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

Decatur Staff



Elsie Cooley

Roly-Polies Teacher

Elsie has been working with children since 2015 and is known for being a good listener, a jokester, easy going and full of excitement.  In her free time she enjoys doing hair and make-up.

Jacqueline Wade

Roly-Polies Teacher

Ms. Jacqueline grew up in Illinois, and is a graduate of Columbia College in Chicago. Jacqueline enjoys writing short stories and plays, which she fondly calls 'the art of my passion.' Her greatest desire is helping those in need.


Katie Williams

Earthworms Teacher

Katie Williams is originally from Chicago but is happy to call Atlanta home now. She started babysitting for family members early on, and received a child care management certificate from Pennfoster College. Ms. Katie has a deep love for veggies, and when she's not working, she enjoys singing.

Mary Endirias

Earthworms Teacher

Mary Endirias is a retired CNA who worked at Grady Memorial Hospital for 28 years, then started her new career working with children in 2016. Ms. Mary is a mother of six and has one grandchild. She enjoys singing, reading and spending time with her family.

Oquita Bulbulia

Earthworms Assistant Teacher

Oquita Bulbulia was raised in the Kirkwood area and always knew she had a passion for working with children. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband.


Hannah Jones

Ladybugs Teacher

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native who holds an associates degree from Atlanta Metropolitan College.  She likes to sing and dance.

Keisha Donaldson

Ladybugs Assistant Teacher

Raised in Stone Mountain, Keisha Donaldson holds a BA in political science and enjoys being the "cool auntie".


Vanessa Providence

Raccoons Teacher

Vanessa Providence attended Bethune Cookman University where she majored in psychology. Vanessa worked as an assistant track and field coach for Midway Track Club, coaching children 5-14.    


Chinatte Denard

Turtles Teacher

Chinatte Denard is an Atlanta native who discovered a love for working with children as a young woman. She is currently pursuing her Child Development Associate credential and enjoys watching children learn. When not working, she enjoys community service and gathering with friends.

Cornesha Williams

Turtles Teacher

Cornesha Williams is from our own neighborhood, Kirkwood.  She started working with kids at a young age, from babysitting to working at the church nursery.  She is building a career in early childhood education.

Honey Bees

Nikole Jones

Honey Bees Teacher

Nikole Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, and is the daughter of a retired APS teacher. She inherited her love of children and teaching from her mother. She is pursuing her bachelor's degree, and in her free time, loves photography.


Chasity Robinson

Katydids Teacher

Chasity has received training for her Child Development Associate credential and has worked with children since 2014.

Dominique Providence

Katydids Teacher

Dominique was born in Brooklyn, New York but raised in Atlanta. Before joining SoulShine, she worked as an assistant coach and a volunteer USATF Official.  Her hobbies include reading, filming, and editing videos.


Michelle Haynes

Chipmunks Teacher

Laura Michelle Haynes was born and raised in Kirkwood. She has two daughters and four grandchildren. She's been in childcare since 2002, working with her aunt who had her own "nursery."

Tiawana Green

Chipmunks Teacher

Mrs. Tiawana believes that her journey in providing excellent childcare began when she became a mother in 2000. She loves exploring new cultures and trying new things, and is married with two children.


Takiyah Dickerson

Wrens Teacher

Takiyah Dickerson grew up on a farm in South Georgia, but enjoys city life now. She discovered her love for working with children when she volunteered in the childcare facility at her church. She holds the CDA certification and plans to pursue a degree in psychology.

Falcons ~ Georgia Pre-K

Jamika Thornton

Pre-K Teacher

Jamika Thornton was born in Rome, Georgia, then moved to the Metro after school. She started working with children when she was just 17, and received her CDA in 2016. When she's not working, Ms. Jamika enjoys going on family outings with her children.

Nelly Pierre

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Nelly Pierre was born in Brooklyn, but her parents relocated to Georgia to enjoy a calmer environment for raising children. She is a veteran and is currently pursuing her doctorate in early childhood education. Beyond teaching, she enjoys playing musical instruments and traveling.

Multiple Classrooms

Stacey Okwo

Classroom Teacher - Floating

Stacey Okwo was born and raised in Atlanta.  She has three beautiful children and a granddaughter. Stacey's began working in childcare in 2002.  Stacey loves working with children and she is looking forward to helping the children learn and watching them grow!

After School

Paola Villafane

After School Teacher

Paola Villafañe is a local nutritionist, chef, and farmer. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at Georgia State University. Paola enjoys being outside in nature, baking sweets for family and friends, and spending time with her pets.

Decatur Management

Christopher Jackson

Floor Manager

Chris was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where he spent most of my life. He is married and has eight children. Working with youth is his passion, and he has experience working with ages 0-17.

Cindy Young


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. Cindy has been married since 2008 and has three boys: Bryce,  Austin and Conner.

Tranae Powell

Assistant Director

Tranae is from Chicago, Illinois. She began working with children as a teenager and is building a career in Early Childhood Development. 

School Administration

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SoulShine Management

Destiny Smith

Human Resources Manager
Kirkwood & Decatur

Destiny Smith was born in Decatur, but grew up in Montezuma, GA. She returned to Decatur to attend Agnes Scott College and graduated with a BA in Psychology. Even though her role at SoulShine is in HR, she has a fondness for teaching and for dance. She combined them starting at 13, when she began teaching dance to girls ages 3 to 15. In her spare time, you'll find her taking dance classes, baking and enjoying shrimp scampi.

Kate Karassik

Chief Administrative Officer
Kirkwood & Decatur

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.

Shannon Smith

Founder & Visionary
Kirkwood & Decatur

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 worked with children since 2002 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.

Somee Ko

After School Asst. Director
Kirkwood & Decatur

Ms. Somee is a native of Ohio and moved to Georgia in 2012. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in political science. She is passionate about politics and history and loves to learn. She loves kids and has been working with them from a very young age. In her spare time, she is usually relaxing at home with her pup Cory, watching a movie and eating pizza.

Stephanie DeSantis

Permaculture Coordinator
Kirkwood & Decatur

Stephanie DeSantis is an Atlanta native and a graduate of Georgia State University. She began working with children while in high school, teaching gymnastics at the local YMCA and working as a summer camp counselor.  Stephanie enjoys sharing her skills with art and textiles.  On her days off, you'll find her in a hammock with her dog.