Mr Jay, Owner Jay B. Bryan, Owner
Education: Jay holds an B.A. from Duke University, where he majored in Economics and Public Policy. He also holds a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.
Experience: After practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., for the past 21 years, Jay decided it was time for a change. Becoming the Owner of The Goddard School® located in Sandy Springs allowed him the opportunity to combine one of his loves -- children -- with one of his dreams -- running his own business. Jay is very excited about getting the school built and filled with children, and making sure the parents take comfort knowing their children are being nurtured, educated, and, above all else, protected. Jay will be actively involved in the classrooms and the day-to-day operations of the School. Having three of his own children, Jay recognized the need and demand for a quality alternative to standard childcare. After extensive research, he decided to open The Goddard School located in Sandy Springs. He looks forward to providing an environment and the resources to give children the opportunity to become happy, confident learners.
Ms Thonja, Director Thonja N. Smith, Director
Education/Degree/Certificates: Thonja holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has received her Director Certification from Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and she holds a Technical Certificate of Credit from Atlanta Technical College in Early Childhood Care Program Administration. Knowing things change constantly in the childcare field, Thonja is continuing her education and pursuing a second degree in Early Childhood Education, which she is scheduled to complete in the Spring of 2016.
Experience: In 2007, after spending nine years in the legal profession, Thonja started her childcare career as an after-school teacher for 25 students. Shortly thereafter, she was asked to assume the role of Assistant Director. While serving as Assistant Director, Thonja fell in love with the administrative aspect of childcare. Thonja joined the Goddard family in May 2008, and taught in the classroom for a few weeks before being promoted to the Director of Education at another Goddard School in Georgia. She still enjoys the classroom atmosphere and further honed her skills in the classroom this past Summer while agreeing to fulfill dual roles of teaching Summer Camp and serving as the Director of The Goddard School. Thonja also enjoys the dual role of Curriculum Coordinator and she has extensive training in Promoting Quality Programming for Preschools, age appropriate developmental Lesson Planning, and Sign Language. Thonja is excited about the opening of The Goddard School located in Sandy Springs and is looking forward to meeting our prospective families. Thonja says, “I love interacting with the parents and their precious little ones.”
Philosophy on Teaching: Thonja believes in a learning environment that consists of a balance of both structure and fun, making it easy and enjoyable for children to explore and learn. Her philosophy finds its roots in a family of successful educators dating back to her great grandfather who was the Head Master of a The James School in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, West Indies back in the 1930s and 1940s, a grandmother who was a teacher in St. Vincent & The Grenadines for over 25 years, a cousin who is a principal of a public school in Maryland, and several other family members who have held numerous teaching positions.
Ms Ontanee, Assistant Director Ontanee G., Assistant Director
Education: Ms. Ontanee has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and an Associate of Arts degree in Marketing from University of Phoenix.
Experience: Ms. Ontanee was the Office Manager and Teacher Supervisor for a nationally branded child development center. She was also a Manager for Enterprise Car Rental for six years prior to her work in the early childhood education field. Ms. Ontanee has worked with children since she was 12 years old. Ms. Ontanee has also worked as an afterschool teacher and a substitute teacher for several public schools in Georgia.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Ontanee believes that starting the day with hugs and smiles will go a long way. Love and happiness is truly contagious. Kids learn best when they are in a comfortable environment that is encouraging and fun!
Ms Jessica, Lead Teacher Jessica J., Lead Teacher -- Infant One
Education: Ms. Jessica received her Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Herzing University and also holds a Child Development Associate Credential.
Experience with Children: Ms. Jessica has worked with children for over eight years in Childcare and Developing Enrichment programs for Infants through Preschoolers in several different centers. She has experience in Curriculum Instruction and assisting the Program Directors with researching lessons that increase the early development of each age group. Ms. Jessica also has a dance company in which she teaches multiple styles of dance to children ages 5- 18.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Jessica’s philosophy is based on theorists, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and the early childhood movement from Reggio Emilia, Italy. She believes that children benefit from practices that are grounded in research.
Ms Jasmine, Lead Teacher Jasmine M., Lead Teacher -- Infant Two
Education: Ms. Jasmine received her Associate’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Science in the Spring of 2016 from The Los Angeles Mission College.
