Meet Our Goddard Family

Our expertly trained and experienced teachers and staff blend the highest standards in early childhood education and development with nurturing care to help your child have fun while growing physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially.


If you want to help shape the hearts and minds of young children in a fun, nurturing environment, we’d love to have you work with us! We’re always looking for great teachers to join our family.

Check Out Our Job Listings

Warm, Nurturing & Highly Trusted

Learning happens best in a warm and nurturing environment, which is why our teachers take the time to make sure your little one feels safe and cared for every day to help them develop a lifelong love of learning. 

Expertise & Skills

Our caring teachers are highly experienced in the best methods to support your child with teachable moments of exploration, discovery and learning each and every day. 

  • Ms Christina

    Ms Christina

    School Owner
    I am so excited to be the onsite Owner of The Goddard School. Before this new chapter in our lives, I spent the majority of my career in the Broadcast Television field. I believe this uniquely prepared me for the Early Childhood Education industry with experience in the creative arts as well as business management. My husband, Billy and I are the proud parents of three beautiful children, Joshua, Jessica and Jackson. Our family enjoys music, travel, spending time volunteering at our Church. Our youngest son is a Goddard Graduate and couldn’t be more proud of the education he received. Our vision can be summed up in the words of the scholar and teacher Forest Witcraft: “One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money was in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.”
  • Ms Gayle

    Ms Gayle

    Director of Education
    Mrs. Gayle Nicholas-Dortch comes to us with over 17 years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field. Ms. Gayle was born and raised in Mobile, AL. She has 6 adult children and 8 grandchildren. She has been married for 15 years to “the greatest husband in the world”, Manuel. She holds an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Management, a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development, an Advanced Director’s Credential as well as certified in CPR/First Aid and Safe Food Handling. She was the recipient of “Director of the Year” in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Ms. Gayle believes, “. Once you know a child (student) by developing a true relationship with them you can find a way to teach that student.” Everyone can and will learn in their own way and at their own pace. No need to compare one person to another as each is unique.”
  • Ms Yesenia

    Ms Yesenia

    Assistant Director
    Ms. Yesenia has over 9 years of experience in the Early Education field. She started as a trainee in a Head Start program serving migrant and rural families. She holds an Associate Degree in Business Administration, a VPK Endorsed Director Credential, a Staff credential, 45 DCF training hours and CPR and First Aid certification. She is coming to Goddard with four years of experience as a Director. She has worked with children of all ages. Ms. Yesenia is from Providence, Rhode Island and has been in Jacksonville since 2008. She has two girls, ages eight and four. She loves to spend her free time with them and travel.
  • Ms Jennette

    Ms Jennette

    Assistant Director
    Jenni Cole was born and raised here in Jacksonville, FL. She has been working in childcare since 2011. She started out working in her church nursery as nursery staff, and currently still works there as the Nursery and Early Childhood Coordinator. She joined the Goddard team in November of 2020. She began as a resource teacher, working in all the classrooms. She then moved on to become a co-lead in Rainbowfish, Crabs and then Sea Turtles. Ms. Jenni now is very excited to be the assistant director at Goddard. She has a beautiful daughter, Charlie, who is a Goddard Alumni! Ms. Jenni has a love and passion for helping children and animals. She believes that a classroom should be a safe, caring environment where children are free to speak their mind and to blossom and grow. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her daughter, family, and friends. Her and Charlie can often be found hanging around her family pool and playing in the sun!
  • Ms Kelli

    Ms Kelli

    Lead Teacher - Loveable Lobsters
    Kelli Watson has over 18 years experience in the Early Childhood Education field and recently obtained her Child Development Associate credential through the T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Program. She has worked with young children of all ages and is currently the Lead Teacher in our Loveable Lobsters infant classroom. Ms. Kelli chose to work in the Early Childhood field because she loves children and enjoys watching them learn, grow, and express themselves in individual ways. She enjoys the one on one interaction with the children and looks forward every day to building many positive memories with the children and families here at The Goddard School. Ms. Kelli was born and raised in West Virginia, but has lived in Jacksonville for the past 20 years and is a proud parent of her son, Trey. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and spending time with her family and friends at the beach.
  •  Chelsea


    asst. teacher - Peppy Pelicans
    Chelsea was born and raised here in Jacksonville, Florida. She has been working in Early Childhood Education since 2016. She graduated from Trinity Baptist College with a Bachelor’s Degree in counseling with a goal of becoming an Elementary School Guidance Counselor. Her hobbies include reading, music and spending time with her family. Chelsea got married in 2018 and had her daughter in 2022. Her favorite thing about working with children is getting to be a part of their development and getting to watch them grow!
  • Ms Keesha

