Teachers

Get to know all of our teachers both inside and outside the classroom!

  • Mrs.
    Vy Tran
    Two's Teacher

    Hello! My name is Vy Tran and I came from Vietnam. I have been in the USA since April 2005. I have lived here over 14 years with my little family. I graduated at Parkland College with AAS Degree in Child Development in December of 2009. I have been the Two’s Head Teacher since February 2012. I also worked at the Multicultural Community Center in Rantoul, IL for 3 years. My family and I have lived in Champaign since we came to the USA. My husband is employed at Isotech Lab in Champaign. My little boy attended at First School when he was a baby until he went to Kindergarten at Kenwood in Champaign.
    I am very excited to meet you and your child. Our school is based on the Montessori Program; so that our children learn through their own play daily. Our classroom is a fun and safe environment designed to encourage growth in social, language arts, math, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, sensorial and practical life skills. Our class is accepting of the various differences found among today’s children. We love to hug and cuddle, sing and play, run and dance.

  • Mrs.
    Pat Green
    Head Teacher of Pre-K 4

    Welcome to First School! I'm Mrs. Green. I have worked as a childcare teacher for over 22 years. I have been in childcare for 33 years. I'm a head teacher in the Pre-K 4 classroom. I have my child development associate certificate in child development from Parkland College, with high honors. I am a certified Montessori teacher. I enjoy working here at First School. It seems like yesterday that I started here.

    The philosophy in our room is to teach, love the children, show respect to everyone that we are surrounded around. We teach the Montessori foundation in Language, Math, Science, Geography, Practical Life Skills, Sensorial, Art, Music, Spanish, Large and Small Motor development. The children are presented activities, on a daily basis, in a large and small groups. We do activities on our own and work at our own pace. We are surrounded with Montessori material in our room. Children work and they feel when we do these activities as a group they say 'Mrs. Green when are we going to work instead of playing.' Some children want to work instead of play. That's their choice.

    It's a great feeling to see their children learn and understand the Montessori way. At the age of 3 their brain becomes the absorbent mind. This is when children can learn a lot from presentations and hands on material. I'm blessed to have that knowledge and understanding of Montessori and to make a difference in their life.

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  • Mrs.
    Cathy Shanks
    Infant Room Teacher

    My name is Cathy Shanks. I am a lead qualified teacher at First School with many years of experience in early childhood. I began working at Firsts School in April of 2012, previously working at Little Wings in Rantoul, IL for eight years. I grew up in the Champaign-Urbana area and currently live out of Broadlands with my husband and children. I enjoy spending time with my family, scrapbooking, and having campouts. I have a preschool Childhood Development Credential (CDA) and a North American Montessori Center (NAMC) diploma in infants and toddlers. In my classroom I use the Montessori method of education that is based on self-directed activities and hands on learning. I present formal activities that are planned by each child’s sensitive periods. Periods of time when children are absorbed by and focus their attention on one thing, driven to develop a certain skill. I present informal, in the moment, activities. These are the unplanned activities that have been presented when a student has shown interest in a new activity or skill.

  • Ms.
    Tiffanie Julin
    Toddler Teacher

    Hello my name is Tiffany Julin and I am the Toddler Teacher here at First School. I graduated from Mahomet-Seymour in 2010 and I love teaching back in my hometown. I graduated Parkland College in 2014 with my Associates Degree in Child Development and then again in 2018 with my Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Illinois University with focus in Family Consumer Sciences and Psychology. I have been teaching for 9 years with children ages 6 weeks to 13 years old, including working in a variety of classrooms such as special needs and inclusive classrooms.

    The toddler room is full of new experiences. The toddlers are immersed in Montessori curriculum, learning not only the basics of how to walk, talk, and socialize with friends but also in core curriculum areas such as; Language, Social/Emotional, Practical Life, Cognitive Development, Gross and Fine Motor Skills, Sensory, Music and Art. In my classroom we balance learning with fun, exploration, and love!

  • Ms.
    Tessa Mitchell
    School Age Classroom Teacher

    I am from a small town in Ohio called Midvale. Ever since I can remember I had a love for teaching. I started babysitting by the time I was twelve. After graduating high school, I was on to earn my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. I attended college at Kent State University. I had a love for the Montessori curriculum ever since learning about the curriculum in college. I moved to Illinois and just one week of living in Paxton I found this job here in Mahomet. I accepted the position and I have been working here ever since.

    When I think of my classroom I think of a calm, peaceful environment. The environment the children spend their day in is very important. We start most days by calming our bodies down with different techniques such as yoga and breathing. The children are able to work independently at their own pace. We always have different activities out that will suit each child’s learning ability. This is very important because each child learns at a different level. I believe nature is a very important part of the classroom. We not only follow the child’s lead on the objectives we learn, we also encourage them to be able to solve their own problems with a little interference from the teachers. The children learn by exploring the classroom and interacting with their peers throughout the day. I also incorporate life skills into everyday activities. This allows them to work independently and be able to step out into the real world on their own. Our class is very structured, however, the children are still able to have fun. We play different games, we sing, and we go on many nature hunts.

  • Ms.
    Hannah Jacobs
    Head Teacher of Pre-K 2

    My name is Ms. Jacobs and i am the head teacher of Pre-K 2. Working side by side with my co-teacher, Ms. S, we create an authentic learning environment that nurtures our Montessori curriculum.

    I graduated Cum Laude in 2015 from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. I am licensed by the Illinois Board of Education to teach from birth to the 3rd grade in the public school system. While in college, I gravitated most to the constructivist learning approach, and strive to uphold that philosophy in my classroom daily. I allow the children in my classroom to independently explore activities and construct their own meaning and understanding of materials on our activity shelves before modeling ways in which activities can be completed. These strategies allow our children to become independent thinkers and confident learners.

  • Ms.
    Kristin Rose
    Pre-K 3 Teacher

    My name is Kristin Rose. I am from Urbana, IL. I received a Master's of Education in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. I also obtained a bachelor's degree from UIUC in fine and applied art, in 2014. I have worked with children in a variety of different settings; teaching swim lessons, instructing art classes, and working one on one with children that are differently abled. I particularly enjoy instructing art activities and engaging children in literature. I also find it important to immerse young children in nature and play to provide a healthy environment to learn and grow.

  • Mrs.
    Donna Moya
    Head Teacher - Infant Room

    My name is Donna Moya. I live in Paxton with my wonderful husband and our 4yr old daughter, Lilliana. I have worked in childcare for 10years. I am Head Teacher in the Infant Room and I have been working at First School for 5 years.

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Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Manhattan, IL

Monday:

6:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

6:30 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

6:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

6:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

6:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

closed

Sunday:

Closed

Mahomet, IL

Monday:

6: 30 am

6:00 pm

Tuesday:

6: 30 am

6:00 pm

Wednesday:

6: 30 am

6:00 pm

Thursday:

6: 30 am

6:00 pm

Friday:

6: 30 am

6:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed