God’s Garden Preschool is committed to hiring highly qualified, loving, Christian teachers to care for our children. All staff members are required to have 45 hours of state-mandated child development training, be CPR/First Aid certified and be at least 18 years old. In addition, Lead Teachers must hold an active Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate, have a minimum of 2 years’ experience working with young children and be at least 21 years old.
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.
Hi, my name is Wendy Skees. I am the "cookie and pizza lady". Oh, and I work in the office, keep the files, juggle lots of balls and run this website when I can. Prior to coming to God's Garden, I was a kindergarten teacher at Seffner Christian Academy for ten years. I thought I was just going to "take a break" from teaching for a year and then life got in the way. Sure am glad God brought me back into the world of children because that is where I'm happiest and most fulfilled. I am so thankful for God's Garden and the ministry it provides families and young children. My life verse is "Be still and know that I am God,". (New King James Version Psalm 46:10a). To me, it means get quiet, don't fret, and trust God knowing that He's already got this - whatever "this' might be. I attend LifeSpring Community Church in Tampa. I have 2 incredible adult daughters - Cresent and Gaby, a wonderful son-in-law - Mat, and an awesome granddaughter who makes my heart sing - Lilia.
Melissa Cruz Mejias
Lead Teacher - VPK Amelissacruz@godsgardenpreschool,net
Hi, my name is Melissa Cruz Mejias. I am the Lead Teacher for VPK A. 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, 5 years old and Diego, 3 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.
Lead Teacher - VPK Bpatti@godsgardenpreschool.net
My name is Patti Lusk. I teach VPK and have for 22 years. I have my CDA license and have completed the 40 hour training for teaching. My favorite Bible verse is "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths". Proverbs 3:5,6. My family and I attend Bell Shoals Baptist Church. I am married to Ron and we will celebrate 36 years this year. I have 2 adult children, Austin, Amy and son in law Justin, and granddaughter Avery. I love spending time with my family and I love college football (Go Gators!) but mostly all my spare time is spent with my granddaughter Avery!
Assistant Teacher - VPK A&Bemilie@godsgardenpreschool.net
My name is Emilie Campbell. I am the Assistant Teacher in the VPK A and VPK B classes. I have worked in the Preschool field for a year and am currently working to obtain my AA in General Education. I am recently married and my husband and I currently attend First Baptist Church of Plant City. I am the oldest of three children with a little brother and sister. My favorite Bible verse is "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12. No matter how young, you always have someone watching, so always be an example in the way you live.
Lead Teacher - VPK Djulie@godsgardenpreschool.net
Lead Teacher - Three Bann@godsgardenpreschool.net
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 - Three Amichelle@godsgardenpreschool.net
My name is Michelle Booher. I am the Lead Teacher for the Three A class. This is my 4th year at God's Garden. I have been working in preschool for about six years and I absolutely love it! I am currently completing the process of earning my A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from Hillsborough Community College. To share a little bit about me, I am 24 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 - Three A&Bhanna@godsgardenpreschool.net
Hi :), my name is Hanna Barrett; I am the assistant teacher of the Three A and Three B classes at God's Garden Preschool. My favorite Bible verse is Romans 1:16. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes,". I attend First Baptist Church Dover and am also enrolled at Hillsborough Community College for primary education.
Lead Teacher - Two Balma@godsgardenpreschool.net
My name is Alma Longoria. I'm the teacher of Two B. My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” The name of the church I attend is Iglesia de Dios Torre Fuerte which means Strong Tower of God. I am the mother of four children - one girl and 3 boys and I have been married to my husband Erasmo Morales for over 14 years. I love to fish and just relax with my family.
Lead Teacher - Transition/Two Ashannon@godsgardenpreschool.net
Hi. My name is Shannon McClellan, I am the Lead Teacher for the Transition/Two A 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.
Assistant Teacher - Transition/Two Acarolina@godsgardenpreschool.net
Hi, my name is Carolina Santiago. I am the assistant teacher for the Transition/Two A class. This is my second year working at God's Garden Preschool and I am so excited! I am working with Ms. Shannon and I know we are going to make this a fun and exciting year. A bible verse I like to keep close to my heart is “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18. I regularly attend Shilo Baptist Church. I feel like once you've found the church you feel whole in, then that's the one for you. A few things I'd like to share with you is I love music, to listen to or play it; it moves my soul! Drawing is a form of expression I could never stop doing. And singing is a beautiful way to say anything, to praise our Lord, to share our emotions, and I can't be without it. Lastly Christmas is my favorite holiday and I can't wait to spend this winter season with everyone.
Lead Teacher - Toddlerssandy@godsgardenpreschool.net
Hi, my name is Sandy Lott. I co-teach with Ms. Louise in the Toddler classroom. I was a teacher of 3, 4 and 5 year old children in a deaf and hearing classroom for 17 years. I also worked at Lopez Exceptional Center with children with special needs. After I left public school employment I knew God would have a plan, so I prayed He would open a door. The next day I found out that my home church, First Baptist Dover, was opening a preschool and I was asked to be a lead teacher of whatever age I wanted. It just so happened, I was already teaching toddlers in Sunday School, so I chose toddlers. God's timing is perfect. My favorite Bible verse is "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 New International Version) Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.
Lead Teacher - Toddlerslouise@godsgardenpreschool.net
Hello, my name is Louise Eaton. I co-teach with Ms. Sandy in the Toddler class. I have worked in the childcare field for over 12 years. I hold an Associates degree and my CDA. I was born in Middletown New York, but after moving around with my husband of 23 years with the US Army, I now call Valrico 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.
Assistant Teacher - Toddlersgrace@godsgardenpreschool.net
Hi, my name is Grace Kelley. I am the assistant teacher for the Toddler class. My favorite Bible verse comes from John 16 verse 33. John 16:33 states “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This verse reminds me that no matter what this world throws at us, God has already won the victory over this world so I don't have to worry because he has my back! A little personal information about me; my home church is The Crossing Church of Tampa. I have two older sisters and two older brothers. I also have the privilege of helping my mom take care of my three beautiful nieces and my adorable baby nephew. I love being their aunt. Taking care of them and watching them grow up is such a blessing. My passion is children! I am working toward my major of Education at Hillsborough Community College and planning to transfer to USF to acquire my Bachelors. It's my dream and calling to be a teacher and I'm so excited that God's Garden is helping me with that dream. I'm so very thankful and excited to work at God's Garden Preschool.
Lead Teacher - Infantsnatalie@godsgardenpreschool.net
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 - Infantscarla@godsgardenpreschool.net
My name is Carla Hendley. This year I am one of the assistant teachers in the Infant room. My favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I have two beautiful children, Sophia, 7 and Alex, 3 years old and have been married to my loving husband for 8 years. I am currently a member of Nativity Catholic Church and have a BS from Technological Institute Cepea in Lima, Peru. My hobbies include baking and decorating cakes for all occasions. I love making my Pinterest creations and hands-on craft & projects. I'm looking forward to this exciting year ahead.
Assistant Teacher - Infantsscarlett@godsgardenpreschool.net
My name is Scarlett. I will be working with the precious infants at God's Garden. I just moved here from Virginia in August with my husband, three dogs and my kitty. We are joining First Baptist Church of Dover, where we were married by my father-in-law, Dr. Rob Jackson. We love this area and all of the sweet people we are meeting! Jesus has truly changed my life in the past few years. From the circumstances that led me to my husband and the wonderful Jacksons to the Sunday I found out we are pregnant. I have learned to trust God, even when I am scared. My favorite Bible verse is Matthew 6:34. "Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself." I am so excited to share and learn at God' Garden! What an amazing place it has proved to be already!