Faculty

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Best Day Ever! Learning Center Daycare & Preschool

The collective talents of Best Day Ever! Learning Centers’ faculty and staff represent over 30 years of early childhood teaching experience and childcare.  All faculty, staff, and volunteers hold Child Abuse History, FBI and State Police Criminal Record Clearances, and are immersed in ongoing early childhood education and childcare training, proving to be lifelong learners and educators. Best Day Ever! Learning Center is a state licensed day care center, and complies with the Universal Building Code.

Katrina Soohey – Owner and Head Director

Katrina graduated from Saint Vincent College with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education PreK-4 in 2013 and is currently in the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program while also obtaining her director’s credentials at Saint Vincent College. During her time at Saint Vincent College, she pre-student taught in a kindergarten and second grade classroom with cooperating teachers for a full semester. She has also spent much time in different classrooms with different ages through many field experiences. Katrina taught and planned lessons for science, language arts, math, reading, phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, physical health and wellness, art, music and movement, guided reading groups, social living, handwriting, and grammar. She also had assisted with crafts and lessons at Nature Story Time at The Winnie Palmer’s Nature’s Reserve. Katrina really enjoyed teaching homeschooled students at Saint Vincent College through the Step-Up Enrichment Program. Before transferring to Saint Vincent College in 2011, she attended West Virginia University from 2009-2011. Along with the courses she took at WVU, she also tutored and helped elementary aged children after school hours with their homework at the Mountaineer Boys & Girls Club. Throughout her education she was a full time and part time babysitter for children ages 17 months-13 years of age, and was a swim instructor and life guard for 4 years. Katrina’s love for children and the desire to provide an exciting and memorable learning environment for children in line with her dedication to the education and learning development of children formed the foundation and direction for pursuing her entrepreneurial dream.

Heather Mills –  Director

10593074_841199985920049_8088138114082295655_nMiss Heather is so proud to be a part of the Best Day Ever Learning Center family!  She has worked with children for about six years.  She has gained three of the six years teaching the toddler ages, and absolutely LOVED it! She previously worked in a Keystone STAR and N.A.C.Y.E accredited center, gaining quality care attributes that she still practices today. She is thrilled about getting to work with the children and families at Best Day Ever and she cannot wait to become a partner in your child’s learning.  Teaching is something she is very passionate about and she truly enjoys! Miss Heather believes that each child has their very own uniqueness and exceptional personality.  She hopes to create experiences in which her new friends  can shine through.  Her favorite academic areas to teach are arts and crafts, music, and of course, learning through play!  She also seeks to create a calm and happy environment, and this type of environment is what Best Day Ever Each believes in creating each and every day.  When Heather is not teaching, she goes home to her wonderful husband and two handsome boys. She is looking forward to getting to know each and every family, and thanks you ahead of time!

Lindsay Berton – Director

lindseyLindsay is beyond excited to join the Best Day Ever family. After meeting her absolutely awesome second grade teacher, she learned what a positively powerful effect teaching has on the young minds of our children.Reaching her dream at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Education paved the way for teaching grades: K through 6, counseling at summer camps, and tutoring students in Reading. Lindsay loves to read, which makes her favorite subject to teach; Language Arts. She believes Reading is an essential building block to many more explorations in the classroom and life. Lindsay is dedicated to encouraging all children to positively expand their knowledge, creativity, and confidence in building social skills. She looks forward to a fun-filled adventure here at Best Day Ever this year! When you can’t find Miss Lindsay at school, she will most likely be enjoying her family time with husband, Eric; son, Liam; and gentle giant puppies, Abby and Walter. As a family they enjoy outdoor activities such as: camping, hiking, and biking. Big family dinners and play dates with the many cousins are also what they do best!

Krista Brown –  Assistant Director/Kindergarten Readiness Teacher 

BiopicKrista graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with an Associates degree in  Computer Science.  She has worked as a Preschool teacher for 13 years. She is happy to be part of the Best Day Ever! Learning Center team. Krista has been a Girl Scout Leader, Elementary School Art Room Aide, Vacation Bible School Coordinator and Sunday School teacher.  At Best Day Ever!, she teaches  Alphabet Recognition, Grammar, Phonics, and Communication along with Math, Science, Writing, Health, Anti-Bullying and Learning Through Play.  She has attended many workshops and training seminars clocking over 100 Continuing Education hours.  Krista works with our 4 and 5 year old group.  She takes great pride in preparing them for Kindergarten and she stays in touch with local teachers to keep up with expectations for making the transition into the school system.  “I love to teach preschool. The kids are fun to be around and they amaze and impress me every day!”, she says.  Krista has also worked in the business world as an Office Supervisor for Pennsylvania American Water Company in their Computer Department and in the Accounts Receivable Department at Hampton Office Products.  Krista is married to her husband Greg with 2 beautiful daughters, Katelyn and Jennifer, and a feisty dog named Daisy. Katie and her husband live in Pittsburgh where she  works as a Youth and Family Counselor at the First Presbyterian Church and Jen is pursuing her Masters Degree in Higher Education at Geneva College.

