Meet The Staff

Maribel Rodriguez

Maribel Rodriguez Infant Teacher and Team Leader

Maribel Rodriguez has cared for several complete sibling groups while working at The Village ELC. It was very common for her to care for the oldest sibling in 2000 -2002 and then the next baby, and maybe even a third, a few years later! Her reputation and consistency has insured continuous quality and care in the infant classroom for more than a decade. The parent “word-of-mouth network” has been a reliable reference of quality in the greater Brandon community for the Village ELC’s infant classroom, and Maribel leads the team. With her guidance, the classroom has passed two NAEYC accreditation inspections, one APPLE/FACCM accreditation inspection, and nine annual “School of Excellence” inspections completed by Tutor Time Corporation from 2001-2010. Most recently, she has guided the classroom through the inspection for Quality Counts for Kids and earned top-level scores in the teacher-child interaction category. In the classroom, Ms. Maribel can be seen using “baby sign” language to communicate with her babies, and she is often heard speaking or singing to them in Spanish. In her spare time, Ms. Maribel enjoys spending time with her two adult children, her husband Edwin, and traveling to her native Puerto Rico to visit relatives. Ms. Maribel has completed infant CPR and First Aid, and is current with all continuing education. She is currently working on earning a national Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.
Maria Zapata

Maria Pineda Infant Teacher

Maria Pineda has worked exclusively full time in the infant classroom since February 2011. She loves working with the babies and has experience she brought with her from her native Columbia. Ms. Maria has completed the required Hillsborough County Childcare classes, and she remains current with continuing education classes, including First Aid and CPR. She has begun work on a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Like her co-teacher, Ms. Maribel, Ms. Maria can often be heard singing and reading to the children in Spanish, or “signing” Baby Signs to enhance their communication!
Pauline Barry

Pauline Barry Toddler Teacher and Team Leader

Pauline Barry is originally from Waterford, Ireland where she studied Early Childhood Education at the London Montessori Center. She holds degrees in Nursery Nursing and early Montessori teaching. In 1993, Mrs. Barry came to the U.S. as a nanny in Key West, Florida. She then began working in the infant room in a Key West child care center. In 2001, she moved to the Tampa area, where she worked at the JCC (Jewish Community Center) preschool for 10 years before joining The Village teaching team in April 2011. Ms. Pauline has worked with infants to pre-kindergarteners and was the Assistant Director at JCC Brandon for 5 years of her 10 year term. Ms. Pauline is married to Bill, and they have two beautiful daughters, Sean and Abby. When she is not working with children, Mrs. Barry enjoys spending time with her family, reading, running, and cooking.
Ms.Jennifer

Jennifer Rodriguez Two Year-Old Teacher

Jennifer Rodriguez moved to Florida in July 2013 from Bronx, New York. She has more than five years of experience teaching preschool, currently holding the position of Two Year-Old Teacher at The Village ELC. Ms. Jennifer has one daughter, Mia. In her spare time, Ms. Jennifer likes to take her daughter to the beach to enjoy the Florida sunshine and swim in the ocean.
Ms.Erika G

Erika Garcia Young Threes Teacher

Erika Garcia is currently teaching in the Young Threes classroom. She has been a part of the Village team for 6 years. Originally from Guatemala she was raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She lived there for about 19 years and then relocated to Riverview, Florida in 2007. Ms. Erika is single and lives with her parents, two younger sisters, Lesley, Emily, and two Miniature Pinschers. She has an Early Childhood Professional Certificate and has been working with infants through 5 years old for over 9 years. She taught in the VPK classroom for three years. She is also certified in First Aid and CPR. Currently, she is completing the prerequisites for the nursing program at Hillsborough Community College. She will eventually apply for her Bachelors at USF. She loves working and teaching young children. She loves to see them mature in all areas of their life, but especially educationally.

Karla Chaviano Young Threes Teacher

Karla Chaviano is originally from New York. She moved to Brandon in 2001. She previously worked at the Village in the Infant Classroom, One and Two Year-Old classrooms.  She has 20 years of teaching experience. She holds her A.A. in early childhood education. She is married and has 3 sons.

