The Teaching Staff at Bethlehem
Bethlehem prides itself on having a dedicated, highly trained, nurturing staff who care about each and every child. Our staff have a combined total of 70 years of experience at Bethlehem Child Care Center.
Each staff member is carefully screened and background checks are conducted before they can begin teaching. Our staff complete many hours of ongoing training each year and all teaching staff are certified in CPR and First Aid.
Lead: Ms. MelissaBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Melissa’s Bio
My first experience with BCCC was as a parent in 2005. I have two children, ages 16 and 13, both graduates of the Bethlehem Preschool program. I loved BCCC so much that I joined the staff in September 2009 as an Assistant Teacher in the Beginner’s classroom. Prior to working at BCCC, I worked with special needs children for 10 years.
I grew up on an organic, family farm in southern Minnesota, which was and still is a big part of my life. I am passionate about the environment and LOVE teaching children about nature! I graduated from Hamline University with a BA in Environmental Science and Cultural Anthropology and was a Program Director for an Environmental non-profit before having children.
My family lives right here in the Longfellow neighborhood, which is lovely as I can walk, bike or snow shoe to school! As I mentioned, my husband John and I have two children, Ian and Thalie and a dog, named Neville Longbottom. We are outdoor enthusiasts, enjoying biking, hiking, skiing and camping. I am very much looking forward to getting to know you and your children!
Assistant: Ms. ArokeyBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Arokey’s Bio
I started working at BCCC in 2016 as a high school aide. Upon graduating in the class of 2017 from South High School, I started working as an adult aide and took courses in Early Childhood Education at MCTC. I’m the oldest of 6 siblings and grew up in South Minneapolis. In my free time I like to travel, and spend time with my friends, family and my cat, Louie!
Pre-K, Group A
Lead: Ms. AmandaBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Amanda’s Bio
I began working at BCCC as an adult aide in the Beginner’s classroom in 2006. It was during this time that I found my calling to become a teacher. While working at Bethlehem, I attended St. Paul College and received my A.S. in Early Childhood Education. I taught for two years as a lead preschool teacher before deciding to leave to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood from Central Michigan University. After graduating in May of 2016, I was privileged to be given the opportunity to return and become a part of the Bethlehem team of educators!
I am a native Minnesotan and although I have on occasion lived out of state, I always find my way back. I grew up in the southeastern portion of the state and have wonderful memories of hiking the state park trails and exploring the shore of Lake Superior. I am an avid collector of books and am always on the lookout to add to my collection.
As a teacher, I have the dual role of teacher and learner. As I try to guide students on their journey of learning, I am also a student of my own students. My goal is to understand their strengths, areas of weakness, what motivates them, what frustrates them, and through learning about them as individuals, be able to support them in their endeavors. Opening student’s reception to the idea of becoming life-long learners is one of my main goals by stimulating their sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. As Dorothy Parker puts it, “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
Ms. JanineBethlehem Child Care Center
Pre-K, Group B
Lead: Ms KarenBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Karen’s Bio
I am the Lead Teacher in the Pre-K B classroom. I have been working at Bethlehem since 2013 and enjoy my fellow staff and our families.
I attended the U of MN and received my B.S. in Child Psychology, and Pre-K and Early Childhood Special Education license. I have been working in the Early Education field for thirty years.
I have a teen-age son and we live in South Minneapolis. We enjoy watching and playing baseball, soccer, football, and basketball. We have fun playing board games and spending time with friends and neighbors. I am an avid reader and we enjoy our local libraries.
School Age: K-5th grade
Co-Lead Ms. ChelseaBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Chelsea’s Bio
Co-Lead: Ms. NinaBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Nina’s Bio
I am excited to introduce myself as one of the staff members at BCCC. I find joy in getting to know each and every learner (young and old) that I encounter at Bethlehem. I’m a South Minneapolis girl, born and raised. I, like many others graduated from South High School. Upon graduation I attended North Central University where I earned a BA in Youth Developmental Studies. My first Child Care experience was working as a sub (birth through school age) and later as an Assistant Preschool Teacher for the YWCA preschool program.
Shortly after getting married in 2006 I began work with the MPLS Public Schools Teen Parent Services (formally TAPPP). I worked as an Assistant Preschool Teacher and then as a Toddler Teacher, eventually leading my own Toddler Classroom. After ten years with the schools I decided to take a break from education and join the corporate workforce. This break lasted all of six months as I soon began to miss the kids! It was then that I heard about an opening at Bethlehem and here I am! I have many friends that have or have had children attend the preschool program here and they all love it!
My husband and I live in the Longfellow neighborhood with our two cats Pippin and Sugar. We love taking trips together. I also enjoy long walks, reading non-fiction, and baking anything with chocolate as a main ingredient!
Co-Lead: Ms. LauraBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Laura’s Bio
I first heard of BCCC as a teenager while attending Bethlehem Covenant Church with my parents. My first job in high school was as an aside in the preschool classroom after school. Then 5 of my children attended Preschool at BCCC. I am happy to return now as a Teacher.
I am coming from teaching Infants and Toddlers for the past couple years at another child care center. Before that I spent many years raising my children and volunteering at church teaching both Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
I live in Saint Paul near the Stare Fair ground with my husband, 3 of my children, 2 dogs, and a hedgehog. I have 7 children: Savannah (26), Aaron (24), Anjali (20), Arissa (20), Arianna (16), Amelia (9), and Abigail (8). Two of my girls are married. I also have a granddaughter who was born in early 2018, and a grandson who was born in 2020. Most of my time away from work is spent doing activities with my children and loving on my grandchildren.
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Mr. Yaphet’s Bio
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Ms. AnnekaBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. ElisaBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. SharonBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Sharon’s Bio
I have been married 41 years, we have lived in the Longfellow neighborhood since 1992.
I started teaching in 1972, serving 19 years for a Child Abuse and Prevention Program in the Phillips community of Minneapolis and a Child Advocate with Harriet Tubman’s Battered Women’s Shelter.
I have had the honor of teaching children and supporting families over 35 years and now find myself at Bethlehem Child Care Center. I am grateful for the opportunity to be apart of this outstanding group of families, children, and staff.
Ms. ThalieBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. JanineBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Janine’s Bio
I have three sons who all attended Bethlehem starting in 2002. They all loved preschool! Prior to having children I was an elementary school teacher. In 2011 I began to substitute teach here at Bethlehem and then Jill asked if I would like to work in the office and that is how I became the part-time office assistant!
Ms. JillBethlehem Child Care Center
Ms. Jill’s Bio
I have been working at BCCC since the fall of 2006 when I started as their Pre-K teacher. My own daughter was in my class. Late the following spring I was hired as the director and have been in this role ever since. Previous to working at BCCC I taught Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade in Minneapolis Public Schools for 12 years.
I live in the Longfellow neighborhood with my husband Ron and our dog, Pippa. We have two daughters who are both attending universities out of state. Nadia lives in D.C. and Adelaide lives in Phoenix. In my free time I enjoy baking & decorating sugar cookies, and then biking and working out to offset my first enjoyment!