I’ve worked with children of all ages for over six years and love what I do. I’m also a very proud dog mom to my great dane, Boone. I love to be active and outside whenever possible.

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Desmond Mobley Recreational Counselor
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Desmond Mobley
Desmond Mobley
Recreational Counselor

Hey!  My name is Desmond Mobley, also known as Mr. Desmond.  I am 22 years old and I am from Yokosuka, Japan. Since the first day I came to LeafSpring I knew that this was the place I wanted to work at.  I have been working with children since I was 15 and I also coach basketball at the recreation to the high school level for over 5 years now.  I’m preparing to transfer to ODU to major in Physical Education.  I plan to be a teacher and basketball coach at the school.  My hobbies are coaching, watching basketball, and spending time with my son, girlfriend and family. I also love traveling with my basketball team to new states to explore new things.  I’m a very nice and polite person where I like to always be positive.  I look forward to guiding the children to be the leaders of our future.

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DJ Brokaw Recreational Counselor
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DJ Brokaw
DJ Brokaw
Recreational Counselor

Hi, my name is Delandra, but I go by DJ!  I am a float here in the Village as well as the Preschool!  I have lived in Virginia Beach for 20+ years now.  I went to college in Michigan where I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science before moving home again.  Outside of LeafSpring School, I teach group and private figure skating and hockey lessons in Virginia Beach.  I have worked with children for a long time on the ice, in summer camps, as well as some classroom experience.  My goal here at LeafSpring School is to learn and grow as a teacher.

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Jessica Chance Younger Infant Co-Lead Teacher
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Jessica Chance
Jessica Chance
Younger Infant Co-Lead Teacher

I have worked at LeafSpring School for four years.  I left to start an adventure as a private nanny, but life has brought me back to my LS family! I am currently taking classes to earn my CDA for infants and toddler care. I enjoy spending time with my family and dogs.

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Jessica Mason Recreational Counselor
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Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason
Recreational Counselor

Hello, I’ve been with LeafSpring since 2014. I have enjoyed working as an Assistant Pre-K Teacher and Recreation Counselor. I’m originally from Peoria, Illinois but I’ve been living in Virginia Beach, Virginia since I graduated in 2011. I attended Liberty University where I received my degree in Sport Management and Psychology. I left LeafSpring for some time to work as a Recreation Supervisor in our children’s camp, Splash Kamp at Holiday Inn North Beach. I’ve had several opportunities working as an Assistant Teacher, Assistant Facility Manager, Coach, First Responder and Recreation Aid in public schools, recreation programs and sports leagues around the city. But, nothing makes me happier than putting education and physical activity together. I’m excited to be back at LeafSpring with people I can call family.

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Kim Mead Red Assistant Teacher, Toddlers
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Kim Mead
Kim Mead
Red Assistant Teacher, Toddlers

Hello friends! My name is Kim Mead and I am the Assistant Teacher for our younger Toddlers. I love this age because everything is new and exciting for the little ones. Originally a Jersey girl, I graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts, and have been married for over 25 years. In the beginning, we moved quite frequently with the Army, before settling in Virginia. My husband and I have two, wonderful children now in college. We all moved to the Virginia Beach area in 2016 and love it here! When I’m not in the classroom, you might find me on the courts, on the beach, playing with my dog, fishing, kayaking, or spending time with family and friends. Thank you for entrusting me with your tiny treasures!

What inspires me: learning through laughter. It always amazes me how young children can grasp concepts when having fun. They are like little sponges, who soak everything in.

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Maddie Starner Recreational Counselor
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Maddie Starner
Maddie Starner
Recreational Counselor

Hi! My name is Maddie Starner and I moved to Virginia Beach in 2016 from a small town in Indiana. I started working at LeafSpring School in October 2016 and welcomed my son into the world September 2017. I am currently pursuing my Associates Degree in the Social Sciences at Tidewater Community College and plan to transfer to ODU when that is completed. I have been working with children of all ages since I was fifteen years old. I love the connection that can be made with children and they can always brighten up my day. My goal at LeafSpring School is to provide a positive and engaging environment outside of the classic school setting. Looking forward to the rest of the year!

