Children's Journey Preschool

Staff Biographies

Trisha Vigo - Facility Administrator

Hi! My name is Trisha Vigo, and I am from Casselberry, Florida. I received my Child Development Associate credential, Director's credential, and Early Childhood Education Degree from Seminole State. I’m continuing my education now with the goal of obtaining my Master’s Degree in this field in the future.


I have been with Children’s Journey Preschool since January of 2012. I started here as an assistant in the infant room before I moved to a lead teacher position in our toddler class in late 2012. In the summer of 2012, I was also promoted to supervising teacher. I held both positions until June of 2014 when I was promoted to Assistant Director. I have worked and helped with all of the age groups at CJP from infant through VPK. In 2017, I was promoted to Preschool Director. I have known since I was a small child that I wanted to work with children. I truly believe that their education starts with us. I feel great knowing that what I do makes a difference and paves the way for their future development and education. I want all the children in my care to succeed in everything they do, to feel loved, safe, and excited about coming to school. In October of 2020, I began my new role as Facility Administrator for CJP and Redeemer.


Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my children, a son named Karter and daughter named Kaylani, and wonderful husband. I also love being in the water whether it’s at the beach or a pool. I love to do DIY projects, take photographs, and spend time with the rest of my family and friends.


I look forward to getting to know your child and family and want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of your child’s development.

Mary Barrett - Preschool Director

Hi! My name is Mary Barrett. I was born in St. Pete, and I moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida. I obtained my Bachelors in Art from UCF and in 2014, I received my Teaching Certificate from Valencia. I am a lifelong learner and enjoy the opportunities to study.


I have been working at CJP since April of 2013, and I have taught in all of the classrooms from Infant - VPK. In 2017, I became the curriculum specialist at CJP until I was promoted to Assistant Director in the fall of 2018. I have always wanted a job where I felt I could help children and make a difference in their life. Working with children to me is such an important job, and I get to have fun at the same time. My favorite thing about teaching is that even I, as the adult, learn new things every day. I want to provide a warm and loving environment for children that helps them learn and grow. In October of 2020, I was promoted to Preschool Director.


Outside of work, I love trivia, arts and crafts, visiting Disney, and enjoying the occasional Starbucks. I married my best friend in 2017 and we have two wonderful children. I also have a dog-named Boggie that is a Maltese Shitzu mix and is like another child to me.


I look forward to getting to know your children and family.

Heather Ray - Infant Lead Teacher and Infant/Toddler Supervisor

Hi, my name is Heather Ray and I am originally from Michigan. I moved to Florida with my family in 2004. I graduated with honors from Lincoln Consolidated High School and took some general education classes at the college level. Currently, I am pursuing my Early Childhood Education Credentials with Seminole State College.


I have been teaching at Children’s Journey Preschool since August of 2016 and love the school family we have here. I have taken care of young children in various settings since I was a young adult. I have cared for children as young as one week all the way through 12 years old. I love to see kids laugh and play. It is amazing to watch them discover something new or figure out how something works. When I work with young children, I want to help them grow and learn new and exciting things. I believe that the most important part of early childhood education is providing children with a safe and loving environment to learn, grow, and be themselves. In August of 2020, I was promoted to Infant/toddler supervisor and I am loving sharing my experience and knowledge with other teachers.


Outside of work, I love to craft. I can make many things! I also enjoy painting, bowling, and spending time with my husband. We hope to have children of our own soon.


I look forward to getting to know you and watching your child grow at CJP!

Mercedes Paredes - Infant Assistant Teacher

Hi everyone, my name is Mercedes Paredes. I moved to Florida from Chicago in 2017 to be closer to my daughter and grandchildren. I have my bachelor’s degree in government with a minor in social work, sociology, and liberal arts. I have worked with young children and their families in a variety of settings and entered the early childhood field in 2016. In July of 2017, I joined the CJP teaching team working with the infants. I love working with children because I love to watch them grow and develop different personalities, meet challenges, and achieve accomplishments from day to day. I hope that while the children are in my care, I can teach many things while providing them with love, safety, and security. The most important part of what we do is building a strong foundation for a child’s emotional, social, physical, and mental development, which will prepare them for a lifetime of learning. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren and my family. I am a mother of two and a grandmother to two children as well. I look forward to getting to know your child and appreciate you putting your trust in us to care for your precious little ones.

Lisette Nieves - Infant 1 Assistant Teacher

Hello, my name is Lisette Nieves! I am from Puerto Rico and spent 10 years there teaching elementary education! I worked with CJP before in our Infant 1 class and am so happy to rejoin our school this past year! I have always loved working with children and I aim to give them all my love for a lasting bond! Outside of work I love to do Zumba or aerobics and go shopping! As a mom it is important that I make all families feel comfortable and safe, as well as involved in their child's growth while they are at school! I look forward to getting to know you and your child.

