Priscilla Esquivel, Director
Priscilla serves as the Director of Vineyard Children’s Center. Priscilla has over 15 years of experience teaching in and managing early learning and child care programs. Priscilla has earned a degree in Early Childhood Education, a degree in Child and Family Community Services and a JD. She is also certified in Ohio and Michigan to provide training courses to early education and child development educators, and by the Council for Professional Recognition to conduct CDA verification visits. Priscilla is mother to Viviana (aspiring chef), Angelica (U of M student), Julia (Huron High Student) and Alexandra (heading to kindergarten in the fall). Priscilla enjoys working with staff and parents to provide quality early education programs for families. Priscilla lives in Ann Arbor and her hobbies include perusing books and drinking espresso at Literati, enjoying the Ann Arbor parks with the kids, helping her daughter Julia write plays and musicals, and trying to score Hamilton tickets.
Donnell serves as Managing Director for the Vineyard Children’s Center, and as Executive Pastor for the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor. Donnell is also the lead developer of a new church management software tool, Community Center for Churches. Donnell grew up in Washington, DC and received his B.A. in computer science from The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. Before joining the Vineyard staff full-time, Donnell worked for IBM in Southfield, Michigan as an eBusiness Solutions Manager. Donnell is married to Maria, father to Mikaela and Sebastian and lives in Ann Arbor.
Tanya Atkins, Lead Teacher-Infants
Hello, my name is Tanya Atkins. I am forty three years old, a wife of twenty years and a mother of four; one biological daughter, one stepdaughter both in their 20’s and the adopted mother of my two nephews ages 15 and 14. We have three grandchildren, the youngest born this past February. I enjoy creative writing and art in all forms. I am honored to have one of my paintings used for the cover of a recently published book. As a child, I benefited greatly from my grandmother’s experience as an early childhood educator. I was able to accompany her to a child development center where I learned to read and developed a love of learning at a very young age. After raising our family and working for many years in Public Service positions, as a bus driver for Ypsilanti Public Schools and at Detroit Metro Airport in the security department, I was able to pursue my degree in Early Childhood Education and Development; a love I first developed working with children in the limited capacity as a bus driver, and volunteering in the classrooms of my children. I have completed my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education, received a certificate in child development and CDA credential from Washtenaw Community College. I plan to attend Eastern Michigan University to complete a Bachelor Degree, Children and Families major. I have always enjoyed enlightening, engaging and interacting with young children. Because of my family and extended family experiences, I am a firm believer in the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. The cooperation between educators, parents and families, as well as positive community influences are essential to developing well-rounded students and adults. As a mother and because of my experience as a foster parent and adoptive mother, I see the need for dedicated educators for our children, especially those who may lack economic and social support. My desire is to work with children and parents in fulfilling the potential of young children as they begin their journeys.
Michelle has a Bachelors of Science degree with a major in Biology and minor in Chemistry. After years of working in that field Michelle decided to follow her dream of teaching. She is currently working on obtaining an associates degree from Baker College in Early Childhood Education and will graduate June 2017. Michelle enjoys working with the mobiles infants as they develop into toddlers.
Naga Narayana-Pillai, Interim Lead Teacher–Mobile Infants
Naga has a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and a CDA in Infant and Toddler care and education and is currently attending college as a nursing major. Naga enjoys sharing new activities such as painting, singing and outdoor explorations with the mobile infants as they grow and develop into toddlers. Naga looks forward to making your child’s day at VCC fun and carefree.
Marwah Baidoun, Assistant Teacher-Mobile Infants
Marwah is attending EMU majoring in social work. She has over 6 year of experience working in early childhood education programs. She is a mentor for Big Sister’s/Little Sisters of Washtenaw County. She has three younger sisters that she enjoys spending time with. Her hobbies include long distance running including 5k’s, 10k’s, and is currently training to run a half marathon and eventually a marathon. She also loves to make abstract art. Marwah likes helping children develop healthy eating and fitness habits. She looks forward to working with your family to provide a loving and fun environment in the VCC mobile infants room.
Aisha Hamad has been working at Vineyard Children’s Center for almost 4 years. She is currently studying in the field of Early Childhood Education, and will be graduating with an associate’s degree this spring. Aisha believes that the mind’s of young children are incredible, and it brings her so much joy to be able to work with them daily. It is her hope to make your child’s experience at VCC worthwhile and exciting!
Jaehee Kim, Assistant Teacher-Two’s
Jaehee has a Bachelors degree in Social Work and a Masters degree in Interpersonal Practice/Mental Health from the University of Michigan. Jaehee’s experience includes teaching history and English to young children, youth Sunday school teacher, recreation program facilitator, and language therapy teacher. Jaehee is from Korea and has lived in Ann Arbor for the past five years. Jaehee feels privileged to work with the children and parents at VCC and hopes to make their days at the center happy and fun.
