Meet The Staff

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 made the difficult decision to de-brand from the franchise in order to monetarily invest in the school, and to try some innovative ideas in the programs. Thus, The Village Early Learning Center was conceived as the “new” school for the community, the children and their parents, and the teaching team.
Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in 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’s degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in 1981 and a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Development in 1983 from Troy State University. She worked as a licensed mental health counselor, a case manager for the VA working with disabled veterans, and 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, an open door policy, high quality care and education, and developing meaningful, productive relationships with the students, parents, and staff. They feel honored and humbled when you choose them to care for your precious child. Accordingly, they believe in the African Proverb, “It takes a Village to raise a child” and want to partner with you to do so.
Magda Garcia

Magda Garcia Assistant Director

Magda Garcia has been employed at The Village ELC since September 2005. Magda started working in the Early Childhood 12 years ago in a Christian preschool as an Office Manager and Director for 4 years. She moved to the Brandon area in August 2005. She has been in positions including Lead teacher, substituting in all classrooms and VPK teacher for 3 years. Magda is originally from Guatemala and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida when she was 11 years old. She has been married to her wonderful husband Esteban for 19 years and has 4 beautiful children Monica 18, Miguel 15, Junior 14, and Stephanie 12. Along with her husband they have also worked with youth from middle school through college and career placement.
Magda has earned her CDA, Director credentials from Nova University of Fort Lauderdale, CPR Certification, and First Aid Certification. She is currently working towards her associates degree.
Lisa Stephens

Lisa Stephens Chef

Ms. Lisa returns to the Village! She was one of our original staff members back in 2000 and was here until 2008. After taking a little “break” she is back with us and we are so pleased to have her! Lisa rejoins the Village with over 20 years experience working with children. Lisa has her A.S. in Early Childhood Development and has taken courses in Food Safety and Nutrition through the University of South Florida. She has been married to her best friend for 34 years and has one daughter.
Maribel Rodriguez

Maribel Rodriguez Infant Teacher and Team Leader

Ms. Maribel has cared for several complete sibling groups while working at Tutor Time Brandon, and now, 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. 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 Aide, and is current with all continuing education. She is completing her national CDA (Child Development Associate).
Maria Zapata

Maria Zapata Infant Teacher

“Ms. Maria” 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. Maria has completed the required Hillsborough County Childcare classes and has begun work on her Child Development Associate. 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 at the London Montessori Center. She earned a degree in Nursery Nursing and early Montessori teaching. In 1993, Mrs. Barry came to America as a nanny in Key West, Florida, and continued to nanny as a full-time profession for 2 ½ years. Next, she began working in the infant room in a child care center, also in Key West. In 2001, she moved to the Tampa Area and worked at the JCC (Jewish Community Center) preschool for 10 years before coming to join The Village teaching team in April 2011. “Ms. Pauline” has worked with all age groups from infants to VPK, and was the Assistant Director at JCC Brandon for 5 years of her 10 year term. 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.

Jennifer Rodriguez Toddler Teacher

Jennifer is originally from the Bronx, New York. She moved to Florida in July of 2013. She has taught for 5 years. Ms. Jennifer is mother to daughter Mia who is 3 years old. She is full of joy. In her spare time she like to take her daughter to the beach and enjoy the Florida sunshine and swim in the ocean.

Ashley White Toddler Teacher

Ashley is from Tampa Florida. She moved to Valrico in August. This is her first year at the Village. She started teaching in August of 2003. She has her CDEA, CPR and First Aide certifications. She is the mother to her wonderful 3 1/2 year old son Harley. “He attends school at the Village and loves it as much as I do.”

Iesha Martinez Toddler Teacher Assistant

Iesha is originally from New York. She moved to Clearwater in 2001 She moved to Riverview in 2005. This is her first year at the Village. She graduated from East Bay High School in 2013 with honors as class president. She was in Chorus,Thespian and SGA clubs. She is currently a voice major at HCC. She is the worship team leader at Wholesome Community Ministries. She likes to try new things and be adventurous! .”
Darinka Savena

Darinka Savena Two Year Old Teacher

Mrs. Darinka is originally from Bulgaria. She moved to Brandon 17 years ago. She has worked at the Village for 3 years. She has taught in the two year old classroom for 2 years. She has her 40 hours and CPR certifications. She is happily married to her husband Stoyne of 23 years. In her spare time she enjoys going to gymnastics and the circus with her husband and daughter Alex. A neat fact about Mrs. Darinka is that she is a National Dance School graduate and she holds her dance teacher certification.
Yojaira Flori

Yojaira Flori Two Year Old Teacher

Ms. Yojaira has been working with children for seven years. Although this is her first year at the Village she has already made a positive impact on our team and children. She holds an Associates of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts. Yojaira is also pursuing a BA in Early Childhood Education and wants to eventually get her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology.
Yojaira came to The Village because she truly enjoys working with the Toddler age group. She loves to see how well they can follow direction at this young age and see how much they truly understand. Yojaira likes to encourage the children in her classroom to become independent as well as get lots of hugs too.
When Yojaira is not busy with her “kids” here, she is at home with her 11 year old daughter. She enjoys reading, lyrical dance and would love to get to the beach more often.

Perla MoralesTwo Year Old Teacher Assistant

Mrs.Perla is originally from the Dominican Republic. She moved to Brandon in August 2011. This is her first year at the Village. She is married to Jovanny. They share a love of riding motorcycles,traveling around Florida,going to the beaches and classic cars.
Ms.Erika G

Erika Garcia Young Three’s Teacher and Team Leader

Ms. Erika Garcia is currently teaching in the young 3′s classroom. She has been apart 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.