    Ms Keesha

    Lead Teacher - Shining Starfish
    Keesha Thompson comes to The Goddard School with over 17 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. She has lived in Jacksonville for almost 20 years and recently obtained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Special Needs. When not working with our Goddard students, Ms. Keesha enjoys spending time with her children, baking, watching movies, game nights and going on walks on the weekends with her family. What Ms. Keesha enjoys the most about working with children is their love for learning and their spontaneous nature. She feels that being actively involved and supportive in their learning shows them how much she truly believes in them. A couple of Ms. Keesha’s favorite children’s books are Bear Feels Scared and Pete the Cat because of the moral lessons shared.
  • Mr Malik

    Mr Malik

    Co LeadTeacher - Shining Starfish
    Malik Straham was raised in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and moved to Jacksonville in January of 2019. He graduated high school in 2016 and his original major at Pensacola State College was art. In the summer of 2018, Mr. Malik began working as a counselor at Camp Ramapo for Children in Rhinebeck, NY. Camp Ramapo is a unique place for children who are affected by social, emotional, or learning challenges, including children on the autism spectrum. After this experience, Mr. Malik switched his major to Early Childhood Education at FSCJ. He came to Goddard as a volunteer observer for one of his education classes in September 2019 and we were so impressed with his friendly personality and quality interactions with the children that we hired him on as an employee in our Pre-K classrooms. During Mr. Malik's free time, he enjoys playing basketball for Mayport Naval Base, drawing on Vans (the shoes), and buying new clothes or shoes.
  •  Narges


    asst. Teacher - Shining Starfish
    Ms. Narges is currently majoring in child psychology at FSCJ, and has been working in childcare for 3 years. While she was born in Jacksonville, her family is from Kabul, Afghanistan and she is fluent in Dari Farsi. Narges has 2 cats and 1 dog, and absolutely loves being around animals! One of her most loved hobbies is reading, and her favorite book series is Harry Potter. She has a passion for little ones, and believes that some of the beauty of working with children is getting to see the world through their eyes. 
  • Ms Jennifer

    Ms Jennifer

    asst. teacher - Curious Crabs
    Jennifer Roth, who we all know as Ms. Jen, was born in Colorado until she moved to Georgia in 2021. Ms. Jen attended Arapahoe Community College for Early Childhood Education. Ms. Jen has been in childcare since she was 17 years old and spent 11 years at The Goddard School of Parker in Colorado teaching 2 year olds for 8 years and Pre-k for 3 years. Ms. Jen enjoys scary movies, music, crafting, and being out on her paddle board.
  •  Elijah


    Mr. Elijah is a pianist who enjoys making his own music. He comes to Goddard with experience in childcare working in the nursery at his church for a year. He has also volunteered in the nursery, at vacation bible school and youth functions over the years. He enjoys making kids laugh and smile. His favorite thing to do with the kids is reading books to them. Mr. Elijah’s favorite children’s book is ‘If You Give A Pig A Pancake’.
  •  Ludina


    Resource Teacher -- Starfish
    Ms. Ludina is from Port St. Lucie, FL and moved to Jacksonville to pursue a higher education at University of North Florida. She is studying Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. While she has only been working in childcare for a little bit under a year, she has spent majority of her teenage years babysitting for family, friends, and even members of her church. Furthermore, Ms. Ludina has previously worked with infants and 1-year old's. Outside of work and school, she enjoy exploring nature, practicing self-care, journaling, and spending quality time with her loved ones.
  • Ms Irazelma

    Ms Irazelma

    Lead Teacher - Sensational Sea Turtles
    Ms. Ira was born and raised in Elizabeth New Jersey and has been teaching for 21 years. She has her DCF training hours, her Director’s Credential and her CDA. She teaches because she loves being around kids and interacting with them. She especially loves to see the connections form between what they learn in school and their life. Elementary school was her favorite growing up, particularly 4th grade where her teacher Ms. Martine helped her break out of her shell and gain confidence within herself to open up. This is why part of her philosophy for teaching is making children feel safe. Her favorite children’s book is Corduroy! Her hobbies include dancing, living a healthy lifestyle and designing homes. Her favorite dessert is Flan.
  • Ms Lubia

