Our Staff

Suzanne Collard 
Owner 

I have been working in Education for the past 35 years. I have a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education with an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration K-12. I have taught and worked with children at every grade level, including college. I have been in Administration over the past 10 years, and have had the opportunity to become the Founder of a PreK-8 Charter School Academy as well. I am blessed to have a wonderful family. I just got married in August to my best friend, Mike. You will see him working around the center. I have a daughter Kayla, who lives in Florida and is finishing her degree in Health Administration. I have a son, Jared, who you will see working at the center in the kitchen. I also have two step-daughters. Ashley, who is finishing her degree in Special Education, and Chelsea who is married and has a one-year-old son, Jackson. I am also excited to be working with Debbie (Director) and Joanne (Office Manager) again. Back in 1997, I had the opportunity to purchase a child care center, and Debbie and Joanne were my directors. We have come back together again to continue working with staff, children, and families. I am excited to be working alongside dedicated, caring, and loving staff who have over a total of 200 years together in Early Childhood Education. 

Ms. Debbie 
Director 

B.S in Special Education/Elementary Education.

I began my career in Early Childhood Education in 1979. Over the years, I have worn many hats. Some of them include: Teacher, Program Coordinator, Curriculum Specialist, Assistant Director, and Director. 

One of the most enjoyable moments is singing with the children, they help keep me young at heart!

Mrs. Joanne  
Office Manager 

Suzanne, Debbie, and I have known each other since 1988. We worked together at another Childcare Center in Dearborn. Our professional and personal interactions have made for a trustworthy relationship that has brought us back together again here at It Takes A Village Academy. 

I graduated from Henry Ford Community College with an Associate's Degree in Business and a Bachelor's in Elementary Education from Wayne State University. I've worked in a childcare setting for 8 years. During my 8 years of employment in this field, I have had the opportunity to be an Assistant Teacher/Teacher with ages ranging from 6 weeks old to Kindergarten. I also was given the opportunity to be a Preschool and Pre-K Program Director at M&M Childcare Center as well as the Office Secretary and Manager. Futhermore, I've also had the pleasure of subbing and teaching in the Detroit & Dearborn Public Schools, which landed my my long-term Fourth Grade Teacher position at a nearby charter school. I was fortunate enought to be a stay at home mom and to raise my 3 wonderful children. While doing so, I worked from home with an online company for 13 years. This amazing opportunity to work here part time at ITAVA couldn't have come at a better time in my life! I still get to do what I love the most and still be able to fulfill my #1 responsibility being a mom! In my free time, I life to write, go for walks, and spend quality time with my family and close friends. I am happy to be a part of the "It Takes A Village Academy" 

Mr. Mike 
Support Staff

 I have worked the past 10 years in the Public School System as a Behavior Specialist. I began working in the schools after retiring in 2009 from Delta Airlines. I am passionate about working with young people. I love to help guide them on the right path in life and with their education. My wife Suzanne and I, are very proud of our 3 daughters and 1 son, who are all adults. We also welcomed our first grandson in October 2018. I am very excited to work at It Takes A Village Academy driving the bus, doing maintenance and helping out wherever I can. We are working hard to make ITAVA the best it can be! I'd like to thank all of our parents for sharing your awesome children with us!

Mrs. Alicia 
Lead Teacher (Infants) "Stepping Stones"

As the lead infant teacher, it is my responsibility to build healthy learning skills and encourage positive growth and development. However, I consider it my honor to love, nurture, and educate my babies as well as to be educated by them. There is always room for growth and never an end to learning something new! In the almost 9 years of working in the Child Education field and my 3 years of college education, I have obtained an Associate's Degree and numerous continued education courses relative to caring for Infants and Toddlers. I have also obtained the title and honor of being a mother to two wonderful children. They are 4 and 2 and they both attend classes here at ITAVA. 

In our time outside the center, we enjoy playing with dinosaurs, babies, and watching Abby Hatcher. In conclusion, I'd like to thank all of our parent for sharing your blessings with me and our future! 