Wendy Thompson - Infant 2 Lead Teacher

Hi, My name is Wendy Thompson! I am originally from Missouri but moved to Florida with my family! I worked with children throughout my school experience and loved watching them grow and explore! I am a mom of 6 kids and 2 wonderful grandchildren! I want my students to have days filled with moments of learning, loving, and listening to each other! I think that this time in their lives shapes their minds to be our leaders of tomorrow! I look forward to getting to know you and your children!

Irmarelis Fernandez -Infant 2 Assistant Teacher

Hello, my name is Irmarelis Fenandez, and I was born in Puerto Rico, but moved to Florida with my parents when I was young. My background is in customer service and the airline industry. I've always loved working with people, but I especially admire children and their creativity, honesty, curiosity, and have always wanted to work with them. I have two boys, and love spending time with them, and my nieces and nephews. In my spare time I like to exercise and read. I feel very blessed to be able to be a part of your family's lives!

Joanna Mantilla - Toddler 1 Teacher

Hello, my name is Joanna Mantilla and I am originally from New Jersey. I found myself in Florida when I decided I was ready for a change and I am so glad to be here. I am currently enrolled in college working toward my degree in Education at UCF. I have worked as a culinary teacher for children 3-years-old and up and in a childcare setting working with infants and toddlers. I come from a large family that has always believed it takes a village to raise a child, so it was always all hands on deck. I joined the CJP team in February of 2020 and I am very happy to be here. I love working with children because it is so much more than “earning a living”, it is a career that matters and a career that makes a difference in the lives of many. I hope to provide the children in my care with an environment that makes learning fun to really set the tone for their educational journey. I believe the most important part of early childhood education is showing love and letting children know that there is a community of people there for them. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, doing homework, and playing board games. I see my siblings almost every day and my mother a few times a week, so we are very close. I look forward and feel privileged to be a part of your child’s journey and being able to witness their personal growth.

Janette Seleman - Toddler 1 Assistant Teacher

Hi! My name is Janette Seleman. I am from Egypt. I moved to Florida in 2009. In Egypt, I worked with children in my church for 7 years. I loved every minute of it. I also grew up with lots of family around me so I was always taking care of the children in my family. I started teaching at CJP in May of 2016. I love working with children because I genuinely love them. I love to cuddle them and make them feel loved. They always put a smile on my face. I want to help the children in my class meet the developmental skills they need to move forward. Outside of work, I love to draw, sing, and spend time with my family. I have been married for 10 years and have 2 beautiful children ages 9 and 14. I look forward to getting to know you and your family!

Destiny Rivera - Toddler 1 Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Destiny Rivera. I was born and raised in Florida, I recently graduated from Winter Park High School, and I am enrolling in Valencia College. I volunteered at CJP throughout high school with children ages 2-3 and joined the team in 2021 with our infant class! I love how playful and excited children are and I love the special feeling of making them smile. Its so important to me to make them feel loved at school so I can help them learn from everything around them which builds there foundation for the future. I love music and outside of work I play the piano and violin. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to care for your child.

Hayley Davis- Toddler 2 Lead Teacher

Hi! My name is Hayley Davis. I was born and raised in Winter Park, FL, and graduated from Lake Howell High School in 2017. I am currently working towards getting my Bachelors Degree in Psychology with the goal of becoming a social worker for foster children. I started teaching at CJP in March of 2021 as an assistant in the Toddler 2 classroom. My love for working with children started at a young age. I come from a family of nine children. My parents are also foster parents, so we always have little ones around. I love working with children and watching them grow and succeed. I hope that the children in my class feel safe, loved, and valued. I believe that the most important parts of early childhood education are consistency, positive reinforcement, and hands on learning. Outside of work, I enjoy going to the beach, hanging out with friends, going to the dog park with my pup, and spending time with my family and fiance, Thomas. I look forward to building connections with the families in my class. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to teach your child and watch them grow!

Stephanie Evans - Toddler 2 Teacher

Hello, my name is Stephanie Evans. I was born and raised in Florida. I have worked with children since I was 14 years old and I have completed my training through the department of children and families. I have worked in a few childcare settings since high school, babysat independently, and have 2 children of my own. I joined the Children’s Journey Preschool team in January of 2020. I love working with children of all ages because it is amazing to watch them learn and grow. I hope the children in my care learn to be kind to everyone they meet and feel loved and important while they’re with me. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my children and husband. I look forward to getting to know your child and your family.

Haley Brown- Toddler 2 Support Staff

Hi, my name is Haley Brown! I was born and raised in Orlando, FL and recently graduated. I have spent lots of time with my younger sibling and babysitting for family friends, which is how I realized that I love working with children! I strive to make a positive impact in their lives by teaching them to have compassion and respect for others. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my friends, going to the gym, and swimming. I look forward to meeting you and your child!

