The Heart of our Schools


The talented teaching team at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse is led with enthusiasm, values and vision.  We build cohesive teams by valuing each teacher’s strengths and contributions within the programs and recognizing the relationships with the students in their care.

We recruit the best educators in each community we serve by offering competitive pay and benefits, time off work, advancement opportunities, a beautiful and fun work environment and ample classroom supplies so they can be creative and individualize the classroom activities.

Our teachers are respected as professionals and provided the tools and ongoing professional development to thrive within their classroom.  Team building and staff morale are a primary focus of our highly dedicated school Directors.  Our teachers understand that children learn best when they are provided a foundation of warm, responsive care and a genuine loving relationship is built with their teacher.

We are very fortunate to have an amazing team of talented teachers at each of our schools who are passionate in what they do and care deeply about their students. Because we know this sentiment is shared by all who are involved with our schools, we have designed a program called the “Company-Wide Teacher of the Month/Year” to recognize our most outstanding teachers for their hard work and dedication!

A teacher from each school will be nominated for this recognition every month and from those nominees, the teacher who has most closely exhibited the ideal Little Sunshine’s Playhouse teacher characteristics will be earn the title. Teachers can be nominated by parents, students, co-workers, school managers or school owners. The comments submitted are used in conjunction with employment reviews, classroom quality assurance performances, personal exchanges, etc. to determine the winner of the “Company-Wide Teacher of the Month”. Then, at the end of the year, a “Company-Wide Teacher of the Year” will be selected out of all the Teachers of the Month.  The winners of these special awards are rewarded with additional paid vacation days and recognized company-wide.

Please take a moment to read about our past winners from the current year, along with the most recent Teacher of the Year:


Our 2016 Little Sunshine’s Playhouse Teacher of the Year is Miss Jessica Watson from Lakeway, Texas. Jessica had an outpouring of love and admiration from friends, parents, staff and management that made her our choice for Teacher of the Year. Jessica has done phenomenal things for her classroom and her classroom parents are so happy to have Jessica’s charisma, enthusiasm, and attitude towards teaching instilled in their children every day. Jessica’s love for her students is abundantly clear in the way she teaches and loves on her kiddos every day. Her daily communication to parents let them rest assured that their children are in a safe and nurturing environment, ready to learn! We received the following remarks from family feedback about Jessica:

  • “My son was in Miss Jess’ class for his first year at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool and loved every minute with her. He left her class a few months ago and continues to bring up her name every chance he gets. “Is Miss Jess coming? Are you going with Miss Jess?” I see him light up when he sees her in the hall, running for a hug and seeking comfort by her side when he’s sad. My son went through a phase where he had a really hard time at drop off; Miss Jess played a pivotal role in helping him to be comfortable walking away from me or his dad. He knew he was in a good place with someone who cared and was a constant.” – Sarah Bernfeld
  • “Every morning when we turn on the road to school my son asks if I can see Ms. Jess’s car. She is the first person he looks for in the morning and the last person he hugs when he leaves. A day without Ms. Jess leads to multiple questions as to when she will be returning! We are so impressed with Ms. Jess’s positive attitude, professionalism and commitment to the kids. She has such a wonderful relationship with the kids and I can see that they not only love her, but respect and trust her. She personifies the attributes I believe any successful childcare business strives to be: constructive, dependable and trustworthy. I consider Ms. Jess a valuable asset to the team at LSP as well as a friend of our family. She deserves to be recognized for the hard work and positive affect she has on the kids as well as her peers.” – Poppy Poth
  • “Ms. Jess is amazing! She exudes positivity, kindness, and patience. My youngest has been out of her class for 6 months now and she still lights up and runs to her for a hug anytime she sees her. We love Ms. Jess!”  – Jessica Dodge Horwath
  • “My son, Max, has been at LSP Lakeway since the doors opened last year. Ms. Jess was his first teacher and we were so fortunate to have her. Starting a new school is never easy and always a transition, but knowing that Max had a teacher that he loved made the transition so much easier. When asked who his favorite teacher was, Max would always reply ”Ms. Jess!”. She is always smiling, always friendly, and happy to see the kids.” – The Yarborough Family

Company-Wide Teacher of the Month

We are excited to announce our 2017 October Company-Wide Teacher of the Month is Ms. Janie Sheehan! Janie is the lead prekindergarten teacher in the Lakeway, Texas school. Her supervisors, Brittany Krempges and Jessica Watson, believe in Janie’s expertise and her ability to positively impact her students.

“Ms. Janie has been with LSP for two years and continually amazes us every day! She is innovative in her lesson plans and is an inspiring role model for our teachers. Her knowledge of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is present throughout her classroom and in her curriculum. Ms. Janie has a knack of recognizing each individual child’s needs and helping them flourish to the best of their abilities,” Brittany said. “Our families feel confident their children will be ready for Kindergarten and seek her many years of experience on how to continue teaching at home. We are so fortunate to have Ms. Janie as part of our Little Sunshine’s family! Thank you for always going above and beyond! Congratulations!”


