Meet the Teachers
Great Child care in Parkville, Missouri
Hello! I am Brandi, owner and director of Smart Beginnings since July 2017. I have worked in childcare for 21 years. I have taught every age group from birth to 5th grade. I received my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood and Leadership from Park University. Together with a team of dedicated and creative teachers, I am committed to providing your family with a loving and developmentally sound foundation for a lifetime of learning. When I’m not at Smart Beginnings you will find me enjoying family time with my partner and my 4 beautiful daughters Addyson, Alexa, Averie, and Ashlyn. I love playing volleyball, crafting and attending my children’s sporting events. My favorite thing about working at Smart Beginnings is the amazing relationships we form with the children and their families.
Bright Beginners Classroom:
Hi, my name is Abby Clifton. I have recently returned to Smart Beginnings Early Learning Center in 2022 and am so excited to be the lead teacher in the Bright Beginner's Classroom. I love getting to know the parents & the kiddos enrolled in my classroom. I was born & raised in Kansas City, Missouri. I have worked in childcare for 3 years & it has been so rewarding. I am a mother to a 3 year old little boy named Jaxson. He is my life & light. We enjoy going to the park, swimming, shopping, having movie nights & doing family nights together. We have 1 dog named Jessie, because of course my son is OBSESSED with Toy Story. My favorite thing about working at Smart Beginnings is being able to teach the children new things and help their little minds grow.
Little Movers Classroom:
Hi, I am Ms. Cheryl. I am the lead teacher for Little Movers Classroom. I have worked in childcare for 3 years. I started at Smart Beginnings at the end of February 2021. I have been the Little Movers lead since March of 2021. My fiancé and I have a 17 year old daughter and five godchildren, four boys and one girl. We have six fur babies, two dogs and four cats. I have lived in Missouri all my life. I went to Park Hill high school and grew up in the Park Hill School District. I am excited to get to know you and your family and work with your child. I am also excited to watch the kids as they grow and meet new milestones. My favorite thing about working for Smart Beginnings is to watch how much each child has grown over time, they grow and change so fast.
Little Movers Classroom:
Hello, I’m Ms. Holland. I'm the assistant teacher in the Little Movers Classroom. I started working at Smart Beginnings in May 2021 and have worked in the Discoverers and now the Little Movers classroom. I’m super excited to work with a younger group of children. I spend part of my free time working on crafts like jewelry making and crocheting. I love media analysis and my favorite hobby is drawing. I’m looking forward to spending time with your children and helping them reach new milestones. My favorite thing about working at Smart Beginnings is spending time with the babies, and watching them slowly grow and change.
Creative Learners Classroom:
Hi, I'm Ms. Stephanie. I am the lead teacher for the Creative Learners classroom. I have worked in childcare for almost 4 years. I went to school for 2 years for Early Childhood Education and look forward to extending my education when the time is right. I have 1 daughter who is my world. We have 4 kitties who we love dearly. I grew up in Alabama, but I have been in Missouri for about 11 years. I look forward to getting to know all the children and their families. I love watching little minds grow! I am also looking forward to growing with my Smart Beginnings family!
Hi I'm Salena. I'll be one of the teacher in the Discoverers classroom. I'm originally from California but moved to Missouri in 2018. I have a beautiful daughter who is my whole world. I also have two dogs and a cat. I love to read, paint, and play video games. When I'm not at work I'm out doing something with my family, we love the outdoors. One of our favorite this to do is going to the park and walking trails. I did many child development programs in highschool and worked with preschoolers for a year. I look forward to helping little minds grow and excel while at Smart Beginnings.
Hey there, I'm Ms. Mercades! I'm so excited to be here at Smart Beginnings Early Learning Center! Working with children has always been very precious to me, I started my career young in 2012. I've always known that this is what I'm meant to do. Through the years I've mostly taught in infant classrooms, there have been a handful of years I've spent with toddlers too. Guiding and nurturing little people at the dawn of life is so much fun, I absolutely love it! My teaching style is very much hands on. I tend to gravitate towards music, sensory, physical, and even STEM activities. I cannot wait to create bonds with the kiddos in the Discoverers class and get to know you as well! I am happily married and have a beautiful son, who also attends Smart Beginnings. My favorite thing about SBELC is how much my son enjoys his classroom. Another one of my favorite thing at SBELC, is the high quality management. This opens up the door to enjoy more activities with the children.
Hello, I am Amanda Von Behren, I will be your child's teacher while they are in the Explorers classroom. I am super excited to be a part of your child's journey here at Smart Beginnings. I have worked in various rooms throughout my years here at Smart Beginnings. In July 2017 I started as an assistant teacher and has since moved up to lead teacher. I am also the afternoon administrator. I love working for Smart Beginnings and love helping your children grow. I was born and raised in Minnesota and moved to Missouri when my daughter was about 4years old. She is now 20 and is going to Mizzou. I too have taken the jump into college, I’m currently going for my degree in Early Childhood Education. When not at work or doing school work you will find me with my partner and her four girls. My favorite thing about working at Smart Beginnings is facilitating the growth and learning of each child in my care.
