Solange Silva – Director
Solange has worked at the Ark since 2007 as the Horses teacher for 8 years. In 2017 she was invited to become The Ark’s new director, as Jan, our founder and former director for 25 years goes into retirement. She has an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Bellevue College. She also has a Law degree and worked in Brazil as a lawyer and property manager.
In her free time she enjoys shopping, cooking Brazilian food, and photography. Solange’s first language is Portuguese, however, she also speaks English and understands Spanish.
Heidi Britton – Assistant Director
Heidi has been with the Ark since January 2010. She started as an Assistant Teacher, then was the Ducklings Teacher for 4 years and as of Feb. 2016, is now the Assistant Director. She was a lead teacher in a bi-lingual school in Germany for 3 years and also a lead teacher at her Church Daycare.
Heidi and her husband have two children, a grandson and a great-grandson. She lives in Bellevue with their two dogs and enjoys traveling when she can.
Janet DePooter- Assistant Director
Janet has loved working with children all her life. It wasn’t until she was living in Hawaii that she got a chance to work in a preschool setting. When she moved to Georgia, she was the administrative assistant for a Christian preschool for almost five years. She enjoyed getting to know the children and their families. It was a pleasure for her to go to work – there was always something new going on. When she moved back to Georgia she worked again for a Christian preschool, this time a full time program. She started as a teacher, but soon she was the assistant director. She worked there for over five years. She and the director worked hard to have a quality program that would make a difference in many lives. She wants to see children that are actively engaged in learning! She looks forward to getting to know the families at the Ark better.
Janet and her husband have two daughters. In her spare time, Janet enjoys tennis, church activities and walking her dog, Lady.
Mariya Kugler – Roos
Mariya Kugler was a Teacher’s Assistant at the Ark in 2015-2017 and then she worked as a substitute. And now Mariya is the Baby Roo’s teacher.
She has over 16 year’s professional experience training both adults and children as coach for swimming and diving. She has University Physical Culture, Diploma. Mariya loves the staff and children at The Ark. She was born in Baku Azerbaijan, and now she is a citizen of USA. She has been married long time. She has one daughter and 3 grandchildren. Mariya likes cooking, reading books and swimming.
Amanda Lewis – Ducklings
My name is Amanda. I have been in the childcare industry for 12 years. Working with children has always come natural to me. In my many years taking care of children, I have had the most rewarding experiences! I plan to further my knowledge in Early Childhood Education and obtain a degree. When I am not doing what I love, you can find me enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest and what it has to offer. I am also a huge sports fan and love Hockey and Football! I look forward to many more fulfilling experiences, and am ecstatic to join the Ark family! “The best Teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”
Jihi Wing – Bear Cubs
My name is Jihi. I moved here 16 years ago from South Korea. I am married to a wonderful husband who is a Montessori Teacher. I have 2 Bachelor Degrees, one in Physical Education & the other in Education. I taught Kindergarten in South Korea for 5 years. I have over 15 years of experience working with children here. I love working with children because they make me happy inside and put a smile on my face. In my spare time I enjoy reading, playing tennis and hiking.
Emily Jones – Assistant Teacher
Emily is a Teacher’s Assistant at The Ark. She spends time in every classroom and is the Infant Teacher in the afternoons. She finished a Bachelor of Arts, Digital Technology and Culture degree, in 2009 from WSU and aspires to earn her Masters in Teaching locally. Emily has been in Bellevue for five years. She’s deeply enjoying this opportunity to help God’s children learn and grow at The Ark.
Nancy Petticord – Monkeys
Nancy Uribe Petticord is the teacher of the Monkey Class. The Monkey Class is the older toddler class with children between the ages of 2 ½ to 3 ½ years of age. Nancy has Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials and has worked as a child care teacher for more than 20 years. She loves teaching young children and most of her experience is with toddlers.
Nancy is married and has 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren. She loves to camp and travel. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, gardening and doing Zumba.
Faye Jones – Horses
Faye Jones has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Trenton State College in New Jersey. She has taught preschool for more than 30 years and has experience working with infants through kindergarten.
She is a parent of two children, Brent and Cassidy. Faye also has four grandchildren. She enjoys many arts and crafts, camping, reading, and swimming. In her spare time she babysits, paints murals and does face painting for parties.
Sumi Arumugan – Lions
Sumi Arumugan is our Lions teacher. She was born and raised in a small town in India. She has been married for 9 years and lives with her husband and son in Redmond. Sumi has a Masters Degree in Sociology and a Diploma in Personality Development. Sumi worked as a Preschool Teacher in India and enjoyed every minute of it. She has always had a passion for working with children. Her goal is to make sure that each child receives the best care and love that they all deserve. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, painting, reading books, baking, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Susan Koshy – Assistant Teacher
My name is Ushus Susan Koshy aka Susan. I came from the southern tip of India called Kerala. I have lived in USA for the past 10 years with my husband and two beautiful daughters, ages 14 and 8. We live in downtown Bellevue. My father was an Episcopal minister so my life was in and around the church and Christian ministry. I have a Master of Social Work majoring in Human Resources (MSW), a Master of Hospital Management (MHM) and a BA in Communication. I have worked as a Welfare Manager for factories and a public relations officer for a multinational schools while I was in India. After I came to the United States, I have worked as a teacher in different schools. I am a trained Indian Classical singer. My favorite things are to draw and paint free hand. I love to cook and love to sculpt with polymer clay, I also sometimes design clothes and jewelry. Above all I love spending my time with children and they love being around me. I love babies and enjoy taking care of them every step till they are on their own. I believe that teaching is the most rewarding job. Children are the precious gift from God and helping them grow into individuals is a very important job.