Our September 2017 Company-Wide Teacher of the Month is Madison Bonenberger. Madison is the assistant teacher in the Sunnybrook Farm early preschool classroom at Gilbert.

Assistant Director, Kristin Seemann, had the following to say about Madison:

“Madison is a crucial part of our team.  She is the assistant in our Sunnybrook Farm early preschool classroom.  Madison’s exudes hard work, dedication and passion for her kiddos, in every aspect of her day.  She truly loves the children in her care, and continually goes above and beyond, not only giving the LSP experience to everyone that walks through the door, but does so both humbly, and gracefully.  Madison works each day, to further her relationships with staff, students, and families, and has been the face that everyone can count on. 

We cannot wait to see how she continues to grow, and thrive here at LSP!”


Our August 2017 Company-Wide Teacher of the Month is Mrs. Bilan Thompson. Mrs. Bilan is a Toddler teacher from Lakeway, Texas.

Program Assistant Director, Jessica Watson, had the following to say about Bilan, “Mrs. Bilan is such a loyal and hardworking teacher that we are lucky to have as part of our team. She is so caring and nurturing to all of our toddlers and does a wonderful job making the parents feel at ease while creating meaningful relationships with them. Along with great work ethic, Mrs. Bilan creates a positive work environment for everyone she works with. She respects all of the staff and treats everyone with kindness. Thank you for all you have done for our toddlers and LSP! Congratulations Mrs. Bilan!”

Bilan started in the child care industry when she saw a job posting to teach dance and theater to young children in an after-school learning program. “After starting this position, I discovered how much I love teaching children.”

Bilan enjoys working for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool. “I love that LSP appreciates their staff. I also love that our school has a family atmosphere.”

“Let’s congratulate Ms. Morgan Nichols as our teacher of the month. She is our assistant infant teacher extraordinaire. She works diligently each day and shows so much love and dedication for the children. She started as our floater/substitute and was promoted to assistant infant teacher. She is always open to suggestions and learning new techniques in the classroom. Congrats Ms. Morgan! We are so happy you are a part of our team!”

Morgan officially started her career in the child care industry when she was 16 years old and began working for an after-school program. She has actually been working with children her whole life. She is the oldest of five kids.

Morgan enjoys working for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool because she never realized how much she loves interacting with the different age groups until she started working for the company. “I’ve definitely learned a lot!”

Morgan works in the Infant classroom. When asked what does she love most about that age group, she replied, “I love watching them develop and watch all of their personalities shine through.”

Our June 2017 Company-Wide Teacher of the Month is Ms. Erin Fowkes from our Gilbert, AZ location. Erin is a Teacher’s Aide spending most of her time in the infant room.

Erin’s supervisor, Kristin Seemann, had the following to say:

Erin has been with us for almost a year now, spending most of her time in the infant room, and the growth she has had within her position as a TA, is remarkable. While her title says she is a teacher’s aide, Erin is available in every capacity. She is always willing to step up and do luvnotes, execute lesson plans, have conversations with parents, or even create the most adorable art activities. She truly has a passion for her babies, the classroom, and the job itself.  Erin is always available with a smile, and a helping hand.  In her time in infants, she has gained the trust, and respect of the staff, as well as all of the families.  While we are sad that Erin will be leaving us for a semester, as she heads abroad, to share her love of education with children in the Dominican Republic, to teach them English, we are so proud of this amazing teacher. We truly could not be more proud to have her on our staff, and the way she is helping positively impact our children here at LSP Gilbert!   Thank you, Erin!” 

Our May 2017 Company-Wide Teacher of the Month is Jessie Jandernoa from our University City, Missouri location. Jessie is the lead Toddler teacher in the Wonderland classroom. Jessie’s supervisor, Katherine, had the following to say about Jessie:

“It is difficult to find Ms. Jessie without a smile or a kind word for anyone around her. Jessie first joined our team as an assistant in our toddler classroom and when a position for a lead role became available, Jessie was quickly promoted.  Since being promoted to her lead role in our toddler classroom, Jessie has shown great strength in the areas of creativity, positive communications with children and families, and classroom management.  Jessie is extremely intuitive into the needs to young children and is highly knowledgeable when it comes to managing a toddler classroom effectively! Jessie creates a classroom environment that promotes creativity, imagination, and utilizes plenty of fun sensory activities for the children.  Additionally, Jessie is a great example of how to integrate nature and utilizing the outdoor classroom to further her curriculum throughout the day. She also demonstrates such a love for her teammates, and you can often find her bringing in fresh bouquets of flowers for various teachers.  Jessie is organized, dependable, passionate, and a positive team player.”

