Thomas Beatty, director
Dr. Thomas Beatty has a bachelor’s degree in English from VCU, a master’s in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in educational policy, planning and leadership from the College of William and Mary. Prior to joining the CDC, he served as an assistant professor in educational leadership in the VCU School of Education. He spent over 25 years in Richmond Public Schools as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and central office administrator. Dr. Beatty loves to read and travel — especially to Jamaica.
Kellie Holmes, assistant director
Kellie Holmes earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Salem College and a master’s in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in child development and administration from Appalachian State University. Kellie has been with the CDC since 2015. She has over 18 years of experience in childcare settings.
Liliana Andanut, lead teacher
Liliana Andanut is originally from Romania. She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in secondary education from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Liliana has worked for 29 years as a secondary education teacher, including special education, and over three years as an early childhood educator. She enjoys visiting museums, swimming, traveling and spending time with her daughter and her dog.
Nakita Battle, assistant teacher
Nakita Battle has a goal to continue pursuing an associate's degree in early childhood education. She has been working with young children since 2000. She loves working with children 16 months through 2 years of age. Her passion for teaching and level of patience are not to be underestimated; Nakita prides herself on being a good role model for her students. She enjoys singing and reading.
Adrianne Bell, assistant teacher
Adrianne Bell earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Mary Washington. She previously worked as a lead teacher for a year at the University of Virginia Child Development Center, and later transferred to Brandermill Kindercare in Midlothian to work as a lead teacher.
Katriina Bell, administrative assistant
Katriina Bell is a summa cum laude graduate of Eastern New Mexico University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders with a minor in health and human services. She served overseas for five years as a reading specialist. Katrina enjoys hiking, photography and travel.
Ron Cardwell, assistant teacher
Ron Cardwell holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Life Christian University and an associate's degree in early childhood education from John Tyler Community College. He has over 12 years working in preschool centers. He is a singer, songwriter and musician, and he has also authored a few children's books. Other interests include art, photography, sports, camping, going to the beach, and spending time with his wife and two boys.
Louise Creef, assistant teacher
Louise Creef has a bachelor's degree in community arts from East Carolina University. She received her teaching credentials from Salem College. She brings a wealth of experience to the CDC as she has been working with young children for over 15 years.
Brittany Dix, assistant teacher
Brittany Dix has a bachelor’s in human services counseling from Old Dominion University. Prior to working with the CDC, Brittany worked in a group home for teenage girls who were without guardianship. She has also worked as an assistant teacher at another childcare center and has other experiences with behavioral intervention. She enjoys working with children ages 5 and under because she believes this is the most crucial time for their developing minds. She enjoys spending time with her daughter, Aubrie, as well as reading and spending time with family and friends.
Lori Do, lead teacher
Lori Do earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from VCU. She has worked at the CDC for over 23 years. Her experiences here encompass every age level. Lori relishes biking, hiking and going to the movies with her husband.
Emily Eaton, assistant teacher
Emily Eaton earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Mary Washington College. Emily has been an early childhood educator since 2005. Prior to joining the staff of the CDC in 2011, she worked as a lead teacher at another child development center. In her free time, she enjoys riding and taking care of her horse, Boo. She actively supports the music ministry at her church by singing in the choir and praise band, and playing the violin and hand bells. She also loves to bowl, play board and card games, and spend quality time with family and friends.
Rachel Griffin, lead teacher
Rachel Griffin holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to working with the CDC, Rachel worked as a lead teacher at the VCU Health Systems child care center at the MCV campus. She has over four years of experience working with toddlers and preschool-aged children. When she is not teaching, Rachel enjoys yoga, being outdoors, fishing and listening to music.
Maria Morris, lead teacher
Maria Morris earned both her bachelor's degree and her master's degree in early and elementary education at VCU, and she is currently working on becoming an elementary school reading specialist. She previously worked as a center assistant at the CDC for two years and has taught in Richmond Public Schools at Westover Hills Elementary School as a first grade teacher and a kindergarten teacher.
Lewis Oleksy, lead teacher
Lewis Oleksy earned his bachelor's degree in art education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and holds an active K-12 teaching license from the state of Wisconsin. He also spent several years teaching at an internationally renowned child care center, which has given him the foundations to work effectively with children in a play-based, developmentally appropriate setting.
Kerri Ann Plaster, lead teacher
Kerri Ann Plaster has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Kerri Ann has been an educator for over 25 years. She taught fourth grade and first grade in Nottoway County prior to having her children. Her own children inspired her deep passion for early childhood education. Prior to joining the CDC, she taught at a church-based half-day preschool program. Kerri Ann enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking and hiking.
Samaria Pryor, kitchen manager
Samaria Pryor has always had a passion for cooking. She especially enjoys the part of her day when she gets to see the children walking past the kitchen to go out on the playground. She truly loves watching the children eat and appreciate the meals she prepares for them. She enjoys reading, watching classic movies and walking her dog.
Denita Kim Taylor, center coordinator
Denita Kim Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Norfolk State University and a master’s degree in school counseling from Cambridge College. She has a passion for working with youth; she has been working with youth in various capacities from pre-K through 12th grade for over 30 years. Prior to coming to CDC, she was a teacher in Richmond Public Schools. In her spare time, Denita Kim enjoys reading, skiing, praise dancing and traveling, as well as spending time with family and friends.