Sarah Mitchell is the Early Childhood Program Manager for Florence Crittenton Preschool and Child Enrichment Center. Originally from Georgia, Sarah brings over 12 years’ experience in the educational setting. While attending Valdosta State University, she received a BA in Psychology and M.Ed. in School Counseling. Sarah has developed a strong sense of devotion to supporting children’s development as a program manager of early prevention and intervention services. This experience has provided her with a deep appreciation for collaborating with educators, parents, and community partners to meet each child’s developmental needs. She believes early exposure to learning opportunities that are fun and engaging enhance children’s social-emotional, cognitive, communicative, and physical development. She is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment where children develop a love of learning and feel a sense of belonging.
Micaela Wilfong is an Early Childhood Program Supervisor at Florence Crittenton Preschool. Micaela graduated from Montana State University-Bozeman in 2014 with a BS in Early Childhood Education. Since graduating, Micaela has taught preschool in various programs in Tennessee and Montana. She is a strong advocate for family services being a leading part of the preschool program. Micaela believes “when you start a child in preschool you don’t just enroll the child, you enroll the family”. Micaela is a firm believer that parents are their child’s first educators and that preschool is an extension of family driven learning. She believes having parents as an active participant and advocate in their child’s education is essential. Micaela is excited to be a part of the Florence Crittenton team and to bring her education and experience to the classroom.
Allison Pettit brings over 30 years of experience in early childhood education to Florence Crittenton’s Child Enrichment Center. As a Floating Teacher at the center, she ensures all children receive the cognitive, physical, communicative, and social-emotional supports they need to further their growth and development. Recognizing families are essential to early childhood success, Allison strives to build connections and maintain open discourse with each family. She utilizes her bachelor’s degree and early childhood trainings to implement daily developmentally appropriate best practices in the CEC. Allison enjoys creating a fun, engaging, stimulating environment for the children and shares the best part of early childhood development, as well as her day, centers around play.
Brianna believes strongly in building close relationships with each child and making sure her approach brings out the best in each amazing individual. She understands the benefits of early childhood development in terms of social and emotional development as well as building a village surrounding each child that ensures their success. Brianna enjoys every day at work, she says the children always put a smile on her face and she enjoys every minute with the amazing human beings that they are developing into! She also values being a part of the wonderfully supportive Florence Crittenton Early Childhood team. She says they have a ton of fun and always work together as a team to give each child the best possible experience at preschool.
Denice Wells is an Early Childhood Lead Teacher at the Florence Crittenton Child Enrichment Center (CEC). With over 23 years of experience in the early childhood profession, she is an expert in ensuring the CEC operates efficiently. From meeting the needs of children 0-2 to mentoring new staff members, Denice is known for her caring, responsible, and trustworthy personality. She continually seeks opportunities for growth in her field and has attended several trainings that address various areas of child development. Denice believes children are happiest when they feel safe and loved. She is passionate about providing an atmosphere where infants and toddlers can safely explore their environment. Denice is proud of the accomplishments the CEC has achieved, and she strives to ensure the center continues to experience success.
Madison, a talented educator with an associate degree in education, has been shaping young minds since 2021. With a rich background as an Assistant Director, Site Supervisor, and Lead Teacher, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her role. Recognizing the significance of early childhood education, Madison firmly believes in providing children with a strong foundation in social-emotional skills, literacy, and mathematics. Seeing children evolve into their unique personalities and gain self-assurance brings immense joy to Madison. She finds inspiration in her students’ determination to learn new things, even when faced with challenges. This motivates her to embrace a similar attitude in her own life.
Madison also believes that collaboration between families and teachers is pivotal, as it fosters a sense of importance and belonging in each student. With her dedication to early childhood education, passion for social-emotional growth and commitment to family collaboration, Madison strives to make a lasting impact on her students’ lives.
