Originally a native of Wisconsin, I have worked with young children and their families for over 20 years in a number of ways, including work as a preschool & toddler teacher, an atelierista or studio teacher and as a Curriculum Coordinator for The Clifton School. I have been inspired by the educators of Reggio Emilia, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others, who saw education as a fundamental right as well as a catalyst for social change.
I have credits towards my Master’s in Early Childhood Education at Pacific Oaks College. I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from Georgia State University, which includes an endorsement in special education, as well as an Associate in Early Childhood Education from Chattahoochee Technical College with a specialization in Program Administration. I have helped to forge an on-going collaboration with Emory University and Georgia State University, researching the rights of young children and the cultural context of Development Appropriate Practices. I have a unique interest in reflective practices especially as it relates to curriculum planning for young children, the role of documentation in early child care centers, building partnerships with families, creating engaging learning environments and using materials as thinking tools. I’m deeply committed to improving the quality of education accessible to all children and creating a program that is innovative and cultivates a community full of inquiry.
Hello, my name is Meloney Alonza. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I am the mother of two children, a 14 year old son named Mardrevons and an 11 year old daughter named Kamy. I have been working with children since I was 14 years old.
After graduating from Southside High School, I attended Georgia Medical Institute where I obtained my diploma to become a medical assistant. I later became a substitute teacher in the field of early childhood education and was able to travel to different schools and support teachers in a number of different program settings. This gave me the opportunity to work with children of all ages and abilities. I really do enjoy I enjoy working with children of all ages, from infants to preschoolers. I am dedicated to the social and emotional development of each child and make it my goal to make sure that each child receives the best care and love they deserve.
Hello my name is LaTisha Flowers-Atelierista. I was born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Lithonia, Georgia. I am a wife and mother to three young boys. I have been working with children since 1998 in a preschool setting. I have my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Piedmont Technical College.
While working on my early childhood education degree, I started my journey at The Clifton School. During my time at Clifton I had several job titles: Assistant Teacher, Lead Teacher, Atelierista (Studio Teacher) and Mentor Teacher. I am inspired by the schools in Reggio Emilia, Itlay and Auckland, New Zealand.
My passion and interests are creating magical environments for children, exploring and using materials as thinking tools, reflective practices for young children, and building partnerships with families.
I love to travel and see other schools that are inspired by the Reggio Philosophy. I have visited several different school’s across the country and I had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand. Most of all I’m a proficient photographer and love taking photos of my family, children, and things in nature.
Ms. Lonnette Bruce has over 25 years of experience working with young children and their families. Ms. Bruce and I have worked closely together especially in her role as the Curriculum Director at The Clifton School – Clairmont Site. Ms. Bruce was instrumental in helping to design the school’s curriculum and ensure that children had rich daily experiences. Additionally, Ms. Bruce founded and successfully ran her own progressive preschool, The Learning Lenz, for a number of years. In her role at the Highlander School, she will support and coach the infant teachers as well as ensuring that The Highlander School’s afternoons continue to be rich and engaging.
My name is Tori Jackson-Gamble. I was born in sunny Palm Beach, Florida and raised here in Atlanta. I am married to my wonderful husband; and together we are raising our beautiful, sassy, and vibrant little girl! I have 13 years of play experience in the early childhood industry. I am currently enrolled at Ashford University and completing my CDA. I enjoy all things nature and all genres of music! My family and I can often be found dancing around the house or breaking into song randomly in stores. I believe my life is a party and I’m the DJ.
As the Director of The Highlander School, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing of Zakkiyah Forest for over 20 years! As a college student, she has routinely worked at The Highlander School during her summer breaks. Zakkiyah is naturally gifted and has a beautiful spirit. She will be joining us this year as a permanent Toddler Two Educator. Zakkiyah is currently studying Applied Linguistics at Georgia State University.
Ms. Thibodeaux is an artist in every way and holds an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Piedmont College. Ms. Thibodeaux has worked with young children for over five years and has a toddler that welcomes her home everyday.
Hello, my name is Serai L.Christian. I was Born and raised in Queens, New York. At the age of 14, my family relocated to small town in the outskirts of Atlanta called Ellenwood. I’m the proud mother of our two toddlers and expecting our new addition to our family in January.
While in Georgia In my teens I obtained a summer job working at a neighborhood daycare assisting and teaching four year olds. It was there where I discovered my love for children and teaching. At the time I was also very much into art and so I had attended the Art Institute of Atlanta where I was able to learn different aspects of art and techniques in illustration.
At the age of 25, I relocated back to New York on my own and discovered while there that my passion for education had grown strong. In order to feed that hunger, I decided to attend Bankstreet College of Education where I had taken classes in Early Childhood Education. Over time and through experience, I learned when I worked in the classroom I always incorporated art. It allowed my students to be able to identify and use their senses in other ways that made them better students. This is what teaching is about, being able to give our children more than just repetition and recite . Creativity allows children to have stronger imaginations and in future life situations to think on their toes and have innovative ideas. In my progression as an educator to further my experiences, I obtained a position as an Art Instructor at Sunshine Early learning Center in Harlem. There I was the school’s art instructor. Currently, I’m enrolled at Georgia State University where I will be studying Early Childhood Education starting in the fall.