Lauren Edmonds – 3 and 4 Year Old Teacher

laurenMiss Lauren is super eager to work with the children and families at Best Day Ever Learning Center!  Her organizational skills and imagination make her a hit in the toddler room.  She has fun-filled days with her best day ever children, and seeks to extend their learning through each experiences she brings to them.  Miss Lauren has 10 years of experience caring for little ones!  Not only that, she is a licensed cosmetologist, which explains her passion and love for arts and crafts.  She also enjoys teaching Language Arts and believes in the affects of early reading.  When she is not with her Best Day Ever kids, she is a proud mother of two beautiful kiddos. She is looking forward in working with you in the Toddler Territory!  She can’t wait to care for your owls in training and have the Best Day Ever every day.

 

Debbie Smith – Toddler Teacher

Miss Debbie is super excited to be joining the Best Day Ever Learning Center. She has spent her whole life being a stay at home mom and babysitter to some really great kids. Miss Debbie has homeschooled all three of her boys who have grown to be talented, adventurous and successful young men. Miss Debbie has owned her own business for the last four years and is a photographer at Debra Smith Photography. She is a lover of nature and leads a very adventurous life. Her passions are photographing nature, animals and her favorite part of being a photographer is meeting all her beautiful clients and capturing their beautiful smiles. Her creative talents and love of children has sparked her interest to become a teacher at Best Day Ever Learning Center. She hopes to bring to our daycare her passion for life, adventure and creativity.  Her favorite things to teach are reading and science. When learning with Miss Debbie she hopes to bring out in the children the hidden talents that will make your child shine. She hopes they will leave her classroom with a feeling of confidence that will get them ready for the next journey in their life. When she is not teaching the little ones she loves to travel to new exciting places, painting ,playing with her three dogs, going on adventures with her amazing husband, and spending time with her three boys.

Emily Smith – Infant, Toddler and Preschool Care

imagejpegEmily graduated Yough high school in June of 2014. She currently attends Seton Hill University for elementary education and has had a passion for the field ever since she was just a little girl. Emily has a wide range of babysitting experience, babysitting for multiple families over the years which include infants to 7 year olds! So far through her experience, she has been able to observe ways to support children grow and in embrace developmental stepping stones so they can reach their fullest potential!  Each child she has had the pleasure of caring for proved to be unique and talented in their very own way.  All the children Emily has cared for over the years has developed in different ways, which got her excited to continue to work with children on a one-on-one and small group setting when she learned of the opportunity at BDELC.  She noticed that she appreciated each child for their differences in their learning paths and development, and she wanted to continue her journey.  “There is never is a dull moment with any child, they are all unique but they all need loved the same”  Miss Emily believes. She wanted to take this position at Best Day Ever Learning Center to get even more matchless experiences! She has a very nurturing character and is super excited to start working at BEST DAY EVER LEARNING!

Lucy Firment – Infant and Toddler Care

captureLucy is very excited to be a part of the Best Day Ever Learning Center faculty! She has worked with children for about two years and was previously employed at a NAEYC and Keystone Star accredited center where she worked with children ages 3-5. She has also babysat children ranging from ages 9 months to 9 years. She is currently a second year student at Westmoreland County Community College, majoring in Early Childhood Education. After her time at WCCC, she plans to transfer to Seton Hill University to finish her degree, while also picking up a minor in dance. Lucy has wanted to work with young children for as long as she can remember and is so honored to get the opportunity to work at this great facility! When she is not teaching, she instructs the Greater Latrobe Winterguard and is also a dancer at The Dancers Workshop.