Diana Cardona Young Threes Teacher

Diana Cardona is originally from Colombia, South America and moved to Brandon in 2010. She has been working with children for more than 10 years in preschool and elementary school, including almost 5 years with a special YMCA program, using Waldorf Methodology to help and educate under privileged children.
She is happily married to her husband Randall Adams and she has one son and two step-daughters. She is working with her ‘favorite’ age group at The Village where she likes to share a little of her native language with them! She has completed all the required basic early childhood education requisites and she is looking forward to continuing her training and learning in childhood education. She likes to read and listen to music. Also she likes to stay ahead in her projects for her married and personal life and likes to enjoy her husband’s American cooking!

Karla Chariano Young Threes Teacher

Karla is originally from New York. She moved to Brandon in 2001. She previously worked at the Village in the infants, 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 boys.

Shanea Brown Young Threes Teacher Assistant

Shanea Brown is a 21-year old who has been working in childcare since the age of 16. Currently, she is attending Hillsborough Community College to study education. Her goals are to become a teacher since she loves children and hopes to make a difference in each child’s life who she gets to teach.

Kaitlyn Bruno-Daniels Young Threes Teacher Assistant

Ms. Kaitlyn was born and raised in Vermont.She moved to Brandon at the age of 14. She has been working at the Village for 5 months. She is currently a junior at Howard W. Blake High School of the artsand her major is musical theatre. For college she wants to attend USF and get her doctorates degree in Pediatrics. She has been taking care of special needs kids since she was 12. She is a student ambassador, she recently traveld to Australia. She plays the violin & guitar. English and U.S. History are her favorite subjects. Ms. Katelyn and her brother Ean and sister Jillian are proudly adopted by her grandparents. She absolutely loves working at the Village!

Maria E Romero Preschool Teacher and Team Leader

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.

Tina DiPinto Preschool Teacher

Tina DePinto is originally from Long Island N.Y. She moved to Florida in September. This is her first year at the Village. She received her CDA in 2008. In 2011 she received her directors credentials. Upon moving to Florida she completed 4 early learning courses and she is certified in First Aide and CPR. She is married to her high school sweetheart. This May they will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. She previously was a stay at home mom for her two sons. She enjoys the beach, Sudoku, puzzles and shopping.

Marianty Muniz Preschool 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.

Jennifer Kelly PreK/VPK Teacher

Mrs. Kelly was welcomed to our teaching team in August 2012. She moved to Florida from California with 16 years of experience working with children of all ages. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a minor in Psychology. Her additional coursework in Early Childhood Education earned her a Master Teacher credential in California. When asked why she enjoys teaching, Jennifer says she loves “the hugs” and “that moment you see them learn something new.” She also loves the fact that The Village ELC is accredited by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) because she trained in a NAEYC accredited school in California and has completely embraced their philosophy and practices. Jennifer is the mother of 4 children (teenagers!) and has been married to her fabulous husband, Chuck, for 22 years. She enjoys scrapbooking and has had the wonderful experience of living in Japan. For the foreseeable future, Jennifer wants to continue teaching, and loves working with four year olds!

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.

Laura Ansteatt PreK/VPK Teacher

Mrs.Ansteatt was raised in New York and moved to Maryland after graduating from college. Mrs. Ansteatt is in her first year teaching at the Village. She has a bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Loyola University of Maryland. Mrs. Ansteatt also completed coursework to receive early childhood certification in Maryland. Mrs. Ansteatt currently holds a FL state Dept. of Education professional educator’s certificate. Mrs. Ansteatt has lived in Valrico for nine years. She has been married for 20 years and is the mother of 17 year old twins. Mrs. Ansteatt loves spending time with her family, traveling, and reading in her spare time.

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!

Jackie Croce PreK/VPK Teacher

Ms. Croce has been with The Village since 2011 teaching VPK. She comes to us from Rhode Island with a BA in Early Childhood Education. Jackie came to The Village not only because she loves children, but she also appreciates our sense of community and our friendly, helpful and dedicated staff. Jackie enjoys watching her student’s excitement when they have learned or discovered new abilities and loves knowing she is making a difference in their future.
If Jackie won a million dollars she would share it with the staff at The Village. (This is not the only reason we love her!) She enjoys running and reading. She would love the opportunity to travel to Europe one day and experience different countries and cultures. Jackie is going to continue teaching; growing and learning from her students.

Raquel Garcia PreK/VPK Teacher

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!

Robin Vernoy

Robin Vernoy Adventure Club Program Coordinator and 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!
Will Flores

Will Flores Adventure Club Coach

Originally from Queens, New York. He has been working with the Village for little over a year. He is currently enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. His two favorite sports are soccer and football. His favorite soccer team is Real Madrid.

Kecia Lucas Substitute Teacher

Welcome Back! Bio coming soon!

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.

Tateisha Cleary Substitute Teacher

Mrs.Tateisha is Originally from Atlanta,Georgia she moved to Brandon in 2010. This is Mrs. Tateisha’s first year with the Village. She has taught preschool for 20 years. She has her Staff C Certificate and she has completed all the required basic early childhood education requisites and she is looking forward to continuing her training and learning in childhood education. I her spare time she enjoys relaxing with her family.

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.

Aviance Gilley Substitute Teacher

Ms. Aviance is originally from Tampa Florida. She moved to Brandon in 2006. This is her first year at the Village. She has completed the Early Childhood program. She is a graduate of Remington College. She has a 3 1/2 year old son. She loves to cook with her son and have a reading club.