Sharaya Doney is the Early Childhood Lead Teacher for the 4-to-5-year-old classroom at the Child Enrichment Center. With over 15 years working in early childhood education, she understands the important role teachers play in providing positive experiences to kiddos at a young age. She is passionate about children’s learning and therefore strives to teach them something new every day. Sharaya’s approaches in the classroom toward all her little learners entails having an open mind, loving heart, understanding, and plenty of patience. She values spending time with each of her students because these opportunities not only help build their relationship but also provide her insight into their unique and special personalities. She is excited to share new experiences with the children in her classroom and hopes to help them establish a strong love of learning that they will take with them when they transition to Kindergarten.
Amy Drennon, a passionate and driven teacher, strongly believes in the transformative power of early childhood education. She recongizes that these formative years are the ideal time for children to develop the social and emotional skills that will set them on a path towards lifelong success and fulfillment. She finds it incredibly rewarding to observe young minds as they navigate the complexities of relationships, express their emotions, and learn valuable life skills. Seeing children work through conflicts and arrive at positive resolutions fills Amy’s heart with pride, knowing that she played a part in fostering their growth and emotional intelligence.
Creating a safe and inclusive environment is paramount for Amy. She believes that children flourish when they feel comfortable being themselves and exploring their interests. By fostering an atmosphere of acceptance and respect, Amy empowers her students to embrace their individuality and develop a strong sense of self-worth.
Celia joined Florence Crittenton in May 2022 to work with our infants and toddlers in our Child Enrichment Center. She brings 5 years experience working in Early Childhood and particularly enjoys creating a bond with each child, seeing them grow and develop into healthy little individuals.
Celia believes high quality childcare and preschool truly sets kids up to be successful in school and in life. She enjoys working with parents as a team to ensure each child’s success and values being part of such a cohesive team where every child is valued and nurtured.
Tara was born and raised in Helena, MT and comes to Florence Crittenton with almost five years of early childhood experience! She has taught between the ages of 0-10 and loved every second of it. Tara is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with hopes to continue on and get a Master’s in Early Childhood Education.
Her teaching philosophy is, “It is a teacher’s job to teach children how to be human, not to yell at them when they get it wrong.” Tara’s favorite thing about teaching is watching each child change and grow every single day; it truly is magical!
Phoebe joins the Florence Crittenton team as a Teacher Aide in the Child Enrichment Center. Previously, she worked as a manager at a local restaurant here in Helena and after graduating from Helena High School she briefly moved to Washington where she got a taste of working in Early Childhood Education.
Upon returning to Helena, Phoebe came to Florence Crittenton because she very much enjoys teaching children, and she knew that she wanted to continue exploring the passion she felt for Early Childhood Education. Her goal is to become a Lead Teacher in the future!
In her free time, Phoebe enjoys arts and crafts, playing her ukelele, exercising, and the great outdoor experiences that Montana has to offer.
Ella Krepps is an enthusiastic early childhood teacher with previous experience as a camp counselor and gymnastics coach. She believes what children learn during their early years forms the foundation for their entire lives. Ella finds joy in observing the different personalities of each child and witnessing how they interact with one another. She values the opportunity to engage with each child individually, tailoring her approach to suit their needs.
Having personally benefitted from early education in her own childhood, Ella values the role the exposure plays in social skill development, friendship-building, and fostering independence. As a teacher, she loves embracing silliness and incorporating fun and playful approaches to teaching. She believes that children thrive when they can learn in an environment surrounded by caring friends and teachers. Ella understands that when children feel loved and supported, they become more open to learning and to develop essential social-emotional skills.
Brooke Hatten is the Early Childhood Cook for Florence Crittenton’s Early Childhood Programs. With previous experience in a childcare setting and in a variety of establishments within the food industry, she now enjoys bridging these two fields together in her work in our centers. Brooke values introducing new foods to children because she believes learning happens at any moment, especially during mealtimes. She is adept at meeting the needs of children with food allergies and intolerances. For Brooke, “Interaction with the children within our programs is key because I gain insight regarding their eating habits. Not only is this time with them a fun experience, but it also inspires me to seek out new ways to incorporate different foods and to be creative, so that all kids, even those with dietary restrictions, can enjoy the same meal!“