We have an exciting year planned and invite families to be a regular part of our school community. Parents may volunteer in the classroom, join us as a guest reader or help us break ground in the garden. Please let us know if you’d like to get involved!
Maya Chichinadze, Ladybug Family Daycare and Ladybug Preschool Director & Founder
Education was always key to life and success for Maya and her family. With a strong educational background from Tbilisi State University in Mechanical Engineering and Economy (Masters) herself, Maya passed down her importance of education to her children, Luka and George Pertenava. Luka currently an undergraduate student at City College of New York and George, a graduate of Tbilisi State Medical University (Masters) truly follow the blueprint of Maya’s knowledge in education.
Maya Chichinadze migrated to United States with Luka, George, and her husband in 2003. In order to support her family Maya begun working at a family daycare in Cobble Hill. After leaving her job at the Family Daycare Maya decided to invest her knowledge and time to open up her own daycare. She received a certificate in Daycare Management and in 2007 with the help of her family founded Ladybug Family Daycare. Since then Ladybug Family Daycare has expanded to four different locations. Maya currently advises her son George and is occupied by being part of the board of directors in Ladybug Preschool. Although being a very busy women, Maya is an amazing mother, grandmother and a loving wife to her husband.
George Pertenava, Preschool Director & Founder
George is the director and founder of Ladybug Preschool. In 2007, George opened Ladybug Daycare which has since expanded to four locations. He holds a certificate in Daycare Management from the Penn Foster School. Prior to Ladybug, George was a physician in the Republic of Georgia. He attended Tbilisi State Medical University and worked as an emergency room physician before immigrating to the United States. George resides in Carroll Gardens with his wife and two sons.
Stacy Gilinson, School Development Consultant
Stacy is working with our founding team to develop Ladybug Preschool’s new program. She currently leads school based operations for Brooklyn Prospect High School. Before that Stacy worked in operations and family engagement for New York City Department of Education. She has also worked as a consultant to schools and non-profit organizations focusing on community partnerships, program design and professional development. Prior to that, she spent several years working in museums as an exhibit designer and program manager. Stacy earned a B.F.A. in Fine Arts and a M.A.T in Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She resides in Carroll Gardens with her husband and daughter who is attending Ladybug Preschool this year.
Erica Katz, Head Teacher
Erica is the first head teacher to lead our Ladybugs on their preschool journey. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Salisbury University in Maryland and holds a Maryland and NY State Teaching Certificate. Post graduation, Erica was a lead teacher in a child care center until accepted into a teaching fellowship abroad. After the gratifying and humbling experience of teaching English in Israel for 1 year as an American Ambassador Teaching Fellow, Erica relocated back to her hometown on Long Island. There she taught 3rd grade in a private school. Although plenty rewarding and challenging, Erica realized her passion lied among preschool age children. Her goals as a teacher include providing a safe and nurturing environment while encompassing all content areas. She believes that through play children are able to actively explore and thus develop new and meaningful understandings about the world around them. Erica's approach heavily utilizes the arts with the intent to have students flourish through their own special and creative outlets. She is exceptionally excited to start the year and become a part of the Ladybug family.
Inna Iaremenko, Assistant Teacher
Inna studied at State Pedagogical University in Sumy, Ukraine. Though she majored in English and Foreign Literature, her passion leaned always towards teaching young children. Having a four year old son of her own, Inna knows just how important it is to establish a healthy, creative, and fun environment for children’s development at the preschool age. She strives to not only be a teacher for a child, but also a caring and encouraging friend. Someone once said “teaching creates all other professions!” Inna feels it is the greatest reward to be part of that idealogy.
