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

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.

James Bumbray

Kitchen Assistant
Kirkwood & Decatur


James Bumbray, also known as Jimmy, is originally from Baltimore, Maryland but moved to Georgia in 2015. Jimmy served four years in the US Marine Corps. In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing sports, participating in community and charitable events and visiting restaurants to try different cuisines.

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

Office Manager
Kirkwood & Decatur


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.

Kate Karassik

Executive Director
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


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 preK assistant, she worked as the childcare manager at a local gym. 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!

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.

Turtles Classroom ~ 17 to 23 months

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.

Tiawana Green

Turtles 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.

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.

Tytiana Johnson

Turtles 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 derives joy from helping others.

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.

Tranae Powell

Honey Bees Teacher
Decatur


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

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

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."

Alisha Williams

Katydids Teacher
Decatur


Alisha Williams was born in Tifton, but moved to Atlanta when she was just two years old.

Trenisha Waters

Katydids Teacher
Kirkwood


Ms. Trenisha is studying biology at Georgia State University. She has a passion for caring for young children as well as animals. She is energetic and gets along with most everyone she meets.

Chipmunks Classroom ~ 3 to 3.5 years

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!

Ntozake Sheppard

Chipmunks Teacher
Decatur


Ntozake Sheppard is a fun and loving early child development teacher. Her strong love and appreciation for children began at a very young age, when she started babysitting for her parent’s friends and other relatives. This  led her to pursue an academic career in Early Child Development at California State University of Los Angeles.

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 +

Dominique Providence

Wrens 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.

Christopher Jackson

Wrens 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. 

Chloe Ralston

Wrens Teacher
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.

Floating Teachers

Claire Miller

Floating Teacher
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.

Tammesha Hogan

Floating 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!

Destiny Farley

Floating Teacher
Kirkwood


Destiny Farley plans to further her education at Georgia State University,  majoring in nursing. In her spare time, she likes to babysit and go shopping. The only girl in a family of seven children, she still helps her parents look after her younger siblings.

Ny-Asia El

Floating Teacher
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.

Taylor Hayes

Floating Teacher
Kirkwood & Decatur


Ms. Taylor Hayes  is from Little Rock, Arkansas and studies at Agnes Scott College. She is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology. She loves being outdoors and exploring Atlanta.

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

Floating Teacher
Kirkwood & 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.

Christine Amos

Floating Teacher
Kirkwood


Ms. Christine was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised on the sunny beaches of Miami, FL. She has many hobbies such as baking, knitting, writing and singing horribly while driving. She has worked in the field of early childhood education since 2013.

Paloma Sanchez

Floating Teacher
Kirkwood & Decatur


Sadly Ms. Paloma was born a muggle, so she was not accepted into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Therefore, she studies bio-medical engineering at Georgia Tech. She enjoys the color blue, playing violin, Indian food, and sleeping past 1 pm. Outside of school, she has tutored children from K-12 grade in every subject and college freshmen in Chemistry and Excel.

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.

Brandon Harris

Office Manager
Kirkwood & Decatur


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.

Sharon Bell

Assistant Director
Decatur


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 preK assistant, she worked as the childcare manager at a local gym. 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!

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

Executive Director
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.