Meet the Team

Every child deserves to be respected, loved and cared for, allowed to dream, recognized and valued for their gifts, and loved unconditionally.

Melanie Garland – Director

I have been with SHINE Preschool since it began 3 years ago. It has become my home away from home and I love the family atmosphere! I have a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies and a Master’s degree in Early Education. Before SHINE Preschool, I had 12 years of experience working with children in various ways including volunteering for Vacation Bible School, working with Kindergarten and before/after school programs, running my own home daycare, and working in the classroom with 2-5 year olds.

I married my high school sweetheart Logan in 2004. He is amazingly supportive and also has experience working with children. He loves to entertain and make children laugh. We have two wonderful children, Lilly (8) and Micah (5). They are seen around campus often and love being a part of the school as well. I love scrapbooking, crafts, and game nights with friends and family. I am a big kid at heart and can be regularly seen in the classroom making a fool of myself just for fun.

I love anything that glitters and think owls are absolutely the cutest thing ever! I am very passionate about the importance of early childhood education. Young children learn and grow so much during these years! I work hard to be current in research and push our school towards excellence. I feel it is important that all children thrive and that I must work towards the best solution for each individual. I can’t wait to serve you as director!

Brandy Mamo- PreK Teacher

Hello! I graduated from the University of North Florida in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Special Education. I am bilingual knowing English and American Sign Language. I started learning American Sign Language when I was five years old. For the last five years, I have worked with different types of students ranging in ages 3 – 16 years old.

I am very active and love animals. When I am not at work, I love to work out and keep myself busy. I have two Siberian Huskies that love to go on morning runs, and a bird that sings all day. I love to draw, sing, and dance. I am always up for fun! My favorite colors are yellow and green

Joie LaRue- PreK Teacher

Hello! I am a Marana High School graduate, class of 2016. I received a child development certificate through Marana High School. I am currently going to Pima Community College to get my transfer certificate and then plan to attend Arizona State University to work towards becoming a Child Life Specialist.

I enjoy Zumba, scrapbooking, camping, hiking, and time spent with friends and family.  I have always enjoyed working with children. My mom started a DES certified in-home child care when I was two years old. From the time I was 8 years old I would help with story and circle time. I also volunteered in the nursery at church and VBS from a young age. I started babysitting at age 13 and have also co-taught the 2 and 3 year old Sunday School class for four years.

I love all areas of working with children. I enjoy the hands on activities and watching them react as they discover, explore, and learn. I enjoy seeing their joy as they learn and accomplish. I love interacting and being silly with them through music and games. My job is so rewarding! When I walk through the doors I am welcomed with smiling faces and a lot of hugs.

Bailey Nelson- Preschool Aide

Tara Ipema- Preschool Teacher

I have an extensive business administrative background which includes training, supervision, purchasing, and facilities management. I truly delight in volunteer fundraising and event coordinating for various PTA committees and family ministries. I am excited to pursue early childhood education in January 2018 at Pima Community College.

I have a passion for education and creativity and enjoy reading and writing. I look forward to sharing these lifelong skills with students. I have experience working in daycares, leading classes at my church, and monitoring lunchrooms and playgrounds.

I have three children: Sammy, 14, Mikey, 7, and Tesla, 3. I married my best friend in 2005. One of my favorite Bible verses is “Let your light Shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

I love high fives and hugs, and working with children. I am proud to witness their accomplishments and enjoy being able to craft, cook, and build and giggle right beside them! It is my joy to stretch their imagination and brighten their day. I treasure having the opportunity to plan fun activities for them, and to watch them grow. Each student is an honorary part of my family!