Experience with Children: Ms. Jasmine has had experience with children from fostering her 6 month nephew for one year along with some volunteer work at an Elementary School in her sister’s 1st grade classroom. Ms. Jasmine also occasionally babysits her siblings, nieces, and nephews.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Jasmine believes every child has a different pace of learning. She trusts that teachers can learn just as much as children. Ms. Jasmine finds that one-on-one time with each child is necessary for their success along with hands-on activities, and visual learning. Her overall goal in teaching is to have the children not only learn but to fully understand and not just memorize the material.
Mrs Sylvia, Lead Teacher Sylvia L., Lead Teacher -- First Steps
Education: Ms. Sylvia has a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) from the State of Georgia. She is fluent in Slovak, Czech, Hungarian and proficient in French, all of which she learned while studying Foreign Languages for two years at The University of Comenius in her native country of Slovakia. She is currently studying Spanish as well.
Experience: Ms. Sylvia has been working in early child development with young children, from infants to preschoolers, since 1996. In addition, she worked as a nanny for many years. She has been with The Goddard School in Sandy Springs since 2010 and came to us with a wealth of experience and is dedicated and committed to caring for and educating young children.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Sylvia believes that learning should begin at an early age in order for students to develop a lifelong love of learning as we encourage each each child’s individual development through fun and playful activities.
Mrs Cartrella, Lead Teacher Cartrella B., Co-Lead Teacher -- Young Toddlers
Education: Mrs. Cartrella received her Child Development Associate Credential on December 1, 2012. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.
Experience: Mrs. Cartrella began working with children when she was 16 years old in a child care facility owned by her family. In addition, Mrs. Cartrella has held several teaching positions at various other child care and preschools. She was the Lead Pre-K teacher at Semaj Learning Academy from May through October of 2014, Lead Preschool Teacher at Bright Beginnings from July through November of 2013, Lead Preschool Teacher at Le Le’s Learning Center from June of 2011 through June of 2013, an Infant Teacher at Molly World Academy in June of 2009 until she became Lead Toddler Teacher in May of 2010. She was also a Teaching Assistant from January 2004 until May of 2007 at Nita’s daycare.
Philosophy on Teaching: Mrs. Cartrella believes teaching requires more than just love for children. It also requires ongoing research and hands on experience. No teacher is perfect and should constantly strive to improve.
Ms Rubi, Lead Teacher Rubi R., Co-Lead Teacher -- Toddlers
Education: Ms. Rubi is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Child Psychology at Georgia State University with a minor in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Rubi received her Technical Certificate of Credit in Early Childhood Core and Education Basics.
Experience: Ms. Rubi has been working with children in the child care setting for three years. Ms. Rubi completed an internship at a childcare center in East Point, Georgia. After her internship ended, she was offered a full time position at that childcare center. Ms. Rubi became a lead Toddler teacher and loves working with the two year old children. Ms. Rubi also takes care of her younger siblings.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Rubi believes that every child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere where they can grow emotionally, intellectually and physically.
Ms Valerie, Lead Teacher Valarie J., Co-Lead Teacher -- Toddlers
Education: Ms. Valerie received her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University.
Experience with Children: Ms. Valerie has gained experience with children through working as a student teacher to a Kindergarten class for approximately three months during college. She has also babysat for children 6 months to 3 years old for close to two years. Lastly, Ms. Valerie worked with children by volunteering at her church where she worked with children ages 2 through 5 helping them with various activities throughout the day.
Philosophy on teaching: Ms. Valerie believes that one should encourage, lead, and provide a positive environment so that every child can become competent, productive, and lifelong learners.
Ms Abigail, Lead Teacher Abigail L., Lead Teacher -- Get Set
Education: Ms. Abigail holds a Child Development Associate's degree from Bright From The Start. Ms. Abigail graduated from Alpharetta High School.
Experience: Ms. Abigail worked at Akers Academy in Cumming, Georgia, from September 2010 to February 2013. Ms. Abigail worked at Kids R Kids, Inc. as a Senior Counselor from March 2008 to May 2010.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Abigail believes that every child is different and, therefore, develops in a manner unique to the child. Children deserve an inviting, engaging, and positive atmosphere for learning. It’s important to know each child’s strengths and weaknesses and support them in every way.
Mrs Diana, Lead Teacher Diana R., Co-Lead Teacher -- Preschool Two
Education: Mrs. Diana has a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA).