Nicki Cunningham – Infant and Toddler Care

Miss Nicki is super excited to be a part of the Best Day Ever Learning Center team! Her passion for caring for children started when she was just a child herself, taking extra worksheets home from school to teach her stuffed animals around the kitchen table. Miss Nicki took her love of working with children to the next level when she began babysitting her little cousins, niece and nephew, and her neighbor’s children. Babysitting these children made her realize that working with children for the rest of her life would be one job she wouldn’t get tired of. She would come home from work every day with a smile. Miss Nicki is currently studying Early Childhood Education at the University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg campus. Miss Nicki currently volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Laurel Region as a Lunch Buddy at Hutchinson Elementary School. She hopes to continue to work in a daycare setting after she graduates, continuing to shape the minds of children for years to come. When Miss Nicki isn’t at the Best Day Ever Learning Center, she is either working her second job at Gabriel Brothers or spending time with her beautiful niece and nephew. When she is not working, Miss Nicki enjoys playing box lacrosse at HotShots Sports Arena or relaxing with a good science fiction book. “The more that you read, the more that you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go!” – Dr. Seuss
 

Monica Alicea – Toddler Teacher

Monica is very friendly, lovable and super excited to be a part of the Best Day Ever Learning Center. She currently studies at Penn State University seeking her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family studies. As a previous Claire’s Boutiques employee, she gained a lot of experience with young children of all age groups in the last 5 years working for the company. She adores to play with children and she enjoys making children smile. Taking care of children is a passion Monica grew up with while taking care of her 3 younger siblings. She believes every child deserves to be loved and she treats them equally. Monica also strongly believes in positive reinforcement and is very knowledgeable in child development and often uses the Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development stages to provide the best care. On her personal time, Monica enjoys listening to classical music and she finds it relaxing to take care of her 3 beautiful cats at home. She strives to provide the best care for every little one. Monica is very excited to meet every little owl and have lots of fun at Best Day Ever Learning Center.

Jackie Vey – Toddler Care

Miss Jackie is super excited to start her journey at Best Day Ever! She is a 2015 graduate from Yough Senior High School. She currently attends California University of Pennsylvania for Professional Studies in Education with a minor in Psychology. After graduating from Cal U, Miss Jackie wants to find a job that involves working with younger children who have difficulties with their cognitive functions, speech, motor skills, or Autism. She loves watching how children grow from the smallest of infants, to babbling babies, to crawling, walking, running, talking, and enjoying the young person that they become! Miss Jackie has been working with infants and small children for as long as she can remember. She comes from a big family with lots of younger and older cousins. In her time off from daycare and schooling, Miss Jackie enjoys babysitting for multiple families and spending time with her dogs and cat! Miss Jackie hopes to bring lots of love and laughter to the DBE family!

Kate Ttaylor – Toddler Care

Kate is beyond excited to begin her journey here at Best Day Ever. Never having any younger siblings of her own, she always went to a friend’s house to help her watch her younger siblings. This is when she discovered her passion for working with children. As soon as she was old enough, she began babysitting her friend’s siblings on her own and loved it! Helping children discover their unique talents and skills while teaching them is something she is very passionate about. When she entered high school, she took every opportunity possible to work with and help children. Beginning her freshman year, she joined “Reading Buddies,” an after-school volunteer program to help kindergarten through first graders develop their reading abilities. This is how she spent many Fridays after school because it was something she was passionate about. The summer after her sophomore and junior year she participated in a summer camp called “Outdoor Odyssey,” where she led two little girls through several obstacles, and served as their mentor. Her junior year, she joined YEA (Youth Education Association) and participated in too many events to list through this program but the most rewarding of them being Buddy Day at Twin Lakes and the Walk for Autism Speaks at Idlewild. Currently she is an undergraduate student at Saint Vincent College studying chemistry. She is so excited to continue her work with children here at Best Day Ever Learning Center!

Jean Sisson – Toddler Care

I have been a childcare provider and educator for most of my life.  I serve with creativity, sensitivity and love.  I attended Point Park College and majored in Early Education.  I was a co-owner of a childcare center for 10 years where I taught Preschool and worked with all ages.  I volunteer at my church in the nursery where I worked in their play group program and was the Children’s Coordinator for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  My objective is to enlighten and prepare children for life.