Mary Ann has been with VCC for over 4 years and enjoys working in the Two’s room everyday. She currently attends college as a nursing major. Mary Ann strives to provide safe and calm environment in the two’s classroom, and to meet the individual needs of the children in her care.
Hello, my name is Kaia Houston. I am so excited to be the Lead Teacher in the Preschool Room! A native Ann Arborite, I have a deep love for this city and all that it has to offer developing minds. After realizing that teaching is truly my passion, I am now going back to school working toward achieving my Bachelor’s degree in Early Education. In between academic pursuits, I’ve been the Children’s Ministry Director at my church for several years’ now, in addition to teaching Sunday school every week. I first found Vineyard Children’s Center in 2014; I immediately felt a connection to the school and the unique sense of community that exists among the parents and staff. Now, three years later, I feel fortunate to be able to teach alongside this incredible group of women, it’s icing on the cake! I love teaching in the Preschool class! The rate of language acquisition and social development at this age never ceases to amaze me! The highlight of my day is snuggling up with my Preschoolers and a book on the Circle Time rug.
Rose has been at Vineyard Children’s Center since April of 2015 as an assistant teacher. Rose has a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Negros Occidental Recoletos as well a Nursing degree from West Negros College in Philippines. Before joining the team at Vineyard, She was teaching English as a second language. Rose enjoys every aspect of teaching, especially with young children. Her teaching approach leverages the use of play, visual aids and arts and crafts. Her biggest satisfaction is when, at the end of the day, they learned something from her while having fun at the same time. Rose enjoys gardening, cooking, baking and arts and crafts. She lives in Ypsilanti, with her husband and a three year old Yorkie, Hermes.
Marsha earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University majoring in English with concentrations in Education and Communications. Marsha is currently working on her Child Development Associate credential for PreK. Marsha takes special care in preparing her students for a successful kindergarten experience. She looks forward to her time spent with her PreK family, discovering how they can learn, grow and develop together. Marsha is originally from Metro-Detroit and has lived in Ann Arbor since 2011.
Cassie Cecil, Assistant Teacher, Pre-K
Hello, I am Miss Cassie the new Pre-K Assistant Teacher. I have a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. I am graduating with my Masters of Arts in Educational Studies: Leadership and Policy. I have always been fascinated by the interaction of family and education and how that influences the child’s life. I have committed my studies to better understand how to support children in an educational setting, and have been able to apply this knowledge at several other childcare settings. I hope to bring my vast experience with children and my education together to support your child’s success in the classroom. I look forward to meeting you and your child, and seeing how I can support your family.
Rachael is currently a sophomore at Eastern Michigan University. Rachael has been around kids her whole life and enjoys being able to watch them grow and learn new things everyday. Rachael has a passion for aiding in the learning process and being a role model. Rachael recently became engaged and has a fur baby puppy named Theo and a fluffy white cat named Luna. In her free time she likes to take her puppy for walks, crafting, and hanging out with her sorority sisters. Her mom and dad are the biggest inspiration in her life because they have pushed her to be the person she is today!
JoAnne Lynn, Classroom Support Staff
JoAnne Lynn is a retired educator that enjoys spending her free time working with children and volunteering at her church.You will usually find JoAnne helping out in the Infant and Mobile Infant rooms. She enjoys providing nurturing attention to the little ones.
Mallary Haworth, Classroom Support Staff
Mallary is from Dundee, Michigan. She is currently studying Children’s Literature as well as Theatre for the Young at Eastern Michigan University. She is extremely passionate about education and once she’s done with her undergraduate degree she plans on obtaining her masters degree in K-12 Educational Leadership. When Mallary isn’t at school, she is usually spending time with her sorority sisters or volunteering for EMU’s theatre department. She is so happy to have the opportunity to be working here at Vineyard Children’s Center!”
I am currently attending EMU for my third year in Early Childhood Education. I have taken a variety of classes with a focus on combining the latest research on childhood development with the best ways to individualize curriculum, learning style and best practices in instruction. My philosophy centers on holistic, integrated approaches to promoting development and encouraging creative exploration as the best way to engage each child’s learning abilities. Play especially has been found to be even more effective for learning in early childhood than traditional teaching methods. It will be my goal to find play activities that draw out each child’s unique interests. I look forward to communicating with you in the next couple semesters as we support an environment that fosters creative expression, and many important values like compassion, tolerance and self-worth.