Experience: Mrs. Diana has been working as a two year old teacher since 2011 and especially enjoys this age group. She conducts her circle time completely in Spanish and encourages her students to “use their words,” whether it is in English or Spanish. Mrs. Diana has two children of her own and babysits for families enrolled in our School and for neighbors as well.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Diana believes every child, whether infants, toddlers or preschool, learns in different ways and teachers must be patient and sensitive to each individual child's needs.
Mrs Bhavana, Lead Teacher Bhavana L., Lead Teacher -- Preschool Two
Education: Ms. Bhavana has received both her Bachelors in Arts and Bachelors in Education from University of Mumbai.
Experience with Children: Ms. Bhavana has gained experience from working with children in the 3rd and 5th grades in India. She also had the opportunity to teach Science for the 6th grade students. Once she moved to the United States, she got the chance to work with preschool children. Ms. Bhavana has worked with children of all different ages and finds herself enjoying being a teacher tremendously. Ms. Bhavana has appreciated her teaching journey and has gained much knowledge throughout her career.
Philosophy on teaching: Ms. Bhavana views each child as a unique individual. She believes they vary not only in abilities but also in learning styles. Ms. Bhavana believes children learn at their own pace and her role as a teacher is to give the best to her students and help them to discover their strengths and talents. This includes incorporating project and play based learning, group work, individual work, and, most importantly, that the children learn in a positive environment.
Mrs Soma, Lead Teacher Soma B., Co-Lead Teacher -- Preschool One
Education: Ms. Soma received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and her Master’s Degree in Physics from Calcutta University in India.
Experience with Children: Ms. Soma has worked with children for nearly eight years. Ms. Soma worked as a Supplementary Teacher in Diamond Harbor Middle School in India where she taught students Physics and Mathematics for one year. She has also worked as a Math teacher in India for six years and a Math Instructor at the Kumon Institution in Connecticut for one year.
Philosophy on teaching: Ms. Soma believes that teaching children will help build the future of the nation.
Ms Maureen, Lead Teacher Maureen D., Co-Lead Teacher -- Early Preschool
Education: Ms. Maureen holds an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from the Community College of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Maureen also holds a Bachelor's degree in Justice from The American University, Washington, DC, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Experience: Ms. Maureen has over 26 years of experience in early childhood development. She has worked at Akers Academy from February 2007 to April 2013. From January 2008 to present, Ms. Maureen has worked at Acumen Services in Alpharetta, Georgia, where she instructs and assists special needs children in daily activities. From 2004 to 2006, Ms. Maureen worked with Fulton County Schools in Suwanee, Georgia, as a special needs paraprofessional. She also worked at First Academy in Alpharetta, Georgia as the toddler teacher from 2001 to 2003. Ms. Maureen operated her own in home daycare in Alpharetta, Georgia, from 1989 to 2001.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Maureen believes that children learn best through play and positive role models. By coordinating work at home and in school, students will receive a superior education.
Ms Cosset, Lead Teacher Cosset C., Co-Lead Teacher -- Pre-Kindergarten
Education: Ms. Cosset received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2009.
Experience with Children: Ms. Cosset started working with children at the young age of 15. She has volunteered for a daycare center, worked as a Lead Teacher for a school program in Miami, Florida, for children with Autism, and assisted in a private school as a substitute teacher. Her current greatest experience with children is being with her daughter and son.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Cosset believes that children are the ones that teach us. She finds it is through their eyes that she learn as their teacher how to fulfill their educational needs. She believes that patience, love, kindness, positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment are the tools that enrich our children's education and prepares them for a promising future.
Mrs Suman, Lead Teacher Suman ("Mrs. S") K., Co-Lead Teacher -- Junior Kindergarten
Education: Mrs. S received a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce and a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Delhi University.
Experience: Since 1999, Mrs. S has worked with children in various school and child care settings in countries such as Dubai, Kuwait, Ukraine, and the United States.
Philosophy on Teaching: Mrs. S believes it is her job to know her students, and her responsibility to know what kind of knowledge and experience they each bring to the group. She states that “teachers who demonstrate curiosity and passion about a subject will motivate their students to learn.”