    Ms Lubia

    Lead Teacher - Delightful Dolphins
    Lubi has been working in childcare for over 15 years. She has been a part of the Goddard team since July of 2022. She was born in Guatemala, has two adult children and Lulu, her chihuahua. Her hobbies include watching comedies, reading and learning new languages (ASL and Albanian). Lubi’s favorite quote is ‘Be the reason someone smiles today’. Her favorite children’s author is Eric Carle.
  •  Lisa


    Ms. Lisa was born and raised in upstate New York, where she also raised her children, Daniel, and Josh. After becoming an empty-nester and then finding her now husband, they decided to move to Jacksonville to be closer to her parents. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to work with young children and began building her career around that passion. Ms. Lisa joins the Goddard team with many years of experience with ages birth through five years old. From babysitting, to nannying and then becoming a preschool teacher beginning in 1995, she loves the sound of the children laughing and seeing the smiles on their faces as they learn through play! Her loving and caring personality carries over into her work by being able to give the children the tender loving care that they need to feel safe and secure so that they can thrive and grow to the best of their abilities. Her favorite children’s books are ‘Good Night Moon’, ‘The Giving Tree’ and ‘I love you for Always and Forever!”.
  • Ms Katherine

    Ms Katherine

    Co-Lead Teacher- Magnificent Manatees
    Katherine Spaeth, who we know as Ms. Kat, is from Birmingham, Alabama. She moved to Jacksonville in October 2021. Ms. Kat has been married for 13 years and has one daughter, Olivia. Ms. Kat is currently working on her BA in Early Childhood Education at UNF. Ms. Kat’s favorite children’s book is “Llama Llama Red Pajama”. Her hobbies include DIY projects, photography, and gardening. Ms. Kat has been working in childcare since 2019 and enjoys working with all ages!
  • Ms Laura

    Ms Laura

    Co-Lead Teacher - Rockin' Rainbowfish
    Laura Bohr was born in Mexico, moved to and lived in Chicago for over 20 years. Her family moved to Jacksonville seeking a “warmer” climate and she has been here with us at The Goddard School now for over 9 years! Ms. Laura has an associate's degree in Early Childhood Education from Triton College in River Grove, Illinois. She has over 10 years of experience working with young children including time as a preschool and kindergarten assistant teacher in the Berkley, IL school district and a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) learners in inclusive classrooms. In addition, Ms. Laura is also our Curriculum Coordinator. She assists and mentors all of our teachers as they plan appropriate and engaging lessons, observe and assess their students, and uphold Goddard's Quality Assurance standards.
  • Ms Irma

    Ms Irma

    Co-Lead Teacher - Rockin' Rainbowfish
    Irma Simington is originally from Culiacan, Mexico where she earned a bachelor's degree in Accounting. She then earned her Child Development Associate's (CDA) and has been working with young children for the past 14 years. Ms. Irma has been an assistant teacher and teacher's aide in both public and private schools and we are so glad to have her here supporting our program at The Goddard School. She firmly believes in giving children a secure, loving, and nurturing environment and helping them feel as comfortable as if they were in their own homes. When not working with young children, Ms. Irma can be found in church, at the movies, or shopping. Her favorite children's book is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.
  • Mr Matthew

    Mr Matthew

    assistant teacher -- Rainbowfish
    Matthew Pagan has been with us since November 2021. Mr. Matthew is currently enrolled in Trinity Baptist College to major in Elementary Education. When Mr. Matthew is not at work having fun shaping young minds, he is spending time with his friends and family and working at his church. Mr. Matthews favorite book is “Where the Wild Things Are”. His hobbies include collecting Funko Pops and being outdoors.
  • Ms Kathleen

    Ms Kathleen

    Kitchen staff/ Loveable Lobsters
    Ms. Kathy has been snuggling our Loveable Lobsters since 2020. She has completed her DCF 45 hours child care training and continues to work on professional development in the filed of early childhood education. Ms. Kathy's is primarily in our infant classroom, but you will also find her helping out in our toddler classrooms.
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