Kaitlyn Bruno-Daniels Teacher Assistant

Born in Vermont, Kaitlyn Bruno-Daniels has lived in Brandon since she was 14 years old.  She is a music and theater student at Howard W. Blake High School of the Arts, and her long-term plans include seeking a doctorate in Pediatrics from USF. She enjoys working with special-needs children. Kaitlyn enjoys traveling, and she plays the violin & guitar.  She loves working at the Village!
Mrs.Maria

Maria E Romero Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Maria is originally from Nicaragua, but was raised in Colombia. She moved to the U.S. 18 years ago. She started at the Village in 2010 in the two year old classroom team leader and teacher, she was also the VPK assistant teacher. She has worked with children for more than 10 years, ranging from elementary to high school. She has been married for 12 years to her husband Roberto. They have 3 children Danny 17, Sarah 11 and Alex 9. In her spare time she loves to draw,decorate, read and write. Her favorite quote is by Benjamin Franklin ” Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”.
Renee Grisham

Renee Grisham Preschool Teacher

Ms. Renee recently relocated from Illinois comes to the Village in 2013 with 20 years experience working with children, a AAS in Childcare and Guidance and a B.S. in Business Management. She was a head start teacher in Illinois and loves the fact that the Village is NAEYC accredited. Ms. Renee has been married for 12 years and has two beautiful children Keeton 9 and Allison 10. When Ms. Renee is not in the classroom she enjoys cooking and learning more about Early Childhood Education.
Mrs.Marianty

Marianty Muniz Atelierista (Art Teacher)

Mrs. Marianty is originally from Colombia. She has lived in the U.S. for 22 years.She is know for saying,”This is my new country now and I love it” She holds her CDA. She was the 2000 teacher of the year. Mrs. Marianty has 5 years of teaching experience. Mrs. Marianty is the Village Piazza Designer. She has been married to her husband for 22 years. She is the mother of Costa 15, who started his learning years at the Village. He now attends Bloomingdale High School. She loves reading books, outdoor activities, art and cooking.

JoAnn Navarro Pre K/VPK Teacher and Team Leader

Mrs. Jo-Ann Navarro is the most senior PreK/VPK teacher at The Village ELC. She began her employment in August 2001 and has become the team leader, supervising seven PreK/VPK teachers. Mrs. Navarro and her team have repeatedly achieved the highest VPK scores in the greater Brandon area when their students are tested upon their entrance to kindergarten. She has earned her CDA/FCCPC and will complete her A.A. in Early Childhood Education in December 2012. Her duties at The Village have recently expanded to include curriculum support and guidance to all teachers. One aspect of teaching that fulfills Mrs. Navarro is helping her students learn appropriate social and behavioral skills that will help them be successful in kindergarten. In her off time, Jo-Ann enjoys family time with husband Jayme, son Jayme, a Newsome High School junior, and daughter Joanelle, a University of Miami junior.

Debbie Garrigues Pre K/VPK Teacher

Debbie Garrigues, Mrs. “G,” as her students call her, began her employment at The Village in 2006 as a substitute teacher. As her daughters, Emily and Samantha, ages 10 and 12, got older, she came on board as a permanent teacher, working almost full time. Debbie enjoys working with the PreK age group and has graduated two classes already. Educationally, she earned a AA degree and her Child Development Associate (CDA). Ms. “G” is multi-talented and also assists the Village team with bus driving, and has her cooking certificate! In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities with her daughters and huband Rob, volunteering with her daughters’ Girl Scout troops, and taxiing them to swim meets.
Ms.Kessler

Bailey Kessler PreK/VPK Teacher

Ms. Bailey Kessler comes to the Village teaching team in 2012 with seven years experience. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the State University of New York at Geneseo. A favorite part of working with her students is the excitement on their faces every morning when they greet her! She loves to encourage her students to be creative, be kind to each other, and be a good problem solver! Bailey’s professional goal is to continue her education and earn a Master’s Degree in Teaching. When she’s not in the classroom, she enjoys the going to the beach, reading, or practicing yoga.