In my experiences, traveling between both cities, I learned that a child’s love for learning doesn’t change with every new face. I’ve learned that they all are in need of a loving heart and one who isn’t afraid to see the world with them through their eyes; or to give them a chance to share what’s in their heart as well what’s in their minds. I’m very excited about working with all of your children here at The Highlander School.
Hi, my name is Jessica Horsley. I was born and raised in Lineville, Alabama. My husband, Derrick, and I have two children, two adorable grandchildren, and one spoiled dog. I have worked with young children and their families for over 24 years. After serving in the United States Army for 25 years, Derrick retired and we relocated back to Georgia. Prior to joining The Highlander School educators, I worked with the preschool program at Children’s World Learning Center in Fort Meade, Maryland. I also had the pleasure of working with LaTisha, Rukia, and Tracy at the Clifton School.
I earned an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Care Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with a minor in Leadership. In my spare time, I enjoy exercising, reading, shopping, traveling, and date nights with my husband. I am excited about the new school year and look forward to building relationships with you and your children as we explore and learn new things together in the Multi-age Room. My goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for each child to explore and learn according to their interests.
Hello to all, my name is Jameelah Lewis. I made it to the place where I need to be. I’m very excited and grateful to be at The Highlander School.
I am married to my best friend, Desmond Lewis and we have a daughter name Laylah Lewis. She is a student here at The Highlander School. I enjoy working with young children and watching them explore, learn, and grow. I believe children are confident and competent and recognize that they have voices, rights, and beliefs of their own and should be heard. Even though I have worked with young children for almost 14 years, I continue to learn more about early childhood education.
In my leisure time, I enjoy watching movies, shopping, skating, and bowling with my family. I love, love, love being around my family; we are very close-knit.
My hopes and dreams as a wife, a mother, and as an educator is to live in a world that is filled with love, compassion, empathy, and happiness.
Hello, my name is Akou Mawusi Apedo. I am originally from Togo, West Africa. I am married and a mother of two wonderful children. In Togo, I earned my Associate Degree in Business Management from the University of Lomé. In 2004, I moved to the United States. After living in New York for a year, I relocated to Georgia.
In the past, I’ve spent time working in a number of different areas. I worked as a cashier for a year, in Human Resources for over seven years and as a nurse’s assistant for almost three years. I believe that my diverse work experience has given me a unique set of skills which I can now translate into my work with children as well as my peers. Since being a working mother and spending long hours away from home, I decided to return to school and pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. I began working at The Highlander School as a student intern and just recently completed my Associates Degree at Georgia Piedmont College. I believe these classes have helped me become a better parent and understanding of how young children learn and grow. I look forward to continuing my education and becoming the best mother and educator I can be.
Hola, my name is Estefhaney Lopez. My family is from Valle Hermoso Tamaulipas, Mexico. I was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, in Deep South Texas. I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, I graduated from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with my Master’s Degree in Education Leadership and Policy.
While completing my Master’s Degree, I interned at Manzanitas a Spanish immersion, Reggio Inspired preschool. It was there that I was able to visualize connections between both of my degrees. I am inspired by child-centered philosophies and critical pedagogy.
I am interested in early childhood development, education, and language acquisition. In the near future, I intend on pursuing a Ph.D. in a field related to my interests. My ultimate goal is to make high-quality early childhood education accessible to low-income communities particularly back in my home town. I truly believe that education has the power to transform lives.
In my free time, I enjoy hiking, visiting local coffee shops, cooking, reading Latinx literature, and playing with my beautiful miniature schnauzer.
My name is Bianca Stewart, I graduated from at Georgia State University with a degree in the Birth through Five program. Through my time in the Birth through Five program, I have gained so much insight about child development, and what it takes to be an educator. I became even more passionate about making a difference and touching the lives of the families and children that I work with. I love science and learning how things work or experimenting with different materials.
I am a military child, and a veteran. I believe that my military background has helped me keep an open mind and embrace the diversity all around me, and also remain flexible and ready to learn. In my spare time, I like to read and write, baking and scrapbooking which allow me to be creative.
Greetings Highlander families. My name is Nicole Allsop, this is my third year at The Highlander School. I am very excited to be a part of such a great group of dedicated Early Childhood Educators. I have worked in Early Childhood Education for almost 20 years. Since 1998, I’ve worked alongside young children studying a variety of different teaching styles from Head Start to Montessori. I really love children and their passion and energy, as well as their curiosity and wonder about the world. I am extremely excited for the opportunity to learn with some of the youngest citizens here at Highlander. I am moved by their curiosity and wonder for EVERYTHING. The world is new and they are ready to explore. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
My life outside of school is busy being a mom and wife. I’m blessed to have a partner who is supportive and understands me in a way that allows me to do what I do. My family is very important to me. I am mother to three awesome kids, Nigel age 18, Willah-Sinclair age 10, and Sage age 8. There is never a dull moment in my home. I often jokingly say, “I have the job that never quits.” I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring the Atlanta area with them. I believe that raising children is a community effort and it is important to be a part of a village of like minded individuals working towards the same goals. I look forward to all of the new relationships to be made and all the fun and excitement the new year will bring.