Miss. Kassie 
Assistant Teacher (Infants) "Stepping Stones" 

I am an Assistant Teacher mostly in the infant room, but I also help out in the other classrooms as well. I'm currently studying at Oakland University to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Art History and Studio Art. I have been babysitting, tutoring, and volunteering for kids programs since I was thirteen years old. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, and learning new ways to create art. I love taking care of the babies, but I mostly look forward to seeing their precious smiles each and every day! 

Miss. Tiffany 
Assistant Teacher (Infants) "Stepping Stones" 

I'm an Assistant Teacher in the infant room. I have been working in childcare since 2018. I'm currently working towards my Early Childhood Education Associates Degree at Schoolcraft College. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and playing sports! I have been coaching softball with my dad for my youngest sister's team for 8 years. I'm so excited to be working with your little ones and watching them grow! 

Ms. Sharon 
Assistant Teacher (Toddlers) "Innovators"

I have been working in Early Childhood Education since 1986. I have always worked with Toddlers. I have attended countless seminars and workshops. I also have many hours of training in Early Childhood Education. I enjoy helping the toddlers out with their art projects. 

 

Ms. Diane 
Lead Teacher (Toddlers) "Discovery Zone"

 I have been married 26 years to a wonderful man that I have known since high school, 33 years. We have 2 wonderful daughters.Our oldest is 26 and our youngest just turned 17. When I am not at work, I love to be on the water in my kayak or on my jet ski, but when it is cold I hide inside like a bear, I do not enjoy winters.

  I have been working with children for 26 years. I worked for Crestwood School District in Dearborn Heights, from May of 1994 until June of 2013. From May 1994 to Sept. of 1997 I worked for their SACC program (School Age Child Care),from Sept. 1997 to 2003 I worked for their KSACC program (Kindergarten, school age children), their SAC program (Summer Adventure Camp) and from Sept.2003 until June of 2013, I was the lead teacher of their 4-year-old tuition based preschool program.

In June of 2013, I decided to leave the school district and I started working for Ms. Debbie at Christus Victor Learning Center. With her help and encouragement  I obtained my CDA in Infant/Toddlers on May 9th, 2017, and in Sept. 2019 we left Christus Victor and moved here and became It Takes a Village Academy.

 

To me there is no better feeling than watching a young child's eyes light up when they have figured out how to do something new

Miss. Alexys
Assistant Teacher (Toddlers) "Discovery Zone" 

I was born and raised in Garden City. I graduated from Garden City High School in 2013. I have taken some Early Childhood classes at Schoolcraft and I'm currently working on my CDA. I have 5 years experience of working within Early Childhood. I really enjoy what I do! I mostly work with toddlers and I look forward to seeing all the kids smiling faces every day. One fun fact about me is that I am the second oldest of 8 siblings! 

Miss. Sydney
Assistant Teacher (Toddlers) "Discovery Zone" 

I work in the toddler room with my mom, Kathy! I really enjoy working with kids! I'm 19 years old. When I'm not working, I'm usually at home reading or painting. I really love my houseplants and my black cat Boo. I also have the best nephew, Griffin. I love helping people and giving to others. 

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light" -Albus Dumbledore

Mrs. Bethany
Lead Teacher (Pre-K) "Imagination Station"

Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education 

I started working with children in 2000 in my high school childcare course (Crestwood High School) Preschool program. I began as an Assistant Teacher at Christus Victor Learning Center in August 2001. At that time, I was working in the SACC room, the Pre-K classroom, the Early Preschool classroom, and the Preschool classroom. In 2003, I became the Lead Teacher of the Early Preschool classroom and the Assistant Director until 2009. Around this time, I transitioned into the Lead Preschool teacher and Curriculum Coordinator. I love knowing that each day I work with children holds something new and find joy in hearing the unique pearls of wisdom that come out of the little ones mouths. 

Miss. Stephanie 
Assistant Teacher (Pre-K) "Imagination Station" 

My journey in the childcare field started back in June of 2001. I began as an Assistant Teacher at Christus Victor Learning Center. I am currently a full time assistant teacher in the preschool room at It Takes A Village Academy. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and hanging out with my friends. I look forward to working with your children daily and I love watching them grow! 

