Teacher Philosophy Statement
Young children brought together in a group need warm, close contacts with a friendly adult. Besides good physical health and emotional stability, teachers have personal qualities such as enjoyment of children, flexibility, willingness to continue to learn, resourcefulness, and respect for and acceptance of differences in various cultural groups. They have the capacity to recognize the feelings and needs of children and to deal with them in an understanding and sympathetic manner.
Teachers accept expressed feelings of joy, sadness, anger, love, and jealousy, and they are able to deal with out-of-bounds behavior. They work well with other adults in the center and in the church. There will be teachers on the premises at all times who possess a basic knowledge of common symptoms of illness and of accident prevention measures as well as first-aid techniques required by the Department of Human Services. Each child will be carefully observed by a staff member throughout the day for any symptoms of illness. A first-aid kit for minor cuts and abrasions is available at all times in each classroom.
Our teachers believe that our center has the responsibility for:
1. Aiding and strengthening the whole family by supplementing parental care of your child
2. Nurturing your child with good care which will contribute to his or her total health of body, intellect, personality, and spirit
Gina Rogers – Preschool Coordinator
Founded Here I Grow in 1999
Preschool Coordinator for “Here I Grow” Child Development Center and Trinity Baptist Church Preschool Ministry. Gina graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She, also, teaches parenting classes as a trained Independent Facilitator for Love and Logic. Gina has over thirty years of experience working with Preschool and Elementary children. Gina and her husband, Ronnie, have been married since 1974. She has two married daughters, Natalie and Nancy, two sons-in-law, Rocky and JR, and five grandsons, John Radcliffe, Winston Augustus, Hewitt Winston, Harrington Winston, and Charles Bancroft.
Michelle Pine – Preschool Director
On staff since 5/2014
Barbara Parr – Infants 1 Teacher
On staff since 10/2011
I was born Barbara Caddell the youngest of seven children born to Ralph and Marie Caddell. I grew up on a farm east of Norman. At Enterprise Baptist Church at the age of nine I realized my need to be forgiven and received Christ as my Savior. I graduated from Noble High School, married my high school sweetheart, Mike Choate and headed to NOC in Tonkawa to run track and attend college. We returned to Norman, built our first home and started a family. Kristin, our firstborn arrived in April of 1982 and her brother Eddie arrived in March of ’85. I worked at the Mother’s Day Out program at First Christian Church during this time. In 1987 we moved to Texas where my husband worked as a carpenter. There we added Preston to our family in July of 1988. I worked at the Mother’s Day Out program at our church. As we headed to Arkansas to celebrate Christmas with my in-laws December 20, 1991 we were in a head-on collision where I lost my husband of 11 years and my middle son, Eddie. The next July after we had recovered from injuries, my children and I moved back to our home east of Norman where I was able to stay at home with my children.
December of 1996, the Lord brought a wonderful man, Randy Parr, into my life and his precious three year old daughter, Shelby. We were married in August of 1997 and Rebekah completed our family with her arrival October of ’98. We have four fabulous grandchildren. I count it a privilege to serve my Lord by caring for children at our church, Bethel Baptist be it Sunday School, Mission Friends, VBS etc. and at Trinity Baptist Church’s Here I Grow Program where I care for the infants.
I am grateful for my Lord’s faithfulness and sufficiency. I am glad that I do not serve a far off god, but a living personal heavenly father.
Janell Thorne – Infants 2 Lead Teacher
On Staff since 7/2015
Bio coming soon!
Maci Baker and Divine Kaleka – Ducklings Lead Teacher
On staff since 4/2019 and 2/2018
Calysta Burnett – Kangaroos Lead Teacher
On staff since 5/2019
Shelby Parr – Bluebirds Lead Teacher
On staff since 12/2016
Tamara Duvall – Leapfrogs Lead Teacher
On staff since 8/2008
I am married and have three children. I have been the Leapfrogs teacher since 2008 and I am currently taking classes to receive my CDA. My love for children started at an early age. I grew up in a loving Christian home surrounded by my parents, siblings and my mom’s daycare kids. Working in our church’s nursery and preschool departments helped confirm that I wanted to work with children. When my own children were little, I had a home daycare for several years and then had an opportunity to work at my church’s preschool learning center and loved it. I am so thankful God has given me the opportunity to work in Christian environments, where I can teach little ones about God’s love.
Tracey Smith – Cottontails Lead Teacher
On staff since 9/2007
I have been the Cottontails teacher since 2007. I have been married for 24 years to Gary Smith, the love of my life. We have been truly blessed over the years by our large family. We all love serving the Lord. My family and I attend Elevate church and we love it!! We would love to have you visit if you don’t have a church home!
On December 31, 2000, I lost my mother to cancer and I was really upset with the Lord. I had not felt wanted by my mother as a child, but our relationship had been restored. So when she passed, I was angry with God, and rebelled against him. I had a really good friend named Kristy Brewster and she never gave up on me, she continued to pray for me. One weekend she told me that Billy Graham was coming to town and asked if I would go with her. I was still angry with the Lord, so I said no. She kept asking me every day and every day I told her “no.” It was the last day Billy was going to be in town and she called again. Finally I said yes, but only to get Kristy off my back. Gary went with me and even though we sat in the top level, throughout the whole sermon, it felt as though a finger was pointed at both of us. I wondered how Billy knew exactly what I was going through. Well, it was not Billy, it was God, and God had used Kristy and Billy to get His message through to me. I started weeping for the Lord and asking him to PLEASE help with the loss of my mother and PLEASE help me to love Him again. They did an alter call that night and when I looked over at my husband we were both crying and I knew God was calling us both back to Him. Gary and I both went down there and gave our life to Christ. That was the best thing I have done. I cried so hard as I began to tell the woman at the front my story and when she prayed for me I could feel the presence of the Lord. I felt Him holding me and my life was changed, and so was Gary’s. If you are reading this and you are going through anything in life and feel stolen, lost, hurt, angry, or you need something new in your life then I encourage you to not give up on the Lord. Find a church home and there you will find the Lord. Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
He will not put more on us then we can handle, so lean on his word and he will guide you in time to all of your needs and to his riches and Glory. When I started my life over and put God first and the world, I asked God to show me what would help me to not repeat my past mistakes and this is what he gave me:
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
I then told God that I wanted to do what he wanted me to do, to serve him, God showed me that he wanted me to teach children the love that He has given them. I started by babysitting at the First Baptist Church of Moore. I had a blast! I would sing and play and I read the children’s Bible to them. I was there for two years and then God opened the door for me to work at Here I Grow. And I am still here teaching the love of the Lord, and giving them the love I didn’t get as a child. I love every minute of working with these children and they know I love them unconditionally. I am very thankful for where He has taken my life. I give it all to you Lord and thank you so much. You are my strength, without you I do not know where I would be today. I love each and every one of you with all my heart and hope you are as blessed reading this as I was getting to tell you my story.
God bless you always and forever.
Tracey Dee Smith
Love this song by Building 429 “Where I Belong”
Eliana Presley- Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher