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Auburn Location

Ms. Amber


Thank you for visiting our website! I look forward to meeting you and hopefully your son or daughter will become part of our Smart Start family! I have been absolutely humbled to be in the Early Childhood Education field since I was nineteen years old. I won’t admit my actual age on here, but let’s just say I’ve been doing this a very long time.
I’m the proud mother of four beautiful but very busy kids, well actually three are now TEENS! How did this happen? I started Smart Start in 2001 because I couldn’t find the dream school for my then first born son. I wanted a safe, loving environment where kids were free to be themselves. A program that met each individual child right where they were and would grow and help guide and develop them in a positive and creative way. Now, I am looking at colleges for my first born!
Over the years Smart Start has evolved and has really grasped the idea of praising and celebrating the uniqueness of every student who enters our doors. Our goal is that each Smart Start students leaves us with a passion and love for learning to last them a lifetime.
​Our program offers a wide range of the best of the best methods in the Early Childhood field which includes Waldorf, Montessori, Creative Play and Age appropriate academics creating a beautiful balance all throughout the day. ​
Thank you for the gift, and I truly see it as a gift to serve all of you. Cheers to love and happiness for our next generation.

Ms. Bree

Office Support

 Hi! My name is Breana Baker and I am so honored to be a part of the incredible staff here at Smart Start. I have been married to my best friend Dave for 2 years and we live in Newcastle with our sweet rescue pup Sadie! I am also the proud aunt of 7 nieces and nephews, who have all inspired my love for children. The love I have for Early Childhood Education goes as far back as I can remember but it wasn’t until my first preschool job 10 years ago that I realized how important the early years were and the positive impact I could have on their growth. I have my BA in Early Childhood Education, and I am starting my graduate degree this fall. I love to learn, and I love applying my knowledge and experience in both the office and classroom settings. My goal is to constantly create a loving, nurturing environment where children are free to be themselves. I truly believe children learn through experiences, so I like to create a balance between teacher and child directed learning. When I am not in the office or classroom, I love being with my family, friends, traveling, and gardening! I look forward to meeting and working with all of the amazing families here at Smart Start!

Ms. Shannah 

Explorers Teacher

Working with children is such a gift. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work at Smart Start.

I believe children learn through play and that teachers should expand on what children are interested in by bringing in more ways to explore those interests. A day digging in the garden can lead to learning about how things grow, counting seeds, or healthy bodies from healthy foods. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new about the world.

I worked on my AA in Early Childhood Education while working as a Pre K teacher in Granite Bay and then opening my own in Home Child Care. I also received my certificate in Infant Care. After 15 years and 3 beautiful daughters I decided to try a few other jobs. No matter what I tried I just kept missing working with children.

Through the years I have used a program called Baby Signs, developed by a professor at UC Davis that helped use simple signs for works that toddlers didn’t have the ability to say yet. It was amazing how much it helped with their frustration at not being understood. When I heard about a new program at American River College called Speech-Language Pathology Assistant it sounded like another way to help children be understood so I decided to try a class; two years later I receive my AS and my license as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant.

I look forward to getting to know your children and their interests.

Ms. Jennifer

Adventurers Teacher

I am thrilled to be the 3’s-4’s Adventurers teacher at Smart Start Auburn! I have been working in the childcare field for over twenty years and I am as passionate today as I was when I started. I have done it all from teaching toddlers all the way to kindergartners, directed a couple of schools, and even owned my own preschool program.  What I like most about working at Smart Start is that quality of care and education is most valued. We are one big family!  I also enjoy freedom and support to be as creative with the children as possible. Children are so fascinated by everything around them at this age, and I love being able to support their curiosity by providing unique experiences for them in the classroom.

When I am not loving on or finding new activities for the children, you will usually find me running around cheering on my three kids in sports. My oldest, JT, is 16 and recently took a break from a lifetime of baseball to pursue golf and bowling. My daughter, Jenna, is 14 and plays club volleyball for the Auburn Aces and our youngest, Jaxon who is 9, plays baseball and basketball. This is a very busy time in our lives and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! My husband Matt and I have been married for 18 years and recently moved to Penryn where we are fixing up our dream house. Life is good!

I look forward to getting to know you and your child and having you become a part of our Smart Start Auburn family!

Ms. Nicole

Floating Aid

This is the start of my 8th year teaching, in 2012 I received my associate teacher’s certificate and I am currently working on getting my AA in Early Childhood Education. I first started out as an assistant teacher at Auburn Montessori in the toddler program and worked in there for 2 years before leaving to do hair (I went to cosmetology school through ROP in high school) after awhile something just wasn’t feeling right, I just couldn’t find my niche in the hair industry. That is when I knew teaching was my true passion and where I wanted to be. I then returned to Auburn Montessori and worked as an assistant teacher in our pre-school program for 4 years and then in the TK-K program for a year.

This is my first year with my Smart Start family and could not be any more excited for our future. ‘Chose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.’
With every child that walks through my door, I treat and love them as if they were my own and it brings me so much joy being able to watch them grow and learn through the years they are in school with me.

When I am not teaching I am with my husband and our daughter spending time with family and friends. We love going to the ocean, being outdoors, camping, and riding dirt bikes and sometimes (not often enough!)  Just doing nothing!

Ms. Judy

TK Teacher

Hi! My name is Judy Ford. I started teaching with Smart Start Auburn last August. I have worked with infants to preschool children for over 30 years. I began working in the Early Childhood Education field when I was asked to join a new facility in Davis. I happily accepted, and I was able to bring my newborn with me! For the next 27 years I worked for the same employer as an infant and preschool teacher. I then made a move to Auburn, as a single parent for many years. I now have two married sons, and I married someone who shares the love of nature in the mountains and the sea, especially the sea. We enjoy hiking/backpacking, diving, kayaking and simply being lazy.

I love being able to work with young children. They are incredibly honest, ready to have fun and always ready to go! Working at Smart Start Auburn gives me the opportunity to play, teach and create with their interests in mind, how can I not love it, and the people I work with are amazing!

Ms. Sam 

Imagineers 3 Year Old Teacher

Hello Everyone!

I have been working with young children for over 15 years. I am a mom of three little ones and an amateur artist/baker/interpretive dancer.

When I took my first child development class in high school, I knew this was where I was meant to be. I have made it my life’s ambition and total happiness to offer kids an environment where they feel comfortable enough to play and explore without fear of disapproval or failure. A place with less worksheets and dittos and a sanctuary full of songs, rhymes, and conversation, where we focus first on the children’s social, emotional, and cognitive needs; for these will form the foundations of self-confidence and self-worth necessary to pave the way for a lifelong love of learning.

It is my goal to offer as much spontaneous, hands-on experience as possible; for the window of time we allow our children to explore, believe in magic, and just be free is shirking more and more all the time. In the words of renowned early childhood educator Bev Bos-

“If it hasn’t been in the hand or the body, it can’t be in the brain!”

Ms. Melissa 

Discoverers Teacher

Hi! I am Ms. Melissa; I have had the privilege of being a part of Smart Start Auburns very first year! I have worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for the last 13 years. I have a true passion for working with young children. Every day I strive to foster their creativity, encourage independence, and promote leaning by offering them hands on experiences and letting them explore and discover the amazing world around them.

I am a wife and mother to 3 beautiful children; a teenager, a school-ager, and a toddler. In my free time, I enjoy being out in nature, hiking, camping with my family and kayaking on the lake.

I look forward to continuing teaching here at Smart Start Auburn alongside all of my amazingly talented co-teachers.