We are a certified institution by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Each of our lead teachers has acquired a bachelor’s degree in their field and are accredited by (MSDE). They are all certified in Infant and Child CPR and First Aid. We also reinforce the learning of our staff by requiring them to take further education in Early Childhood Learning, which includes workshops and conferences throughout the year.
Be acquainted with our experienced, passionate, and dedicated educators:
Damita Robinson, Director
My name is Damita Robinson. I hold a B.A. in Elementary Education (K-6th grades) and a M.A. in Education Leadership. Next step is an advanced degree and certification in Administration. My teaching and education career has taken me on a wonderful journey over the last 22 years from preschool to an administration position as a Preschool Director, here at Emmanuel United Methodist Preschool, since May 2011. I’ve taught pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades. I am married and the proud mother of two young adult children, Natti and Michael. I love to swim, read and draw. Being a kindergarten teacher the last 7 years before joining Emmanuel Preschool gave me the drive and fueled my passion for providing an exceptional first-school experience for young children and ensuring that they are socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten.
Chloe Atkinson, Asst. Teacher
Hello, my name is Chloe Atkinson. I am so excited to work as a teaching assistant at Emmanuel Methodist Preschool! After graduating from Reservoir High School, I discovered I had an interest in working with children. I feel so blessed to be a part of an amazing program with an incredible team. I’m grateful for the opportunity to develop my skills in early childhood education.
Natalia Ferus, Asst. Teacher
My name is Natalia Ferus, but I go by Natasha. I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, and moved to the US when I was seventeen. I have lived in Laurel since 2006 with my husband and our two awesome children. Even though my college education is in business management, I love working with children here at Emmanuel Methodist Preschool as a teacher’s assistant. When we are not taking our kids to their sporting practices or events, we love to travel around Europe, hike and spend time with family and friends.
Kelli Jaszcar, Asst. Teacher
Hi! My name is Kelli Jaszcar. I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and studied abroad at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. I worked as a teaching assistant and tutor for Child Development and psychology-related courses at my university. I worked with preschool and elementary school students in the Special Education Department through internships and have a passion for Early Childhood Education!
I am from Pittsburgh, PA and I love to draw, paint, read, cook, and go on hikes with my sister.
Debbie Laskey, Co-Teacher
Hello, my name is Debbie Laskey and I am delighted to be joining the Emanuel Preschool team. I look forward to building strong relationships and making great memories with the staff and families. I am truly blessed to work in the field of early childhood education that I love for the past ten years. I am happily married to a Navy man and engineer. We have three beautiful teenagers, a son and two daughters who ignited my passion for working with young children. I have completed the child care certification and continue to grow so that I can better serve you and your children. My many joys include: spending time with my family, baking, reading, crafting, and growing in my faith. May our journey be blessed by God and filled with love, laughter, and learning. Let the adventure begin.
Bindu Patel, Asst. Teacher
Hello, my name is Bindu Patel. I am happy to be part of the Emmanuel Methodist Preschool. I was born in India and I came to the United States at the age of 10. I am a graduate of Oakland University in Michigan and I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management. I have two wonderful children, one boy and one girl. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, playing board games and spending time with my family. My family and I enjoy visiting our relatives who are located all over the United States.
Elena Polkovnikova, Teacher
Hi! My name is Elena Polkovnikova and I`ve been working as a preschool teacher since 2013. I come to the Emmanuel Preschool with an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education from Montgomery College and a Bachelor degree in Linguistics from the University of Russia, my home country. I greatly enjoyed working with a diverse populations of Montgomery County students and I am thrilled to continue my experience here as a part of this great team of professionals. My husband and I like to spend free time with our daughter travelling or engaging in her after school activities. I am looking forward to a new school year!
Tai Bell, Teacher
Hello, my name is Tai Bell. I have had the privilege and honor of teaching or working with children in some capacity for over twenty-three years. I was an Infant, Two’s and Three’s teacher at Rehoboth Preschool, Kiddie Academy, and The Goddard School of Marriottsville. I was also blessed to teach Kindergarten, Second and Fourth Grades at Grace Preparatory Academy. I went on to become a Kindergarten assistant at Woodholme Elementary. Now I am so excited to be teaching our wonderful Four’s, here at Emmanuel United Methodist Preschool.
I am married with two beautiful, smart, hilarious children that bring me so much joy! Outside of teaching, I am a traveling international gospel singer and have traveled all over the world. I look forward to seeing where it will take me next.
