Meet Our Teachers

 

Our staff inspires children to question their world and to appreciate multiple perspectives. When children are agents of their own learning, they build life-long critical thinking skills and are more deeply invested in the process. We believe that learning is a social process, and as a community of learners, staff, parents, and children partner together in a welcoming environment which promotes growth.

 

 

Kim Garra

Mandel Early Childhood Education Center Director

 

Kim has devoted her career to Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Her background includes earning her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Malone College with significant post-grad work in Special Education with a concentration in Autism. She has worked over 25 years in an early childhood education setting, directing and teaching, and with children of all ages. Kim enjoys being involved in the lives of young children and treasures the opportunity to share in these years with their families while at the ECE.

 

 

 

Laura Balana

Laura helps the children grow and learn every day and enjoys seeing them laugh and smile. She has had the opportunity to work with children ranging from newborn to Pre-K. Laura is currently working towards her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.

 

MaryAnn Beach

 

 

Kelsey Beck

Kelsey is happy to come to the ECE and see all the children she works with learn and grow over time. She has been able to work with numerous children of all ages. Kelsey has been trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse.

 

Michelle Benvie

Michelle is always eager to come to school and see what new discoveries the children will make. She has primarily worked with children who are 3 years old. Michelle earned her Early Childhood Education and Family and Childhood Development from the University of Akron. 

 

Hannah Bors

Hannah loves working at the ECE because she can watch the children grow and develop. She also appreciates how supportive all the families are and the team she works with every day. Hannah has been trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse.

 

Sue Brady

Sue always finds it amazing to see the children's eyes light up when they learn something new and appreciates when children come back to say "hi" years later. Sue has been trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse and regularly attends continuing education classes.

 

Katie Brunson

Katie loves the opportunity to work with children daily and see their progress as they grow from the beginning of the year to the end. She works with children in Pre-K and makes sure they are ready for Kindergarten. Katie earned her Family and Child Development degree from the University of Akron.

 

Heather Casto

Heather likes working with the children in her room and helping them learn new skills. She has experience working with children with special needs and children with learning disabilities. Heather has her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ and takes continuing education classes on a regular basis.

 

Taylor Chiles

Taylor enjoys the community atmosphere the ECE provides for the children and working with her team. She has had the opportunity to work with children ranging from 6 weeks to 5 years old while at the ECE. Taylor is currently working towards her degree at the University of Akron.

 

Blair Erlichman

Blair enjoys teaching children and seeing them practice what she has taught them. She has not only taught children, but coached children in lacrosse for over 5 years.  Blair attended both, the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. ​

 

Tonya Flight

Tonya's favorite part of working in the ECE is being able to take part in children's first milestones and being able to watch them grow. She has an Associate’s in Medical Assisting and is working towards her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.​

 

Rocco Galizio

Rocco's favorite part of working with children in his class is watching them learn a new skill and sharing in the excitement of when they finally get it. Rocco earned his degree at the University of Notre Dame. ​

 

Hannah Hafer

Hannah enjoys working with her team members and the families of the ECE to develop a nurturing environment for the children. She has worked with children of all ages from newborn to school age. Hannah is currently working towards a degree in the Medical Field from Fortis College and is trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse.​

 

Khori Hart

Khori loves how family oriented the ECE is and that parents are always informed on what their children are learning. She attended the University of Akron and has earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.​

 

Samantha Hartman

Samantha loves working with an age group that develops so many important skills in such a short amount of time. She has also worked with children with special needs and knows American Sign Language. Samantha attended the University of Akron and earned a degree specializing in Early Childhood Intervention. 

 

Jeff Klemm

Jeff knows that making a positive difference in children's lives plays a huge role at such a young age. He enjoys teaching them new things and seeing their smiles. Jeff will be finishing a degree in Early Childhood Education and will be working towards his Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.​

 

Brenne LaRiccia

Brenne enjoys seeing the children's smiles when they succeed or have fun and their bright eyes. She has worked with primarily 2 to 3 year olds and has experience working with children with special needs and learning disabilities. Brenne earned her degree from the University of Akron. 

 

Lindsey Marrone

Lindsay loves seeing the children grow and learn new skills each day. She works to get children ready for Kindergarten and has worked with children in Pre-K to third grade. Lindsay earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Akron and earned her MA from The New School in New York City.​

 

Lisa Pesantez

Lisa always enjoys seeing children have those Aha! moments and seeing them discover new things. She brings over 30 years of teaching to each classroom she teaches. Lisa has been trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse and earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.​

 

Chrissy Podolok

​​Chrissy loves how proud the children are when they have learned something new and feels just as happy and proud for them as they do for themselves. She has earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ and attended the University of Akron.​

 

Mellissa Redman

Mellissa's favorite part of working in the ECE is teaching young children about the world around them and watching them absorb the info and thrive. She has experience working with children ranging from 2 to 18 years old. Mellissa attended the University of Akron and Ferris State University.​

 

Melody Sherard-Redman

Melody has worked with children in many ways throughout her career. She has worked with children with Autism, homeschooled her 4 children, and worked as an Assistant Children's Librarian where she participated in story time, crafting and implementing programming for preschool and school aged children. Melody has also earned a BA and MA from the University of Akron.​

 

Brian Richards

Brian likes to help children learn positive behaviors and loves seeing the children help each other because of behavior they learned from him. He has worked previously with children and parents to resolve behavioral problems. Brian attended Walsh University, where he earned his degree in Clinical Psychology.

 

Cindy Smith

Cindy will work with children to accomplish new milestones and help them grow into positive children. She has worked with infants and toddlers for a couple of years. Cindy is finishing her degree with The Ohio State University.

 

Yvette Smith

Yvette is proud to make a difference in the children she teaches and knows that she is shaping tomorrow's future. She works with children of all ages in the ECE. Yvette is working towards a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Akron and her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.​

 

Ayelet Torem

Ayelet teaches children about her Jewish, Israeli, and Hebrew background and is fascinated when they grasp new information so quickly. Ayelet earned her Early Childhood Education degree from the University of Akron and is trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse.​

 

Joyce Williams

Joyce loves the campus, her coworkers and watching families grow. She has worked primarily with the 2 to 3 year olds. Joyce attended the University of Akron where she earned an Associate's in Early Childhood Education and a BA in Family and Child Development.

 

Riley Williams

Riley's favorite part about working at the ECE are the families she works with and their children. She has experience working with all ages from new born to early childhood. Riley is currently working towards a degree in the Medical Field from Ashworth College and is trained in CPR and how to handle cases of child abuse.​

 

Megan Woods

Megan sees the ECE as a happy place to come to work every day. She truly enjoys working with the children and families that come to the ECE. Megan earned her degree from the University of Akron in Education Paraprofessional and is trained in CPR and how to handle cases of child abuse.​

 

Natalie Yuschak

Natalie enjoys working with at the ECE because the teachers all work together to take care of the children. She has cared for 3 year olds for over 10 years. Natalie earned her degree from the University of Akron and takes Early Childhood Continuing Education classes on a regular basis.​