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

Preschool Staff

Elsie Cooley

Roly-Polies Teacher
Decatur


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
Decatur


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.

Preschool Administration

Chloe Ralston

Floor Manager
Kirkwood


Ms. Chloe is a proud Atlanta native.  She studied at Georgia State University. She’s worked with kids of all ages at summer camps, and as a caregiver to infants. Her favorite hobbies are making art, reading, and exploring nature.

Courtney Shelton

Chef
Kirkwood & Decatur


Ms. Courtney is a New Jersey native. As a child, she begged her parents and grandparents to let her in the garden to help pick vegetables. Instead she found herself prepping ingredients for meals, and she never lost that love. Ms. Courtney's been a chef since 2007. She's a US Army veteran, and attended Atlantic Culinary and Kentucky University.

Gennerre Crockett

Receptionist
Kirkwood & Decatur


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.

Rondell Govan

Chef Assistant
Kirkwood & Decatur


Ms. Rondell is originally from New Jersey. She grew up in a big family and always assisted her mother and aunts with cooking. She worked with mentally and physically disabled adults, preparing meals  and assisting with everyday living. She moved to Atlanta in 2013.  Ms. Rondell loves cooking, reading, writing poetry, traveling and meeting new people. 

Preschool Management

Brandon Harris

Director
Kirkwood


Although he was born in Kentucky, Brandon considers himself a Georgia native. He attended elementary, middle and high schools in Oakwood, Ga. After a detour to Colorado, Brandon, his wife Alma and child Max returned to Georgia.

Briunna Smith

Floor Manager
Decatur


Ms. Briunna Smith is from Decatur and is currently working towards her Bachelors in Psychology and Vocal Music at Agnes Scott College. She is very passionate about music and people expressing their individuality. In her free time she loves to watch Law & Order: SVU and to spend time with family and friends.

Cindy Young

Director
Decatur


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.

Claire Miller

Floor Manager
Decatur


Claire Miller was born and raised in Atlanta, and was 7 when SoulShine was founded. She began attending the after care program the following year.  She has been working with children since she was 12.

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.

Melinda Thomas

Floor Manager
Kirkwood


Melinda Thomas is a Florida native who has called Atlanta home since 2015 and been in childcare since 2007. As an auntie, a babysitter and a nanny, she is dedicated to helping children learn through playful and fun activities. She enjoys kickboxing, discovering new foods and places, and spending time with her wife.

Oriana Padron

Director Communications
Kirkwood & Decatur


Ms. Oriana graduated from the University of Montevallo with a BFA.  She has a strong passion for children and has been caring for them since her early teens and began working professionally in childcare while still in college.

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.

Sharon Bell

Assistant Director
Decatur


Sharon Bell is a mother of three, a wife, and a former track-and-field athlete. She is a coach for Midway Track Club, a USATF official and volunteers for Sapphire Track Club. She also taught aerobics classes to the silver sneakers members. 

Somee Ko

After School 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.

Tranae Powell

Floor Manager
Decatur


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

Turtles Classroom ~ 17 to 23 months

Chinatte Denard

Turtles Teacher
Decatur


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.

Paula Providence

Turtles Teacher
Kirkwood


Paula Providence was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, then moved to Atlanta in 2002 to join other family members. She holds a degree in education from St. Francis College and loves putting it to use at SoulShine. When she's not working, you'll find her enjoying weekend road trips with her husband and daughter, quite possibly enjoying Thai food.

Michaela Davis

Turtles Teacher
Kirkwood


Michaela Davis was born and raised in Decatur Georgia and is pursuing her degree in early childhood education at Georgia State. In her spare time she enjoys shopping and traveling and is personally passionate about chicken alfredo.

Tamara Drakeford

Turtles Teacher
Decatur


Tamara Drakeford, also knows as Ms. Tammy, is from Waldorf, Maryland.  Ms. Tammy has been teaching since 2000. Outside SoulShine, Ms. Tammy enjoys spending time with her daughter.

Dominique Providence

Turtles Teacher
Decatur


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.

Cornesha Williams

Turtles Teacher
Decatur


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.

Felicia Jenkins

Turtles Teacher
Kirkwood


Felicia Jenkins was born and raised in Atlanta. Her passion is to teach literature and children are her motivation. Before coming to SoulShine Felicia tutored in an after-school program.

Honey Bees Classroom ~ 24 to 29 months

Chasity Robinson

Honey Bees Teacher
Decatur


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

Kiara Conyers

Honey Bees Teacher
Kirkwood


Kiara is pursuing a degree in nursing while also studying Spanish.

Dominique Miles

Honey Bees Teacher
Kirkwood


Dominique Miles has worked with children since 2013. She loves poetry, music, painting, cooking and acting but, she found her passion lies in teaching children.

Tobie Hogan

Honey Bees Teacher
Kirkwood


Ms. Tobie is from Atlanta and has been working with children since 2005. She has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is working towards her Bachelors degree. She is the proud mother of four boys.