Ms Tomeka, Lead Teacher Tomeka A., Co-Lead Teacher -- Junior Kindergarten
Education: Ms. Tomeka received her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Georgia Perimeter College in 2006 and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology at the University of West Georgia in 2015. Ms. Tomeka is also currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education from Grand Canyon University.
Experience with Children: Ms. Tomeka has worked with children for more than five years. She has worked with Pre-K children for close to three years in the Fulton County School System in Georgia and also worked with special needs students for about two years, also in Fulton County.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Tomeka believes each child is unique and has the ability to learn.
Miss Cathryn, Lead Teacher Cathryn W., Lead Teacher -- Kindergarten
Education: Ms. Cathryn received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University.
Experience: Ms. Cathryn has gained experience working with children for more than six years through interning at Sprayberry Academy, Peachtree Elementary School, and Norcross Elementary School, student teaching at Walnut Grove Elementary School, and teaching at The Sunshine House Preschool. Ms. Cathryn has also been a nanny to children ages 4, 8, and 10. Ms. Cathryn was also the Preschool teacher here at The Goddard School for the 2015-2016 school year.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Cathryn’s ascribes to Piaget’s philosophy that all children learn best through play and she strives to make her lessons not only meaningful, but fun as well.
Ms Linnisah, Assistant Teacher Linnisah S., Assistant Teacher -- Floater
Education: Ms. Linnisah received her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Brown Mackie College in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Experience with Children: Ms. Linnisah has been in childcare for over 14 years and has worked in different types of schools with all ages, but mainly with infants. She has also babysat on weekends for friends and some parents at the schools at which she has worked.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Linnisah believes all children learn through play and if educators can be role models and interact with each child, they will grow and strive throughout life. She believes every child learns differently therefore creating a natural environment that is engaging and developmentally appropriate will allow children to conquer whatever challenges may come their way.
Mrs Daonapha, Assistant Teacher Daonapha ("Dao") C., Assistant Teacher Infant One
Education: Mrs. Dao has a Certification from Georgia Association on Young Children and she has also completed the Armatus Online Training Course.
Experience: Mrs. Dao was a nanny for a family in Los Angeles, California from September 2005 through August 2007, and after moving to Atlanta in 2007 she was an assistant teacher at Dunwoody Academy and Infants of Dunwoody.
Philosophy on Teaching: Mrs. Dao believes that children learn very fast with everything we teach them.
Mrs Diana, Assistant Teacher Diana M., Assistant Teacher -- Infant Two
Education: Ms. Diana graduated from Woodstock High School in Woodstock, Georgia.
Experience: Ms. Diana has had numerous babysitting jobs as well as raising three children of her own.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Diana’s philosophy on teaching is to make educational activities fun by playing games to keep the children interested.
Mrs Iliyana, Assistant Teacher Iliyana P., Assistant Teacher -- First Steps
Education: Mrs. Iliyana holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Sofia University in Sofia, Bulgaria, and she also has a college degree in Early Childhood Education from Vratza College in Vratza, Bulgaria. In addition to speaking English, she speaks Bulgarian and Russian.
Experience: After college, Mrs. Iliyana taught at an Early Childcare facility in Vidin, Bulgaria from 1998 to 2001 before moving to the United States. Prior to joining The Goddard School, Mrs. Iliyana taught for several years at an Atlanta area daycare. She also teaches Russian and Bulgarian languages to children on the weekend.
Philosophy on Teaching: Mrs. Iliyana “first hugs, then teaches.” She believes that each child deserves a nurturing and stable environment and an environment that comes from loving and caring teachers.
Ms Donisha, Assistant Teacher Donisha E., Assistant Teacher -- Young Toddlers
Education: Ms. Donisha received her high school diploma from Bushey Academy in the United Kingdom in 2011. She has also received her Level 3 Cache Childhood Development Diploma.
Experience with Children: Ms. Donisha has gained experience with children as a volunteer at her hometown Elementary School where she worked for five years with children ages 2 and 3. She has continued to work with children professionally for the last two years at The Goddard School.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Donisha believes although she may be a teacher, she can learn a lot from her students as well. She finds that both can learn something new daily together.