Jackie Quijada - EPS1 Lead Teacher

Hello,

My name is Mrs. Jackie and I am from Fair Lawn, New Jersey. I studied Communication at Rutgers University, and moved to Orlando in 2008, where I worked in marketing and studied Special education at UCF. I began working with young children about a year ago, and I have found a true passion for keeping children safe, helping them grow, and giving them the confidence and support that they need in order to learn. In my spare time, I enjoy biking, swimming, playing keyboard, and ukulele. Most of all I love playing with my own children, singing, reading, and spending time with family and friends. I am very excited to bring positivity, leadership, and exciting play opportunities to the classroom. I look forward to getting to know more about our preschool families and children!

Adalynn Minello - EPS1 Assistant Teacher

Hello, my name is Adalynn Minello. I was born and raised in Florida and have lived local my whole life. I graduated from Lyman High School in 2018 and immediately started taking classes at Seminole State College. I hope to obtain my degree to work in pediatrics in the future.

I have spent many summers volunteering at a soccer church camp with children from ages one through seven. I have also done regular babysitting throughout the years and have played a big role in helping care for my 5 year old nephew. I joined the CJP team in August of 2020 and I am so excited to be here working with the little ones. I love working with children because it’s so important at their age to have the most positive guidance. I hope I can be the one to inspire them and be their positive influence. I want to give all the children in my care a safe and loving place to come to. Somewhere that learning is fun! The most important thing we can do for children is to provide them with a loving and caring environment.

Outside of work, I enjoy playing soccer, spending time with my family, swimming, and visiting the beach. I live with my parents and younger brother who is my greatest friend.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with your children. I hope to inspire, educate, and have so much fun with them!

Mariah Landron- EPS 1 Assistant teacher

Hello, my name is Mariah Landron! I am from Fort Myers, Florida and recently graduated in 2021. I have been working with children since my freshman year of highschool through a program at my school. My favorite part about working with children is seeing the world through their eyes. I love seeing them light up when they learn something new or solve a problem! I always strive to provide a safe and positive environment for children to learn and grow in. Outside of work I love to read, dance, and skateboard. I look forward to meeting you and getting to know you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to teach your children!

Madina Bray - EPS 2 Co-Teacher

Hello, my name is Madina Bray! I was born in Norfolk, VA, and I moved to Florida at the age of six. I am a certified Nursing Assistant, and I am currently working on my DCF certification. I spent a lot of time caring for my three step-brothers growing up, and I have previously worked with an afterschool program. My favorite part about working with children is their energetic, optimistic, and innocent personalities! My goal is to encourage children to go far in life and show them that their dreams can come true. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, reading, and making jewelry. I look forward to getting to know you and you child. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to impact your child's life!

Sara Cosmas - EPS2 Co-Teacher

Hi, my name is Sarah Cosmas! I was born and raised in Florida and currently attend UCF. I am an education major with a focus in science education. I grew up helping my mom nanny children, and since have been a nanny for some amazing families. I also have experience working with children in a church nursery program. I love the view children provide us of the world, and I want to encourage them to love themselves and others. Outside of work I spend a lot of time with my friends and family, reading, and gardening. I look forward to creating bonds with your child and watching them grow.

Sophia Ramos- EPS 2 assistant teacher

Hello, my name is Sophia Ramos, and I am a UCF student studying communication sciences and disorders. I was raised in Miami, Florida with my younger siblings, and I have always spent time with children, babysitting for family, and working as a nanny. I worked as a camp counselor for years, and most recently worked as a tutor. I am excited to work with children, as I believe they are the future, and I cannot wait to guide them and help them grow and make the world a better place. In my space time I enjoy knitting with my grandma, and spending time with my boyfriend and my family. Thank you for the opportunity to watch after your children, and I am looking forward to meeting you all!

Abigail Calejo

Hi, my name is Abigail or "Abby" for short! I was born and raised in Florida. I have completed three years of education in Early Childhood and have finished my 45 hours of training. I am currently working toward also completing my CDA and I am first-aid and CPR certified. I have also gained experience with children through babysitting and my own family. I joined the CJP team in October of 2021 and I am so glad to be here. I love working with children because I love learning about how their brains develop and seeing them grow. Having the ability to make a true impact on their lives is very important to me. I hope that I am able to provide a safe and health place for children to develop while they're in my care.


Outside of work, I dance competitively, I am the Vice President of FCCLA, and I am in a level 5 leadership role in Early Childhood Development.


I look forward to teaching your children and helping them thrive in Preschool. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.