Katydids Classroom ~ 30 to 36 months

Re'Dyshia Chapman

Katydids Teacher
Kirkwood


Re'Dyshia Chapman was born and raised in Decatur. She discovered a love for working with children when she helped care for her autistic baby brother. She intends to return to college and focus on special-needs education. When she's not working Dyshia enjoys experimenting with makeup trends.

Patricia Tuck

Katydids Teacher
Kirkwood


Patricia Tuck hails from Alabama but moved to Georgia after she got married. She discovered a love for child care as a teenager and is a certified Child Development Associate. When not working with children at SoulShine, you'll find her spending time with her own grandchildren.

Tiawana Green

Katydids Teacher
Decatur


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.

Michelle Haynes

Katydids Teacher
Decatur


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."

Chipmunks Classroom ~ 3 to 3.5 years

Takiyah Dickerson

Chipmunks Teacher
Decatur


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.

Stacey Okwo

Chipmunks Teacher
Decatur


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!

Wanda Williams

Chipmunks Teacher
Kirkwood


Ms. Wanda has been in childcare since 2009. She attended DeKalb Technical College for Early Childhood Education. She has lived in the Atlanta area for more than 25 years. She enjoys cooking, crafting, and singing.

Jazmine Williams

Chipmunks Teacher
Kirkwood


Jazmine Williams is an Atlanta native who is studying at Georgia State University. She discovered her love for working with children as a teen, when older relatives allowed her to babysit. Her favorite food is hot wings.

Wrens Classroom ~ 3.5 years +

Tammesha Hogan

Wrens Teacher
Kirkwood


Tammesha Hogan was born and raised in Atlanta. Her favorite color is purple. She has worked with children her entire career, beginning with babysitting while still in middle school. Tammesha enjoys working with kids and watching them grow.

Christopher Jackson

Wrens Floating Supervisor, Teacher
Decatur


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.

Taylor Goolsby

Wrens Teacher
Kirkwood


Ms. Taylor was born and raised in Atlanta. She began working with kids in her grandmother's in-home daycare. She is currently attending Georgia State University in the Early Childhood Education program. 

Floating Teachers

Makilah Wells

Classroom Teacher - Floating
Kirkwood


Makilah Wells was born and raised right here in Atlanta. As a teenager she was the cousin every family member called to babysit, and her love for children started there. She is currently enrolled at Georgia State and loves spending her spare time with family and friends.

Ny-Asia El

Classroom Teacher - Floating
Kirkwood & Decatur


Ms. Ny-Asia was born in New York and raised in Virginia.  She studied social work and psychology at Ferrum College. She has always loved tiny humans, and has helped her mother with foster care all her life.

Rebekah Dorsey

Floating Teacher
Kirkwood & Decatur


Ms. Bekah graduated from the University of Oregon. She enjoys riding her bicycle around Atlanta and hanging out with kiddos.  She loves their spunky honesty and off-the-wall creativity.

Katelyn Mason

Classroom Teacher - Floating
Decatur


Katelyn Mason was born in St. Petersburg, FL but came to Atlanta to join her adopted family. Her older sister Annie worked at SoulShine during high school, and her love for kids rubbed off on Ms. Katelyn. She is delighted to follow in her big sister's footsteps at SoulShine.

Tytiana Johnson

Classroom Teacher
Kirkwood


Ms. Tytiana is an Atlanta native who is attending Georgia Perimeter College. She loves music, outdoors, food, and working. Ms. Tytiana is a people person who finds joy in helping others.

Cindy Young

Director
Decatur


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.

Claire Miller

Floor Manager
Decatur


Claire Miller was born and raised in Atlanta, and was 7 when SoulShine was founded. She began attending the after care program the following year.  She has been working with children since she was 12.

Brandon Harris

Director
Kirkwood


Although he was born in Kentucky, Brandon considers himself a Georgia native. He attended elementary, middle and high schools in Oakwood, Ga. After a detour to Colorado, Brandon, his wife Alma and child Max returned to Georgia.

Tranae Powell

Floor Manager
Decatur


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

Sharon Bell

Assistant Director
Decatur


Sharon Bell is a mother of three, a wife, and a former track-and-field athlete. She is a coach for Midway Track Club, a USATF official and volunteers for Sapphire Track Club. She also taught aerobics classes to the silver sneakers members. 

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.

Melinda Thomas

Floor Manager
Kirkwood


Melinda Thomas is a Florida native who has called Atlanta home since 2015 and been in childcare since 2007. As an auntie, a babysitter and a nanny, she is dedicated to helping children learn through playful and fun activities. She enjoys kickboxing, discovering new foods and places, and spending time with her wife.

Somee Ko

After School 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.

Oriana Padron

Director Communications
Kirkwood & Decatur


Ms. Oriana graduated from the University of Montevallo with a BFA.  She has a strong passion for children and has been caring for them since her early teens and began working professionally in childcare while still in college.

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.

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.

Briunna Smith

Floor Manager
Decatur


Ms. Briunna Smith is from Decatur and is currently working towards her Bachelors in Psychology and Vocal Music at Agnes Scott College. She is very passionate about music and people expressing their individuality. In her free time she loves to watch Law & Order: SVU and to spend time with family and friends.