“Monica was chosen by her peers and the management team for several reasons.  Monica has worked in every classroom in our awesome school.  Once she enters any room she jumps in with both feet and works hard.  She is respectful of everyone.  She is a team player on every level.  She makes our children and parents smile.  I love to hear the children call her name out loud just to make sure that she hears them saying hello.  There has not been one task that she has not completed with a smile on her face, and we ask a lot.  We adore her and so do our students and parents.  She is an awesome choice for Teacher of the Month.

Monica has been working with children for most of her life. She started babysitting when she was 14 years old and then participated in an early childhood program in high school that sparked her interest in early childhood as a career. She has worked in many preschools in May City, Montana since the age of 18. “The experience and knowledge I gained during that time made me realize that this was the career path for me, words cannot convey how much I love working with children.”


Our March 2017 Company-Wide Teacher of the Month is Shelly Mabee from our San Antonio, Texas location. Shelly is the lead teacher in the Preschool room.

Shelly’s supervisor, Taylor, had the following to say:

“If I could describe Shelly in one word, I would use loyal. She has had her struggles being one of the oldest (yet most wise!) employees on our team, adjusting to our policies, ratios, technology integration, and teaching style and has absolutely flourished. She has never called in to work and has worked through so many obstacles after having her co-teacher walk out on us. She told me that the reason she has stayed on board with us for so long is because of the leadership and support she is given daily. Her loyalty is simply unmatched and she deserves every praise. Shelly’s parents continuously brag on her stating their children have learned more in the two months of our school being opened than they have in the last year at their previous school. To say we are proud of Shelly is an understatement.

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Miss Melissa Smith, our Company-Wide February 2017 Teacher of the Month! Melissa is the Lead teacher in the Pre-K classroom at Rogers, Arkansas.

Program Assistant Director, Kaelan Darnell, had the following to say about Melissa, With being recently promoted to Lead teacher in our Pre-K classroom, she has done such a wonderful job handling the transition process. This is something we all know can be a difficult task at times, but she always remains optimistic. She always goes out of her way to make each family and student feel welcomed both inside and outside of the classroom. She executes lessons and projects that perfectly correlate with our philosophy, and really focuses on each child as a whole. We are incredibly blessed to have such a strong asset on our team. We are excited to see her continue to grow and flourish in her new position!”

Genna WillowbrookGenna is a Lead Teacher for the Willowbrook Enchanted Forest 3’s room and also one of our Head Teachers! She is an asset to her classroom and our center! Her smile can light up the room. Genna is a very positive, upbeat, happy person and never complains! She completes her lesson plans on time and helps approve other classrooms lessons and newsletters. Genna plans engaging and fun activities for her kiddos and she makes sure to challenge them daily.  Genna is extremely flexible with her schedule and willingness to help wherever needed.  She is constantly exceeding our expectations with her willingness to be a team player, her loyalty, and overall attitude. We receive positive feedback from families and we are constantly impressed with her work ethic and dedication to Little Sunshine’s!  We are so appreciative to have Ms. Genna on our team at LSP Willowbrook  and she is a very valuable employee and we cannot say enough good things about her! We cannot wait to watch her continue to grow with our school and company.

cloudia-scottsdaleMs. Cloudia is a Lead Teacher in the Preschool Program at our Scottsdale location.  She creates a routine, curriculum and schedule that perfectly meets the needs of the children.  Ms. Cloudia takes the time to get to know each child on an individual level and has created an environment that is capable of benefiting all of their needs.  Beyond that, Ms. Cloudia has sought to create a curriculum that is both hands on and academically challenging, and is age-appropriate.  Watching the children absorb the information that is being taught while developing a true love for learning has been an awesome experience.  Outside of her classroom, Ms. Cloudia has a fantastic work ethic.  She is always willing to help out, whether it be through helping clean a room or offering advice and suggestions to her co-workers.  Ms. Cloudia’s attention to detail, strong work ethic and obvious passion for children are why she was awarded the honor of company-wide teacher of the month!

gerissaMiss Gerissa joined LSP as our Toddler Assistant Teacher and was quickly promoted to Lead Infant Teacher. She brings so much joy and happiness to our team with her infectious laughter and contagious smile! It is impossible to NOT be happy around her. Gerissa has transitioned seamlessly into a lead teacher role. Her lesson plans and LuvNotes are always top notch, and the babies have learned so much with her. We could not be more proud of Gerissa, and we can’t wait to see how she continues to grow with LSP!

img_0581Miss Maddie Saxton is an infant teacher at our Springfield I location and has been with us since August 2016. She has made quite the impact on her classroom since starting. She comes to us with a Bachelor’s degree and is pursuing her Masters. The infant parents love her and so do their little ones. She’s a very hard working and dedicated employee. We are so lucky to have her!