Preschool Staff

We are proud to have some of the kindest and most experienced preschool teachers around.

Our school has two Directors and owners who are truly dedicated to ensuring the happiness and development of every student.

Every member of staff has completed the following training: First Aid / CPR for Infants & Children, Preventing SIDS, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Safe Sleep for Infants, Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect, Communicable Diseases and Emergency Preparedness Planning.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – Stephanie holds two degrees in addition to her Director’s License. She manages the overall business of Golden Acorn Academy and shapes the future of the school. In addition to raising two boys, she has been working with, and advocating for, children of all ages for almost two decades.

DIRECTOR – Penny Leaver holds a Director’s License and manages the daily operations of the Preschool. Penny has worked with children for almost 15 years. Her experience includes working with children with special needs and most recently, teaching younger children at preschool for last 5 years.

TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN TEACHER – Whitney is an eminently qualified teacher and a former Dallas ISD Special Education and ESL teacher – so not just certified to teach but with many years of experience teaching special populations. She is such a soothing but firm force in the classroom. It is probably from raising her own daughters that she has learned to be so “zen” and caring.

PRE-K TEACHER -Sonja has 12 years of preschool teaching experience. She has worked with children of all ages but has spent the last few years teaching our 3 and 4 year olds. Prior to preschool, Sonja taught Kindergarten at the school district and even spent time teaching children with special needs. In addition to being a mom of three, Sonja embodies patience and kindness.

PRESCHOOLER TEACHER – Lauren has more than 10 years of experience with preschoolers and Pre-K children in both Texas and Arkansas. Lauren’s no-nonsense approach to teaching has made her beloved by everyone in her class and their families. She is a gem.

SENIOR TODDLER TEACHER – Gloria has been teaching and caring for young children for 6 years. All the love, patience, and experiences she has learned raising her own little girl she brings to her classroom. Her energy is boundless and passion is evident.

JUNIOR TODDLER TEACHER – Lisa has been teaching young children for almost 17 years. She had her own in-home child care business for 14 years in Missouri we were so lucky to find her when she moved to Texas. She is such a kind and gentle soul with a lap big enough for everyone in her class.

INFANT TEACHER – Janai followed 4 years of working as an Au Pair with 4 years of working in licensed child care centers in both Texas and Kansas. Her experience has made her a tranquil and gentle person who exudes tenderness for our youngest students.

CHAPEL TEACHER – Diane has been teaching young children for almost 30 years! She has spent the most recent 5 years focusing on Chapel and Remedial instruction. Diane’s love and caring for EVERY child in the building knows no bounds. She is definitely someone who give 200% to everything she does and the children feel it.

MANDARIN TEACHER – April is our Mandarin teacher. She has been a teacher for well over 20 years with the last 18 years specializing in English and Mandarin, in China and the US, to both adults and children. Her talent for getting young children learning and singing (and sometimes even writing) in Mandarin is remarkable.

ADMINISTRATOR – Connie has a Masters in Finance from UNT and a passion for children. She loves nothing more than coming up with amazing and fun math games and activities for our Summer Camps and helping our After Schoolers with homework. Connie, a native Mandarin speaker, shows a special empathy for students struggling with language.

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