Miss. Cecelia 
Assistant Teacher (Pre-K) "Imagination Station" 

I am a student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I'm currently studying Psychology and am on the path of becoming a Child Psychologist. I was valedictorian of my class and graduated from Clarenceville High School in 2018. I love working with your children and I have a passion for helping them to learn and grow! I'm a safe person for children to express their feelings to and I love to help them deal with and/or overcome challenges. I'm the oldest of 6 grandchildren, so I have had plenty of experience with babysitting and teaching children. When I'm notworking, I love to spend time with my family, friends, and pets. I'm a huge animal lover and have rescued 4 cats and a dog! With the stress of being a full time college student, coming to It Takes A Village Academy and working with children make my days so much more enjoyable! The children never fail to put a smile on my face!  

Miss. Amira 
Assistant Teacher (Pre-K) "Imagination Station"  

I've been an employee of the Learning Center since October 2020. I started as an assistant teacher working in the toddler classroom and then was appointed to assistant teacher in the Early Preschool classroom. I am a mother of 5 children myself and enjoy working with children. I'm in the process of continuing my education to become a Lead Teacher in the GSRP room. I'm happy to be a part of the ITAVA team! 

Miss. Breanne 
Assistant Teacher 

I currently work with infants but you can find me floating in all of the classrooms. I love working with children of all ages and hope to continue working with all your children for a long time. I plan to get my CDA and continue my education in childcare. Outside of my job here at It Take  A Village Academy, I am also an esthetician and work at a salon two days a week doing lash extensions, waxing, makeup and facials. When I am not working, I love to spend with my family and friends playing cards or board games. I also like to go up north with my twin sister and nephew. I love camping, going to concerts, and sometimes doing nothing at all! I am so happy to be a part of It Takes A Village Academy and can't wait to see all the amazing things your children accomplish. 

Ms. Darlene 
Assistant Teacher (Infants) "Stepping Stones

I am a mother of 3 children, two boys and one girl. I have 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandsons (living in Colorado). The last 35 years of my life have been in education and I have loved every minute of it. Many years at Garden City Public Schools, where I worked in many positions there. I worked with Autistic children for 12 years and then transferred to Administrative Assistant for the duration of my career there. Then I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Suzanne Collard at Tipton Academy and now I am back again working for her at It Takes A Village. I keep trying to retire but for whatever reason, it never sticks! I have met some wonderful people in my time and have made some lasting friendships, which I will cherish forever. Being in education and childcare has given me the opportunity to have a positive impact on a child's life and is definitely one of my greatest blessings!

Miss Melissa
Assistant Teacher (Toddlers) "Discovery Zone"

I started working in childcare in June of 2018 at Christus Victor Learning Center and moved to It Takes A Village Academy in September of 2019. As the oldest in my family, I've been able to work with my cousins, nieces, and nephews. I've always had a passion for working with children and I love to see how their little minds work. My favorite part of being a teacher is watching and helping them as they hit more and more milestones, and how they always surprise me with how well they're doing!

Mrs. Sara 
Assistant Teacher (Toddlers) "Discovery Zone" 

I have my CNA degree and certification in Medical Assisting. I worked for over 5  years in the medical field and realized it dod not make me truly happy. I decided my happiness is working with children. I started babysitting at my home for a few friends and it made me feel complete. I applied here at ITAVA and I have been the happiest in a very long time. I have a wife and 2 children and I also love animals. We have 2 cats and 2 dogs. I am happy to be a part of ITAVA and help teach your children new things and watch them grow. 

Miss. Lynne
Assistant Teacher  

I am been working with children for the past 37 years. I have my CDA certificate and my chauffeur's license to be able to bus children to and from school. My favorite things to do are anything outdoors. I love to fish, swim, jet ski, and go for long boat rides. I also enjoy going to baseball games with my friends. I'm happy to be a part of ITAVA team! 