Ms Joanna, Assistant Teacher Joanna M., Assistant Teacher -- Infant One
Education: Ms. Joanna, has taken Early Childhood Education classes while in high school. She is attending Georgia State University, pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Experience with Children: Ms. Joanna has many years of babysitting experience. She has also volunteered at Jump Start, helping children with homework and outdoor activities. She started here at The Goddard School in Sandy Springs as an intern during her senior year in High School at North Springs Charter High School, where she participated and completed the Early Childhood Education course for the 2013-2014 school year. She did so well during her internship, that she became our Summer Camp Spanish counselor during the summer of 2014 and has continued on with us as the Advanced Spanish Instructor while she continues her education in the Early Childhood Education field.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Joanna believes that children learn better working with hands on experience. She believes every child is different and they all need attention and care. All children learn in different ways.
Ms Maria, Assistant Teacher Maria G., Assistant Teacher -- Young Toddlers
Education: Ms. Maria, who was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, graduated in 2013 from Riverwood High School located in Sandy Springs.
Experience: Ms. Maria is active in the care of her younger siblings.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Maria believes every child should receive an education and that every child should begin their education in their early childhood years because it better prepares them for the future.
Ms Blanca, Assistant Teacher Blanca G., Assistant Teacher -- Get Set
Education: Ms. Blanca received her High School Diploma from Riverwood High School in 2015.
Experience with Children: Ms. Blanca has worked with children since 2014. She has gained experience with children from Volunteering at Mission and Summer Camps where she worked with children ages 4-9. Ms. Blanca helped these children gain knowledge and play different kinds of sports and also helped them perfect their Math and Reading Skills.
Philosophy On Teaching: Ms. Blanca believes each and every child has the potential to bring something unique and special to the world. She will help to develop their potential by believing in them as capable individuals. Ms. Blanca will also assist children in discovering who they are, so they can express their own opinions and nurture their own ideas.
Mrs Kanchan, Assistant Teacher Kanchan S., Assistant Teacher -- Preschool One
Education: Ms. Kanchan received a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Commerce from Mumbai University in India.
Experience: Prior to working at The Goddard School, Ms. Kanchan had 8 years of experience in the Banking and Insurance industries. After deciding it was time to change careers, Ms. Kanchan's interest in working with children led her to The Goddard School. She finds that working with children is a very rewarding experience.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Kanchan believes teaching is an art and not a science. She trusts that optimism and encouragement within the classroom can be extremely powerful.
Ms Roberta, Assistant Teacher Roberta ("Bobbie") C., Assistant Teacher -- Preschool One
Experience with Children: Ms. Bobbie has worked with children for over 20 years. She is proud to say she started her own babysitting service prior to the evolution of technology. Ms. Bobbi has also taught English in Poland for a camp over the summer. She is excited to continue her journey with children here at The Goddard School.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Bobbie believes that teaching is the most joyous when children can learn by using their five senses. She finds that children retain and remember the material for a lifetime!
Ms Christine, Resource Christine H., Assistant Teacher - Toddlers & Office Administrator (PM)
Education: Ms. Christine is currently a student at Georgia State University and is pursuing a B.A. in Sociology.
Experience: Prior to working at The Goddard School, Ms. Christine was a mentor for children at Woodland Elementary School and Dunwoody Springs Elementary School. She has been with The Goddard School since 2011. She has gained valuable experience with children of all different ages (infants, toddlers, preschoolers) from her classroom work at our School and while babysitting and while acting as a nanny for numerous families enrolled in our School and located in the Atlanta area. Ms. Christine devotes much of her free time caring for children in and out of our School. Kids are her passion.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Christine believes children should be able to explore, learn, and play in a happy and comfortable environment where each child is cloaked with support, patience, and love.
Mrs Noemi, Resource Noemi G., Office Administrator/Advanced Spanish Teacher
Education: Ms. Noemi attended Antelope Valley High School in California.
Experience: Ms. Noemi has two children of her own and was at home with them for four years prior to joining The Goddard School in Sandy Springs in July 2010. She enjoys being a part of the Goddard family! During this time, she has worked with all age groups from infants, toddlers preschool and school aged children. She has taught Spanish to students ages one and up, and has been a dependable guide and trainer for new faculty at our School.
Philosophy on Teaching: Ms. Noemi states, "Children are our future, therefore, a teacher should take their time and teach them what they need for life. My philosophy is that children are unique and have all different learning styles. I can make a difference by providing the children with a loving and safe learning environment."