Kirkwood: 404-377-3560
Decatur: 404-963-6071
After School (both locations): 678-221-4792

Management & Administration

Cindy Young


Cindy has been married to her husband for 10 years and has 3 boys. Bryce is 12, Austin is 5 and Conner is 2. Cindy has been working in Childcare for over 12 years and she can't imagine doing anything else. The responsibility of helping shape young minds is very important and it gives her such a sense of accomplishment knowing she has a part in doing that at SoulShine!

Elim Tekie


Elim Tekie received her BFA from Georgia Southern University, and has been in the Early Childhood Education field for 12 years. She started her career teaching 2-year olds and progressed steadily into a management role. Elim is driven by seeing the children smile and grow. 

Brandon Harris

Office Manager

Although he was born in Kentucky, Brandon considers himself a Georgia native. He attended elementary, middle and high schools in Oakwood, Ga. While in high school, Brandon pursued his original passion: SCUBA diving. His first job was as a gear technician and assistant dive master with the Northeast Georgia Dive Center. While in Colorado, Brandon and his wife Alma celebrated the birth of their first child Max. As Max turns two, Brandon is excited to relaunch into the workforce as Max enters the wonderful permaculture environment created exclusively at SoulShine. Brandon, Alma and Max look forward to enhancing their own experiences by embracing the culture of SoulShine.

Sharon Bell

Assistant Director

Ms. Sharon was born in Guyana, South America. She's a wife and a mother of three and a former track and field athlete. After working as a pre k assistant at Prodigy Daycare Center, she worked as the child care manager at Bally Total Fitness. Ms. Sharon is also a coach for Midway Track Club with children ages 5-14. She's a USATF official and volunteers for Sapphire Track Club during the indoor season. She also taught aerobics classes to the silver sneakers members. Ms. Sharon enjoys staying busy and working with children!

Melinda Thomas

Floor Manager

Melinda Thomas is a Florida native who has called Atlanta home since 2015. As an auntie, a babysitter and a nanny, she is dedicated to helping children learn through playful and fun activities. With over 10 years of childcare experience, Melinda is a wonderful teacher and friend to every child she meets. Her favorite things to do around town are kickboxing, discovering new foods and places, eating Thai food, and spending time with her wife.

Rhiannon Apple

Director of Operations & Standards

Originally from Mishawaka, Indiana, Rhiannon graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Communication and a concentration in Advertising in 2004. With over 12 years experience with brands such as Cartoon Network, AT&T, Walmart & Disney Parks, Rhiannon is a champion for finding new and innovative ways to capture successful operations and standards for small and large businesses. Rhiannon and her husband, Andy, have three children. Their oldest daughter, Harper, was the very first child enrolled in SoulShine’s preschool in 2012.

Oriana Padron

Operations Coordinator

Ms. Oriana graduated from the University of Montevallo with a Bachelors in Fine Arts concentrating in Photography. Along with photography, she has a strong passion for children and has been caring for them since her early teens. From 10+ years of babysitting and 3 years at a Child Care facility she worked through college, she couldn’t wait to start working with kids again.

Shannon Smith

Founder & Visionary

Mrs. Shannon founded SoulShine in December 2006. SoulShine is rooted in her belief that every child should be given the space and encouragement to create themselves through all forms of expression. Shannon has over 15 years of experience with children and is still in awe every day of how amazing they are. She believes in positive reinforcement instead of traditional behavioral discipline. She is always encouraging the children to use their words and open their hearts.

Kate Karassik

Executive Director

Kate Karassik and Shannon Smith have been close friends since middle school and grew up working in childcare together. Kate received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and went on to receive her Masters in Education. She was a public school teacher for five years before joining the SoulShine team in 2011.

Magen Villaneuva

Associate Floor Director

Ms. Magen is originally from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, she moved to Georgia when she was three. She recently graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelors degree in Sociology. She is passionate about helping children learn and grow. Outside of SoulShine she enjoys exercising, swimming, and spending time with her younger brother.

Toni Majeed

Assistant Director

Ms. Toni is an Atlanta native. She graduated with honors from Booker T Washington High School and is the mother of five. She is currently a student at Georgia Piedmont College, enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program. She believes every child deserves a champion: an adult who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.

Gennerre Crockett


Ms. Gennerre is originally from Boston, but is happy to call Atlanta home. She has event planning and administrative experience, loves music and people. Gennerre is tenacious, resourceful and determined to maximize her own potential while helping others become their best selves.

Abby Lawrence

Social Media

Abby hails from Birmingham, AL. After graduating from high school, she nannied for two girls, ages 3 and 5, for two years before continuing on to what she thought was her calling: working in the medical field as an instrument tech.  After five years in that field, Abby moved to Atlanta to follow her heart. She finds the greatest joy in working with children, and if she happens to get to combine that with her passion for photography, it's a double win. She loves seeing the sweet faces of the children every day, and she's often the source of the images you'll see on SoulShine's Facebook pages.