Early Learning Center
Meet Our Staff
Tara Goitein - Owner
Tara has owned her in-home child care business for over 13 years. She has a degree in early childhood education and experience as a pre-school teacher. Her favorite part about working with children is getting to know each child as an individual and helping them have fun while learning.
"I knew at a very young age teaching children was what I was meant to do. Caring and being able to learn from children every day is the best job in the world!"
Leah Hanlon - Owner
Leah has owned her in-home child care business for eight years. She has an MBA and a bachelor's degree in business administration, as well as a degree in early childhood education. She enjoys helping children learn and guiding them through the various stages of development.
"Owning a child care has been my dream job. I have always loved working with children, and getting to make that my career is something I am forever grateful for. Watching them grow through the years is an unforgettable experience."
Eda Michaud - Director
Eda had been working with children for over 10 years and has a wide range of organizational, program management and teaching experience combined with her strong communication skills. Eda has two master’s degrees -- in business administration and conflict management -- and certified as a center director by Maryland's State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood, Office of Child Care (OCC). She is also fully credentialed as a teacher from Maryland Child Care Credential Program in both infant/toddler and pre-school age groups making her a qualified mentor to the teachers.
"The children are our tomorrow's stakeholders, and I truly believe that giving them a positive experience built on love and trust in their early life will make a big difference in their future and the society as a whole!"
Jamease Young - Preschool Teacher (Purple Owls)
Jamease brings to us her 9 years of experience teacher children, mainly preschoolers. Ms Jamease has a very positive spirit, very pleasant voice and a gentle and loving way with kids that makes every child in their class warm-up easily with her. Very energetic and versatile, and demonstrates fun and resourcefulness that keeps the students enjoying their daily activities with excitement.
Fuentes, Vanessa - Preschool Teacher (Purple Owls)
Vanessa brings to Lily Pads three years of childcare experience and heart for teaching young minds. Kids love the many activities and project Ms Vanessa leads the class with!
Monica Medina - Two's Teacher (Green Frogs)
Monica is well-liked by the kids and parents for her active engagement and skillful teaching, making her kids learn the routines and prepare them for preschool. Monica has worked as a teacher in a formal daycare center setting for the past 6 years.
Susan Pishva - Two's Teacher (Green Frogs)
Susan has long years of experience in childcare including running ad managing her own family childcare in the past. She completed her 90 hours course in Child Care and Curriculum Planning and other courses. Susan loves children and falls in love with each of them everyday!
Manal Elawad - Infant/Toddler Teacher (Red Caterpillar)
Manal is originally from Sudan in East Africa, and her primary language is Arabic. She is happily married and has two healthy children. She has worked with children in Montgomery County for over 10 years and taken many early childhood education courses, including those that earned her certification as Child Development Associate (CDA). She also has her teaching credential from Maryland Childcare Credential Program in the infant and toddler age group. She loves to spend time with her family and enjoys reading Arabic books and drinking tea and different herbs. For her, “water is very important.” She also follows a strict diet and prefers vegetables to meat.
“I enjoy working with children. I know that being a childcare provider is not an easy job, but it is certainly one of great importance with long-lasting effect. That is why I work hard to do everything I possibly can to help provide a healthy learning environment that motivates learning and growth.”
Johanna Hernandez - Toddler Teacher (Orange Butterfly)
Johanna has completed her 90 hours course in Child Care and Curriculum Planning and other childcare courses from Howard College. She is currently attending Montgomery College, studying for her Associate degree in Early Childhood Education.
Rebecca Ramos - Infant/Toddler Teacher (Blue Tadpoles)
Rebecca was born and raised in Maryland. She attended Winston Churchill High School and has for a while provided childcare to families which influenced her to pursue a career early childhood education. She has been working with children for over seven years and is currently enrolled at Montgomery College for early childhood education. Rebecca is a family-oriented person. She takes care of her mom, whom she loves so much.
“I like working with children because I’m able to guide and help them to be their own selves. I believe that children really grow and learn more through free play so, even at their young age, I offer them choices to support their social and emotional skills. And I just love it when they give me hugs and kisses!”
Dionne Ottley - Infant/Toddler Teacher (Yellow Polliwogs)
Dionne brings more than 3 years of experience in caring for infants and loves her work! She comes everyday with a big smile looking forward to every chance she has to make each of her class members feel loved and cared for while at the center.
Shirley Chao- Infant/Toddler Teacher -Floater/Admin
Shirley was born and raised in the Philippines and speaks English and Tagalog. She has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and has completed multiple trainings in child care including child care administration, ADA, and breastfeeding. She also has her teacher's credential in the infant & toddler age group from Maryland Childcare Credential Program. Shirley has been working with children for over four years. She takes pleasure in taking care of them and nurturing them the best way possible. She is a family-oriented person and supports her family in the Philippines. She likes to shop, watch movies, and dine out with her husband. Her favorite foods are Filipino, Indian, and Chinese.
“I am blessed to be in a position where I can assist in the growth and development of children. I enjoy the challenge of meeting each child's needs and enjoy watching them develop and thrive. It's very rewarding to share the moment when a child learns something new. I am proud to be a part of the Lily Pads community."
Stephanie Contreras Melo
Infant/Toddler Teacher Aide
Stephanie enjoys working with children, and just being able to watch them happy every day makes her smile.
Alexis has long years of experience as private nanny and babysitter and shows her gentle demenor with her loving and careful way of caring for the babies in their classroom.
Mila Santos - Infant/Toddler Teacher Aide
Mila is an experienced babysitter and her long years of experience manifests in work with children.
Khiya teaches gymnastics to our children and is currently taking courses that are required in childcare. Gentle and young, our children quickly warms up to her presence.
Etsegenet Jenbere - Teacher -Floater
Genet finished her 90 hours in Child Growth and Development as well as her Preschool Curriculum Course at Montgomery College. She loves working with children and is currently pursuing her Child Development Associate Credential. Genet loves to bring her Ethiopian food and share it with some teachers! Having worked with our Two's class for a year, Genet is now moving to help the preschool (Purple Owls) team to share her knowledge and skills in helping children develop in the different major domains of growth and development.