Takoma Children's School prides itself on its exceptionally talented staff. A school is only as good as the staff and teachers it hires. At TCS, we treasure our staff and teachers and value the role they play in our community. We offer competitive salaries and good benefits. Through participation in professional development, each staff member continues to add to his or her experience, skills, and knowledge of early childhood education. Fairly unique to other full-day preschools, teachers are given weekly time to plan with their colleagues to create a child-centered curriculum. It is our goal to retain our outstanding staff and teachers for as long as possible.
Our wise and wonderful teachers serve as facilitators to the children in their care, and as resources to their parents. In addition to many years of experience educating young children, most of our teachers have a Bachelor's degree while some have a Master's coursework or a Master's degree. TCS teachers also have skills and expertise in fields outside of early childhood education, and they share those talents, which include music, art, drama, dance, yoga, Spanish, gardening, cooking, and environmental education.
Executive Director: Cassandra Hostetler, M. Ed, Tufts University. Cassandra has 25 years of teaching and management experience in a variety of early childhood settings working with children from infancy through school-age. Outside of work her passion is gardening, especially creating a garden with native plants that supports butterflies and birds. She enjoys sharing this passion with the children of TCS; they hope their newly planted milkweed will entice monarch butterflies to lay eggs in the school's garden this summer.
Assistant Director: Adetokunbo (Toks) Williams, B.S. in Family Studies and Human Development from University of Maryland, College Park. She has fifteen years of teaching experience in preschool and special education settings. Working with children and helping them to learn and grow has always been Toks' passion. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, cooking, and movies. She is excited about her journey with Takoma Children’s School as Assistant Director.
The Bluebirds Team:
Jessica McMillan, Lead Teacher, moved to the area in December 2015 and has been at TCS since May. She has been working professionally with children since 1999 and has worked in a variety of settings including teaching toddlers twice previously. She is completing my Master’s degree this semester with an internship here at TCS. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys being creative with art and photography; spending time with friends, family and her husband; and exploring the DC area. She also has a health and wellness business with Arbonne International.
Samantha Benjamin (Sam), Classroom Teacher, is from England and recently decided to move to the States. She has enjoyed teaching preschool children for the past ten years and looks forward to being a part of helping children at TCS develop in all learning areas. “I love seeing children develop, and have three children of my own whom I’ve watched and guided through their childhood, and they, along with the preschool children I’ve taught, have been my biggest achievement thus far.”
Kadasi Richards, Classroom Teacher, is an extrovert and movie-goer and also a student attending Montgomery College studying Biology. When she does have free time, she can be found out of the house, whether its shopping, going to the movies or out to eat and of course doing fun activities with my three-year-old daughter such as going to water parks/fun parks. In the classroom, Kadasi is always willing to play alongside the children in all areas of the room.
Dzhoy Zuckerman, Classroom Teacher, loves to help children explore the sensory sand table, build with manipulatives, and learn to put their shoes on all by themselves. Outside of work, Dzhoy is an avid cyclist, board game enthusiast, and tech consumer.
Mabelyn Mijangos, Closing Assistant Teacher, is new to TCS, working part time while she pursues her degree in Early Childhood Education at Montgomery College. She has had experience working at other preschools, and is excited to learn more about different philosophies of early childhood education and hone her skills. She is artistic herself, and is having fun getting to know the children.
The Stars Team:
Heather Kirk, Lead Teacher, has been with the Stars class going on 5 years and loves working with this age group, where she gets to see them transform into little people! Some of her favorite things to do with the Stars is building huge structures out of blocks, legos, pipes or anything else as well as getting crafty in the art area. In her free time Heather enjoys sewing and knitting, as well as hanging with her super awesome cat, Piper.
Darnica Crawford, Classroom Teacher, has been a Stars teacher for three years and at our school for seven years. Her favorite part of working with children is helping them develop by teaching them new things and having fun while doing it. Outside of TCS she enjoys being a mom, cooking, drawing and playing basketball.
Kaylah Smith, Classroom Teacher, is a graduate of Bennett College for Women and has been at TCS for five years and a Stars teacher for four years. She enjoys building, art projects, and watching children progress over the year. In her spare time she enjoys watching movies, traveling and attending NBA games. Go Golden State!
Ana Garcia, Closing Assistant Teacher, is new to TCS, having started in summer 2016. She likes to draw and read with the children. You will often find her curled up reading with one or more children in the afternoon.
The Rainbows Team:
Joe Robinson. This is Joe’s tenth year teaching preschool and he loves his job! His main goal is to help students learn how to be kind. He also has a big interest in fostering early scientific thinking. Away from school, he likes to play music, read, hike, run, cook, and ride his bike around town. His wonderful wife, Emily, is a science writer; she keeps him up to date on all things science related.
Nancy Lobo, Classroom Teacher, This is her fifth year teaching. She is currently pursuing her B.A. in Early Childhood Education at Trinity Washington University. Her ultimate goal is to achieve her teaching credentials and be able to teach PreK through 3rd grade. Born in Houston, TX and raised in Silver Spring, she currently lives with her family in Alexandria, Virginia. She has a soon-to-be five year old daughter, Jenesis. “I love to teach, especially the children at TCS.”
Jess Lewis, Classroom Teacher, has been at TCS for three years. This is her first year as a Rainbow teacher, formerly she was a Bluebirds teacher. 2016 marks her tenth year working with children, with experience in elementary and middle school atmospheres in addition to early childhood. She is currently in pursuit of a Child Develop Associate to continue her education. She majored in Mass Communications (Broadcast Production) at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC. She is currently integrating her major and career by creating classroom videos, as we attempt a new form of communicating. Jess is an artist and a passionate advocate for Rough and Tumble play.
Justin Harris, Closing Assistant Teacher (Justin is a full time teacher, working mornings in various classrooms and afternoons in Rainbows), is known by all children because he works in all classrooms in the morning as support staff. He loves to play games with the children and usually can be enticed into playing chase games on the playground. He has been in the field of early education for more years than he cares to admit and been at TCS for nearly four years.
Marsha Obusek, Yoga Instructor and Substitute teacher