Meet Our Professional Team
Our staff is composed of well-trained and deeply caring professionals. All caregivers undergo extensive background checks, have CPR and First Aid certifications, belong to professional organizations, and participate in on-going professional development to ensure that our program is on the cutting edge of high quality practices in early childhood education.
The Director of our program, Anthony Creasy fell in love with McKendree several years ago as a college student visiting to conduct observations. From that point, he made it his goal to join this amazingly unique program. A couple of years later, he came back as a sub, then permanently joined our team as a preschool teacher in 2009 before moving into a new role as our center Atelierista and Pedagogical Coach in 2018. At the end of 2020, our founding director retired and Anthony stepped into the role. He brings his exceptional skills as a provocative early educator, his knowledge and understanding of developmentally appropriate and progressive early childhood education programing, and his strong gifts in leadership and communication to the McKendree Team. Anthony has earned both an AAS in Early Childhood Education, and a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Communications and Child Development. In addition, he’s an active leader in the Middle Tennessee ECE community and serves as a member of the Nashville State Advisory Committee and is the current Vice President for the professional early childhood organization, TACEE (Tennessee Association for Children’s Early Education).
With a passion for caring for others, Tina Yarbro joined our program in 1993 as a toddler teacher and has been a consistent and loving infant and toddler teacher ever since. Tina has completed the Tennessee Early Learning Training Alliance program along with several child development classes at NSCC. Because of her exemplary work, knowledge and leadership skills, Tina is recognized as a premier infant caregiver and is well-respected and sought after for her kind nature and expertise.
Shirrell Wright started as a substitute and floater with us in 1994 and soon found her calling as a permanent infant caregiver. She has earned a Tennessee Early Learning Training Alliance Certificate and has additionally taken early childhood classes at NSCC to further her knowledge of infant care. This gives Shirrell the experience and knowledge to provide exceptional infant care for your little one. She is also a doting mother and grandmother, so she specializes in providing that same love and attention to the little ones in her care at McKendree.
Movers and Shakers Class
Shatavia Sidiq joined our toddler team in 2018, partnering with Heather as a co-teacher in the Discovers classroom. Shatavia has a BS in Graphic Arts and many years of experience as a toddler and preschool teacher. For the past few years, Shatavia has been a participant in McKendree’s Professional Development Institute where she has eagerly explored child-led curriculum practices.
Galon Greer joined the McKendree team in 2016 as a substitute. Because of his wonderful rapport with the children, he joined the Young Toddler Team as a classroom teacher. He partners with Honestee in the Explorers classroom. Galon holds a BS in Agriculture Education from UT Knoxville (and yes, he serves on our garden team!). Additionally, he has 18 years of experience with the Boy Scouts as an Eagle Scout and camp counselor.
Laura Atherton stepped into our program as a teacher in 2016. Laura has a BS in Child Development and Family Relations from TN Tech and has worked with young children as an early preschool teacher and as an active volunteer involved in children’s ministry works. Laura brings an infectious energy and fun-loving approach to her class and the children and families love it!
Program Support Team
Gina Givens has been a part of our program since 1990. For over twenty years she was a preschool classroom teacher, and now serves as our Center Floater. In addition to caring for older toddlers each late afternoon and managing the kitchen for snacks and lunch, Gina offers classroom coverage for teachers during their planning time, collaboration meetings, and as an occasional substitute as a veteran member of our team.
Jes Cleland began her association with McKendree in 2010 when she worked as a toddler teacher in the Investigators Class. Jes has a BA in Communications and a rich background in the arts; she is a song writer, bass player, drama teacher, graphic artist, and music teacher. In 2013, Jes rolled many of these gifts together and created MUSIC U a hands-on music enrichment class she provides at McKendree, in addition to offering private lessons from her and her talented staff of music educators.