Christy has been in the Early Childhood Field for 20 years and has worked in a variety of preschool settings. Her experience includes being a preschool teacher, program coordinator and assistant director for a national corporate child care company; teaching Early Childhood Education at a local high school, where she managed the lab preschool in addition to teaching the high school students the basics of Early Childhood; working for Nova Southeastern University as an Early Childhood Training Specialist where she provided training, coaching and technical assistance to preschool directors and teachers seeking to become accredited or improve overall quality of their center; working as an Inclusion Specialist for the Early Childhood Council providing teachers with strategies and implementation plans to help all children in their care be successful. Christy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from Florida State University, a Florida Director’s Credential, and is a NAC Validator. She has been married to her husband Chris for eleven years and they have three beautiful children.
Lead Teacher - Infants
Hi! My name is Natalie Owens and I am the lead teacher in the infant room. I obtained my Assistant Group Supervisor certificate in 1998. I went back to school in 2006, and obtained my Child Development Associate Credential in 2007. In 2010, I became a nanny to a child with special needs. In the 5 years I was with her, I was very blessed to be involved with Speech, Physical and Occupational therapy. My husband John, our two daughters – Madison and Kirsten- and I moved to Florida in August 2015. Our dog, Darla, joined the family in October 2015. We attend Fishhawk Fellowship Church. My favorite verse from the Bible is Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Assistant Teacher - Infants
My name is Ann Samuel. I am a wife to a wonderful Godly husband, a mother of four beautiful girls, and a grandmother - or as they call me, "Mimi" - of two wonderful exciting, exasperating grandkids.
We attend First Baptist of Dover and have for 11 years. My favorite Bible verse used to be Philippians 4:13 and it is still important to me in my daily walk with God. But as God takes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me this upcoming school year, He has brought to mind and heart a new Bible verse, Luke 1:45 - "Blessed is she who believes that the Lord would fulfill His promise to her!" I am currently working on finishing my AA in Early Childhood Education at Liberty University.
Lead Teacher - Toddlers
Lead Teacher - Two A
My name is Michelle Booher. I am the Lead Teacher in the Two A. This is my 3rd year at God's Garden. I have been working in preschool for about five years and I absolutely love it! I am currently completing the process of earning my A.S. degree in Ear;y Childhood Education from Hillsborough Community College. To share a little bit about me, I am 23 years old and come from a Christian family. I have an older brother and an identical twin sister. I am a member of Hopewell Baptist Church in Plant City. I clog on a competition clogging team and have for the past 15 years. My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10 - "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand." Sometimes life can get tough but with God as our strength we can get through even life's toughest battles!
Assistant Teacher - Twos, Infants
Hello! My name is Kirsten Abel and I am the Assistant Teacher for the Twos A class. I'll also assist in the Infant room in the afternoon. I am currently enrolled at HCC and am working to obtain my Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Management. I go to Fishhawk Fellowship Church and my favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 31:25. "Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come." I live at home with my mom, step-dad, little sister, dog and cat. I am so excited to be working at God's Garden Preschool.
Assistant Teacher - VPK B
Hello, my name is Louise Eaton. I am the Assistant Teacher in the VPK B class. I have worked in the childcare field for over ten years. I hold an Associates degree and my CDA. I was born in Middletown New York, but after moving around with my husband of 21 years, with the US Army, I now call Plant City my home. We have raised three wonderful children together.
Children are our treasure. To watch them learn and grow is my greatest love. "God created you to do amazing things." Ephesians 2:10. That is what I hope to help my students achieve.
Co-Lead Teacher - Two B
Hi. My name is Shannon McClellan, I am a Co-Lead Teacher for the Two B class. I attend Plant City Church of God. I have been serving the Lord for over 20 years now. I taught Rainbows (Preschool age girls) for 15 years and now teach Stars (3rd-5th grade girls) on Wednesday nights. I have three children whom are grown and one granddaughter. I love animals of all kinds, Disney and cartoons. I am a big kid at heart. My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Lead Teacher - Three C
Hello, my name is Mrs. Shana (sounds like banana). I am excited and looking forward to being the teacher of the Three C class this year. We are going to do so many fun things and of course, we will learn a lot this year too. My goal is to teach in a loving yet structured environment. My hope is for your child to blossom academically and spiritually throughout the year. We will learn how to be a great friend and student. A little about me... I was born and raised in Plant City. I am married to Jake and we have two kids. Grayce is 8 yrs old and Brexten is 6 yrs old. I am a member of First Baptist Plant City. My favorite Bible verse is "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. For fun we love to travel and go to theme parks. I am also a photographer and plan to incorporate that into our Arts and Crafts activities. I believe pictures help freeze a special moment in time for us to cherish forever.
Melissa Cruz Mejias
Assistant Teacher - Threes
Hi, my name is Melissa Cruz Mejias. I am the Assistant Teacher in Ms. Shana's three year old class. I have my NCDA - National Child Development Accreditation, and FCCPC - Florida Child Care Professional Credential. I also have two years of Microbiology and some Early Education from Polk State College.
I am bilingual, married to Sergio and we have two beautiful children; Valeria, 4 years old and Diego, 2 years old. I am a DIY person, I love all things handmade and love working with wood.
My favorite Bible verse is Joshua 1.9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I attend Primera Iglesia Bautista in Plant City with my family.
Assistant Teacher - Threes
Hi, my name is Heather Lawrence. I am the Assistant teacher for the three year old class. I am married with 4 children, Mason, Brody, Baileigh and Emma. I attend First Baptist Church of Dover. My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."