Ark Preschool Staff

Ark Preschool Staff

Our dedicated staff are passionate about continuing to provide opportunities for children to break the through the constraints of poverty and live the lives of success and joy they were meant to live.

The children are so lively, inquisitive and creative. Ark Preschool definitely is the right setting for making the most of those attributes. The staff is very patient and respectful of the kids, which gives them the space to grow and become self confident. A lot of ground is covered [including] life sciences and children's literature. Our community is very lucky to have this school for our kids.
—Shanna Baggaley, Volunteer

Sarah SmithExecutive Director & Teacher

I am so excited to enjoy another year with the Ark Preschool team and to work with the students and families here. I have 2 children of my own and have been working with preschool children for 7 years. In 2013, I graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a B.A. in Child Development and a concentration in Education. I am a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC), and the Yolo County Directors Association. I am also a Mentor Teacher with the California Early Childhood Mentor Program.  I am excited to explore the world through the children’s eyes. As a parent, I recognize the importance of a safe and nurturing environment. As a teacher, I feel that every child will learn, grow, and develop at their own pace. As educators, we have the privilege of guiding children on their journey. I want children to feel confident and secure enough to explore and learn in an invigorating educational and social environment. I look forward to welcoming you and your children into the Ark Preschool Family!

Indira Lara, Teacher
I was born and raised in México. Both of my parents were teachers at the same elementary school, Pensadores Mexicanos, in our community located in San Gabriel Mpio de Pénjamo Guanajuato, México for 30 years. We literally lived inside the school. I remember my dad working really hard to help the school grow. When we moved from Michoacán to Guanajuato, the school was only two classrooms. At the end of their career, the school had 6 classrooms, a library, principal’s office, kitchen, and the teacher’s house with 4 small rooms. I think that since I grew up watching both of my parents be so committed to their jobs and always trying to help the school and the community, I have the same ideals. I give all my best to what I do. I work hard for the children. My oldest sister is a teacher too at the college in Guanajuato. I have taken classes at Sacramento City College, such as Early Childhood Education and Child Development to further prepare me for my vocation at Ark Preschool. I am going to keep taking classes. I have three daughters. My second daughter was one of the first students at Ark Preschool! Since then, I fell in love with the program and now my third child has matriculated from Ark Preschool to Kindergarten. Do I like working at Ark Preschool?? I love it. I like that all the teachers have the same goal, to give each child the best experience in preschool and to help them to be ready for Kindergarten. I love my co-workers!!! As a science teacher, I love learning from the children. Working with these children is phenomenal!

Crystal Hernandez, Cook/Teacher
Hello! My name is Crystal Hernandez. I have 3 children: 2 boys and 1 girl. When my oldest child was 3 years old, he began attending a local preschool. At the time, I went to a local community college taking coursework in Early Childhood Education. I was lucky to be able to get a job at my son’s preschool. I was able to work with a great staff and director. I worked there for 9½ years and was able to work with every age group there from the infants all the way through the school age children. In June 2014, the school closed and as they say, “when one door closes, another one opens.” In January 2015, I was able to apply here at Ark Preschool. Now I consider myself lucky to work with new children, families, and staff members. I am happy to be working with 3-5 year old preschoolers. I love their imagination, the way they play, the way they tell stories, and how they play with each other. I am thankful for having this opportunity to have this position at Ark Preschool! I teach fine motor activities, cooking activities, crafts, and Chef of the Day. I also shop for and prepare the children's snacks and lunch each day.

Jennifer Heath, Teacher
My name is Jennifer Heath and I have been teaching preschool for 5 years. This is my 3rd year at Ark Preschool. I currently teach creative arts, blocks, history, social studies, and circle time. I enjoy every moment I spend in this field of work. I have always had a passion for teaching and knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I currently hold a Child Development Associate Teacher Permit from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I look forward to providing hands on learning with each student as the art and history teacher. I will use every opportunity as a learning experience to grow.

Melissa Daley, Founder & Program Consultant
I’m passionate about having a high quality education available to all children so that they might thrive in Kindergarten and beyond. As a credentialed elementary teacher and reading specialist for 19 years, I saw some children struggle unnecessarily because they did not receive a preschool education. I’ve been blessed to learn state of the art information and research through my membership in the National & California Associations for the Education of Young Children, the Yolo Co. Director’s Association, and from my masters degree in education. I’m very grateful to be learning alongside the preschool children for the last 10 years, which provides me with daily opportunities to be creative in seeking knowledge and designing play spaces and activities which foster curiosity and meet the children’s needs, to use my imagination to see the world in a myriad of new ways and to witness children’s positive development socially and emotionally.