Janitzia Nunez - Preschool 3's Co-Teacher

Hello, my name is Janitzia Nunez. I was born and raised in Miami Florida and have been in central Florida for a while now. I am currently working toward completion of my training through the department of children and families for childcare. I have experience working with children from previous employment within kids clubs at local gyms, helping when I was younger in my parent’s childcare center, and lots of hands on experience with my own child. I joined the CJP teaching team in August of 2019 after being a parent at CJP since earlier in 2019. I love working with children because it is one of the most rewarding jobs I can imagine having. It gives me the opportunity to inspire children and educate them in new ways. I hope the children in my care always feel encouraged, confident, and successful. I look forward to working them and providing positive reinforcement and building up their self-esteem. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our daughter, Seliah, who attends CJP. I also like to work out, participate in indoor rock climbing, spending time outdoors, and tacos. I look forward to spending time with your child and getting to know your family. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of their development.

Amanda Nieves - Preschool 3's Co-Teacher

Hello, my name is Amanda Nieves and I recently moved to Florida from Connecticut to be closer to family and enjoy the beautiful weather. I recently graduated from UCONN with my Bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in human development family sciences.


I have worked with children since I was about 14 years old by babysitting for various families and my most recent employment was as an assistant teacher with three-year-olds at a childcare facility in CT. I joined the CJP team as a co-teacher in the Preschool 3's classroom in June of 2021. I love working with children because it makes me happy. They encourage me to be more creative and make day to day work more exciting. I hope that the children in my care know that they are important, valued, and loved. I want them to know and believe that someone is always there for them to help them become smart and strong individuals. The most important part of what we're doing in early childhood is providing a safe environment where children feel free to express themselves and make connections with others.


Outside of work, I enjoy reading, crocheting, makeup, and music. I also enjoy spending time with my parents, brother, sister in law, and niece as much as possible.


I look forward to getting to know everyone and their families and I hope you all enjoy getting to know me as well!

Sharna Johnson- Closing Supervisor VPK A lead teacher

Hello, My name is Sharna Johnson! I am originally from Georgia, and moved to Florida with my family. I have 10 years of experience in the childcare field, and I am trained in Montessori teaching. I have been surrounded by children almost of my life and wanted to become a part of this field to continue this connection with young minds. I find watching them grow from one stage of life to another is the most rewarding gift and I aim to be a positive light in their lives. I have two siblings and three nephews! I also have a dog named Nora! I look forward to getting to know the children and families that make up our school!

Jazmine Montero - VPK A Assistant Teacher

Hi my name is Jazmine Montero. I was born in New York but have lived in Florida for most of my life. I started at CJP in 2021 with our EPS2 class. I come from a large family with 6 other siblings, which has created a great support system around me. I spend lots of time with my nephew Eli and have found a lot of love in taking care of him. I feel the most special part of working with kids is helping them understand and learn all we can show them while they are still in this stage of development. Outside of work I love watching movies and antiquing. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to learn and grow with your child.

Bethany Moore - VPK B Lead Teacher

Hello,

My name is Beth and I was born and raised in Central Florida. I graduated from Oviedo Highschool, and obtained my Early Childhood Education degree from Seminole State. I have worked at Children's Journey in the infant classroom, and also as a support staff member, and now I am very excited to take on this new role for me in VPK. Growing up with 5 siblings, and also in a family that helped raise foster children, my passion for helping children grow, learn, and feel safe started at a very early age. I am excited to bring a lot of hands-on learning activities to the classroom, and I plan on helping children embrace their individuality. In my spare time I love crafting, DIY projects, and spending time with my husband and 2 children, who also attend at CJP! Thank you for trusting us with your most precious blessings!

Ashlyn Cepeda - VPK B Support Staff

Hello, my name is Ashlyn Cepeda. I was born and raised in Florida. I attend Lake Howell High School where I assist in our Little Hawks program. I have been working with these children for 3 years and I am working towards obtaining my CDA. I love the joy and love which comes from working with children. I think the most important part of teaching is creating a bond and connection with each child. Outside of work I volunteer with Give Kids the World Village and spend a lot of time with my family. I look forward to creating memories with your children!

Bianca Castro - Support Staff

Hi, my name is Bianca Castro. I grew up in Mt. Sinai, New York until my family decided to relocate to Florida while I was attending Elementary School. After graduating high school, I attended college courses to become a veterinarian technician, but have since changed my major to Early Childhood Education. I’ve been a part of the CJP teaching team since December of 2016 working primarily with the infants. I have also worked with children from the infant classroom all the way through assisting in a VPK classroom in other settings. I love working with children because when they learn something new it is a very rewarding feeling knowing that I helped them along the way. I hope that I am always able to make learning fun for these precious children and that they have a desire to want to learn more after being with me. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my niece and nephew, participating in Making Strides against Breast Cancer, and watching movies. I look forward to getting to know your family and your child.