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Mahogany Ellis Older Infant Assistant Teacher
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Mahogany Ellis
Mahogany Ellis
Older Infant Assistant Teacher

I am currently a student working towards my Early Childhood Education & Development Degree. With no children of my own, I enjoy coming to work to teach and care for others. I have been with LeafSpring for some time now & have come to love the family I work with. I’m so excited to be teaching and can’t wait for all that is in store at LeafSpring School!

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Natalia Munoz Orange Assistant Teacher, Younger 2's
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Natalia Munoz
Natalia Munoz
Orange Assistant Teacher, Younger 2's

“Czesc! I am Natalia and I just said Hello in Polish! If you haven’t guessed already I am from Poland. Things to know about me is that I received my MA in Psychology, I was an Au Pair for 2 years, I am married to my best friend raising a boxer pup and seizing every moment of life together! I enjoy teaching children and walking them through any obstacle they come across. It is so rewarding seeing a child progress and the happiness they show when they have achieved something for the first time. I hope this was a good brief description about me but please don’t be hesitant to ask me anything else! I am thrilled to be a part of the Leaf Spring team and look forward to speaking with all of you!”

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Sandy Montoya Preschool Float
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Sandy Montoya
Sandy Montoya
Preschool Float

I am so happy to be part of the LeafSpring School family. I will be going to study at TCC in the Spring. My favorite thing to do is to go to the beach and enjoy the sun with friends and family. I love working with children, helping them learn and watching them grow.

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Amber Costa Red Co-Lead Teacher, Toddlers
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Amber Costa
Amber Costa
Red Co-Lead Teacher, Toddlers

Hello there! My name is Amber Costa. I am 23 years old and an assistant teacher here at LeafSpring School. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher. So, with my passion for teaching, hard work, and the support from others, I recently graduated from TCC with an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I enjoy working with and helping children learn and grow. When I’m not at school, I’m hanging out with my three dogs.

 

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Athena de Graaf Preschool Assistant Director
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Athena de Graaf
Athena de Graaf
Preschool Assistant Director

Hello! My name is Athena de Graaf and I have been with LeafSpring School for 11 years. I started at LeafSpring School at Virginia Beach in June 2007. I transferred to LeafSpring School at Wyndham that same year and stayed with them before returning to Virginia Beach in 2013. During that time, I was a lead teacher in every classroom except for the Infant and Toddler room.  I earned my Bachelors in Child and Adolescent Psychology from Liberty University and have worked with children of all age groups before working at LeafSpring School.

I am married to my best friend, Brandon, and together we have been blessed with 2 wonderful children, Joe and Jordin. I love spending time with my family and watching my kids compete in their golf tournaments, but I also enjoy crashing on the couch and watching my favorite show, “This is Us.”

I love my job and getting to know all the families. The kids give me a reason to smile each day.

Inspiration can be found anywhere. I am deeply inspired by my faith and family. They motivate me to focus on the important things and to not be swayed by the uncertainties and negativity in this world.

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Barbara Garbin Preschool Float
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Barbara Garbin
Barbara Garbin
Preschool Float

Bio coming soon

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Brian Guinter Blue Lead Teacher, Older 4's
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Brian Guinter
Brian Guinter
Blue Lead Teacher, Older 4's

I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and have been working with children for over 5 years now. I moved late 2015 down here from Pennsylvania and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I’m very happy that I was able to find a position away from my hometown that made me just as comfortable as I was there. I am looking forward to helping your children grow and learn as much as I can from them.

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Christi Piver Green Lead Teacher, Younger 3's
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Christi Piver
Christi Piver
Green Lead Teacher, Younger 3's

It is so nice to meet you!  I look forward to be here in Green Room.  I have worked with children for the last 12 years, 7 of them here at Rainbow Station.  My husband and I grew up in Hampton Roads and together we have two daughters ages 13 and 15.  I have an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Development and I am currently working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

 

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Angeline Fontimayor Village Director
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Angeline Fontimayor
Angeline Fontimayor
Village Director

Greetings families!  I have been with LeafSpring School since our doors have opened in 2007.  I have enjoyed serving as a previous Recreational Counselor, Village Assistant Director and Village Program Director.  I attended Old Dominion University where I earned my B. S. in Human Services Counseling and minored in both Management and Psychology.  I physically left the program in 2016 to relocate to Northern California.  While I was in California, many life changes happened- I am now married to my best friend, Chris, who I actually met through Mr. Paul!  Chris and I are also expecting a baby girl this spring!  I have literally watched our Virginia Beach site grow, both physically from the days where it was still being built to emotionally, in which I proudly share our school wide accomplishments.  I am happy and humbled to be back on the Admin team and on the East Coast!