April Cantor, Yoga Teacher
April, RYT has 16 years of experience teaching yoga and exclusively to children for the past eight. Having a foundation in Integral Yoga and Anusara styles of yoga she has also acquired training for teaching children’s yoga with Move With Me Mindfulness & Movement, Karma Yoga Kids, MiniYogis, Storytime Yoga, and Next Generation Yoga. Her company, SoulShine Life, not only provides Kids Yoga Adventures to local preschools and daycares(like Ladybug since 2007) and at Bend & Bloom Yoga in Park Slope, but also helps families & parents reconnect to themselves, each other and nature through Family Yoga Hikes and Partner Yoga workshops. Please visit www.soulshinelife.com to subscribe to her monthly newsletter for tips on how to integrate yoga into your family life. Peace.
Sensei John Laracuente
Born into the world of martial arts, Sensei John has dedicated himself to the art from the age of three. Training under his father Master John Laracuente, he earned his black belt and is now a third degree black belt in Korean Karate. After many years of hard training and dedication, he has aquired a unique outlook and dedication to the world of martial arts more than others his age. Sensei John has vast experience running martial arts programs in both a private and public school setting. Sensei John enjoys working with kids and hopes to challenge and inspire his students to share the same passion for the art as he does.
Mr. Simon grew up in the beautiful leafy suburb of North Turramurra, on Sydney's North Shore. Everyday he would wake up to the sounds of kookaburras and rainbow lorikeets and be encouraged by his family to play music. He started when he was an infant playing his grandfathers harmonica and then the recorder before taking his first lesson on the piano at 4. By the time Mr. Simon was 14, he was wining state competitions and playing the drums in multiple bands and ensembles.By the time he graduated from high school at the age of 17 he had traveled all around Australia, the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Germany,
Switzerland and Japan playing music!
After graduating high school in the top 10% of 3 Unit Music (highest level of music studies in Australia), he immediately started teaching clarinet and percussion to children. Then he attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and studied jazz with some of Australia's most renowned musicians.
It wasn't until Mr. Simon was 26 years old that he bought his first guitar and taught himself how to play it - just for fun. He then got professional singing lessons and started writing his own pop songs. Mr. Simon recalls jumping around his living room as a child to Duran Duran and Michael Jackson, pretending to play the guitar with a tennis racket, whilst imagining being on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. Well, he's certainly living that dream with the under 6's and... loving every minute of it!
Whether he's playing “The Wheels on the Bus”, singing a Pete the Cat book, being silly with Mr. Koala, doing a brilliant impersonation of Elmo, singing one of his own children's songs or playing "freeze" with 25 egg shakers, he delivers exactly what you want in an Enrichment Class provider and children's entertainer. Mr. Simon always aims to walk away from a class having children experience playing an instrument, excited about making music, and knowing that they are heard and loved.
Michelle Ruiz, Spanish Teacher
Michelle is the founder and principle instructor for Espáñate Professional Spanish Lessons. Michelle was born in Malaga, Spain and aspired to teach and help enrich the minds of students for as long as she can remember. In 2005, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education at the University of Málaga in Spain. Following her graduation, she began her career as an English and Spanish professor in Spain, helping students and kids to comprehend, write and effectively communicate the language throughout everyday life.
After gaining experience as a professor in Spain, Michelle decided to take a leap of faith and made the bold decision to leave her small town of Malaga, Spain. She first traveled to China and following her enlightening trip, later moved to New York City. Michelle had always dreamt of sharing her love of the Spanish language with the world, and as a bilingual teacher the opportunities were boundless in her new city. In 2014, Espáñate was launched to provide kids, students, adults and businesses the opportunity to learn Spanish in a comfortable, creative and conversational manner. Since that time, Michelle has assisted many individuals and families to finally put into practice what they never understood from books and school.
With more than 1o years of experience as a professional tutor for both adults and children, Michelle has mastered ways to teach Spanish to Americans and English to Spaniards by incorporating the key ways both cultures think. Her mission as an English to Spanish and Spanish to English learning specialist is to advise her students to begin learning the language by understanding the culture, pronunciation and lifestyles of both cultures. You can find out more about Michelle and Espáñate Tutors at www.espanate.com/