Teresa Harwood PreK/VPK Teacher

Teresa Harwood is completing her first year of teaching VPK at The Village ELC. She taught VPK the previous year and two years of preschool 3′s prior to that. She enjoys her profession of teaching and nurturing children. Her goal is to help them develop and grow to their best abilities so as to have a great foundation for academic success throughout their development. Mrs. Harwood has lived in the Valrico area for 25 years, has been married for 24 years, and is the mother or 4 children ages 12, 10, 7, and 2. Her hobbies include photography and being a dance and soccer mom!

Raquel Garcia PreK/VPK Teacher Assistant

Currently, Ms. Raquel Garcia is a teacher in the top rated VPK program. She states she loves working with her “GREAT TEAM” of teachers since she began at The Village ELC in June 2011 upon moving to Florida. Ms. Raquel believes her passion is educating children who are two years away from kindergarten (she calls them her “Munchkins!”), and has more than 15 years experience doing so. Her work history includes 5 years as a Preschool Teacher and Preschool Coordinator at The Goddard School in Connecticut.Educationally, Ms. Raquel is one semester shy of her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Her plans include completing her degree this year and beginning additional enrichment training provided by The Village ELC, Positive Behavioral Support classes offered by USF, and NAEYC recommended courses addressing developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood education. She is current on her continuing education as required by the state of Florida, and infant/child first aide and CPR.In her “off time,” Ms. Raquel enjoys relaxing and playing with her two daughters and husband Jamie. When she returns to visit her home state of Vermont, she loves to snow ski!

Mrs.PerlaPerla Morales Teacher Assistant

Ms. Perla was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Brandon in August 2011. She is married to Jovanny. They share a love of riding motorcycles,traveling around Florida, going to the beach, and classic cars.
Robin Vernoy

Robin Vernoy Adventure Club Coach

Mrs. Robin has worked at the Village since February 2011. She has 4 years experience working with children and 2 children of her own. Robin is a fun loving, caring, nurturing family girl which is evident in her teaching style. You will always find Mrs. Robin cuddling and loving on the babies. Mrs. Robin truly has a heart of gold! Mrs. Robin plans to continue working with young children for as long as she can; that is when she is not dancing around her house cleaning!

Kecia Lucas Substitute Teacher

Welcome Back! Bio coming soon!

Darinka SavenaDarinka Savena Substitute Teacher

Ms. Darinka has been a part of The Village family since 2011. Originally from Bulgaria, Ms. Darinka began in the two year old classroom, where she taught for 2 years. She has completed the Department of Children and Families initial training and is certified in CPR. She has been married to her husband, Stoyne, for 23 years. In her spare time she enjoys practicing gymnastics and going to the circus with her husband and daughter, Alex. She is a National Dance School graduate and is certified as a dance teacher.

IeshaIesha Martinez Substitute Teacher Assistant 

Iesha is originally from New York, and has lived in Florida since 2001. She graduated with honors from East Bay High School in 2013 and served as class president. She was in Chorus, Thespian, and SGA clubs. She is currently a voice major at Hillsborough Community College. She is the worship team leader at Wholesome Community Ministries. She is adventurous and likes to try new things!

Lauren Rosa Substitute Teacher Assistant

Ms. Lauren moved to Florida from New York when she was 12 years old, so she considers herself a “semi-native.” Currently, she is completing the pre-requisite nursing courses at Hillsborough Community College and will be applying to both the HCC and University of South Florida in fall 2012. Her interest in nursing and helping others began when she was a child and that perpetuated her involvement with young children. Since her early teen years, “Ms. Lauren” has volunteered as a babysitter, a Sunday School nursery worker, and a Youth Leader for her church. She has worked in other childcare centers and in the public school setting as an academic tutor. Besides her college courses, Ms. Lauren has completed the mandatory training by the county and is first aide/CPR trained. Lauren loves working in the Toddler class and enjoys watching them transition from “baby” to “child” in the year they spend in her class. Her long term goal is to work as a nurse in a missionary setting.
  stephanie