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Hazel Mariano Executive Director and Owner
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Hazel Mariano
Hazel Mariano
Executive Director and Owner

I am the owner of LeafSpring VB. I graduated from Green High School, received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia, and after having worked in pediatrics for a few years, I went on to receive my Master of Science in Nursing from Old Dominion University. I worked as a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for many years, and it is during that time that I saw a need in our community for a quality early education program that also encompassed a nursing component. LeafSpring School is the perfect marriage of nursing and education, and I am happy to be a part of it.

Currently, if you will often see me roaming the halls and classrooms of LeafSpring School, or in the Get Well Place. I have five children whose academic and athletic endeavors take up the bulk of my “free time”, but I enjoy supporting them and spending time with my family. I also enjoy cooking, as well as getting caught up in a good read.

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Isabel Monell Younger Infants Teacher
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Isabel Monell
Isabel Monell
Younger Infants Teacher

Hey, I’m Isabel Monell born and raised in the Hampton Roads area.  I love, art, creativity, color, imagination, etc. I have my degree in Studio Art from Old Dominion University.  I love children, it’s such a beautiful thing to experience life and discovery through their lens. I love exchanging my “grown-up” hat for childlikeness and remembering that even the simple things bring joy, excitement, and wonder. I’m excited to be a part of the Leaf Spring Family!

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Joyce Oandasan Site Director
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Joyce Oandasan
Joyce Oandasan
Site Director

Hi! My name is Joyce and I have been with the company since its inception in 2007. Prior to that, I worked for Rainbow Station (LeafSpring School) in Richmond, VA since 2000. I have my BS in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism and my MS in Early Childhood Studies. I am an advocate for young children and am actively involved in the early childhood scene on a local and state level. On a personal note, my husband and I have two children, Ezra Jane and Paul, Jr. I no longer have my own hobbies, but now look forward to the different ways to make memories with my family – surprise trips to Dairy Queen, the beach, and Richmond are the favorites.

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Kim Greelish Recreational Counselor
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Kim Greelish
Kim Greelish
Recreational Counselor

Bio coming soon

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Krystal Boone Village Assistant Director
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Krystal Boone
Krystal Boone
Village Assistant Director

In May 2012 I was hired to work in the Gold Room for the summer then in Blue Room for the following school year as the assistant teacher. In Aug 2013 I transitioned up front to the Administrative Assistant in the Preschool building where I worked until June 2015. The military sent my husband and I to San Diego, CA for 6 months then to Jacksonville, FL for 3 years.  I am so happy to be back in Hampton Roads and to be a part of the LeafSpring family once again. While I was gone I received my Bachelors in Elementary Education PK-6 and was granted my teaching license in the state of Virginia.  Also, while away I continued my work in the early education field working at a preschool where I continued to grow as an educator as well as have my own son who will be turning 2 on Halloween! I enjoy spending time with my family, reading and playing board games! I am excited to return to LeafSpring School as the new Village Assistant Director.

The future inspires me. Knowing that I work in a field that is helping shape the minds and attitudes of our future generation is a gift within itself.

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Mallory Cooper Younger Infant AssistantTeacher
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Mallory Cooper
Mallory Cooper
Younger Infant AssistantTeacher

I was born and raised in Virginia Beach and I am the oldest of 7. My experience with children started with being a nanny and I currently attend NSU, majoring in Elementary Education and Psychology. My hobbies are music and art. I love movies and traveling.

 

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Mar Rallos Recreational Counselor
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Mar Rallos
Mar Rallos
Recreational Counselor

Bio coming soon

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Melissa Merrill Curriculum Specialist and Gold Pre-K Lead Teacher, Older 4's
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Melissa Merrill
Melissa Merrill
Curriculum Specialist and Gold Pre-K Lead Teacher, Older 4's

I have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and I have been teaching preschool for 20 years. I joined the LeafSpring School family over a year ago and I am having a great time. I have been a military wife for over 20 years. My husband Kyle and I have the best son anyone could wish for, Harrison. When I am not working or preparing for work, I love to read. We are going to have so much fun and so many adventures. I have an open door policy so please feel free to ask me any questions or discuss any concerns you may have. I believe that it takes a village to prepare a child for a lifetime of success. Together we can help your child become ready to tackle the world of Kindergarten! Here’s to a great year!