Miss. Ruth
Assistant Teacher  

I am a floating Assistant Teacher here at It Takes A Village Academy. As a floater, you will see me in all of our different classrooms. I have been working in childcare for five years. Prior to that, I worked as a substitute Special Education Paraprofessional in several school districts for 2 1/2 years. I also volunteered and worked in the nursery at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Dearborn for 5 years, watching children while their parents attended worship. When I'm not busy working you can usually find me at three different choir rehearsals, coloring with my gel pens, or while my nose in a good book. I love working with children and helping them learn and grow. I look forward to joining your child on their journey of Early Education. 

Mrs. Kathleen  
Assistant Teacher (Toddlers) "Discovery Zone" 

I have been happily married for 20 years. We have 2 beautiful daughters. Kia who is 30 and Sydney who is 19. We have a 7 month old son named Griffin. I have worked in retail management, I've also done receptionist work and I have worked in the reprographics department at Ford Motor Company. I enjoy working with children because I love watching them explore and discover new things. A child's laugh warms my heart and there's no better feeling than a hug from a child. 

Mrs. Danielle  
Lead Teacher (GSRP 1) "Great Start Readiness Program"  

This is my first year at It Takes A Village Academy. I graduated from Madonna University receiving my Bachelor's Degree in Early  Childhood Education and Elementary Education. I have three beautiful children of my own, my eldest son is 17, my daughter is 8, and my youngest son is 4. Our family enjoys the outdoors and traveling. Recently, we visited Myrtle Beach for some much needed R and R. We spend most of our summers on the water in Traverse City and Alcona. We like to take our St. Bernard, Cooper, for hikes at Maybury and Island Lake when we are in town. I look forward to an awesome year here at It Takes A Village! 

Miss. Ashley 
Assistant Teacher (GSRP 1) "Great Start Readiness Program" 

I am currently studying Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Madonna University. My overall goal is to obtain a Master's Degree in Special Education. I have worked in the Education field for six years now. This includes: after school care, substitute teaching, paraprofessional in a Kindergarten classroom paraprofessional with ESL students, and now assisting in the GSRP room. I also have had a 100+ observation hours while attending Madonna. When it comes to working with kids, I'm beyond passionate! I enjoy seeing them grow in all aspects, and love being a part of their journey. Besides working and going to school, I enjoy time with my family, friends, ad two puppies! 

Mrs. Amy
Lead Teacher (GSRP 2) "Great Start Readiness Program"  

I'm the lead GSRP teacher. I graduated from Eastern University in 2015 with my Bachelor's Degree. I have a double major in Early Childhood Education with a Special Education endorsement and Elementary Education. I have been working in GSRP for the past 5 years. I really enjoy having family partnerships in this program and love building relationships with the families and children in my class. I am married to my husband, Brandon, and we have two dogs. George is a Dachshund and Angel is a Black Lab. We like to take them for walks and play fetch. In our spare time, we enjoy going to Detroit sports games and hanging out with our family.

Mrs. Jeanine 
Assistant Teacher (GSRP 2) "Great Start Readiness Program" 

I earned an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood from Schoolcraft College and have worked in the field, servicing Pre-K children, for over 20 years. Prior to coming to ITAVA, I taught at various Head Start sites in the Wayne county area as well as lended added support to classrooms when I was needed. I also mentored new teaching staff on various aspects of the HS program. I took a brief time away to care for my aging father, then returned to HS again to be a classroom member. Since then, I worked as a teacher assistant at Tipton Academy for the past 5 years. I have two adult children and I am the very proud "Nay Nay" of 2 precious grandsons. I love being with my family and friends! I adore being outdoors, gardening, being creative and strive to keep my inner child active and alive working with Preschoolers! 

Ms. Ashleigh 
Lead Teacher (S.A.C.C) "Pioneers/Explorers"

I am the SACC teacher here at It Takes A Village Academy. I currently work as a fourth grad teacher in Lincoln Park. This is my 6th year teaching; while this is my 3rd year teaching in Lincoln Park, I spent 3 years teaching (1 yr of 5th grade and 2 yrs of 4th grade) in Virginia, right outside of Washington D.C. I attended Garden City Schools K-12 and began my college career at Schoolcraft College. From there, I moved to Madonna University where I received my Bachelor's Degree in Integrated Sciences and my teaching certification for ages K-8. In 2019, I graduated from Ball State University with my Masters Degree in Educational Psychology with a focus in human development. I began working with elementary ages children in high school. I have worked as a babysitter, a reading interventionist, a substitute teacher, a full time classroom teacher, and a tutor. 

