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Our Staff

our staffThe staff and teachers here at Children’s Nest Preschool are fully equipped, trained and qualified. They are all professional and experienced individuals in the field of childcare and early childhood education. Some even have experience working with children for decades now!

Our Staff Screening Process

  • Level II Background Screening
  • Certification of First Aid and CPR
  • 20 in-service hours per year
  • Continuing Education Plan
  • 40 clock hours childcare training Plus 5 (Literacy)
  • Personal Interviews
  • Reference Checks
  • Ongoing Performance Assessments
  • Attestation of Good Moral Character

We, at Children’s Nest Preschool, will provide endless opportunities to give your child the greatest experience and services suitable for their developmental growth.

Meet the Staff

Ruth Howle
Toddler teacher

Ruth Howle

Hello, my name is Ruth Howle. I am one of the toddler teachers here at Children’s Nest Preschool. I teach the younger one-year-olds. I have been a preschool teacher for 2 years and I enjoy every minute of it! The first year, I filled in for the 2 and 3-year old’s and after that, I worked with the infants. I have come to realize they can teach us just as much as we teach them. I am so happy to be a part of your child’s learning experience as it is challenging yet rewarding seeing your child’s development. I am always available for questions if you have any.

Ingrid Cordova
Assistant

Ingrid Cordova

Hello parents! My name is Ingrid Cordova. I was born in Peru and came to the United States in 2011. My daughter, Grace, was born in 2014 and also attends school here. She is my everything in life. I recently got my 40+5 hours certificate. I began working at Children’s Nest in May of 2018. I absolutely love working with children and would love to continue my education in the field with a bachelor’s in early childhood. I believe using your imagination is an important tool and skill children can develop at a very early age. I am patient, and creativity is one of my greatest strengths. Hopefully, working with children is as exciting for them as it is for me! I believe reading stories aloud, encouraging children to tell stories and find unique ways to illustrate them, builds not only a great imagination, but also helps grow early literacy. I am happy to continue growing with the Children’s Nest family.

Samantha Connors
Potty training two’s teacher

Ingrid Cordova

Hello, my name is Samantha Connors. I am 32 and the mother of four children: two boys and two girls. I was born in Michigan but raised my whole life in Florida. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, going to the beach, and spending time with my family. I am going on 11 years in the child care field. In 2015, I completed the necessary online class through Rasmussen College to obtain my Child Development Associate’s for age birth to three years, with infant and toddlers being my favorite age group. The main reason I chose childcare is because children are our future and it is important that they gain knowledge from us as their teacher as well as their parent from a young age in order to grow into a knowledgeable child. As they say: “knowledge is power”. Also, there is no better look than the face of a smiling child and no better sound than the laughter of a happy child.

Amber Hearns
Potty Training Two’s

Amber Hearns

Let me introduce myself, my name is Amber Hearns. I am 21 years young, married with no children. I graduated at the age of 17 with my CDA (child development associates). I started working at Sun Academy as an infant lead teacher, then progressed to a floater at Sunshine Academy and later decided I wanted a classroom moving up to the potty-training three-year-old class. My time at Sunshine Academy came to an end leading me to Children’s Nest Preschool. I am the Potty Training Two’s teacher. I love it here at Children’s Nest. It is more than just a job, we are also a family. We don’t stand alone, we stand as one.

Jamie
K 3/4’s

Jamie

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Jade Howle
Pre-kindergarten

Jade Howle

Hi, my name is Jade Howle and I have been a preschool teacher for 3 years now! I started my career in preschool by being a floater going from classroom to classroom and working with all different age groups. Shortly after that, I became a one-year teacher and had so much fun during my time in the one-year-old class. After I started my career at Children’s Nest, I started spending my afternoons with the pre-k classroom. I think it is so amazing how much they take in and how much we can do together as a classroom which makes me so excited as I am going to be the pre-k teacher this year! I am so happy to be a part of your child’s life and I am excited to watch them learn and grow. I am blessed to teach this class all the skills and education that they need to prepare for kindergarten! I will work my hardest to make sure that every child has a wonderful time while they are here. I am always here if you have any questions.

Midalys Hector
Server/Substitute

Midalys Hector

Hello, I am the server and substitute here at Children’s Nest. I moved here from Cuba 10 years ago and began working here 3 years ago. I am the parent of two birds who just made me a grandmother. I am the one who keeps “The Nest” clean. My husband, Guillermo, is now also employed by Children’s Nest to help transition the classrooms on Monday morning.
I love the working environment here.

Mariela Johnston
Director and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Mariela Johnston

Hello to all my parents out there. As many of you know I have not always been in childcare. I have previously been in corporate management predominantly working with staff/employee development for many years before finding what I believe is my true calling. In 2003, I took a position working with Headstart and believe me it was rough and tough and everything else in between. But I found my niche. I found that I was naturally good at it.
I have three basic goals with Children’s Nest:

  • To be able to give parents, the confidence and self-assurance that you are leaving your children with family.
  • To ensure that your child has the self-esteem, resilience and knowledge to know that they can be whomever they choose to be and it is not predestined by society.
  • To encourage professional and personal growth amongst my staff.

I am very grateful that you have entrusted your most precious treasures to Children’s Nest. Teaching is one of the most complicated jobs today. It demands broad knowledge of subject matter, curriculum and standards. Our goal is to enthuse and fill every child with a lover for learning.

Greg Johnston

Greg Johnson

Hello! My name is Mr. Greg and I cook the food for the children. I was born in Los Angeles and served in the army for 4 years. I went to USF and received my bachelors in Psychology and masters in Linguistics. I substituted in Manatee County as well as taught over seas. Mrs. Johnston and I have been married for 26 years and counting. We have have 4 kids: Jereme, 25, our oldest, is a 1st LT in the army; Silas, 20, is working and currently enrolling at SCF; Halleigh, 16, is a junior in high school at SCFCS taking college classes and Zechariah, 15, is a freshman in high school at SCFCS. In my pastime I enjoy cooking, reading, and spending time with my kids.

Marisol Pantoja

Marisol Pantoja

Hello, my name is Ms. Marisol. I have been teaching for 18 years. I took Early Childhood Education while in high school and fell in love with the children and the field. I am thrilled to be at Children’s Nest where I have been working now for 3 plus years. I have experience with all ages. I found that I love working with children and would not have it any other way!
I have a 20-year-old daughter that I love to the moon and back. She is now in her 2nd year in college. My favorite color is green and one of my favorite hobbies is art. It takes a big heart to shape little minds.