 

Kendall Gess – Toddler Care

Miss​ ​Kendall​ ​is​ ​extremely​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​start​ ​her​ ​new​ ​journey​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Best​ ​Day​ ​Ever. She​ ​has​ ​been​ ​wanting​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with​ ​kids​ ​ever​ ​since​ ​her​ ​first​ ​younger​ ​sister​ ​was​ ​born. She​ ​took​ ​Early​ ​Childhood​ ​Development​ ​and​ ​Parenting​ ​classes​ ​when​ ​she​ ​was​ ​in​ ​High School.​ ​Miss​ ​Kendall​ ​has​ ​also​ ​volunteered​ ​at​ ​a​ ​camp​ ​called​ ​Outdoor​ ​Odyssey​ ​as​ ​a mentor.​ ​Outdoor​ ​Odyssey​ ​is​ ​a​ ​camp​ ​where​ ​she​ ​was​ ​mentoring​ ​children​ ​between​ ​the ages​ ​of​ ​6​ ​and​ ​14.​ ​For​ ​a​ ​week​ ​she​ ​was​ ​assigned​ ​two​ ​children​ ​to​ ​take​ ​under​ ​her​ ​wing overcoming​ ​obstacles,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​hiking,​ ​problem​ ​solving,​ ​and​ ​overcoming​ ​fears.​ ​She​ ​has always​ ​loved​ ​working​ ​with​ ​kids​ ​and​ ​loved​ ​that​ ​experience​ ​she​ ​was​ ​given. The​ ​last​ ​6​ ​years​ ​she​ ​would​ ​babysit​ ​her​ ​younger​ ​siblings,​ ​8,​ ​10,​ ​and​ ​11​ ​years​ ​old now​ ​and​ ​her​ ​nephews​ ​3​ ​and​ ​5​ ​years​ ​old​ ​now.​ ​Miss​ ​Kendall​ ​has​ ​babysat​ ​children​ ​6 months​ ​to​ ​9​ ​years​ ​old.​ ​Miss​ ​Kendall​ ​also​ ​has​ ​a​ ​daughter​ ​she​ ​is​ ​3​ ​years​ ​old.​ ​Her daughter​ ​just​ ​started​ ​preschool​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Latrobe​ ​Kinder-Schull​ ​this​ ​year. When​ ​Miss​ ​Kendall​ ​is​ ​off​ ​she​ ​spends​ ​most​ ​of​ ​her​ ​time​ ​with​ ​her​ ​daughter​ ​Sienna, riding​ ​dirt​ ​bikes​ ​and​ ​taking​ ​her​ ​to​ ​gymnastic​ ​classes.​ ​She​ ​also​ ​enjoys​ ​spending​ ​time with​ ​her​ ​family​ ​and​ ​her​ ​boyfriend.​ ​Miss​ ​Kendall​ ​is​ ​planning​ ​to​ ​further​ ​her​ ​education​ ​in childhood​ ​education​ ​in​ ​the​ ​near​ ​future.

Brooke Hrimrock – Preschool Care

Miss Brooke is thrilled to be a part of the Best Day Ever Learning Center family! Brooke began babysitting at age fifteen and it served to be a great overall learning experience for her. She graduated from Southmoreland High School in 2014. During her senior year, she joined the Youth Education Association and attended the Buddy Day event at Twin Lakes Park which featured children and young adults who are on the autism spectrum. She says that Buddy Day was the most rewarding experience she has ever had and she wishes to continue to try to make a difference in the lives of others. Miss Brooke graduated from Westmoreland County Community College in May of 2017 with her Associate’s degree in psychology. She has had a Human Growth & Development course which focuses on brain development beginning at the infant level, and she enjoyed learning about the development of children. Brooke is continuing her education at Penn State Fayette to receive a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and plans to continue onto a graduate program at the California University of Pennsylvania afterwards.

Carol Anna – Substitute for all age groups

Miss Carol is so very excited to be able to help out the wonderful staff here at Best Day Ever! She will join us as a substitute Assistant Group Supervisor, and by doing so hopes to be able to get to know every child in our care. Miss Carol graduated with a BS in Operations Management from Penn State in 1986, but she has been involved with preschool since she lived in Maryland in the dinosaur era, circa 1989. She earned her Early Childhood 64-hour Course certification from Hagerstown Junior College after marrying and moving there that summer. She began as an assistant in a school there, and after two years left to move to Virginia with her husband and one-year-old son. Then she was a stay-at-home mom and volunteer parent for many years, adding two daughters to the family and relocating to Pennsylvania. She started working again in 2003 as a preschool teacher, and has taught 2 1/2, 3 and 4 year-old classes. Most recently she has been helping families by being a nanny or babysitter to some wonderful children that have either moved or grown out of needing full-time care. Her own children are grown too, with the youngest daughter in college at West Chester University and the older two living away from PA in Charlotte, NC and the DC metro area. She is looking forward to getting to know the parents as well as the children here, so please introduce yourselves if you see her in the center!

 




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