My husband and I just got married in August, so we are enjoying being Newlyweds! In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, baking, reading, crafting, traveling and spending time with my 2yr old nephew, Nolan and the rest of my family. I am looking forward to getting to know all of the students and families at ITAVA.

 

Mr. Chris  
Lead Teacher for School Age Room "Virtual Learning Program" 

I have an Associate Degree in Applied Science with a focus on Nursing. I have been working with children as a paraprofessional for 10 years, in K-8 classrooms. I have also been working at the Golf Course for 14 years and have been playing golf since I was young. I enjoy bowling and spending time with my 4 yr old daughter Reagan who is here at ITAVA in the GSRP classroom. I enjoy working in the school age room assisting students with their virtual learning. 

Miss. Terri
Food Service Coordinator/Office Assistant  

My Associate Degree in Business Administration from Henry Ford led to the advertising industry, which began with 10 years as a Media Planner for multiple divisions of Ford Motor Company. I then spent 6 years as a Planner and Buyer for Shell Oil, American Airlines, Jeep, and others. After our company moved media operations to the Florida office, I sort of "fell into" food service while doing freelance media planning, and the next thing I knew, I went from planning and buying TV airtime to planning the menu and buying food. I enjoy cooking so much that I still moonlight when I can, and even worked the Taste of Dearborn food festival in Summer 2019. I also spend 6 years at Delta Airlines (originally Northwest), ending up as a Gate Agent/Trainer. It was then the Church came calling and we all know to listen to God, especially when he sends you multiple messages! As Office Manager of Christus Victor Lutheran Church, I gradually added duties for the Learning Center which, of course, included planning and buying for the food program. I have spent the last several months here at It Takes A Village preparing for us to join the State's Child and Adult Food Care Program, of which we are now part of. I'm looking forward to adding to this program in the months to come! 

Mrs. Karen
Master Chef "Yummy Tummies Kitchen"

I am Mrs. Karen and my job here at It Takes A Village Academy is to provide your children with nutritional meals. I started this adventure six years ago at Tipton Academy as a cook/kitchen server. At the end of my sixth year, I was offered this wonderful opportunity here at ITAVA. I love to interact with your little ones as much as I possibly can. To see those beautiful smiles everyday warms my heart, especially on our favorite day (Pizza Day!!). I'm a lifelong Garden City resident and married to my bestfriend! We have three beautiful children. 

Mr. Jared  
Kitchen Assistant "Yummy Tummies Kitchen"

I am Suzanne Collard's son and I work with Ms. Karen in the kitchen. I am 23 years old and have been attending Schoolcraft College up until last June. I decided to stay home and work with my mom and step-dad. I enjoy golfing, bowling, putt-putt golf, and shooting pool. My favorite foods are steak, pizza, ribs, and chocolate ice cream, chocolate pudding, and chocolate cake. I enjoy spending time at my aunt and uncles house over the weekends. I love working in the kitchen doing dishes and working here with my mom. 

Mrs. Tina 
Custodian

I am the custodian here at It Takes A Village Academy. Garden City has been my home from 32 years. I have operated my own cleaning business for over 20 years and I really enjoy my work. Before joining the ITAVA team, I worked at Tipton Academy for 5 years. I enjoy working with people who genuinely care for children and for the community. When I'm not killing germs, I love spending time with my family and friends. 

Ms. Joan 
Volunteer 

I am a volunteer here at It Takes A Village Academy. I help out with and whomever needs some extra help. I have assisted and covered in the kitchen and in the infant room, giving them their bottles and a lot of TLC. I was in the medical field for 52 years and retired from Henry Ford Health System as a Nurse Manager. I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my children and grandchildren. I love cooking, baking, crocheting and working with all the wonderful and caring staff here at It Takes A Village Academy. 

© 2019 by It Takes A Village Academy