Hello, my name is Sarah Hudson and I am the lead teacher in the Adventurer's classroom. I have worked for Smart Beginnings since June 2020. For most of my life, I have had a huge love for children. I have known from a very young age I would work with children in some way. When it was time to go to college, I decided to get my associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and later went to school to become a Cosmetologist. Before I came to Smart Beginnings, I worked at Prairie Point Elementary in the Café for 2 years. I have lived in Parkville for the last 12 years with my family. I have been happily married since 2009 and I have two beautiful daughters Audrey and Madelyn. Outside of my work with Smart Beginnings, you will find me with my family. We love to go camping, spend time on the beach in Florida, and play card games together. I love working for Smart Beginnings for lots of reasons. I love the laid back atmosphere, the staff is incredible and our owner is one of the best. Everyone at Smart Beginnings is here for the right reason, THE KIDDOS. We all love our job and it shows through all the love we show our students.
My name is Theresa Reinke. I have worked at Smart Beginnings since July 2017. I have taught in many different classrooms during my career here at Smart Beginnings. I am currently one of the lead teachers in the Pathfinders classroom as well as the assistant director. Before I joined the Smart Beginnings family I was a nanny for a family for eight years. My family and I live in Weston, MO. I have two children, a daughter Kaitlyn and a son, Silas. Working with children is a passion of mine and I enjoy watching children learn new things every day. It is so much of a passion that I am currently in school working towards earning my Early Childhood Education degree. When I am not at Smart Beginnings or working on homework. I enjoy watching my daughter and son play all the various sports they play. My biggest goal for my classroom is to keep my students engaged in meaningful play based activities and lessons throughout the day. I strive to create a positive, loving, and nurturing environment for my students, and firmly believe that it is essential for children to learn and develop cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally. To me preschool is where the foundation to achieve success in a classroom setting is established and creating a strong foundation is critical for the next stages in a child’s life. One of my favorite things about working at Smart Beginnings is that we work to build strong relationships in our classrooms and to build positive classroom communities.
My name is Carla Curtis! I am excited to get to know your child in the pathfinder classroom. I graduated from Park University with a teaching degree and minored in business. I have worked in public education for over 15 years; I also have worked in early childhood for many years. I have been a teacher, lead teacher, supervisor, assistant director, as well as a director. I am married and have three daughters and a grandson that I adore. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, crocheting, quilting and walking for breast cancer and Dementia/Alzheimer's. I love to teach; when you’re teaching and that lightbulb goes off and that child gets it, you feel so good to be a part of it. I am proud to be working for Smart Beginnings. The vibe here is great and you always feel like you are a part of a team!
Multi Focus Teachers:
I’m Andrea Ballard! I have many years of childcare experience and have worked in the childcare field since I was 15 years old. I also have some experience in Montessori as well. During high school I was involved in our high schools child development program as well as volunteering at the North Kansas City Hospital Learning Center. I am currently taking online college courses childcare. In my free time, I love spending time with my 5 nieces and nephew.
The kiddos call me Ms. Cece. I have two wonderful daughters named Jasmine & Ja'Kayla. I enjoy attending church at Paseo Baptist Church where I sing on the praise worship team and choir. I was born and raised in Kansas City, KS. I graduated from JC Harmon high school and continued my education at Avts. I have been continuing my education in childhood development classes over the last few years. I have worked in childcare as a volunteer, assistant teacher, and auxiliary teacher since I graduated highschool. I have worked at childcare centers in Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi. I started working at Smart Beginning Early Learning Center in November 2021 as a multi-purpose teacher. The one thing I love about working at Smart Beginnings is that everyone gets along and supports one another. I'm very blessed to have found Smart Beginnings and I look forward to more years to come.
Hello! My name is Emma Kendrick. I am currently attending Park University. I am a Freshman majoring in interior design. I’m also originally from St. Joseph Missouri. One of my favorite things to do is hang out with family and friends. My favorite thing about Smart Beginnings is the friendly staff and getting to see so many cute faces each day!
My name is Patty Dinovo, I have 5 beautiful children. I had worked for Smart Beginnings for 5 years in the infant room. I left for a short time, and now back as a multi-focus teacher, working part-time. I love to cook and bake. I also love to read. One of the best things about working for Smart Beginnings is that my boss always does her best to meet my needs both for work and when I need time off for family.
My name is Megan. I began babysitting as a preteen. In my early 20’s I started to work in childcare professionally. In the past several years I have worked in several daycares and have also worked as a private Nanny for three Families. I have a passion for working with kids and love helping them learn and grow. I love working at Smart Beginnings for that very reason. I love that it is a positive work environment. I am thankful for the opportunity to work at Smart Beginnings, It is just a wonderful place to work. My hobbies include watching movies and hanging out with friends.
Hello! My name is Violet. I am a multi-focus teacher here at Smart Beginnings Early Learning Center. Before joining the Smart Beginnings team, I would babysitting children of all ages. I am currently enrolled at Park University, working towards my B.A. Once I graduate from Park University I plan on continuing my work with children/youth. One of my favorite thing about being a multi-focus teacher at Smart Beginnings is being able to educate the children each day, but also allowing myself to learn from the children as well.
My name is Kathryn Holloway. I am a mother to two boys, I also have 2 cats. I have been cooking as a profession for 17 years, but I've been cooking since I was a child. I have primarily worked in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I have prepared meals for as many as 150 people. I enjoy cooking and baking. What I enjoy most about Smart Beginnings is being able to watch the children grow and develop their own personalities.