All of our preschool teachers and staff are wonderful, and the past year has revealed to us a few standout individuals who truly display a sincere passion for their work. We want to congratulate the teachers of the year across all our schools — we can’t thank you enough for your dedication!
Blue Ash: Kevin Coston
Kevin is our favorite Cincinnati chef! You will always find a smile upon his face and an attitude that radiates within the Kids’ Cafe. Since joining The Gardner School in 2015, Kevin has enjoyed preparing delicious food for The Gardner School of Blue Ash’s students and parents during all school events. Kevin is a hard worker who takes pride in ensuring that the children and staff have healthy and appetizing meals.
Fun Fact: When Kevin isn’t cooking, you can find him completing a word search or grabbing a treat from KFC.
Brentwood: Ashley Hendrick
Ashley’s been teaching our young students since 2010 — now providing childcare in our daycare infants’ classroom. Ashley has been a team player since day one, assisting all new teachers in training and constantly updating parents through The Gardner School of Brentwood’s PreciouStatus app. Ashley has a BS in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Child Development.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Ashley loves engaging the infants and babies with special activities, especially during summer’s Camp Gardner. This past summer, Ashley made summer sensory bottles for her infants including seashells, sand, ocean water and a jellyfish. Their summer activities also included a water bead sensory window, sand and water play, footprint artwork and nature walks in the baby buggies.
Bucktown: Elizabeth (Liz) Stark
The staff at The Gardner School of Bucktown agree that Liz is one of the most dedicated teachers, as she’s always the first person to volunteer for a task that needs to be completed. Liz, who joined the team in 2015, respects everyone who comes into this Chicago preschool, including students, families and coworkers. Liz has a psychology degree from St. Ambrose University.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Among Liz’s most memorable moments are when activities don’t go quite as planned, but The Gardner School reacts in a positive way and the children have fun. It rained during this summer’s pool party, but that didn’t stop the childcare staff from having fun. Liz and her coworkers immediately filled up the kiddy pool and continued to splash around inside.
Dublin: Kayla Brown
Kayla joined the team in 2011, and in the past three years, Kayla has been a TGS kindergarten teacher at The Gardner School of Dublin near Columbus, Ohio. Not only does she constantly brainstorm innovative ideas for her students to fine-tune their education, Kayla goes above and beyond for her co-workers at The Gardner School. She shares her classroom ideas with others and will help them transition the activities to an appropriate level. She also gives little ‘pick-me-ups’ for employees to brighten their day.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Kayla enjoys reading to her students. Her favorite books that she recommends to parents are the Elephant and Piggie book series. The key is to make sure all characters have their own voice!
Franklin: Sarah Flood
Before preschoolers at The Gardner School of Franklin move onto kindergarten, they may have had Sarah as a Pre-K teacher. Sarah always customizes her lesson plans to the interests and needs of her students to create an environment that engages children throughout the early childhood education process. Sarah first joined the team in 2013 and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Studies from Western Kentucky University.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: When the children work together to create something while learning is one of Sarah’s most memorable moments. This past year, her class worked as a team to create a wall mural project.
Glenview-Northbrook: Taylor Primrose
Taylor delivers a strong curriculum to ensure her Pre-K children are being stimulated, challenged and are accomplishing their goals before kindergarten. Taylor, who started at TGS in 2015, creates a warm and loving environment at Chicago’s The Gardner School of Glenview-Northbrook with her compassionate and patient attitude. Taylor attended Illinois State University and holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Early Childhood Education. She also has an Endorsement in Special Education.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Taylor loves when the students are able to learn about themselves. This past year during “All About Me,” her Pre-K students used math activities to showcase their personal characteristics.
Herndon: Evelyn Perez
Evelyn is The Gardner School of Herndon’s infant teacher, loving and caring for the students in the nursery suites. She looks forward to helping her children develop their gross motor skills and become more independent. For Evelyn, watching her baby daycare students crawl and walk is an incredible sight. Since she started at TGS in February of 2015, Evelyn has been a wonderful team player. She has an Allied Science degree as a Surgical Technologist from Cambridge College in Denver Colorado.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Evelyn has a passion for creative design. And, with her role at TGS, she’s able to combine both teaching and design on a daily basis! For example, she enjoys using paint as a gross motor activity with different fabrics/textures and vivid colors to engage the infants in her class.
Louisville: Lauren Atkinson
Lauren has been with The Gardner School of Louisville since August 2012 and is now the Pre-K Lead Teacher and the Director of Curriculum and Training. With both roles, she’s able to create stimulating activities to create the best possible learning environment, as well as offer continuous training support to her peers. She has an Early Childhood Degree from Eastern Illinois University.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Because of Lauren’s passion for early childhood education, she loves partnering with families on their educational journeys to success.
Midtown: Cheyenne Miller
Cheyenne is not only our Discovery A Lead Teacher, but she’s also The Gardner School of Midtown’s Health & Safety Coordinator, ensuring the protection of all our Nashville downtown students on a daily basis. Both our parents and staff love Cheyenne’s charismatic personality, which always seems to be contagious. Cheyenne joined TGS in 2015 and has been a treasure to our team. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a double major of Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University.
Fun Fact: Cheyenne was voted “Most Likely to Survive the Hunger Games” in college, so you know her health and safety skills are on point!
Naperville: Kelsey Forbes
Kelsey has been with The Gardner School of Naperville since January 2015. She’s been such a compassionate and dedicated teacher. Kelsey is always the first to help any coworker out, which makes her an exceptional staff member. Because of her bright and loving personality, the toddlers in Discovery A absolutely adore her.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: One of the best things about her first year teaching was her experience with summer’s Camp Gardner. She was able to add S.T.E.A.M. into the daily curriculum (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics)!
Nashville: Raven Bozza
Raven is the Enrichment Coordinator at the Nashville preschool. Over the past year, Raven worked hard at growing the enrichment curriculum. She was also an essential part of the popular Fall Festival and Holiday Program, helping to communicate plans to Gardner School parents and coordinating donations.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Because of Raven’s position, she is able to work with all students ages six-weeks-old to five-years-old and help plan fun activities for both students and teachers.
Oak Brook: Katie Suriano
Katie’s passion for her career is evident in the way she presents a well-rounded curriculum that is purpose-driven for each Acceleration B child. The obvious connection between Katie and each student in her class showcases her passion for teaching. She joined The Gardner School in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with minors in english and art. She also completed a certification program in early childhood and holds an Illinois Type 04 Early Childhood teaching certificate.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Katie loves engaging children in meaningful process art. She introduces new materials and methods of creation in order for her students to experiment with different colors, textures and techniques.
West Loop: Jasmine Jackson
Since August 2013, Jasmine has grown in her early childhood education career at The Gardner School of West Loop. She is currently in the Exploration A classroom, educating our Chicago two-year-old toddlers. Jasmine values every child’s individual learning experience, and she works with parents to personalize instruction and adapts her teaching techniques to create a unique educational environment. Jasmine is currently attending Kendall College for her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education.
Favorite Thing About Her Role: Jasmine’s favorite activity this past year was a scavenger hunt around the school to explore various foods. As the students actively moved around the school, they also learned about healthy foods and related what they found to the foods they have in their own homes.