Stephanie Hayes Substitute Teacher

Mrs. Stephanie moved to Brandon Florida in August 2011. She is originally from Georgia. She started working at the Village in January of 2012. She previously taught at a church preschool for 7 years, before moving to Brandon. She holds her A.A. degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been married to her husband for 15 years. She has 3 children ages 5, 12, and 13. She loves Disney World and the rays! She loves to read, shop and spend time with her family.
Damaris Romero

Damaris Romero Substitute Teacher

Damaris Romero is originally from Honduras. Damaris moved to Brandon from New York in 2000. She has been working with children of all ages for more than thirteen years, and joined the Village family in January of 2005. She has always taught full time in the Toddler class, as this is her preferred age group. She has earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) and is certified in CPR and First Aid. Damaris is always looks for opportunities to increase her knowledge in early childhood education and child development, so she completes many continuing education courses and plans to begin her A.S. in Early Childhood Education soon. Ms. Damaris cherishes her ability to work full time with children during the week at her job, and continues this “blessing” by working with children through her church too.

Lisa StephensLisa Stephens Chef

Ms. Lisa, one of the original staff members, has over 20 years experience working with children and began her employment at Tutor Time of Brandon in 2000. At The Village, she has held the positions of Toddler and Two Year Old Teacher, VPK/PreK Teacher, and Assistant Director. She currently serves as The Village ELC Nutrition Specialist and Cook. She holds an Associate of Science in early childhood development and has taken courses in food Safety and nutrition through the University of South Florida and the Hillsborough County Health Department. She has been married to her best friend since 1979 and has one daughter and one grandson.

magda_garciaMagda Garcia Assistant Director

Magda Garcia has been employed at The Village ELC since September 2005. Ms. Garcia started working in the Early Childhood in 1999. Her career in early childhood education began in a Christian preschool, where she was an Office Manager and Director for 4 years. She moved to the Brandon area in August 2005. She has held various positions at The Village, including Lead Teacher, Substitute Teacher, and VPK teacher. Ms. Garcia is originally from Guatemala and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida when she was 11 years old. She has been married to her  husband, Esteban, since 1994 and has 4 beautiful children Monica, Miguel, Junior, and Stephanie. Along with her husband, Mrs. Garcia has also worked with youth from middle school through college and career placement. Magda earned a Child Development Associate (CDA) and Director credentials from Nova University of Fort Lauderdale, and she maintains CPR Certification and First Aid Certification.
Staff Owners

Joe and Susan Miller Owners

Joe and Susan Miller, Riverview residents, opened Tutor Time Learning Center of Brandon on October 2, 2000 after a long search for a business that would be meaningful and fulfilling to them as individuals. After a successful ten-year run as a Tutor Time, on December 1, 2010, they decided to de-brand from the franchise. The Village Early Learning Center was conceived as the “new” school for the community, and the Millers and their team are working to establish a school community where children thrive in all areas of their development, and families support their children, the school, and each other in a nurturing atmosphere of respect and positive regard.
Joe earned a Bachelor of Physical Science from San Francisco State University in 1982, and after working in the field of meteorology for a few years, returned to SF State for a high school teaching certificate in science. He taught in the classroom for more than 12 years and then expanded into research opportunities in education. Susan completed a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Florida in 1981 and a Master of Science in counseling and human development in 1983 from Troy State University. She worked with disabled veterans as a licensed mental health counselor and case manager for the Veterans Administration, and then expanded into developing outpatient brain injury rehabilitation programs and other physical rehabilitation programs for clinics in the greater Tampa Bay area.
Joe and Susan are passionate about exceptional customer service, high quality care and education, and developing meaningful, productive relationships with the students, parents, and staff. Through independent study and continuing education, they have been inspired by the Reggio-Emilia approach to early childhood education, and have moved forward with the physical environment changes and staff training. They feel honored and humbled that so many parents and caregivers continue to choose them to care for their precious children. Accordingly, they believe in the African Proverb, “It takes a Village to raise a child” and want to partner with you to do so.