Kate Gallagher, Teacher
Hello! My name is Kate Gallagher. I grew up in Pennsylvania, lived in Michigan for a while and now live in Carroll County. I have a Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Reading and certified in Elementary Education. I’ve taught 5th & 6th grades in Philadelphia and was a long time substitute for Carroll County Public Schools for grades pre-k through 12th. I am married with three children, however my husband and I are empty nesters and we have three dogs to fill a little of that void. I am thrilled to have joined Emmanuel Methodist Preschool as a lead teacher.
Tracy Geesaman, Teacher
Hi! My name is Tracy Geesaman, and I started teaching at Emmanuel United Methodist Preschool in 2010. I graduated in 1998 from Penn State University with a BA in Music. After graduation, I taught high school vocal music until I had my first child. I have been a stay at home Mom for the past 10 years and have been teaching private piano and voice lessons for the past 7 years. Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a lot of time in my son’s preschool classroom and that is where I discovered my love for early childhood education and I am delighted to be joining the staff at Emmanuel Preschool. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, watching my boys play sports and scrapbooking.
Kelly Gross, Teacher
Hello, my name is Kelly Gross. I joined Emmanuel staff in 2001 and I have been having fun right along with the children ever since. My degree is in Communications and I have worked in both broadcast and print media. However, after becoming a mother I discovered something fabulous…”little people”! I now have the wonderful opportunity to work with your children. My family time is usually spent outdoors. We especially love national parks and all the activities that go with them!
Ambar Hernandez, Teacher
My name is Ms. Ambar Hernandez. I am so happy and blessed to be a part of Emmanuel Methodist Preschool. I am originally from El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters. My favorite color is blue. I love to go to the park, attend church, listen to music, read, shop and I love to fix old things. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and I love my profession!
Kathia Isele, Teacher
My name is Kathia Isele, I grew up and live in Montgomery County, Md, with my husband and three amazing children. My passion is children, and have been in this field since 1991. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and once owned my own daycare in the late 90’s and taught 4-year-old’s. At my last school, I taught for 14 years in a mixed-age group classroom of children ranging from 2-yrs through 5-yrs. I joined Emmanuel Preschool in 2017, which I love. During my free time, I enjoy arts & crafts and listening to music. I look forward to new adventures, with new friends, each year.
Karen Lampron, Teacher
My name is Karen Lampron. I have lived in Howard County since 1992, when my husband and I moved from Silver Spring. I attended the University of Maryland, first in Munich, Germany and finished up my bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics at College Park in 1984. I have four wonderful children, all of whom are Emmanuel Preschool alumni! My first child started at the preschool in 1997 and I love the teachers and the philosophy of the school. I started as a substitute and am now happily on staff. My hobbies are reading, yard work, exercising and anything that keeps me out of the kitchen.
Karen Schwab, Teacher
Hello, my name is Karen Schwab. This is my first year at Emmanuel Methodist Preschool but I have been a teacher since 1993. I received my B.S. degree in Mass Communication and my M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Towson University. I’ve taught Pre-K through Second grade in Baltimore and Frederick County. I have two children, Anna and Matthew who are the “loves of my life!” I enjoy painting, sewing and doing crafts in my spare time. I truly enjoy spending time with my students and am very excited to join the Emmanuel Preschool team.
Stephanie Seiger, Teacher
Hi, my name is Stephanie Seiger and I love being part of the staff at Emmanuel. I have a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland. In 1994, after 8 years of managing construction jobs, I decided that I’d had enough and wanted to be a full-time mom. Years of volunteering in my boys’ classrooms convinced me that I really loved working with children. I began a career as a substitute teacher at Emmanuel in 2000 and with the Howard Co. Public Schools in 2002. In 2004 I joined the staff here as a teacher assistant. It was like a dream come true! My husband and I live with our two sons and enjoy going to the theater, traveling, reading and following the Terps.
Christy Smith, Teacher
My name is Christy Smith. I grew up in Virginia, graduated from Brigham Young University in Early Childhood Education, and moved to Maryland. I taught first grade before moving to Austria, Greece, Ecuador, and Mexico. I taught at a bilingual preschool in Ecuador and discovered teaching preschool is my dream job! Our family moved back to Maryland in 2017 and we are happy to be settling down here. I am thrilled to be part of the team at Emmanuel Methodist Preschool. I love reading aloud to my three daughters, going out to eat with my husband, and visiting family.
Kellie Minnick, Asst. Teacher
Hi! My name is Kellie Minnick. I began with Emmanuel Methodist Preschool mid year during the 2021-2022 school year. The 2022-2023 school year is my first full year and I am so excited and blessed to be given the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant with such an amazing staff and wonderful families. I have always loved being around young kids and watching them learn and grow. In my free time I love going on walks, driving around to new places, and spending time with my family and friends. Can’t wait for this year and more to come!