 

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Patty Oswald Orange Lead Teacher, Younger 2's
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Patty Oswald
Patty Oswald
Orange Lead Teacher, Younger 2's

This is my 8th school year here working with toddlers. I absolutely love this age group. I’m originally from Germany and have my early childhood education degree. I have an 12 year old 7th grader who loves school and basketball. I love going to the beach, reading, and visiting places with my son. I am so excited to work with your children and help them succeed in everything they do and feel good about themselves.

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Paul Oandasan Club 5 Recreation Counselor
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Paul Oandasan
Paul Oandasan
Club 5 Recreation Counselor

I’ve been working at LeafSpring School since this site first opened. I am currently the Club 5 recreational counselor. I grew up in Virginia Beach, and then I moved to Sacramento, California. I am a graduate of High Tech Institute. I’m the proud papa to a wonderful little girl named Ezra and an energetic little boy name P.J.  I love the Kings, San Francisco 49ers, and the San Francisco Giants. I also enjoy Brazilian Ji Jitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Mixed Martial Arts.

 

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Ron Tolbert School Float
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Ron Tolbert
Ron Tolbert
School Float

I love teaching, growing minds, and most important, the Lord! I previously worked at LeafSpring School from 2007 to 2012. For those who remember, yes, I still go by “Superman.” My favorite color is red and my girlfriend’s name is pepperoni pizza. I am back, and everyone, let me tell you – it feels good being home!

 

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Shenequa Thomas Purple Pre-K Assistant Teacher
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Shenequa Thomas
Shenequa Thomas
Purple Pre-K Assistant Teacher

I graduated from Kellam H.S. and the VB Technical and Career Education Centerin 2015. I am attending TCC to become a school counselor. I enjoy reading books in my spare time. It will be a great honor to work with your children.

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Shirley Hoggard Blue Assistant Teacher, Older 4's
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Shirley Hoggard
Shirley Hoggard
Blue Assistant Teacher, Older 4's

I have been with LeafSpring School for over 6 years now and I love it! I am a mother of an 8 year old, Isaiah. I am one of 11 sibilings! I attended the VoTech Center in Virginia Beach for Early Childhood Education and I received my certificate. In my spare time I enjoy shopping with my son and spending time with my family. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I am very excited to be teaching.

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Tatyana Drake Recreational Counselor
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Tatyana Drake
Tatyana Drake
Recreational Counselor

Bio coming soon

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Theresa Cole Private Kindergarten Teacher
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Theresa Cole
Theresa Cole
Private Kindergarten Teacher

My name is Theresa Cole and I teach Private Kindergarten at LeafSpring School.  I am a recently retired teacher from Virginia Beach City Public Schools.  My background is in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education.  I began teaching in 1983 after graduating from James Madison University, with a Bachelor of Science degree.   My classroom experiences include preschool through high school: however, my favorite positions included those that focused on the young child.

My love and passion for early childhood education culminated at the Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center where I ran the preschool lab classroom for children ages 3-5 years.  I trained 11th and 12th grade students in the field of early childhood. In addition, I have also trained many early childhood professionals in developmentally appropriate practices and have led workshops on literacy, behavior management and music and movement instruction.

As the mother of two, now grown children, and the proud “GiGi” of my 3 year old grandson, I am a lover of children.  I love everything about young children and how they learn.  I am playful and believe that children learn through “doing”.   My mission is to help to ensure that children are ready for life and all that life offers them.  It is my sincere hope that my love and passion for early childhood will enhance the children, their families and the staff of LeafSpring School.

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Uli Diehl Purple Pre-K Assistant Teacher, Younger 4's
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Uli Diehl
Uli Diehl
Purple Pre-K Assistant Teacher, Younger 4's

Hello, my name is Ulrike Diehl, just call me Ms. Uli. I was born in the States. My parents are both from Germany and after living in North Carolina for three years, we moved back to Germany. I spent most of my childhood there – with two years in Argentina. I speak German, English, bit of Spanish, and some French. I studied four years of Early Childhood Education in Germany to become a teacher ranging from infants to school-age children. I have been living in Virginia Beach for over seven years and have been working as a live-in nanny.

 

 

 

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